Myra Update

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Myra is back from its second edit, I added about 5,000 words and tidied it up a little from the first draft.

My editor said, “As ever, it’s a cracking story and even on the second read it was still nice and tight.” so I’m happy that its as good as I can make it, especially after all the positive beta reader comments.

We are on course for release on March 15th 2017, my cover designer and formatting team are on standby for January and I’ve allocated an ISBN for both eBook and paperback versions.

Chapter one is HERE for a first look.

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It now only remains to produce some pre-publicity for social media and get all the posts and tweets lined up, links tested etc. etc.

So look out for them soon. And a special pre-order offer as well! And you may be interested to hear that I have enough story left over for the basis of a third novel in the series, I’ve put it on my list of Works in Progress!

Vanishing into Science Fiction

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Beta readers wanted

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Good morning everyone, I’m looking for a few beta readers for my latest Sci-fi novel, “Jungle Green.”

It’s the sequel to my 2014 release “Ribbonworld,” and this time our heroes are involved with counterfeit drugs and all that entails. The novel has received an edit, so all I’m looking for from readers is an opinion on the plot and content.

To give you a rough idea, here’s the current blurb.

“TC is the wonder drug. Manufactured in secrecy on a remote planet at the edge of the galaxy, it makes world’s inhabitable; and Balcom Industrial lots of money. Then, suddenly, the people who need to take it to stay alive start to die!

For Layla Balcom, fresh from wresting control of her father’s inheritance from those who would have destroyed it, the news is devastating. Can the drug be flawed? Or is something else going on? 

In the search for answers Layla and those close to her find a web of lies and hostility. Then she is dragged into criminal activities and it becomes far more personal. It’s time to sort the good from the bad and protect Layla’s legacy.”

If you’re interested or know someone who may be, please comment or share below. I can supply in .pdf, .epub or .mobi formats.

Two things

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My radio interview is live on TCR,

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you can hear me chatting about my life and work with Caro B

 

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And the other thing, my newsletter is out for December, send me your email and I’ll make sure you get a copy, you can use the form on this page or you can contact me direct at richarddeescifi@gmail.com

NaNoWriMo is Finished

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I’d like everyone to absorb that sentence for a moment before breathing a sigh of relief and looking to the future where something like normality might finally lie. For those who have taken part I give you a hearty congratulations, regardless of word count, just taking the time to try this mad little event is worthy of applause, and possibly some kind of medal to indicate a mixture of bravery and insanity. This article is not only a medal ceremony it is also a chance to look to future contests, to see what could be improved ahead of time, and to notice what worked well for you during this year’s contest. So let’s look into this, shall we.
You didn’t write: Now, I want to make one thing clear from the very beginning if you didn’t write in this years’ NaNo it isn’t a bad thing, not even a little bit. The contest and the word limit can be very intimidating, and with all the other challenges that come from life it is often an insurmountable task. However, next year it might be worth, at the very least, dipping your toes in. If you join in NaNo for one day and meet that day’s word limit then that is a good start. Even if you write only one day out of the thirty, I would still encourage you to join each year. Maybe you are unsure about writing itself, in which case join in all the antics on the forum, drink in the inspiration that flows around the thousands of other writers that this contest attracts, find encouragement from them, and give them encouragement when NaNo fatigue starts to set in. My other piece of advice would be to consider the camps at the beginning of the year. These are much smaller challenges, and you can set your own word limit. 5000 is much less intimidating than the full amount but no less of an achievement. Consider joining these smaller challenges to get your confidence up and maybe when next year rolls around you will have more confidence for the big event.
You wrote but didn’t reach the limit: I suspect this will be the case for a lot of us, and I implore you not to get disheartened. As I have already mentioned this is a very challenging event and being brave enough to participate is excellent. My tips for meeting the word-count would depend on your situation. If work or family responsibilities leave you without enough writing time then maybe set yourself a personal goal, that way even if you can’t meet the full 50 you will still have the encouragement of knowing you’re close to one of your goals. If inspiration is your nemesis then I would recommend the forums once more. Word wars are a personal favourite of mine but just surrounding yourself with other writers can provide inspiration aplenty, and maybe one of them has just the idea to solve your current block. Finally, if finding the focus to sit down and write is a problem, and I know this strikes a lot of us, then I would recommend switching off the internet. Take yourself somewhere where there’s less temptation, find a quiet little corner of the world each day and see what inspiration strikes you. Practice is what will save you while writing, so never stop and don’t get disheartened if you don’t meet one goal, the act of writing is achievement enough.
You wrote 50,000 words: congratulations, you have made it to the finish line. For those writers in this group, I would caution against getting comfortable. Look back on your experience: were there any days you struggled, did a lack of notes leave you uncertain where to proceed at a certain point, and how did you balance your life alongside this challenge. This is an amazing achievement for you, but it is also and excellent learning opportunity to learn what works for you, as a writer, and what might have tripped you up in places. I would always advise anyone who might listen to never stop learning, to never stop improving, and of course, to never stop writing. The path of an author is a difficult one, but challenges like this can teach us a lot about ourselves that we may well find useful for future endeavours.
I think I’ve written enough for one day. For those who have been following me I am happy to report I have crossed the finishing line. I hope you took something away from this article, and I look forward to seeing many of you again next year.

