The REAL Reason I Failed to Properly Edit my First Novel – Guest Post

Today please welcome Carrie Bailey AKA PeevishPenman, to talk about her experiences in publishing her first novel. She an author and fellow Star Trek fan so she will fit right in here.

The REAL Reason I Failed to Properly Edit my First Novel

Eron_Smashwords_CoverI’m going to share my experience publishing my first novel without hiring an editor, but first, a confession. Star Trek. I love it.

I bet in the Star Trek universe computers proofread novels in less than five minutes and since they don’t use money anymore, people write for the sake of art, entertainment and self-expression alone. It’s a world where I would love to be an author. I remember watching how, in the later series, major characters became journalists and holonovel writers. They didn’t consider indie versus traditional publishing. They just wrote. Gave it to the right person. And then dealt with the legal or emotional aspects of being successful career writers.

Maybe I was watching too much Netflix when I finished my first science fiction novel, but I jumped to warp speed to get it published, blasting through the final stages of its development. At the time, I thought I had good reasons.

Just after keying “the end,” metaphorically speaking, I asked around on Twitter for beta readers and emailed 8 copies to the 4 women and 4 men who responded. I made the cover while I waited. Then, when I got feedback on the cover, I waited some more for the beta readers. By the end of the month, five of the beta readers sent me their feedback, which was both positive and encouraging. So, I did a quick pass over the manuscript to correct the spelling and started formatting the ebook.

Bracing myself mentally to cope with possibility of humiliating failure, I uploaded it to Smashwords and Amazon within a week. It’s true. I spent five years creating the world for the novel and its characters and their cultures. Pages of notes outline their histories, their laws and their traditions. Why did I not invest in an editor?

1381895I have excuses. My older sister had always proofread my work, but we had falling out some months before I finished my book and part of me didn’t want anyone else to take on that role in the writing process. And I couldn’t do it myself. And I couldn’t afford to pay someone else. And no one would really mind, right?

Readers mind bad proofreading, even beta readers.

Two of the beta readers came to me after I published the book afraid I might end our friendship when I heard what they had to say. I’d given them copies with no edits and explained so at the time, but for them, the spelling errors had been so distracting, they couldn’t get very far. While the final copy of the book has less of those issues, I’ve had other people comment to me that it felt like reading an excellent draft.

The most common reviews are a similar combination of delight and disappointment. They loved the book. They want to read more in the series, but they want to know why didn’t I take the time to get it edited properly when everything else was done so well. After some time and a lot of consideration, I know the real answer.

I wanted something to blame if readers didn’t like it.

Print_CoverI’m often mystified by writers who publish their books with poor cover art, but in my own way, I am guilty of sabotaging myself in much the same way as someone who slaps text on grainy photo of a distant sunset. Of course, as an artist, I found it easy to make a passable cover for my own book. So, I’m not in that camp of sad writers. But, I’ve never been a perfectionist and spelling, specifically, is one of my weaknesses. I’m in that camp. Also, I like to start sentences with conjunctions just to rebel against our arbitrary conventions. But, there is a HUGE difference between consistent style choices and errors in the text.

In not collaborating with a second and more professional set of eyes, I produced a good novel with some faults that detract from the reader’s enjoyment. And I did it, because I wanted to safeguard myself from the harsh criticism that professionals endure. I didn’t want to look too professional. I wanted to look amateur so that more of my shortcomings might be overlooked. People can be very generous with amateurs in a way they won’t be with professionals. I was a being a coward.

Although in the world of Star Trek, writers can follow a straight line from inspiration to finished product, real writers confront less glamorous, more personal barriers to being successful. I believe at some point during our development every writer will engage in some random self-sabotaging behavior and make pitiful excuses for doing so that only they will believe.

And when we find ourselves in that position and recognize the problem for what it is, we need the courage to seek help or advice. We need beta readers. We need editors. We need cover artists. We need people who can do print and digital formatting well. Some of us may dabble in a little of everything, but most of us will have to collaborate with other people, because they have skills we lack. Even when money is an issue, we can still usually find someone willing to trade a service we do better for a service they do better.

Readers always deserve the best possible experience we can offer them as writers without exception and without excuses.

Carrie Bailey @PeevishPenman is the author of The Ishim Underground, a New Zealand post-apocalyptic adventure. She is an active coffee drinker and conversationalist who enjoys painting, staging one woman invasions of random countries and writing her author bio in third person.

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The Hard Truth, Writers Write

Believe it or not, the idea that writers write is not as universally accepted as you might imagine. And the worst part many people who call themselves writers don’t write. Oh they talk the talk, but when it comes right down to the actually butt in chair fingers on keyboard, or pen to paper time, it just does not happen.

