A Dozen Writing Tips for Fiction Writers

endangered banner_blog

I’m pleased to welcome author S.L. Eaves as a guest to my blog as part of The Endangered book tour. Take a look at these excellent writing tips from the author:

  1. Write when you want to, not when you have to. You will notice a difference in quality.
  1. Have fun. Creative writing should be an enjoyable process. If you aren’t having fun writing it, you can’t expect the audience to have fun reading it.
  1. Be passionate. If you care about your characters, so will your readers.
  1. Fill a gap in literature. Write a story you want to read that you haven’t read/seen yet.

5. Get it on paper while it’s fresh in your head. Then go back and polish it up. Story first. Grammar and technical elements later.

Continue reading

Posted in Book Promotion, virtual book tour | Tagged , , , | 6 Comments

NEWS FLASH! iBooks Worldwide Book Bundles Promotion Just Announced!

Readers, now is the time to stock up on reading material! For the next four weeks, iBooks is promoting multi-author book bundles for a mere 99c!

I’m excited to announce that Doorway to Destiny (A Thirteen-Book Fantasy and Science Fiction Adventure Box Set), the ebook box set I put together along with best-selling fantasy author TC Southwell, has been selected for promotion at iBooks from 18 September to 14 October.

The promotion launched 18 September in Australia, New Zealand, the US, Canada and the UK simultaneously, and ours is one of only about 100 box sets included, of which 40 are from Smashwords authors. Roughly 220 Smashwords authors stand to benefit from this promotion – go Smashwords!

A huge thank you goes out to iBooks for including Doorway to Destiny in this promotion. You guys rock!

The timing couldn’t be better either. On 17 September, Apple released iOS8, a new operating system for iPones, the iPad and the iPod Touch – and it’s the first time the operating system comes pre-bundled with the iBooks app. This is fantastic news for all iBooks authors – it means that, very soon, our books will be more discoverable to a potential few hundred million new readers!

To boot, iBooks rarely does month-long promotions, but this month-long iBooks promotion will run simultaneously with the Wizard of Ends virtual book tour for two weeks. Again, impeccable timing! As most of you already know, the tour is set to run from 1 – 31 October and both the first two books in this new fantasy adventure series will be published in October, so the iBooks promotion fits in perfectly with the Wizard of Ends launch.

boxcover_thumbThis collection of eleven fantasy and science fiction novels and two anthologies will transport you to strange and exciting worlds to share in the tragedies and triumphs of complex yet endearing heroes and heroines. Discover the gripping works of authors TC Southwell and Vanessa Finaughty and be swept away by magical adventures, epic battles and futuristic voyages to unknown universes.

With eight novels by TC Southwell and a trilogy and two anthologies by Vanessa Finaughty, this box set offers fantasy and sci-fi lovers escapism that will keep you up long past your bedtime. Dive into fantastic worlds and meet fascinating characters whose trials and tribulations will enchant and inspire. Discover how a vengeful assassin reshapes the fate of three kingdoms and share in a quest to discover the origins of mankind, then follow the tale of a young queen’s fight to be free with the aid of a combat cyborg. Two short story anthologies spice up the fare with dragons, sorcerers and magic galore, and a child of another god strives to save his world from mankind’s ravages. When a mortal dark god treads a tragic path as he rises to destroy the Overworld, a brave young girl risks her life to try to change his savage ways. Each hero and heroine takes a definitive step through a doorway to destiny as he or she seeks to right wrongs and save worlds.

Don’t miss this limited-time promotion! Purchase your copy of Doorway to Destiny from iBooks. If you enjoy the read, please go back and leave a review. We appreciate it very much!

Read more about the iBooks promotion on the Smashwords blog.

Posted in Book Promotion | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

The Endangered Blog Tour – Extract & Giveaway

endangered banner_blogToday I’m pleased to bring you an offering from author Stephanie L. Eaves’ The Endangered blog tour. I haven’t had a chance to read the whole book yet, but, from what I have read, it looks like it will be worth it!

The Endangered_blogS&D Industries is a prominent pharmaceutical company based in New York. It has, for many years, appeared to exist only for the benefit of humanity, and this year’s chief product seems no different. The company’s CEO, whom we know only as Striden, announces the imminent delivery of a powerful flu vaccine. The true purposes of S&D are anything but philanthropic, however. The newly-engineered drug does not protect against flu. It turns people into werewolves.

