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MW Recommends: The Sun God’s Heir by Elliott Baker

You may remember Elliott Baker from his query letter, which we used to show you what a well-written query letter looks like. Well, Elliott is now celebrating the re-release of his novel The Sun God’s Heir: Return and we want to help. So take a look at what Elliott Baker has to offer: 

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The Sun God’s Heir is a swashbuckling series, set at the end of the seventeenth century in France, Spain and northern Africa. Slavery is a common plague along the European coast and into this wild time, an ancient Egyptian general armed with dark arts has managed to return and re-embody, intent on recreating the reign of terror he began as Pharaoh. René Gilbert must remember his own former lifetime at the feet of Akhenaten to have a chance to defeat Horemheb. A secret sect has waited in Morocco for three thousand years for his arrival.

For three thousand years a hatred burns. In seventeenth century France two souls incarnate, one born the child of a prosperous merchant, the other, determined to continue an incarnation begun long ago.

In ancient Egypt, there were two brothers, disciples of the pharaoh, Akhenaten. When the pharaoh died, the physician took the knowledge given and went to Greece to begin the mystery school. The general made a deal with the priests and became pharaoh. One remembers, one does not.

The year is 1671. René Gilbert’s destiny glints from the blade of a slashing rapier. The only way he can protect those he loves is to regain the power and knowledge of an ancient lifetime. From Bordeaux to Spain to Morocco, René is tested and with each turn of fate he gathers enemies and allies, slowly reclaiming the knowledge and power earned centuries ago. For three thousand years a secret sect has waited in Morocco.

After ages in darkness, Horemheb screams, “I am.” Using every dark art, he manages to maintain the life of the body he has bartered for. Only one life force in the world is powerful enough to allow him to remain within embodiment, perhaps forever. Determined to continue a reign of terror that once made the Nile run red, he grows stronger with each life taken.

Book Information:

Title: The Sun God’s Heir: Return, Book 1
Author Name: Elliott Baker
Genre: Historical Fiction, Fantasy
Release Date: January 2, 2017
Amazon Link:  http://amzn.to/2ivhu4z
Visit the Blogs Participating in the Book Tour: http://saphsbookblog.blogspot.com/2017/02/schedule-book-tour-giveaway-sun-gods.html

Praise for The Sun God’s Heir: Return:

A great read! From the first sword fight I could not put it down. Adventure, romance, action with just the right amount of his history and mysticism. The main character Rene displays all the qualities a true hero should; loyal, smart, humble, and a ferocious warrior all opponents will fear before their end. I could not help but feel fully immersed in the story. One of the best reads I can remember, I am eagerly anticipating the next book in the series!! ~ Jason Battistelli

The Sun God’s Heir is a page turner. The development of the characters made you really care what happens next to each person, good or evil. The descriptions of the ships, homes and countryside transported me into the era and made me feel like I was one of the onlookers or a part of the story itself. The moment I finished I had to have the second book to see what happens next. Fabulous!” ~ Karyn Krause Cumberland, Esquire

The Sun God’s Heir is a fascinating combination of historical period fiction, sci-fi, and political intrigue. Elliott Baker weaves a tale that one would have to be catatonic not to enjoy. The character development ranks among the best I’ve read; truly, by halfway through the book I found myself thinking like Rene (the main character) in my own daily life. This is the sign of mastery of character depth which is so often lacking in contemporary fiction. And the pacing! Rarely does a book seem to move at the speed of a movie without feeling haphazard. I applaud Elliott for pulling that off, as only an experienced screenwriter or playwright could. If you like a quality story that bridges traditional genre boundaries, then the Sun God’s Heir is for you! ~ Joshua Bartlett

Meet the Author:

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Award winning novelist and international playwright Elliott B. Baker grew up in Jacksonville, Florida but has spent the last thirty-five years or so living in sunny New Hampshire. With four musicals and one play published and produced throughout the United States, in New Zealand, Portugal, England, and Canada, Elliott is pleased to offer his first novel, Return, book one of The Sun God’s Heir trilogy. Among his many work experiences, Elliott was a practicing hypnotherapist for seven years. A member of the Authors Guild and the Dramatists Guild, Elliott lives in New Hampshire with his wife Sally Ann.

