Feature Friday #5 (Bloggers & Books)

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What a great week of blogging.  I discovered new bloggers, read awesome posts, and learned new aspects about the craft.  This week, I’m going to be highlighting a couple of science fiction/fact writers and a blogger who was one of my very first followers.

spotlight-facing-rightThe first spotlight shines for P.A. Kramer: Writer and Scientist.  Philip has a wealth of interesting content on his page.  The page itself is glorious, and honestly, I’m a little jealous of the layout and design.  The minimalist design is elegant, fun, and very easy to navigate.  Design aside, there are a lot of gems to be found on his page.

Philip has a doctorate in the biomedical sciences and uses this knowledge and training to analyze science fiction. He also breaks down scientific jargon and makes it more accessible to us mere mortals.  Two awesome posts are The Science of Gravity, and The Science of Killing Your Characters. In regards to the latter, plenty of bloggers talk about killing characters, but Philip explains the science behind it. Need to poison a character and leave no evidence for the authorities? Philips got you covered.

Also, Philip’s Billy and Ruben comics are brilliant.  Those two are always getting into trouble and the results are often hilarious.  Seriously, you should check them out.

spotlight-facing-rightNext, I wanted to highlight Tim C. Taylor, over at The Human Legion. Tim is a military science fiction author who can often be found at ale houses in England plugging away on his manuscripts.  Tim has been generating momentum with his upcoming books and also writing some really interesting blog posts.

The two I wanted to focus on are Starship Troopers and Military SF, and (prepare yourselves, this is a long title) Why writers pull apart owl pellets to inspect the bones within. The first article is an interesting discussion about reader expectations for realism in regards to military tactics and science.  The second post talks about how writers can generate ideas from almost any source.

I really enjoyed this article because it highlights the importance of being curious as a writer.  I think to hone our craft we must take the time to observe the world and gather new information and experiences (even if it means we have to tear apart owl crap).

Tim is a client of mine, and as such, I always feel the need to plug for their books (because I wouldn’t edit them if I didn’t believe in them).  If military science fiction is your bread and butter, you should give his books a glance.  The Human Legion is always looking for a new Legionary to populate the ranks.

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The last blogger I wanted to mention today is Angelina Kerner over at Where Dragons Reside. Angelina is one of the very first bloggers who ever followed my page, and four months later, she still takes the time to stop by and leave her thoughts.  Angelina is a prolific reader and is constantly posting book reviews on her page (which are not rated by stars, but by dragon prints!). She also posts writing tips, and that’s where I will focus the spotlight today.

The two posts I wanted to spotlight are A ‘How To’ Guide to Writing a Novel, and How To Prepare To Write Chapter Summaries.  The first article is very intuitive.  It’s no small task to try to chronicle all the steps in producing a novel, but Angelina does a great job of breaking it down and offering some useful bits of advice.  The second article posted at a time when I was researching the subject.  For those of you who like to outline, you should absolutely give it a read.

thanksI wanted to take a moment to thank all three of these folks for (1) reaching out to me, (2) being a source of inspiration, and (3) consistently encouraging enjoyable discussion about both fiction and non-fiction.  It’s people like you who make me happy to spend a chunk of my time here in the blogoverse.

hourglassThat’s it for today!  If you would like to be featured next Friday, contact me.  It always helps if you let me know what specific post you would like to be featured.  My goal with Feature Friday is to connect like-minded individuals with one another.  The blogoverse is a giant place, and it’s nice to be able to provide some navigation. Until tomorrow, keep reading, keep writing, and as always – stay sharp!

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Back to the Routine (800+ Followers!)

matthew8-1Hurricane Matthew—what a pain in the butt.  Not only did we (wife, baby, cat) evacuate to a different state, but to add to the stress, my sister-in-law was honeymooning on a cruise ship off the coast of Florida during this craziness (she made it home unscathed).

