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Posts Tagged ‘science ficiton’

Happy April Fools’ Day! One of my not-so-foolish goals for 2016 is to become more productive. For me, I know my productivity is hampered by my lack of organization. In other words, I need to get rid of the clutter (both literal and figurative) and focus.

Sometimes, thinking outside of the box, organizing in fluid ways, and having lots of pots on the stove can result in a flock of fabulous ideas. The problem is, without focus, those ideas are often not completed. And time spent on half-done projects is wasted until those projects are completed. I thought I’d take you on this journey, too:

My completed project list – March 31st

Writing: completed a science fiction novelette – time to get it in the hands of my publisher

Non-writing: finished a crocheted afghan for granddaughter

My projects to be completed by April 30th

Writing: 1- finish typing letters home from World War II from a great-uncle and begin research for this nonfiction book

2- revise and add a story to The Greener Forest for re-release by a new publisher

3- finish at least 2 short stories and submit them to publishers

Non-writing: 1- finish a crocheted afghan for youngest grandson

2- add a quilt border to 2 embroidered samplers and frame them

3- gather and scan at least 10 black and white drawings, then submit them to publishers

Even as I type this, it feels ambitious, but I think I can manage. I came across an interesting article on becoming more productive by Lisa M. Gerry: Three Ways to be Instantly More Productive in which she enlists the help of The Power of Habit author Charles Duhigg to share 3 tips for becoming more efficient.  Here’s the link.

How about you – do you have any other ideas for increasing productivity?

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Sandy after licking snow First, Happy Thanksgiving to all my readers. I’m grateful for so many things in my life including those readers who pick up (or download) one of my books and read it. Though, I’m not sure I’m especially thankful for yesterday’s snow.

Second, I hope some of you are planning on attending Chessiecon this weekend. It’s a small science-fiction/ fantasy convention with quite a bit of steampunk programming. I’ll have art in the art show, be participating on both writing and art panels, be reading from Owl Light, be selling and signing books, and have some of my art, etc. in the vendors’ area. Please stop by and say, “Hello.”

Third, I’ll be a next Saturday’s Authors & Artists Holiday Sale at the Bel Air (Maryland) Armory. Again, I’ll have books and art available for purchase for you or holiday gift-giving.

Fourth, The Gunpowder Review 2014 is complete and currently undergoing a little editorial and typesetting polishing. I expect it to be published soon. (Contributors will be hearing from me shortly).

Lastly, I’ve been out of town visiting family, and have fallen behind on my posts. Don’t worry, I have lots of interesting links and posts to share over the next few weeks.

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Sandra Ulbrich Almazan Thanks to author Sandra Ulbrich Almazan for stopping by and sharing Seasons Beginning’s journey from short story to novel. Enjoy!

From Short Story to Novel by Sandra Ulbrich Almazan

“A long time ago (but not in a galaxy far, far away), I wrote a short story called “Demon’s Diamond.” I never submitted it anywhere, as it was a story I’d written just for me to help me understand the fantasy world I was writing about in my novels. The story focused on an incident that triggered a magical vendetta against an entire nation. (This vendetta is the focus of later stories in this world.) I did put the short story on my old website, but I have no idea if anyone read it.

Many years later, I revisited that fantasy world and decided it was time to expand on that short story. I’d come up with new ideas about how magic worked, what the characters were like, and how the history in the short story related to the main story I wanted to tell. But starting with a story of about 5,000 words and expanding it to nearly 80,000 words is a daunting prospect. Where do you start?

There are two main ways one can turn a short story into a novel: you can add more material throughout the story to lengthen it, or you can use the ending of the short story as a plot point in the book and develop the events that occur after it. I wound up doing a combination of both.

Demon’s Diamond” became Part One of Seasons’ Beginnings and grew to nearly 18,000 words. Obviously the pacing of this section is more leisurely than that of the short story. Much of the material I added develops the characters and the world. We get to see more background of the main characters that explains why they make the choices they do. Some characters who play a more important role later on in the story are shown briefly, as are some of the locations. Some material was added to the climax, and I had to change some details to be consistent with my overall plans for the series, but the ending of Part One is similar to that of “Demon’s Diamond.”

Although adding new material to the end of a story sounds easier than reworking the entire story, that wasn’t the case for this book. Perhaps it would have been if Part Two started immediately after Part One. However, about a year elapsed between the two parts of this story, and that break was jarring for my beta readers. I originally wrote Seasons’ Beginnings with just chapter breaks, not part breaks, but I identified Parts One and Two to make the transition more obvious. The first scene of Part Two is set in the same location as the first scene of Part One. I set that up deliberately to show the changes that had happened to my character in the meantime. I also added a brief conversation at the start of Part Two where my main character talks about some of the key events that happened between Parts One and Two. This helps orient the reader before returning her to the main plot.

Seasons rgb, FINAL, med, low res Whether you write short stories, novels, or both, I hope my writing experiences have given you some ideas you can try with your own stories. If you’re a reader, I hope you enjoyed this glimpse into the writing process. Please feel free to contact me if you have any questions.”