You can find Elliott at the following places: Website: http://elliottbaker.com
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/ElliottBakerAuthor/
Twitter: https://twitter.com/ElliottBaker?lang=en
Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/8423737

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Read an excerpt: 

Chapter One

1668, Bordeaux, France

THREE MEN bled out into the dirt.

René stared at the hand that held the bloody rapier. His hand. Tremors shuddered through his body and down his arm. Droplets of blood sprayed the air and joined the carmine puddles that seeped into the sun-baked earth. He closed his eyes and commanded the muscles that grasped the rapier to release their tension and allow the sword to drop.

Years of daily practice and pain refused his mind’s order much as they had refused to spare the lives of three men. The heady exultation that filled him during the seconds of the fight drained away and left him empty, a vessel devoid of meaning. He staggered toward an old oak and leaned against its rough bark. Bent over, with one hand braced on the tree, he retched. And again. Still, the sword remained in his hand.

A cloud shuttered the sun. Distant thunder brushed his awareness and then faded. Rain. The mundane thought coasted through his mind. He wiped his mouth on his sleeve and glanced down hoping to see a different tableau. No, death remained death, the only movement, that of flies attracted to a new ocean of sustenance.

The summer heat lifted the acrid blood-rust smell and forced him to turn his head away. Before him stretched a different world from the one in which he had awakened. No compass points. No maps. No tomorrow.

The Maestro.

The mere thought of his fencing master filled him with both reassurance and dread. René slid the rapier into the one place his training permitted, its scabbard. He walked over to where the huge black stallion stamped his impatience, and pulled himself into the saddle.

Some impulse caused him to turn his head one last time. The sunlight that surrounded the men flickered like a candle in the wind, and the air was filled with a loud buzzing sound. Although still posed in identical postures of death, three different men now stared sightless.

Their skin was darker than the leather tanned sailors. Each wore a short linen kilt of some kind that left their upper bodies naked. As strange as the men appeared, their weapons were what drew René’s eye. The swords were archaic; sickle shaped and appeared to be forged of bronze. These men wore different faces and yet their eyes—somehow he knew they were the same sailors he had just killed. René blinked and there before him the original three men lay unmoved. Dead.

For an instant his mind balked, darkness encircled the edges of his vision.

Do not anticipate meaning. The Maestro’s voice echoed in his head. Meaning may be ignored, but it cannot be hurried.

 

 

My Love Affair with Writing

I am often confronted by the question, ‘why do I write?’ and I don’t feel the answer is one that is easily put into words. Yet, despite not having an easy answer to this question, I know for certain that I have to write. I would feel incomplete without it.

So why is that?love-of-writing.jpg

Well first, being an author has always been my dream. I remember as a kid wandering through bookstores and libraries, I would often imagine seeing my own name on the shelves listed next to my favorite fantasy and YA authors. There’s also the thought of wanting to leave something behind; to make my mark on the world. I’ve never wanted children, but I sometimes think ‘when I’m gone, who will remember me?’ I’d like my work, my stories, to live on after me.

So that answers the question of why I strive so hard to publish and reach my audience, but it doesn’t address why I chose writing as my medium or what drives me to type out page after page. I think the answer to that has something to do with the concept of ‘Flow’. I first learned about Flow in a university course about the creative process and I was fascinated by it. A term used in psychology, Flow is defined as the mental state of operation in which a person performing an activity is fully immersed in a feeling of energized focus, full involvement, and enjoyment in the process of the activity.

A state of flow, otherwise known as ‘being in the zone’ can be achieved doing any task, but in my experience it happens more frequently when doing a task that you are good at, passionate about and interested in.

When in a state of flow, some or more of the following things are experienced:ca27d20b95c49679195e5c81f016ea1f

  1. An Intense and focused concentration on the present moment
  2. A Merging of action and awareness
  3. A loss of reflective self-consciousness
  4. A sense of personal control or agency over the situation or activity
  5. A distortion of temporal experience, one’s subjective experience of time is altered
  6. Experience of the activity as intrinsically rewarding

 

As a creative person, for me, achieving a state of Flow is the purpose; it’s what makes the experience meaningful. I’m also a person who thrives on a sense of achievement or feeling productive and writing gives me that. With writing, unlike any other vocation, I’m able to purposefully achieve a state of flow and at the same time produce something meaningful that I hope to one day leave behind as my legacy.

