These random ramblings and author musings are designed to entertain, though they might drag you kicking and screaming through my daft indie publishing journey. If you are somehow inadvertently informed, or if you have discovered something useful within, well then . . . count that as a jolly coincidence. Thanks for reading! (header background - Sky_18 Free Texture #133 by Brenda Starr)

20141213

Word of the Week: cathartic - \kə-ˈthär-tik\ - adjective – (hear it!) - of, relating to, or producing catharsis (← the act or process of releasing a strong emotion, especially by expressing it in an art form)

Indie Author of the Month: Come Meet . . . Christina Rozelle!

One of my favorite things to do in the writing world is to work with fresh, out-of-the-starting gate indie authors—from questioning every nuance of their first drafts to help them build stronger stories; to the promotion stage where indies need the most support, by spreading the word about the projects they’ve honestly worked so hard on.

I love being with them during their re-writes and edits, their struggles and triumphs, their ups and downs of both jubilation and doubt as indie publishing takes them on a wild rollercoaster ride of “What’s going to happen next? . . . and will I be terrified of the outcome?!”

I’ve been there—my gosh, have I been there! . . . Well, with the “rollercoaster ride” part, anyway. Believe me, this indie publishing stuff can be trying. No doubt about that. But I’ve always felt the more support we can give one another—as indies—the better off we’ll all be in the long run. United—as indies—the full strength of our voices can be so much louder than any amount of negativity could ever be, no?

Yes, and so . . . I must say it’s been a pleasure to work with this month’s featured indie author from start to finish. I’ve witnessed the seeds of her story ideas flourish, change, and grow into something lush, full, and magnificent with the release of her first indie-published book, The Treemakers (which still on promotion as of today, December 13th, by the way). And the overall story isn’t even finished yet! Two more books (at least!) will carry this indie author’s dedicated readers through to the very end of this YA dystopian fantasy series—a wild ride in itself! (Ha! Yes, I’ve been privy to some inkling of what’s to [possibly] come.)

And you know, to be honest, I’d liken the author herself to a phoenix: rising from the ashes of a once-tattered life to become a strong, talented, dedicated writer (and mom) whom I’m both very pleased to know and very proud of.

So! Please allow me to introduce my indie author of the month . . . Christina Rozelle!

*  *  *

Howdy, y’all! Thanks for stopping by! And thank you, Kimberly, for letting me steal the spotlight for a moment!

I’m Christina, and I write fiction and blog from my home in Dallas, Texas, while wrangling four kids and a puppy. To be honest, I never say “howdy,” and living in New England for two years broke me of my “y’all” habit. Nevertheless, I felt I should give you a hearty Texas greeting. :)

Growing up, I practiced the religion called “Poetry,” writing maybe 300 poems in a fifteen-year span. I still have everything I ever wrote, from napkins, to paper sacks, to 20-something journals, and even though it’s all pretty terrible stuff, that collection remains one of my most cherished possessions. Poetry helped me through a troubled adolescent period, where my short attention span would never have gotten me through an entire novel. I even have a few short stories which were started and never finished. But poetry, I could do.

Fast-forward to 2012, I was talking with my then-eleven-year-old daughter about some YA books that she loved and I casually brought up the idea that I should write a book. An hour later, we had come up with a plot, which consisted of humans with wings (not angels, just wing-ed humans, yes), reptilian-human antagonists, and . . . shadow animal people. Yes, I’m serious.

Needless to say, that didn’t work out. BUT! I did start another story which I finished nine months later, and like a slimy, red, fictional newborn, “The Butterfly Prophecy,” came into the world. It had many good qualities, and was definitely a positive start in the right YA direction. Though ultimately unpublishable, it strengthened and confirmed the fact that I had a passion for storytelling, and especially, for Young Adult Fiction.

That was two years and three novels ago, and I never looked back. I’ve been blessed enough to have my parents helping me out financially so that I can follow my dream (mainly because they know it’s the thing I do best. I’ve been fired from over forty jobs in my life—true story). I’m grateful every day for the opportunity to do what I love to do.

