Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Genre Identified #4: Dystopian

It’s a hot trend right now, especially in YA markets (never mind all the Hunger Games buzz going on…) but what exactly is dystopian fiction?

If you know what utopian fiction is, think the opposite for starters. (I’ll spotlight utopian in another post.) Dystopians take place in the future, near or far, in a drastically changed world from what we currently know. They take the question “what if?” and really play with it, exploring consequences of either natural, political, social, or technological fall-outs or take-overs. Dystopian falls under the bracket of science-fiction. Pseudo-science creeps in often into these stories as well.

From the 2009 Guide To Literary Agents: “…stories that portray a bleak future world. Stories where the apocalypse occurs, whether in the form of a nuclear bomb, asteroids, disease, or even a political regime, fit this genre.”

And here’s a bang-up breakdown of the characteristics of a dystopian world from readywritethink.org

For another great breakdown, here is a blog post by writer Meagan Spooner that adds even more clarity.

Looking for comparative examples? Here is Goodreads Best Utopian and Dystopian Fiction list.

Treasure Hunt Winners

Thanks again to everyone who played blog tag, participated in the treasure hunt, or who even checked out any of the participating blogs!

The winner of a partial critique goes to Riley Redgate. Congrats!

The winner of a first chapter critique is Michell4laughs. Congrats to you too!

I'll be in contact with both of you this week as to where to send your chapters.

Saturday, March 24, 2012

Blogiversary Treasure Hunt! Part 2

I hope you've had fun with Part 1. You can still rack up points by doing any or all of the activities. Part 2 is time sensitive and you'll really need to examine those 7 participating blog posts to hunt out the answers.

*Note: If you were a blogpost participant, you may not answer any question in regards to your own blogpost but you may answer the questions regarding the blogposts of others.

Copyright Joyce Alton & Nicolle Raty
Are. You. Ready?

Post your answers in the comment section of this blogpost.
Make sure any points you earn tonight go into your overall tally posted in the comments of Part 1.

Question #1, for 25 points:
There were three movies listed at least three times within those 7 blog tag posts. Name one.

Once they've all been named, the question closes. Please don't list more than one. Points go to the first people who name one.

Question #2 , for 35 points:
Go to the blogpost of the person who has a MC named Charlotte. Tell me five things about her. (One per person. The first five different attributes can claim the points).

Question #3, for 35 points:
Go to the blogpost that says their favorite movies are: The Chronicles of Narnia, Lord of the Rings, Avatar, District 9, and Ella Enchanted.
a) What is the spotlighted MCs main conflict?
b) What is the MC's name?
c) Where is the MC at?
(One answer per person. First ones to name an answer get the points.)

Question #4, for 35 points:
Find the blogpost who's favorite authors begin with the letters: R, A, K, A, O, S, G, and J.
Create an acronym out of those letters and tell us what it means! (Post in the comments of this blogpost.) No limit to the number of people who can win points.
In the MC spotlight tell me what the protagonist is seeking and what it is called. (First person to do so gets the points).

Question #5, for 35 points:
Find the blogpost with Drostangea in it.
In the MC spotlight tell me:
a) What event forces the protagonist into a new existence? (First person to answer can claim the points.)
b) Name one of the three attributes that describe the people the protagonist ends up living with. (One attribute per person. First mention of any attribute gets the points.)

For an additional 10 points, there is a challenge at the end of this MC spotlight. Make your guesses here in the comments.

Question #6, for 35 points:
Go to the blogpost of the person who likes the T.V. show of Avatar, The Last Airbender, but who hates the movie version.
In their MC spotlight and tell me:
a) What event changes the path the protagonist is on? (First person to answer can claim the points.)
b) Name three characteristics of the protagonist. (One attribute per person. First three different attributes mentioned can claim the points.

Question #7, for 35 points:
Find the blogpost of the person who'd take a brush and contact lenses with them to a fantasy world.
In their MC spotlight tell me what is wrong with the protagonist's world. (The first person with a complete, correct answer, claims the points.)