So that’s my love affair with writing, put into words. Thanks for reading.

Why do you write? Let me know in the comments below and happy V-Day, everyone.

Interview with Owen Swain, Creator of the #tourdesketch Windsor Colouring Book

Owen Swain, a Windsor-based artist, is the creator and artist behind #tourdesketch Windsor, an adult colouring book featuring the sights of Windsor, Ontario. I’ve invited Owen to answer some questions for us, so we can get to know him and his seeing/drawing process.
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M|W: Other than drawing, what do you do in your spare time?
Time is flow. I enjoy: bicycling (really, really dislike driving a car), reading (fiction, nonfiction), listening to music, volunteering in my community and parish, meditation, hanging out with the Love of my life and our dogs. And when I am not drawing I am often to be found drawing or painting or, well, you get the idea.
M|W: What was your biggest obstacle in getting where you are today with your art?
Not fully believing in myself or say, not listening to my own narrative for my life. Everything belongs though and it all is a part of “now”.
M|W: What made you choose to feature Windsor in particular?
I’ve lived in Windsor since 1999 but only more recently have come alive to being alive “here” and discovered our city by bicycling and drawing on-location.
M|W: How long does a typical drawing, like the ones in the book, take you?
Roughly 57 years and 8 or 10 hours. It’s a largely different process from my usual on-location sketching in that I took my own photos, make sketch notes on site and then returned to the studio to work. They are less immediate than my usual methods for on-location drawing and more particular in trying to make them suitable for colouring in.
M|W: What’s your favorite part about drawing?
Seeing. I feel the most alive to myself and my environment when I am drawing. Getting to know a person, place, animal, tree, thing, etcetera by trying to truly observe the essence of the subject not merely rendering what I think I know about them/it.
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Owen Swain is a Windsor, Ontario illustrator and painter who works in a variety of media and styles and is interested in all manner of subjects while specializing in on location, observational drawing, sketching, mentoring and portraiture. He is never without a sketchbook.

Owen’s creative impetus is daily observational drawing that moves beyond looking to seeing, from thinking to being, and from mere drawing to discovering and developing one’s own mark. Owen believes that the Zen of what Frederick Franck coined as ‘seeing/drawing’ has transferable life skills for all.

He is the creator of #tourdesketch, an art-for-all monthly event that includes in-season slow-bicycling Sketchouts with a focus on local culture and heritage and during autumn and winter months, sketch meet-ups with instruction on ‘seeing/drawing’ as meditation as well as good fun drawing, tips, and sketchbook skills for the artist within each of us.

Owen moved to Windsor with his family in 1999 for what seemed a clear path and purpose. Things changed, life morphed, the path clouded and it wasn’t long before he felt discouraged, as though he was living someone else’s narrative for his life. He persisted in trying to make the detour make sense. However, at a critical point, Owen determined the best thing was to simply be more fully who he’d always been, to rediscover his first love and vocation as a person who makes art. To re-learn how to be, rather than to do. He got back on his bike and rode and rode and drew and drew and gradually he came to love Windsor, its people and his ‘new’ way of being.

I’m a Pantser – what does that mean?

They say there are two types of writers. Plotters, who plan and plot everything out, and Pantsers who ‘write by the seat of their pants.’

Every writer is different. I would also venture that the plotter/pantser thing is more of a spectrum than an either or. There are writers I know who plot out every detail meticulously, writing notes and profiling their characters, keeping binders or documents full of the plans they make for their short story, novel, or series. There are those that may have a plan, of sorts, and not stick to it 100% of the time. I guess we’re supposed to call those people ‘Plantsers’.

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Then there’s me. I’m a Pantser. At best, I’ll have a concept in my mind before I start writing. I’ll use characters that have floated into my head, fully-formed, and introduced themselves and I’ll put those characters in some kind of scenario or an inciting incident and I’ll let the story figure itself out from there. Sound scary? Sound like I’m jumping out of a plane without a parachute to catch me? If so, you might be a plotter. If, on the other hand, that sounds like an exhilarating adventure to you, then welcome to Pantser-hood! (I will stop making up words now.)