The reason I love YA is because, well . . . freedom. Discovery. Youth. Magic. Confusion. Idealism. Betrayal. Heroism. Heartbreak. Young love. Finding yourself. Learning the world. Etc., etc. . . . . There is so much that happens in the adolescent years that it makes for an exciting (and cathartic) writing adventure for me. Now, add to that the speculative fiction aspect, and my short attention span doesn’t stand a chance!

In order for me to read or write anything, I have to be entirely engaged. Being a single mom of four doesn’t allow me the time to read/write something that doesn’t demand to be read/written. If I’m going to steal myself away, it has to make me feel, give me insight, provoke thought, induce wonder, or inject insight, imagination, truth, adventure, and self-discovery intravenously to my core. Call me a word snob if you must, but I’ll just blame it on my ADD. *Cue “Sail” by AWOLNATION* :)

My third novel, The Treemakers, is my first to be self-published, and I’m super excited about it!!!! (see?) Here’s the cover, and there’s a great story behind it. You can read it here: http://wp.me/p4TY4j-1z



It began as a 2013 NaNoWriMo winner, and after beginning my work with Kim, I embarked on an entire rewrite, scrapping about 90% of it and starting mostly fresh, with just the story I wanted as an idea in my head. It was a seemingly insurmountable feat at the time, but in three months, I had it finished (again) and now I couldn’t be happier with the outcome. My teenager read it yesterday—the whole thing, from start to finish—demanding I let her stay up and finish it. Of course I said yes. Who wouldn’t? After years of one “failure” after another, I’ve finally found my niche, and couldn’t be happier with my progress as a person, a writer, and a mother.

Here are a couple of review snippets, along with the current Kindle Countdown promo info for The Treemakers:




(Find some more memes here!)

If you’d like to read chapter 1 of The Treemakers, follow this link: The Treemakers, chapter one

You can purchase The Treemakers ebook here

Or the paperback through CreateSpace here

Also, if you are of the writerly variety, I’d love for you to check out “A Spark in the Dark,” my blog for writers, here

And if you’re feeling especially fangirl-y (or boy-ee) you can stalk me at my cyber home here.  (I’ll make sure to keep the hedges trimmed back and the curtains open for you!)

I’m currently getting to work on book two of The Treemakers, and have a surprise novelette release coming up in a couple of weeks. So, stay tuned, there’s much more to come!

Thank you for taking the time to read about me and my works. And thanks again, Kimberly for letting me hangout here for a while! I hope “y’all” have a great holiday season!

Christina




20141113

Word of the Week: multifaceted \-ˈfa-sə-təd\ - noun - (hear it!) - : having many different parts : having many facets

Indie Author of the Month – Come Meet . . . Sunniva Dee!

Just this past year, I had the distinct pleasure of meeting who I honestly believe has to be, hands down, without a doubt, the most bubbly author—ever. Seriously. Her effervescent presence on the internet is so wonderfully contagious (I always picture her smiling every time I FB chat with her!), not to mention, she has an admirable (and very enviable!) talent for spinning new adult tales that draw readers in and engage them so well, they simply don’t let go until the very last word. And even then, her characters and their story events linger in your mind. . . . You just want more! Her books never fail to satisfy . . . if you catch my double meaning there!

I was truly honored to work with her, proofreading her latest indie release, Pandora Wild Child, and I look forward to working with her again. Indeed, she’s another talented gem of an author more people ought to discover, read, and support!

So please, without further ado, allow me to introduce the wonderful . . . Sunniva Dee!

