Category Archives: Guest Post

Excerpt and Giveaway: The Little Green Book of Chairman Rahma

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The Little Green Book of Chairman Rahma Excerpt
by Brian Herbert
Reprinted with permission from Tor Books.

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For the environmental health of the American continents, all inhabitants who survived the Corporate War will be relocated onto densely populated human reservations, with the remaining land slated for either collective farms or comprehensive greenforming, returning it to the pristine beauty of nature. As part of his historic Edict 101, our beloved Chairman Rahma Popal has announced, “Anyone who resists will be dealt with severely. He will be recycled.”
—government news flash, March 17, 2043

THE NUCLEAR-POWERED TRUCK flexed its long body around highway turns without slowing, its air whistle keening to ward off wild animals. Inside the passenger dome sat a man and a woman in complementary uniforms—his forest green and hers black, with peace symbols on the lapels. They held hands and gazed out at the sun-mottled trees of autumn, bearing leaves that were a spectacular array of golden-brown hues. This was an old road, bumpy from decay and debris, having fallen into disuse because of the mass exodus of population in the last two decades. It was the year 2063 in the New England Conservancy, and soon there would be no more need for this route.

Ahead of the vehicle and behind it, police cars created a security zone, their strobe lights flashing and fender-mounted weapons glow-ready, while a Greenpol aircraft flew low overhead. For years there had been attacks by disaffected Corporate elements against GSA assets, and the Chairman had ordered extra precautions to secure his valuable equipment and personnel. Greenpol was the special police force he had created, with divisions to stop eco-criminals, prosecute other crimes, and bodyguard his person.

Presently the big armored truck slowed and turned onto the rough, weed-encrusted surface of an abandoned parking lot, where it screeched to a stop. Outriggers shot into position and adjusted for the uneven surface, leveling the great machine mounted on the chassis. The two passengers, both eco-techs, exited the dome and stepped onto a wide turret platform on the vehicle. They secured their stylized, owl-design helmets and dark goggles, then grabbed hold of safety bars. Other crew members rushed to their stations, to operate the complex equipment and monitor the results. They wore black trousers, jackboots, green jackets, and shiny green helmets.

Continue reading Excerpt and Giveaway: The Little Green Book of Chairman Rahma

D.B. Jackson Guest Post

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“Making Historical Fantasy Lasagna,” by D.B. Jackson

There were no thieftakers in Boston in the 1760s. There were no conjurers in Boston at that time, either.

Which means that from the outset, my historical fantasy series, the Thieftaker Chronicles, is based not on historical fact, but rather on huge fallacies. Yet, as I have written each book in the series, starting with Thieftaker (Tor Books 2012), and continuing with Thieves’ Quarry (Tor Books, 2013) and my latest release, A Plunder of Souls, which is to be released tomorrow (yay!), I have gone to great lengths to get my historical facts right. Why would I do that? Why strive for accuracy when the books are founded on two conceits that overwhelm every other fact I might find?

Because those fictional elements, and the historical details that act as counterweight to them, are both crucial ingredients in what has been a successful series. Let me explain.

The concept of the series isn’t terribly complicated. Ethan Kaille, my hero, is a thieftaker — a sort of eighteenth century private detective — and a conjurer. Each book in the series revolves around a crime he must solve and a related historical event leading to the Revolutionary War. That’s it. I mean, obviously there is more to each book — character relationships, the twists and turns one would expect from a good mystery, knife fights and magical battles, and walk-ons by several key historical figures from the period. But at a conceptual level, the series is fairly simple. That’s part of what I love about writing these books.

My challenge as the author of the thieftaker novels, is to blend my fictional and factual elements in such a way that my readers cannot tell where one ends and the other begins. I have to make Ethan and his fellow characters seem like natural citizens of 1760s Boston. Their speech can’t be completely of that time, because if it was they would be barely comprehensible to a twenty-first century audience. But I can put in rhetorical flourishes and conversational quirks that will identify the spoken word as being of that period in our history. And I can offer details about clothing, food, weaponry, tools, transportation, etc. that place the stories firmly in the late-colonial period.

But still I am left with those two conceits: thieftakers and conjurers.

Thieftaking was an actual profession, although it was far more prevalent in Europe, making only a brief appearance in early nineteenth century America. But thieftakers tended to find work in the absence of established professional law-enforcement. And in the 1760s, Boston had no police force to speak of. The city did have a sheriff — Stephen Greenleaf, who is a recurring character in the Thieftaker novels and stories — but he commanded no police officers and only had under his authority a small cadre of night watchmen who were mostly incompetent and as likely as not to be corrupt. Boston in the 1760s was a fairly lawless town. In other words, while the city had no thieftakers, conditions there were ripe for the profession to arise.

