Blog About

January 3, 2013 — 1,406 words

The Lion Passé

By Letitia Coyne

I’ve been reading up on the benefits of removing yourself from social media outlets. There can be no doubt at all that the time spent updating and following SM accounts, for most us, will never pay any dividends. The more you engage online, the more you receive invitations to participate in other SM platforms, with profiles that need updating, and comments needed, and time spent engaging – or a whole list of obsolete accounts with random information about you float in the ether, forgotten and entirely unlamented.

A big part of the anxiety disorder that goes hand in hand with SM use is the ‘comparison and failure’ aspect; the same old school yard popularity games still being won by the same old faces. And because we are there with them, because their words and deeds are beamed into our own homes, our own computers, we think we are involved in the processes that unfold. When we feel a sense of failure, it is often associated with a sense of being rejected and disliked.

When I sent out a pile of Christmas well-wishes to my SM associates this year and received back one brief ditto, I was reminded of a line in James Goldman’s wonderful ‘The Lion in Winter’.

[Seriously, if you haven’t seen either the 1968 Peter O'Toole, Katharine Hepburn and Anthony Hopkins movie, or the 2003 Glenn Close, Patrick Stewart, Jonathan Rhys Meyers, Rafe Spall, and Andrew Howard movie, both brilliant – do yourself a favour – SEE IT.]

A little backstory:

Everyone knows Henry II favoured Prince John, while his beloved enemy, wife Eleanor of Aquitaine, favoured her lambkin, Richard Cœur de Lion, to ascend Henry II’s throne after the untimely death of their eldest son, Henry the Young King. [Forget all their daughters, half-siblings in France, and illegitimate titled brothers] We know about The Lionheart and his Crusades, and John Lackland, the phony king of England, who didn’t really fight off Robin [Hood] of Loxley at all.

But did you know about Geoffrey II, Duke of Brittany and Earl of Richmond?

That’s right! Between their eldest surviving son, Richard, and their youngest son, John, there was another legitimate son – Geoff.

Unless you are a history buff, you’ve probably never heard of him; history didn’t provide him a wide stage. He did not lack political skill; he was a wily and sugar-tongued diplomat with not one single scruple. He was fast on his feet, too; he changed allegiances often and without warning.

He could have been a contender! But he wasn’t. He was pushed aside by four of the most skilled, aggressive, politically astute, powerful, determined, and unscrupulous people royalty has ever produced - which is really saying something.

So here is Geoffrey II, Duke of Brittany and Earl of Richmond, in Goldman’s screenplay, bargaining for power from the leftovers between Eleanor and Richard, and Henry and John. In a moment of passion, when Richard’s dalliances with King Philip of France are revealed and Henry II cries,Thank God I have another son. Thank God for John!’

 Geoff says to his father:
‘And who shall we thank for Geoffrey? You don't think much of me.’

And HERE is his father’s answer, the line that came to mind for me and my Christmas well-wishes:

Much? I don't think of you at all.’

Geoffrey was in the thick of it. He was manipulating and bargaining with the best – he was working his brand and raising his profile. He thought that because he was a player, he was important. He thought because he was putting in the time and effort, it meant something, his market share was growing. He thought that his assistance was valuable, that the support he gave would be rewarded.

He thought that the fact that his father did not figure him into the schemes and land grabs meant he had been willfully rejected by his sire, and his skills disrespected.

He was wrong.

We are wrong when we imagine we have any role in the SM world. The chosen ones have their role to play. In publishing they are the lords of creation, the feted creatives by whose offerings society judges its own worth.

I am white noise. I am a matter of supreme indifference to the successful.

It is so freeing to realize that and to move on.

Years ago I saw it, but it didn’t sink in. I wrote a poem about it then:

BEAN FACE....

He went to market to sell magic beans.
A million million beansellers stood there, screaming.
Glassy eyes and pursed lips.
“I have to sell my beans,” he said.

Beansellers split his tongue.

Moving bravely through the crush,
He gripped his small brown beans,
“I need to sell my magic beans.”
But no one went to market to buy.

Only beansellers.

He saw beans sparkle, glow, sing songs.
Standing near the lovely beans,
Searching faces for smiles,
He hid his ugly old beans.