Fortunately, there was no major damage here at my house.  We arrived at 4 a.m. to find lots of downed trees, a few missing shingles, but nothing of considerable note.  The area directly around me wasn’t as lucky so I’m feeling very fortunate right now.  The Berkeley Observer compiled some photos of the damage here in my region.  The photo I placed of the toppled sign, taken by Cameron Scott, is where Heather and I get our sushi.  I checked and the sushi place survived (thank the sushi gods!).

crying boy_universe.jpgNow that I am back home in the comfort of my writing cave/study, I wanted to take a day to get my feet planted with all of you before diving back into the daily routine.  I’m very happy to be home, have a home still, and get back to the grind.

*Corey takes a cleansing breath*

First off, thanks for all of the kind words and emails.  I have a backlog of emails, comments, and posts to reply to.  I will be doing this over the next couple days.  Obviously, this weather event chucked a wrench into the gears of my daily posting goals.  I will note (for my own sanity), that it took an act of God to push me off the rails.

thanksSecondly, I logged in today to find I had passed the 800 follower mark.  Holy smokes!  Talk about a welcome home present from the blogoverse.  Needless to say, I’m humbled by the support I have found here and very thankful.  It’s nice to know so many others are interested in learning about the dark arts of writing and editing.    It’s thrilling to have found this amazing community, and I’m excited to have reached this point.

Thirdly, I know I mentioned last post I would be recycling older posts during this blackout period.  Truth be told, I simply didn’t have the means, ability, or time to get this done.  I do apologize for the brief lapse in posting.

donate.jpgLastly, for those of you who are suffering from the aftermath of the storm, my thoughts are with you.  I’ll be heading out to donate diapers and food to our local relief organizations.  If you are local, I absolutely encourage you to do the same.

Also, if you are in the Charleston SC area and need a helping hand, shoot me an email via my contact page, and I’ll see what I can do.

For the purpose of the blog, I’m putting the storm in the rear-view and moving forward.  As of tomorrow, I’ll be back on track with the daily posting schedule (unless the gods intervene again).  Until then, keep reading, keep writing, and as always – stay sharp!

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Feature Friday #3 (Bloggers & Books)

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Welcome to another Feature Friday!  We’ve survived another week.  Today we’ll cast a blazing inferno on some bloggers who are consistently generating insightful posts about the written word.  I try to dedicate time to broadening my understanding of the craft, and these folks seem to deliver on a regular basis.  I’ll also be compiling the books I used to generate my blog posts this week into a one-stop-shop.

spotlight-facing-rightThe first blogger I want to talk about is QuestingAuthor.  Not only is this a blogger who offers great comments on my page (thanks!), but this blogger also writes a variety of really enjoyable content.  If you scroll down to the bottom of their page, you will see all kinds of info-rich categories that include things like writing advice, processes, analysis, and inspiration (to just name a few).

The post that prompted me to reach out and share the love is called, Three Tips to Spice Up that Fight Scene.  I know many writers struggle with writing believable fights scenes, and this post offers some enjoyable advice.  Not to mention Final Fantasy was used as an example (which is a win in my nerd book).

spotlight-facing-rightThe second blogger I wanted to give a shout out to is Andrew, over at The Idiot In Tin Foil.  Some of you have mentioned how impressive it is that I generate a post each day, well, Andrew writes enjoyable short stories every day.  The last time I stopped in, he was on Day 161 of his 642 day challenge.  You heard me right.  For me, Andrew serves as a source of inspiration.  Plus, his short stories are a lot of fun to read.

While I don’t have a specific short story to point you all toward, Andrew has taken the time to categorize his content.  You will find short stories that creatively explore the following: violence & murder, sky pirates, the supernatural, superpowers, the bleak wasteland, and many, many more.  When I feel my creative well getting dry, I look at Andrews page and say, “If he can write an entire short story every day for 160+ days, I can at least pump out a few pages.”

spotlight-facing-rightThird, I wanted to point folks over to Jenn Moss, over at Rough & Ready Fiction. Her page is neatly organized, and her content is always full of insight.  She recently updated her page and has done a fantastic job of breaking down her posting schedule.  Jenn is also a regular comment contributor here at QE, and often offers very informative tips to help me expand my content and improve collaboration.

