June 17, 2017, BACK on a track (of something)

So there’s been a delay in the blog. That can happen from time to time, especially whenI’m busy with editing and writing.

The result:

Nobilis: Seedling JUST FINISHED its alpha editing!

YAY!

Thanks to THP and crew (Including editor Hypetaph) Seedling now reads even smoother and is a piece to rival any matinee sci-fi that’s out there.

 

It’s also less Rapey. Which is something I never thought I would write. Yes, there was one change, an attempted F on M rape, a role reversal. I wrote it about fifteen years ago, and at the time I thought it was funny.

Looking back on it, no.

So I’m happy with the changes.

 

Over the next few weeks, I’m going to be posting some advice from what I’ve learned over the last year, my first year as an actual, professional author.

I hope it helps someone, anyone, in the future.

Why Anthro? April 17, 2017

Since GENMOS: Gathering Storms was officially published on the last day of March, I’ve been busy running campaigns on Twitter, Facebook, and via the libraries, and while I’ve received good levels of interest, I’ve also often received looks of confusion when the words “Furry” or “Anthro” pop up in conversation.

For those not in the know, Anthropomorphism is defined as “The showing or treating of animals, gods, and objects as if they are human in appearance, character, or behavior:” (1.)

“Furs” or “Furry” is the subgenre of Anthro that directly relates to animals. Now, before you go off in a tiffy fit, take a deep breath, compose yourself, and then ask, “Am I a furry, or a fan of anthropomorphism in general?”

The answer is, most likely if you are reading this, YES.

Modern media has long adapted you to be at least partly familiar with the anthro world. Have you ever enjoyed a Disney flick where animals act with human characteristics, laughed at Bugs Bunny or Porky Pig, cheered when the Ewoks helped the rebellion during the battle of Endor, enjoyed the antics of Thomas the Tank Engine, or encouraged the Ents to defeat the evil Orcs, or utilized plants to destroy hordes of undead? Than congratulations, and welcome to the Anthro Genre.

So why did I chose to write my first novel as an Anthro(Furry) adventure? Several reasons. As I have already implied, I have been massively influenced by the anthro genre my entire life, and as such, was reading a glut of furry webcomics when the idea for the Genmos formed in my mind. Also, by casting my characters as not-quite human, I’ve been able to demonstrate all of their human traits and quirks in a much clearer light. All of their flaws positive qualities, desires and emotions are made that much more tangible thanks to their distance from the ‘norm.’

Now I leave you with a challenge: Grab a paper and a writing implement, and for one day, just one, write down everything you see that is “Anthro.” You may be
surprised by just how prevalent the influence of the genre is, without ever realizing it.

 

“Anthropomorphism” Cambridge Dictionary. http://dictionary.cambridge.org/dictionary/english/anthropomorphism (April 17, 2017)

Thomas the Tank Engine http://www.thomasandfriends.com/en-ca/ )

The minimum Word Count. . .March 18, 2017

When I talk in public, I am long-winded, take forever to get to the point, and sometimes my ramblings never even make sense.

When I write, I attempt to be smooth, quick, and efficient.

That’s why one of my biggest pet peeves, is the minimum word count.

I know why it exists, especially for commercial reasons. People don’t want to invest in your story if it’s too short to build character and relations, they also want enough words to make it worth their while to post your works.

That being said, I have come to dread the minimum limit. Over the years I have crafted a multitude of stories, some of them no longer than 1,000 words in length. I eagerly peruse the writer’s classifieds as I search for a place that they may call home.

Often, though, I am stopped by such limitations.

My style of writing has become this.

Plot and plan.
Overwrite( often to the maximum word count and beyond)
Slice and dice( trim the fat off that M%$#r F%$#r until it’s so skinny, Jack Sprat would be envious.)
Proof.
Submit.

Yet, some stories that I create, refuse to even achieve the minimum once my overwrite is done, forcing me to do the opposite.

Plot and plan.
Underwrite
Add Bulls$#@ until it’s long enough.
Slice and Dice
Add more bull
Slice and dic-
F$#@1 it. Submit.