Black Friday Special

posted in: Flash Fiction, News, Writing | 0

Black Friday Special

There is a special edition of Flash Fiction available from now until Christmas.

Download it and read all the amazing short stories; at the back of the book, there is a link which takes you to my website. Enter your e-mail address and you’ll be set the link for a FREE novel, hosted by bookfunnel.com. You’ll also be put on the mailing list for my newsletter, where you’ll get all the latest information from me, including extra short stories and pre-launch offers for my upcoming releases. Of course, you can unsubscribe at any time, but I’d rather you didn’t. I promise never to spam you or pass your details on. My Privacy Policy is HERE

So get over to myBook.to/Flash  and get clicking.

FF4Finished Orange

NaNoWriMo, day 18

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I thought that it was time for an update on my progress in this year’s NaNoWriMo.

As you might be aware, the idea of NaNoWriMo is to write 50,000 words during the month of November, which should be enough for a first draft, it will give you a plot and most of the background for a novel. 


I know, because I actually wrote “Ribbonworld” in November 2014, while I was off sick from work and had time on my hands awaiting surgery. In the end, it was finished off at 73,000 words in April 2015 and published in November. In 2015 I was busy with other projects and so didn’t take the challenge, this year I made sure that my schedule was clear.


As my project, I took a short story that has had a good reception and decided to turn it into a novel if I could. It was 1,220 words to begin with, hardly a scratch on the 50,000 I wanted to write.


The story was “Andorra Pett and the Oort Cloud Cafe,” my homage to the “Cupcakes on the beach” genre that one literary agent suggested that I should write instead of sci-fi. I thought that as it was a complete departure from my usual thing it would give me the freedom to write what I wanted, to just put down what came out instead of feeling restricted by the genre and by my self-imposed plot. I had no plot for this one, no idea where it would go. I was going to wing it.


If you haven’t read the short story, you can either download it here or click its name above to read it. Or you can take the plunge and get the full collection of short stories that it’s featured in here. (It’s FREE!)


Anyway, after 18 days, I have around 38,000 words done, so I’m coming along nicely, I think that I have the full plot, it’s developed as I went along and not necessarily in the way I expected. I think I know the end and unusually for me, I also think I know which character did what. All I need to do now, in the remaining 12,000 words,is complete the dialogue and scene setting and I’m done. I feel liberated by the simple act of just writing down what came into my head. In fact, at times I don’t remember what I wrote, reading it back was a surprise.


And I found the most amazing website, that I expect everyone else knows about, to design my cover. 

