Essays, Misc, Stories

I’m Writing Again and Loving Every Second of it

I’ve been quiet for some time, huh? No, no, I’m not trying to play hide and seek with you all, but as you’ve seen from some of my last posts, I’m taking time to reconsider writing and it’s place in my life, which means I’ve sort of gone back to basics. I love writing–that’s a given–but things started to go awry when the focus became producing a product not something creative that burns in my soul. So, I’m writing something now that is entirely new for me in terms of subject, story length and style. Best part is, I’m not thinking at all about what I’m going to do with it next. Eh, what’s that called again? Oh, yeah, I think it’s called writing for the love of writing and to heck with everything else. 😀

So I’ve enclosed a sample below, for fun. It’s the opening of episode 1. Real quick, it’s the story about an adolescent boy who is bullied at school but in the evenings finds solace in the gaming Virtual Reality world. Well… he finds solace for a while, but when you mix gaming, VR and the control of elemental forces you know that won’t last for long. Anyhoo, I’m five episodes in. And for those who know anything about anime, the concepts and visuals and scale (which come later in the story) are inspired by things like .Hack, Chaos/Head, PsychoPass, etc. Let me know what you think!

 

The Cloud-Gatherer’s Tears

Image by Jupiterimages
Image by Jupiterimages

When the devil’s got you good by the neck, what do you do when you’re too scared to scream? Or when he’s beats you down so hard that just thinking of moving sends shock waves of pain through every part of your body?

All the brave words you came up with, the ones meant to build you up and tear him down, if even a little, shrivel up like scraps of burnt paper; the motes dissolve into thin air just like the veneer of your courage. Panic slams into your gut like a fist until you’re sputtering and coughing up bile and spit like a man half-drowned.

What do you do when the devil’s stares turns your soul to dust?

Nothing.

You just stuff it all down, pack the hurt and the hate and the questions about justice good and tight so nothing gets by the seams. And then you wait it out.

Bullies are strong. But every storm eventually blows over.

They picked me out on the first day of school. I was the new guy, fresh off the truck as they say, the one huddled up tight against the lockers never knowing where to put my hands. Pockets? Let them hang? How do the other kids stand? Or do they lean, like this?

I pictured school as a sort of African game-land, where fluorescent lights buzzed from above like cold suns laying bare the lay of the land. I was the gazelle who never knew which line to stand in; who got lost on his way to every class. Lured by the smell of fear, the devil-lions swarmed. Pink tongues flicked, swiping salivating maws.

The lions made me bleed. And bleed and bleed until there was none left to give.

Adults say you’re supposed to get help. They preach that it’s bad to hit back. I’ve seen kids who dared to stand up for themselves get expelled for fighting. I think grown-ups have forgotten what the real world of kids is like. They think we’re nice. Innocent.

We aren’t.

Well, at least some of us aren’t. But grown-ups can’t seem to tell the difference. 

Copyright@ 2014 by Dyane Forde

Essays

Author Interview with Fantasy Writer Joshua Evans

joshuaevans

I’m really excited about today’s interview feature. Joshua Evans has been a great supporter of this blog and my own writing for a long time, and he has proven himself to be a fantastic beta-reader. So when I got to interview him I was thrilled! It was great to learn more about him, what inspires his writing, as well as a bit about the new Kickstarter project, Vixle, he has started (info at the end of the interview). So, please stick around and have the utmost pleasure of meeting Joshua Evans.

Hello, Joshua! So happy you are here with us today. Can you start things off by telling us a little about yourself?

I’m Joshua Evans, a writer, husband and father. I work a day job to support my family while I work to get the writing gig off the ground. When I’m not doing that, I like to do some gaming, reading, or catching up on shows I’ve missed.

Are you interested in other forms of artistic expression besides writing? What keeps you motivated/inspired to write?

I have a guitar that I’d like to spend some more time learning. I’d also love to be able to draw so that I could do my own comics. Reading other authors keeps me motivated for my own work.

What forms of writing and genres do you prefer and why? What can you never see yourself writing?

My first love is epic fantasy. I enjoy the sprawling worlds that you can get lost in and a story that I can really invest myself in. I write some SF as well, but the large majority is fantasy. People often tell me I could write romance, but the genre doesn’t hold much interest for me. I also don’t think I’d write a good mystery story. Maybe those are just challenges for another day.

lol Never say never!

I’ve read books which annoyed me to the point where I wanted to throw them across the room. As a reader, what do you think makes a good story? What’s one thing a ‘bad’ book taught you to not do in your own writing?

Well, I’m not going to throw my kindle across the room, but I know what you mean. One author that I love ended a book with his characters jumping over the edge of a cliff. The next book wasn’t out at the time, and I haven’t gone back to it yet. I just couldn’t believe he ended it like that. My other big annoyance is characters I just don’t care about. Which is much harder to quantify. So I’ll take the easy answer of ‘Don’t end your book on a cliffhanger!’