Oh these folks have reasons aplenty why they are not writing.
They are too busy,
they have writers block,
they can’t think of anything,
some major life event,
they have a day job…

All of these things are legitimate, but in the end it means that they are not writing. I have been a member of this club for way too long. About 6 years ago now, I started my writing career over, and for at least three years I wrote almost every day. I loved it. The stories I put out were not great, they were not works of art, but they were stories and I had a great time working on them. (By the way if you are interested you can still see many of them over at GreatHites) Then something happened. Really several somethings, and writing got harder. Harder to find the time, harder to make it happen, and well, the list of reasons why I was not writing was higher than my word count.

That is going to change. I realized that I really want to be an author. I want to have more than one published book to my name, and that if I want these things to be true, then I need to actually do something about it.

To that end, I am going to try to kick start my writing again. I am going to attempt NaNoWriMo again this year. You can find my author page if you would like to follow my progress or join in and be a “writing buddy” here.

lumpYes, the novel that I am writing sounds very much like something that you might find on my bookstore, and it should because it is the expanded version of that story. I am taking it a little bit easy on myself this year and not going into NaNo completely blind, this will be a rewrite for a lot of this story. I have written about 30,000 words of this story already, but most, if not all of it needs work, and this rewrite will hopefully clear some of that up. Hopefully by the end of November I will have a complete story that I can start editing in January. And then in December I can start going back to other projects that I have abandoned over the last few years.

I have to make something clear. Those things, that list the reasons I stopped writing, they are all still there. Being busy, major life events, they still happen, but I need to find a balance. I need to figure out how to make all of it work. This is not going to be easy, but if I want to be an author, it is something I need to do.

Wish me luck.

-Jeff

BLOG HOP – TAG – Doc Coleman

As I said in my bloghop post I would be tagging two other authors in the blog hop thing.

The second of those two authors is my friend and voice actor extraordinaire, Doc Coleman. (See the Questions for Zachary Ricks)

Doc has this to say about himself:
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Doc has been working with computer technology for over twenty years. He started working with mainframe computer systems and has transitioned to client based systems using Windows based PCs, and then to platform independent web-based infrastructures. Through all this time, Doc has been the go-to guy when any of his co-workers have had problems because of his ability to discuss complex technological problems in simple, easy to understand language.

In February 2010, Doc took his skills online and created The Nifty Tech Blog in an attempt to share his enthusiasm for technology with those who can best benefit with letting the technology do the work. Since that time he has discovered a love for writing and new media and has embarked upon a number of different projects.

In July 2010, Doc turned from writing technology articles and started writing fiction as a contributing writer for the Every Photo Tells… podcast. Three of his short stories were nominated for the 2011 Parsec Awards, but he was shut out of the Finalists list by fierce competition in the Best Speculative Fiction Story (Short Form) category. Doc continues to write short stories, and has also written an article on writing that appeared in the February 2011 issue of Flagship Magazine from Flying Island Press.

Doc ventured into the podcasting world in the summer of 2010, going on microphone with Tee Morris in a six episode crossover series between The Nifty Tech Blog and Tee’s Bird House Rules podcast. Sadly, a dispute with Tee’s publisher has prevented the last episode of the crossover from going live.

Doc returned to the world of podcasting as a guest on Flying Island Press’ podcast Galley Table in September 2010. The Galley Table crew invited Doc to come back any time. And he did. After several guest appearances, Doc was made a part of the Galley Table crew as the Galley Table Stowaway.

Doc also started his own podcast in December of 2010 with The Shrinking Man Project, a journal of philosophy and personal change. He shares his experiences and observations in the hopes that others will be able to discover their own solutions to dealing with their weight by talking about their issues with others making the same journey.

And Here are my questions for him:

1. You seem to be a very regimented person. I might be wrong about that, but how does that translate into your writing process? Where do you fall on the seat of your pants / outlining scale?

2. A lot of writers get the question, where does your inspiration come from, which is a pretty meaningless question if you ask me. But on the other side of the coin is the question what inspires you to write? For example, do you hear the stories in your head, and feel the need to get them out.

3. When do you find time to write, and when you are writing what does it look like? Do you have a certain time and place you have to be, are their any other requirements for when you are writing, quiet, music, special pen, pre-writing warm-ups?

4. Have you had a mentor in your writing process? And if so, how has he or she influenced your writing? If not, can you point to something in your life that has most influenced your writing, and can you share that with us?

5. You have written short stories and novels, you have done voice work and produced podcasts on your own. from all of that, what would you say was the greatest take away for your creative process?

6. Do you have any other things about your writing process that you would like to share with us?

Your post is due on Monday May 12th 2014

Blog Hop – TAG – Zachary Ricks

As I said in my last post I would be tagging two other authors in the blog hop thing.