I normally use the wonderful Cathy Helms at Avalon Graphics to do my covers but this one needed something quickly. It will only be an e-book for the moment, assuming that I actually finish it and that it’s worth publishing.


The site is Canva, it’s very easy to use and full of great features, this only took me a couple of minutes (I expect you can tell!), and felt in keeping with the spirit of the story.


Once I have finished writing it and my editor had given it a wave of her magic wand, I’ll be asking for opinions and giving away some free copies of the first edit before the whole thing goes live. Stay tuned for details! And if you’re struggling with your own project, just let it flow and see where you end up. Good luck!

The Important Bits

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Be Careful…Friday Flash Fiction.

posted in: Flash Fiction, Writing | 0

So here is the Friday Flash fiction, I’ve taken a break from NaNoWriMo duties for a while to post this. Incidentally, I’m at just over 19,000 words on Andorra Pett so I’m slightly ahead of the game.

I wrote the basic idea for this Flash on my phone while I was waiting to give blood earlier in the year (the touch keyboard on an S5 is designed for small fingers, not my bunch of bananas), it was intended to be part of my next short story collection but I thought that you might like an advance look. If you want to download a copy to read later, you can get the pdf file here.

Be Careful…

 

I woke, my alarm was buzzing. My head throbbed; I had drunk far too much beer last night. Then I realised it was quiet. There were no traffic noises. There was no Mrs what’s her name upstairs clattering around. There was just the sound of silence. I wasn’t used to it. And it deafened me.

I got up and crossed to the window, pulled back the curtains and looked out on the street. The window was already open, that wasn’t the reason that I couldn’t hear the sounds of the city waking up. The streets were empty in the early morning sunshine. I looked at my watch, it was time to get up, there were cars on the road and I could see a bus at the end of the street. It was just that none of them were moving. And no-one was walking on the pavements.

I felt the sun’s warmth through the window; the sky was dotted with a few small clouds. It was going to be a beautiful summer’s day. But there were no people, anywhere. If I strained my hearing I could just make out the sounds of the main road, a quarter of a mile away. I went to the bathroom, the light worked and water flowed, just as normal. I washed and dressed as fast as I could and grabbed a drink from the fridge. The light came on when I opened the door. The news on the radio was the usual boring old stuff, nothing about a mass disappearance of the population of SW18.  I looked online, there were no local traffic problems and no roads closed. No gas leak had caused a mass evacuation that I had slept through.

There was just an alarming absence of other people as I walked down the road towards my workplace. I saw a few cats in the windows of the houses; they watched me pass with that unnerving cat-stare. Televisions were on in front rooms. I started to feel fear, just a prickling sensation in my shoulders at first; it took over from my headache.

I only lived a short way away from my office job and unless it was pouring with rain I walked every day. I usually bought a newspaper at the local shop; it was open as usual but deserted. I took the paper and left the money on the counter, by the till. A quick glance at the headlines confirmed that the news was the same old normal. As I neared the main road the sound of traffic, the sounds of life got louder. But when I turned the corner and saw the junction, there was nothing. Again, there were the rows of cars, lorries, and buses but there were no people? What was going on? I could still hear the noise, but now it sounded like it was in the next street. It was almost like I was in a bubble, all around me outside the bubble life carried on. Inside it was deserted. I lost it for a second and shouted: “Where are you?”

I ran down the road in a panic, turned left and reached the source of the noise. It was silent and deserted, just like where I had come from. Now the noise sounded like it was behind me. Not knowing what to do I retraced my steps. Back at the junction, it was still deserted but I could see that the traffic had moved in my absence. The pattern of vehicles was definitely different.

What was going on? I was really frightened now; I just stood by the traffic lights, I shook and I screamed, “Is there anyone who can hear me?” shouting it over and over.

As I turned around and around, I saw a lone figure, standing and watching me. I ran towards them, shouting out in the silence, “Wait, don’t go.”

