Monday 25 June 2012

The Fantasy Writing Contest

Calling all speculative fiction writers! Or more specifically, fantasy writers. The folks at the Fantasy Writing Contest are collecting short story submissions for an anthology they are putting together. Emm, actually, they've been collecting submissions for several months now, but I only just got wind of this a few days ago. The deadline is the 30th of June, so if you happen to have a fantasy short story lying around on your hard drive, or you're able to crank out 1000 - 7,500 words between now and then, you should seriously consider submitting. There are no entry fees, and you stand a chance of winning a cash prize too i.e. in addition to being selected for inclusion in their anthology.

At first I wasn't sure whether or not I was going to try and write something up before the deadline, primarily because of my ongoing campaign which I had already scheduled at the time. But I've been mulling over some great ideas in my head. This would serve as a short story prequel to my series, Guardians & The Lost Paradise, and would flesh out more of the backstory that was briefly touched upon throughout the series.

Personally, I'm more interested in the motivation to write something that this contest provides than any cash prizes. Okay, so maybe I'm a little bit motivated by the money too. But in the event that I don't win the money or inclusion (a highly probable outcome, considering the tens upon thousands of submissions they must have received by now), I plan on putting the short story up online for free. This might, in the long run, help generate more interest for my series.

What about you? Are you going to try and crank out a short story before the deadline? Or perhaps you're one of the tens of thousands who have already submitted one...? As for me, the decision is already made and I managed to squeeze out (a rather measly) 500 words earlier today. It felt good though. Well, at least it's better than staring at that big round 0 on my campaign homepage.

Friday 22 June 2012

And We're Off...!

The ball has been set into motion. It's been roughly 24 hours since I launched my Indiegogo campaign for my book series, Guardians & The Lost Paradise.

For those of you who don't know what I'm talking about here, Guardians is a 6-part epic fantasy series I've been writing for close to six years now. It was written primarily for children and young adults, though the story itself should appeal to readers of all ages. It is about a young boy who dies in a car accident, and was inspired by a monumental event that took place during my childhood, the death of my older brother, Seye. Basically, I wanted to explore and share my vision of what awaits us on the other side, you know, right after we kick the bucket. But I wanted to do so from the perspective of someone who had experienced such a loss. Thus my main character Daniel Graham was born.

I'm pretty stoked right now, mainly because I have finally taken the plunge. Now it's time to swim as hard as I can in pursuit of our goal. For those of you willing to help out, be it by making contributions or spreading the word (or both!!), here are some all-important links:

The Campaign Homepage

The Companion Website

The Facebook Page

The Campaign Video

My Twitter Page

And for those of you still sitting on the fence about this, let me save you the trouble of having to visit Youtube to watch the campaign video. This was filmed last week and edited over the weekend. It is my first-ever attempt at trying to tell a story through film, so try not to laugh too hard, okay? Enjoy. :)

Wednesday 20 June 2012

It's Official!

After many weeks of deliberation (not to mention the 6 years spent writing the beast), I have decided it's time to give the world its first sighting of my 6-part epic fantasy series, Guardians & The Lost Paradise. The first two chapters are now on display at, as part of my about-to-be-launched Indiegogo campaign to raise enough money to produce all 6 books in the series.

That's right, I've also decided to take the crowdfunding route. The goal is to raise $3,000 within the next 30 days. The plan is to self-publish all 6 books in the series between the months of July and December, with or without the money. This is why I am opting for "Flexible Funding" where I get to keep (and put to good use) whatever amount is raised, whether we make the goal or not.

I am clearly going to need all the help I can get to make this campaign a success. Such a venture lives or dies by word-of-mouth. I am prepared to do whatever needs to be done to push these books. That's how much I believe in them. I'll try my best not to be too spammy about it. Although I should probably apologize beforehand if that's how I come across at the end of the day.

So, once again, the website for the 2-chapter excerpt is The campaign itself would launch in the next couple of hours. Just waiting to get word from some certain key partners.

I'll keep everyone posted!

Monday 11 June 2012

The 7 x 7 Link Award

Guess what? I was nominated for another award. What? The title of my post kinda gave it away already...? Darn. Should have gone with something more cryptic. Anyways, the name of this award is The 7 x 7 Link Award and it was given to me by the ever-resourceful Geek Twins.

To accept this award, I need to list (and provide links) to my existing blog posts I feel fall into the following seven categories. So here it goes:

Most Beautiful Piece
2011 in Review: Looking Back

Most Helpful Piece
Let's Get Digital (Book Review)

Most Popular Piece
The Lost Children (Music Review)

Most Controversial Piece
A Short Rant about Walls and Sh#t!

