July 8, 2012 in Dag

I’m going to be somebody else today

I’ve just made a really cool discovery.
I think I’ve figured out why writing these blog posts is so difficult.
I think it’s all because I’ve gotten a little bit bored with myself.

Here’s the problem. Every week, usually about now, I sit down at my computer and say to myself, “ok, time to write something.” Then I try to focus a bit and think, “what’s an interesting thing to write about?”

Because, of course, a blog post has to be interesting. What’s the point of writing it if it isn’t? Who would want to read it if it wasn’t?

That’s when the hard bit begins. What can I say that might be of interest to all those readers out there? What do I think? Where have I been? What have I done? To be honest, most of the time the answers really aren’t that interesting.

So today I’m not going to bore you with mundane stuff. I’m going to be someone completely different. Someone exciting and glamorous. Someone who has been to interesting places and done all sorts of exciting things.

For a start, I’m probably extremely good-looking. You’ve probably seen my face plastered all over the TV and magazines. I might even have been in a movie, or had a hit pop record or something. I think I’ve climbed to the top of Mt Everest, and I’ve also swam down to the bottom of the deepest, darkest oceans. And did I mention that I’ve wrestled with lions and polar bears? Not at the same time, mind you, but that’s still pretty darned interesting in my book.

Ok, I’m starting to warm up now. What else would you like to know about me.I’m really great at sport. I might even be playing in the Wimbledon final this weekend, in the middle of my warm-ups for the Olympic games. I’m the coolest, grooviest dancer you might ever see. And I have tremendous charisma. You should see people’s faces when I start to talk. Whoo boy do I know how to attract people’s attention.

Is that enough about me? I’d hate to look like I was really self-obsessed. And besides, I think people are always more interesting when you don’t know too much about them – it makes them seem like a bit of a mystery.

So there you go. How interesting has this post been? The best one over in my humble opinion. This being someone else gig is so great, I think I might try it again next week.

I wonder who I’ll be.

Discover Fantasy Update

Even though I’m definitely still not me, I just want to remind you about the extremely interesting Discover Fantasy tour featuring the totally exciting David M. Brown and the truly fascinating Jeremy Rodden. There will be more great posts so do check the schedule of events.

And wanna hear something even more interesting? There’s a $100 Amazon gift card to be won – check out the giveaway details.

July 4, 2012 in Dag

Druids, Vampires, Shapeshifters and International Finance – Guest post by Karen Victoria Smith

I’m really excited about the guest I have at Dag-Lit Central today. Karen Victoria Smith was one of the very first friends I made when I began my writing and publishing adventure, back in the days when the talk on Twitter was all about writing and drinking and the #pubwrite tag hadn’t been overtaken by spammers.

Today Karen is here, talking about her writing and publishing journey, and her new release, Dark Dealings.

And as an added bonus, Karen is offering 1 free paperback or 2 free ecopies of Dark Dealings. Just go to the Indie Exchange in order to enter the draw.

 

Druids, Vampires, Shapeshifters and International Finance

Jonathan Gould has asked me to talk about how my novel, Dark Dealings, differs from others on the genre.

Let’s get the easy ones out of the way:

  • My vampires do not sparkle or walk around in the daylight.
  • The world does not recognize their existence or the existence of shapeshifters and Druids with real power.
  • No one lives in a remote swamp, where I think the food supply is more limited than in cities.

I write urban fantasy based in a somewhat more traditional post-Nosferatu vein. Don’t get me wrong there is a strong romance element, but because my main character, Micaela, doesn’t get a Happily-Ever-After (HEA) it is not technically a paranormal romance. I had a small press publisher ask me to re-write the ending to make it a HEA, but this is just the beginning of Micaela’s journey and she is just not there yet.

I also bring to Dark Dealings my own personal experiences.  I was raised in an urban environment in an Irish Catholic family. We lived in a four-family apartment building where all four apartments were occupied by a family member or in-laws relative.  My grandfather died when I was three leaving the building to my grandmother. She had been born in Athlone, Ireland and came to the United States just in time for the Great Depression. She was a great storyteller with a wicked sense of humor, and would tell me stories of her life in Ireland of family and fairy rings. She tried to teach me Irish, a skill I am still trying to master.

And so I took my Irish city kid self to an Ivy League school and then to Wall Street.  I spent 10 years there and then moved on to a major national bank when jumping on planes four days a week got very old.  I learned a lot in those years about people, finance and, in writing and editing legal documents and board presentations about the power of choosing the right words.

During that time the world went digital and 24-hour.

One night, I sat with a glass of wine under a moonlit sky and it all came together.  How easy it would be for the good old-fashioned vampire to hide and flourish in plain sight.  As a Wall Street refugee, I realized that for much of the globe everywhere it was night it was day for a trading desk somewhere else. And while rich, powerful vampires lend themselves to more plot opportunities, the next time you stop in an all night deli or highway gas station wonder why some of these folks LIKE to work nights. 

