Writing Wins and Woes: Faith Vs. Fantasy

1272I had so many good comments on my last post that my mind meandered to a cross topic. Am I letting the devil in when I claim to be a person of faith writing fantasy? This is an interesting topic. I can hear some people laughing at this, but I was raised in a very conservative church where Cabbage Patch Dolls, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles and Smurfs were all suspect.  So what about witches? Is it wrong for a Christian to write about these things? I don’t think so. C S Lewis was a Christian and he wrote The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe.  It was actually a great allegory about Christ’s sacrifice on the cross.  I grew up on fairy tales and I love them.  I think fairy tales are illustrations many times of good vs. evil, which is really a Christian theme. I’m not going to get too preachy here, but if you take the reasoning that everything that is not Christian is bad, you are on the way to extremism where you can’t celebrate Christmas or Easter because they are based on pagan traditions. Why is the genre called fantasy? Duh, because it is simply that, make believe.  As a child I had a make believe friend. I invented a make believe world with my make believe friend. Looking back, I think it may have been because my real life was a little bit too difficult to handle, but this make believe fantasy I concocted contributed to the writer I am today. God gave me an imagination and the talent so I could use it. People also like to be quick to judge. I’ve heard it said that Harry Potter encourages a child’s interest in the occult. I really don’t see this. I like to read about disasters and murders, but I have yet to cause a disaster or murder anyone. Normal people don’t do these things. However, I do sometimes like to write about these things. My husband is an artist. His work has often been criticized for its “demonic” qualities. Yet, he is a person of faith as well. People derail what they don’t understand. I will write as my conscience dictates and for the love of what I do. Do I have moral standards in my writing? Sure I do. I don’t include profanity in my writing. I’m not a profane kind of girl. I don’t use it personally and I don’t want to write it either. I also don’t write graphic sex scenes. In fact, I don’t write any sex scenes. I love old movies. Sex was implied but not shown in detail. I have an imagination. I can figure that out myself, but that’s just me. Some people enjoy it. That’s up to them and their conscience if they want to write about it. Yes, I have faith and yes, I write fantasy and the two worlds can collide.

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Writing Wins and Woes: Science Fiction Vs. Fantasy

358Okay, I’m going to write about something today I know absolutely nothing about. I recently was thinking about submitting to a science fiction anthology and I thought, “Hmm, what is the difference between science fiction and fantasy?”  My writing tastes tend to more fantasy, at least that’s what I thought, than science fiction.  So, I did what any good writer does, I looked it up. It seems the differences are more subtle than I even thought.

Here are some things I came up with in my research:

Science Fiction:                                              VS                                Fantasy

Possible                                                                                              Impossible

Future                                                                                                  Past

science and reality                                                                               Invents things

does happen                                                                                        never happens

technology                                                                                            magic

In case, my contrasts are confusing basically fantasy deals with things more impossible, not likely to happen often in the past, but not always, and contains magic where science fiction concerns the future, uses technology to invent things that really could possibly happen. Of course, there is some overlap.

There are many categories for science fiction and fantasy. Over both groups is the term: speculative fiction. In the category of science fiction there is alternate universe, space opera (campy adventure in space), cyberpunk (man and machine)hard science fiction(lots of science) and military science fiction. With fantasy you have quest fantasy, historical fantasy, contemporary fantasy,  and urban fantasy. If that’s not confusing enough, there is science fantasy which contains elements of both fantasy and science fiction.

Basically, if you want to write about dragons, hobbits, werewolves, vampires, etc., that would be fantasy. If you want to write about space travel, time travel, cyborgs or robots, well, that would be science fiction unless maybe there is some magic involved then that might be fantasy or science fantasy.

For myself, I just love writing about stuff and I don’t like to get too bogged down in the details.

Writing Wins and Woes: Three Interviews: One Post

Sorry to bombard you but there are three new interviews for Twice Upon a Time. I think much can be learned from listening to the stories of other authors. Enjoy!

CONTRARY to the title of this anthology, working with such a talented cast of writers is an opportunity that usually comes once in a lifetime. From best-selling to greenhorn, independent or traditionally-published, the authors in this anthology span all ranges in addition to spanning the globe—from England to Australia and all over the United States. I’ve had the privilege of getting to know each and every one of them, and they have become a part of my extended family. I’ve even caught a glimpse of a secret side of them that only another writer…editor…is privy to witness through their words.

Through this series of posts, I plan on introducing you to my new family through a mini-interview of each. You may not get a chance to see their secret side, but you’ll get a sneak-peek into their minds, their passions and inspirations, and what made them the writers they are today.

..The Mini Interview..

