A Letter from Far Far Away

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Greetings,

I join you today from Misha’s tavern. She has very kindly dedicated her Mondays to writers, authors and compedium compilers such as myself and for that I would like to extend my thanks.

Firstly, please allow me to introduce myself. I’m Far Far Away, and I have been finding out about the comings and goings of my world. I wrote to all the inhabitants asking them to keep me up to date with their daily lives and I was amused by the responses I got. I am now releasing these letters every Monday and Friday at my tavern.

As a thank you to Misha for publishing this letter, I have some exclusive information for her readers about one of the characters that wrote to me: Huntsman.

The first tale of my compendium is entitled The Apple Princess and it is Huntsman’s letter that kicks off the tale. He features heavily throughout the story as we follow his progress as an employee of the Queen.

He comes from one of the oldest families in the kingdoms and is descended from a long line of men that were gifted in using tools. His brother is a lumberjack known as Axeman, and his father worked down in the mines until the dwarven “uprising” (which we more commonly call the “downfalling”, due to the mines being underground). Very little is known about the female members of his family, although it is generally accepted that they were just as skilled as the men when it came to wielding weapons. Frankly, and I say this quietly in case they are reading, they all sound like a bunch of nutters.

Like the rest of his family, Huntsman has a fetish for medieval fashion and is never seen without a blade. Unlike the rest of his family, he does not perform civic duties as a farmer, miner or lumberjack, but instead has self-declared himself as a killer and is often found stalking game in the forests around the kingdom.

At heart though, Huntsman is a sap. He chose work under the Queen as he figured it would please his proud family heritage while allowing himself to get close to the girl he has become enamoured with – Princess Snow. While he has no qualms in slaughtering innocent animals, he has found himself on the wrong side of the Queen on more than one occasion where he refuses to carry out her dirty work in the proper manner. It appears that under his brutish exterior he may have a heart after all.

I hope you enjoyed this brief character background. If you would like to find out more, please drop by my tavern.

Yours,

Far Far Away.

You can read more about Tales from Far Far Away at his tavern.

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Interview with Annalisa Crawford

Hey all! Today I have the pleasure of welcoming Annalisa Crawford to my blog. She’s here for an interview as part of her book release.

Welcome to the Five Year Project, Annalisa. Why don’t we kick this off with you introducing yourself to the readers? 

Thanks for having me over today, Misha. Well, I’m a pretty normal woman, two kids, dog, cat, Hubby. I live in a beautiful part of the world, sunny-ish Cornwall in the south west of England… and weird things keep popping into my head that I just have to write down. I always know when friends have finished reading my books, because they have a wary look in their eye!

Hahaha yes people do look at us differently when they see stuff that comes from our heads. Speaking of which, tell us a bit more about your new book.

It’s a collection of three novellas, linked by being set in the same town. The bridge and the pub are significant, for different reasons, in each of the stories:
Ella’s Story – Ella has had the same dream, predicting her own death, since she was a child. When other elements of the dream start to become real, she thinks she’s on a downward spiral towards the end.
The Traveller –  Sally meets Murray on a hot, sticky summer evening and is immediately captivated. She tries not to fall in love – nothing good happens when you meet strangers in pubs – but she can’t help it; even though the past is catching up with them both.
Our Beautiful Child – Rona discovers she can communicate with ghosts when a sham psychic arrives at the pub. Once she can hear them, the spirits all want to share their story with her. And a thousand years’ worth of tragedy is too much for anyone to handle.

Sounds awesome! What inspired you to write these three stories and to link them?

The first two were stand alone stories, but they both featured a pub, and they were both (very) loosely located in my home town. So, the connection flowed quite naturally. I knew I wanted a third story, but it took me a bit longer to find the right characters and plot.

I had the opening scene of The Traveller in my head, and originally I thought it would just be a 2000 word short piece – it just kept on growing. Ella’s Story was an experiment in writing a stream-of-consciousness story – but it was rubbish, so I went back and wrote it in my usual style. Our Beautiful Child was inspired by a song – every time I heard it, I had this strange feeling in my stomach, I knew a story was there, but I couldn’t quite reach it.

I also have songs like that. They always inspire me to write. Do you write to music? If so, what sort of music do you enjoy writing to?

I go in phases with music. At the moment I’m revising some short stories, and watching TV. But I like rock music to write longer stories too – I like words and good strong drums. I type faster when there’s a good beat.

Once I’m really into a novel, there will be one CD that I just keep on repeat because it will get me into the right mood straight away. That CD changes with every project.

