Monday, February 13, 2017

Travel Pictures and Book Cover Creation

After posting a brief account of my recent cruise from Singapore to Thailand to Vietnam and back to Singapore, I got a lot of requests to see more pics of my trip. Okay, if you insist (I always love sharing my travel pics).

If, however, you are more interested in How to Create Book Covers that Sell Books, then pop on over to the Insecure Writer's Support Group website to check out my article there.

I don't have many great photos of Singapore, though it's a beautiful city. It was a humid, raining day. I did get to the Singapore Flyer, a massive Ferris wheel and below is probably my best shot with it in the background (if you look closely).
Leaving Singapore:
Travel advice: Don't go on a cruise if you want to stay on your diet:
Dining in opulence on the Mariner of the Seas, Royal Caribbean:
Just outside Bangkok, Thailand:
Reckon I could sneak one of these onto the balcony of my new place? Every good balcony needs a dragon fountain...
I love all ancient ruins and/or intricate workmanship. It's great when I get both in the one place.
The Sanctuary of Truth, Pattaya, Thailand:
Floating market, Pattaya, Thailand:
Vietnam wasn't as pretty, but I still enjoyed it.
Okay, I have a gazillion more pics, but that's enough for now.
Don't forget to check out my article on the IWSG website: How to Create Book Covers that Sell Books

Where have you travelled to recently? What's your favourite travel destination?

Wednesday, February 1, 2017

Writing, Reading and Travel #IWSG

I've just come back from a cruise from Singapore to Thailand, then Vietnam and back to Singapore. I took a book with me (The Three-Body Problem by Cixin Liu) but didn't open it once. I kinda felt guilty about that when I chose to watch the in-flight movies instead. I squeezed in three and a half of them each way. Think how much reading I could've done! It's not like I'm not enjoying the book. Nope, I'm loving it. It's quite an exceptional science fiction with great ideas and concepts. But the truth was, my brain just needed to switch off. You see, the problem with being a writer is when I read I analyse ... or, if the book is really good, I feel super inspired to write, or I mope and wish I could write like that--which is ridiculous since we all have our own way of writing and our own unique stories. But I still mope on the occasion. Just because.

How has being a writer changed your experience as a reader?

I'm not quite back into the swing of things yet as I had expected. The world continues to shift and rock as if I'm still on the boat. Hopefully my weary brain will land on shore soon.

In the meantime, I'd like to welcome into the IWSG fold, two new admins:
Heather Gardner will be running the conferences page at the IWSG site.
C. Lee McKenzie will be our media relations expert.

Also, check out the cover of  our upcoming IWSG anthology, Hero Lost, if you haven't already.

And, we have an IWSG swag now. You can get your own IWSG pen, magnet or t-shirt. Check it out HERE.

Every first Wednesday of the month the members of the IWSG post on their blogs about their writing insecurities or offer some encouragement to others. If you are new to the IWSG, then please go HERE to find out more and join up.

Wednesday, January 4, 2017

The IWSG Short Story Contest Winners

Wishing everyone a happy New Year! I'm hoping this year will be far better than the last one. Above is a quick snap I took in Brisbane's Botanic Gardens.

And now on to good news: The much awaited results for the IWSG short story contest have come in. Below are the winners in no particular order:
Erika Beebe - The Wheat Witch
L. Nahay – Breath Between Seconds
Tyrean Martinson - Of Words and Swords
Elizabeth Seckman - Mind Body Soul
Olga Godim - Captain Bulat
Ellen Jacobson - The Silvering
Roland Yeomans - Sometimes They Come Back
Yvonne Ventresca – The Art of Remaining Bitter
Sean McLachlan - The Witch Bottle
Sarah Foster - The Last Dragon
Renee Cheung - Memoirs of a Forgotten Knight

And the grand prize winner:

Jen Stanton Chandler - The Mysteries of Death and Life

Congrats to everyone who took part! The stories were all fabulous and it was a difficult task for the judges to pick their favourites.