Question #8, for 35 points:
Go the blogpost with the word Ceritha in it.
In the MC spotlight, tell me:
a) What special capability does the protagonist have? (First person to answer gets the points.)
b) Name two big problems the protagonist must deal with. (One answer per person. First two answers may claim the points.)

Question #9, for 25 points: (If you were a blogpost participant, you can't answer this one.)
All of these blogposts, except mine, list some industry links that they recommend. There is one link that is on every single one of those blogposts--what is it? (First one with the answer may claim the points.)

#10--Challenge, for 200 points:
(The first person to solve the puzzle and find the answer gets the points!)
a) In the fourth I am first.
b) In the last I am the second of the sixth answer.
c) In the third I am in the fourth answer. Number three of the third part and the key to the entire challenge answer.
d) The next two bits are found in the second. Take the first and last from the beginning and the fourth from the ending.
e) Search the first. Within the second answer there are _____ mistakes. I rhyme with that answer. Don't guess or your answer may be false.
f) The first part of me is found: 6-1, 6-5, 6-3, 5-11, 5-6, 1-7, 5-3, 5-2
Put us together and see what you've found.

Participating Blogposts:
In the Jungle
It's In the Details
Questions & Archetypes
A Storyteller's Musings
Verbose Veracity
The Write Time
Yesternight's Voyage

Blogiversary Treasure Hunt! Part 1

Copyright Joyce Alton & Nicolle Raty
Okay, it’s Saturday. Have some time on your hands? Feel like playing a multi-blog interactive game to rack up points? If so, keep reading.
What’s at stake? The best and most valuable thing I can offer for a prize is a critique from me. If you’d like some constructive, no nonsense, honest feedback on the beginning of your novel, I’m willing to temporarily open my hiatus to provide some. So whoever racks up the most points by the end of the day will be declared the winner of a partial critique (1st three chapters or roughly 50 pgs.) and I’ll critique the first chapter of the second place winner (no more than 20 pgs.) Official winners will be announced next Tuesday, since I will go back and check everyone's track record to make sure everything's fair and square.

First, some ground rules:
1) Anyone may participate. You don’t have to have a blog, be part of any particular writing community, or even know me. I do ask that you be civil and only post things that can be read by general audiences.

2) No anonymous posting. If you don’t have an online presence, you can post your comments as anonymous but need to mention your name in the comments so we know who you are.

3) Pay close attention to the instructions that go with the points. If you don’t, you might not be earning the points you think you are. Some answers need to be posted in specific blogposts, others in the comments sections of this one. Stay sharp, treasure hunters!

4) You’ll post your overall point tally in the comments section of this blogpost. Please include a list of what you did and where, plus any required links for proof.

5) You don't have to do all of the activities listed below. Pick what you will and try to earn as many points as you can.

6) If you were a blogpost participant, you can't do any of these activities on your own blog.

There are two stages of the game. Here’s stage 1:

100 pts.: IF you were a participant in my Treasure Hunt Blogiversary Tag game. You get these automatically. Congrats! And a huge thank you.
30 pts.: Goes to the first person to respond to any of the participants’ writing prompts. (See participating blog links below.) Make sure you post your writing prompt answer in the comments of the blog which posed the teaser.
25 pts.: Pick a blogpost by any of the 7 participating blogs and either share a link to it on Facebook, Twitter, or your own blog. Be sure to mention if you did when you record your overall tally here. You can pick as many of their blogposts as you’d like to share but you can’t repeat the same blogpost or count it twice if you share it in more than one place.
15 pts.: For responding to a writing prompt on any of the 7 participating blogs (if you weren't first.) So you can rack up points if you do it for all of them. Make sure you post your writing prompt answer in the comments of the blog which posed the teaser.
15 pts.: Write a character description based on the 4 random things listed in any of the participating blogs in the comments section of that blog. Add an extra 5 points if that blog administrator comments back on your description!
5 pts.: Tell me in the comments section of this blog, when you tally your points, which of the 7 bloggers you’d tag along with if transported to a fantasy world, based on what they said they’d take with them.
5 pts.: Each of the 7 participants recommended at least 3 industry blogs. Check out those recommended blogs and share a link back in the comments section, of the person who recommended it, of one or more of the posts you read and liked from those blogs. You get 5 points for each link you share. (Only blogposts written this month apply.) Get an additional 10 points if you share why you loved that blogpost in at least two sentences.

