Writing Like I Used To: A Guest Post By Julie E. Czerneda

It was my pleasure to host Julie E. Czerneda when she launched her fantasy debut A Turn of Light, and I’m so glad she wanted to come back to talk about her return to science fiction, This Gulf of Time and Stars!

This Gulf of Time and Stars releases November 3, 2015. Learn more about the series and author below, and please welcome Julie E. Czerneda!

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Guest Blogging At Inkpunks And Having Conversations Between Authors!

Hey folks, I’ve got a guest blog up over on The Inkpunks website about writing in a city where you don’t live, and Minerva Zimmerman is hosting me on the “Conversations Between Authors” feature on her website, so please send them your clicks!

Over the years that I’ve been traveling to conventions, I’ve had the pleasure of meeting many of the Inkpunks crew, and am happy to call a bunch of them friends. There’s always a great articles to be read there, and I’m stoked to have one of mine among them. Not only are the blogs interesting, but the Inkpunks are a talented group of writers, artists, and editors, so after you check out their website, check out their work. Thanks, Sandra Wickham for asking me if I wanted to send them something.

Minerva and I “met” for the first time on Twitter, around the time that I sold my story “A Taste of the Other Side” to Jennifer Brozek’s anthology Beast Within 4: Gears & Growls. Minerva had sold a story to Beast Within 3: Oceans Unleashed (also edited by Jennifer Brozek). I can’t remember who followed who first, but I do remember having some fun conversations. It was also great to finally meet Minerva at World Horror Con 2014 in Portland. Here’s hoping we cross paths at another convention soon.

In the meantime, Minerva has got a book birthday of her own coming up soon, so check out her debut novel, Take on Me!

Thanks for the great conversation, Minerva!

Write on!

Guest Post: Clare C. Marshall on Writing the Bad Guy

Please welcome back to the blog, Clare Marshall!

It’s been a year since her first YA novel, Within, was published, and I’m a part of her celebratory blog tour. Today, Clare talks about writing the bad guy:

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It’s not every story that we get to hear from the bad guy.

If you’ve never heard of my book before, here’s a brief synopsis. It’s about a girl named Trinity who gets in a car accident, and as a result, has brain damage. But then she starts uncontrollably writing a novel, streamlining the consciousness of a murderer who turns out to be very real. It’s up to Trinity’s boyfriend Zack, and Trinity’s best friend Ellie to determine who the murderer is before he finds them—and he’s closer to home than they realize. Plus, the book takes place in the very real city of Halifax.

Within is written in third person with multiple POVs, and one of those POVs is the psychotic murderer, named Edmund. Now, Edmund fancies himself a clever man, and in many ways, he is quite clever. He likes to prey upon the weak-minded to help him with his schemes–aka, murdering those he considers to be impure–ethnic minorities and homeless people especially. He makes up a fake god named Omnus, who demands sacrifice, and grants power to his followers for each kill. In reality, during the convoluted killing ritual that Edmund has concocted, he serves wine laced with a powerful hallucinogenic to his followers.

But why, you might be asking, why would it be necessary to have Edmund go through all this song and dance just to kill people? Why can’t he just stab his victims in an alleyway? A couple of reasons: first of all, that would be too boring for him. It’s about the chase: picking out his victims according to his specific code of twisted ethics, and capturing them, taking them to his secret lair beneath the Halifax Common. The Commons (as it’s locally known) is a park in Halifax that you really don’t want to go around at night. Or at least, when I lived in Halifax, it wasn’t a place you wanted to be after dark, alone.

It’s also about the control Edmund has over the people gullible enough to buy into his charade. His followers become addicted to the feeling of power that he gives them. His dark rituals take place in caverns beneath the Commons, so he can hide his face from the public and practice his guilty pleasures. The more involved his devotees become, the more they have to lose.

And because Edmund prefers this kind of chase, this kind of control, he needs his followers to help him kidnap his victims and get rid of their remains. The more complicated the scheme, the more loose ends there are.

Will these loose ends be Edmund’s undoing? Well, you’re just going to have to read it and find out!

Read more about Within at Faery Ink Press (http://www.faeryinkpress.com), and enter the giveaway to win a physical copy (open internationally!)

