My top ten mythical beasts

There comes a time in every man’s life when he must sit back and ponder the universe’s imponderable questions, such as: Do you get wetter or drier if you run home in the rain? Why is moldy cheese good but moldy milk bad? And what are the most super-duper awesomest mythical beasts ever?

Coincidentally, just as I was drawing up a list of the latter, I was asked to write a top ten for a blog called the Creatively Green Write At Home Mom as part of my book tour to promote the Embodied Trilogy Special Edition Ebook Collection. Here’s the link to the post, and be warned… the number one might surprise you!

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Here’s one final issue to ponder while walking through the rain or eating moldy cheese: Are ebooks real? And if they aren’t, does that mean they’re mythical beasts too?

John

PS – Let me know what your favorite mythical beasts are and why in the comments below.

Photo from Wikipedia: CC-BY-SA-2.5

Book tour interview

I’m thoroughly enjoying my blog book tour (watch out for my mythical creatures Top 10 list next week!) and today’s stop is at Urban Fantasy Investigations, where I have an interview and book giveaway contest.

Check out my interview here.

In the interview, you’ll discover things like what I do in my down time, which character in the Embodied trilogy was my favourite to write, and where I keep my piece of the Berlin Wall.

 

My first book tour!

Rather like one of my favourite literary characters, Don Quixote, I shall put on my suit of armour tomorrow morning and embark on a chivalrous quest, riding my trusty steed.

Okay, fine, just like the man from La Mancha, I’m letting my imagination get the better of me. But tomorrow morning I will drive my daughter to camp in my trusty Subaru and THEN… I shall be visiting the first of many stops on a month-long virtual tour of fantasy and science fiction book blogs.

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Blog tours are a great way for a Young Adult author like me to get in touch with new readers and share some information about my books, my life and my writing. A tour is the online equivalent of travelling to a bunch of book stores across North America doing interviews and signing sessions.

During the tour, I’ll be promoting the new Embodied trilogy special edition ebook collection, which is out tomorrow. As the name suggests, it’s a 3-in-1 version of the entire series. But that’s not all! The reason it’s a special edition is that it also includes deleted scenes (basically an alternate ending) from Diamond Splinters, as well as a brand new foreword with author insights and a fun quiz/treasure hunt. As a bonus deal, for the duration of the tour, the trilogy ebook’s retail price is 20% off ($7.99 instead of $9.99).

Here’s the full tour schedule with details of what you can expect at each stop along the way. Thank you to the awesome Roxanne Rhoads at Bewitching Book Tours for organizing the whole thing. More dates may be added along the way. Now to grab my sword and shield…

July 11 Spotlight

Share My Destiny

http://sharemydestiny.blogspot.com


July 12 Interview

Deal Sharing Aunt 

http://dealsharingaunt.blogspot.com/


July 13 Interview

Roxanne’s Realm 

http://www.roxannerhoads.com/


July 14 Interview and review

Happy Tails and Tales Blog

http://happytailsandtales.blogspot.com


July 15 Spotlight

3 Partners in Shopping, Nana, Mommy, and Sissy, Too!

http://3partnersinshopping.blogspot.com/


July 18 Interview

Fang-tastic Books 

http://fang-tasticbooks.blogspot.com/


July 19 Spotlight

Lisa’s World of Books

http://www.lisasworldofbooks.net/


July 20 Spotlight

Zenny's Awesome Book Reviews

https://zennysawesomebookreviews.wordpress.com/


July 22 Interview

Urban Fantasy Investigations

http://urbanfantasyinvestigations.blogspot.com/


July 25 Guest Blog/Top Ten List

The Creatively Green Write at Home Mom 

http://creativelygreen.blogspot.com/


July 27 Interview

Sharon Buchibinder

http://sharonbuchbinder.blogspot.com/


July 28 Spotlight

JeanzBookReadNReview      

http://jeanzbookreadnreview.blogspot.co.uk/


July 29 Review

Romance Authors That Rock

https://pratr.wordpress.com/


August 1 Spotlight and review

The Silver Dagger Scriptorium

http://silver-dagger-scriptorium.weebly.com/


August 2 Interview

The Violent Vixen

theviolentvixen.blogspot.com


August 3Interview

Diane’s Book Blog 

http://dianes-book.blogspot.com


August 4 Interview

House of Books 

http://www.house-of-books.com


August 5 Spotlight

Ramblings of a book nerd

www.booknerdramblings.com


August 8 Spotlight

T's Stuff  

http://teresanoel.blogspot.com/

 

MI5 versus Noah Webster

This short article in yesterday’s Guardian about the spelling of the word Spectre in the most recent James Bond title is an interesting delve into a perceived cultural battle between American and British spelling. The title of the article, How James Bond rescued filmgoers from the Spectre of Americanisation, contains three Britishisms itself: “filmgoers” (which would be “moviegoers” in North America), “spectre”, and, ironically, “Americanisation” (which would be spelled “Americanization” in the US).

Does Spectre's left hand know what its right hand is doing?

Does Spectre’s left hand know what its right hand is doing?

The writer of the article says that, “The Commonwealth is home to more than 2 billion people, America roughly 318 million. Understandably, speakers of other languages tend to be more familiar with British English than with its younger counterpart, except in places like the Philippines, where American influence has held sway.” However the cultural influence of American English is proportionately far greater than those numbers would suggest. Movie making, just like publishing, is an industry, and ultimately it’s the size of the market (its spending power) that counts.