For just today, rack up all the points you can! Don’t forget to share a record of your points collected in the comments of this post or they won’t count.

Be sure to return to Yesternight’s Voyage later today (around 6pm Mountain Daylight Time) for part 2 of the treasure hunt. Bigger points to be gained then!

Participating Blog Links:
In the Jungle (Riley Redgate)
It's In the Details (Michelle4Laughs)
Questions and Archetypes (J. W. Troemner)
A Storyteller's Musings (Peter Burton)
Verbose Veracity (E.F. Jace)
The Write Time (Dean C. Rich)
Yesternight’s Voyage (my answers)

Thursday, March 22, 2012

In Hindsight

Looking back invites torture into your thoughts. All the “if I’d only done this” or “if I hadn’t done that” bits of reflection can pile up to a mass amount of guilt, embarrassment, and regret. Once that tidal wave rushes through, then the wisdom filters in. Despite the mistakes, failures, and goof-ups, we know we’ve learned new things.

My blog has helped me do just that. It’s truly been a voyage through the things learned from yesterday. Putting it down publicly—wow, how did I get up the courage?

Not to pour out all my inner musings right now (most of which would probably make you click on to the next blog or item on your to-do-list) but in regards to writing, publishing, and marketing, here are some of the things I’ve learned from the past year.

1. I still have much to learn in regards to writing craft. Reading a lot with an eye for studying the craft of writing has taught me that. I’ve seen amazing things, and others far from amazing, and plenty of other things that lie in between. In comparison to where I am at right now, I know I’ve come a long way. I also know I have a long way to go.

2. The writing world is an exciting, dramatic place. It can also be a huge time suck. I’ve had to learn balance. I don’t have as much time to write as I used to, yet that is compensated for by all the people I’m learning from and helping out. Instead of a solitary journey, I’m journeying with others.

3. Not all that is new and flashy is worthy. The latest social media platforms, the latest trends coming out (which turn out to really be at least a year old in the making), the names that flash around the writing community. So much sparkle. Sparkle tends to fizzle out and die too. I’m less likely to dive into something without checking its stability meter first.

4. Relationships in the writing community are a different beast altogether. It reminds me a bit of my childhood, moving around so much, getting settled into one place then moving off. People come and go. They group together in ways frighteningly similar to high school cliques. You can be in someone’s good graces one week and then suddenly they no longer communicate with you. In some cases, long-term friendships are forged. I’ve felt a bit like a debutante at some high society ball.

5. There is no one true and right way to write. Just as people tend to be individual in their personality, tastes, and desires, so too are we individual in our methods. Even trying to hedge us into groups tends to fall apart. There’s not a lot of point in wasting energy over arguing over it.

6. On a technical scale:
a) Learning grammar and punctuation can only help a writer. Likewise have a good vocabulary. It all takes some time and effort but saves you from a lot of embarrassment in the long run.
b) There is a fine line between showing everything in a story and letting a good summarization help keep your word count down.
c) Cause and effect can’t be ignored or manipulated without making the writer look like an idiot.
d) Characters need personality, not just interesting physical traits or superpowers.
e) If you take a random bit out of your story and look at it by itself, you’ll find more places to fix than if you look at the story in one giant hunk.
f) Beta readers do better if they can read more than one chapter at a time. Time lapses between chapters can spell disaster for a critique.
g) Readers want to be transported, usually to new and exciting places. World-building is not something to be taken lightly—or too heavily.
h) Never, never, never put up an unfinished manuscript for critique. It’s a waste of time for you and for the person giving the critique. And getting feedback from only one or two people is like shooting yourself in the foot. A writer with patience and good work ethic won’t see so much red pencil in the long run.