Nowadays, I’m a little less extreme with my pantsing. Having written eight novels, I’m starting to realize the value in a little plotting, or at least taking notes to help me in the editing process. The problem is, I’m still terrible at sticking to anything I come up with, so at best the practice of ‘plotting’ for me is a brainstorming exercise. The finished product definitely ends up being its own thing.

So how does Pantsing work? Well, character is very important and so is setting. I try to have at least those things worked out mentally before I jump into the writing part. I don’t bother with notes, because my world and my characters aren’t static, they’re living things. They live in my mind until I’m ready to start writing. So, I do my world building which means a lot of time day dreaming. At most, I may need a map to look at, in which case, I draw it.

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Then, once the world exists and I have a feel for it, I’ll create at least two characters who exist as a part of that world. Typically a name and a circumstance is all I need to invent a character. I’ve spent too many years of my life playing role-playing games like Dungeons and Dragons, and being a Game Master means you have to invent people as your players encounter them, so I’ve gotten pretty good at it.

Then, as I mentioned before, I consider what my inciting incident is for the concept I’ve developed, put those characters in that circumstance and start writing. It’s really up to the characters and the way they react to move the story forward and to see it to its eventual conclusion. I pay a lot of attention to the details and try to make sure that anything mentioned early on in the story matters, and gets brought up again as the story draws to a close. This creates foreshadowing, and makes sure that the story doesn’t have any loose ends.

So that’s my process… I hope it makes sense from an outsider’s perspective. I tend to live a lot in my own head, so I’m not always sure that’s the case.

 

Are you a plotter, a pantser, or somewhere in between? Let me know in the comments below and thanks for reading!

It’s Launch Day for Owen Swain’s #tourdesketch Windsor!

I know I just talked about this earlier this week, but today is the big day, and it warrants an announcement! As of today, December 1st, 2016, you can now order Owen Swain’s adult colouring book #tourdesketch Windsor from the major retailer of your choice, OR you can visit any number of local book and gift shops in Windsor and pick one up there! List of local shops currently carrying #tourdesketch:

Juniper Books (on Ottawa St.)
From the Heart (Ottawa St)
Story Tellers Books (Ottawa St)
City Cyclery (Lincoln St)
Levigator Press (Wyandotte Ave)
PB Books (Tecumseh Rd)
Artspeak Gallery (limited time for their Mistletoe and Snow Show, Wyandotte Ave.)

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Of course, you can always order it from our online store and get free delivery with the promo code: WEDELIVER. Only, if you do that, please be aware that due to an overwhelming number of pre-orders and requests, we are currently out of stock and awaiting a large shipment, so any orders place through our website now will be delivered after the official launch party on December 15th.

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Speaking of the official launch party… if you’re local, you should join us! More information can be found here and you can RSVP here.

And, in case you missed it, #tourdesketch Windsor and Owen Swain were featured on CTV News just a few days ago, and you can catch that feature here: http://windsor.ctvnews.ca/video?clipId=1004939

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I don’t have too much more to add right now, but I’ll leave you with this teaser: We’re almost done selecting our 2017 line up. We’ve got one more selection to make (and some contracts to send out) and we’ll be making some exciting announcements soon!  So subscribe to this blog if you haven’t already to be kept up to date!

Owen Swain’s #tourdesketch Windsor Colouring Book Launch!

December 1st marks the date when Owen Swain’s colouring book #tourdesketch Windsor becomes available worldwide and also when it will be available for purchase in stores all around Windsor. In addition to our online store, Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Chapters, and ect, it will also be at Juniper Books, Story Tellers Books, PB Books, City Cyclery, Mudpuppy Gallery, and Levigator Press, just to name a few…

Following that, on December 15th, Owen Swain and I, along with our friends at Sho: Art, Spirit and Performance, will be hosting an open house colouring party/book launch from 1 pm to – 9 pm at 628 Monmouth Rd, in Windsor.  Owen will be on site throughout the day signing copies of his colouring book and there will be a mound of crayons for you to colour some oversized prints with! Including a massive Christmas card dedicated to the City of Windsor. So some out and join us any time between 1 pm and 9 pm or for the formal book launch/reception at 7 pm.  Light refreshments will also be available.