What writing rule do you wish you’d never heard?
Can I say all of them? When people treat these rules as absolutes and take great joy in picking apart published works that break the rules, then I must admit I get a little upset. No rule is absolute. Every rule can be broken. If you want to head hop through the story, then head hop! If you want fractured sentences, then fracture them! Shatter them if that's your desire! Have a field day with backstory, tell to your heart's content. But ask yourself, does it work? Are you doing it out of laziness or ignorance or stubbornness, or is it part of your master plan? In other words, does it have the full impact you intended for the story? Yes? Then go for it!

 How about you? What writing rule do you wish you’d never heard?

Monday, December 12, 2016

Christmas Joy and Chaos

Christmas is a mere two weeks away. There is much to do, many friends and family to spend time with, and a scary amount of shopping to conquer. Consequently, I'll be taking a blogging break for the rest of the year. I'll pop in occasionally, but not to post.

A big thank you to everyone for supporting me during my chaotic year of personal stuff, renovations, selling up house, buying a new place and moving interstate, all while releasing my debut devotional, Cling to God. Gasp, gasp, gasp.

If you are looking for a present to give someone, please consider, Cling to God, a book of short devotionals for every day of the year to encourage you in your faith, to help you think about your beliefs and learn more about God. Perfect for people with busy lifestyles.

Amazon Paperback, Amazon Kindle, Amazon Oz Kindle, Nook, Barnes and Noble, Kobo, iTunes, Goodreads.

What kind of Christmas will you be hoping for this year? 

Edit: I almost forgot to post a pic of my tree again! Well, here it is! What's your tree like?

Wednesday, December 7, 2016

Interview with a Twist and CassaDawn #IWSG

Today I have Alex J. Cavanaugh here with me. We are doing another interview with a twist. The last one was where I interviewed him on his blog as a way of spreading the news about the release of my book, Cling to God. You can find the interview here. Today it's the other way around, with Alex interviewing me as we share the news about his new exciting story, CassaDawn.

Alex: What is it that draws you to science fiction?
Me: When I first started reading scifi and fantasy, it was all about the escapism. I wanted to visit other worlds and not think about this one. Then, as I matured, the reason evolved. I still wanted to visit other worlds, but I also wanted to think about other possibilities, explore different concepts that can only be explored in these genres, and I love reading about people in extraordinary settings and circumstances.

Alex: What are some of your favorite science fiction movies/shows/books?
Me: My favourite scifi movies: the original Star Wars trilogy, Aliens, Serenity, The Martian. My favourite scifi shows: Firefly, Dr Who, the original Twilight Zone, Stranger Things, Westworld. My favourite scifi books: Eon by Greg Bear, The Martian by Andy Weir, Ender's Game by Orson Scott Card, Chimera by N. J. Tanger, and, of course, I can't forget to mention the Cassa series by Alex J Cavanaugh.

Alex: How has your Christian faith shaped the way you write speculative fiction?
Me:  While I'm nowhere close to perfect, I'd like to think my Christian faith shapes every part of my life. That includes my writing. I felt compelled to write a Christian devotional to offer encouragement to others, and Cling to God was published in October. My fiction, however, is pure scifi, yet it still offers Christian values. Because of my faith, there are some subjects I will never write about, even if that means it may not be as popular or trendy in today's world.

By Alex J. Cavanaugh
eBook ISBN 9781939844354
Science Fiction-Space Opera/Adventure/Military

The prequel to the Amazon best-selling Cassa series!

A pilot in training...

Fighting the odds, Byron is determined to complete Cosbolt training. Poised at the top of his class, only one situation holds him back–his inability to work with anyone in the cockpit. Byron’s excellent piloting skills won’t be enough without a good navigator…

Release date: December 6, 2016

iTunes, Amazon, B&N, Kobo, Amazon UK, Goodreads

IWSG question of the month: In terms of your writing career, where do you see yourself in five years, and what’s your plan to get there?

I am currently six years into my ten year plan. A lot has changed over that six years. Nothing that I could predict, so the plan needs to be reassessed and modified. At the moment of writing this, I can honestly, and a little worriedly, say that I have no idea where I'll be in five years. Everything feels uncertain right now. How about you?