The first of those two authors is my friend and co-founder of Flying Island Press, Zachary Ricks.  (See the Questions for Doc Coleman)

Zachary has this to say about himself:

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I am a blogger/writer (here), editor/publisher (Flying Island Press), and attorney originally from Southeast Idaho. I attended BYU for my undergraduate degree, and Lewis and Clark Law School in Portland OR for my law degree. It was at Lewis and Clark that I caught the blogging and podcasting bugs. And also was inducted into the school’s Cornelius Honor Society for service to the school. I now reside in beautiful Austin, TX with my wife and daughter.

This website is where you’ll find my own short stories (as I write them) and longer works (as they’re written and I edit them into a releasable state), as well as my personal views on everything from political philosophy and education to video games and cool stuff I’ve found on the internet. In other words, this is the place where I practice all kinds of writing.

Random bytes of writing. Enjoy.

And since he is a writer, I have some questions for him about this writing process.

1. When you sit down to write, what does your process look like? Do you have certain hours each day that you write? Do you need to be in a certain room, with the music just right and your lucky socks on? Do you do anything like writing warm ups, prayer, reading, even singing first? Are you an out-liner or seat of your pants kind of writer?

2. How has your life, your career choice, you religion and faith, your early childhood, influenced what you write? Can you point to one thing that changed the way you think about your stories? Do any one of these things effect your writing process?

3. We are all very busy people, you have your job, and your now teen-aged daughter, church and professional classes, your family life, how do you balance all of those things and still find time to write and produce podcasts?

4. We can all look at the same thing and all see it differently. With that in mind, what piece of writing advice have you gotten that has effected you the most, and what did it mean to you? How did your process or writing change after that advice?

5. Research – Do you research, and how do you go about doing it? Are you like some people who book learning is enough, or do you have to actually go out and do things before you can write about them.

5. Do you have any other thoughts on your writing process that you would like to share with us?

Your post is due on Monday May 12th

Blog Hop – Writing Process – Interview

I have been tagged in a Blog Hop interview about my writing process.  I was tagged by my Alter-ego and Co-editor Michell Plested. Little is known about the origins of Michell as they are shrouded (or at least covered with a moth-eaten towel) by the mists of time. What is known is largely obscure and often contradictory. Oh and he sometimes speaks about himself in the third person.  He is The author of Mik Murdoch, Boy Superhero which was nominated for several awards and the forth coming sequel.  He has been faithfully podcasting his Great show about the writing process Get Published since 2009.

He has many more credits to his name, and you can find out more about him at his website michellplested.com 

Mike was tagged by Robert Runte, who was tagged by Joe Mahoney, who was tagged by Susan Rodgers… There is more, feel free to follow it all the way back to the beginning of the internet.

So on with the interview:

Michell: You are a very busy guy. Two jobs, a large family, a farm to tend and several projects on the go in writing, editing, slush reading and podcasting. How do you manage to juggle everything?

Jeff:  The best answer to this is a quote from one of my favorite books, Captain’s Share by Nathan Lowell
I apologize ahead of time if I get the quote slightly wrong.

Captain Delmen: How are you managing?
Captain Wang: The truth is I’m not, except by massive applications of avoidance behavior.

 

In all fairness. At this point I don’t have that much of a farm, our sheep have all been turned into food, or given back to their owners, and we just have chickens who really don’t take much work, but the sheep are coming back, and there is always the chance that we could fall off the grid at some point and go “full time farmer,” as my kids say. But back to the question.

The reality is that I just find a way to make time if it is really important to me. It is one of those things, if you have a lot of projects going on, no matter how busy you are, you can make time if you want to. It is a real balancing act, and I won’t lie, I have dropped a number of balls from time to time, but I usually manage to keep the important things up in the air. I wish I had a magic secret that I could share with you, but I really don’t.

Michell How do you balance having so many projects on the go? Do you work on one at a time for each one: or a certain number of hours; or a % of your writing time; or is it just a matter of focusing on each deadline as it comes up? Or do you switch from one to the other as you get blocked or bored with what you’re currently working on?

Jeff: Yes! It really is kind of a combination of all of those things. Obviously deadlines play a pretty big role in determining what I work on but that is only part of the story. I usually will work on something until I get stuck and then jump to the next project until I get stuck there, and them come around to the next one. Since I don’t really have any dedicated writing time I can’t say if I spend a % on any one project or another, but I do try to give any given project my full attention while I am working on it.

Michell What is your writing process? Where on the “just sit down and write <—> detailed notes/outline” continuum do you fall? Do you revise as you go, or first draft and then revise? Any routines or rituals that need to be followed?