* * *
Hi there! 

new adult author My name is Sunniva Dee. I’m an author and a reader. The reader part being the trigger to my authorship. As a writer, my mission is to create what I love to read: stories as unpredictable as the future itself, multifaceted characters whom readers will love, hate, and maybe want to strangle at the same time. I’m big on humor, especially of the dry, off-the-wall sort, so I hope to make you laugh in the midst of the hot sex and drama concocted by my characters. As different as my books might sound, they’re traditional in one way: I’m not satisfied until my readers wear a happy wobbly-smile in my last chapter. Pure, bliss-filled HEAs are my thing—and cliffhangers are not…. For now. ;-)

New Adult Romance 
I am so excited to be here on Kim’s blog today. Kim is my girl, an author friend and a great editor. She worked on my latest release, PANDORA WILD CHILD, a back-to-the-roots New Adult romance, where all that can go wrong—and wonderfully well—happens during my main character’s first year in college. Ooooh yes, see—


College!

—is when all mistakes are made. It’s where you live life to the max, screw up, have the time of your existence, and yet you wake up morning after morning regretting half of what you said and did last night. At least that’s what it’s like for my wild child. Some readers recognize themselves in Pandora, while others tell me their goody-two-shoes selves live vicariously through her. She’s charming, impulsive, and passionate—a witches’ brew that creates chaos. Below is a taste of the situations she puts herself in.




Ah, I’m prattling on and on about my “newborn,” here. Let me slip in the tiniest bit about myself before I tell you about my other books. I’m originally from Norway, and English is my second, actually third, language (after Norwegian and Spanish). I moved to the United States a decade ago, and my day job is to be an adviser for graduate students at an art college in Savannah, Georgia. 

New Adult 

My first book, SHATTERING HALOS, is a New Adult Paranormal, an Amazon bestseller 5 weeks in a row back in February 2014 when it was first released. In it, you can enjoy hot angel-men and stupid/endearing college girls who don’t take “no” for an answer.





New AdultIn two weeks, on November 21st, Shattering Halos’ companion novel, STARGAZER, will be released. This book is more daring… in every sense of the word. I almost lost my publisher on this one, because it’s a bit on the edgy side. You can find it up for pre-order on most sites already, including Amazon. Then, last but not least, my very latest baby, LEON’S WAY. This is the companion novel to PANDORA WILD CHILD, which I hope will be published December 19th. I just finished the first round of edits, and I don’t even have it up on Goodreads yet for you to add to your TBR lists. I hope to blow you away with this one on… so many levels. *crosses fingers*

Wow. I did prattle, there, for a minute. Finally, let me stress how much I love friends. On Facebook, on Twitter, on Goodreads, and on Pinterest. I’m on Spotify if you’re interested in the playlists for my books as well, and I’m trying hard to figure out how to use Instagram. I hope to see you on these media—for now, my quotas still allow me to accept even friend requests.

As far as upcoming novels go: I have several in my head. They’re rattling the bars to barge free. I’m expecting to publish 2-3 novels in 2015, and I have a non-spammy new-releases-only newsletter to let my readers be the first in the know. This is where you sign up: http://bit.ly/sunnivasreleases

New and old friends: don’t forget to message me once you’ve read one of my books. I love, love, love your feedbacks—even the bad ones.

My books should be on most sites, but to find them all in one place, check out my Amazon author page: http://bit.ly/SunnivasBooks

Kim: again, thank you for having me today!!!

xoxo
Sunniva
 

* * *
And thank you, Sunniva, for being my indie author of the month! :D


20141013

Word of the Week: environmentalist - noun - (hear it!) - a person who works to protect the natural world from pollution and other threats.

Trash Into Treasure(d Family Memories)

Psst—hey—you.

Yeah, you.

C’mere.

Closer . . . closer . . . closerrrr . . .

IMMA GONNA TRASH TALK YOU!

Yeah, that’s right—trash talk. And you ain’t gonna stop me.

* * *
Human beings are the most disgusting creatures on this planet.

There. I’ve said it. And in public.

Now, before anyone gets “up in arms” over my declaration with: “Oi! I ain’t no disgustin’ creature!” allow me to follow it up with: I understand not everyone’s disgusting. In fact, many sparkling clean people dot this world with their wonderfully soapy goodness. And they smell good, too.