1. At what age did you start writing?

I started writing at about age five. My first short story was about a white sports car with black velvet seats.

2. Which book introduced you to Speculative Fiction?

I would have to say there were two books that introduced me to Speculative Fiction: The Lion, Witch, and the Wardrobe by C.S. Lewis and The Neverending Story by Michael Ende. These two books changed my world.

3. Do you have an all-time favorite book? What about it makes it your favorite?

I have a wide range of favourite books that I read. If I had to choose one, it would be Tamora Pierce‘s world of Tortall, especially her Song of the Lioness Quartet.  Alanna: The First Adventure is the first book in that series. I love the threads of magic, life, and love that are woven throughout the series; I loved the characters, too, whom we get to see grow and develop.

4. Which author and/or book inspired you to start writing?

C.S. Lewis, Michael Ende, and Tamora Pierce. I loved these authors’ worlds, and I wanted to create worlds just like them, filled with so much life and soul.

5. What would you say is the most important lesson all writers should learn?

Never give up! Writing is a hard business with constant rejection. Develop a hard skin, suck it up, and learn from it. Choose your Beta Readers with care, as you will want the truth and not fluff.

6. Of the entire publishing process, which would you say is the most difficult aspect to endure?

The waiting. That is the hardest part for me. All you can do is try not to stress and keep writing.

7. If applicable, did you have a favorite character (to write) from your story? If so, what sets them apart from the others?

I loved writing Sigrun. She rose from being a scared little girl to the formidable woman who eventually gets justice.

8. On what projects are you currently working?

I have a full-length fantasy manuscript, Stones of Power, which has been picked up by Satalyte Publishing. I also have a few other short stories submitted to various magazines and collections.

Read Tarran’s story, All That Glitters, in your very own copy of Twice Upon A Time today!

..About the Author..

TARRAN JONES works at Collins Booksellers Edwardstown. She lives in Adelaide, Australia with her partner and young daughter. Tarran has been in the book industry selling other people’s books for over 10 years and thought it was about time she started thinking about her own. She has finished her first novel, Stones of Power, and is now writing the second. Tarran has previously written articles, reviews, and blog posts for her bookstore’s blog and has written a great many short stories and one unpublished novella. She has had three short stories published online and was a finalist in the Australian Literature Review short story competition for one of her works. She loves writing all kinds of speculative fiction and thinks that it fires up the imagination. Gardening is one of Tarran’s passions and when she isn’t writing she can be found out in the vegetable garden talking to the plants.

..Connect with the Author..

CONTRARY to the title of this anthology, working with such a talented cast of writers is an opportunity that usually comes once in a lifetime. From best-selling to greenhorn, independent or traditionally-published, the authors in this anthology span all ranges in addition to spanning the globe—from England to Australia and all over the United States. I’ve had the privilege of getting to know each and every one of them, and they have become a part of my extended family. I’ve even caught a glimpse of a secret side of them that only another writer…editor…is privy to witness through their words.

Through this series of posts, I plan on introducing you to my new family through a mini-interview of each. You may not get a chance to see their secret side, but you’ll get a sneak-peek into their minds, their passions and inspirations, and what made them the writers they are today.

..The Mini Interview..

1. At what age did you start writing?

Really young, although I can’t quite pinpoint the age. I remember enjoying the act of writing since early elementary school. It has always been a hobby, but I finally decided to get serious about it a few years ago.

2. Which book introduced you to Speculative Fiction?

I’m certain there were others before this, but the My Teacher is an Alien series by Bruce Coville had a huge impact on me. It was written for kids, but had some terrifying horror elements and ended up tackling some huge philosophical questions. That series of books really stuck with me. It also ensured that whenever the school book fair came around, I’d be there to find my next favorite story.

3. Do you have an all-time favorite book? What about it makes it your favorite?

That shifts from year to year. Right now its a toss up between The Cormorant by Chuck Wendig and Broken Monsters by Lauren Beukes.

4. Which author and/or book inspired you to start writing?

This is a weird one—Lewis Grizzard. He was a humor columnist for the Atlanta Journal Constitution back when I was kid. Some pretty severe heart problems eventually caught up with him, taking his life at the age of 47.

I bought some books that were filled with his back issue columns, many of which were written before I was even born. I didn’t get all the pop culture references sometimes, but his words still moved me, mostly to laughter, and sometimes even to tears.

I remember telling my mom how reading his work made him feel like he was alive again. Even though Mr. Grizzard wasn’t around anymore, his work and his thoughts were still able to grab hold of me better than most people could if they were speaking in the same room.