Jeff: My writing process. Ha! What writing process? That is not really true. I have a process, but it is much more of a by the seat of your pants kind of thing than most people would like. I don’t outline. I have tried several times and usually end up just tossing the outline out the window by the point I get to point # 2 on it. For that reason I tend not to do it, as all the time I spent outline ends up being wasted, and I have precious little time to create in the first place. That also means that I tend to write much shorter works a lot more often then I do longer ones.

As far as once I get writing, I will often sit down and write an entire short story in one go. There is something about the momentum that allows me to just get it out there. I do not revise as I write. Occasionally I will correct a typo that is really bothering me, but most of the time I tend to leave them until I go back to do an editing pass. Because, as I said I write by the seat of my pants I do find myself re-writing stories from scratch sometimes. That seems counter intuitive as far as not having enough time, but once I get that initial idea down, the rewrites come very quickly.

Probably the thing that surprises people, is a lot of times when I sit down to write I don’t have a clear idea of what I am going to write.  Some times I have a general idea.  A very general idea.  Something like, a writing prompt, a picture I have in my head or some times even just a character that I want to explore.  Once I have that Idea, I just start writing.   I make something up until an idea clicks.  Usually this consists of writing a scene that I have decided to put my protagonist in, until something happens.  A lot of times these opening scenes get trashed, but that is ok since they are really just there to get my creative juices flowing.

Michell: You have written short stories and novels. You have edited anthologies and you have produced podcasts. From those experiences, what stands out as the most important learnings and principles or advice so far?

Jeff: It is going to sound rather trite be you need to write.  It does not matter how good it is, or even if you get published.  If you want to write then you have to do it.  Don’t make excuses why you can’t, just do it.

Feedback.  Getting feed back is essential.  If you don’t get any feedback, you have no idea what people think of your work.  You might be making simple mistakes that you can’t see.  You have to ask for feedback sometimes.  But accepting feedback gracefully is also very important.  Understand that you might not be the best writer, podcaster, whatever, right out of the gate.  It is going to take time, and there is no such thing as an over night success.

Like everything else writing is work.  Sometimes it is a lot of fun, sometimes it is a lot of work and you are going to hate it.  But in the end it is ultimately worth it.

Michell Anything else you’d like to add on your writing process?

Jeff: I have a very unique process.  In the 20  or so years I have been working with other writers, I have never found anyone who writes just like I do.  The reality is that everyone has a different writing process.  I tried very hard in the beginning to make my writing process like other peoples processes, and I really struggled.  Nothing I was writing was very good.  And I really started hating writing.  Then one night I sat down and wrote a story.  I wrote it the way I wanted.  At first it felt like I was cheating or something because I was not being regimented or sitting at my writing desk or wearing my “special writing socks.  Then I showed it to someone and they liked it better than what I had been writing.  What had happened was that I was able to incorporate some of the lessons that I had learned by studying other people’s processes styles, into my own without really changing the way that actually wrote the stories.    The moral of this story, do what works for you but don’t be afraid to study and learn from other people’s methods and styles.

 

So that is it for the interview.  Thank you Michell for tagging me.  This was a lot of fun.  Later this week, I will post links and questions for the two people I have tagged.

 

The Ambush

Originally posted on Aug 11 2008

The Ambush Audio Download and enjoy!

Prompt
With wet grass on his/her feet he/she moved forward as quietly as possible.

The Ambush

I was watching her from the comfort of my deck chair, the coffee in my mug warming my hands. She was so sure of herself even though she was bound to fail just like she had done the last twenty times she had tried this. It was still fun to watch. Her bare feet were covered in the freshly mowed, wet grass and this time she was moving closer as quietly has she could, giggles escaping every few seconds.
She was two feet away. If she could just keep quiet and keep moving in slowly, she might actually have a chance of success this time. But then I would have to get up and interfere. I was just setting my coffee down when it happened.
“Chickie, Chickie, Chickie!” she screamed as she bolted forward. The chickens were never in any real danger. She was bright and pretty fast for a two year old, but her arms out run did not stand a chance against a terrified chickens sprint. They all scattered while she screamed with delight as she chased two or three of them around the yard.
I sat back and grabbed my coffee from the table. Now it was my turn to giggle. She loved this game, and it was certainly not doing any harm.
She slowed down again, now a little out of breath and started slowly moving in on a group of them. Even though they were a little more wary at the moment, they still found what ever they were catching on the ground more interesting. She was still a good distance away but moving in slowly when I saw it. A brown hen was coming up from behind her. I set my coffee down and prepared to move. The chickens had all been very good with the kids, but this one had a look about it that said it was about to become soup.
It came up behind her moving only a little faster than she was. She was already starting to giggle as she approached the small group of chickens that she planned to ambush. But I was more interested in the hen about to ambush her.
Her body tensed to squeal her battle cry and run at them again, but she never made it. The hen attacked from the rear, pecking at an interesting flower it saw on her dress. It only pecked once before realizing its mistake and quickly turning to run the other way.
The little girl whirled around, hands on hips and stomped her foot. “Bad chickie!” I nearly feel over laughing.