While I enjoy all of her writing, I’m a sucker for Meta Mondays as well as Tarot Tuesday.  Meta Mondays cover a range of topics, but really they are a way for people to collaborate and discuss varying concepts.  For instance, within Meta Mondays she recently posted Anachronisms—Nay or Yea?  It’s a great topic for discussion, and her comment section almost reads like a web forum because there are so many thoughtful posters.  As for Tarot Tuesday, I find this series to be one of the most insightful explorations into character archetypes, as well as symbols and metaphor.

thanksAs always, I wanted to take a moment to thank all three of these folks for (1) contributing regularly on my page, (2) being a source of inspiration, and (3) consistently encouraging enjoyable discussion about both fiction and non-fiction.  You all rock!

resources

These are the resources I used this week (Friday to Friday) to create my posts.  I’m a voracious eater of greens and believe in the power of self-study to improve writing skill and understanding.

Writing Monsters, by Philip Athans [Amazon] [goodreads]

Theory and Technique of Playwriting, by Howard Lawson [Amazon] [goodreads]

How to Write Dazzling Dialogue, by James Scott Bell [Amazon] [goodreads]

Writing Novels That Sell, by Jack Bickham’s [Amazon] [goodreads]

The Sense of Style, by Steven Pinker [Amazon] [goodreads]

For a more comprehensive list of books I have utilized to build content here on QE, you can refer to this post.

hourglassThat’s it for today!  If you would like to be featured next Friday, contact me.  It always helps if you let me know what specific post you would like to be featured.  My goal with Feature Friday is to connect like-minded individuals with one another.  The blogoverse is a giant place, and it’s nice to be able to provide some navigation. Until tomorrow, keep reading, keep writing, and as always – stay sharp!

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100th Post: Updates, Maintenance & Lessons Learned

100 Posts.jpgToday marks 100 posts here at QE.  It’s an important milestone for me.  With the exception of a single holiday and previous maintenance weekend, I’ve managed to provide new content each and every day.

More so, I’ve really busted my butt to provide in-depth content (around 1000 words each post) packed with external resources to enhance the information.  We’ve covered a lot of ground, and I’m really proud of what I’ve been able to do here with all of you.  I’ve learned a lot from our collaboration so far.

toolsWith that being said, it’s time for maintenance and some updates.   Having a 100 posts in the bank is stellar, but I need to ensure new arrivals to the page can navigate and find the resources they seek.  One thing I’ve learned from this journey is the more posts you have archived the harder sweeping updates can be.  To alleviate this I am going to take a weekend every month (the 1st weekend) and devote it to organizing the page.  This should ensure blog posts are categorized correctly and navigation is simple.

I also want to use those periods to study the analytics of my page.  I love talking about writing, but I want to be sure I’m covering subjects you all want to read about and that provide you the tools you need to improve your craft.  The best way of figuring this out is really taking some time to analyze my site statistics and content.  When you have 100+ posts this is time consuming.

voting.pngDuring these maintenance periods I am going to be offering a poll.  This will allow me to collect feedback from all of you.  Outside of analyzing site statistics, this is the easiest way for me to know what information you are all craving and what elements I am forgetting to cover.

I started this site on June 6th and the page has grown drastically in readership thanks to all of you.  This is great, but it also presents new challenges.  The biggest challenge is one of time.

The more time I spend on my page, the less time I get to browse and interact on others.  I want to keep my fingers on the pulse of WordPress.  It’s the best tool I have to find out what people are interested in and what challenges they are facing in their writing.  This awareness allows me to generate relevant content.  Recently, I haven’t been able to find the time to do this.

To manage time, and my page, here are some of the changes I am implementing.  Daily posting is here to stay, but I’m going to manage and organize it a little better.