“They’re all I have.”

He asked about the shiniest beans,
But his thick, split, stupid tongue twisted and bled.
And beansellers screamed. A million million beansellers.
Narrow eyes and lemon lips screamed.

He shrugged, trudged home, and made burritos.

***

Years ago, too, I read an article on the mass closing of independent bookstores that said the first reason for failure was not Amazon or big publishing houses, it was that there were more people writing and trying to sell books than there were trying to read them.

So I knew it, years ago.

I have removed myself from the hundreds of pages with their mailing lists which I had subscribed to. Finger on the writing/publishing/marketing pulse, stuff.

I never got twitter. I don’t go there anymore. In two years I have had two conversations on twitter. It seems to me that everyone in the world is tweeting what they think, as they think it, all at once. No one seems to be listening, everyone is too busy talking.

I enjoyed facebook, briefly. But now each time I engage an audience and begin to gather actual real life conversations, facebook simply cuts back the number of feeds my posts appear on. I post on 1889 Labs facebook feed and my posts do not even appear on my timeline anymore. I am not one of the 5%.

I enjoyed blogging for a while. But every time there is a break in the flow the work done to build an audience is immediately lost. You build up regulars who come back each week to chat about your thoughts. Then there is a pause. Gone.  Just gone.

I tried Goodreads. Why? I don’t have time to read enough or a desire to discuss what I read, and I don’t want to listen to a constant stream of self-pubbed authors who have a handbook on how to spam.

You know all the others. Same.

I am not going to unpublish, as some are doing when they realize how much of their time they have thrown away. But I’m done with trying to engage people whose real need and drive is to engage me in their sales pitch. Very best of luck to them all. I wish them well.

Here are some links on disengaging that might interest you. Or not.

3 Reasons You Should Quit Social Media
Is Social Media Destroying Your Self-Esteem
Social Media Study
SMAD
Social Media Vocabulary: Disease and Disorders
Going Unsocial: How to Disconnect from Social Networking
Social Media Disconnect: Are Marketers Out of Touch?
Camp Kivu’s Quest to Get Depressed Teens to Disconnect From Social Media
Etc. Google it.

[The 'passé' thing is a joke, not an error. My sense of humour ....]

Cheers.
Lxx

December 16, 2012 — 978 words

A Fairy Godmother in the Modern World

By Guest Author

by Charlotte Henley Babb

Magic in fairy tales is not as powerful as you might think. It's good for the once in a lifetime chance for a change, but the person involved must be ready and able to take on the challenge. It's rare that someone wishes for something practical. In fact, almost all wish stories are about how wishing is dangerous, and while the wish may be granted, it will almost certainly be harmful. Those kinds of stories are about keeping people in their place.

What kinds of chances do modern people need? An opening where a circumstance makes things different just for a little while.

In Don't Tell Mom the Baby Sitter's Dead, the teenage girl takes on responsibility, though she lies and steals to get her job and then to keep her boss from finding out what she has done. Her brother learns to cook and the younger brother stops being a brat at least for a few moments. For any of this to work out, there has to be a fairy godmother around, maybe the spirit of the dead babysitter. Of course, there's always willing suspension of disbelief.

In 9-to-5, the women tied up the boss and made the changes they wanted themselves. They gave him the credit, so that he wouldn't rat them out, but they took charge. Their fairy godmother shows up with an idea while they are drinking, though you never see her.

In Pretty Woman, both characters chose to give up their view of life, which is why it's important that the rich man braved his fear of heights to come to get his woman. The fairy godmother there is the concierge who knows how to manage for his customer's guests.

Even in The Princess Bride, which really should have been called Dread Pirate Wesley, the story was not about the girl, who was not a princess, but about the power of Wesley's love for her. He came back for her as soon as he could do so, even from death, and in rescuing her, delivered the kingdom from the rotten prince. Mad Max and his witch wife provide the magic to bring Wesley back to life after the six-fingered man kills him.