But! That’s totally not what I’m getting at. No. I’m referring to those icky habits (← Trash talk.), the ones that oh-so-delicately “decorate” our roadsides with the grossest, most putrid, awful junk imaginable. (← See? Trash talk.)

That’s right, I’m talking about . . . ROADSIDE LITTER. [cue dramatic music here because of the ALL CAPS]

“Hang on,” you say. “What’s roadside litter got to do with writing?”

Nothing. Nada. Nix. Zip. Zero. Zilch.

But it’s just an issue I care as deeply about as writing, and this past Spring, I’d decided to stop complaining—because that gets us nowhere—and started actually doing—because that gets us everywhere! (Including on trips and nice little outings. More on this later.)

So, what do I do?

I REVERSE LITTER! Mwahahahahahaha! That’s right! Instead of tossing a beer can out the car window (← More trash talk.), I actually PICK it UP off the ground, and PUT it INTO a GARBAGE BAG! *gasp* Instead of flicking spent cigarette butts through the air (← Yes, more trash talk.), I actually PLUCK them OUT of LEAVES, and PUT them INTO GARBAGE BAGS! *shudder* (Yes, with gloves, and no, I don’t pick up broken glass.)



But, in all seriousness . . . roadside litter is a major problem everywhere across my state, across my country, across the entire world, it seems. In just six months alone, I’ve collected over a thousand recyclable cans and bottles, and bagged up at least 20+ bags of trash . . . and that’s only from FIVE ROADS in my immediate vicinity.

What do I collect? Here, I’ll give you a run-down, from least to most (Wow, lots of trash talk!):

Bits and pieces of random plastics/plastic bags
Chewing tobacco containers/clothing bits
Napkins/paper towels/cardboard/styrofoam
Plastic/foam coffee cups and lids
Fast food bags and wrappers/cups, lids
Small and large plastic/glass liquor bottles
Empty cigarette packs
Soda cans and (water) bottles
Beer cans and bottles
Spent cigarette butts

Remember: LEAST to MOST.

Now, take a look at the last six items I collect most from my neighborhood roadsides . . . all of which involve smoking, drinking, or consuming fast food. Hmm . . . think about that one. And you know, I laughed so hard when I read what someone had once written: “New England’s roadsides are the cleanest I’ve ever seen!”

Ha! Yeah, right. I have 1,000+ recyclable cans and bottles, and 20+ bags of thrown-away garbage that say otherwise.

So, who does this? Who knows? Only those who actually litter know. And it’s downright disgusting that they treat our beautiful world like their personal landfill.

Come, take a look at this to give you an idea of how disgusting this is. These things are sitting ON OUR ROADSIDES. Who wants to walk, ride a bike, or drive down a road and see this, knowing some random piece of trash won’t biodegrade for 800 years?

Gross.

But! Like I said, I’d decided to stop grousing and do something positive, and guess what? With the money I’d collected from recycling cans and bottles people oh-so carelessly threw out their car windows, I’d treated my family to a nice day-outing to one of our local state park attractions.

Did it pay for the whole trip? Certainly not. But next year I’ll aim higher. Collect more. Recycle more. Do the environment even more good. Because you know what? Someone has care about our environment.

Thus and so, I’ve proudly joined the ranks of those intrepid, environmental-conscious people who make time—nay, go out of their way—to keep their world clean. And I do hope more people will decide to take the initiative. If we all pulled our weight, think of how much cleaner our world would be!

Oh yes, and one more thing: I’ve seen some pretty odd things during my collections.

Grossest? Dirty diapers.

Weirdest? A couch, a headless chicken, and a trout.

Yes. A headless chicken. And a trout.

Go figure.

20140913

Why I Write

Last month, the very lovely Christina Rozelle (author of the forthcoming novel, The Treemakers) invited me to do a recent blog-hop with the topic: Why I Write.

This month, I’d like to offer up two renditions of the reasons why I write, one of which is a true account.

