Guest Post and FREE Book!

Hey everyone!

This is a guest post to promote the fact that the first book in the Legends of Windemere series has been made permanently free.

So grab yourself a copy, and curl up to this delightful treat! I will let Charles take it away from here.


Thank you to Cyrus for helping to spread the word that Legends of Windemere: Beginning of a Hero is now free.  Back when I started publishing this fantasy series in 2013, it was the only genre I was working in.  Now, I’ve branched out into Rated-R dystopian adventures with a lot of action and humor.  That book is called Crossing Bedlam and I’ve been asked to talk about what it’s like to write such different types of stories.

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First, you need to know what each one is about.  Beginning of a Hero follows Luke Callindor, a young warrior from a famous family who is out to prove he is worthy of his surname.  He lies to get his first adventure and finds himself facing a demonic assassin while trying to protect a royal heir in a military academy.  It doesn’t help that he has no idea who he is supposed to be guarding from the creature.  Needless to say, Luke stumbles a lot and has to depend on several new friends as well as learn what it really means to be a hero in Windemere.

Crossing Bedlam takes place in the Shattered States, which is the USA after it has been isolated by the world.  Impenetrable walls are along its northern and southern borders while a global navy prevents anyone from escaping.  Soon after the initial attack, Washington DC was nuked and the rest of the country fell into chaos.  None of that really matters because Cassidy is more concerned with staying alive and fulfilling her mother’s last wish.  A decade after the country collapsed, she is attempting to travel from New York City to San Francisco to toss her mother’s ashes off the Golden Gate Bridge.  It’s a dangerous journey filled with dangerous locals and disturbing obstacles.  On the plus side, her companion is Lloyd Tenay, a serial killer she broke out of Riker’s Island.  She had more people, but Lloyd killed them when her back was turned.

The differences between the two are actually rather cosmetic.  Both of these stories have a lot of action, are written in the same style, and look into the concept of identity.  Lloyd is trying to find his place in a new world, Cassidy is still in her mother’s shadow, and Luke Callindor is determined to earn the identity he craves.  That’s really where the similarities end because Windemere and the Shattered States have very little in common.  Leaving out genres, the worlds require different answers for the same problem.  An injury or obstacle in Windemere can be solved with magic while the same one in the Shattered States needs a more realistic, possibly technology-based solution.  That alone causes a different type of thinking for me.  I guess I have less of an imaginary cushion when working within the real world than one of my own design.

Something I had to alter was how I did research when it came to Crossing Bedlam.  When it comes to Windemere, I mostly have to create stuff and make sure it remains consistent.  There are times when I look into monsters to see if they’ll work in my world or research animals to put a creature together.  Small things pop up here and there in fantasy writing, but it really comes down to remembering your own world.  Now when it comes to the Shattered States, Google Earth and Wikipedia were my friends.  I had to see where Interestate-80 went and check out each stop for real world locations.  I needed to research tasers, vehicles, rhinos, communication devices that could work in this world, heavy artillery, pop culture references, and whatever else came up while I was writing.  I couldn’t wing it like I do with Windemere, especially since people love to catch authors with wrong information.

Another big difference is the tone of the stories and characters.  Luke Callindor is a hero and acts the part in a world with a history of such things.  Noble deeds are common and there isn’t a deep level of cynicism in Windemere when compared to the real world.  It’s also not a setting that stems from the collapse of a society.  That fact is why Shattered States has a more vicious edge to it.  Cassidy and Lloyd are survivor types who will do things that a ‘pure hero’ wouldn’t ever consider.  They’ll kill, threaten, and maim to get to the next part of their adventure.  Making a deal with gangs and warlords is perfectly fine to them even if it means innocents that they’ve never met will suffer.  It’s the way to survive their world, which darkens the tone.  Not to say that you can’t have some humor in it, which a central part of Lloyd’s insane personality.  It’s only that the jokes are going to be different in such a world.  Windemere can have some lighthearted bantering while Shattered States is more likely to have dark and perverted jokes made at the expense of someone else.  Being an author who can’t stop himself from putting humor into his stories, this can be a big challenge because the two schools can cross a bit and then I have to rethink the joke during an edit.

