So Much To Do

I finally had an idea for a story for Project Ubi (the team working on the RPG Sourcebook). We’re supposed to be discussing the draft at our next meeting. The draft will definitely need a rewrite before then because I began writing it just by describing the key character to myself. It’s not much more than notes.

I haven’t finished the pen and paper version yet, and the next meeting is March first. So I have 15 days left to finish it and rewrite it. I’m not terribly worried about it being shorter than I wanted it to be at this point. I will no doubt have to add to it, and perhaps rewrite it completely, to incorporate more of the game lore we’re creating. Plus it should get written quicker if it’s short!

In addition to that, I also need to get the short story I’m calling “Before the War” finished. I’ve decided that when I eventually write “The War on Magic“, this story will act as it’s prelude. This is a story I intend to submit to the “Writers of the Future” writing contest, which gives me a chance of winning $500, $750 or $1000 if it’s one of the top 3 stories submitted that quarter.

If I miss this quarter I can submit it for the next one, but I’d like to enter as soon as possible. I may even try for a different publication, such as “Diversions From Drudgery” who are already serializing Hermes925. DfD will also let me publish items that have already been published elsewhere, while a lot of the other publications don’t. It seemed to me that it would be smarter to submit each story elsewhere first (before it’s been printed), and then to DfD after.

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Am I making things overly complicated? Should I just keep writing for the publication I already have a relationship with, and quit trying to game the system? I’m just thinking that, if it works, I could potentially be getting paid twice for every one-off story I write (providing that it’s accepted).

I also need to keep making time to write Hermes925, and make time to find additional opportunities to write for money. I’m really getting sick of being broke. I would appreciate it if you became a paid subscriber if you haven’t already, so I don’t need to be so dependent on being accepted by magazines to make money. I’m still waiting to find out if my Ghost Story for an upcoming publication called “A Horror of Words” has been accepted.

It would be awesome if I could post the stories I’m writing to this website, send an e-reader copy to my paid subscribers, and make enough money to help my family pay the bills and save up for a place of my own. I’ve considered also offering to write unique stories on commission.

I’ve considered also offering to write unique stories on commission. This would be a story that only you have. I will never post it or submit it, it would be just for you (or your intended recipient). As a result, you can be a character in the story and include your friends and family. You could also make it a comedic story in which the characters have odd flaws and quirks, whatever the client (you) want.

Off course, paid subscribers would get a discount, and may even get short stories and flash fiction for free. It seems smarter to get paid directly by fans than hoping a third party would like my work enough to pay me and publish me. Particularly since I’ll then have to promote their publication, for free, to my fans or you’ll never get to read it.

I seem to have a real problem with working for other people! I want to sell direct to the reader and cut out the middle man! At least that’s how I feel today. On other days I want to have a well-known publisher printing copies of my book and putting them on bookshelves all over the world. Today though I’m just seeing dusty volumes that don’t get read. Let’s save some money and resources and just deal directly and electronically. 🙂

Anyway, I got to get cracking on finishing the Project Ubi story!

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Give Me Another One!

I’m going to be brief, just to catch you up, but then I’m going to go back to hunting!

As you know I’ve been trying to get Hermes925 finished. The theory being that the sooner I get it finished, the sooner I can pitch it to publishers and get it on the shelves. The only problem being that in the mean time my cash reserves are dwindling to nothing. If I wasn’t living with family right now I’d be scuppered.

I’ve been aware for some time that it’s possible to sell short stories to anthologies and magazines, but I’ve been putting it off. Currently, I’m not entirely sure why. Maybe it’s just that I hadn’t found one I wanted to write yet.

However, a couple of very exciting things have happened since I started networking more actively on Facebook and Twitter. Firstly I was pointed in the direction of an e-zine publisher that is willing to publish Hermes925 as a series, starting with the first 3 entries, in their bi-monthly publication.

The publication is called Diversions from Drudgery, and they are still looking for contributors. So if you want in, contact Chris Maddock or join the Diversions from Drudgery Facebook group. They need writers and artists.

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I also didn’t realize that one of the writing groups, called Fiction Writing, I was in also had their own series of short story collections, until it came up in a conversation in the group. The theme for the next one is ghosts. My first thought was a ‘ghost in the machine’ idea. An MMORPG gamer dies, but he remains online, continuing to exist in the game and scares the shit out of his surviving friends (until they get used to it).

Turns out it’s been done and was even a film. I might have still been able to go with it if I told the story differently, but I wanted to do something new. I was wide awake in bed thinking about what I knew about ghosts from when I was a kid collecting unsolved mystery cards and reading Usborne books.