As for conjurers, I am not going to get into a debate here as to whether there is historical precedent here or elsewhere. Rather, I will keep my discussion limited to people’s beliefs, and as evidenced by the tragic executions in 1692 of twenty so-called “witches” in Salem, Massachusetts and surrounding communities, the people of the Province of Massachusetts Bay certainly believed in witchcraft and black magick. So when I developed my magic system for the thieftaker books, I came up with something that would involve the drawing of blood in a form of sacrifice, communing with spirits (Ethan and other conjurers have spirit guides who help them access their power), and speaking in tongues, in this case Latin incantations. The conjurers in the Thieftaker universe live in constant fear of being hanged as witches, and as a result their magic feels like something that could be endemic to that time and place.

With respect to both thieftaking and conjuring, I sought to use historical circumstance to mitigate my historical inaccuracies. Put another way, while I knew I wasn’t recreating a Boston that actually was, I tried to create a Boston that could have been.

And that brings us to the lasagna. Yeah, you knew we’d get there eventually. My friend, Faith Hunter, one of my co-founders (along with Misty Massey) of the Magical Words blog site (http://magicalwords.net) likes to compare writing a novel to making lasagna. As she points out, when you make lasagna, you don’t put all the cheese in one area, and all the onions and garlic in another, and all the pasta in yet another. That would be pretty awful. Instead, we blend it all together to make something that is delicious throughout. In the same way, we don’t offer our readers blocks of characterization and then blocks of plotting and then blocks of worldbuilding. We interweave all of our narrative elements to create a novel that flows smoothly and that tells a complete tale from beginning to end.

Adding the historical element to the analogy, I wouldn’t want to isolate my historical ingredients any more than I would one of the other ingredients. But more to the point, just as we build a lasagna in layers, I try to write the Thieftaker books the same way, sprinkling the fictional on top of the historical, on top of the fictional, on top of the historical, and so on. The result is something so completely integrated that separating what is “true” from what is “made up” becomes all but impossible. It’s not just that the flavors and textures are blended, but also that they are transformed into a whole that is both different from and more than its component parts.

As with any metaphor, the lasagna-as-book analogy isn’t perfect. But it does get at an essential truth of writing: As with cooking, the ingredients and process are equally important in determining the ultimate success or failure of the final result. Poor quality elements will doom a project, as will slipshod execution. Which is why we strive for excellence in both.

And now, all this talk of lasagna has made me hungry. Buon appetito!

*****
D.B. Jackson is also David B. Coe, the award-winning author of more than a dozen fantasy novels. His first two books as D.B. Jackson, the Revolutionary War era urban fantasies, Thieftaker and Thieves’ Quarry, volumes I and II of the Thieftaker Chronicles, are both available from Tor Books in hardcover and paperback. The third volume, A Plunder of Souls, will be released in hardcover on July 8. The fourth Thieftaker novel, Dead Man’s Reach, is in production and will be out in the summer of 2015. D.B. lives on the Cumberland Plateau with his wife and two teenaged daughters. They’re all smarter and prettier than he is, but they keep him around because he makes a mean vegetarian fajita. When he’s not writing he likes to hike, play guitar, and stalk the perfect image with his camera.

http://www.dbjackson-author.com
http://www.dbjackson-author.com/blog
http://www.facebook.com/dbjacksonAuthor
http://twitter.com/dbjacksonauthor
http://www.goodreads.com/dbjackson
http://amazon.com/author/dbjackson

*****

Courtesy of Tor Books, I have a copy of A Plunder of Souls for three (3) lucky winners!

Contest is open to US residents only. No PO Boxes, please. To enter, just fill out the form below. Contest ends August 1. I’ll draw names on August 2, and notify winners via email.

ENTER DAILY TO INCREASE YOUR CHANCE OF WINNING!

Good luck!

Continue reading D.B. Jackson Guest Post

Kevin J. Anderson Guest Post And Giveaway Winner!

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Seven Suns — My Love Letter to Science Fiction
by Kevin J. Anderson

I grew up with science fiction.

Even though I lived in a tiny farming town in Wisconsin that didn’t even have a library–just the book mobile once a month–I actually spent much of my youth on other planets, exploring the galaxy with the crew of the Enterprise or lost in the Galaxy on the Jupiter 2. I read comics. I read science fiction magazines. I watched Sci-Fi Cinema every Saturday afternoon on a staticky black-and-white TV that barely got the Chicago television station broadcasting old monster movies.

