Thursday, March 13, 2014

Writing Process Blog Hop: My Turn

Misty Mymudes from talked me into doing this blog hop, mostly by having George the Basset Hound write her bit.  I wasn't able to find three more authors to feature (well, I had two and both backed out at the last minute).  It does make me question the effectiveness of this kind of promotion, but that's another article.

Obligatory introduction:  My first book, ‘Life With a Fire-Breathing Girlfriend, is a modern fantasy about a database administrator, David, and his girlfriend Rose, who is a Dragoness from a high-fantasy world.  She is spending three years on Earth, in Human form, soaking up all the love, wonder, and joy David can generate.  She needs that energy to make her children stronger and better able to survive to adulthood.  The spell which transfers that energy keeps them mentally, physically, and emotionally balanced.  They can’t fight.  Their moods, needs, and desires are all perfectly matched.  They know where each other is and how the other feels at all times.  The spell is even designed to prevent them from going crazy from living like that.

The part David didn’t count on is really what happens to him.  Up until now, he’s only pretended to be a Hero in games.  When he bonds with Rose, he becomes an actual Hero.  He missed that part of the fine print.  Of course, when you have a Hero enjoying a perfect, peaceful life, some shmuck has to come along and try to ruin it.  That’s in the fine print, too.

For David, it starts when someone murders a childhood friend of his.  The also get into a fight with their homeowners’ association, which is just rife with bad decisions all around.  Some of those bad decisions get totally out of hand, leaving David and Rose scrambling to stop a genocidal unicorn from giving Earth an extreme makeover.

1) What am I working on: Right now I’m working on Rose and David’s third adventure.  It takes place at a science fiction/fantasy/gaming convention in Las Vegas.  David has been running a game design studio and encountering all kinds of problems.  I’ve really enjoyed ruining his life with the company; part of my research was talking to people I know in the gaming industry and collecting horror stories from them.  I also added a few events I witnessed while doing IT contracting.  Re-reading some of these events, I’m still amazed at what people think they can get away with. 

2) How does my work differ from others of its genre: A lot of urban fantasy tends to be set in grungy, low-magic environments.  I like keeping Rose’s world available, since that gives me an option to do stuff with a more ‘epic fantasy’ feel.  I also use a lot of geek/pop culture references, since geeks and gamers are a major part of my target audience.

3) Why do I write what I do: Because I’m rubbish at erotica.  I’d have a lot more money coming in if I could write hot sex scenes.

4) How does my writing process work:  I usually start with a crazy idea and then find out what happens next.  If I get stuck, I have a deck of Storymatic cards.  I grab one or two and use them as inspiration for a plot twist or new development, and that usually gets me going again.    

Speaking of getting going again, I should go back to writing.  Las Vegas isn't going to trash itself.

Monday, March 10, 2014

Guest Post From George the Magical Basset Hound

George is the star of the Young Adult novel George Knows, by Misty Mymudes.  As basset hounds are the most perfectly designed creatures on Earth (just ask George), we're very happy to have him stop by to discuss how he writes his adventures.

On March 13, I'll be answering these questions, and checking out three other new authors!


This is a ‘My Writing Process Blog Thingy’

I am doing this under duress. Lynda Cox’s Dog suggested I do this;

You’d think it’s easy to write. You need a pen, a pencil, and paper. Or maybe one of those computer thingies. Except, I’m a dog. I don’t have fingers and thumb to hold things or use a keyboard. I also can’t talk. So the first thing I had to do was find a Peep that was receptive to my creativity. The Lady With The Fingers wasn’t my first choice. In fact, I think she was about 732 or so down the list.

See, she raises English Springers, a breed that are dumb as rocks. I mean, they’ll do anything for food. Seriously, right? What sort of creature will do something foolish like carry a dumbbell for no reason. But, there you go, I made due.

I was asked a few foolish questions for this blog, but if it helps Peeps to find my book, I’ll do it.

1. What am I working on: Currently, Tillie’s Tale. The silly pup didn’t follow her instincts and ended up haunted by a poultry ghost. Not good.

2) How does my work differ from others of its genre: Get real. How many basset hounds, particularly brilliant familiars, do you know that write middle grade urban fantasy. Actually, how many dogs write anything for that matter. I’m unique.

3) Why do I write what I do: It’s said to write what you know. I know about me. My adventures are interesting. How many dogs find human bones that lead to discovering a dragon, save a park, and his BoyPup?

4) How does my writing process work: That’s the hard part. The Lady With The Fingers is pretty good at reading dog language. I think, she picks it up through our link, and watches the story. Sometimes she’s wrong, then I pee on her leg.

Is that enough?