7. The writing industry is always in flux. Policies change, people change jobs, standards change, and mediums change. It’s important to keep tabs on things and to have at least a basic knowledge of how the industry moves.

8. Readers are subjective and always will be. There isn’t a single book out there that everyone loves or that everyone hates. Whether it’s content, story elements or delivery, voice, style, treatment, or what have you—you can’t please everyone.

9. If someone doesn’t want to learn, conform, or understand the way things work or even how to write better, all the arguments in the world won’t change their mind. It’s best to give these people space instead of sharpening your battle axe. Like the undead, they won’t die but become more lethal with each stroke you deliver. Self-discovery is the only way they will change.

10. In spite of everything, even the down times when I feel ready to throw my WIP into the wind, I still have a passion for storytelling. Taking a break from it makes that realization sharper. I can’t live without it, even if it isn’t the center of my life, it’s part of who I am and what I enjoy doing. Whether I have a reading audience of five or ever get to the thousands, it doesn’t matter. What matters is the process and getting down the story.

Some other blogposts on these subjects:
Because: One of the Most Important Words a Writer Can Use...
The Savvy Writer: Organized and Educated
Your Story, Your Spin
A Public Service Message Regarding Unpolished Manuscripts
Manuscript Disease Top 10 Symptoms
The Critiquing Dilemma
Receiving Manuscript Feedback
Adjectives, Adverbs, and Sneaky Profanity
Balancing the Details
Trimming the Manuscript
Disappearing Language
Don't Spend So Much Time Polishing Your Beginning...
Disgruntled Reader: In Which I Find I Sound a Little Like a Literary Agent
A Little Personality
World-Building: Think Big, Be Creative, Have Fun!

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Blogiversary Tag & Treasure Hunt—My Answers

I’m very excited for the upcoming treasure hunt, details to be spelled out here on the 22nd, so be sure to check back if you want to play. To be fair to everyone else who has been wonderful about participating, here are my answers to the same questions:

1) Who are your favorite speculative fiction writers?
Recent favorites: Allison Baird, Brandon Mull, Suzanne Collins, Cornelia Funke, and David Weber.

2) Write a two or three sentence writing prompt to inspire your readers today. (Encourage them to post their responses in your comments section.)
You stand in the middle of a long hallway. There is a door at either end. You don’t remember which door you came in at but you know you can’t exit the way you entered or else someone you love will be killed. There are no windows but a skylight spans the length of the hallway, the trouble is it’s two stories above where you stand.

3) List three favorite industry blogs/websites that you've found helpful.
Take a gander up at the tab labeled Spotlighted Blogs.

4) Give us the low-down on your main character (or one of your main characters) in the story you're working on right now, regardless if it's finished or not. Describe his/her personality, situation, and what his/her biggest problem/obstacle is.
MC (still working on the name) is hard working, eager to please, yet shy and unassertive socially. She’s been a charity drudge for old friends of her family since she was a child and either pitied or looked down upon by people in her community. That is until someone maliciously sets fire to her benefactors’ outbuildings and she gets the blame. She’s driven into exile, amid a host of freakish outcasts with magical abilities and a dim view of the outside world. Now she is forced to make a new life for herself, make friends and allies, face a formidable threat that has been stalking her since she was a child, and above all, she finds out her body is changing in frightening ways, unlike anything her world has seen before.  (And I bet no one can guess how!)

5) What are your favorite speculative fiction movies from the last five years?
Thor, The Sorceror’s Apprentice, Tangled, Star Trek (the reboot), The Adventures of Merlin (TV show, not a movie), Megamind (the movie I expected to hate and turned out to love.)

6) If you were suddenly thrown into another world where magic existed, what is something from the real world you'd want to take with you? (Limitations apply on energy sources and such.)
A good pair of sunglasses, a mirror, and a generous hygiene kit.

7) List the first type of these things you think of:
a) color: blueb) number: 14c) made-up name: Drostangead) an adjective: harry

Saturday, March 17, 2012

Saturday Link Special #14, Plus!