It got in my blood. It fired my imagination, and I had no doubt whatsoever that I wanted to be a science fiction writer.

I wrote a lot of bad SF short stories. Then I started to write slightly better ones. Eventually some were published.

Then, my first novel. Then, my first three-book contract, which eventually led to my work in the Star Wars universe, then in the Dune universe with Frank Herbert’s son, Brian.

Not only was I a fan of science fiction, I actively worked in science fiction. Every day I commuted to my job on an alien planet in my imagination.

I continued to write original novels even as I worked in all of those shared universes. Throughout it all, though, a much bigger story was brewing in my mind, something of my own—a universe that was the biggest thing I had ever developed.

The Saga of Seven Suns.dark between the stars

I envisioned a spectacular opening scene: a gigantic industrial city floating in the clouds of a gas giant planet; a crew of workers harvesting chemicals out of the planet’s atmosphere. Then an enormous alien vessel, like the mothership from “Close Encounters of the Third Kind,” rises from the high-pressure depths and destroys the facility. In a sprawling galactic empire with several cooperative alien races, this was a new threat: an exotic species that lived deep in the cores of gas giants. And they had just risen up to declare war on the rest of the galaxy.

I developed all the characters who would drive my story—the star-crossed lovers, the alien emperor, the head of the human trade confederation, the military commanders, the scam artists, the archeologists, the spies, the explorers, the artists. I developed each culture, each planet, each monster, each type of starship. The Saga of Seven Suns grew and grew, spiraling out like a galactic “War and Peace.”

With so many plot threads going at once, the story itself became the main character, the driving force with hundreds of characters moving the story along. And I poured everything into it.

The Saga of Seven Suns was my love letter to science fiction, with exotic planets, alien races, killer robots, abandoned and mysterious cities, characters that ranged from the highest leader of a civilization, down to the lowest gutter-scum. The original series encompassed seven volumes, beginning with HIDDEN EMPIRE. Each massive book coming out on time, year after year. (Yes, I know–unheard of in science fiction and fantasy, right?).

I did a graphic novel prequel, VEILED ALLIANCES, and then novelized that and published it through my own WordFire Press. In addition to the comic rights, I sold audio rights, UK rights, French, German, Bulgarian, Czech. The series took off world-wide, building with each volume. One year, the top-selling science fiction and fantasy books in the UK included seven Terry Pratchett books and three of my Seven Suns books.

I wrapped up that great saga in 2009 with THE ASHES OF WORLDS, and then I wrote other things for five years. The Seven Suns universe was my masterpiece. It contains everything I love about science fiction.

I wrapped up the story, but I had planted seeds throughout, always planning to come back for a new trilogy, a “next generation” saga—The Saga of Shadows.

But, if the Saga of Seven Suns was my masterpiece, how could I follow it up? By trying to do even better, of course, making a bigger story with an even more dire threat. With THE DARK BETWEEN THE STARS, the first book in The Saga of Shadows, I returned to that universe that is so dear to me with a whole new story and a new cast of characters, as well as some old favorites.

Two decades have passed since the end of THE ASHES OF WORLDS, leaving the Spiral Arm in a completely different situation. I wanted to start fresh, so I wrote THE DARK BETWEEN THE STARS so that it starts anew and stands alone, introducing readers who haven’t experienced The Saga of Seven Suns, while delivering exactly what fans of the original series are looking for.

It was both exhausting and exhilarating to stretch those mental muscles again. The first novel just came out, and I’m well over halfway finished writing the second, BLOOD OF THE COSMOS, and it will be out on time next year. I promise.

I am very much enjoying this return to familiar strange places and characters who have become old friends, or even family. If you like good, old-fashioned space opera, and if you love science fiction as much as I do, I hope you’ll sample it.

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And The Dark Between the Stars giveaway winner is: Irene M. from Toms River, NJ!
Congrats! Your book will be shipping shortly.

Author Elsie Chapman Guest Post and Giveaway!

DividedDeveloping Your Fictional World
by Elsie Chapman

Developing your fictional world is, at its heart, a very personal process for a writer. There are so many ways it can be tackled. I’ve read before that you should attack a new world as a block of marble, chipping away at the unnecessary bits until all that is left are the essentials—the guts that will drive your story. I’ve also read that you should think of a new world as a sand sculpture—what you want to do is add layers slowly, a bit here and a bit there, until you’ve added everything you need and no more.