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Last week I had the pleasure of attending Owen Swain’s first indoor #tourdesketch class and it was an experience I will never forget. I’ve mentioned before the importance of going on ‘artist dates’ and experimenting with new artistic mediums, like drawing, painting, writing, ect. Well, I got the chance to really put this theory to the test and came away with a newfound understanding of a very deep connection between the seeing/drawing philosophy Owen Swain teaches and the way that I write.

First, Owen taught us all the importance of seeing what we’re about to draw in our minds’ eye and really connect with what we’re looking at. We learned various techniques, such as drawing quickly to get the overall shape of something, and then drawing more slowly to fill in the details. But what we spent the most amount of time learning was the ability, or the style, I should say, of drawing what we are seeing without looking down at the page to see how the art is progressing.

This, for me, had a valuable connection to writing in that when I write I visualize the scene in my minds’ eye and really try to place myself in it so I can see/hear/sense/taste/smell the situation. Usually I do this from my character’s perspective, so I see the world through their eyes and through the lens of their experience. Then I write, letting the words flow directly from that place, instead of looking at the screen and thinking about the sentences or the art of writing. And from there, I try desperately to get to the end of the scene, the chapter, or even the whole draft of the novel, without feeling like I have to go back and read it or make edits to what I’ve already written.

I’ve only just begun to learn Owen Swain’s method of seeing/drawing, but I fully intend to continue learning from him to see how else I can apply this discipline to my other artistic endeavors and to see if getting better at seeing/drawing will also help improve my writing.

That being said, I urge you to check out Owen Swain’s #tourdesketch Windsor Colouring Book. It’s a lot more than just something to colour, or an ode to Windsor. It’s a window into the mind of the artist, and a window into the soul of our city, which I believe Owen has managed to capture vividly. But don’t take my word for it, see for yourself. http://mirror-world-publishing.myshopify.com/collections/adventure/products/tourdesketch-windsor-colouring-book

And don’t forget to use promo code: WEDELIVER for free delivery within Windsor-Essex!

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Our Submissions are OPEN – Here’s what we’re looking for…

This is it. The moment you’ve been waiting for;our submissions are open once again!

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As a small independent publisher, what we’ve found works best for us is to open our submissions in the fall and leave them open until we’ve confirmed our new releases for the upcoming year. This year we’re looking for 3-5 titles to release in 2017 and we’ll keep accepting submissions until we find them.

So how do you submit to us? Well, it all starts here. On our website’s submissions page we list all the types of books we’re looking for and all the ones we absolutely will not be interested in. We also outline what to send us, where to send it, and how long you should expect to wait for a response. We’ve also included some helpful links to videos we’ve made to help you prepare your manuscript and submission package, not just for us, but for anywhere you choose to send it.

But what’s going to set your submission above the rest? What are we really looking for? Well, I’ll tell you.

Your Query Letter

When we receive a submission, the first thing we look at is your query letter. Typically this should be in the body of your email to us. What we’re looking for here is a sense of who you are and what your book is about. Your ability to write well matters even in your query letter because it is your first impression. We’re also looking for the following bits of information:

  • Your genre (or target audience)
  • Your word count (or scope of the project)
  • Your credentials (or writing history)
  • Your concept, what hooks your reader.

Your Synopsis

Next, we’re going to look at your synopsis. This should be no more than one page and is simply a way of introducing us to your story, your setting, your characters, and the plot. We’re looking to see if the story interests us, but we’re also trying to gauge your ability to tell a story and wrap it up effectively. We want to see how the story ends and we want to see your style as a writer. Please include:

  • Your setting
  • Your main characters
  • Your concept, what hooks your reader
  • Your major plot points
  • A satisfying conclusion

Your Sample Chapters

We ask you to send three chapters with your submission package. We’re looking specifically for an engaging opening. We want to be drawn into your story’s world immediately; We want to care about your main character and we want to be interested in what’s going to happen to them. In short, you need to hook us, your reader. Then, you need to hold our attention for three chapters. If you can do that, we’ll ask to see more. We’re looking for:

  • Your style, or ‘voice’ of your writing
  • Your inciting incident, (again, what hooks your reader)
  • Your writing ability (and level of polish)
  • Your world-building
  • The believability of your characters
  • How well you’ve realized the potential we detected in the query letter or synopsis.