Of course there’s no right or wrong when it comes to spelling variations across cultures, although Brits do tend to get very touchy about these things. As a kid in England, I can remember my mother not allowing me and my sister to watch Sesame Street because she didn’t want me to grow up “talking American”, which is a bit strange, since American kids who watch Harry Potter don’t end up sounding like posh Brits!

And I should know how bizarre these discussions can get because I now live in Canada, where there are three different accepted spellings of the word yogurt. Or is that yogourt? Or yoghurt? Either way, I’ll take mine shaken, not stirred.

Photo credit: Tamsin Slater / Foter.com / CC BY-SA

Busting the myth of work-life balance by Susan Olding

QWF Writes

Inside the Cardinal Studio, one of the Leighton Studios at Banff Centre for the Arts.

About a year ago, I was invited to give a talk to some graduate students at Queen’s University about what was billed as “work-life balance.” Sure, I said. Why not? That should be easy.

There was only one small problem. For me, “work-life balance” is an unattainable mirage. I am the farthest thing from an expert on the topic.

The truth is, most of my days pass in a blur of immediate “to-dos.” And the hours that I so carefully set aside for creative work often go instead to the unanticipated trip to the doctor, the emergency phone call from the school or the rush-rush project for the paid job.

I used to spend a lot of time feeling resentful, inadequate and guilty about that. Because other people seemed to combine their creative work with the rest of their lives successfully. Other people seemed to have some magical ability that…

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Medium just became XXL

Medium is a great platform for sharing written work and sparking intelligent online conversations, uncluttered by crap from those peskily ubiquitous trolls. Yesterday Medium announced a series of improvements to the site and app. It’s been almost a year that I’ve been considering creating a separate blog on Medium for my non-fiction work but I’ve never managed to find the time. I really should. Medium is great.

Time for a shift

Hello followers! Wait, that makes me sound a bit like a religious leader or a dictator, and I’m just a humble author. The thing is, “followers” is how WordPress terms the people who subscribe to updates from a blog. Maybe I’ll call them bloggowers. It’s ugly and I probably won’t use it ever again, but right here, right now, I have bloggowers!

Anyhoo, on with the post. I’ve made a decision as the publisher of Sitting at your Desk Isn’t Work to tell the editor of Sitting at your Desk Isn’t Work to harangue the writers of Sitting at your Desk Isn’t Work because they aren’t creating enough interesting content. The trouble is, the publisher, editor and writers of Sitting at your Desk Isn’t Work are all me, and I’m also an author trying to write and self-publish books. My time is therefore limited.

That’s why I’ve made an executive decision to post more frequently with content from elsewhere about writing and the publishing industry (both traditional and indie). This is win-win-win, because I don’t feel the need to create 600-word articles every week or two, my bloggowers get to read interesting content more often, and the writers of that content get links to their original articles. It’s either that or I unethically outsource my posts to child bloggers in Bangladesh.

Editor

Me*, earlier, revealing the blog’s new direction to my enormous staff of writers.

I may also start using my professional Facebook or Twitter accounts to post snippets of news on how my books are progressing, rather than struggle to craft an entire post on this blog every time I pass a milestone.

This isn’t exactly a makeover. Sitting at your Desk Isn’t Work will now become more like a channel for news on the industry and tips on writing fiction, but will basically look the same. Maybe I’ll call it a makeunder. So that’s two words minted in the space of five minutes. Enjoy the makeunder, my bloggowers!

 

*This is actually editor Alan Rusbridger addressing the Guardian newsroom to toast the paper’s Pulitzer win. Photo credit: katybird / Foter / CC BY-NC-SA

Kevin Spacey: “The audience has spoken. They want stories. They’re dying for them.”

As everyone knows, time flies when you’re having fun. And also when you’re writing a novel (which can sometimes be fun as well). So this video from 2013 of Kevin Spacey giving a speech about the importance of good storytelling has now become an “oldie but a goodie”. It recently popped back into my mind because I finished watching the third season of House of Cards on Netflix, in which Spacey stars as Machiavellian US president Frank Underwood. That, by the way, is a fantastic name for his character. He seems frank, while Underwood is a white-bread Anglo-Saxon surname that matches Frank’s down-home public persona. But on a subconscious level, the “underwood” is a dark place where things crawl, scuttle and lurk. This is the seedy underbelly of Frank’s political trajectory – the rotten roots of a gnarled tree that he and his wife Claire have watered with murder, deceit, sex, and drugs. Come to think of it, House of Cards is basically a Shakespearean supervillain tag team featuring Richard III and Lady MacBeth.

Spacey

Click on the photo to hear about storytelling, Spacey-style.

All this to say, storytelling is the currency of great entertainment, whether it appears on the small screen(s), big screen or the pages of a book. Just as television series such as The Sopranos, Mad Men, Breaking Bad, and House of Cards are now arguably more artistically and culturally relevant than motion pictures, multi-novel book series have also increased in readership, relevance, and publishing income over recent years. Was the trend started by Harry Potter or the Twilight series? In Young Adult fiction, series have certainly become the norm, with subject matter varying from the Hunger Games to Mara Dyer and pretty much everything in-between.

The opportunity for an author is to do what Kevin Spacey describes in his speech: weave a storytelling web over literally years that features characters who change, grow, love, and sometimes unexpectedly die, leaving fangirls and boys wringing their hands and cursing the authors (all the while secretly loving the epic level of emotion, or as the parlance has it, the “feels”).

If done badly, a series of YA books becomes nothing more than a constant re-hashing of the storyline from book one. That’s just lazy. It means the author realized he or she had a cash cow and then milked it dry. The other option is to create a fictional world then keep expanding it in every direction. That’s keeping the cow and building a farm around it. And that’s what keeps readers coming b