I’ve been busy editing my new MS, so reading has taken a back seat. Yet, I pulled this off the To Be Read Pile (TBR), Nnedi Okorafor’s Africanfuturism novel “Remote Control”. It’s a much welcomed break in between editing sprints.
The last few Newsletters I have talked about getting more into story theory and Robert McKee’s book was highly recommended. Even though it focuses on Screenplay writing (future project?), it goes through the essential elements of crafting a story.
I first saw The Fist on Kickstarter from Blackstone comics and creator Brandon Bitros. I had to support this comic and excited to read, becasue it is set in my birth city and home for many years, Philadelphia! Also, the premise was interesting and the artwork and writing was awesome. Go check it out!
Set in 1919 Philadelphia, The Fist is the tale of Riley Reece, a working stiff with a broken marriage and an affection for drunken vigilante justice.
Back Copy excerpt:
“Riley Reece may not look like much, just another working-class boozer with a broken family from the slums of Philadelphia. But Riley Reece isn’t just a drunk — he’s a drunk with a scret. After late night benders of agonizing self-destruction, Riley’s guilty conscience prompts him to sport a black hood and become Philly’s most feared vigilante.
Nisi’s debut novel Everfair, was a finalist for the 2016 Nebula Award. This book has been on my TBR list for some time and I’m finally getting to it.
Back copy except:
“Everfair is a wonderful Neo-Victorian alternate history novel that explores the question of what might have come of Belgium’s disastrous colonization of the Congo if the native populations had learned about steam technology a bit earlier. Fabian Socialists from Great Britain join forces with African-American missionaries to purchase land from the Belgian Congo’s “owner,” King Leopold II. This land, named Everfair, is set aside as a safe haven, an imaginary Utopia for native populations of the Congo as well as escaped slaves returning from America and other places where African natives were being mistreated.”
Go check out all the rave reviews and an excerpt here then add it to your TBR-list!
My fellow writer/friend Shawn Burgess has a new prequel novella coming out. You don’t need to have read his debut novel, “The Tear Collector”, to enjoy this story (but you’ll probably pick it up to enjoy more of his writing and the horror).
I had the pleasure of reading a beta-copy, and I think fans of Jonathan Maberry’s ‘Ghost Road Blues, will enjoy Shawn’s fast paced horror prequel to ‘The Tear Collector’.
Look for this one on Shawn’s website, or sign up for his newsletter so you don’t miss this release.
Back copy excerpt:
“Roger and Gertrude Davis enjoy an idyllic existence in the small Appalachian town of Harper Pass. With vast land holdings, a successful business, and love for the family they’ve built, they’ve avoided the suffering The Great Depression has wrought on the area until it all comes crashing down on a sweltering summer day in 1932.
With the twin daughters they dote on gone missing and ominous signs of foul play evident, a suspect quickly emerges. But not everything is always what it seems. Amidst the murder, madness, and mayhem, they soon learn there’s blood to pay when the past comes calling.”
No new Music to report, but I have been listening some new Podcasts:
As my writing career progresses I have continued to study the craft of writing (the scientist in me like to break things down and figure out why they work), and in doing so hopefully write/tell better stories. Listening to the first few episodes have been enlightening.
“The Story Nerd Podcast demystifies story theory so writers spend less time studying and more time writing. Literary editors and writers, Valerie Francis and Melanie Hill, analyze a film a week as an example of a storytelling principle. The show focuses on concepts common to all stories across film, television, novels and screenplays.”
Okay, that’s where I’m at. I’ll try to update y’all every month on books, comics, and music (podcasts) that I’ve been digging! I’ll try to add some indie author reads!
I saw Le Fay on Kickstarter some time ago from Evoluzione Publishing, and they pulled me in with the hook: “If Jessica Jones was a Fay Sorcerous.”
The story is about woman, Morgan le Fay who works as a private investigator for the occult underworld in modern times. I really like the art work and I cannot wait to dig into this. I picked up Vol 1-5.
In horror movies, the final girl is the one who’s left standing when the credits roll. The one who fought back, defeated the killer, and avenged her friends. But after a decade of trying to find peace, a group of final girls become become hunted once again.
This was a fast-paced horror thriller. Go check out all the rave reviews and add it to your TBR-list!
Writing can be a very lonely endeavor, but I try to make an effort to make as many connections to other writers as possible. It’s always nice to have someone that understands what it is like experiencing the highs and lows in the writing/publishing/marketing trenches. So, it was a nice surprise when a fellow author, who happens to be from Chicago, reached out to me about my short story, “Summer Without Leaves.” I am looking forward to reading Greg’s novel, “A Fading Star,” and you can get a free sample of the novel, HERE!