I’d say working with fantasy and dystopian genres is like mixing apples and oranges.  I can’t because I’ve had fruit salad with both in there.  So I have to say that it requires a different focus and mental track for each one.  Windemere has actually become the heavier of the two as it progresses because I’m working on battering characters.  Shattered States might never reach that and remain my ‘relaxed and fun’ series as I add more adventures.  Part of that is because Cassidy and Lloyd are already pretty broken, so they shrug a lot more off than Luke Callindor and his friends.  The difference results in a change in tension and stress when I’m working.  While Windemere requires less research, I feel more pressure to make sure the story is epic.  Shattered States requires a lot of research, but I can go with the flow a lot more and its feels organic.  It’s going to be very interesting when I step into another genre after one of these two ends.

Anyway, I hope you enjoyed this and check out Beginning of a Hero for free.  Thanks for listening to this wild ramble.

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Chamber Press – Guest Bloggers and Mega Update

Hey Everyone!

Long time, no see! I know I’ve been M.I.A. for a lot of months (because I suck at blogging, among other things). But I have good reason! I’ve been working to start my own press, which is something that I have always wanted to do. So as of the end of this month I am going to be launching Chamber Press, with our first release coming out April 4th!

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Our official website is going to be launching in a few weeks, and I wanted to go ahead and reach out and see if any of you would be interested in guest blogging and having your post featured on our website. You can talk about anything you want as long as it’s writing related! Also, if you want to include a link to your book or blog, we will post it on our Facebook Page (and also link to it on the website’s blog post that day, etc).

If you’re interested email me at contact @ chamber-press.com !

BUT THERE IS MORE!

We’re also opening ourselves up for submissions in March. We haven’t announced it yet, but if you are interested then sign up for our email list and be the first to know when we open up our mailbox! We will also send you a link to the website submission guidelines, etc, so don’t worry. Chamber Press is focused on publishing science fiction, fantasy, and horror. We also accept submissions for artists, but no interior illustrations at this time please.

We welcome first-time writers as well as writers who have previously been self-published!

We also have a page where you can donate to our start-up costs. We don’t have an official GoFundMe or anything like that, but we DO have a list of incentives!

Anyone who donates at least $50 gets a signed print copy of our first release, Swallow You Whole.

Anyone who donates at least $75 gets a signed print copy as well as an ebook copy in any format (.MOBI, .EPUB, .PDF, etc)

Anyone who donates at least $100 gets both the print and ebook copy, as well as a packet of fun goodies.

Anyone who donates at least $150 gets all of the above and an 8k story commission.

$250+ gets you all of the above, and a signed print copy of whatever our second release will be as well.

Thanks for putting up with my giant post – I hope to hear from you guys soon!!

NEW COVER for WIP

Short update -new cover design for a work in progress – a look at the sequel to “Venom” by Skyler Kane, this one entitled “Lust”. A reminder that if you want to get in touch with me about covers, email me at cyrusnarcissusfaust@gmail.com ! Will publish a preview of my refurbished “Netherearth” cover very soon, as well.

 

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WIP Update 001 – Netherearth

I had to take a break from the Mahtradors, I just had to. Smack in the middle of the Bitch King I just decided I need a break. Then the question begged – “Well then, what the hell do I do?”

The answer, of course, was “demons”.

Don’t get me wrong, I am still writing for the Mahtradors and The Age of Waking Death series is NOT on an indefinite hiatus. Alongside this WIP I have continued writing the Bitch King but my inspiration well was running dry. I did not want to finish it just for the sake of it being done. I want the damn thing to actually be good.

I have found my salvation in my latest WIP entitled “Netherearth”. My story content has returned with renewed richness, my characters feel alive again, and I might actually have a plot to this one. (LE GASP).

There are a few things about this story that I feel my faithful readers will connect to instantly. For instance…

  • It takes place in Dragoloth
  • There is a Mahtrador character (a brand new one)
  • It is as dark and intricate as my former works, just served up in a new way
  • It features some characters you have met / will meet in The Hollow Living / The Bitch King / Baron of Blood.
  • There is, of course, all of the gay relationships.

In other words, the territory is not entirely unfamiliar. This is not another one of my alien, standalone projects. It is relevant to the Age of Waking Death timeline and to Dragoloths’s history.