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Clare Marshall grew up in rural Nova Scotia with very little television and dial up internet, and yet, she turned out okay. She has a combined honours degree in journalism and psychology from the University of King’s College, and is a graduate from Humber College’s Creative Book Publishing Program. She is a freelance editor, designer and website manager, and enjoys publishing books through her publishing imprint, Faery Ink Press. When she’s not writing, she enjoys playing the fiddle and making silly noises at cats.

A Guest Post by Sarah Kades

It’s my great pleasure to host a guest blog from Adventure Romance writer, Sarah Kades today! Sarah and I used to work together at the bookstore, where (if memory serves) we were both just starting to get serious about our writing.

With the holiday season about to hit us all like a Mack truck, enjoy a post about trying to find quiet time and a short sample from one of Sarah’s stories.

Holiday Hideout, Elbowing in Quiet Time

by Sarah Kades

I want to thank Chadwick for having me as a guest on his blog, it is great to be here!

Happy Thanksgiving to our southern neighbors today. I have found a lot to support the notion that people are people wherever you go. Sure, there are cultural accents, some pretty freaking huge, but I have lived in a few different countries and there are a lot of universal experiences. The Holiday Hideout is one of them. You know what I’m talking about, it’s the holidays and you are in a house full of your relatives, maybe you have even travelled far from your home and your normal to get there. Sure you love them, they are your family, but there is a reason everyone moved out of the house. And it wasn’t just to lose the curfew, have coed sleepovers, sleep until noon, and eat Ramen noodles three times a day. Okay, the last one was more a financial decision at the time, but you get my point. We move out for freedom, to spread our wings, to fly or crash and burn. Whatever happens, we’re unfolding into who we are, which might not be the same as the family slot we’ve been assigned to. People change, we grow up, change our minds and sometimes even our ideologies or world views.

Enter a holiday. Adults with backstory congregating under one roof? Oh dear, did I pack booze? Chocolate or a good coffee works wonders for me, as well. Holidays bring out joy, but also a lot of family baggage we’ve been hanging onto for years. Did I mention the booze? I’m already into the wine. But seriously, I am excited. Maybe not for the fireworks, but in hanging out with the people I grew up with. There is a poignant soul searching that happens every time I go back home. Sitting around the table or living room and laughing so hard you think you are going to pee your pants as all the old stories come out is good, too.

In my case I tack on the added charge of marrying a dude from another country, having immigrated to said country that happens to be more liberal than the U.S. This has spurred all sorts of fantastic dinner table . . . conversations . . . heated discussions. . .  ‘er, debates?

We all need down time, time to regroup, recharge, refresh before we go back at it again with more holiday visiting. We need the Holiday Hideout. How do we hang out with the family over any length of time and keep our sanity? There are the old standbys, a thwack of football games and parades today to tune out in front of the TV or attend, card games, video games and of course the movies. There is a reason the holiday season kicks out blockbusters; we can be entertained and technically hanging out with our family, but not talking to each other for a couple hours.

One of my favorite Holiday Hideouts is nature, I find my best solace and recharge when I am outside. When I am home with my in-laws, who I adore, but still need my hideout time, I escape to Lake Ontario. It’s a big lake full of peace to share for those sitting at her shores. All the swirling energy of the day or season can be grounded by taking the time to just be outside and present at the shore. A hike or a simple walk outside help, too. Notice the smell of the trees, the crisp air, or just look up. How often do we take the time to stop and look up at the sky? I’ve also been known to run outside to savor a storm and the cleansing energy they bring, much to the confusion of my relatives.

Holidays are charged, go ground.

How about a literary ground? Curling up with a good book and exploring an engaging story can give us a welcome respite. Check out Chadwick’s book, Thunder Road, or my novella Claiming Love and discuss. Riveting dinner conversation, I promise! Who brings Norse mythology or paranormal romance to the holiday dinner table? Maybe you this year. Way to rock it! I’m posting an excerpt from my short story, Duke Out at the Diner below, to stoke the literary fires.

Ground away.

You have to wait a bit longer for my story The Cop Can Cook, and Other Christmas Miracles. I am elbowing in Holiday Hideout time to work on that this week. Fun!!

So to my fellow Americans, Canadians, and all the citizens of the world, Happy Thanksgiving. Today is a great day to reflect on all that I have to be thankful for. The list is long and fruitful with a lot of incredible people, but let me simply raise a glass in toast and say thank you to the wondrous adventure that is life, to all the amazing people I get to experience it with, and thank you to Chadwick for letting me sit around his blog hearth on this day of thanks and gratitude.