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This was one of my favorites.

What if someone had decided to treat these books that try to explain the existence of ghosts as a ‘how-to’ guide and set out to become a ghost himself? That’s the premise of a short story I just submitted to Scout Media. I’m looking forward to telling you more about that too when I have something more to tell.

So now I’m looking for more publications that accepting submissions that I want to write. I now know that I can come up with an idea, write, re-write and proof a piece in a few days. It may take me a little longer occasionally, but the idea of writing for magazines no longer seems as daunting as it once did.

I’m going to get back to looking for more opportunities now. There’s bound to someone looking for a story I want to write 🙂

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Making Friends

I’ve been rediscovering the practical networking applications of Twitter. For a long time, I’ve been avoiding it because I get sucked in. I’ll browse through the newest tweets, scrolling through the nonsense to try and find something worth reading, knowing that there might be gold if I just keep looking. The entire time I can see the new Tweets counters going up. Brand new tweets vying for my attention.

I keep scrolling until the temptation of the new overcomes my need to thoroughly check the old ones, then start back at the top. I hate myself a little for giving up my search but begin scrolling through the new tweets hoping that it was worth it. Sometimes I find something worth sharing or writing an article about, but most of the time I’m just scrolling, searching, until the new tweets call me once more.

I know I need to clean up my feed a bit and unfollow the accounts that I skip over, but while I’m doing that I might miss something that would make the hunt worth it. When I originally opened the account I was trying to jump on the ‘social media marketing guru’ bandwagon. It seemed like my employer at the time, as well as most other businesses, were under-utilising and misusing social media. I thought I could make an impression at the company by devising an effective strategy.

Not only did my suggestions fall on deaf ears, but my attempts to use my own ‘expertise’ to market my home business (a now defunct tarot-reading service) fell flat. It didn’t help that the more I networked within the company, the less I liked the people I was working with. I read countless books on networking, negotiating, social media, self-motivation, leadership and entrepreneurship to try and make it happen, but the entire process made me feel dishonest.

I kept it up as long as I could stomach it though because I wanted to make more money, repair the roof on my house, and perhaps prove to my (now ex-)wife that I wasn’t actually worthless. I also really liked the idea or writing my own book on the subject. It occurred to me even then that I didn’t actually need to be successful in order to write a convincing book. In fact writing a book on the subject may have made my advice seem more legitimate.

I had to give up trying because she didn’t like being away from home so much, and then the marriage broke down anyway. Which was very frustrating. However, it got me writing. Not about ways to manipulate people into buying stuff they didn’t want, but about magical worlds generated by a powerful network of computers to keep the human population blinkered and pacified.

This time as I dive back into Twitter I’m doing so to share my true passion, and learn from others that have walked the same path before me. Some of these new friends I’m making are fellow authors, but I’m also making some great connections with musicians and gamers. I wanted to share some of these connections with you.

In addition to the tweets and video posted above, I also wanted to introduce you Duality. I actually met Michelle via Facebook, but it still counts because I say so! That and it’s still a connection I’ve made as part of my efforts to network and build contacts in the writing community. Give Duality a read. You won’t regret it.

Follow Kevin, Angela, Darren and myself, and dramatically improve your Twitter feed. If you’re reading this via email or WordPress reader and don’t see the video and links, go to the actual webpage (https://antonymcopeland.me/2017/01/24/making-friends) and while you’re at it, browse around and read some Hermes925!

Hermes925 isn’t finished yet, but you can read the story so far. If you want to help me get it finished, revised and published please choose one of the paid subscription offers below. You’ll be guaranteeing yourself a free copy of the finished book, as well as some additional perks, if you do.

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Encouraging Expressive Endeavours

I believe that writers should help out other writers. We’re all trying to make it. To that end I occasionally like to post a book spotlight, recommend a blogger, or even just post a link to someone else’s website. I’d like to do more, thought I also need to remember to work on my own writing, and not get so absorbed in networking and writing articles for others that my own book(s) never get finished.

Having said that, there’s several people that deserve a shout-out and words of encouragement. Great people who have decided to focus on their passion for writing, despite the fact (as my Dad often reminds me) that many writers never make it. Being a writer is a tough, often unforgiving and unrewarded calling, and these guys deserve a medal for even trying.

Sunbow Pendragon already got an entire article dedicated to her, but she still deserves a round of applause. She has 10 books published, but she has yet to become well known despite the fact that her readers love her. Many of us, myself included, think that once someone loves your work they’ll tell everyone else. The word will spread like wildfire and you’ll be famous in no time. This is sadly not the case, and these flames need to be fanned.