I wasn’t sure at that point if I had the talent to to write (and I’m still pretty shaky on that one to this day), but I thought it would be pretty cool to have that type of impact, to create written words that lived on and touched people’s lives longer after your voice would no longer be heard in the living realm.

…or maybe I just had a narcissistic wish to always be remembered or something.

5. What would you say is the most important lesson all writers should learn?

It’s a process.

I know, I know, it’s a cliche piece of advice, but its one I still keep having to remind myself about.

Even the best writers in the world don’t just wake up one day cranking out bestsellers. They write (and READ) on a daily basis, honing their craft and evolving as artists.

We obviously can’t all be Stephen King or Chuck Wendig or J.K. Rowling, but we can constantly improve our ability to tell stories and speak to readers. That journey alone is worth putting pen to page (or fingers to keyboard).

6. Of the entire publishing process, which would you say is the most difficult aspect to endure?

The stream of rejections that comes vomiting out of your inbox. When that letter comes, it doesn’t matter that your favorite authors also experienced the dreaded ‘we’re sorry, but’ qualifiers to their precious creations. In that moment, it sucks like nothing else.

7. If applicable, did you have a favorite character (to write) from your story? If so, what sets them apart from the others?

My favorite character to write still hasn’t found a home yet, but she’s just getting started 🙂

8. On what projects are you currently working?

I’m currently in the final draft/edits of my first novel, Snipe Hunt. It’s a bit like Lovecraft meets The Goonies (I think).

Read Nick’s story, The Wolf’s Gambit, in your very own copy of Twice Upon A Time today!

..About the Author..

NICK NAFPLIOTIS is a music teacher and writer from Charleston, South Carolina. During the day, he instructs students from the ages of 11-14 on how to play band instruments. At night, he writes about weird crime, bizarre history, pop culture, and humorous classroom experiences on his blog, Rambling Beach Cat. He is also a television, novel, and comic book reviewer for Adventures in Poor Taste.

..Connect with the Author..

!–Start Copy–>

CONTRARY to the title of this anthology, working with such a talented cast of writers is an opportunity that usually comes once in a lifetime. From best-selling to greenhorn, independent or traditionally-published, the authors in this anthology span all ranges in addition to spanning the globe—from England to Australia and all over the United States. I’ve had the privilege of getting to know each and every one of them, and they have become a part of my extended family. I’ve even caught a glimpse of a secret side of them that only another writer…editor…is privy to witness through their words.

Through this series of posts, I plan on introducing you to my new family through a mini-interview of each. You may not get a chance to see their secret side, but you’ll get a sneak-peek into their minds, their passions and inspirations, and what made them the writers they are today.

..The Mini Interview..

1. At what age did you start writing?

Thirteen.

2. Which book introduced you to Speculative Fiction?

Although I learned a lot from my mother (who was psychic), once I read Seth Speaks, a whole new world opened up, like parallel universes. I couldn’t wait to write about it.

3. Do you have an all-time favorite book? What about it makes it your favorite?

My favorite is the War of the Roses trilogy by R. Garcia y Robertson, which begins with Knight Errant. It’s about time travel, and I love stories like that.

4. Which author and/or book inspired you to start writing?

A variery of authors inspired me. Hard to choose just one.

5. What would you say is the most important lesson all writers should learn?

Believe in yourself and never lose sight of what you want.

6. Of the entire publishing process, which would you say is the most difficult aspect to endure?

Time or lack thereof. There’s a lot that goes into publishing a book. A lot that has nothing to do with writing.

7. If applicable, did you have a favorite character (to write) from your story? If so, what sets them apart from the others?

In another novel I wrote, titled Again, my favorite character is Eryn, a woman who dreams of a past life and is bold enough to recognize and break the destructive pattern that has continued into her current life. Very empowering.

8. On what projects are you currently working?

I’m working on the sequel to—as well as finalizing the screenplay of—Souled, a YA paranormal. I have several books and screenplays I’m anxious to get down on paper.

Read Diana’s story, A Prophecy Untamed, in your very own copy of Twice Upon A Time today!

..About the Author..

DIANA MURDOCK, from a very young age, has always dabbled with stories and poems and shared them only with family and friends. It wasn’t until she had a very powerful and dream, a dream that became her first novel, that she took her writing seriously. With many stories now lining up, waiting to be written, Diana is committed to penning each and every one. To add more variety, she’s adapted the first in her trilogy into a screenplay and is a partner in an independent film production company. A single mother of two boys, she’ll take on the world, one story at a time.

..Connect with the Author..