I’m passing this foolishness on to
Jim Landwehr lives and works in Waukesha, WI. He enjoys writing creative non-fiction, poetry and fiction. His book, Dirty Shirt: A Boundary Waters Memoir, will be released on June 17th, 2014. The book is a humorous account of his travels to the Boundary Waters Canoe Area in northern Minnesota with friends, brothers and his children over the last 25 years.

Bryan Fields

946211_10201362574055472_1796615661_sBy day, I’m a mild-mannered IT tech; by night, a writer who spends too much time in online games. I grew up reading classical authors such as Verne, Burroughs, Wells, Haggard, and Lovecraft, often in conjunction with large doses of Monty Python, Wild Wild West, and Hee-Haw.  My current influences include Dr. WhoGirl Genius, andAn Idiot Abroad.
I live in Denver with my wife Noelle and daughter Alissa. The three of us can often be found prowling around Istaria, Wizard City, and the wilds of Azeroth.  I also makes occasional side jaunts to scavenge bits of ancient technology in the radioactive ruins of the Grand Canyon Province.

Becoming a published author is a lifetime dream come true. As a child, I subjected friends and family to my “KellyMark” greeting cards (“When you care enough to make the very best.”), poetry, homemade magazines, and short stories. In high school, my short story, “If Only to Escape” was published in the local paper, and I won a writing contest for my children’s story, “Televisella.” In college, my creative writing tapered off, but I still managed to write the occasional review for The Marquette UniversityTribune. Once I graduated, I mixed creative writing with business writing, and I’ve held positions in Advertising, Marketing, and Instructional Design/eLearning Development.
Today, I am busy writing the next book in Meara’s story. When I’m not writing, I’m reading, hanging out with my husband and two kids, or playing with our Whoodle puppy.
Drop me a line. I’d love to hear from you!

The Peeps will be doing their thing March 13

Sunday, March 2, 2014

Nowhere Fast

Everybody's going nowhere slowly
They're only fighting for the chance to be last
There's nothing wrong with going nowhere, baby
But we should be going nowhere fast
It's so much better going nowhere fast

    - Nowhere Fast, Streets of Fire OST

When I first started outlining my current WIP, I pulled a half-dozen cards from my Storymatic deck, just to get some unpredictable elements in the story. One of the cards said 'steal a wreck of a car'. OK, no idea how that's going to fit in... I filed it under 'See how things work out'.

David's new ride
This isn't the first time I've used the Storymatic deck; it's a handy tool for getting past annoying 'stuck' moments - those times when you know something should happen, but have no idea what.  The deck is a big box of cards, each with some kind of writing prompt.  Gold ones have descriptions of people ('Aging Clown'), red ones have events ('Disturbance at the Bus Station').  Usually I can find a way to use whatever comes up, but this one was tricky.

About the 25k word mark, I ran across this picture of a beat-up car driving into Vegas and thought, "Damn, that's got a lot of story to it". Second thought: that's the car David has to steal. Still no idea why, how or when.

At 50k, I still had no idea, but watching a Lego version of the Blues Brothers shopping mall chase on YouTube, I found my answer: they'll be on a mission from Crom.

Yesterday I hit 60k and the car scene is turning out to be a hoot to write. They didn't have to steal the car, but they went in prepared to, so I'm counting that as using the card.

Next time you're staring at a page, hoping for inspiration and going nowhere fast, pick a card. 

Any card.

Storymatic Classic on Amazon

Just for grins, I'm also sharing my favorite bit from yesterday's work:

It was two feet long, with a heavy, square point on the end. It was the business end of a Roman pilum, and it was old…about two thousand years old, if I was right. I took the key ring off the triangular piece of wood and slid the narrow end into the base of the spear tip. It fit, nice and solid, and the bolt holes lined up perfectly.

Boudreaux fished in a soup can and came up with two bolts that looked workable. I fastened the bolts finger-tight and held up the spear point. In the light, it was easy to see the dark, red-brown stain running the length of the iron shaft. “We need the rest of those wooden pieces.”

Rose cocked her head to the side. “I don’t smell anything special. Are you sure this is what we need?”

“It is a stabby-stabby kind of thing,” Boo said. “But, yeah, what is it?”

“It’s the Spear of Longinus. The real one. The spear that pierced the side of Jesus.” I held it against my chest as though stabbed from below. “Damn… That would punch a half-inch wide hole clear through the heart. This was what killed him. This spear had the power to kill the son of God, and it still has it.”

“Crom’s beard,” Nadia whispered. “Um, try not to poke anyone with it, OK?”

“So now you got it,” Boo said. “What are you going to do with it?”

I turned the spear, running the light along the length of it. “Kill a demon bitch suffering from delusions of grandeur, thereby bringing an end to centuries of civil war between the dark elves of a parallel world and destroying a cult preying on the homeless children of Las Vegas.”

He nodded. “Guess we better get the car running, then.”