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I also did a book spotlight for Terminus by Jay Milius. Jaye has taken a different approach and used a website I’ve considered using myself called Inkshares.com to promote her book before it was even published. She now has 260 copies of Terminus sold due to her dedication, passion and self-promotion. I’m looking forward to receiving the copy I pre-ordered.

Geoffrey Porter is currently working on a military sci-fi, and also runs and edits an online magazine for short fiction of all kinds. It’s called “Untied Shoelaces of the Mind” and it’s a great collection. He’s very helpful. He pointed out that my Hermes925 sample lacked a description of the interior of the spacecraft. He has a point. It would be a new experience to Jaime, he’d probably enthusiastically describe every detail he could remember. I may work on that later today so I can resubmit it.

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I also wanted to applaud lostgirl131 for posting her second article on her brand new blog Journal of a Lost Girl. The article is called Always Keep Fighting, and it’s about Jared Padalecki’s campaign to help people fight depression. I’m a big fan since I also fight depression and believe that it’s better to fight it than just give in and be depressed. Publically acknowledging your depression is very brave, especially if you tend to be shy and introverted. Keep up the good work Lost Girl!

Last but not least, I’m proud of my nieces, both of whom want to be writers when they grow up. Bethany, who’s 9 has even written a couple of short stories already and wants to be the youngest published author. Her sister Imogen (6) does too, but I think that’s mostly because she wants to do everything her sister does. Imogen says she wants to practice writing more before she writes a book. Bethany’s books are charming little pre-school children’s stories, I’d love to show you one when we can figure out which moving box they were packed in! It would be so great if her work was actually published and used in schools. 🙂

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Would you like a mention in a future article? I’d be happy too help. Like I said, writers need to help each other out. I’ll also love the opportunity to help artists and musicians get the word out, and perhaps even help bring several different creative types together in a mutually supportive and perhaps even collaborative community. If you like this idea let me know. You could even help me come up with a name for the group!

As always I’d appreciate any and all feedback, either in the comments below, via the contact me page, or on Facebook. Have a great day!

 

Book Spotlight -The Black Knight of Avalon Chronicles

Time for another book spotlight. This time it’s for a series of books already published, called “The Black Knight of Avalon Chronicles”. You may already have guessed that they are inspired greatly by Arthurian legend. The first book in the series is “The Ruby Phoenix, Part 1“, and that’s what we’ll be focussing  on for this article. If you love epic fantasy and Arthurian mythology, go buy it right now!

Still here? Really? C’mon, it’s got knights, chivalry and King Arthur himself in it! What more do you want? Oh all right, I’ll tell you a bit about the author. The Author, Sunbow Pendragon, now has a total 10 books under her belt, 7 of which are included in The Black Knight of Avalon Chronicles. She’s also a great human being, always willing to help another author a step up, in their writing and their life. Despite this she remains relatively unheard of, which I personally consider a cruel injustice.

There are some fantastic reviews on the Amazon page for The Ruby Phoenix. Go there yourself and see. Here are a few of my favourites.

5.0 out of 5 stars A must read for any fan of Camelot and the Knights of the Round Table!!!, July 29, 2015
This review is from: The Ruby Phoenix, Part 1 (The Black Knight of Avalon Chronicles) (Kindle Edition)
The author did a wonderful job with this book. The well developed characters left me feeling as if I knew these people and had actually witnessed the events they were involved in. The story immersed me in a magickal place that felt like home. I had to force myself to put the book down long enough to complete my daily chores and I rushed through them in order to get back to reading. I am eagerly looking forward to diving right into the next book. Anyone who reads, should read this authors offerings. They will not be disappointed. I could definitely see these books made into a movie or series that would captivate the audience. I will not be surprised when this author is on the New York Times Bestsellers list! I have several favorite authors and Sunbow Pendragon is at the top of that list!
5.0 out of 5 starsA MUST READ!, September 18, 2014
This review is from: The Ruby Phoenix, Part 1 (The Black Knight of Avalon Chronicles) (Kindle Edition)
Love this book! Very detailed, interesting, and I almost couldn’t put this book down! I feel like I was in the book as I was reading it, it took me to a very magical place! Can not wait to read the second. Everyone should read this!!
5.0 out of 5 starsI love this book, October 1, 2015
By
Verified Purchase(What’s this?)
This review is from: The Ruby Phoenix, Part 1 (The Black Knight of Avalon Chronicles) (Kindle Edition)
I love this book! so well written and I am so happy to say I personally know the writer and she is not only a fantastic writer but a wonderful friend. she is very creative in her story writing, please give her books a chance, you will not be disappointed!
Still not convinced? Okay, check out this free sample from the book from Sunbow’s own publishing page on Facebook, Amethyst Free Press
#1
“Please, Storyteller, tell us another story tonight?” a young boy’s voice entreated as the villagers settled down to a good supper. They had worked all day to bring in the first harvest of fresh peas, while the women cooked and prepared this feast. Now, they all settled back with a mug of tea or a last cup of wine. “Which one would ye like to hear?” he asked, taking a seat under the old oak tree in the center of the village. “Did the Black Knight ever meet another of his ilk?” the young lad asked. “He did indeed, a mighty warrior who came from far away to teach him more of the arcane arts. Let me tell ye the story of the Ruby Phoenix,” the older man began, and cleared his throat for quiet. The crowd settled in and prepared to hear the tale of their most favorite character….
The Kindle version is only $5.99, which is pocket change. Click this link, buy it, read it, love it. Tell all your friends to buy it too, plus paperback copies for friends and family with no access to a Kindle, mobile device or PC, and be sure to leave Sunbow Pendragon a great review on Amazon.
Are you an author too? Contact me, I’ll be happy to write you a book spotlight too!
Have a great day! 🙂