 Lol Literally!

As a writer, what elements do you find are the most crucial to include in your stories? What are your strengths and weaknesses?

Well-rounded, believable characters I think are the most important. Followed by a plot that is interesting. I’ll combine the two in characters who do more than simply react to the things that happen around them. The characters have motivation and desires and work to achieve those things. I rock some dialogue between characters and it comes easy for me. I find that I’m usually light on description in general, places where they are or things the characters observe. That can be good or bad.

Who/what are the biggest influences in your writing? How do they influence what your write?

Tamora Pierce with her Alana series was my first foray into the fantasy genre. After that, I found Terry Brooks and his Shannara series and it was the beginning of the end. I realized a few months ago that I was writing in a style similar to Brooks’ Shannara series. I’m telling a story, then adding an extended period of time and telling the next story in the same world.  That leaves me the option to go back and fill in the gaps later if I like. It also gives me a chance to work with new characters.

Very interesting concept. Might have to check those books out for myself.

What draws you to your preferred genre? What do you think makes your genre unique? And why is it so popular? (Or perhaps less popular than it could be?)

I think the scale of everything in epic fantasy draws me to it the most. There is a certain permanence to the world, where events carry over and have impact on more than just the characters in the story. I constantly hear that interest in fantasy is fading though every time a giant door-stopper comes out, I see people who have read it straight through in a number of days. I also think that genre is another tool, whether you’re telling the story using dragons or aliens, the story at the core is still the same, just the dressing on the outside is different. Most important to me though is that I enjoy it, so that is what I tend to write.

I agree. I think fantasy is very popular today, but it’s such a vast genre with so many sub-genres that many people might not even realize that what they are reading is considered fantasy.

Can you tell us about your books? What other projects are you working on?

I’m editing my first Dwarf Lords novel (title TBD) about two dwarves searching the dark tunnels where they find a forgotten kingdom and more than they bargained for. There just aren’t enough stories featuring dwarves in the world, so I am stepping in to fill that void. I have four other novels completed in the same world, mental outlines for another 4-6 novels. All in due time.

 Nice. I’d love to read books about dwarves. Let me know when it’s ready!

Do you promote writers on your blog? Why is that so important to you?

It’s not something I do currently, though I’d definitely like to get into it more. So if you’re interested in writing a guest post for my blog, let me know!

Deal!

What do you find is the most difficult aspect of writing and how do you cope with it?

Making time to write/edit is usually the hardest aspect for me. With a job and family, my schedule starts out full. We all have the same 24 hours in a day, just have to make sure I devote the time required to this.

Who are your favourite writers and why?

Other than the above, I’m also a big fan of J.R.R. Tolkien, Patrick Rothfuss, Brandon Sanderson. Joe Ambercrombie (probably obvious), Karen Traviss, Timothy Zahn, Jim Butcher, Richard Kadrey, Ian McDonald…. and well, I could go on but this would get to be too long.

What advice would you give to new writers, especially those looking to break into the horror or suspense genre?

Set daily quantifiable goals for yourself. Even if it is a small amount, you will see that you have made progress by the end of the year. Then reassess your goals for the previous year and adjust accordingly for the new year.

How can readers get into contact with you?

I blog sporadically (I’m trying to be better about a schedule) at http://www.joshuadevans.com

I’m also on G+ at https://plus.google.com/u/1/+JoshuaEvans.

Also today, we are launching a Kickstarter that I’m very excited about. It’s called Vixle, and it is a collaborative game creation system, set in an interconnected metaverse of worlds. I am creating fiction for one of the worlds which is connected to the game. If that sounds interesting to you, you can take a look at http://www.vixle.com/

Thanks for being here today, Joshua. I hope you enjoyed sharing your passion for writing with us. Readers, please drop him a note below letting him know how much you appreciated the interview, and also check out his contact links as well as his Kickstarter project.

Have a great week!

 

 

 

Book Review, Misc

A Goodreads Book Review…

Assassin's Creed: Renaissance  (Assassin's Creed, #1)Assassin’s Creed: Renaissance by Oliver Bowden

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Overall, an entertaining read. Apparently, it follows the game very closely and might be typical of the game-to-book genre. But I found the lack of character development, lack of detail/description about key things like the artefacts and descriptions of characters, or even much information about the Order of Assassins itself, off-putting. Probably if I was familiar with the game these issues wouldn’t have bothered me. What I did enjoy was the enthusiastic taunting on the part of some characters. Caterina had me laughing out loud, as well as the captain of the mercenaries–both had great, amusing lines, and both are some of the most memorable characters. The ending…was a little odd, but, again, that is probably because I am not familiar with the game’s story arc so it seemed out of place, even strange. Still, the book was dynamic and fun, and once I got into it, a quick, engaging read.

View all my reviews