For your reading pleasure, here’s the Seasons’ Beginnings Blurb:

“Kron Evenhanded is an artificer, able to enchant any man-made object, but he finds people more difficult to work with. When he visits the city of Vistichia, he encounters Sal-thaath, an extremely magical but dangerous child created by Salth, another magician Kron knew at the Magic Institute. Kron attempts to civilize Sal-thaath, but when his efforts lead to tragedy, Kron is forced to ally himself with a quartet of new deities and their human Avatars. Together they must defend Vistichia as Salth attempts to drain its life and magic. But Salth has Ascended halfway to godhood over Time. Will Kron’s artifacts be enough to protect the Avatars, especially the woman he loves, or will Time separate them?”

About the Author: Sandra Ulbrich Almazan started reading at the age of three and only stops when absolutely required to. Although she hasn’t been writing quite that long, she did compose a very simple play in German during middle school. Her science fiction novella Move Over Ms. L. (an early version of Lyon’s Legacy) earned an Honorable Mention in the 2001 UPC Science Fiction Awards, and her short story “A Reptile at the Reunion” was published in the anthology Firestorm of Dragons. Other published works by Sandra include Twinned Universes and several science fiction and fantasy short stories. She is a founding member of Broad Universe, which promotes science fiction, fantasy, and horror written by women. Her undergraduate degree is in molecular biology/English, and she has a Master of Technical and Scientific Communication degree. Her day job is in the laboratory of an enzyme company; she’s also been a technical writer and a part-time copyeditor for a local newspaper. Some of her other accomplishments are losing on Jeopardy! and taking a stuffed orca to three continents. She lives in the Chicago area with her husband, Eugene; and son, Alex. In her rare moments of free time, she enjoys crocheting, listening to classic rock (particularly the Beatles), and watching improv comedy.

To learn more about Sandra and her books, visit at her website, blog, Twitter, Facebook, and Goodreads.

Like to buy one of Sandra’s books? Here are a Buy Link for Amazon (Kindle) and Createspace (paper).

Thanks again to Sandra Ulbrich Almazan for her guest post. Watch Whimsical Words for more guests, Quotable Wednesdays, Owl Posts, blogs from me, and occasional Readers & Writers Recipes. Have a magical day! – Vonnie

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FireFly

For Browncoats, die-hard fans of the short-lived Firefly television series and Serenity movies, there’s news in the ether.  A Firefly tie-in game is set to release in 2015.

Now, I’m not a gamer, but every time a Firefly related item or book hits the market, I hope for another movie. (As much as I’d love the series to return to television, I’m a realist – Nathan Fillion is having too much success with Castle, and I’m sure he’s signed a long-term contract.)

So Browncoats celebrate – Firefly lives on!

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Thanks to author, Jaleta Clegg for stopping by and reminding us of our need for storytellers. Enjoy!

The Need for Storytellers by Jaleta Clegg

biosmall Humans are storytellers. Look at our history. Stories have been handed down for ages. We have stories to warn and teach. We have stories to amuse. We have stories to help us remember. We even have stories about storytellers. Scherezade saved her life and the kingdom with her storytelling. Allan A’Dale recorded Robin Hood’s exploits and by doing so, became part of his legend.

Everyone of us is a storyteller to some degree. Remember when you were little and got caught with your hand in the cookie jar? “I didn’t eat the cookies, mom, honest. It was the giant gorilla who lives under the couch. He ate the cookies.” Or your imaginary friend who used to play with you. Or when you played make-believe. All of us have a need to tell stories. It’s part of being human.

Galaxy Quest brought up an interesting alien race. They had no concept of fiction or stories. It led to some very funny situations in the movie, but think if that were true. How would our society change if we had no concept of fiction or make-believe or lying? Everything we said, every story we told, would have to be completely true. I have a hard time imagining such a world.

Some people have predicted that we will no longer need storytellers because technology is making the paper book obsolete. But the paper book, and popular fiction as we know it today, have only been around a little more than a hundred years. We’ve had storytellers for thousands. The medium may change, but we will always need storytellers.

Think of your favorite game. I bet it tells a story. Think of your favorite movies. Someone had to create the story for those. Think of tv shows, music, art–all of these tell stories in their own way.

poisonpawn I started writing my stories after reading a lot of very disappointing books. I was frustrated by characters I didn’t like and endings that left me with a bad taste. I couldn’t find books with the type of stories I wanted to read. I love adventure, action, explosions, good guys who are mostly good, and bad guys who might as well wear a black hat to advertise their badness. I love a bit of romance mixed in. I love books that end with a positive note. Maybe I’m old-fashioned, but that’s the kind of story I love. That’s what I set out to create.

I’m addicted to storytelling now. I can’t stop myself. I’ve always loved it. So be warned, once you let your inner child loose with your imagination, you won’t be able to stop. But who would want to? We humans love a good yarn.”

Jaleta Clegg loves playing with words, stringing them into new worlds and spinning yarns about the people and creatures who populate those worlds. Her stories range from science fiction adventure to silly horror to everything in between. You can find more about her at www.jaletac.com and about her science fiction series at www.altairanempire.com You can follow her blog, The Far Edge of Normal at http://jaletaclegg.blogspot.com (and for fans of recipes, Jaleta also posts them on her blog). To buy her books, including the soon-to-be released Poisoned Pawn: http://tinyurl.com/jaleta-clegg-amazon

Thanks again to Jaleta Clegg for her guest post. Watch Whimsical Words for more guests, blogs from me, and my new feature, Readers & Writers Recipes. Have a magical day!– Vonnie

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