What I think will appeal to both faithful and new readers alike…

  • You see a different side of Dragoloth (I actually ventured out of the castle for this one)
  • Almost none of the characters are noble or royal (only 2 so far, I believe), a brand new experience for me in this universe.
  • Only one of the characters is Verian. There is much more racial variety amongst this cast (faeries, elves, humans, demons, etc…)
  • At least three characters so far are transgender. While I myself identify as trans*, this is the first time I have ever written for trans* characters in Dragoloth so explicitly.
  • It is full of surreal dreamscapes and hellscapes, something I’ve never before explored my full potential for.
  • DEMONS!
  • As I have ventured from royalty in this book, I have also ventured from the mainstream pantheon. Saldon, Morre, and Azrael have brief mention in this work. But there is more mention of minor more folklorish gods (i.e. Tieres, the god of the sea).

So there you have it. I will try to keep better progress updates about this story here, since I haven’t had a lot to talk about lately and I’m completely obsessed with this story now that I’m nearly past that initial first 20,000 word hump. By the way, I feel it worth mentioning that I have been maintaining a consistent writing pace through an elaborate (not really) connection between my computer word documents, Dropbox, and Jotterpad on my phone. So once again, if you’re an especially busy author (or you’re just like me and you don’t feel like toting your computer around the house or juggling it while feeding a baby) then consider Jotterpad for your phone or tablet.

It may sound like a joke but I have seriously clocked in 1,000 words on my little Android phone in a sitting, so it’s a legitimate tool for making serious progress.

AND BEFORE I FORGET you can keep track of my progress further by reading all of my chapter updates for free on Wattpad . I will be updating it at least once a week if not more often. Cheers!

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NEW RELEASE – Venom by Skyler Kane

Hello my darlings! Dropping by to inform you of a new release that just hit Amazon’s markets. One of my friends put out their first novel and I designed the cover artwork. I’ve read it, and it’s pretty great, so if you’ve had a chance then check it out!

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If you want to commission a book cover from me, use my contact form or email cyrusnarcissusfaust@gmail.com . My covers usually range from $20-$30 paid through PayPal.

Favorite Android Writing Apps – 2015

Hello my darlings!

It has been a while. And as you might know, I have a new baby in my house… keeping me up at all hours of the night, and completely disinterested in watching his papa write books. It is needless to say that I basically live on my phone. Feeding takes a while and baby eats often… and there are only so many of the same four Forensic Files episodes one can sit through. That being said, I have discovered a few writing apps and I thought I would share them with you, in case you ever find yourself confined to your mobile device.

Mind you, I have an Android phone. Some of these may also be Apple compatible… I am not certain.

1. Writer 

Writer is an app that boasts a ‘distraction free’ sort of writing environment. It does provide that. It is easy to keep organized, easy to write in … but that is about all it is good for. It is a glorified notepad app. There is no way to export your content, which bothers me, because I like to have my work saved in twelve places. But for quick note jotting…this app works well for me.

2. JotterPad (Writer)

JotterPad is currently my favorite Android app for writing. It has a lot of features that are incredibly useful. For instance, you can back up your documents to dropbox, and edit them offline. You can export and share your content, there is “night mode” for nighttime writing, and it keeps track of your word count. It takes a moment to figure out how to navigate, and you get many more features with the paid version…but the free version is all you need, in my opinion.

3. Word Counter

Word Counter keeps track of your wordcount in a very NaNoWriMo type way. You paste your text into the box and it gives you the wordcount…very simple. I only use it when I’ve been typing in Writer, which is not so often now that I have been using JotterPad. A good, simple app for its purpose.

4. WattPad

Technically not an app specifically for writing… but if you’re addicted to Wattpad like I am, this app is actually a very good way to keep track of your stats, stories, and update your profile on the go as well. And I suppose you could do your writing on there, especially if that is where you store the majority of your WIP’s anyway.

5. Pixlr

Ok, so again, not an app for writing. Pixlr is actually a photo editor, and it is my absolute favorite thing. There is a free web version and a free version for installation on your computer and I highly recommend all of it. Just all of it. I have actually successfully created a book cover using this program (which I shall do a reveal of very shortly, don’t fret) and it turned out pretty awesome. So again, highly recommended free editing program, especially if you don’t have much experience with things like Photoshop or Gimp.

I am sure I will discover more fun writer-centric apps on my journey through parenthood. This list will continue to be updated as bigger and better comes along. Until then!