If you receive a rejection letter from us:

There are a number of reasons that we might not want your manuscript and we will do our best to tell you exactly why that is. We strive to provide detailed notes for you so that you will be better prepared no matter what steps you choose to take next in your publishing journey. Keep in mind that publishing is a very subjective and selective business and that what doesn’t work for one publisher, may work well for another. Some of the common reasons we pass on a manuscript are as follows:

  • It’s not in our genre, or doesn’t fit with our current list of titles (see our collection here)
  • It’s not ready for publication and needs improvement of some kind
  • Something in it conflicts with our message or values (learn more about us, here)
  • It just didn’t interest or engage us
  • We ask for the full manuscript, but the story doesn’t realize the potential we see in the sample

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I hope you’ve found this blog post helpful and I look forward to reading your submissions!

Go to http://www.mirrorworldpublishing.com/submissions to get started!

 

Sharon Ledwith: The Name is Bond. Ravi Bond.

James Bond. The name invokes espionage, danger, martinis (shaken, not stirred) and a bevy of beautiful women with every spy adventure. Bond also conjures up something that men have drooled over for years (besides the women)—spy gadgets. In each Bond movie, master inventor Q hands James a few spy gadgets to ensure his safety, and save the world. In The Last Timekeepers and the Dark Secret, Book 2 of my tween and teen time travel series, Ravi Sharma buffs up his cufflinks and straightens his bowtie to pretend to be Double-O-Seven before he’s even imagined by his creator, Ian Fleming. It was fun writing the Bond culture into this book, and quite an eye-opener when I went to research all the spy gadgets that were really created during World War Two.

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Here’s a look at some of those outrageous spy gadgets:

One plan was to create synthetic goat dung loaded with anthrax as part of PROJECT Capricious in 1942. By using flies, the government hoped to infect German troops in Spanish Morocco in an attempt to stop Spain from joining Axis powers. Now that just sounds baaaad!

Another plot was to introduce estrogen to Hitler’s food in the hopes of eliminating his trademark moustache and affecting his baritone voice. Wait…that could have been an improvement! A deadlier plot included hiding a capsule containing mustard gas in flowers to cause blindness among Nazi generals inside the German High Command Headquarters. Yikes, spying is a nasty business!

Cigarettes laced with tetrahydrocannabinol acetate (Indian hemp). The compound works similarly to morphine and was used as a possible none-lethal incapacitating agent. When given to someone, the cigarette would bring about uncontrollable chattiness. Hmm…didn’t they realize that loose lips sink ships? knife-in-pencil

Knives concealed within shoes, lapels, pencils, sleeves and coins. Cameras small enough to fit into a match box; a cigarette case which exploded upon opening. Suicide pills (L-pills) hidden in necklaces or rings. Boy, these spy gadgets were playing for keeps!

coal-bombExplosive coal or the “coal torpedo”, as it was also named, was invented by Capt. Thomas Edgeworth Courtenay of the Confederate Secret Service. Originally, it was a hollow iron casing (to look like coal), that was intended to be shoveled into the firebox of Union steam transportation ships, where it would explode. While Courtenay had approached the British War Office to further refine his idea, they turned him down. However, both the American OSS and the British SOE used forms of his original explosive during World War II. Maybe Courtenay should had gotten a patent…

The next time you squeal when you see a rat, spare a thought to the men and women of the Second World War. One deceptively cunning way to blow up enemy bases would be to fill dead rats up with explosives. The rats would be placed in factories close to enemy camps. When factory workers discovered the dead rodents they would throw them into the fire, ignite the explosives and blow up everything and everyone in the vicinity. However, the Germans discovered the rodent bomb plan, and consequently left the dead rodents to rot and spread disease. Even the Piped Piper couldn’t help them.

pigeon-spyAnd finally, my favorite…

Today, we have satellite imagery and stealth airplanes for aerial reconnaissance. In the 1940s and 50s, we had pigeons. During the World Wars, carrier pigeons completed more than 95 percent of their missions—strap an automatic camera to one of those messengers, and you’ve got yourself a camera roll of discrete reconnaissance, ready for development. I can see Q cringe now.