Maybe it’s a more a combination of both. Fits and starts. Two steps forward and one step back. Worlds are aggravating and they’re moody. Some days they are buried so deep you think they are never going to see light—others, you are dealing with bare bones that will fall apart if you sneeze wrong.

Whichever method of attack, the end result needs to be the same—a world that’s well drawn enough that a reader can envision it in their head and understand how it works, but not to the point where it begins to fight your characters for attention. A good world, I think, knows when to sit back and let its characters be. A good world, I think, really is a stage.

Some questions you can ask yourself about your world as you work:

What’s happened in your world in the past to bring it to where it is now? You’re about to write a book with a plot based about certain events. But what happened to lead to those events?

Technology? Education? Religion? Politics? Language? Education? Transportation?

Description of everyday things will ground your world and make it believable to a reader looking for ways to relate. Think about your senses. Think about colour and sound.

How diverse is your world? Diversity can make or break a world when it comes to believability. Why and how is your world the way it is when it comes to diversity? What do its people look like? How do they work together? How do they relate to each other?

Not all of your answers are going to end up in your book because not all of them are going to come into play. You will probably be okay not describing in minute details the food your character consumes over the course of a day (unless, of course, your world actually is about food, eg a world where hunger is a huge factor, etc.). Sure, most of that information will end up being background noise, but background noise is better than the silence of not knowing. Not knowing often leads to plot holes and contradictions in your world; both are frustrating to fix after the fact.

Like any work of art, start slow.
Tread thoughtfully.
There’s no rush.
It’s as much about letting your world develop as it is about you developing it, really.

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About DIVIDED:
In Elsie Chapman’s debut young adult novel, Dualed, West Grayer trained as a fighter in preparation for the day when her assignment arrived and she had one month to hunt down and kill her Alt—a twin raised by another family. In Chapman’s much anticipated sequel DIVIDED (Random House Books for Young Readers | On sale May 27, 2014 | Ages 12 up), West is back and has to undergo one last test before she can be free to live her life . . . but will she survive?

“We need you to kill again. . . .”

West Grayer is done killing. She defeated her Alternate, a twin raised by another family, and proved she’s worthy of a future. She’s ready to move on with her life. But the Board isn’t through with her. Somehow they know her past as an assassin, and they offer her a deal that’s almost too good to be true: safety for her future children and a clean slate if she kills one more time. It should be an easy job. Except West recognizes her target: It’s her dead brother’s Alt—hauntingly familiar and yet a stranger.

The Board is lying, and West will have to uncover the truth of the past to secure her future. How far will the Board go to keep their secrets safe? And how far will West go to save those she loves?

Fast-paced action with surprising twists, DIVIDED is an exhilarating page-turner that delivers a fierce punch as West’s decisions kindle rebellion!

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About the Author:
ELSIE CHAPMAN grew up in Prince George, British Columbia, Canada, before graduating from the University of British Columbia with a BA in English literature. She lives in Vancouver with her husband and two children, where she writes to either movies on a loop or music turned up way too loud (and sometimes both at the same time). For more information, please visit Elsie at ElsieChapman.com.

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Courtesy of Random House, I have a copy of Divided for one (1) lucky winner!

Contest is open to US residents only. No PO Boxes, please. To enter, just fill out the form below. Contest ends July 11. I’ll draw a name on July 12, and notify winner via email.

ENTER DAILY TO INCREASE YOUR CHANCE OF WINNING!

Good luck!

Continue reading Author Elsie Chapman Guest Post and Giveaway!

Author Jaime Lee Moyer Guest Post and Giveaway!

Five Things I’ve Learned Since I Sold My First Novel
by Jaime Lee Moyer

1. Publishing is made of ninety percent waiting and ten percent frantic activity. Months creep past and from your perspective, nothing happens. Then comes the rush of copyedits—followed by nothing, the thrill of cover reveals followed by (you guessed it) nothing, first pass pages (followed by nothing), and not too too long after a case of author copies arrives at your door. Holding a copy of your book makes up for all the waiting.

2. Walking into a bookstore and seeing your book on the shelf, the book you lost sleep over, agonized over, and worked to make your very best, is an emotional experience that’s impossible to describe. Knowing that people are reading your words, which is what you’ve worked years for, is both overwhelming and humbling.

3. People at conventions, conferences—readers, fans (!!)—start to treat you differently as soon as your book comes out. Writers aren’t rock stars, but you become an author with a capital A. Staying grounded is important, as is remembering that not that long ago, you were the shy fan nervous about talking to a real writer.

