Three, two, one, let’s jam

We have launch on Qualia Nous!

There was a surprising info leak two days back, that the mammoth science fiction and horror anthology was available to purchase on Amazon before the “official” release of the book. Word from the publisher, Written Backwards, is that the contributors told the world, and sales bloomed.

Whether you want to catch my story in the anthology, or read the phenomenal work from my co-contributors, or wish to enjoy yet another brilliant project coming out of Written Backwards, Qualia Nous is here and ready to make an impact.

Buy your copy now.

Happy release day to editor and writerlings;
Michael Bailey
Stephen King
Usman T. Malik
Gene O’Neill
Emily B. Cataneo
Erik T. Johnson
Ian Shoebridge
D.J. Cockburn
John R. Little
Jon Michael Kelley
Lori Michelle
James Chambers
Jason V Brock
Marge Simon
Peter Hagelslag
Christian A. Larsen
Max Booth III
Richard Thomas
Erinn L. Kemper
William F. Nolan
John Everson
Pat R. Steiner
Paul Anderson
Lucy A. Snyder
Rena Mason
Thomas F. Monteleone
Patrick Freivald
Mason Ian Bundschuh
Elizabeth Massie
and Gary A. Braunbeck
Know that it’s an absolute pleasure to share the pages of Qualia Nous with all of you.

~A

The names, the names!

The names, the names! So many names.

Prepare yourselves.

The prodigious publisher, Written Backwards, will welcome Qualia Nous to print in the following month (released by early September). I am purely giddy to be a part of this anthology, sharing pages with writerlings I call my friends, as well as names I have admired from afar, and new authors to enjoy.

And it’s going to be huge. Not just because the Table of Contents is topped by Stephen King himself, but we look forward to a 454 page delight of science fiction / horror. I am so ready.

From the official announcement, here is the final line-up.

Michael Bailey with the introduction “0-1”
Stephen King, with a novelette titled “The Jaunt”
Usman T. Malik, with “The Vaporization Enthalpy of a Peculiar Pakistani Family”
Gene O’Neill, with “The Shaking Man”
My own story, “Dyscrasia”
Emily B. Cataneo, with “The Rondelium Girl of Rue Marseilles”
Erik T. Johnson, with “The Angel Chaser”
Ian Shoebridge, with “Psychic Shock”
D.J. Cockburn, with “Peppermint Tea in Electronic Limbo”
John R. Little, with “Second Chance”
Jon Michael Kelley, with “The Effigies of Tamber Square”
Lori Michelle, with “Shades of Naught”
James Chambers, with “The Price of Faces”
Jason V Brock, with a novelette titled “Simulacrum”
Marge Simon, with the poem “Shutdown”
Peter Hagelslag, with a novelette titled “Lead Me To Multiplicity”
Christian A. Larsen, with “Cataldo’s Copy”
Max Booth III, with “The Neighborhood Has a Barbeque”
Marge Simon, with the second poem “Tomorrow’s Femme”
Richard Thomas, with “The Jenny Store”
Erinn L. Kemper, with “Night Guard”
William F. Nolan, with “A New Man”
John Everson, with “Voyeur”
Pat R. Steiner, with “Kilroy Wasn’t There”
Paul Anderson, with “In the Nothing-Space, I Am What You Made Me”
Lucy A. Snyder, with “Dura Mater”
Rena Mason, with “Ruminations”
Thomas F. Monteleone, with “Good and Faithful Servant”
Patrick Freivald, with “Twelve Kilos”
Mason Ian Bundschuh, with “Breathe You In Me”
Elizabeth Massie, with “18P37-C, After Andrea Was Arrested”
and Gary A. Braunbeck, with a novelle titled “No Fixed Address”

Wow. Yeah. Wow.

~A

In looking back

I’ve been writing for 3/5ths of my life.

This blog has already been around for three years, a confusing rush of time blended into the everything else happening. On that note, many thanks for continuing to read, my friends. This is, as always, an interesting experience for me.

We’re approaching the third anniversary of my first publishing acceptance, and in turn, the second anniversary of holding an actual printed book in my hands, containing a story I had composed. I’ve made some amazing friends in being a part of that anthology.

Almost six months ago, my first novel successfully launched, along with a little companion tale. The start of many to come in the Anecdota.

And now, another short story will be given to the world. Something small and special, still close to my heart, still young and cherished until the moment the anthology is made and I cannot hold the words as they pour between my fingers and make their way into the reader’s minds, when the story is no longer mine alone.

