Introducing the Stock Photo Challenge

Always something interesting going on on Don’s Blog. And if you fancy a challenge, well here you go!

Author Don Massenzio

Hello,

I’m trying something new on my blog. I’m calling it the Stock Photo Challenge. The way it will work (I think) is that I will post a new stock photo each week on Wednesday morning.

You mission, should you choose to accept it, is to write a story, poem or other type of prose of 100 words or less and post it on your blog.

If you leave the link for your blog post in the comments of this post, I will share it on my blog.

Let’s get those creative juices flowing.

Here is the photo for week 1 of the Stock Photo Challenge:

Stock Photo 1

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Something of a launch of the launch of a book

Our Skirmishers of Steel, Fire and Lace

I had written up two posts on the themes of writing; the motivations and problems of writings and suchwhich. You know how it goes. They had been completed, saved and filed away in a folder (I love my folders, I have folders for folders- ok getting side-tracked…must stop taking about the joys of filing……). And I was going to return to them to edit, tidy and ‘someforth’ before posting up.

Then because of a certain headiness about completing a book, I started writing a lot about it, which is not really my  historical way of doing things. Previously it’s been a case of: ‘Ok. That’s done. That’s in print or on an e-book platform. There its is folks, Take it or leave it,’ Which explains volumes about why I don’t sell many books. OK there were a clutch of posts with extracts, which tended to be as examples on writing itself and a few throw away comments but going ‘heavy’ on a forthcoming novel. Gee, gosha…Heavens T’Betsy (no not the riot girrrl band)…. The very idea!

Anyway I thought since I had been fussing about this volume it would be best to write  a  post giving some detail of the content, themes and motivations. Therefore here is a book launch, my way-

Our Skirmishers of Steel, Fire and Lace. Vol II of The Precipice Dominions. (Preceded by Of Patchwork Warriors.) Set in a world where there is a power known as The Stommigheid, or the Ethereal or Astatheia depending on which organisation or beliefs you subscribe to. You can be born with it, you can work with it through machines, you can achieve some elemental control through study and effort, or you can get accidentally imbued.  It can be a physical force, a means of travel, a way to view other worlds and has multiple applications.

Of the three principal characters ‘Force of Nature’, Karlyn  was born with it; Trelli (with her feet on the ground) was given it by pure accident; Arketre (soldier in the elite LifeGuard) does not like it very much and does not get on with the many machines attuned to it. The first book was mostly about these three bonding and learning to work together while taking down a cabal; concluding with Karlyn and Arketre falling in love and Trelli going onto higher things.

The second volume takes up a few months after these events. Karlyn and Arketre are on an extended working ‘honeymoon’ and staying low in Terasonia the north-eastern princedom of a sort of European located empire. They are despatched by Arketre’s commanders in the LifeGuard to investigate the near house arrest of the local prince by one of his nobles. Trelli meanwhile has been under the mentorship of The Libratery the all-women branch of the official very institutionalised religion. They wish to hone her new skills, so she can be sent on a mission of their own. Because of the bond between the three women their paths will cross, and the trio will be a unit again

The narrative spans the empire. Most action taking place in Terasonia. It transpires in addition to the local political problems Terasonia is scheduled to be a staging ground of the invasion of the world by a long exiled humanish race The Shadow Lords. This draws in other unworldly  powers.

Whereas Karlyn, Arketre and Trelli are the central characters they are never in control or even remotely alpha. Arketre in particular is left ‘out the dry’ by her own commanders with only the most slender of orders. Karlyn has to deal with her own possible heritage with the Shadow Lords. Trelli is trying to make common sense of a time and place where nothing is straight forward, and she fears for her friends falling into the morass of factions, plot and counter plots where no one’s plans truly go as expected.

Despite these numerous challenges and dangers, being united at various levels the three women’s combined and individual actions impact on those plans of various players.

When I set down to write this, I wanted to throw a number of themes and genres into the mix, along with several influences. This was to see if the narrative, whereas not always linear  would be an understandable account of the chaos which is war and its attendant politics; the effect this has on those in the front-line, the major players when things go awry and also, those caught in the middle. As it is part of a series with no particular end, some minor narratives are introduced as they will be major later on, whereas some given space now might well take a back-seat in the next volume.