  • Monday:  Book blurb day.  I’ve read more than twenty books on writing since I started this page.  Every now and then I toss together a collage and write a blurb about a book. (My “reads” category contains examples.)  It’s not really a review, but an insight about the content of the book.  Now that I have a nice stockpile of read material, I will start generating a collage and blurb every week.  Again, this is my way of offering you all the resources I can and populating the page with useful content.
  • Tuesday: I will publish a new post like normal.
  • Wasteland Wednesday should be a permanent entity on this page.  Even after Wastelander: The Drake Legacy publishes next year, it’s the first in a very long Wastelander series.  Unless I land a publisher who prevents me from continuing this, it’s here to stay.
  • Thursday: I will publish a new post like normal. Feature Friday.jpg
  • Feature Friday.  I want to take a day each week and highlight a post from another blogger who is generating well-written and insightful writing tips.  It’s always disheartening to me when I find an informative post written about the craft that has been sitting for hours/days with no likes or comments.  If you are sitting there reading this and thinking, “Hey! He’s talking about me.”  Contact me and I will add you to my reblog list.  I am fortunate to have great readership here at QE, and if my success can propel others it’s a small way for me to give back.
  • Saturday and Sunday will be my personal re-post days.  Recycling previous posts will help people new to the site or to WordPress connect with my older content.  It also helps me.  It allows me to continuously edit, improve, and add links to my archived material.  I learn a lot from my discussions with all of you, my work as an editor, and my labors as a writer.  I want to be sure my past posts reflect newfound knowledge and continue to be relevant.

As for the here and now, my next blog day will be this Wednesday.  I’m taking a two day celebratory vacation from the blog-o-sphere.  Then it’s back to business as usual.

thanks.pngLastly, I want to thank all of you.  I never would have guessed my page would be able to resonate with so many people.  This collaboration we have has really energized my own writing and love of the craft.  I’m looking forward to continuing on with this writing journey together.  Until Wednesday, keep reading, keep writing, and as always – stay sharp!

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Book, Blog, and Thanks

I wanted to take a day to address a couple really amazing things happening in my life right now.  My progress on Wastelander: The Drake Legacy and the continued growth of my blog page (thanks to viewers like you).

First off, a massive thank you to all of you who swing by my blog, like, leave comments, or just simply give it a read.  I started this page in June, and in a little more than a month, I’m happy to report almost 300 followers, with more than 100 views a day.  I don’t know if in blogging terms that’s a big deal or not, but to me it’s huge.  Especially in the span of month and some change.  I couldn’t be more appreciative.

thanks.jpgAn extra big thanks to Akaluv (A.M. Bradley), kernerangelina (Where Dragons Reside), Sheila M. Good (Cow Pasture Chronicles), Grandtrines (Still Another Writer’s Blog), ascreasey (Mind the Dog Writing Blog), and M.L.S.Weech for your consistent reading, words of encouragement, and sharing.  You all rock.

I know this list of contributors is incomplete, but I just snagged the top six comment givers (as per my stat page) to keep the list from getting out of control.  While I am highlighting these six, every single one of your individual likes and comments help keep me motivated to push out these daily posts.  Regardless, if you are writing or reading, the bloggers listed above are some great people to follow.

Now I’m going to point you all toward my upcoming book, Wastelander: The Drake Legacy, which I’ve added to my blog layout with a teaser.  There are still a lot of things to do, but the first draft is very close to being finished.  If you’ve been following my blog for a while (you’re awesome) you might be thinking, “But Corey, you posted here you were almost done!”  I hear you.  It’s a classic example of when the story outgrows your outline.

Wastelander Layout

The idea for this book came to me shortly after my son Thor was born.  He wasn’t gaining weight quickly enough so my wife and I split the day into two 12-hour shifts to ensure he got food whenever he needed it.  She took 6am-6pm and I took 6pm-6am.  It was during those quiet early morning hours of December 2015 when Drake came to me.  I grabbed a notebook and transcribed a rough outline.  Now about seven months later, Drake has taken me into parts of the wasteland I didn’t know existed and done things that flabbergast me as his creator.

I‘m currently talking to artists to create artwork for the cover.  Also there is the novella, The Wastelander Survival Guide, that will release with the book.  The novella is going to be heavily illustrated so I’m looking for an artist for this as well.  Fun times are being had.

That’s the update!  Tomorrow we will get back on track with writing tips and other tomfoolery.  Until then, keep reading, keep writing, and as always – stay sharp!

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