I’m the same. I actually make playlists for every book I write, though. What do you enjoy most about the entire process? 

I love revising. I like seeing my initial ideas developing, and getting that goosebump feeling when I can see it all falling exactly into place.

I also love revising! So glad to see someone else does too. What’s the biggest lesson you’ve learned about writing and publishing so far? 

One thing that took me by surprise was how much marketing I would have to do. It really doesn’t come naturally, and everyone else seems to do it so much better than me. I’m at a disadvantage because I love to be unique, and a lot of marketing is about following tried and tested methods. To me, those methods mean my book vanishes into a swamp of lots of other books. 

I know what you mean there. Although I tend to be very good at marketing, I’ve yet to find a method that sets my books apart. Last question: Where can people find you and your new book on the internet? 

At the moment, the book isn’t on my publisher’s website (but it will be soon). 

You can find me and mention of Our Beautiful Child in the following places:

Add to Goodreads 
It’s available for sale at Amazon

Thank you so much for having me here today, Misha. It’s been a lot of fun.

Thanks for stopping by Annalisa! 

Anyone else think her new cover looks awesome? What’s your favorite stage of the writing process?

Getting back into the groove.

Sorry for disappearing yesterday. I came down with a bad cold yesterday, which means I slept through most of it.

Luckily I feel lots better, so now I’m back.

Speaking of “back”, I can safely say I’m getting back into my writing and editing groove. Yesterday I officially finished my revisions to The Heir’s Choice and started sending it out for critique. (Note: done while “dying” of a cold.)

I also edited a short story that’s going into an anthology before turning in for the night.

Which means, ladies and gentlemen, that I’ll be able to draft again! The last time I actually wrote something was back in very early February, and even then, it was only two thousand (I think) words.

So I’m way past overdue. The only thing is that I’ll have to reread my old work in order to pick up all the story strings again. Which isn’t always THE best thing to do when I’ve just come off editing.

That said, I’ll just have to suppress the inner editor and get it done. I really do have too much to do and too little time for me to bend to my IE’s whims.

But as I type this, I’m getting a feeling of what I want to do above all, and right now, I want to start rewriting the sequel to The Heir’s Choice. I had it scheduled for the last three months of the year, but hey, I’ve got momentum right now. I can always do rough drafts later…

Or even at the same time.

What are you working on at the moment?

I joined Wattpad

Yep.

Actually I joined in November last year, right before the move/edit/publisher disaster. Now finally, I’m getting things together enough to actually get involved with the community.

Thoughts?

Mixed.

I’m liking that I’ve got access to lots and lots of new writers who want to learn and want to be helped. I mean, it’s the first time I’ve ever offered to crit first chapters and been booked full for almost two weeks within a day, (YES A DAY!!!)  of posting the offer to help.

However, I’m a bit bothered by the way things are done there. I mean yeah it’s great that there’s this medium for instant exposure for writers. The thing is… I’m not sure if instant exposure is a good thing.

I mean… putting unfinished work out there without a thought for copyright…

Because yes, there are “all rights reserved” options available on work, and that’s supposedly protects one. But… if you’re putting unfinished, unedited work on a social network with millions of readers. How will you prove one stole and edited your story before publishing it for money?

Copyright, as far as I understand, goes on final versions of books. And yes, I’ve seen a few very good concepts with execution lacking. If anyone unethical loved said concept and rewrote it, the original person’s idea is stolen. And because it can’t be copyrighted, there’s nothing he can do about it unless he can prove that he sent the entire story he wrote to the unethical guy, and that unethical guy used significant portions of it..

So yeah. I’m finding this aspect to Wattpad scary.

Also, the general fascination with prologues. *shudder*

Other than that, though, it’s intriguing me, and I really am enjoying disabusing people of their prologue habit.

Anyone else on Wattpad? Thoughts?

Presenting: R. Mac Wheeler

Hey all! Welcome to the first installment of my new Monday Guest Post feature. For those of you who missed it, I’m featuring bloggers on Mondays, and any writer who wishes to be featured can contact me and book a date. (Even if unpublished.) Click here if you want more information. 

Today’s post is a short and sweet one by R. Mac Wheeler. Take it away, Mac! 