The only group which stands a chance of resisting this change is a population of vampires. The foremost of them, who go by the name of The Endangered, are determined to turn back the mass werewolf infestation. Among them are an ambitious rebel named Catch and Lori, Catch’s newly-turned protégé. Catch has brought this treacherous world to Lori’s doorstep and both their worlds are turned upside-down in the process. Secrets are exposed, alliances are formed. Blood is spilled as the vampires must do everything in their power to preserve both their own kind and that of their food supply.

Extract:

I am not your hero.

I am the embodiment of hatred, lust, greed, fury, and envy.

Every repulsive trait, every inherent desire repressed; all that is disgraceful and desecrating.

You see in me.

I am the intangible and undeniable craving buried inside yourself that you try to ignore.

But always know deep down it’s there.

And it’s hungry.

I am not your hero.

I am mine.

My grip slipped and I began to fall. My feet hung lifeless.

Then the world fell away into dark sinister obscurity.

And something snapped.

My claws grasped at the ledge and toe of my boot caught a crevice. I shot my body in an upward arch as if propelled by an unknown force. Continue reading

Posted in Books, Extracts | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

UK Versus USA Spelling and Grammar

The most common spelling mistakes are those in which the wrong version of English is used. A surprising number of people don’t realise there are often major differences between UK and USA spelling and grammar (other countries have differences too, but I’ll focus on UK and USA, as they’re the most widely used). The differences are because, while the English language keeps evolving, American English still largely follows the early 1800 rules of American lexicographer Noah Webster, as detailed in his An American Dictionary of the English Language (1828).

Before Webster’s dictionary, it was acceptable worldwide to spell many words in two ways, as those words were introduced into the English language from Latin and French, and the spellings differed accordingly. Webster, however, wanted American spelling to be distinct from British spelling.

Most countries today follow UK spelling and grammar rules, with Canada and Australia as examples of countries that tend to follow both UK and USA rules.

Whichever spelling you choose, it’s important to be consistent. Writers in countries that accept both spellings (and a mixture of UK and USA) are still under advisement to use just one or the other, as most books are distributed internationally, and most international readers are not aware that, in your country, this is correct – they will assume you just don’t know how to spell or that your book has been badly edited, and that’s obviously not the image one wants to put out there. Continue reading

Posted in Language: spelling, grammar & punctuation | Tagged | 2 Comments

Calling all Bloggers!

Morning everyone – I hope you’ve all had more sleep than I have lately!

The Wizard of Ends virtual book tour is almost upon us. There are still ten tour dates to be filled, however. If you have a blog and would like to be a tour host, read on to discover if Wizard of Ends is the type of series your readers are likely to enjoy and, if so, how you can participate.

Wizard of Ends is a fast-paced fantasy adventure series following the adventures of the wizard, Lashlor Leaflin. Books 1 and 2 will both be published during the tour, on 9 and 23 October respectively.

Book 1: Wizard of Ends

When Lashlor Leaflin offers to escort Queen Narraki Dragonsbane to the Jeltar Woods, he’s unwittingly caught up in a magical adventure of the type he would rather not have.

The sorceress Assassa believes the Land of Ends to be rightfully hers, but King Lanaran refuses to hand over his crown. In retaliation, the sorceress conjures creatures of darkness to hunt the queen and end her life. Lashlor helps where he can, but it isn’t easy with the Guards of Ends who protect the queen constantly accusing him of being a fake wizard.

A confrontation with Assassa will be the death of him, Lashlor is certain. However, the king insists on his help and it soon becomes apparent that he may have no choice.

Book 2: Wizard of Ends, Dark Creature

Escorted by soldiers of Ends, Lashlor sets out to find an old flame, Rune Arcana, the only person who can help to remove the curse placed on the Queen of Ends. Lashlor believes that Rune currently resides in the Mountains of Eclador – a place from which no one has returned in all of recorded history. She could refuse his request. She could be dead. Lashlor and his companions could meet the same fate.

If they do not brave the mountains, however, Queen Narraki will remain in the form of a rabid creature of darkness… forever.

Forever is a long time, and King Lanaran fears the Wizard of Ends will not return. Ignoring Lashlor’s advice not to meddle with the curse, Lanaran employs other magic users to attempt to undo the dark magic.

The following tour dates are still free: 2, 5, 11, 12, 18, 21, 24, 25, 26 and 31 October. If you have place on your blog on more than one of these days, please list them all when you email me, in case the first date you choose is already taken.

How you can participate:

I can provide participating bloggers with book extracts (including the full first chapter of each book) or a guest post, but I would also appreciate series showcases, author interviews, character interviews and honest pre-publication reviews, so please let me know if you would be willing to provide these, and/or if you would like to participate in another way.