As stated on the Acknowledgements page of The Damning Moths, I merely write these things; they come to life when you read them. You take them in and experience the story, and they become more, something outside of my control.

Gazing over what I have already accomplished gives a sense of warmth and comfort, a happy glow proving, “I Am.” To know how many people I am reaching, from corners of the globe both obvious and unexpected, is poignant. I’m glad for what I have already done, and equally grateful for the small, screaming voice which always tells me it’s still not enough. Because I have a drive to do it all again. Write a story. Find it the right home. Release it to change and grow and transform into what it must.

Looking back over these things, just one possible sum of my existence, I know I have done well. Here I am, listening to songs hopeful and quietly melancholic and composing new tales, always, endlessly. I can wrap the past around me as a comforting blanket. None of it was a fluke, I’m leaving a mark.

I am here, doing what I was made for.

~A

And we have a cover!

I am overwhelmingly pleased to be able to share with you all the final cover art for The Damning Moths!

Please head on over to the official website and bask in the pretties! Wait, that’s what I’m doing. You may join me in basking if you like, or just take a quick little look. Either way, I’m so excited!

The Damning Moths – Proudly announcing the cover art

This beautiful piece of illustration and design was done by Ty Scheuerman, my very talented husband. I could not ask for a more wonderful cover.

~A

The Next Big Thing

Friend and fellow Perth writer Martin Livings, who has been kicking around the industry for over two decades, has pegged me for this: The Next Big Thing writer promotion cycle. Answer the interview, tag more writers, watch as it takes over the blogosphere. Many thanks, Martin! On that note, I highly recommend everyone wriggle on over to pick up Martin’s short story collection, “Living With The Dead” because this man knows his horror, yes he does.

I also have to make mention of both Michael Bailey and Annie Neugebauer who asked me to participate after I already agreed to be one of Martin’s tag-ees. Thanks, both of you!

Now! I give you The Next Big Thing(s). Yeah. I’m a big cheater, so absolutely no one should be surprised when I break all the rules and talk about the collective of my current work. It’s all connected! That has to count for something! But let me try and keep the focus on my first novel, The Damning Moths, coming out soon.

ONE: What is the working title of your next book?
Disclaimer: my working titles are always lazy and hasty. The Damning Moths was known as “Novel Series” until it got properly named. Uh huh. Book Two is exactly that, although pre-draft it received the codename “Spiral Leaves”. The novella prequel has the misfortune of being called “By Blood”. This is why I never discuss working titles. Moving on.

TWO: Where did the idea come from for the book?
The first concept which triggered the plot for everything is actually slated to be in Book Three, and I believe that was from a dream I had. During the subsequent two years of writing, editing, and refining the ideas, it has blossomed to where we are right now. The individual ideas tend to come to me through asking questions of the characters. What is their motive? What do they believe in? What makes them tick? With knowing those answers, I then ask: What will shatter their world? The resulting implosion is what happens in the book. Something to shake the character’s personal resolve in an integral way and see how far I can push them before everything breaks.

THREE: What genre does your book fall under?
Dark fantasy. Fantasy setting, horror lifeblood. I’ve had so many people look me up and down then ask why I write dark stuff. It’s an interesting subject, to be sure. I like the feeling of things being really, really bad for the characters. I enjoy the psychology in writing those who have to deal with horrific things. And I like being a little scared.

FOUR: What actors would you choose to play the part of your characters in a movie rendition?
This is a terrible question, and the person who originally asked it should feel bad. That said, I always have the disparity between the actors and actresses who look most like each character, and those I feel would play the role to perfection. This is part of why I don’t aim for live action films, and would love to see a high budget anime made of TDM.

FIVE: What is the one-sentence synopsis of your book?
“A world of blackened Faerie Tales is bubbling over with the conflict of past sins and perverse schemes as the gods’ glorious crown is passed to a new, unwilling victim.”

SIX: Will your book be self-published or represented by an agency?
Coming out through World Ender, my independent media label!

SEVEN: How long did it take you to write the first draft of the manuscript?
Six furious weeks on the scant and roughest draft of The Damning Moths, where words flew from my fingertips incomprehensibly. It took me another five months of changing the POV, fleshing out all the necessary parts, adding in characters, and finally, some very tough editing, before I had gotten it into the shape of a real novel instead of whatever I had spun in a bleary daze of drafting. The novella was drafted in five weeks, and Book Two is still in the works.