The Last Timekeepers and the Dark Secret, Book #2 Buy Links:

MIRROR WORLD PUBLISHING ׀ AMAZON ׀ BARNES & NOBLE ׀

The Last Timekeepers and the Arch of Atlantis, Book #1 Buy Links:

MIRROR WORLD PUBLISHING ׀ AMAZON ׀ BARNES & NOBLE ׀

Legend of the Timekeepers, prequel Buy Links:

MIRROR WORLD PUBLISHING ׀ AMAZON ׀ BARNES & NOBLE ׀

Sharon Ledwith #1 HeadshotSharon Ledwith is the author of the middle-grade/young adult time travel adventure series, THE LAST TIMEKEEPERS. When not writing, researching, or revising, she enjoys reading, exercising, anything arcane, and an occasional dram of scotch. Sharon lives a serene, yet busy life in a southern tourist region of Ontario, Canada, with her hubby, one spoiled yellow Labrador and a moody calico cat.

Learn more about Sharon Ledwith on her WEBSITE and BLOG. Look up her AMAZON AUTHOR page for a list of current books. Stay connected on FACEBOOK, TWITTER, GOOGLE+, and GOODREADS. Check out THE LAST TIMEKEEPERS TIME TRAVEL SERIES Facebook page.

BONUS: Download the free PDF short story The Terrible, Mighty Crystal HERE

Rita Monette On Writing in Present Tense

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Past tense or present tense, that is… or was… the question.

I’ve recently been researching the professional and non-professional views on tense in novel writing.

Why, you might ask? I am almost to the finish line of a YA novel I have been working on for…let’s say six years. I first wrote it in past tense, which is my usual way of writing. Then about half way through, for some unknown reason, I thought it would sound better in present tense. So I rewrote it. Now that I’m almost done, I’ve begun to see articles about the pitfalls of writing in present tense, which I—at one point or another—have encountered all. Have I overcome the warning obstacles? We’ll see.

According to David Jauss, of On Writing Fiction, these are three of the drawbacks of writing in present tense.

  1. Present tense restricts our ability to manipulate time, in that it is hard to switch to past tense during the story.

I didn’t seem to have a problem with that, as this information can be brought out in dialog or in the protagonist’s thoughts.

 

  1. It is more difficult to develop complex characters. He goes on to say it is harder to build depth in our characters in present tense. He states without the use of flashbacks, we can’t know enough about our character’s past and he ends up being generic.

 

I accomplished this feat by using dreams or nightmares in the beginning and on occasion to let the reader know what makes our hero do what he does.

 

  1. The present tense can diminish tension by eliminating the knowledge of upcoming events.

 

I didn’t find this to be problematic, but I suppose my readers will have to decide that. To quote Carolyn Chute, author of The Beans of Egypt, Maine, “What we gain in immediacy, we lose in tension. Present tense fiction can create another kind of suspense of course—the kind we feel when no one knows the outcome…”

 

Other articles I’ve read talk about how annoying some people find reading stories in present tense. I have to admit, I have read some that I couldn’t get past the first chapter. It seemed too jerky. But more recently, reading This Night Sucks, by Elizabeth Walker, I actually didn’t even notice it was present tense until well into it, then realized how refreshing it was to read it that way.

 

So, my humble conclusion on whether to write your story in present as opposed to past tense, is that it totally depends on the story,  the way it is told, and perhaps why it is told that way.

 

I will include here the first scene here for anyone that wishes to contribute their opinion.

Excerpt from The Zone of Fear

By Rita Monette

THE DREAM

It’s late August 1990, almost a year ago. My dad and I are sitting in the seat of his Ford Pickup traveling a couple miles west to pick up my friend, Darwin, then on to the park so we could shoot some hoops. He decides to pull into a convenient store to pick up some cigarettes.

“I’ll be right back,” he says.

Dad’s favorite CD, Unplugged by Eric Clapton, is playing Tears in Heaven. What a sad song, I think, and push the eject button. I twist the knob on the radio, looking for something I can get into, when I see a vehicle drive up and park at the end of the lot. Two men get out and head toward the entrance. I notice them because they are acting a little odd. They stand at the door and appear to be arguing, pushing at each other in the chest. One of the men turns and stares at our truck for a moment. He says something to the other man, then they enter the store. I can see Dad at the register handing the attendant some money. I am hoping he remembers to get me the Snickers bar I asked for. Dad picks up his bag and walks toward the door. He smiles as he looks at me through the glass.