Happy Irish/St. Patrick’s/Lucky Day!! Wishing you all the best of luck with your writing, submissions, and sales. Here’s another roundup of links which will hopefully be lucky for you too.

GLA has new agent alerts:
Paula Munier now at Talcott Notch Literary is seeking “mystery/thriller, SF/fantasy, romance, YA, memoir, humor, pop culture, health & wellness, cooking, self-help, pop psych, New Age, inspirational, technology, science, and writing.”

Paul Lucas now at Janklow & Nesbit Associates is seeking “a wide variety of commercial and literary fiction, as well as specific nonfiction. In fiction, he enjoys both character and plot driven novels but it’s important to him for the storytelling to be clear and accessible. In genre fiction, he is looking for thrillers, spy, science fiction and fantasy genre writing, as well as literary novels. He appreciates a literary bent, subverting genre and darker, conflicted characters. Finally, he loves historical fiction and war novels. For nonfiction, he is interested in representing popular science books, new ways of exploring the major sports and narrative histories. (He does not represent romance, westerns, women’s fiction, memoir, self-help, children’s or picture books.)”

Kat Salazar now at Larsen-Pomada Literary Agents is seeking “young adult, middle grade, and children’s picture books. For adult audiences, she is interested in literary fiction and urban fantasy.”

Agent Mary Kole has some great examples and points when it's time to Omit Needless Words.

If you haven't discovered Agent Kristin Nelson's Friday Vlog Series, here are the links to play catch-up:
Episode #1: How To Become a Literary Agent
Episode #2: The Difference Between Young Adult and Middle Grade
Episode #3: Why Page Length for YA or MG Is The Wrong Question
Episode #4: Talking Middle Grade
Episode #5: Are there Off-Limit Topics for YA & MG Novels?
Episode #6: Pitch Versus Synopsis

The Intern hits the social media nail on the head with her post: a follow's not a book sale (though it's very nice): thoughts on social media. Well put and a good reason to chill out a bit.

And...since I was tagged by Riley Redgate over at In The Jungle, here are my answers to the Lucky 7 Memery:

Here is a fast writer's Meme. Rules:

1. Go to page 77 of your current ms.

2. Go to line 7.

3. Copy down the next 7 lines/sentences, and post them as they're written. No cheating.

4. Tag 7 other victims, er, authors. 
Um, yes, this is still rough, but here you go:
An irritating white dot flashed up from a secondary projection to his right. He absently pulled toward it while marking another map on the first.
            He tapped the white light and the vocal translation spilled into the room. “I’ve found Terra Helsett. Location: Ordest, Helan Valley…” The rest of the message blurred into a garbled mess.
            Cej's face drained of color. Impossible.
And I'm tagging:
1. Michelle4Laughs
2. Angie Sandro
3. Terri Bruce
4. E.F. Jace
5. E.M. LaBonte
6. Stephanie Diaz
7. Peter Burton

Thursday, March 15, 2012

What If?

Every once in awhile I like to start a game of What If? with my writer friends.  So to pose a question: What if everyone in the world was always born blind (what would the world be like?) and then one day someone is born who can see? Would the sighted person be treated as disabled by everyone else or would they change their world? Care to weigh in on my question, please do!

And if a spontaneous game of What If? fits your mood today, post your own brain-teaser question in the comments. Maybe we can collectively inspire each other.

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

World-building: Think Big, Be Creative, Have Fun!

When I first crack open a new book, one of the first things I want to know is: what kind of world am I entering? Will I like it? Will it be mysterious? Explore-worthy? Exciting? Exotic? Familiar? It's easy to tell within the first chapter how important the world-building is to the author of the story too. Not that books with fantastic worlds are the only ones worth reading, but they sure do make an impact. Think of some of your favorite movies for a moment. Characters aside, what worlds come first to mind? Why?

A good writer will not only construct an engaging world for their story, but that world won't be mere scenery. The writer knows how to use the setting in active ways and also makes the details of that world relevant to the story and the characters. The details they take time to focus on will reveal to the reader the thought processes of the characters, vital clues and foreshadowing, antagonistic forces, means of rescue, and the natural or man-made rules of that world.