Most Surprisingly Successful Piece
Young Adult (Movie Review)

Most Underrated Piece
My Very First Blog Post

Most Pride-Worthy Piece
The Origin of a Storyteller

Right. The instructions on how to pass this award on to others wasn't exactly provided. But I am going to take a wild guess and pass it on to "7" fellow bloggers anyway:

Resident Gamer
Scouring Monk
Cassie Mae
Lora Palmer
Annalisa Crawford

Enjoy. :D

Friday 8 June 2012

Insurgent (Book Review)

It's been a while since I did a book review. The last one I wrote was for a book called Divergent, a YA dystopian about a future where the city of Chicago is split into several ideology-based factions. That was five months ago. So it's highly coincidental that the next book I was to review was its much anticipated sequel, Insurgent.

Insurgent picks up right where Divergent left off, with Tris, Four and others struggling to come to terms with the aftermath of the Dauntless invasion on the Abnegation sector. They start by taking shelter with the Amity, who live just outside the fence surrounding the city. But their stay is short-lived when the Amity headquarters is stormed by Dauntless traitors (those still on the side of the Erudite, the faction responsible for all the atrocities from the previous book).

The bulk of the story is spent travelling from one faction to another, as Tris and Four try to elude capture and at the same time garner the support needed to foil the plans of the Erudite leader, the villainous Jeanine Mathews. Jeanine seeks to control all the other factions, and the only ones standing in the way of her plans are the Divergent, those who are immune to the various mind-controlling simulation serums developed by the Erudite.

We get to meet other key players along the way, like the various faction leaders. The most important though is a woman named Evelyn Eaton, leader of the Factionless, who is seeking the complete abolition of the factions. It quickly becomes apparent that the Factionless hold more power than was previously thought and could very well determine the outcome of the forthcoming civil war. But that was hardly ever a surprise to begin with.

I think my main problem with Insurgent was the presence of too many side characters, most of whom didn't contribute much to the development of the plot. I know there are so many books out there with countless side characters, like those in the Harry Potter series for instance. But some of the ones here are so forgettable that you end up mixing one up for the other.

Then there were quite a number of logic-defying encounters, none of which I can reveal for fear of ruining the book for those of you yet to read it. I'll just say that the Dauntless traitors guarding the Erudite headquarters are quite possibly the most incompetent security force in the realm of fiction. The end result of these problems was a book that felt padded out and much longer than it really was.

On the plus side, Veronica Roth somehow managed to answer all the questions I'd raised at the end of my Divergent review, while giving us a better understanding of the book's main character(s). Let's hope the as-yet-unnamed final book in the series brings the trilogy to a satisfactory close.

Wednesday 6 June 2012

The Insecure Writer's Support Group

Hello everyone, and welcome to my first ever post for the Insecure Writer's Support Group.

In case you're reading this and you don't know what that is, it is something that comes up every first Wednesday of the month, and was started by Alex Cavanaugh, whose blog I'd discovered during the Blogging from A-Z Challenge this past April. It is a platform for writers to talk about, you guessed it, their insecurities, and how they plan (or were able) to overcome them. So without wasting much time, on with the post!

Right. Where to begin? Well, it's been roughly six months since I put my 3 science fiction novellas up on Amazon. And since then, I've somehow managed to sell some 50 or thereabouts copies of these books, with little or no promotion to boot. Not bad. Sales could be better though. WAY better. But I'm in it for the long haul as the saying goes.

During the intervening months since publication, I've been hard at work on a 6-part epic fantasy series called Guardians & The Lost Paradise. Uhm, actually, I've been working on this for close to 6 years now, but I've made tremendous progress in recent months. As things stand, I am now a climax and denouement away from completion.

The plan is to self-publish the entire series over the course of the next 6 months. Very ambitious, I know. But quite doable. The main consideration though is getting these stories ready for prime time. I am already in talks with professional editors and cover artists, and quickly discovering just how much money I would need to pay for their services. A staggering $3000! [insert appropriate whistle sound here]

There are very few avenues for me to raise that much money within a relatively short timeframe. I could always sell my dog; but after investing all those years in schooling it in the art of Jiu-jitsu, that would seem like such a huge waste, wouldn't you agree? One avenue I've found myself constantly dwelling upon is the possibility of crowdfunding through websites like Kickstarter and Indiegogo. But then my production costs would have to go up to $5000, when you also factor in the need to fulfil perks/rewards.

So what do you think? Is Kickstarter/Indiegogo the way to go? Or should I just self-edit and knock out the book covers in my graphics editor of choice?