Suddenly, I hear three loud bangs. Dad first turns to look behind him, then ducks and dives out the door. He runs toward the truck, staggers, then gains his footing. Then every…thing…turns …into…slow…motion. The front of his white T-shirt looks like a large red rose opening wider and wider. He drops the brown bag he is holding. Then things return to normal speed.

I crawl into the driver’s seat and shift into reverse. I back out of the spot, then swerve around to where my Dad is stumbling and holding his chest. I open the passenger door, and he crawls in. I push my foot hard on the gas pedal and burn rubber, leaving the scene behind us. But we never reach the hospital.

I always wake up at this point…sweating…alone in my room…back to the real world where my dad no longer exists, and the truth. That I had sat frozen in fear…watching as my dad fell to the dirty pavement. It’s the last thing I can remember of that day or for days afterward. I tell myself that I was only thirteen at the time, and no one could possibly

expect me to drive Dad’s truck. It doesn’t help. I could have.

Rita-studio pic cropped-cropped

 

 

Rita Monette is our featured author this month and her newest book, The Secret in Mossy Swamp, launches September 17th!! You can pre-order this installment in the Nikki Landry Series, written and illustrated by Rita, for only $0.99 with the promo code: LEGEND.

If you want to know more about Rita, please check out her website: www.ritamonette.com

What’s next for Joshua Pantalleresco?

Joshua Pantalleresco and his series, The Watcher, is our feature for this month! Which means you can pick up either The Watcher or Stormdancer for just $0.99 with the promo code: DRAGON. Just head over to our store. It also means that we’ve invited Joshua here to tell us a little bit about where he’s at and what it’s like to be working on the last installment of a trilogy. Without further ado, here’s Joshua Pantalleresco:

WatcherFront copyWhat’s it like to have a world in your head for years?  Not quite sure where it is going?  How is it going to end?

To that, I answer this:

It’s a dream.  You have these characters that you envision in your head.  You have a savage who dreams of freedom and his world is harsh, cruel and unyeilding.  Life and death only go to the strong.

It sounds very much like our world, yet different.

I love this world in spite of this cruelty.  Struggle is the one thing we all understand.  Every day there are battles we all fight within ourselves.

Yet for all the moments of guilt I had for some of the dangers I put all the characters in, I like the oozes and falling ships and pez dispensers I placed here.  And I loved the characters I have developed over the years that came from the view of the savage.

Kristen is the one I connected with most in the last two books.  With her, I discovered that beneath all her fear there was a real badass.  Her jailbreak in book two is still one of my favorite things I’ve written.  Ever.  But she’s tough, capable and more and more finds confidence in herself.  She is also the character that scares me the most, because she demands nothing but respect.

Will and Nicki I feel have a lot of untold story.  I hope someday if I do come back to this world I tell it.  Without spoiling too much, this is the key I’m leaving in my hands.  Someday they may speak to me like Kristen and The Watcher did.Cover-Final-8by11

But after four years, I owed this world an ending.   How then do I end it?

Revolution?  I wanted something bigger and vaster.

So I thought about the mystery of the Wandering God, and how to tie it with all of the series and I think I came up with an answer.  The biggest theme with this universe is the journey.  Through struggle, through pain, we travel, pieces of us falling bit by bit until we shape ourselves into what we are.   What bigger journey do we find in this life but the one about God?

In one sense this is the most abstract book.  What happens when one listens to a voice in your head?  It’s all a question of faith isn’t it?

And isn’t faith the ultimate journey?

I’m still working on it as of this writing.  I’m editing it, correcting it and just slowly but surely handing it over to the publisher.  We don’t have everything signed, sealed and delivered yet.  This one is going to take the longest to finish.  By that, I mean the editing and final touches.

But to me, the real work is done.  The story is told.

I love them.  I always will.   Will, Nicki, Kristen, and him most of all.   They will always be in my heart.  They took me on a grand journey and I thank them for it.  But for now, the dream is over.   I am thankful for dreaming it.

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Joshua Pantalleresco writes fiction, poetry and comics. He also loves to do interviews. He has written columns for comicbloc and allpulp and currently does so for comicmix. The Watcher is his second book of poetry. He resides in Calgary.

He has a blog you can follow here.