So, why do I write? . . . Hmm . . . You know, I often ask myself that very question—

Wait—no I don’t! I NEVER ask myself that question. I’ve never actually given much thought as to WHY I write. WHAT I write, yes. WHERE I write, perhaps. WHEN I write, of course! WHO I write about . . . maybe, it depends. HOW I write, erm, well . . . rarely.

But WHY? Never.

It’s a good question, though. What makes some of us writers, authors, storytellers, pseudo-dreamspinners for a readership?

I don’t know about you, but I suspect my first reason all started when I was three.

Yes, I said three.
As in “years old.”

Why three? It was the age at which I learned how to read.

Account #1:

I’ve been told that my grandmother used to sit me in her lap and help me read, pointing my finger to each and every word as she read them aloud. I was, of course, too young to remember this, but apparently things took off from there.

Like wildfire.

In my youth, I was a voracious reader. I read anything and everything I could get my hands on. In school, I literally sailed through the “reading level” books; not even halfway through the school year, I’d get to the end of the levels and ask the teacher, “Now what?” In first grade, I was slated once a week to read—out loud—to the third grade class.

And the reading never stopped, all the way through school to today.

KERPOWIE!!
Now, couple this with an imagination that, if I didn’t rein it in, would come exploding straight out of my brain, and anyone caught in the flying shrapnel would certainly get injured. I pretended anything and everything I could wrap my head around. In play, I literally slayed dragons and rode horses and hung around with my “imaginary friends” in the woods, time and time and time again.

And the pretending never stopped, all the way through childhood to today.

No. Seriously. I still pretend. I do. Through writing. I pretend, create worlds, “play” with imaginary people (sometimes creatures), and because I’d read so much as a child, into adolescence, into adulthood, I’d learned—through osmosis, I suppose—the ins and outs of how stories are supposed to flow.

And I’ve successfully managed to intertwine the two!

What does that equal? Storytelling power!

So there it is, my first reason: I write, because if I don’t, I’d go stark-raving crazy without that creative outlet sparked by my love for reading, and my exploding brain would be responsible for way too many unintentional injuries.

Imagination can be such a dangerous thing. Wield it with care.

And so now, here’s: Account #2! The old woman pushed me to it, I swear!!

20140809

Alas, Failure is a Form of Cute 

Hmm . . .

—tip-tap-tippity-tap-tip-tip-tap—

How Not to be Distracted . . .

—tip-tap-tappity-tip-tip-tap-tippity-tap—

by Cute Puppies . . .

—tappity-tap-tip-tap-tap-tip-tip—

(While Writing a Novel)

—tappity-tap-tap.

by Devon Winterson.

Tap.

Um . . . hmm . . . right . . . let's see . . .

Puppies?

Or novel?





Puppies . . . ?

Or novel . . . ?





Roly-poly, fuzzy playthings with cute faces . . .

Or tough strings of words I’ll need a sledgehammer to pound into place . . . ?

Hmm . . .

—tap-tap-tippity-tap-tap—

 
A while back, a good friend suggested I write a post about how not to get distracted by . . . um . . . distracted by . . . cute . . . um . . . puppies while writing a, um . . . novel . . . but, er, ah—







—tip-tip-tap—








* Devon abandons blog post, tosses computer aside, races after puppies *

20140713

Word of the week: impasse - /ˈimˌpas,imˈpas/ - noun - (hear it!) -
a situation in which no progress is possible
.

Taking a Breather 

Once upon a different life, Spare Time and I were friends.

“He” alone taught me so much in the years we knew each other: how to play, how to love, how to imagine, how to dream. . . . We frolicked in the woods; caught frogs, snakes, and lizards. We dug low in the dirt; and climbed high in the trees, fell out of them, laughed, then did it all over again. We lazed in the sun, and curled up with good books. We took wonderful walks, and pretended to ride horses or hunt dragons in the field.

knight and dragon

Oh, Spare Time and I explored every nook and cranny of life, endlessly, relentlessly, tirelessly, once upon a different life.