4. Fan mail will never, ever get old. That someone took the time out of their day to tell me they liked my book feels like such a gift. Probably because it is.

5. And I’ve learned that eleven-year-old me was right about being a writer. I want to do this for the rest of my life. This is the best job ever.

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Courtesy of Tor Books, I have a copy of A BARRICADE IN HELL by Jaime Lee Moyer for one (1) lucky winner!

Contest is open to US residents only. No PO Boxes, please. To enter, just fill out the form below. Contest ends June 27. I’ll draw a name on June 28, and notify winner via email.

ENTER DAILY TO INCREASE YOUR CHANCE OF WINNING!

Good luck!

Continue reading Author Jaime Lee Moyer Guest Post and Giveaway!

Emmy Laybourne Guest Post Q&A

savage drift Emmy Laybourne

I’m so delighted to be here on SciFiChick.com for the first day of my Blog Tour for SAVAGE DRIFT!

SAVAGE DRIFT is the last book in the MONUMENT 14 trilogy. I thought it would be fun to look back at the wonderful blog interviews I’ve done since beginning the trilogy in 2010 and give you:
My Favorite 6 QUESTIONS I’ve Ever Been Asked by a Blogger!

1. If the characters from MONUMENT 14 were to celebrate a holiday, how would they do it? – Olivia, YA Lit Mag

Well, it’s funny – they’re in a big store with lots of different supplies, so if they were going to celebrate a holiday, they would have most of the materials on hand to really do it up!

I think that Niko would assign people to be on different committees – Josie would head up decorations, Dean and Batiste would dream up a special meal, Jake would take over figuring out some special games to celebrate the day, and maybe Sahalia would sing and play guitar!

I can also imagine Josie organizing the little kids to perform some sort of a pageant. Of course, Chloe would be the star, Mac would probably forget his lines and improvise but then Ulysses would steal the show by break-dancing!

2. Why did you choose to make the main character of MONUMENT 14 a boy? Was it hard to make his voice authentic (you know… since you’re not a boy)? – Enna, Squeaky Books

You know, it’s weird, but I never for a second considered making the narrator of MONUMENT 14 a girl! I think this is because I started thinking about who would be in the story and Dean just stepped forward in my mind, to be the narrator. If I had made the narrator a girl, a lot would have been different – perhaps the story would have developed as a love triangle between the narrator, Jake and Niko! As it is, Dean is sort of torn between Niko’s serious, boy scout mentality and Jake’s playboy attitude. But of course, it’s not a love triangle between them! More of a buddy triangle! (Note to self: Write movie called Buddy Triangle!)

3. If you could have one super power what would it be? – Amy, Readingteen Continue reading Emmy Laybourne Guest Post Q&A

Dan Wells Guest Post

Ruins

Author Dan Wells joins SciFiChick.com today to talk about dystopias and his latest release RUINS!

What Is Dystopia?
by Dan Wells

Dystopian fiction comes in a lot of different flavors. It’s the reigning queen of YA right now, with books like THE HUNGER GAMES and DIVERGENT topping the charts, but what does dystopia really mean? I see a lot of people using “dystopia” more or less as a synonym for “young adult science fiction,” but there’s so much more nuance in our genre than that. If we lump all science fiction under the dystopian umbrella, we’re missing out on the wonderful variety that science fiction has to offer.

Dystopia, in it’s origins, was about societies that tried to create a utopia–a wonderful place–but ended up created a horrible place instead. Usually these stories focus on conformity, and the loss of individual freedom; there’s a lot of “communism is scary” tied up in these kinds of books. This category includes not just old stuff like BRAVE NEW WORLD, 1984, and “Harrison Bergeron,” but newer books like UGLIES and MATCHED and DIVERGENT. The government tries to solve one set of problems, and in doing so goes too far and creates a whole new set of problems, and then it’s up to our plucky heroes and heroines to save the day.

Another flavor of dystopia shows society screwing itself up without any help from the government at all. In these stories the world wasn’t made terrible on purpose, it just happened that way naturally thanks to evil corporations (SNOW CRASH, JENNIFER GOVERNMENT), natural causes (CHILDREN OF MEN), or our own obsession with entertainment and hedonism (A CLOCKWORK ORANGE). These stories differ from the first group in that the terrible aspects of society are not enforced, they just happen and we can’t escape from them; the focus of the story is not on overthrowing the society, but on trying to find some way to live within it.