A poorly thought-out world can turn readers away and may even create plot holes, writer's block, or other headaches for the writer. Sometimes what a writer is missing, that last crucial piece they can't quite figure out yet to make the story perfect, is complete world-building. The great thing about constructing a complete world is that it gives a writer more freedom to be original, or to create twists others haven't thought of yet. Say your plotline is pretty basic and even your characters and their situations have been done before. Your world-building might make the difference from being "oh, another (insert big name story or genre)" and get your story to stand out from the pack instead.

There are all kinds of worlds to create and the best part is you can make up your own rules. Enormous freedom comes into play when designing your world. Be cautious though when you sit down to write your story within that world. The writer needs buckets and buckets of information on their world. The reader needs much less. Give the reader only what moves the story forward, what enhances, engages, or acts upon the characters and story. Avoid huge block paragraphs of description, even if all the details you came up with are soooo cool. The reader doesn't need all of that. YOU do, however. Create a file and devote it to your world-building and research. Pour whatever you develop and need into it. Then learn to let go. You become the veteran traveler in your world and your job is to guide the characters and the reader through it. There isn't time or reason to show them every blade of grass or to explain all the principles as to why waterfalls flow sideways. Good tour guides know better than to overwhelm or bore the people on their tour. They know what to show and when in order to give the best tour possible, giving travelers something to go home and talk about long afterwards.

Be bold, not timid. Drive from your mind the conventions and comparisions to other peoples' work. Create a world you'd want to spend time in, something that fascinates, scares, enthralls, or seduces you. Think of ways your world can add complications to the plot or internal journeys of your characters. What details from this world will show your characters' personalities or quirks along the way? What is in danger in your world? What is right with it? What is wrong? And I mean wrong in a good way. The kind of wrong that the characters need to address and fix in order to reach their goals.

World-building goes so much farther than designing a good bit of back scenery for the characters to act in. We're not putting on a play with cardboard, paint, and plywood. Just as characters shouldn't be flat, neither should the world they live in. It needs to feel tangible, real, and believable. It also needs to feel important.

To give you a couple of jolts of inspiration, should you need it, first off I recommend E.F. Jace's world-building series for fantasy writers. And secondly, I have to share this link to the World's Coolest Staircases. I have an odd obsession with staircases, and some of these examples blew past even what I expected. A good slideshow to get you thinking "out of the box" or in this case genre or the most current popular worlds in literature.

Where do you turn to look for new inspiration when world-building? How much time and effort do you like to put into it? What is your favorite part of world-building? What world, designed by other writers or film-makers, have set your mouth agape or drew you completely in?

Thursday, March 8, 2012

Genre Identified #3: Science-Fantasy

This is one of the most confusing, obscure, and misunderstood speculative genres. I like how agent Ginger Clark put it in her interview on Cynsations: "...there is no such genre as sci-fi/fantasy. It's either science-fiction or fantasy. (Unless it's science-fantasy, and I can sense your head is exploding, so never mind!)"

The 2009 Guide to Literary Agents defines science-fantasy this way: "a blend in which fantasy is supported by scientific or pseudo-scientific explanations." I think this is the best definition I've found to-date, simple and precise.

Most people automatically think of Star Wars with it's use of advanced technology plus the mysterious Force. For a more recent and better example might I suggest Brandon Sanderson's Mistborn Series or Warbreaker  where the fantasy elements have pseudo-scientific explanations and rules. When you really get into the explanations and figure out what defines science-fantasy what you discover is that there are a lot of books that straddle science-fiction and fantasy but to really be defined as science-fantasy you can't just throw together laser guns and elves. Many people try to get away with defining their work as sci-fi/fantasy without having the actual pseudo-science involved and the fantasy elements that make up the difference to replace realism.