Ah, but how the older years change everything!

With age come responsibilities, burdens; and with these, comes the sly intrusion of Essential Time.

Oh sure, Essential Time and I were friends . . . at first.

“She,” coupled with Spare Time, taught me so much in the years we’ve known each other: how to work, how to decide, how to view reality, how to take solid root . . . We built a house*; finished, finalized, and furnished it. We worked when scheduled, and did chores when home; took care of a child, fell flat on our faces, chuckled, then did it all over again. We toiled in the sun, and curled up in exhaustion at day’s end. We forewent those walks, and pretend horses and imaginary field dragons floated away like smoke on the wind. . . .


Huh. Some change.

Before long, Essential Time and I struggled to remain friends, after she’d transformed into a needy creature, roughly shoving aside my dear old friend, Spare Time.

“Tend to me!” she’d cry haughtily. “You must tend to me. I am your life now . . . no more frolicking, digging, or climbing; no more lazing around, or reading for enjoyment; no more strolling, or pretending to ride horses or slay foes. No, no, look around, look at all you must do. . . .”

Initially, Spare Time would visit, until Essential Time’s interruptions—she, with her snooty nose in the air—forced Spare Time to leave, dejected. Soon, all that remained were Essential Time’s venomous demands, which gradually shifted in frequency and intensity, despite her needs being the only ones I knew.

Until . . .

(And please believe me when I say “Rare is the moment I have nothing to do.”)

Out and about on a motherly errand one afternoon, I ended up being too late to return home and too early to pick up my daughter from school; I was at an impasse. So, I decided to visit our town’s river where people often fished, Farmington Riverand as I sat down onto one of the benches along the bank and closed my eyes to enjoy that nice, warm, sunny solitude . . . I soon felt Essential Time’s dismay at my inactivity.

“Why are you sitting?” she yelled. “You shouldn’t be sitting! There’s far too much to do! Get up! Get up!”

I promptly ignored her. Hey, what could I do? Too late to return home, too early to pick up my daughter. I was at an impasse, dammit!

Yet Essential Time continued to yell; she prodded, and poked, and chastised. Still I sat, waiting for her to go away. At last she did, fading off, frustrated and angry, and before long I sensed a familiar presence beside me.

“Hey,” it whispered, “how do you like it?”

My old friend, Spare Time.

“How do I like what?” I whispered back.

“Taking a breather, taking in the world again.”

I smiled. It was wonderful. The burble of the river, the crisp freshness of the early spring breeze, the rustle of dead leaves, the warm sun on my skin . . . all sensations I’d once enjoyed and cherished but now had forgotten how to, crunched under Essential Time’s incessant “Hurry, hurry, hurry up! Go, go, go!”

Her straining demands had expunged from my mind what all writers are obligated to do: Stay connected to the world—to truly listen, to feel, to taste, to smell; to really pay close attention everything around us and utilize every available sense to take it all in, because honestly . . . what is a true story scene without sounds, without smells, without tastes or tactile sensations? For a writer to describe these through the written word, and for a reader to experience a fleshed-out, sensory-rich scene sincerely and in full, enough to become lost in the story world . . . it’s like spinning a web of magic.

So thank you, Spare Time, dear friend, for slowing me down and reminding me to take stock in the various sensations of the world around me, so I may continue to grow and mature in my career as a writer.

I will forever be grateful.

* My hubby helped! :-D

20140613

Word of the week: antiestablishmentarianist (sic) – noun - [derived from: antiestablishment – adjective] – [one] opposed to or working against the existing power structure or mores, as of society or government – Dictionary.com

Indie Author of the Month: Come Meet . . . Tyro Vogel!

Through my years of writing and editing (and the year and a half I’ve been blogging), I’ve had the chance to meet so many wonderful writers with a host of gifted minds.

Stories of all genres written by ambitious, talented authors have captured my eye, and I love highlighting them here at The Ether of my Imagination with the high hopes that someone else—or many, many someone elses!—will learn more about those whom I’ve had the distinct pleasure of meeting, getting to know, and oftentimes gaining as repeat editing clients.