That’s why I adore when I see a story requesting a maximum only. It’s such a relief.

No automatic alt text available.

Six Impossible Things Reviewed, March 8th, 2017

 

 

 

While taking a break from creating worlds, I decided to peruse others’ creations. Being frugal by both nature and necessity (Insert your own comment about the provincial government here) I was delighted to find an e-book by acclaimed author Renee Carter Hall, a fellow FWG member.

First things first, this is a FREE EBook, available on Smashwords for download.

Do I recommend it? If you are looking for a collection of short stories and flash fiction that can act as literary Prozac, then $#@! Yes, I recommend this collection. Not only is it well written, the characters feel alive, are relatable, and each story is just long enough to give you an impact in the feels, or just enough of a break to help relax you emotionally before the next big hit. Each story can be quickly read through, and some are just a single page, quick enough to skim over while sitting on the can. (Hey! Don’t judge. At least I don’t do Sudoku there) Best of all, the stories are clean. There is no gore for shock value, and the little nudity is natural, not thrown in for simple titillation.
I would feel more than safe handing this collection to a middle-grade class

Is there any flaw with the overall collection? I had a small bone to nitpick on, but it’s so slight who really cares? There is an occasional word repeated so close together, either in the same sentence or next, where a glance at a thesaurus could have easily one without losing meaning, for example, “The white one was so white that it almost glowed.”, but it happens so infrequently I’m certain it is just me being a stick-in-the-mud.

So, now I’m going to dive in a little further. For starters, the cover. It is simple, easy, looks inexpensive, but it’s a joke on its own. The single, tiny piece of artwork fits the mood, and considering the price you’re paying for it, it’s more than we deserve.

The first story revolves around a father, who’s nervous and anxious for reasons anyone who has ever had a child would be. I instantly connected with the character, and I felt his pain. It brought back memories to me of waiting when you want to see your child, know they are alright, needing to protect them, but know that you have to put their lives, and your faith, in someone else, and just wait.

I almost put the book down right there, not because of the story, but because I felt the anxiety. Relief comes in something beautiful, a childhood friend in a long forgotten comfort, and just like the main character, I became more relaxed, able to continue, able to enjoy and remember, forever briefly, visits to Narnia or Eamon with my siblings, escapes to my own worlds, losing myself in childhood fantasies, that as an adult, I wish I could escape to.

For the second story, Renee switches genders, bringing a lonely lady to the forefront. I worried briefly when I read that she wrote poetry, and thought that the author may just be pretentious enough to toss in a main character who is an author. I LOATHE when story-tellers do that. It feels like a selfie, a form of personal gratification. That, thankfully, was not the case.

A simply cast spell to call for love has unexpected results. This one is fun, charming, and in the end, predictable, but that’s part of the goodness of this short. It made me smile, gave me what I expected, and left me satisfied.

The next short is a flash fiction, a single page long, and a break from happiness. It’s exactly where it needs to be. A woman at a banal job as a Walmart greeter unwittingly allows the four horsemen of the apocalypse into the store, and that’s it. She takes note of them from time to time, and I wondered what was going to happen. The end leaves you wondering if it was a final fling before the destruction of humanity or just a day in their lives. It’s quick, easy, and exactly long enough to break for the next, which helped to make Swear Not by the Moon all the more poignant.

Swear Not By The Moon. My favorite in this collection. A son cares for his ailing father, who was once the strongest and proudest of his kind. You can tell there is love between them, and its sorrowful look at aging was only part of what kept me going.

This is an example of what a short story should be. It’s small enough to read through, to get the characters, to have a beginning and an end that both touch your heart in different ways, but the WORLD, the lore, could be expanded into a full novel, adventures could be had, such a universe is created, and yet, you realize, that’s it, there doesn’t need to be a single word more written. You understand it all, but you WANT more all the same.