No new Music to report, but I have been listening to a number of Podcasts. Here are two of them:
The Freaking Future is an anthology of weird character driven stories taking place in (you guessed it) the future. If you like comics like Heavy Metal Magazine and 2000 AD then keep your eye out for The Freaking Future. It’s a unique bunch of weird and funny stories!
Matt also does commissions and original art work: check out what I got from Matt at NWI-ComicCon
The 1619 Project is an ongoing initiative from The New York Times Magazine that began in August 2019, the four hundredth anniversary of the beginning of American slavery. It is led by Pulitzer Prize–winning journalist Nikole Hannah-Jones, along with New York Times Magazine editor-in-chief Jake Silverstein and editors Ilena Silverman and Caitlin Roper.
This was a powerful read that starts to explore and create room for discussion and understanding to the black experience in the context of America’s origin narrative. The original essay series was expanded into a book.
This is book #2 in the Borne series. Jeff’s writing is creepy, haunting, confusing and beautiful—love it all:
Excerpt from the publisher:
Jeff VanderMeer’s Dead Astronauts presents a City with no name of its own where, in the shadow of the all-powerful Company, lives human and otherwise converge in terrifying and miraculous ways. At stake: the fate of the future, the fate of Earth – all the Earths. Check it out!
I love Adrian Younge’s music, the way he combines the old and the new. I was happy to see this mix he put together of music that’s been sampled in Hip-Hop over the years.
I recently got the 2nd Volume in the Hack/Slash Horror series. I backed the first volume and the second on Kickstarter (Got a variant cover). I loved the first and I cannot wait to dig into this one. Tim Seeley is one of my favorite writer, and he will be a VIP at the NWI Comic Con! Art is fabulous by Emily Stone. Go Check it out.
I love this series and Seanan’s amazing writing. I am looking forward to reading this book. If you are not familiar with the series here is the publisher’s description:
Welcome to the Whitethorn Institute. The first step is always admitting you need help, and you’ve already taken that step by requesting a transfer into our company.
There is another school for children who fall through doors and fall back out again. It isn’t as friendly as Eleanor West’s Home for Wayward Children. And it isn’t as safe.
When Eleanor West decided to open her school, her sanctuary, her Home for Wayward Children, she knew from the beginning that there would be children she couldn’t save; when Cora decides she needs a different direction, a different fate, a different prophecy, Miss West reluctantly agrees to transfer her to the other school, where things are run very differently by Whitethorn, the Headmaster.
She will soon discover that not all doors are welcoming… Check it out!
Okay, that’s where I’m at. I’ll try to update y’all every month on books, comics, and music that I’ve been digging! I’ll try to add some indie author reads!
Come out and say hello! We will be releasing the first three Rabbit Hole of Research Zines (expanded episodes with more cool art work), Coloring Books, copies of my debut novel, and there will be a giveaway! Georgia (@atomic_number 14) and I (@jomega22) can not wait!
It’s January 2022, and even though we are 8 days into the New Year, and a little late to the party, I’m going to wish you all a Very Happy, Healthy and Prosperous New Year!
I always wonder how late is too late to wish someone a Happy New Year. I mean what if the first time you see someone is in March, is it okay to say, “Happy New Year.” Okay, March may be pushing it, but when do you stop saying, “Happy New Year?” The same day the Holiday decorations come down; after the Chinese New Year? Or are you wishing Uncle Charlie a Happy New Year and Independence Day with some potato salad? LOL
Okay, I’m being a little silly!
At the end of the year Georgia (atomicnumber14) and I found out that Rabbit Hole of Research would have a table at the eighth NWI Comic Con on February 12th 2022! This was exciting and terrifying news and we realized we had a bit of work to get done. But I am happy to report we have put together some Zines a coloring book and some other fun stuff to debut at the Con. Here is a sneak peek of one of the Zines:
This has been a fun collaborative project. Mark your calendar: more details coming soon about the Comic Con!
Oh, ignore that microphone in the picture, that would have nothing to do with that podcast thing I’ve been talking about. That’s not the handwavium you are looking for!
The other thing that has been filling my time is working on the Developmental Edits of my new Novel. I did meet my goal to have the first round of cuts and structural rewrites finished early January. Doing the numbers I cut around 7,000 words, and added back around 17,000, for a net gain of 10K words.
Now I am reading the novel to make sure no plot holes opened up during all this restructuring, and filling them in. I am very excited about this novel and looking forward to the day it get’s into your hands, but the road to publishing is a long a arduous one. But while you wait don’t forget about my two stories out right now:
My paranormal romance werewolf shifter novella, ‘Eve’ will be gone soon! So, Order it Now: Kindle Unlimited, ebook and paperback! If you picked up a copy, thank you!