Then Micaela started to speak to me. She was highly logical, analytical and rational. The classic Wall Street type. Too analytical, she was hiding something.  She had a past and a history and demanded I tell it.  What is it? Well you’ll have to read Dark Dealings to learn more.

In writing Dark Dealings, I studied for years the craft of writing and for much of that time this novel was my homework project. Along the way, I discovered Joseph Campbell and The Hero with a Thousand Faces and his thematic progeny, Christopher Vogler, the man who changed Disney’s approach to films and has applied it to the novel. 

Perhaps one of the ways I am different from some of the fellow indie writers is that we are also the same. We are the sum and substance of our knowledge and experience.  My experience has been a bit more eclectic than most and so I find is easier to meld Druids, vampires, shapeshifters and Wall Street into a great ride.  I understand and cherish the power of the word and thanks to my Irish grandmother the power of a well-told story.

About Karen Victoria Smith

Karen Victoria Smith grew up with an Irish grandmother who tried to teach her the old ways and watched horror movies with her in the dark.  From there she moved on the wider world of college and career. After 25 years in financial services working on Wall Street and for major national banks, she discovered her passion in writing.  In Dark Dealings, she has found a way to bring the old ways together with the modern world.

Karen lives in New Jersey with her family who patiently allow her to believe that in a 24-hour world the monsters are real.

Her blog:  Storyteller’s Grove   http://kvictoriasmith.blogspot.com/

Goodreads:  http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/5830445.Karen_Victoria_Smith

Twitter: https://twitter.com/#!/KVictoriaSmith

Google+: https://plus.google.com/u/0/116156670429771791626/posts

Facebook:  http://www.facebook.com/karen.k.smith.37

Pinterest:  http://pinterest.com/kvictoriasmith/ 

Links for Dark Dealings

Amazon page:  http://www.amazon.com/Dark-Dealings-ebook/dp/B007Z9DEEI/ref=sr_1_1?s=digital-text&ie;=UTF8&qid;=1339463063&sr;=1-1

Barnes and Noble page:   http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/dark-dealings-karen-victoria-smith/1110689732?ean=2940014403795

Smashwords (for other formats) http://www.smashwords.com/books/view/157380

Available in print through Amazon.

Also in print at CreateSpace eStore: https://www.createspace.com/3868445

And don’t forget – got to The Indie Exchange to enter the draw for a free copy.

June 30, 2012 in Dag

July is Discover Fantasy month

Welcome to July.

Ok, we’re not quite there yet, but I’m quite excited about it so I couldn’t help myself.

You’re probably asking what’s so special about July. For my friends up north it’s probably stinking hot, while for me down south, it’s miserable, cold and wet.But July is exciting for me because July is now officially Discover Fantasy month.

So what is Discover Fantasy? (geez he asks a lot of questions). Discover Fantasy is a terrific new event set up to raise peoples’ awareness of fantasy as a genre, and demonstrate how broad it can be. We want to show you that fantasy is not just about wizards and elves and magic – there are lots of different types of stories, lots of different moods and styles, which can all be considered to be fantasy.

Joining me in this event are two other fantastic writers:

  • David M. Brown – who writes broad, sweeping dramatic fantasy, with nary a witch or dwarf to be seen
  • Jeremy Rodden – who takes you into the world of Toonopolis, where Saturday morning cartoons become real.

I really hope you’ll join us in this fabulous event, organised by the amazing Donna Brown. Please check out the Discover Fantasy Website for details on the event, the authors involved, and the schedule. 

June 26, 2012 in Dag

Why I write magic realism: guest post by Tahlia Newland

Today I’m delighted to have a visit from my friend, Tahlia Newland author of You Can’t Shatter Me, a new young adult novella with an inspiring and empowering message for solving bullying. Tahlia writes magical realism and contemporary fantasy for young adults & adults. She has two short stories available free on kindle for a limited period, Not Me, It Can’t Be from 28th June to the 2nd July and A Hole in the Pavement from 3rd to 7th July.

Why I write magic realism 

 

Magical Realism is a genre of fiction in which magical elements blend with the real world. They’re written as real occurrences, presented in a straightforward manner that places the “real” and the “fantastic” in the same stream of thought. In my writing, the magical elements take the form of analogies or extended metaphors for character’s inner experiences.
Sometimes the lines between magical realism and fantasy can become blurred, but the writing is more powerful if the genre stays within its boundaries.  The difference between the two genres is that fantasy uses ordinary metaphors in a magical or fantasy world, whereas magical realism uses magical or fantastic metaphors in a real world. The magical aspect is a way of illuminating reality, rather than taking us into an unreal world.
I started out writing fantasy then realised that because my fantasy elements were often analogies for real things, it bordered on magical realism. I wrote a couple of magical realism stories for my short story collection A Matter of Perception and after readers raved about A Hole in the Pavement, (available now as a separate ebook on kindle) I thought I’d try my hand at more in the genre.