Tyro VogelToday, I’d like to introduce you to one of these particularly gifted minds who takes his readers on journeys of wild fascination through his science fiction and edgy cyberpunk stories. I enjoyed editing Extatica [part one], and proofreading his short story collection, Double Five, both of which are very engaging and very creative. Not for everyone, mind you—and certainly not for younger readers. But for an open-minded adult searching for some reads out of the mainstream, something with just that unique flair . . . I highly recommend checking out this author’s works!

Best of all (at least I think, in my humble opinion): Any money he makes on Extatica will go to The Breast Cancer Research Foundation. All the more reason to help support this excellent budding author!

And so now, without further ado, here’s Tyro Vogel to tell you about himself, and his current and future projects! (And yes, the font change is deliberate. :-) )

* * *
Who?

My name is Maxim, but I (mostly) write fiction as Tyro Vogel, which stands for "Beginner Bird."

I am an antiestablishmentarianist who works in an office.

When nobody's looking, I also run a copywriting business.

What?

Human being, just like you.

As to what I write ... well ...

For copywriting projects I'd written everything from Facebook game quests to texts for a hotel chain on the Seychelles Islands. Which can be fun if done right, and is (or can be) financially rewarding, but it's not where my heart lies.

When I write for myself, I write short stories. I'd written more than two hundred of those little suckers between the ages of 13 and 27, and some of them I still have the audacity to like. Horror stories, detective stories, at least one Western, erotic stories, flash pieces without real beginnings, middles or ends, science fiction stories ... mostly science fiction stories.

In 2013, I've started working on my first novel Extatica, which is scheduled to come out August 15. Writing the first half had been an immensely rewarding experience through which I've made new friends and had a chance to work with some wonderful people (including the owner of these electronic pages), and I can't wait to see what will come out of it when it's finished.

While I'm not the biggest supporter of the self-publishing model, working on Extatica had taught me that it's not without its merits, especially after I'd accepted that I will make no money on it whatsoever (and whatever money I will make will go to The Breast Cancer Research Foundation). But guess what! You don't need to wait until August 5 to help them sponsor new advancements in cancer treatment, you can always go to http://www.bcrfcure.org and pledge a few dollars (pounds, rubles, euros) today.

Since finishing my work on the first half of Extatica, I'd released a free Sherlock Holmes / Star Wars / Doctor Who crossfic The Girl with the Scarab Necklace to Smashwords and a collection of short stories called Double Five to Amazon.

I am currently writing my second Fallout fan-fiction story (stop looking at me funny, I love writing and I'm a fan, what else would you have me do), writing the entries to the third and fourth quarters of Writers of the Future competition, and, of course, working on my pseudo-erotic cyberpunk thriller, Extatica.

Where?

Budapest, Hungary. The land of good wine, home to Ernő Rubik and cheap pornography.

My website is www.tyrovogel.com; moreover, I regularly post stolen art and music to my Google+ stream, which you can find at https://plus.google.com/+TyroVogel (clickety click).

When?

Yesterday, today, tomorrow.

How?

I have a real-to-God paper notebook into which I write story notes, draw crazy business plans and website layouts, write poetry (with varying results), and sometimes plain prose when the laptop's battery dies.

I read a lot; sometimes I read about writing.

When I write, I want to try what I haven't tried before. Usually I fail, and end up procrastinating, just like I did before ... enter Yoda: DO OR DO NOT. THERE IS NO TRY.

I try to finish what I start because I believe that one finished "okay" story is endlessly better than a hundred "great" stories which I will never write.

Sometimes, I exercise.

Other times, I get annoyed at repeating the word "I" too much.

Why?

One person can change the world; we've seen it happen numerous times, and one time too many, the change had been for the worst. Sometimes, the change had been for the better.

To change the world, you need to change the way people think ... but I don't think you can really change a person. You can only help them change themselves. All you need is an idea.