What’s in a Name? The Power that a Name can Hold

297755main_GPN-2001-000009_fullRecently my wife and I have started watching Bones. I missed this when it first came out. Ok, I miss most things when they first come out. Truth is I don’t watch much broadcast TV, at least not as broadcast TV. But that is not what I want to talk about.

As I said, we were watching Bones the other night, and they found someone dead. Surprise! This person worked for “The Agency.” It was said that the Agency, would protect its own. That the agency would protect their interests. It was even hinted that the agency might have killed this person to protect their image and keep certain secrets. At one point, FBI agent Booth says, “… I don’t care what you say, our government does not kill people,” to which Bones replies “You were a sniper…” This suggested two things, first that yes, our government does kill people, and second that it would not be such a stretch to believe that, “The Agency” would also kill people to keep their secrets.

Probably none of this is surprising. It should also not surprise you that a show about how wonderful science is, and that routinely takes jabs at religion and belief systems, government agencies, and what a lot of people feel is pretty normal stuff, would take a jab at another government agency. What is surprising about this is what “Agency” they were talking about, NASA!

I don’t think that any one would be really surprised, in this day and age, that every government agency has a bit of a dark side. But, NASA is one of those that is held up as a shining beacon of progress, of hope for the future of not only our government, but of the human race in the form of colonization of other worlds. NASA is one that we, well at least I, hope has not been touched by this.

Let me make it very clear. This was a fiction. I believe it to be a fiction, and I am only talking about it because I want to show the power of names.

Throughout the episode, they called it “The Agency,” only occasionally referring to it as NASA. Only hinting at the work that they do obliquely. By calling it the agency, and focusing on the actions of a few, they were able to cast it in a dark light. They were able to make it look like any other part of what is routinely portrayed on this show and others as a completely corrupt government that was capable of doing incredibly bad things. That is the power of a name. That is the power of suggestion that a name has. I think that if they had called it NASA all the way through the episode no one would have taken the episode seriously. It would have been laughed at. If they had shown even one rocket lifting off, or some pictures of space, it would have completely ruined the mood they were going for. As it was, the closest they got was one very cropped shot of two people in space suits and a few seconds aboard the “vomit comet.” Even the picking of that and using that name likely was intended to give a negative feel to it. No one likes to vomit.

I want to be clear about this. I don’t think NASA or really any part of the government is bad intrinsically. In fact, I think that most government agencies really try to do good, even the ones that we typically think of as being “bad.” I think NASA really is a beacon of hope for scientific progress, and the future of man kind. But, I do think, that there is incredible power in names.

As a fiction writer, I think this is important to keep in mind as we name our organizations, and groups, locations and star ships. Those names will determine how our readers perceive them. And how are works will be seen by others.

Old Kelly

This was Originally posted May 21 2008

This prompt comes from Mur Laferty’s “News From Poughkeepsie” series. http://murverse.com/2008/05/10/the-news-from-poughkeepsie-day-19/

Old Kelly had been in prison for so long that she didn’t even remember why she was there, but when the King summoned her from her dark cell, he reminded her.


Download and listen to Audio for Old Kelly.

This weeks reading is by Ann Hite.

Also hear the News From Poughkeepsie Promo.