Whereas in the fantasy tradition there are also elements of science, although these are far from comprehensively understood and also religion(s). The narrative combines elements of comedy, mystery, tragedy, sacrifice, crime, adventure, compassion, cruelty, battlefield violence and romance; the latter two being quite graphic at times although in context. No one character has a monopoly on or always exempt from any of these elements.

Being a fantasy of high adventure the book does run into 430+ pages to ensure everyone gets their fair share on the stage and to rationalise why some actions take place. I admit to indulging here because being self-publishing I was having an entertaining time with the world and background building, though I did try to avoid long explanations by one character to others. The bulk of the narrative focusing on characters’ reactions to events and situations. The general motivation is to hopefully provide at the end of the day an entertaining read

Currently all the work has been done, save for the arrival of a cover, general tidying up of the appearance of chapters and then the launching onto, probably Amazon Kindle .

At this stage if anyone is interesting in reading the tale just contact me by email on nnqp1863@yahoo.co.uk and state whether you would prefer a Word or pdf copy. I do not expect anyone to drop everything and go into beta-reading mode, my intention is more to give folk an opportunity to see the book for themselves.

OK I’m done.

Back to those posts…

As an Indie Author – What are your challenges?

Some mort wise words from Don. Definately a blog any writer should be following.

Author Don Massenzio

ChallengesAs an author, there are significant challenges. Finding original ideas and turning them into something interesting is a significant challenge. If you are a traditionally published author, you have to not only find an idea that interests you, but it has to interest your publisher as something marketable and viable so that they can make money. You also have to please your agent so that they will push your work on a publisher.

As an independent author, coming up with ideas, in my opinion, is the smallest hurdle to be faced. Because we are independent, we are free to publish whatever interests us and then take that work directly to the readers. One thing that indie authors discover quickly through social media, there are niche reader markets for just about every genre you can think of. If you like to right paranormal zombie western romance erotica, there will be a…

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To My Lovers

Achingly beautiful post from Lucy

Secret Diary Of PorterGirl

For those that loved me for just one night, or barely a day; for those that loved me for a season and those that loved me for a reason, too. For those heady, halcyon loves of my youth and as well the calmer, platonic loves of more recent years. For the requited, the unrequited and the loves of which I never dared to dream. For the passions that lasted barely hours and the passions that endure still, never spoken, the words never uttered… this is for you.

The heart is but a simple thing, yet impossible to fathom. It is a feral and vulnerable beast. It is capable of immeasurable endeavours and, unchecked, will lead one into wild and dangerous territories. When the quieting and reasonable voice of the head speaks its fundamental truth, the heart sings loud to the soul and, more often than not, we will dance to…

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Writing Your Book- When The Feeling Arrives- Embrace it!

Firstly to the new writer, just starting out.

Yes, you’ve made progress on your work, but suddenly you are assailed by a whispering dread. ’Is it worth all this time and effort? What happens if someone reads it and doesn’t like it?’

If those sly words haven’t reached you yet, they will.

Follow me as I turn to writers of some experience, not all of it good.

Hi folks. I have a new writer here who I’ve scared a bit about the ‘D’ word. Yes, I agree with you, would that ‘doubt’ were banished from the lexicon of the writer’s experiences, but what can we do? We’re all human and apart from the most obnoxious egotists we are all prone to it, being part of the human composition.

Let us consider not those tendrils curling about your creativity in an effort to stifle your efforts. Instead let us consider those signs pointing out you are doing your level best.

I Really Must Catch Up On Everyone’s Blogs….Sometime, Soon

This one needs addressing promptly because it is the most challenging. You’re reading this  thus you are in the blogosphere. You read them, your write them. You form bonds with other bloggers. You like their posts and you get to ‘chat’ with them, exchange views, support, ask questions and so forth. You might do this on a daily or other regular basis. And then one day you suddenly drop off the radar. Why? Well you know don’t you?

Yes, you are caught up in your writing. The time you have available to ‘tap’ the keyboards have been inexorably taken up with your latest project. It’s not that you don’t care about these folks, got bored with them, or become selfish. Oh no, you have been drawn into your work, deep. There is exploration on plot, motivations, characters to be attended to. Re-writes, checking for typos. You try and snatch some time on WP to let folk know you are there and well, for you know the dear genuine folk will worry if you are not around, it’s that sort of good community. Meanwhile it is back to your work, for this has become the principal attention of your creativity. Within the part of you which is the writer a spark has ignited, one beyond the usual chemistry of writing. You are now in the centre of the  writing equivalent of the nuclear fusion process which brings in birth a star. And here you are. Your writing has ascended and drawn you upwards. Embrace this, the future of your valuable work is calling you.