Looked at in this way, The Devil Wears Prada is a Cinderella story with the evil boss as the fairy godmother who makes things hard on the girl, so that the girl will find out who she is and what she is made of, eventually taking responsibility for becoming what  she wants to be. The boss's smile when the girl quits shows that the boss knows exactly what she is doing and that her work is done with this one. The TV series Ugly Betty requires the machinations of the grasping Vanessa Williams character to fuel the growth of each character. When she falls in love and finally finds herself, there's not motivation for the story. The boss quits, Betty moves on and the show ends.

There's a theme here. In Mundane, what passes for the real world, a person has to be on the lookout for the chance for the change, and then roll with it, risking everything, knowing that it might not work out, that the plot might not be a comedy.

We're willing to believe in coincidences and happy accidents, and those are engineered by fairy godmothers in the real world. We don't see them, most of the time, and if they are written into the story, they pose as maids, homeless people or others who are invisible in society.

Even you might be in a position to be someone else's fairy godmother, with a kind word, a helping hand, or a bit of a nudge in a new direction. The job of the fairy godmother is only to spark the chance for a change. It's up to the person to brave a new situation and rise to meet the challenge.

What's your challenge today, and how are you going to roll?

About Maven Fairy Godmother: Through The Veil

Maven's new dream job--fairy godmother--presents more problems than she expects when she learns that Faery is on the verge of collapse, and the person who is training her isn't giving her the facts--and may be out to kill her. Will she be able to make all the fractured fairy tales fit together into a happy ending, or will she be eaten by a troll?

Buy it on MuseIt Up | Amazon | Smashwords | B&N

About Charlotte Henley Babb

Charlotte Babb began writing when she could hold a piece of chalk and scribble her name--although she sometimes mistook "Chocolate" for "Charlotte" on the sign at the drug store ice cream counter. She has studied the folk stories of many cultures and wonders what happened to ours. Where are the stories are for people over 20 who have survived marriage, divorce, child-rearing, education, bankruptcy, and widowhood?

Author Website | Book Site | Facebook (Author) | Facebook (Book) | Twitter: @charlottebabb

This guest post is part of the FMB Blog Tour.

December 11, 2012 — 1,063 words

Being Indie:
It’s All About The Control

By Guest Author

by Janiera Eldridge

There are people who are not familiar with the indie world that wonder why would anyone want to be an indie author? Every part of the process rests on your shoulders. You’re in control of making the cover, editing and finding an editor, marketing and controlling profits. I can totally see why this would turn people off but, for a perfectionist like me, it is the most awesome thing in the world! I personally recommend self-publishing over publishing with any publisher at all (even small) because even though it is hard work, it’s rewarding work.

One of the things I like most about self-publishing is that you control what your book cover looks like. A lot of people don’t know that authors don’t have control over their covers when they’re with big publishing companies. The cover is such a big part of creating a book; I don’t understand why an author can’t be more active in this process. There have even been incidences where authors write books with people of color in it and the cover featured a Caucasian person on the front. The poor author took a lot of flack over something they may not have been aware of until the book was being putting on the shelves. Being a self-published author you can work with indie friendly (and price considerate) cover designers like Strong Image Editing to come up with the cover of your dreams. Companies like this will work with you to give you a product you both approve of.If you’re tight on cash (which I always seem to be) you can create your own cover with Foto Flexer. It’s an advance online photo editing site that helps people like me who are totally photo design inclined, to create cool covers for free!

You also get to work one on one with the editor of your choosing. There are great editors whose prices are geared toward the tight budget of an indie author. Choosing your own editor allows you to control who you work with and whose editor’s style you find the best. Different editors have different style and not all styles match all authors. When you hire your own editor you can ask questions about the edits to help you learn new things and develop your writing skills. Even an inexpensive editor can cost a bit more money than a self-published author is willing to shell out. I don’t recommend Pro Writing Aid in place of a human editor but it really does look for all of the things a human editor would look for in your work. You can improve your story and your craft through this easy to use but detailed software.

Although marketing can seem daunting to writers, it really doesn’t have to be. After getting the hang of marketing my book it has become a bundle of fun. I’m learning new ways to market my book everyday! A great way to market your book is by planning blog tours. You can plan a blog tour by hiring someone to plan it for you (there are indie friendly book tour companies out there) or by planning one yourself if you don’t have the money. Does it take more time to plan your own? Sure! But, it can be done. I believe every author should have their own blog tour. Blog tours can make a huge difference in book sales. Other ways to market for free and online include finding book reviewers and randomly appearing on blogs. You can meet great people and it’s not as bad as it sounds.