In return, I offer participants:

- A 100% discount coupon for Wizard of Ends, Book 2: Dark Creature on Smashwords. This will be made available to you on the day of publication. If you would like an ARC review copy, please let me know and I’ll send you a PDF version for now.

- A showcase on my blog after the tour: this can be anything from showcasing you, your books or characters if you’re also an author, to a competition or special you’re running, showcasing another author of your choice, or a book extract or guest post from you.

I look forward to hearing from you!

Vanessa

Posted in Book Promotion, Books, Wizard of Ends | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

Extract from Dragon Kin and other fantasy stories: Royal Assassin

Extract from Dragon Kin and other fantasy stories: Royal Assassin

Dragon Kin and other fantasy storiesThe black-cloaked man stood in the doorway shrouded in shadows as the two guards passed by a few feet away. The dark-haired man waited for them to pass, then stepped into the passage and crept to the next doorway a few paces away, which he stepped into. Just then, the next two guards rounded the corner, and the man waited for these to pass, too.

The long passage leading down to the castle dungeons was patrolled by guard pairs, each only just out of sight of the others. The passage wound around the dungeons, and was impossible to sneak into because of the clever positioning of guard patrols. The doorway he stood in led to the guards’ sleeping quarters, as did each doorway off this passage. Only a fool would risk hiding there, for the guards changed shifts at irregular intervals that only the king had knowledge of, and any intruder risked quick discovery and capture, since there was no way out unless you went past the guards.

The man drew his cloak snugly around his face – it wouldn’t do for anyone to recognise him if he happened to be spotted, though he doubted he would be. He moved this way, in and out of doorways, until he reached the main entrance to the dungeons. Here, he stepped into the room beyond the shadowy doorway and pressed his back against the wall. Sleeping guards snored softly in their beds. Two guards’ footsteps came past the door outside. The man knew they would enter a room three doors down the passage, and two from inside that room would replace them. It was the king’s clever idea of a shift change and would foil most intruders… but not the black-cloaked man.

The main dungeon door creaked open and three sets of footsteps came past – the next phase of the shift change. The guard room would be empty for about twenty seconds. The man slipped into the passage and ducked into the guard room a few paces away, where he slunk into the shadows behind a large suit of ornamental armour. Footsteps approached and three guards entered the room. Two positioned themselves on either side of the doorway, while the third walked straight through the room and passed under the archway on the other side. He would patrol the cells, then come back and take position next to the door while one of his fellow guards patrolled the cells next. The king had tight security, second to none in the land – he had to, since his enemies were also second to none.

The man was pleased that the guards were doing their jobs properly – it meant his evening would go as planned, which gave him some comfort considering the horrific deed he’d come to do. Now he would have to wait for an hour before the next guard change, when he’d be able to slip unseen into the dungeons and get to the cell that was his destination. All those hours of meditation his mother had insisted on as a boy would pay off tonight.

Download Dragon Kin and other fantasy stories for only 99c at Smashwords!
Read the first 10% of this anthology for free.

Posted in Books, Extracts | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

Are We Star Children?

Many ancient legends say that humans come from the stars, and it’s no secret that ancient humans knew much about the stars and placed great emphasis on them, even building massive monuments aligned with or replicating stars. Is it possible that ancient humans were not as ‘backward’ as history would like us to believe, and that humanity’s origins were not a mystery to them as it is to modern humans?

Did ancient astronomers know what modern astronomers now believe – that our solar system was formed in the Orion constellation? Did they thus also believe that humans, too, originated from this constellation? Many did, some believing that the gods came to Earth from Orion and created humans, and some saying that they then cross-bred with humans, thereby aiding in our evolution.

The Christian Bible seems to corroborate the latter, saying in Genesis: “There were giants on the Earth in those days, and also after that, when the sons of God came unto the daughters of men, and they bared children to them…”

Star formation_blogIt may seem fanciful to some, but… scientists now believe that humans were created, indirectly, from supernovas. Robert Kirshner, professor of astronomy at Harvard, says, “Generations of supernovas created the elements we take for granted – the oxygen we breathe, the calcium in our bones, and the iron in your blood are products of the stars.”

According to some, knowledge of our origins has been stored in ancient stone monuments to act as libraries for future generations, by storing the consciousness of our ancestors. These theorists further believe that human states of mind are affected by – or possibly even created by – the alignment of the stars.

Are ancient sites really star maps and libraries that can give us insight into our origins, and perhaps even the purpose of our existence? Are we star children only in the sense that we evolved from matter that originally came from the Orion constellation, or did aliens, in fact, create us for a purpose? If so, did our ancestors serve their purpose and, therefore, has our species been forgotten by its creators… or are we yet to discover our purpose? Perhaps it’s all a great hoax perpetrated by the Devil to move us further from one great creator of all. Only time will tell. What do you think? (Opposing theories and beliefs are welcome.)