Hey! How Have You Guys Been? I Missed You!

You finally find the time in your day to sit at your laptop and pick up where you left off. You want to speak with your characters, you’ve been thinking about them all day, wondering how they will react to your latest idea. You want to know if this will work for them. You’ve missed their approach to life or been worrying how they’ve been coping. There are various views about characters taking hold of the narrative from a writer or whether they should be kept under control. Whichever viewpoint you take if you are engaging with your characters to the point, they are not pieces on a gameboard or out of cliché central to move along the Plot Above All Else, then they are alive and they are vibrant. Work with them for sometimes you just have to listen to them.

Are You Feeling OK?

Yes, it can be a bit disconcerting for the person who happens to be in the same room as you. They are sitting there working on some craft project, doing a jig-saw, reading or attending to their own laptop, you are ‘tip-taping away when suddenly from your direction they hear a sibilant ‘Yesssssss!’ and notice one of your fists is clenched and shaking in what can only be described as a gesture of triumph. Then there will be the occasion when odd words spring from your lips such as ‘Alll-right!’ Got—-It!!’ ‘Rock AND Roll!’ or other such random and statements unconnected to the current surroundings. There might even be a gentle laugh followed by ‘Oh yeah. It works,’ or even nothing apart from the laugh.

After a while a patient and astute companion will realise you are simply expressing delight that amongst all of the words you are producing there are some passages which you are particularly enthusiastic about or proud of.

We all have to admit we are plagued by worry over parts of the book and if left to our own devices might be tinkering with the thing for decades. However if you do encounter yourself lapsing into one of these episodes of vocalised joy, you should realise you are certainly on the right track. Those nagging little parts might just well have to be steam rollered over. If you are connecting this way with even one small part of your work you are mining your true potential. Keep on keeping on.

So What? I mean, Like So **** What? You Don’t Like It? This Is Me Not Caring! 

This may be a ‘just me then’ interlude. However I do feel it is worth voicing. There are many useful, cogently constructed and intelligently helpful posts, blogs, even books about what to do and what not to do when writing. I accept this to be so.

However where my teeth start to bare (I picked up the habit from one of my characters Arketre, fierce person when provoked), hackles rise and fists clench in a not happy way is when would be krit-tiks, folk who never wrote anything apart from snark and the literary fashionista start to pick, pry and come up with cliched or lazy commentary which proves they never read the whole thing, or it offends them(Hah!). Where I dig my heels in and snort derision or scratch my head around above my left ear and say ‘yeah, yeah’ is when someone tells me my work is ‘interesting’, but……..

In short, if you have written it, it is yours. You did a damn good job to get it completed and if some part of the world doesn’t like it, or not understand it, you cannot be held responsible for their lack of comprehension.

If you believe your work has the right to be put out there in one form or another. Then, you dear writer are cookin’. Advice is one thing. Guidance is helpful. As for the rest…LIKE I (bad word) CARED!

Might not sell books, but it will ensure you get your book completed.

 

Therefore fellow writer, if you are experiencing one or more of these , you are on your way and more power to you. If you are not, well keep on they will turn up sooner or later.

Keep writing.

The world might well be waiting for you.

Writing Your Book – The Environmental Issue.

Writing Your Book- The Plot Thing

Writing Your Book – Main Characters (You can’t avoid them)

Writing Your Book-A Journey Barefooted and Treading on Glass under a Hot Sun- facing challenges you’d prefer to avoid

Let’s Break Stuff: Passive Characters

Here are some very interesting ideas and opinions on the passive (or minor) characters. Well worth a read

Story Empire

Hi, Gang, Craig here again. I may make this a sporadic series, and I welcome my Story Empire compatriots to steal it and use it any time they like. We talk about all kinds of things here, always with a positive shiny face on it. That ends today.

Today, we’re going to break things. Honestly, we see all kinds of posts about good things to do, helpful tips, and downright cheerleading. We also need to know what to avoid, and the topic today is passive characters.

Main characters have to drive the story. They have to take actions to solve whatever the main issue is. I’ve mentioned before that I keep living documents with pointers and tips. One I saved years ago is from the Pixar recipe book: Readers will appreciate the character more for trying than succeeding.

That’s a powerful thought. Trying must be pretty important in the scheme…

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