Well, those are my reasons for loving being self-published. At the end of the day it is about doing things your way and controlling how well your book does.

Are there any things you’ve heard that makes self-publishing sound great?

About Soul Sisters

Soul Sisters is an urban fantasy novel about African-American twin sisters Ani and Dana who have a rather unique secret: one sister is human while the other is a vampire. While the sisters have lived peacefully with each other for many years one fateful night will change both their lives forever. When a drunken man tries to attack Dana (the human sister) Ani (the vampire sister) protects her sister with all of her ferocious power.

However, when the vampire's leader Donovan finds out about the public display he calls for the sisters to be assassinated for disobedience. Ani and Dana now are in for the fight of their lives to protect each other as well as the lives of their dedicated friends who have joined them on their mission for survival. If Dana and Ani can make it through this time of uncertainty, Ani can take her new place as vampire queen. Soul Sisters is expected to be a trilogy; The book also features a multicultural cast of characters that brings a new edge of chic to the vampire world.

About Janiera Eldridge

Janiera Eldridge loves feeding her book addiction and putting all her crazy stories on paper. When she is not immersed in the world of fiction, she is working as an entertainment freelance writer. Janiera also enjoys connecting with other authors and supporting their work on her book blog Books & Beauty.

You can find her online on twitter, facebook, pinterest and goodreads.

This guest post is part of the FMB Blog Tour.

December 5, 2012 — 137 words

Above Ground Blog Tour Winners!

By Letitia Coyne

The time has come to draw the Above Ground blog tour to a close.

Firstly, thank you to everyone who followed along. You rock.

Secondly, yes, you finally get to know what the prizes are.

As part of the month-long tour, we ran a mystery raffle with 11 secret prizes up for grabs. Each prize was based off of the letters in the title “Above Ground”… and now, it's time to reveal what the prizes are.

The list of prizes and the list of winners are up now at AM Harte.com.

Come along and check to see if you are a winner and claim the prize of your choice.

Get in quick! First in, first served.

GOOD LUCK EVERYONE WHO JOINED IN!!

November 27, 2012 — 1,163 words

Above Ground Blog Tour:
3 Days Left To Win!

By 1889 Labs

As you may have seen, this past month our own A.M. Harte has been running a month-long blog tour to celebrate the release of her new novel Above Ground.

Only THREE DAYS remain to enter to win MYSTERY prizes which may or may not include a doomsday device (minus batteries). What are you waiting for?

Above Ground by A.M. Harte

The first glimpse of sun may be her last.

When Lilith Gray goes above ground for the first time, she hardly expects to stay there — much less be trapped on the surface with no way home.

Hunted by trackers and threatened by the infected, Lilith is on the run, desperate to return underground. Her only hope for survival lies with a taciturn werewolf with a dark agenda of his own.

Lilith’s old carefree life has been reduced to one choice:

Adapt. Or die trying.

Mystery Raffle

PRIZES! Glorious prizes! This blog tour's gone crazy and decided to change things up by hosting a mystery raffle with eleven awesome prizes for you to win- one for each letter of Above Ground! There are tons of ways to win, and more entries to gain every day of the tour just by commenting on each tour stop's blog post. You can win books! You can win art! You can win swag! You can win your own doomsday device*!

*Doomsday device does not include batteries and might not actually exist, but the rest of the prizes do!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Tour Stops

Tuesday Serial AF Stewart Write Rewrite Read Banana Blog Loudquietgirl Feral Intensity Raining Ink Page Readers JC Hart Zoe Whitten Ellie Hall AMA on Reddit EJ Spurrell Eight Cuts Gallery 5 Rings Friday Flash TA Holtorf Raining Ink Ellie Hall Reviews The Amwriting Blog A Book A Day Catherine Mede Greg X Graves Hopelessly Devoted Bibliophile The Bathroom Monologues Bookish Ardour Cheapass Fiction Opinions of a Wolf A Bit of Dash Graham Storrs

November 22, 2012 — 952 words

How to be Famous: Cameron Diaz

By Letitia Coyne

For the first time in weeks I had a whole blog post written and edited days before deadline. The trouble is it was very angry, negative, and whiney, so I decided to cut it and go with the main thrust of what I wanted to say without all the biiiaaatching.