The Value of the Beta Reader

I recently swapped beta reads with the eloquent India Drummond, who I adore. Her characters are rich and colorful, their heartache, their love, and anger palpable.
Every pair of eyes brings valuable feedback. Even the nits that at first glance seem technically or stylistically counter to how you write may sprout beneficial changes in your writing.
I love white space, and dis-like narrative that seems crammed together. So I use commas where other writers wouldn’t.
“You often use commas to indicate a pause, but grammatically they aren’t correct.”
Of course I balked. My kneejerk reaction:
“‘CMOS Rule 6.18: The comma, aside from its technical uses in mathematical, bibliographical, and other contexts, indicates the smallest break in a sentence structure. It denotes a slight pause. Effective use of the comma involves good judgment, with ease of reading the end in view.’
“The first rule in the CMOS on commas, of 44.

“The art of writing is about sharing the context, emotion and subtlyof communication. The comma is the greatest inflection in the author’s tool box to replace the invisible body language.

After self-reflection and analysis of my writing (and three edit passes), I found myself removing a third of my commas which served to indicate a pause in narration or dialogue.
Tiny changes throughout a manuscript. But India’s critique aided me to tighten and improve my prose.



Who is R. Mac Wheeler? A writer of speculative fiction, fantasy, SF, suspense, and paranormal with rich characters carrying tons of baggage, including eight series from YA with ogres and trolls, grittier vampire and werewolf noir, even a family saga. Two stand-alone novels are screaming for their own series.
If you love nature and life visit my blog where I post my photography.


Thanks for stepping up first, Mac! 

So, ladies and gents, do you know Mac? What’s the biggest lesson you’ve ever learned from critique? 

Quick update on my life.

Hey all! Just another reminder to check out information regarding my returning guest post feature here. Any writer is welcome to post on my blog on Mondays, and I’d love to see you participating. All info required can be found by clicking the link.

Other than that, I’m pretty much going to keep things short and sweetish with an update on what I’m doing. And to make it even easier for me, I’m doing things bullet-style:

  • Yesterday I was away due to having to write a gun exam and shoot to prove my proficiency in order to come one step closer to qualifying for a weapons license. I passed with flying colors:  
Bullet Style. Get it?
And yes. Those are mine. 9mm pistol shot at 7 meters. 10 shots.
  • As of right now, I’ve hit upon what I think will be my marketing strategy. Which is awesome, given that I’ll actually be able to implement it this time. No short notice surprises from my publishing house. I am the publishing house now.
  • I have decided on a logo I’ll be using to bind my books together. 
  • I am past halfway with revisions, and speeding up so I might be done with the revision round by this time next week. 
  • I discovered a loooooooooovely way to make hot chocolate creamy. Add butter. Just a spoonful will do. And it’s sugar free (and poisonous sugar replacement free) and in accordance with the eating lifestyle I’ve adopted, so even better. 
  • It snowed yesterday, but the light was too bad to take pictures, and it’s melting too much for me to bother to take them now. I am, however, thinking it will snow again before winter ends. Yes, we have winter in South Africa. Terrible, cold, biting winters in some places. 
  • I’m thinking about taking up pistol shooting as a sport. It’s exhilarating, and needless to say, I have the knack. 
  • I’m going to stop now because I still want to get some more editing done. Who knows? I might even finish this weekend. Although I’m not going to push it. 
  • Becaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaause…. I’ll be reading. Reading is good. Reading gets my mind thinking along the right paths to write. 
What’s news at your end? 

IWSG: Time… oh the time….

Before I start on today’s post, I just want to ask that you check out yesterday’s announcement. I’d love it if you took part! 

Okay, so for those of you who don’t know, the Insecure Writer’s Support Group is a monthly bloghop where we writerly types come together and share our insecurities and encouragements as needed. The awesome thing about doing this is that, if nothing else, we realize we’re not alone in our troubles. Better yet is when we get some tips or advice that actually make things better. Anyone’s welcome to join. Just click here.
So… I’m glad to say I’m still insecurity free on the main, although there’s this growing niggle. It sounds like this: 
What? June Already?! 

See I want to release three books at the end of the year. Two in October and one sometime before the end of December. And as lovely as this sounds in my brain, I can’t believe that so much of the year has whizzed by. 
And I’m starting to worry that the rest of the year will fly by as fast, leaving me with my projects unfinished yet again. (I’m not even going to go into the fact that most of my goals have been forced to the wayside thanks to my former publishing house.)
Point is, the only writing goals that stand a chance of getting done are getting those three projects ready and published.
I made the call of cutting myself some slack on editing, I know, since I’d been spinning my wheels for months. The thing is, there’s only so much slack left before I miss my deadlines. 
Ugh. Anyway that’s the niggle that’s growing into more and more of a worry as I write about it. 
So now I’m just going to stop. 
Anyone else feeling keenly aware of the year slipping away from us?