As I reached them I realised that I had seen her before. She was tall and olive-skinned, with thick dark hair and piercing blue eyes. Where was she from? Was she like me, stuck in this bubble? I was shaking and grabbed her arm as if to anchor myself to something that wasn’t part of the crazy world I had found myself in.

“I know you,” I said, realising that it sounded stupid, all the things I could have said and I said that.

She looked at me calmly, as if being grabbed by demented people in a deserted street were the most normal thing. “Last night,” she said, gently removing my hand. “We met at Greg’s party; you were in a foul mood.”

~~~~~

I remembered it only too well, I had had a bad day and things were going wrong at work. No matter how I tried to sort the situation out people either wouldn’t listen or said they’d get back to me and didn’t. Then my boss had started hassling me, blaming me for others errors and by five o’clock I had had enough. I was sick of them all. I got home to find that Mrs. Upstairs was all too ready to criticise my lifestyle.

I walked away as she started on my music choices and volume. All this had coincided with a fall out with my family and to top it all I had a party to go to. I certainly didn’t feel like spending the evening in the company of a bunch of happy people. Even at the best of times, I wasn’t really a party person. Tonight I just wanted to be left alone to sort my mind out.

My girlfriend, Sal, arrived after I’d eaten and persuaded me to go with her. “It’ll do you good,” she said, “cheer you up a bit.”

I had been bad company and by ten Sal had got fed up with my moaning. She told me in no uncertain terms to sort myself out before I bothered to call her, and then she had left. I felt bad, I hadn’t wanted to go and now she had made me feel worse. I liked Sal a lot and didn’t want to lose her; despite my black mood, she was special to me. I just needed a bit of alone time.

Everyone else was having a good time but that only made it worse; I couldn’t join in the dancing and singing. I just sat in the corner and drank beer. The only bright spot was at about eleven when the girl had turned up. She had a face you wouldn’t forget in a hurry. It had a kind of haunting, hypnotic quality and it had cheered me up a bit when she had ignored everyone else and come over to talk to me.

We chatted and although I told her my life story she gave little away. Refusing a drink, she said she had recently arrived from abroad and was trying to settle into life here. I asked her how come she was here alone. Her reply was that she wasn’t good at relationships; people always got fed up with her in no time. I couldn’t see why, she was intelligent and witty, not conceited like so many beauties are and easy to talk to, it didn’t make sense. She was sympathetic to my tale of woe and talking to her helped me calm down a bit.

She gazed into my eyes sometime after midnight, holding my hands and looking into the depths of my mind, “What do you really want?” she asked, “just imagine that you could have three wishes.”

The idea was appealing to my semi-inebriated state; I tried to marshal my thoughts.

“I just wish that everyone but you would just get on with it and leave me alone,” I said it confidently, hoping for a spot of sympathy and understanding. Instead, she nodded and got up. “I understand exactly what you mean,” she said. “Back in a bit,” she gave me an enigmatic smile.

“I don’t mean you,” I called after her, “you’re the only person who’s been willing to listen to me tonight.” She waved her hand and laughed as she turned and walked away.

That was the last I saw of her, I waited a while and when she didn’t return I sought out Greg, the party giver.

“I’ve lost a girl,” I told him.

“I’m not surprised that Sal’s gone home,” he answered; “you’ve been like a bear with a sore head all evening.”

“Not Sal, another girl, you must have seen her, you couldn’t miss her,” I described the mystery woman to him.

“Dark hair, blue eyes, no, not one of mine,” he shook his head, his eyes thoughtful.  “I would have shoved you out of the way if I had seen her, anyhow you shouldn’t be chasing other women, Sal will kill you. She won’t be thrilled if she hears that you’ve been you pouring your heart out to some stranger.”

“Sal got fed up with me going on, at least this one listened.” I said and Greg laughed, punching me on the shoulder as he told me off, “Well, I wouldn’t tell Sal that, she might not be too sympathetic. You’ve been an old misery tonight, but if Sal finds out, well, that’s how jealousy starts.” He was right of course, I needed to lighten up and sort myself out.

“Oh well if she isn’t coming back I might as well go home and sleep it off,” I told him, “see you tomorrow.”