Drawn from memory might seem peculiar to some. It’s not unlike Who Framed Roger Rabbit. The world itself is easy to understand, and the story is bittersweet, but triumphant. If I had to choose a blemish though, it would be in the romance that develops. I always find it odd when a father or mentor figure becomes an intimate partner. It always strikes me as a marrying your uncle scenario, but the story is good, and considering that its lead narrator is a fangirl and I’m a guy, I could be missing something. Strangely enough, I didn’t laugh where I thought I should, instead, I found the moments all touched by grief and tenderness. It would be a good story to read when coping with the loss of something precious.

Lastly, Renee concludes her collection with another Flash. It is brief, and the story is simple. A young girl begins a task, continues it when it seems fruitless, stubbornly obsessed with her actions, but the ending makes it all worth it. You too, feel both relief, understanding, and satisfaction at the conclusion.

In short, this anthology is going straight onto my digital bookshelf. I’m keeping a PDF on my hard drive from now on, and I encourage you to check it out too. It’s a good book, short, simple, sweet, and just what might be needed to lift your spirits or remind you that magical moments do exist.

Adapting to Social Media, March 5, 2017

Apologies off the top for my month-long absence, but it has not been without purpose. Once more I have been attempting to: increase my presence on social media, sought reviews for Gathering Storms Advanced Review Copy, adapted Nobilis: Seedling for a submission, polished off a short story I have had on my backburner for over a year, continued to adapt Children of Twilight, while still working my day job and caring for my family.

And I wouldn’t have it any other way. It’s an adventure that I hope will continue.

If you’ve noticed, my homepage now has all my social media links, which I am attempting to update over the next week so that it will be easier to find me across all the separate platforms.

It’s also my goal to increase the Gathering Storms around Canada page, so I’m going to get started on that before my youngest wakes and tears me away from my screen once again.

The Poor Girl in the Bread Aisle, February 12, 2017

My yell of victory was hard won and unrestrained.

I had just received word that my short, “A Choice in Exile.” Had been accepted by Scary Dairy Press for use in their “Mother’s Revenge” anthology.

This made me a multi-genre author!

To say I am excited would be a horrible understatement.

To compound to my overjoyed mood, I just received the recent cover PDF of Gathering Storms. Although it is missing one more critique, it is a work of art. Hats off to the artists and design team, and as soon as the last critique is added, I am not only posting it here, but I will begin a flurry of submissions to libraries and school boards across Canada.

Now excuse me, I’m going to say a brief prayer of thanks, shovel the driveway, and try and stop my hands from shaking.

What is a Canadian Author? January 28, 2016.

 

There was a question, on one of the forums that I currently belong to. It asked, what defines a Canadian novel.  I thought about it, after my initial idea, which was depression, I realized that is not true. Yes, books like Stone Angel are certainly sad, but it was also realistic, and in it, the main character does make realizations that are, in a way, hopeful. Farley Mowat’s works are humorous, but also touching.

So what defines a Canadian novel then?

Is it our landscape?

Is it our cultures?

Is it the weather?

Is it clumped cities or expansive wilderness?

 

This was my answer.

 

The Canadian book is defined by the author.

We are both hopeful, and yet cynical. We are beaten by the weather, but proud of our ability to withstand it.
We are capable of war, and yet we long, and are relied upon, for peace.
We are divided amongst ourselves, but take us away from our land, and we stand shoulder to shoulder, even if we don’t speak the same language.
We desire to fit into a niche, but yet, we find individuality.
We are bonded by our nation, but seek our individual histories as well.
We love our cities, but seek the serenity of our vast lands.
Canadian writing is both the isolation of a Yukon winter, and the hubbub of a megacity.
Canadian writing is both proud, and self-depreciating. (I’m looking at you, Maritimes.)
We are small towns, farmers, loggers, and we are politicians, and salesmen.
We are able to describe a paddle as it breaks a still and reflective water, and we are able to embrace a crowd, a gathering, whose voices split the night.
We can come together and offer the shirts off of our backs, yet we can feud with our neighbors over the colors of our doors.
We are proud of our nation’s past, but embarrassed by our follies all the same.

All of that can be found in their works. Canadian writing is diverse as its people.

Our works reflect us, who we are. Our works can be defined in one word: Humanity.