Old Kelly

Kelly looked out of the windows of tower room and saw the kingdom below her. She had not seen this view in over thirty years. That was the last time she had been allowed out of the basement cell.
The King was cruel to have locked her up all those years ago, but he was not an evil man, he had ordered that she have time nearly every day, to see the sun. Normally that was at sundown, and from the top step of the prison cell block. So at least she remembered what it looked like. The rest of the world though had faded in her memory. She was not even sure that it had been a king that had sent her to prison, it might have been some duke or something. But, they said it had been the king had summoned her to day. So she had to assume that it had been the king that had doomed her to thirty years in that hole. And for what. That she did not remember. She just remembered laughing at him, that day and for many many days after.
Today had been completely different. She had been woken before sunrise and taken, not by the normal older prison guards, but by two young men to this room. To this prison cell, for that was still what it was. Despite the niceties, the door was locked, and occasionally she could hear the voices of the guards outside the door. There she had watched the sunrise for the first time in many years.
Shortly after sunrise two maids had come in. They bathed her and dressed her. They had called a seamstress, but the clothes she had worn the day of her imprisonment still fit so she was sent away. The maids combed and brushed her black hair which was now down to her knees, they trimmed the end s off but left the greatest majority of the length. Then they braided it.
Several hours had passed, and now she stood alone trying to remember why it was that she was there, and wondering why it was she was being summoned before the king.
“Madam, you need to come with me now,” the voice of the young guard brought her back to the moment.
“Of course,” She said following obediently out of the room. He lead her down a long series of step and to a small room, with a set of large doors on the opposite wall. There they waited. The main doors finally opened but only a little hand waived them in.
“Today I will remind those of you who do not remember of a dear friend of mine.” The king said as she entered the room. She was still well to the back of the room and mostly concealed by a set of curtains. “She was a wonderful friend of mine when we were younger. Since the age of twelve, she was always by my side. There to help me and guide me in many ways. We had a great many things in common. All but one, and I will get to that in a moment. For I first want to tell you more about her.”
Kelly began to remember the king. He had been a young man when she had gone to prison. But no longer. His hair and is beard were silver, and his skin a pale sickly looking yellow. He had grown thin in all the years since.
“You will remember my kind ladies and gentlemen that she was a woman of unique gifts. She was extremely intelligent, and without a doubt she was beautiful. Of her beauty she was very proud. Too proud in fact, and this is where the differences between us become important. I am the king, and she was not even of royal blood.”
Kelly listened as he rambled on for some time about blood lines and, the importance of the rule of law. As he did the past began to come into focus for her. She remembered now the days that she had spent with him. The hours they had spent learning the laws of the kingdom, the horsemanship, and though it was deemed to be above a woman’s station, swordsmanship. They had also spend hours just by themselves, riding through the towns and villages of the country side. She had loved to see the changes in them… At that moment it all came back to her.
“I asked her to kick the mud off her boots and to change her life forever. I asked her to marry the king, but she refused. She actually said that her beauty was too great for some one like me.” He said gesturing toward himself with his ancient looking hands. “Bring out the mirror,” he bellowed.
To the side of the great hall another door was opened and four men entered with a very large mirror. “We will now see if she is still too beautiful to marry me. Of course I am now off the market so to speak,” This last remark was made with a sweep of his arm toward a woman that looked older than he. It was obvious that she had been beautiful at one time, her hair was still long and flowing but all white now.
When the mirror was positioned in the center of the room the guard leaned over and whispered in her ear. “This ain’t going to work out like this ol’ king thinks.”
“No I don’t believe it will.” Kelly replied, straightening her dress with her hands.
“I will now turn my back on her, as she turned her back on me thirty years ago, and let her see if her beauty is still enough to keep her happy.” He gestured toward her now and turned around to face the rear of the room. “Guard, bring my old friend Kelly in her now and let her see her reflection.”
From behind her the guard pushed gently.
“It is alright, I will go without a fight,” she said. Kelly walked proudly into the main hall and right up to the mirror. She turned slowly, so that everyone in the room could see her as well and only occasionally looked at the mirror herself, she knew what she would see.
The whispers that had started when she walked into the room and the members of the court has seen her, had now increased in volume so that she could hear many of them without trying. The mirror blocked her view of the king, and his view of her. So it startled her when he spoke from just behind it.
“Kelly, was it worth it?” He asked first in a quite voice and then again so that the whole room could hear. “Now your that youthful beauty has failed you, would it not have been better to spend that time with me, instead of wasting away in the cell below…”
“Your highness,” a random voice said from her side of the mirror.
“Move the mirror!” He shouted. It was moved away, and for the first time in thirty year he looked at her. His face turned ashen white and he dropped to the floor. Kelly stood for a moment longer admiring her appearance in the mirror before the guard pulled her away again. Thought she was much older than the king, by hundreds of years, it would take many hundreds more before, she started to look old, and once again she found the laugh that had send her to prison.

Creative Commons License
Old Kelly by Jeffrey Hite is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 United States License.
Based on a work at greathites.blogspot.com.

5 Books I am Really Looking Forward to this Year, and Why you Should be Too

I read and listen to a lot of indie authors every year. Some years I am totally blown away by what I find. So here are 5 books for this year, That I hope to be blown away by.

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  • Mik Murdoch: The Power Within – Michell Plested.

  • Boy Super Hero is PG
    Yes, yes, I know Michell, and I are co-editors on two projects now. So you are thinking of course he is going to be on my list. Let’s be honest, that is a little true. But the majority of why I am excited about this book is because Book 1 Mik Murdoch: Boy Super Hero, was fantastic. No, really it was fantastic. I say that, from the past, way before Michell and I ever collaborated on anything. I got an ARC copy of the book and was asked to read and comment. I did so. As soon as I read it I knew I had to read it to my kids. They loved it, begged me to read it every night, and were so disappointed when it ended, because they wanted more.
    So Yes, I am looking forward to book two in this series, and so are my kids. If you have kids and want to get them into a superhero book that is not all angst-y and dark, (and there is room for that in the super hero universe just not ALL the time) This is a great book to get them started on.