Entertainment-based dystopias became a whole sub-genre of their own, drawing on the Roman idea of using “bread and circuses” to keep the populace in line. In these stories life is terrible, and resources are limited, so the leaders maintain order by distracting us with a constant barrage of media. FAHRENHEIT 451 is one of the oldest in this category; later entries put a stronger focus on blood sport and violence (THE RUNNING MAN, BATTLE ROYALE, THE HUNGER GAMES).

Because we think of dystopia as being “a terrible place,” we have a tendency to group any terrible place or society into the same category. This is especially common with post-apocalyptic stories (A CANTICLE FOR LEIBOWITZ, THE ROAD), but it gets expanded to include any old science fiction story about a place you wouldn’t want to live. Megacity One from Judge Dredd is awful, but is it dystopian? The Earth of CINDER is gripped by a terrible plague, but is their society a dystopia in any way similar to the other dystopias we’ve discussed? A genre definition that puts CINDER and 1984 into the same thematic category is a bad definition; I love both books, but for very different reasons, and they deserve a better system of classification that reflects this.

I don’t think it’s enough to say that “bad=dystopia,” because that categorization focuses solely on the props and trappings of a story, without considering what’s really going on–what the story is really about. A true dystopian story doesn’t just depict a bad society, it is about that society on a fundamental level. The characters in a dystopia are primarily concerned with surviving or changing the world they live in, and the story as a whole is intended to demonstrate how a certain idea or system or attitude can turn a society into a hell. A story like RoboCop, on the other hand, simply uses a dystopian society as a backdrop to tell a story about human augmentation, and the blurred lines between human and machine. It has a different purpose, and calling it a dystopia ignores this nuance.

So, the big question: is the Partials Sequence dystopian? There’s definitely elements of it: PARTIALS is specifically about an oppressive, authoritarian government, and one girl’s quest to change it, but after that it starts to change. FRAGMENTS and RUINS both continue to deal with questions of authority and responsibility, particularly when Kira learns the secrets behind the Preserve, but the focus of the story changes. If I were forced, I’d called PARTIALS a dystopian story, FRAGMENTS a quest story, and RUINS a…hmm. A war story? A chase story? More than anything else it’s an apocalypse story: the world ended thirteen years ago, and now it’s ending again, and Kira and her friends are trying everything they can to create a new civilization from the ashes. It’s a book about endings, but also about beginnings. I think that’s an important difference.

Whatever your tastes–dystopia, post-apocalypse, or just science fiction in general–I hope you like it.

David Edison Guest Post and Giveaway!

Author David Edison joins us today to talk about his debut The Waking Engine and his story of how he got published.
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Hello SciFiChick readers, and thank you for hosting my very first guest post ever. You may have read me at GayGamer.net in the past, or at Tor.com and TorForgeBlog.com, but never have I been hosted! The Chick herself suggested I share the story of my path to publishing, since the tale of my tale is an unusual one–here’s hoping that it’s also an interesting yarn.

THE WAKING ENGINE began, like many books and stories, with an upfront admission of failure. I wrote three chapters, shoved them in a drawer because I could not bear to look at them, and went right back to working as a video game journalist—a job a million girls might kill for, but not this one. Selling someone else’s hard work only served to remind me that my hard work was sleeping its life away in a drawer, and as I tired of rehashing press releases with an increasingly cynical eye, I began to wonder about the book that might have been.

Sometime in 2008, I found myself sitting in front of a fabulously intimidating literary agent, hoping against hope that she would share with me some kind of magic recipe that would turn me into a novelist. And so she did: she told me to finish the damn book. If book publishing has any magical advice at all, it’s that gem—three chapters can be horrible or wonderful, but they’re not a finished manuscript. Turns out, a finished manuscript is the secret ingredient. Whodathunk?

I scampered off, aware that I’d just been given an opportunity for which many writers would kill. Maybe I was Anne Hathaway in Devil Wears Prada, after all? The opportunity was mine to squander, and suddenly I spent my mornings juggling too many coffees (all mine) and throwing coats (mine) onto desks (also mine) where a wide-eyed, terrified young(ish) writer spent his time working feverishly but, largely, without a clue. I lost weight and soon fit into clothes that I could not enjoy because: pressure. My friends complained, and missed me, and wondered if I wasn’t becoming a little bit obsessed. They missed the smart, fat kid in the cerulean sweater.

A year passed, and I finished the manuscript. Timidly, I brought it back to my agency. After a few months of waiting, I received the feedback: cut a hundred pages and change the ending.

Continue reading David Edison Guest Post and Giveaway!