Posted in Ancient Legends, Legends of Origin - fantasy ebook series, Orion constellation | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

Feature Friday – Free Fantasy Books

Today I bring you Feature Friday, featuring a choice of science fiction and fantasy books. Today’s ebook selection consists of only free books.

1Camillus is eager to win the war at any cost and is willing to deal in forbidden magic to ensure it. Even at the risk of losing the war the council of elders refuses to allow anyone to exercise in the forbidden magic. They note the rage and anger filling Camillus and regretfully suspend the honored wizard from wartime. Outraged by the suspension he decides to aid in the war regardless.

Download from Smashwords

 

 

2Aria is a world riddled with an epidemic. Two years have passed since the day strange monsters emerged from out of nowhere, paralyzing the otherwise peaceful lives of its citizens. Since then, few people dare to live outside the confines of the cities, fearing the dangers lurking beyond the protection of a mysterious army known as “the Knowms.” Lucas Bardsson is one of the rare exceptions…

Download from Smashwords

 

 

3In a young nation’s wildest days, the wildest adventure is about to unfold.

In the greatest land grab of all time, Vince Browder is about to unleash the ultimate weapon… a plague- and pestilence-breathing dragon. All that stands in his way; young Matthew Graham and a diminutive dragon of his own named Crazy Squirrel.

Download from Smashwords

 

 
4Six African fairytales told from the dark side of Kilimanjaro. Fast-paced myths and folk lore offer stores from the beginning of creation to the land of the dead. Forbidden lakes, spirit tree, dark forests, demons, gods, undead witch doctors and prayers given up to the ancestors are all part of the adventures into the shadows of ancient Africa.

Download from Smashwords

 

5Read 10 different books from 10 different series.

Download from Smashwords

 

 

 

 

 

Please remember to leave a short review if you read and enjoy any of these books.

Happy weekend reading!

Posted in Books, Feature Friday, Free Books | Tagged , | Leave a comment

Extract from The Queen’s Blade, Book 2: Sacrifice

Today I’m pleased to share an extract from The Queen’s Blade, Book 2: Sacrifice by TC Southwell. Enjoy!

TQB2Blade sat on the edge of the plinth, one leg swinging, the other holding him on his perch. The goblet of sacred water hissed beside him, audible when the bell’s huge booms faded and Shista’s howls died down as she drew breath. He listened to the faint sounds of running feet outside, and tensed as they drew nearer. The guards outside the door cried a challenge, their swords slithering from their scabbards. A confusion of shouts arose, followed by the clash of steel. Blade smiled, looking down at the Queen’s peaceful face.

“I knew they would fight their way in here. They are Cotti.”

The battle outside the door raged for several minutes as the Queen’s honour guard, the cream of her officers, fought to protect her. None would survive, he knew. They would fight to the death. They were all sacred Knights of the Veil, who considered themselves to be already dead, as most Bereft did. He slid off the plinth and as the battle sounds lessened. Blood seeped under the doors, and he averted his eyes.

The doors burst open, and seven Cotti soldiers stepped over the bodies of the fallen, pausing when they saw Blade. Shista gave a deep, guttural roar that rose to a wailing scream. Her claws raked the door beside him with a high shriek of tortured wood. Ten Cotti soldiers lay beyond the main doors, their twisted bodies mixed with the six dead defenders. Blade smiled, well pleased to see so many slain Cotti. Continue reading

Posted in Books, Extracts | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

14 Inspirational – Sometimes Funny – Quotes on Creativity

1. “If you hear a voice within you say ‘you cannot paint’, by all means paint, and that voice will be silenced.” ~ Vincent Van Gogh

2. “Creativity is intelligence having fun.” ~ Albert Einstein

3. “Imagination is the beginning of creation. You imagine what you desire, you will what you imagine, and, at last, you create what you will.” ~ George Bernard Shaw

4. “When in doubt, make a fool of yourself. There’s a thin line between being brilliantly creative and acting like the biggest idiot on Earth.” ~ Cynthia Heimel

5. “Better to write for yourself and have no public than to write for the public and have no self.” ~ Cyril Connolly

6. “Put your ear down close to your soul and listen hard.” ~ Anne Sexton

7. “Many people hear voices when no one is there. Some of them are called mad and are shut up in rooms where they stare at the walls all day. Others are called writers and they do pretty much the same thing.” ~ Meg Chittenden Continue reading

Posted in Inspiration & Creativity | Tagged , | 1 Comment