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  • Crown of Exiles – Lamentations – Zachary Ricks

  • BattleHymn is PG with only one reference to sex near the end.
    I love being able to say that I knew so and so when. Well I knew Zachary back then. Well not that long ago but I have been following Zachary for at least the last 5 years. I worked with him at the now defunct Flying Island Press, and I can truly say that he is among one of the best guys out there on the internet. Having said all that, he is also a fantastic writer. If I can borrow from my review of Crown of Exiles: BattleHymn, I am tone deaf. I like Music but I don’t really understand it. I also am not a fan of anime. I have watched some of it, but like music I don’t really get it. So A book that is billed as Giant Robots, Princesses in danger and the power of Rock and Roll could not seem like more of a mismatch for me. But because Zachary wrote it, and I had enjoy some of his other works, I gave it a try.
    I was totally blown away. If Anime was all like this, I would be a huge fan. BattleHymn is one of those books I go back to over and over again, and it ends on just enough of a cliff hanger (not so much that I am dying to know what happens next, but enough to leave me wanting more) that I really am excited about Lamentations. It promises to be a great book.

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  • The next Solar Clipper novel – Nathan Lowell

  • the Solar Clipper series is mostly PG with some PG-13 sections (read sex) in books 2 and 3 and some more adult topics (read sexual abuse) in book 4.
    So we come to the first book on my list by someone I have never worked with and don’t know in person. Having said that, in my limited interactions with Nathan, he seems to be a great guy. A real class act. Hint we need more of these out there. Hint
    While I dearly love the Tanyth Fairport adventures, I feel like I grew up on the Solar clipper series. Now I have heard some mumbling and some grumblings that this series of books set in the Solar Clipper universe will not be from Ishmael Wong’s point of view, I am totally ok with that. In some ways I think that Ishmael has told his story. That seeing the universe from a new set of eyes would be great. If we happen to get to bump into some of Ishmael’s old shipmates, his dad, maybe even the man himself, I would love that. I think all of the Solar Clipper fans out there would totally go ape over that.
    That does not mean that I don’t want to see another book about Ishmael. He is a great guy. He makes great food and a wonderful story. I have even borrowed some of his recipes for date night with my wife. I once pitched the idea of a book called Cooking with Ishmael: A Food Lovers Guide to The Western Annex. This book would follow Ishmael around as a “free spirit” while he visits several of his old haunts, hunts people down and shares wonderful food and stories with them. Of course this book would not be complete without some recipes in the back of the book.
    But whatever this book turns out to be about, I really can’t wait for it. I loved diving into this universe, and I really can’t wait to go back.

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  • Fly Paper Boy – Philip Carroll

  • Fly Paper Boy is PG
    What’s that you say? You have never heard of Philip (Norval Joe) Caroll? You are missing out. Like Zachary, I have known Philip for a long time. I think we think a lot a like, not exactly the same mind you, but a lot a like. Maybe that is why I like his stories so much.
    To be fair I have read Fly Paper Boy two times already as a Beta reader, and I am dying to see the final version. Like Michell Plested, Philip writes superhero stuff from a kids point of view. Fly Paper boy is older, and has a lot more of his power when we first meet him. What I love about Philip’s work is that his character’s have morals, and they stick with them. I don’t want to give too much away, but the fact that Fly Paper Boy does the right thing with just about everyone he meets is really refreshing. I really enjoyed both versions of this book so far, and I am really looking forward to reading again with my kids. It is older YA but still good clean fun.
    Philip is currently marketing this book so I am really hoping it gets picked up and It will be out this year.

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  • Ginnie Dare: Blockade Runner – Scott Roche

  • Ginnie Dare is PG a little scary at times but still PG
    Scott has been writing for a number of years, and I have been following him almost as long as he has been putting stuff up on the internet. I love that he was willing to put himself out there when the whole podcasting thing was just getting started. I think you can still find his Arch Angel series if you look hard enough for it.
    Ginnie Dare is the story of a young girl on her dad’s ship who both wants more and craves the comfort of those familial ties. They get into a bit of trouble and she ends up at the center of it helping out where even the adults are having trouble. I really like the fact, that unlike most of the YA field Scott does not cut the parents out of Ginnie’s life. Her dad is right there with her most of the way. Not only that, he is not a stumbling bumbling sittcomm type dad. He is there for her when she needs it while being a real dad who will let his daughter know when she is still a kid and when she needs to be an adult.
    Blockade Runner is the second book in this series, and after a short conversation with Scott recently, it will not be the last. I can honestly say that I am really looking forward to all of them.

    What have I missed? Let me know what books you are looking forward to this year.