The moral of my story was that people generally have short memories, but they will remember for as long as they live how you made them feel. Causing someone to feel worthless, or to feel they were an important asset in your life, can be done with as little as a few moments of your time, but it will form the impression of you they carry on with forever.

I hope that doesn’t sound too corny. It could. You’ll recall the climax of ‘There’s Something about Mary’, when Ted realizes that it isn’t something about Mary herself that is so extraordinary, it is how good she makes people ordinarily shunned by society feel about themselves. Then he cries a lot and snot runs down his face, but by then the point is made.

I thought: what a shame it is that we so often trade friendships for networks, these days.

From there I went on to think about other very basic and very true truisms, full of truthful truthiness. Since nothing positive is ever accomplished through negativity, I gathered some of my favourite literary truths, spoken by greats, and listed them here for you to consider. Some of these truths are contradictory, which is in the nature of truth itself.

Literature adds to reality, it does not simply describe it. It enriches the necessary competencies that daily life requires and provides; and in this respect, it irrigates the deserts that our lives have already become.
C. S. Lewis
Even in literature and art, no man who bothers about originality will ever be original: whereas if you simply try to tell the truth (without caring twopence how often it has been told before) you will, nine times out of ten, become original without ever having noticed it.
C. S. Lewis
The reason that fiction is more interesting than any other form of literature, to those who really like to study people, is that in fiction the author can really tell the truth without humiliating himself.
Jim Rohn
If literature isn't everything, it's not worth a single hour of someone's trouble.
Jean-Paul Sartre
Every man's memory is his private literature.
Aldous Huxley
The decline of literature indicates the decline of a nation.
Johann Wolfgang von Goethe
It is the nature of the artist to mind excessively what is said about him. Literature is strewn with the wreckage of men who have minded beyond reason the opinions of others.
Virginia Woolf
The atmosphere of orthodoxy is always damaging to prose, and above all it is completely ruinous to the novel, the most anarchical of all forms of literature.
George Orwell
Literature is a luxury; fiction is a necessity.
Gilbert K. Chesterton
Literature transmits incontrovertible condensed experience... from generation to generation. In this way literature becomes the living memory of a nation.
Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn
The sole substitute for an experience which we have not ourselves lived through is art and literature.
Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn
The web, then, or the pattern, a web at once sensuous and logical, an elegant and pregnant texture: that is style, that is the foundation of the art of literature.
Robert Louis Stevenson
The force of the advertising word and image dwarfs the power of other literature in the 20th century.
Daniel J. Boorstin
Our American professors like their literature clear and cold and pure and very dead.
Sinclair Lewis
There is only one school of literature - that of talent.
Vladimir Nabokov
Books are the carriers of civilization. Without books, history is silent, literature dumb, science crippled, thought and speculation at a standstill.
Barbara Tuchman
In literature as in love, we are astonished at what is chosen by others.
Andre Maurois
Be excellent to each other.
Bill and Ted

Last word: I am in the process of unpublishing. It is the new black this season; you’ll see it everywhere soon. I’ll tell you about it another time.

Cheers all,
Lxx

P.S: Cameron Diaz might not actually have been consulted at all on any point regarding the nature of fame.

November 13, 2012 — 877 words

Interview With Horror Author Mike Kearby

By 1889 Labs

As part of author Mike Kearby's blog tour, he's stopping by 1889 Labs today for a little interview about his horror/thriller release Kavachi's Rise.

You can find the full blog tour schedule here if you're interested in following along.

In the meantime... Lights! Camera! Action!

Tell us about yourself. You’re a novelist, inventor, ex-English teacher, history enthusiast... but what aren’t you?

MK: I am most definitely not a follower and seem to have a genetic aversion toward humans that organize into groups.

You’ve written over ten novels. How does Kavachi’s Rise differ from your previous works?