Writing Wins and Woes: I heart Kindle

WIN_20150515_131740I gave my husband a kindle fire for Christmas. To be honest, I found them to be gimmicky, but my husband was always on my laptop and it was cutting into my own viewing/writing time. I figured why not give him his own personal little TV. I didn’t expect to be so wowed by kindle. A month later I found myself the proud owner of a kindle fire as well. This little guy packs a lot of bang for the buck.

What do I use it for? I use it for: email, reading, watching movies, surfing the web, studying, shopping, preparing for dinner. There’s very little I don’t use it for. I even use it in church in place of a Bible. Wow! I heart Kindle.

What’s this have to do with writing? Well, here are some ways to include your best friend Kindle when you write.1. Write down your story ideas on notepad.2. Write down stories on a word processing app. There are many of them and lots are free. Kindle can be stuffed into your purse, or man purse (guys) on the go so you can write whenever you want. Much less space than a laptop. 3. Read, read, read. The kindle was, of course, invented for reading. I love reading on kindle. I can book mark my page, but I don’t have to. The kindle remembers where I read last. I can read in the middle of the night without disturbing my husband.It has a fabulous light.  I can see exactly how much of the book I have left to read. To date, I have read three books on Kindle this year. I am currently 58 percent done with the Jane Yates book, Garden.  A side benefit is that my collector husband can collect books on Kindle and it doesn’t bother me a bit. It just goes into the Cloud. It doesn’t even take up space.4.  Research. Researching on the web is super easy with Kindle. I have a silk browser. It works great. Kindle even gives me a reading view so the words are bigger. Yay!  5. Listen to music while reading, writing, etc. Some of us just need the mood music to turn on our writing juices. I have prime, but youtube is just as good for listening to music, or really any music app will do.

So, what can a kindle do that a laptop can’t? Probably nothing. However, good things come in small packages and the Kindle fire is a little thing that packs a wallop!

Writing Wins and Woes: I love to tell the story

1269

Some of my favorite memories as a child center around my mom sitting down with me telling me stories from things that happened to her when she was a child. Some of them were pretty disturbing; some were funny; some were sad but all of them were interesting. I think my interest in writing began from being told stories when I was small.

When I grew up I told stories to my children. I love to tell stories, both oral and written. When you tell a story you transport yourself and your listener to another world. Sometimes the world is real, when they are true and historical. Sometimes the stories are fantasy. Whatever and wherever they are they fuel the flames of creativity in a writer’s mind. I’m so thankful that I had a story telling mom.

Ryan Lanz had an compelling blog this week. It was all about letting your children tell you stories. I never thought much about this angle of story telling before but it sure is a great idea to let your children’s creativity and genius start as early as possible. Kids love to hear stories and they love to tell them also. I remember playing with my youngest daughter and she imagined a whole world out of Littlest Pet Shop. Those were stories. Now she is a writer. It’s exciting to think her roots began in our play time. Here is a link to Ryan Lanz’s blog. It’s very thought provoking.
http://ryanlanz.com/2015/05/06/why-you-should-encourage-your-children-to-tell-stories/

Do your passions burn brightly for something? Tell the story. The whole world is dying to hear.

Writing Wins and Woes: It’s May

Scott painting at August Art

It’s May and that means it’s really truly spring. I know spring is officially in March, but let’s face it, spring is not on until it’s sunshine and seventy degree days. At least that’s how I think. I’m trying to be positive because we finally are over winter, but I don’t have to tell most of my readers that I’ve been in a bad way in my writing life.

I can’t really say what’s brought this on. I am submitting less, I know that’s part of it, but I am also lacking focus. The last few weeks I’ve hardly written anything. What I have written is not very good. I can’t concentrate. I am depressed. Not in my life, though my life is not the best. I am definitely depressed in my writing. As I say, I’ve submitted less. The things I have submitted lately are rejected. Some I think I deserved, but some things I’ve submitted, I’ve liked. So, I guess I’m wondering if I’ve lost all perspective. Don’t I even know when I write something good anymore?

Maybe I’m just talking like this because I’ve had two rejections this week. Perhaps I care too much. I thought I had hardened myself to the rejection process. After all, I’ve had literally hundreds of rejections since I’ve started this journey. But this morning when I checked to see if a story of mine was included in an ezine I’ve had a lot of success with, and my story wasn’t there, my hands were literally shaking. What is wrong with me? This can’t be good for me.

I’ve made it a point to periodically relate that I have faith in God. Without this faith, I think I would give up my dreams of becoming a published book writer. I know, however, that dreams are made from hard work, persistence and faith.I guess some talent should be thrown in there. No dreams are accomplished without vision. My vision may be blurred just now. My soul may feel a little cold, but it’s spring. New life is coming.