For me, that's what stories are: ideas.

And I believe in the power of stories.

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Hey, hey! Come give my author alter-ego, Devon Winterson, a "Like" on Facebook, and read a posted excerpt from my dark fantasy novel, The Perfect Player, every Tuesday until November 11th! 

Word of the week: netherworld /ˈneT͟Hərˌwərld/ - noun – (hear it!) - the underworld of the dead; hell.

Influences

Every so often a reader will ask me: “Where do your ideas come from?”

Usually I tell them ideas just pop into my head. Which they do. Often. That’s the easy part. The “Why?” and “How?” are normally the harder questions—ones people don’t think to ask—and are really the reasons behind what we writers write most of the time.

Influences.

All around, every day, writers are constantly influenced by everything around them, whether consciously or subconsciously, and every set of influences (plus the reactions to those influences) is different for every writer.

A couple kissing on a park bench, for example, may evoke feelings of love, devotion, and possibly yearning in one writer, whereas it might provoke the deep desire to retch in another. And while the second writer might view a lion’s bloody takedown of a limping gazelle as strong, powerful, and nature’s efficient way of weeding out the weak, the first writer may shudder and whine at the injustice of a helpless animal’s death.

What we writers do with what we’re shown and handed over the years usually filters through and into our stories—big time!—and it often shapes what we write and how our characters react to certain things.

Caendoria, my own fantasy world, has been influenced by a couple of things both *kind of* well known and not well known at all.

What the hell do I mean by that?? Here, I’ll show you.

Pop quiz!

How many of you recognize this . . .

Baron of Hell
. . . and this?

cyberdemon, hell, netherworld creature
Cyberdemon

If you’ve lived through the nineties and played a game called Doom by id Software, then you’re probably familiar with the Barons of Hell, and the powerful Cyberdemon (respectively), who kind of seemed like the Barons’ overseer.

Maybe. I don’t know.

Anyway, I always thought they looked pretty cool. And massive. And just plain ol’ downright awesome. Thus, the creation of my netherworld demons were influenced by the structure of these demonic characters. With my own twists to them, of course. (All authors add in their own twists to stuff we’re influenced by!) In the end, my own rendition of these demons have become the dystopian element in the otherwise perfect world of Caendoria.

Now, how about this? . . .

Myst, Myst World, fantasy

Again, if you’ve lived through the nineties, you’ve probably heard of a game called Myst by Cyan Worlds, created by Rand and Robyn Miller. Way before I ever started seriously writing (and waayy before I had children), my husband and I would sit together for hours upon hours, solving the puzzles inside the storyline, progressively unlocking each secret as we proceeded through the game.

Awesome enough, to be sure!

But the elements! Ah, the elements . . . they were purely fascinating—nearly utopian, beautifully rendered, and [mostly] pleasing to all of the senses (well, if one goes further into one’s imagination; ghost smells and all that, you know . . . ).

Little did I know these bits and pieces would captivate my then-dormant writer’s mind and lodge securely to later be altered and rendered; picked apart, stretched out, and twisted up like twisty ties to create the world I now know as Caendoria: lavender sky and grasses; thick, drinkable liquid—iridescent by day, blue luminescent by night; silver- and gold-topped trees; intricate mechanisms hidden throughout the world. All sorts of fun and unusual stuffs!

Yes . . . so now you know a little of the “Why?” and “How?” behind what I write. Behind what all writers write, really.

Influences. All around, every day. Things take root in our minds, our hearts, our feelings, then we mix and match in unique ways, and write it all down for everyone to share.

And if you really want to know: I am that second writer in my “limping gazelle/lion take down” paragraph. Well, minus the kissing. Kissing’s nice. Unless you see a lion kissing a gazelle. Now that would be weird.

Thus, my wonderful blog readers, I leave you with a fly-through across the Ages . . . literally. Tribute to the Myst Ages. (Note: You may need to lighten your monitor. The trailer's a bit on the dark side.)