MK: My early novels all have an overwhelming storyline based on real events in history. The Devouring contains a very brief historical set-up of the Romani Holocaust and prey mimicry. Other than that, the book is a story of pure fiction.

In a market that has seen many new vampire novels released, what makes the vampire protagonists in Kavachi’s Rise unique?

In my mind, the story would replace the undead vampire of lore with the idea that vampire are actually an evolved animal species with the ability to mimic their prey: Man. I wanted vampire that were very much alive and could move about in the daylight. The vampire in the story still take blood, but for a very different reason: to harvest a specific amino acid that fuels their molecular furnaces.

How much do you relate to your characters?

MK: I think as all writers do; I have a tendency to take acquaintances and parts of myself and fuse those together to form the main characters in each novel.

Many of your works have a historical context. What unusual facts did you have to research for this novel?

MK:  The first historical event I had to understand was the Romani Holocaust and the liberation of prisoners from German death camps. Of course the entire plotline was dependent on discovering whether or not some predators mimic their prey for hunting. The discovery that this does occur in nature made the plot (for me) believable in my writing the story.

Kavachi’s Rise is the first in The Devouring series. What can readers expect from the sequels?

MK: The first installment set-up was to transform the main characters, Kavachi and Tetanya, from domesticated vampyre into feral vampyre, then into government-controlled assassins. Future books will show the two fighting – and here’s a cliché – evil in the world.

Finally, what question should we have asked you, and why?

MK: The question: Will the Mayan prediction regarding the 13th Baktun come true on December 21st 2012 thus ending all life on the planet?

The why? I wanted to remind your readers to buy their copy of The Devouring well ahead of the planet’s end.

About Kavachi's Rise (The Devouring #1)

A Dark Secret. Thomas Morehart and his sister, Kara are vampyre, not the undead, but creatures evolved over hundreds of thousands of years to mimic their prey, man. Then - rescued from a Nazi Prison Camp, Thomas and Kara are brought to the U.S. and forced to work inside government-owned mortuaries. Now -betrayed by the government sixty-seven years later, Thomas and Kara are in a race against time to transform back to their feral states or risk Exsanguination by government sanctioned hit squads.

Purchase from Damnation Books | Amazon | B&N

About Mike Kearby

From Wikipedia: Mike Kearby (born 1952) is an American novelist and inventor. Since 2005, Kearby has published ten novels, one graphic novel, and written two screenplays: (2011) Boston Nightly, with fellow writer Paul Bright and (2012) The Devouring. Boston Nightly is scheduled for filming in the spring of 2013.

Kearby was born in Mineral Wells, Texas, and received a B.S. from North Texas State University (now the University of North Texas) in 1972. He taught high school English and reading for 10 years and created ""The Collaborative Novella Project"" The project allows future authors to go through the novel writing process from idea to published work.

Find out more at his website, twitter or blog.

November 8, 2012 — 643 words

Still Water.

By Letitia Coyne

People whose conversation I enjoy have been talking a lot about life-changing times, lately. Decades that have marked crucial turning points in their lives. Realizations that have come, and with them an illumination which has changed the way they see the world, or more importantly, changed their artistic response to the world they live in.

That power of change, the response to an epiphany, has been something I have honoured for many years. One of the quotes prominent in my workspace is:

 “The reasonable man adapts himself to the world; the unreasonable one persists in trying to adapt the world to himself. Therefore all progress depends on the unreasonable man.”

George Bernard Shaw, Man and Superman (1903) "Maxims for Revolutionaries"

Being raised unhappily in a strictly paternal authoritarian household where bigotry and social one-up-manship seethed under a thin veil of cultured courtesy pounded into me first an unquestioning obedience, then a slow-burning anger, then a desire for anarchy that was ill-mannered and uncorsetted.

I tried to look through lists of music and films of the 60s, 70s, 80s, 90s, 00s, and 10s to find favourites and life-changers. There were too many. I have been too many different people through all those decades to find a place to say, ‘that is when I realized I was me’. I have trouble knowing who me is, even now.

What is common to other people’s discussions I’ve followed, though, and all those about planning for their success today, is passion. All the people who get together to discuss the things that precipitated a need to change - or to find a voice in the face of injustice, or to make the time in the life of a busy working wife and mother to write - speak about their passion.