That is the defining characteristic of Canadian writing

It Takes a Village. . . January 22nd, 2017

What started over 15 years ago as a jumble of thoughts put into some semblance of order, is finally seeing the moment of true birth into the world. I am both excited and apprehensive.

What if all of my hard work, my writing and my editing, my submissions, and my reinventions, turn out to be met with ill reviews and no recognition, or worse, infamy? What if all of my hours are for naught, or ruin my chance of ever being published again?

I have a case of cold fingers, if you will.

There’s also an old adage, “It takes a village to raise a child.” Writers often consider their own books as children, and I guess I am no different. If I think of how long it’s taken me to get Genmos published, and if it was flesh and blood instead of ink and paper, it would be considering college choices right now. It has certainly seen a town’s worth of help to get to where it is now, too.

Here’s a timeline of how Genmos has gone so far,

2002-2003 Initial novel written, 110,000 words.

Submitted to Westwood agency, 2005

Rejected, 2006.

Edited for a more Canadian appeal. Jim Black of Chestnut publishing accepts it, October 2011. 2012, Jim Black leaves Chestnut, and my story is lost in the shuffle. In August, after conversations with Chestnut, Genmos is dropped from the lineup.

2015, I begin ‘murdering my children.’ I trim the fat, get rid of chapters that are useless, and take the story down to 59,000 words.

2016 Submit to Thurston Howl Publications. After reviews, River critic suggests further alterations. We exchange ideas and advice back and forth, more deletions, and I add the beginning of Shadows, the second Genmos book, to bring the word count to about the same, but have added more content, deleted scenes deemed useless, and generally changed the story so it flows better.

September, Genmos is fully accepted by THP.

Charles begins editing of the revamped story. We back and forth, correcting grammar, until we are 58,000 words long.

Cover art is completed, and although Kobalt does not resemble his character physically, the artist has decided to focus on his mental and scientific aspect.

Finally, it goes to review.

Let’s hope it’s all worth it.

Professional AND Published! January 15th, 2017

Wow, what a week.

It all started once I was done my last blog post. That evening, Howl from THP sent me a telegraph to inform me that Seven Deadly Sins: Furry Confessions was available on Amazon. The anthology contained my story, A Voice Not Spoken, making me a published author. The cover art looked awesome, and awestruck, I posted the news to facebook before bed.

Was the outpouring of support ever amazing! Thank you everyone, for your kind words and encouragement.

It did not stop there.

Monday I received my first royalty check, for Tooth, Claw and Fang. That made me a professional and a published author.

I spent my free time on Tuesday reorganizing my website, attempting to make it easier to read.

Then on Wednesday, I found out that Dogs of War, which hosts Tooth, Claw and Fang, was available for pre-order. Double Published! I hurriedly added all the information I could to make my works easier to find.

On Thursday I took some of my bookmarks, the same ones listed in the freebies section, to be printed at the local staples. As usual, exceptional service and care.

Friday and Saturday were spent building Goodreads and Amazon accounts.

After a maelstrom of a week, I’m finally able to get back to actually writing, which is good, because I want to post another free short involving Genmos before the end of the month.

Whew!

Okay, (crack’s fingers) Let’s get writing.

Fur and Zombies, January 8th, 2017

Is writing a hobby, catharsis, or obsession?

The answer? Catharsis.

My mind is always busy, and I have a very, very active imagination. I also have a hard time expressing my personal feelings. I talk often, but my topics are always anything but personal. I love to speak about work, or technical details, or about others, but I cannot, for the life of me, tell anyone just how I am feeling.

That is why I turned to writing. In the words that I inscribe, I can cast my emotions, desires, dreads, on any of my characters. I can use it to purge my deepest thoughts and darkest desires.

That’s probably why furry lit is so easy for me to write for; I can cast on a character that is recognizable as having human characteristics, but is still alien enough to be outside of the norm, and moldable.

I think that Furry and horror are not that different. Zombies are loved because they show humanity as the real monsters, anthros may be animal, but they reflect society in themselves as well.