The beauty of magical realism is that it allows you to highlight and emphasise aspects of ordinary life in a highly imaginative and evocative way. I’ve always been fascinated by the mind and how it shapes our perception, but in a normal novel, if you spend too long on a characters thoughts and feelings, it can get boring.

With magical realism, I can express the character’s inner experience in a more interesting and powerful way by providing a visual image. For example when Dylan, the main male character tries to decide what subjects to choose for school the following year, words fly around the room and attack him, and when Carly, the female lead, battles doubt in herself, she uses laser light from her heart to destroys a huge purple doubt dragon.

The subject matter for You Can’t Shatter Me is bullying, which could be too real for some, but if you turn it into fantasy, it becomes too unreal to relate to people’s lives. Writing about real kids in a very real situation but with magical elements to illuminate the character’s inner development was the perfect choice for You Can’t Shatter Me.

Synopsis: You Can’t Shatter Me

Sixteen year old Carly wants to write her own life and cast herself as a superhero, but when she stands up to a bully, the story gets out of her control. Dylan, a karate-trained nerd who supports her stand, turns out to be a secret admirer, and Justin, the bully, makes Carly his next victim. While romance blossoms, Dylan faces attacking words, an unreliable movie director, a concrete habit that requires smashing, and an unruly Neanderthal. Meanwhile, the bully’s increasing harassment forces Carly to deal with flying hooks, unflushable cowpats, and deadly dragons. An old hippie shows her an inner magic that’s supposed to make her invincible, but will Carly learn to use it before the bully strikes again and Dylan resorts to violence?

Book Links for You Can’t Shatter Me

 

Book trailer

http://youtu.be/ysXMYoJUsO0 

 

Purchase links

 

Ebook

Files for all devices: https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/174488

 

Paperback

If you’d like to be notified when the paperback is released please fill in the form here.

 

Author bio & links

Tahlia is an avid reader, an extremely casual high school teacher, an occasional mask-maker and has studied philosophy & meditation for many years. After scripting and performing in Visual Theatre shows for 20 years, she is now a bone-fide expatriate of the performing arts. She lives in an Australian rainforest, is married with a teenage daughter and loves cats, but she doesn’t have one because they eat native birds.

Weblog 

Facebook

Twitter

Goodreads Author page

Amazon Author page

Smashwords author page

Don’t forget to pick up one of Tahlia’s free short stories for your kindle, Not Me, It Can’t Be from 28th June to the 2nd July and A Hole in the Pavement  from 3rd to 7th July.

June 24, 2012 in Dag

Enough already from those dead authors

I discovered something interesting this week.

I did a bit of a review of the traffic here at Dag-Lit Central and made a fascinating discovery. By a mile, the posts that get the most traffic are the ones where I whinge and complain and am generally grumpy. In contrast, the ones where I’m cheerful and happy don’t seem to do anywhere near as well.

So with that in mind, as much as I like being cheery and optimistic, I’ve decided I’m going to go back to grumpy mode and have a good old rant.

The subject of my rant is going to be dead authors.

Dead authors, I’ve totally had enough of you. Don’t get me wrong, I reckon you were fantastic when you were alive.  You wrote some of my all time favourite books and for that I’ll always cherish your memory. I just have one thing to say to you. Enough is enough. It’s time to stop writing new stuff.

You’d thing this wouldn’t be an issue. You would think that the state of being dead would be enough to put a pretty sizable dint in somebody’s writing career. But apparently that’s no longer the case. Being stuck in a coffin and buried six-feet under no longer seems to be the hindrance that it was.

Take Enid Blyton for instance. Now a lot of people seem to have it in for her, but I’ll always have pleasant memories of reading her books as a kid, and my children love them now. The thing is, there are now far more Enid Blyton books out there than there used to be, and some of them have suspiciously recent publication dates. You have to look pretty closely at the front cover to realise that it’s not actually Enid Blyton that is written there, it is Enid Blyton’s, with the apostrophe and s much smaller than the rest of the text. And, of course, there’s no other author listed on the cover. You have to look inside the book to see a “special thanks to…” in order to discover who actually wrote the book.

Now I don’t know about you but I reckon that’s a really sneaky trick the publishers are trying to put over us. Most book buyers wouldn’t look that closely, they’d just think, “Gosh there are another 25 stories in the Magic Faraway Tree series and 314 more Wishing Chair ones.” They wouldn’t expect that they were actually being swindled.

And how the hell are us new writers, you know the ones who are actually trying to come up with something new and original, meant to compete? It’s hard enough trying to make yourself seen as it is. But if the competition is a never ending stream of copy-cat work purporting to be from long-dead household names. Well it really gets my gander up.

That’s all for this week. Next week I may be a bit cheerier. But I doubt it.