Often they speak about the passion for reading at an early age. Some speak of keeping fading copies of stories they wrote as small children. Some speak of the anger that found a voice through art.

I don’t appear to have a passion. I get passionate about issues. Cruelty, any kind of enabled suffering, makes me angry and outspoken; injustice, bigotry, waste, literacy, education, health and mental health rights, all other human rights - just the typical lefty sort of ideologies, but generally I seem to be like water.

Water just finds a level and sits, or evaporates and then tumbles down again, or slowly erodes obstacles. Water only gets any grit about it when there is some external force causing a disturbance. That’s me. No passion. Water. Lucky water.

I haven’t had to struggle for any of the successes I’ve had; I’ve just been in the right place at the right time and known the right people. I’m not competitive at all. I cannot win a race. If someone is in a hurry to get past me I am as likely to step aside and offer them my skates to make their journey easier. That isn’t saintly – it’s just that I don’t care if someone gets where they’re going ahead of me.

I think that’s why I feel so lost in this new world.

I cannot compete. I cannot call out continually, ‘Mine is best’. And among those who have no need to succeed in terms of recognition, I have no passion to drive me on to make myself find my very best and put it out there for others. I need external stimuli, deadlines, causes. I need to have something important to say, that someone else hasn’t already said better.

The only thing I have in common with the world of other artists is this endless, circular, self-destructive, ego-driven fascination with myself and telling everyone else about it.

Cheers.  :)

November 3, 2012 — 1,198 words

Above Ground Blog Tour!

By 1889 Labs

We know just how much you love great fiction. That's why we're excited to announce that the lovely A.M. Harte, author of the much loved zombie romance anthology Hungry for You has released her new novel, Above Ground! Along with it, of course, comes a crazy month long blog tour and a MYSTERY PRIZE GIVEAWAY.

Above Ground by A.M. Harte

The first glimpse of sun may be her last.

When Lilith Gray goes above ground for the first time, she hardly expects to stay there — much less be trapped on the surface with no way home.

Hunted by trackers and threatened by the infected, Lilith is on the run, desperate to return underground. Her only hope for survival lies with a taciturn werewolf with a dark agenda of his own.

Lilith’s old carefree life has been reduced to one choice:

Adapt. Or die trying.

Mystery Raffle

PRIZES! Glorious prizes! This blog tour's gone crazy and decided to change things up by hosting a mystery raffle with eleven awesome prizes for you to win- one for each letter of Above Ground! There are tons of ways to win, and more entries to gain every day of the tour just by commenting on each tour stop's blog post. You can win books! You can win art! You can win swag! You can win your own doomsday device*!

*Doomsday device does not include batteries and might not actually exist, but the rest of the prizes do!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Tour Stops

Tuesday Serial AF Stewart Write Rewrite Read Banana Blog Loudquietgirl Feral Intensity Raining Ink Page Readers JC Hart Zoe Whitten Ellie Hall AMA on Reddit EJ Spurrell Eight Cuts Gallery 5 Rings Friday Flash TA Holtorf Raining Ink Flashes in the Dark Ellie Hall Reviews The Amwriting Blog A Book A Day Catherine Mede Greg X Graves Hopelessly Devoted Bibliophile The Bathroom Monologues Bookish Ardour Cheapass Fiction Opinions of a Wolf A Bit of Dash Graham Storrs

October 27, 2012 — 1,167 words

The Difference Between Inspiration and Motivation

By Guest Author

by EJ Spurrell

As writers, I’m sure we’ve all seen the ups and downs of the creative process. We receive inspiration oftentimes from the strangest of places. From books we’ve read, movies we’ve watches, series we’ve followed and music we get lost in, we’re almost constantly and consistently bombarded with inspiration.

But it’s not as easy as all that. The inspiration has to catch us. It has to take hold, and guide us through the process to the point where it can be seen through. Many of us with completed works remember the exact moment inspiration struck us. Before I wrote Children of the Halo, I had been struggling with exactly how I was going to approach the subject of an entire modern-day town being suddenly and mysteriously transported to an alternate dimension. A place where the laws of magic applied much more than the laws of physics. How would the characters, all eight thousand of them, react to such a strange event? How would the culture shock affect them?