World-building wise, you can have a futuristic or current setting, or a medieval one. Science-fantasy straddles the genres here. Races, languages, customs, and what-not are also fair game. What isn't is the science and fantasy melding that makes and breaks the rules of your world. Without that, then yes, you've got a sorry hodge-podge sci-fi/fantasy Frankenstein that will be very hard to define unless it plays into the direct rules of some other speculative subgenre. Don't classify it as science-fantasy and never use the term sci-fi/fantasy in a query letter.

The debates are heated; especially among purists who'd either resign all science-fiction with fantasy elements to a junk pit which they designate as science-fantasy or would rather ignore the subgenre all-together. Regardless of how they feel, it is a valid subgenre, recognized by both the publishing and movie industry. Defining it is trickier and writing science-fantasy on purpose isn't as easy as one might think.

Now for some links to showcase the debate, to define, and to help you understand:

Fantasy Magazine does a wonderful job defining the three levels of science-fiction (of which science-fantasy is #3) in this article.

John Scalzi writes regarding the negative attribution of calling some films science-fantasy vs. science-fiction when in fact both are subgenres of fantasy, so there you go. Fun read, even if it blurs the lines a bit more.

The SF Site lists several main genres and subgenres of speculative fiction, including science-fantasy for a brief, clear-cut explanation.

There's even a Science-Fantasy fan page on Facebook you can like! And yes, they have an explanation regarding the subgenre too.

On Tia Nevitt's blog Heather Massey guest posts regarding science-fantasy and makes some very valid points.

Intergalactic Academy sheds even more light on what is science-fantasy here.

After researching a bit, can you think of a good example of a science-fantasy book that you've read? Share it in the comments.

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Blogiversary Month: Treasure Hunt Tag

This month marks the one-year anniversary of Yesternight's Voyage. Thanks for reading and sharing your comments and experiences.

To kick-off the festivities (there will be more than one special feature this month) I'd like to begin with a game of Speculative Blog Tag.

The rules are as follows:
1) Answer the questions on your own blog.
2) Tag three other speculative fiction blog writers to participate.
3) Each participant needs to link their blogpost with their answers back to Yesternight's Voyage.
4) Leave a comment in the original post (on Yesternight's Voyage) as to why you love, write, or read speculative fiction and a link to your blog.
5) Stay tuned to Yesternight's Voyage this month for a mad treasure hunt (later on) that will connect all the participating blogs.
6) Make sure you post these rules on your blog when participating.
7) Please note that the blogging part of the treasure hunt will only run between March 6th - 19th. So have your answers posted by then. If you are posting your answers on the 18th or 19th, don't worry about tagging anyone new.

Feel up to a little tricky fun?

Here we go!

1) Who are your favorite speculative fiction writers?

2) Write a two or three sentence writing prompt to inspire your readers today. (Encourage them to post their responses in your comments section.)

3) List three favorite industry blogs/websites that you've found helpful.

4) Give us the low-down on your main character (or one of your main characters) in the story you're working on right now, regardless if it's finished or not. Describe his/her personality, situation, and what his/her biggest problem/obstacle is.

5) What are your favorite speculative fiction movies from the last five years?

6) If you were suddenly thrown into another world where magic existed, what is something from the real world you'd want to take with you? (Limitations apply on energy sources and such.)

7) List the first type of these things you think of:
a) color:
b) number:
c) made-up name:
d) an adjective:

So to get things going, I'm going to tag the following three bloggers:
1) Dean C. Rich
2) Dawn G. Sparrow
3) E.F. Jace

You'll get my answers to the questions when I launch the treasure hunt. Good luck and have fun with it!

Everyone else, keep checking back whether you blog or not. Everyone can participate in the treasure hunt part.

Saturday, March 3, 2012

Necessary Sabbatical

Hello everyone,

I'd like to announce that I'm going to be closed to new  beta reading submissions for awhile. I have a couple of commitments I will finish fulfilling (so if you've already been given a slot don't fret) but I won't be taking on any new projects. While they've been immensely rewarding and enlightening for me, they are also eating up tons of valuable time which I need to apply elsewhere. I'll be sure to let you know when I'm available again and want to thank those who have let me read their work thus far. You make me a better writer and reader.

Thank you!