~~~~~~~

“Where did you get to?” I asked her, “you never came back and I looked for you.”

“I had things to do,” she said with that enigmatic smile, “nothing personal. How’s your day? Are you feeling any better?”

“I can’t understand it,” I replied, “I can hear life going on all around me, it’s on the radio and the internet but it’s, well it’s just not here. I feel like I’m alone, but surrounded, if you know what I mean.”

“Don’t you remember what you said?” she asked me.

“What?”

“What you told me last night. I said what do you wish for. You went on about how you wanted to be left alone, isn’t this what you wanted? Do you mean that now you’ve got it you think it was a silly thing to wish for?”

“But you don’t mean this is…” I stopped; she had to be playing with my mind. Did she want me to think that she had…?  That was a ridiculous idea. There had to be a rational explanation, it just needed finding.

“Anyway,” I reminded her, “I’m not alone, you’re here.”

“Yes,” she said, “you said everyone except me. It took a while to set up, longer than I thought but I had to do it properly. You’d gone home when I got back so I waited to catch you this morning. I thought you’d be pleased with me.”

None of that made any sense. “Can’t you just tell me in simple terms? What’s going on?”

“OK,” she said, the blue eyes sparkling and the smile playing across her face, “In simple terms then. What are your other two wishes, Master?”

© Richard Dee 2016

NaNoWriMo Encouragement and Future Releases

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Hello all and welcome back to a world of science fiction and funny hats (hats optional). At this point most of us who are participating in NaNoWriMo are well underway, and while at some point in this post I am going to offer inspiration and encouragement, first I wanted to share some exciting ideas I have been having with regards to my current novels and how to get them out into the world. I hope some of these ideas might inspire my fellow writers when the time comes for them to get their books out into the world. So let’s get started.

Black Friday: for some reason I have always found the name Black Friday to be something more appropriate for Halloween than Christmas, but the name has stuck and I feel it’s best to make the most of it. For those of you who have an interest in my books, but haven’t had chance, finances or opportunity to get them, then I have a special seasonal treat for you. On that fateful Friday, and a few of the days either side of it I will be reducing the price on a few of my novels (more information about which ones in future posts) to make them more affordable in the run up to Christmas. This is the perfect opportunity for anyone interested in getting one either for themselves or a relative, and I am happy to share this with you. Keep an eye out for future posts as I will tell you exactly which novels will be reduced. Also I have a bonus for those who follow my newsletter, but more on that later.

Expanding Horizons: Now, I am aware Amazon and their mighty kindle are one of the more widely used brands of E-Reader available in the world, but they are far from the only one. I am going to experiment with making my books available on alternate platforms. This would involve taking my books down from KDP which is why this will only be an experiment, but if a wider availability means more people reading the book then it is an experiment I am willing to try out. Smashwords seems a promising start as access to their premium catalogue will make my novel available on multiple platforms at once which will save me sorting each one individually. That is a relief I can tell you.

Inspiration and Encouragement: for those of you joining me in the NaNoWriMo challenge I suggest that we all look to our mailboxes as writers from across the world offer us advice and inspiration to keep going with our novels. I have had a few blips myself where I have wanted to stop and go back over what is already written, but for the moment I encourage you to ignore those urges and push forwards. This competition is a brilliant way to get words onto paper, to switch off our inner editors, and work until we have cramp in our fingers. My other piece of advice regards falling behind on your word counts. Pushing yourself to try and catch up might seem tempting, and if you can do it then I would go for it, but otherwise stick to the daily limits. It might be disheartening to see your word-count fall behind, but if you stick to a slightly higher limit each day you can still cross the finishing line like everyone else.

That’s it for today’s article ladies and gentlemen, but it is not the last for this week. I shall be back on Friday with another article and you can be sure of words of possible wisdom and encouragement. Until then, keep writing.

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