So I did what any author would do. I asked people. I asked my friends. I asked business owners. I asked police, local politicians, engineers, fishermen, tradesmen and truck drivers. The floodgates opened, and inspiration flowed. I began to approach a completely speculative subject from a level of realism that wouldn’t have been available to me before.

Inspiration came at me from every direction. The characters were formed from my own experiences and the personality traits of myself and my closest friends. Music helped inspire moods. Social situations involving foreigners from the third world allowed me a glimpse into how the people of the Pactlands in Children of the Halo might react when faced with modern technology.

In short, it took me ninety days to finish the first draft of Children of the Halo. Less than a year later, I started releasing it online, and set to write the sequel.

Needless to say, that didn’t come so easily. I found that the same inspiration I had fallen back on for the first book were now traps. Dark, black holes that I had already tapped and could no longer count on. I knew where the book was going to go, but I didn’t know how I was going to get there.

And so back into research I went. I spoke to more people who originated from the third world who had made it to Canada in one piece and listened to their stories. Some of them were mundane. Others unbelievable. I heard stories from the darkest recesses of the human psyche, heard of people capable of things that any so-called civilized person would balk at. But this was their reality.

I spoke to more politicians. I spoke to more engineers, conspiracy theorists, tenured professors, athletes, hippies, famous actresses and musicians, positing them with the same what-if questions, and they gave me answers.

But I’d lost the spark that allowed me to write a quarter of a million words in ninety days. I felt that my inspiration had been replaced by lethargy. I started writing without purpose, without goal, and wrote a draft for Children of the Halo’s sequel over the course of a few months and ended up with a story that was out of place with the original intent with which I had started.

I was unimpressed.

So, tabula rasa. I wiped the slate clean and didn’t look at it again for two years. I believed the inspiration had been lost.

It wasn’t until this year that I discovered why I had lost the will to write. It wasn’t because of a lack of inspiration -- I’d always had that. By going out with friends and being social, I was inspired in character interaction. By listening to slam poetry and great music, I was inspired to convey emotion through my writing. By engaging my spirituality, I was able to think much more deeply about who my characters were. By watching movies I was turned on to the tropes that could very well apply to the story. The inspiration from these and other sources were more than what I needed to complete the next book.

But I was still lacking something. My will to write had been misplaced.

I had lost track of why I chose to write after my first book. And that is something that we, as writers, must never lose track of.

When I originally wrote Children of the Halo, it was purely because I wanted an avenue with which to invite others to play in my imagination. After monetizing my book, it had become about exposure. About being seen and gaining attention. It was no longer about what I could do for readers, but about what readers could do for me.

And it took a heated argument with a New-York Times bestselling fantasy author (whose identity may be discovered by one well-versed in the art of Google-Fu) to make me realize that if you lose track of why you write, inspiration matters very little.

And so, I invite all of you, published, unpublished or aspiring writers to always keep in mind why you write. Write it down and post it up where you’ll see it every day. Make a sticker and put it on your laptop, above your computer monitor or on the inside cover of your notebook. Motivation trumps inspiration every time.

Now, to this very day, there is a phrase posted on the wall in my writing room. It contains five very simple words, and serves as a constant reminder to who I am as a writer.

It says, “I write for the reader.”

About EJ Spurrell

Emmerson James Spurrell was born at the very tender age of zero. Despite his general lack of uniqueness when stacked up against the rest of the human race, he nonetheless strove to carve out his own path through life, resulting in events equally wondrous and disastrous. Then he started writing.

Thus far, he’s released Engines of Creation: Children of the Halo, the first installment of a fantasy epic mixing modern machinery and magic, and Persephone: Twenty Past Midnight, a post-apocalyptic jaunt through what used to be Vancouver, BC. As of October, 2012, he is also releasing the much-anticipated sequel to Children of the Halo, entitled The Liar’s Law as a web-serial. All three may be read through his website at ejspurrell.com, and a special print version of Children of the Halo will soon be available for purchase.

He currently resides in Victoria, British Columbia where he works his butt off for a living and spends copious amounts of time with hippies in Fernwood.