EIGHT: What other books would you compare this story to within your genre?
Goodness, I don’t know. I struggle with this constantly. A lot of other dark fantasy is very much the armies, swords, and dragons kind of thing. Those who write about the fae kingdoms often stick with the very Tolkien/D&D styled races, or have a much more traditionally detached take on Faerie. Since there is a convoluted and vast history which triggers the political conflicts in TDM, as well as eldrich themes, big magic, and a character-driven plot, it’s not in one or the other camp, and I don’t know if I’ve read anything much like it before. I’ve had early readers compare my writing to far more dramatic names than I’m brave enough to repeat. I expect fans of George RR Martin and Laurell K Hamilton would find something to appreciate.

NINE: Who or what inspired you to write this book?
Other authors inspire me to create, though each individual story is told because of the characters. I want to see where they go, all because they are fascinating to me. A dream started this tale, as is true of many stories I write, but inspiration is a constant flow for me. In the words of the awesome Chuck Wendig, Ask a writer: “Where do you get your ideas from?” And the writer will reply: “How do you make yours stop?” I’ve been writing for fifteen-some years. This just happens now.

TEN: What else about the book might pique the reader’s interest?
Let’s take “about the book” rather liberally, shall we?
First, The Damning Moths is illustrated with some of the best artwork I’ve ever seen, and that’s before my bias kicks in! Truly, I have been overwhelmed by the quality of the illustrations and how well the artist has captured the scenes and characters. Readers will get treated with a page of artwork every chapter. Yay!
Second, there is an original soundtrack written for the book, an amazing post-rock/progressive electro rock album by The Revolver Project. I am so, so, so happy with how the soundtrack has come out. Early listeners have universally proclaimed, “This sounds like it’s from a horror movie”. I think that counts as a massive success. Music is an integral part of writing for me, so there is something inherent and natural about a book having companion theme songs. Double yay!

With great pleasure, I introduce to you my tag-ee, and the star of a “Next Big Thing” post! Please direct your attention to the lovely Kristen Tsetsi!

~A

Timelining

Okay. Alright. So. I am not a plotter by nature, and any kind of organisation system I have tried has failed me utterly. Something about all of the bits and bobs (especially in certain speciality writing programs) leave me irritable and unproductive. This shouldn’t go here, and what is that doing there, grumble grumble. Too bad I’m not a programmer, or I would just make my own application the way I want it.

But there comes a time when some things are necessary, and you either adapt, or fall to the ground in a sobbing heap. I adapted, and man, have I ever been missing out on the fun!

The Damning Moths requires an ongoing timeline. Simply put, there are a number of vital players in different locations who I need to keep track of, even if their actions never show up on paper. Oh, sure, I hummed and hahhed over how best to do this, and tried the sort of standard-looking horizontal timeline dealie (you know the kind they have to depict historical events or a person’s lifetime). That flopped. Too many people, too many things happening, too difficult to modify; I found myself holding the original sketchy outline of “character, location, and event” in a messy pile in my notebook, with a bucket-load of extra frustration. So what do I try to keep this tidy and easier to reference to prevent mistakes?

I realised at some point, people use daily planners in the format they are because it’s the effective way. I already knew the calendar system for TDM (which is actually far too complicated to relate in a few sentences), the length of the years, the months and seasons, so forth. Which lead me to the somewhat lengthy, but ultimately very useful process of creating the full calendar in a normal OpenOffice document, using a table. Yep, just like a real calendar, with little boxes for each day, or month, or year, depending on the level of detail it holds.

As such, I have several versions to reference. The historical, which is just years listed, because the characters have lifespans of hundreds of years, so I just use that to note births, deaths, and important events like wars, covering the past several thousand years as I need it. Then we move down to important years, which shows all the dates for a more specific tracking of events and the season they occur in. And now, the individual book calendar, which follows where people are at times of the day and when important plot points are revealed to various characters.

Sound complicated? It is and isn’t; when TDM deals so heavily with misplaced memory and deceit between people that the individual character’s knowledge at different times is a major factor, this makes it much, much easier. It took a lot of work in the first place to build the calendars. But it’s so refreshing to have it finally laid out where I can see everything at a glance, and I’ve kept blank copies of the yearly calendar to re-use for each subsequent book. There won’t be future issues regarding who is where and what they know about at the time. I’ve got it covered. I can easily figure out people’s relative age during events through history, keep track of who knows who and when they meet, and of course, at the book level, I can make sure no one will be written in two places at once as these subplots come crashing together. It’s exciting.

~A

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