GreatHites 1 – Adam and Eve

Originally post on May 15 2008

This prompt comes from Mode Room Press. See the link in the PROMPTS section to the side

Describe Adam and Eve breaking up

With a handful of poultry feathers

Such love one has had at times like these

A gypsy wagon comes traveling by

While a virgin discovers love


Download and listen to Audio for Adam and Eve

Like Lilith before her Eve loved Adam. Then again there was no one else for her to love, with the exception of Lilith, and she was a demon now, past love of her own or being loved, except as one loves all of Gods creations. Now there were just the two of them and the animals, and there was love between them. Love that you can only know before you lose that virginity, the virginity if ignorance and bliss. There was nothing but love. This afternoon that had all changed.

Before this afternoon, there had been no knowledge of lust or desire, but now they knew both. There was no anger or jealousy either, but now they were there too. And Adam was gone. He had seen her with the serpent, she had offered him the apple, and they had seen each other for the first time. There was lust and passion, as there had never been before, and all the things that came with them. It had lasted hours, or was it days, it was hard to tell but when it was over, there was the knowledge that it was over. He had left to find food for them both.

She had found him an hour later with a bird in his right hand and some of it’s feathers in his left and, and realized that he was using the same passion to prepare their meal as he had used a hour ago, when he had made love to her, and she left him. She had wandered though the garden with no where else to go, the garden was everywhere and everywhere was the garden.

She came upon a track in the garden, where there should have been none, but as the garden was everything, she thought little of it, and decided to follow the track. The trees closed in around the track and made it impossible for her to leave, but as all the creatures of the garden were under the control of man, and she was, after all made from man, she knew she had nothing to fear.

Then she remembered the warning, “Eat not of the tree of knowledge of good and evil lest you shall die,” and she was afraid. In moments she heard a noise. It sounded like horses and of talking between her and Adam, but louder and as if there were more men and women. Then there were the sounds she did not recognize. She stood in terror for the first time in her life, there was no where for her to hide, she did not know how to hide, but she wanted to do it away.

Eve stared down the track in the direction of the noises and trembled, held in place by fear. Soon a group of horses connected by straps to a large object made of wood, that had round objects that it roll along on came into view. There were other horses that were ridden by men and women sat or hung on to the thing being drawn by the horses tethered to it. She knew at once, without knowing how, that this was a wagon and the people were gypsies. They wore brightly colored cloth covering their bodies and heads. The men stared at her. She could feel their eye roam over her naked body, with the same lust that Adam had had for her, but with none of the love that he had. These men just lusted for her body and not for her.

The women stared at her too, but their stares were ones of disapproval. They looked on Eve with shame and embarrassment. She saw in their eyes the need to cover herself. She did so with her hands at first, and when he realized this was of little good, she grabbed a fig leaf and pulled it close to her. They passed by her with only the noise made by the horses and the wagon breaking the silence. She ran then. Fear coursed through her, the fear of her nakedness, the fear of the gypsies, the fear of the animals and the fear of death from them all, and through it all she ran.

The track seemed to go on forever, but she didn’t stop, though she felt pain, that she had never felt before. She looked at her feet as they stepped on rocks that dug into them, and wondered at why they had never done this before. Then came the blinding paid of her head striking something heard and she fell over. Fear of death overwhelmed her, then. Though she did not understand what death was, she feared it, because God had warned against it.

It was the soft touch of Adams hands on her skin that convinced her to open her eyes and stop crying. When she did she saw only love in his eyes. Not the bawdy looks of the men on the horses, or the disapproving stares of the women on the wagon. She knew then that it was only at times like these that love can really be expressed.

She held Adam and cried until the tears would no longer come and his love for her was something she could feel. When they finally pulled apart she noticed that like her, he was covered in a leaf, and that there he been tears in his eyes as well.

“I looked for you Eve, but I could not find you. Then I followed this road. I saw a thing, people, on horses and a wagon. The men made me feel shame and the women stared at me almost like you but there was no love.”

“I saw the same thing, and then I ran and I ran until I hit something with my head.”

“I think you hit me,” he said rubbing the lump on his head that she now saw for the first time. They held each other then, until they heard God calling to them from down the road.

“I do not want him to stare at me like the Men on the horses.” Eve said

“Nor do I want him to look on me with their scorn. I think we should hide.” This time there was a place for them to do so, and they moved into the trees and hid until they could see God.

Eve noticed right away the way he looked. He no longer looked like herself and Adam, somehow he looked greater, more brilliant and in all ways untouchable by someone like her. They had touched him many times before. They often had walked hand in hand in hand through the garden, but now the idea of her hand in his seemed somehow beyond her reach.

Adam held her hand in his, and said “We must stay hidden. He must not know what we have done,” and she knew that he felt the same things that she was feeling.

Creative Commons License
Adam and Eve by Jeffrey Hite is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 United States License.
Based on a work at greathites.blogspot.com.