Maybe a limited edition Hardback copy giveaway to celebrate will be in order! If you cannot wait for the giveaway, I have some copies for sale on my web shop
One last thing would be the Standing Desk I mentioned last month. I ordered some electric legs off Amazon and I will be attaching the top I am finishing this weekend to it. I will post the finishedpictures, but here are the legs. (Ignore the unfinished basement floor.)
Okay, That’s all of the major news. Keep reading below to check out the new feature, and check out some of the creatives that are keeping me entertained.
This is the third issue in the Horror anthology series. A great collaborative effort! I am looking forward to more stuff from Guerrilla Publishing. Full disclosure: I backed this project on Kickstarter, and even got my Face on the back cover. Still a good read! Go get it!
Edited by Tracy K. Smith and John Freeman LETTERS FROM A CRISIS
A wonderful anthology that I’ve been digesting slowly over the past couple weeks; best summed up in the book’s description:
“Galvanizing and lyrical, this is a deeply profound anthology of writing filled with pain and beauty, warmth and intimacy. A remarkable feat of empathy, There’s a Revolution Outside, My Love offers solace in a time of swirling protest, change, and violence-reminding us of the human scale of the upheaval, and providing hope for a kinder future.”
I read or listen to this masterpiece of fiction yearly. Reading and thinking about the way this story is constructed (pacing, tone, dialogue, plotting) has been helpful to my own writing. Check it out!
I have been really digging this new soulful alternative country mash up. Go add Amythyst Kiah’s Wary Strange to your playlist!
Okay, that’s where I’m at. I’ll try to update y’all every month on books, comics, and music that I’ve been digging! I’ll try to add some indie author reads!
It’s December and I am unsure where the year has gone.The last couple months have seemed to drag along, but it’s time for holiday cheer, egg nog, cookies, lights and all that jazz!
As the year winds down, I got the first round of Developmental Edits from my agent (Developmental edits are 30,000 foot big picture edits of the manuscript, plot, pacing, character arcs, etc.). I know a lot of folks don’t like the editing process, but I actually enjoy it. What do you like more, editing or writing? I’m curious, email me and let me know!
When people ask why do you need to work with critique partners, writing groups or developmental editors, I always say, “they are the eyes in the author’s blind spots.”
That’s right. No matter how much love I’ve put into crafting a twisty plot that will keep you turning the page, the tone, pacing, emotional growth of my characters always improve going through these important developmental edits.
Always remember not to take the comments personally. I know it is hard to send your baby out into the world and someone tells you your favorite scene drags on, before you go into crazy mode, remember these are just suggestions, one person’s thoughts, but this is someone whose judgment you respected enough to send you baby to in the first place.
So, when I get back comments, I read them, I mumble and curse to myself under my breath about how idiotic the negative comments are (the positive comments are always spot on) then I put the comments away (I may read the positive comments again, but then put it away) for a couple days or so, and busy myself with something else. After the excitement of finally moving forward with the manuscript fades a bit, I approach each comment in a serious and thoughtful way.
Even if you disagree with a comment or potential change, you should revisit that scene or the character’s emotional arc, tone, sensitivity, colorism, physical abuse, sex, abrasive language, etc.
If you are still hesitant to go in and take the scalpel or sledgehammer to your baby, copy the section(s) or chapter(s) in question into a new document (save it as MS_awesome_as_is), turn on track changes (they should already be on) and then experiment with changing the scene or section within your manuscript, and see what you think (ask yourself honestly, do things read better? The same? Or the original was the bee’s knees!)
I’ll be the first to admit that cutting and rewriting big chunks of your perfect baby is hard. My WYS_awesome_as_is file for Will You Still Love Me… was about 20,000 words over a couple rounds of Developmental edits (I cut an entire chapter), but in the end the pacing of several chapters improved, characters and plot lines I introduced but never fully fleshed out were removed and all this created space to more fully explore the world and growth of the main characters of the novel, Alex, Marci and Leslie.
And, bonus that chapter and other stuff you cut may be useful as a scene in the sequel (Did I mention I finished the first draft of Will You Still Love Me If I Become Someone Else part 2!)
Okay, I’m going to get off my, “editing is great,” soapbox, but I’ll share more of my process as I go along, like how I edit scenes in my stories using Comic book Panel formatting. But, more on that later.
Speaking of Comics, I just found out earlier this week that Rabbit Hole of Research (atomicnumber14 (Georgia) and I) will have a table at the NWI-Comic Con in February 12th 2022!!!
Mark your calendar: more details coming soon!
If you missed it:
My paranormal romance werewolf shifter novella, ‘Eve’was released October 31st in the Moonlight Anthology! You can Order it Now: Kindle Unlimited, ebook and paperback!