Sláinte and Happy Thanksgiving,

Sarah

Sarah Kades

Adventure Romance Writer of the great outdoors, characters you want to have a beer with and usually a helicopter.

www.sarahkades.com

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From the short story Duke Out at the Diner

It’s a terrible thing to realize you have food stuck in your teeth. Even more terrible when the shiny napkin dispenser you’re slyly using to check, points it out.

“I’m not a napkin dispenser, I’m in the thing. There’s a difference.”

“Ahhh.” Shay shrieked. “Who said that?”

Cautiously she peered around the deserted cafe. The waitress and cook had disappeared out the side door, giggling and mooning over each other. No way were they back yet.

“I have got to get more sleep.” Shay ran her tongue over her teeth in front of the dispenser’s mirrored surface, wondering if she could imagine voices because of lack of sleep.

“Your teeth are fine. Now get me out of here.”

Shay dropped the chatty dispenser onto the table and looked around in panic. I can’t be imagining that.

“I’m stuck in here, now get me out.”

Shay stared at the unassuming chrome napkin dispenser talking to her.

“I. Am. Not. A. Napkin. Dispenser.” The voice started in the tone used in talking to someone dimwitted, but ended in an enraged growl, “I just need you to get me the hell out of here.”

Shay jumped in her seat at having her mind read, but the boorish attitude and unwarranted snapping spurred her to action. Shay was sick of men treating her like an idiot. With a new-found smile, she swatted the offending chrome piece, launching it into the air. It landed with a thud on the floor and skidded a few feet.

For a mind reader, he should have seen that one coming, she thought smugly.

In that brief moment, Shay had unleashed on all the men who had hurt her in the past. A paltry thing, throwing around diner-ware, but it had felt darn good. Shay’s manners returned, though, and she couldn’t stop herself from getting up and retrieving the fallen canister. It now had a dinged corner and dirt on it from skidding across the uncleaned-floor.

With a sigh and feeling a bit self-conscious, Shay grabbed one of the napkins held within and started to rub clean the unobtrusive object. She must have been imagining the darn thing talking to her. She needed to get more sleep, work less, and regroup more. That’s what coming to this town was supposed to be about anyway. And getting away from Jerrod.

Rubbing the dirt off, Shay looked at her reflection in the chrome, remembering when her life had been normal, with nothing scarier than the calorie count on her favorite ice cream. And even that wasn’t scary, it was delicious. Life had been simple, wonderful, and then the rug had been pulled out from underneath her. Almost in a trance she rubbed the napkin holder, thinking, dreaming of how she was getting her life back on track.

“Stop that. . .  quit rubbing, that’s enough, I’m already coming-” The voice was back.

A swooshing sound rang through the empty room. She still held the chrome piece, but now an irate looking man had materialized and now lumbered over her. Broad shoulders crowded near Shay’s face. Okay, so definitely not a napkin holder. The man was gorgeous. Cranky, but undeniably gorgeous. Why had the most interesting man she’d ever seen materialize from an inanimate object? In so many ways, life was not fair. And why did he look so grumpy? He was probably an ass, like all the other men in her life.

“Out.“ Eric finished his sentence. Dusting off his jeans and running his large hands through longish dark blond hair, he glared at his rescuer.

“Nice rub-down.” He knew he spat the angry words, but he couldn’t seem to help it.

The woman had been so spunky, then caring, and then so lost. Not to mention she was clean-spun gorgeous. Eric could deal with the fairer sex, no problem. But not knock-out wholesome beauties with backstory. God help him.

The woman’s vibrant green eyes narrowed at his comment. Eric couldn’t wait to find out what she would do. This was madness, he needed to get out of here, find out how to break the curse so wouldn’t be stuck back in that damn dispenser again. But the woman before him was making it impossible to move. Eric was mesmerized and wanted to see what she would do next.

She did the unthinkable. Eyes still narrowed, she drew her leg back. Eric’s brain was registering what she was doing, but his arrogance couldn’t believe it. People gave him a wide berth, he knew it was because he looked so intimidating. But the fiery minx thrust her knee up and made direct contact where Eric was most vulnerable.