Developing a Trigger-Guard

A Facebook friend has her own blog. It’s called LiberalWoman101’s Blog. She writes well and is particularly fond of writing essays. She’s even thinking of going back to school so she can write more essays! Personally I loathe essays. I want to be able to express my own opinion without having to refer to the work of others to make it count.

She recently posted an article about “The Stigmatization of Mental Illness and Why It Needs to Stop” in which she explains why it should be okay for people with mental illness triggers to come forward and ask for their triggers to be respected. In other words to ask for a ‘trigger warning’ if anything that bothers them should come up.

She asks for a world in which we accommodate for mental illnesses more, and actively try and to make the world feel less hostile to those who suffer from panic attacks, anxiety and depression, and also from bipolar disorder, dissociative disorder, schizophrenia, etc. I certainly find the idea attractive, though I also find it unrealistic.

I have been diagnosed with depression, anxiety, attention deficit disorder and even hypo-manic depression. I know people close to me that are managing dyslexia, bipolar depression, anxiety and even schizoaffective disorder. I agree that people like myself may need to be handled a little differently, particularly when we’re young. The standard education system can be difficult when your brain is wired a little differently.

It would be helpful for educators to have a better understanding of mental illnesses and better ways to present the information to a variety of different brain types. However, many educators are also underpaid, overworked and underappreciated. Perhaps if we had special schools just for us with better funding, but this presents several new problems.

Who would pay for this? If the parents are expected to pay for it, then only those with wealthy parents could afford to send their mentally ill children to the specially designed school. It could be privately funded by a charitable organisation, which would require fund-raising events that would inevitably result in these young, easily triggered individuals on public display.

I know that’s not what Jessielle (the author of the article I’m referencing) intended either, an integrated system would be far more preferable. Sending people to specially designed educational programs only leads to segregation and further stigmatism. Which is my key point. Reducing us to labels and asking people to make accommodations for us just emphasizes the differences.

Now I realise that this opinion may be unpopular. It may sound to many that I’m suggesting we ‘toughen up’ or ‘just get over it’. To a certain extent, I am. The temptation to use your mental illness as an excuse to avoid responsibility is great. The desire to have someone look after us and tend to our delicate and sensitive natures can’t be denied. However,  I personally have no desire to live the rest of my life acting like a spoiled brat.

My brain is different. That doesn’t mean it’s wrong, or broken. It means I think differently. This is good. It can give me an advantage in many situations because I can think of solutions that a whole roomful of people can’t. My weirdness makes me powerful. Expecting people to be careful around me doesn’t make me feel powerful. It makes me feel weak, soft, and delicate.

Not to mention people all have their own problems. Expecting someone who is working every hour they can to pay their astronomical student loans and other debts, checking through masses of work handed in that clearly didn’t understand the assignment despite several attempts to explain it, to avoid saying things that may upset you is extremely insensitive. Have a little empathy!

The world is a harsh and unforgiving place. The sooner we accept that the stronger we will be. It’s only by facing challenges and finding a way to overcome them that we can really find out how tough we are. If we spend our whole lives hiding in our safe space from everything that upsets us, then we keep ourselves segregated. We reinforce the stigmatism.

If you want to walk around in a skirt, heavy boots, eyeliner and a beard (as I do) do so confidently. If people are weirded out about it, so what? It’s there problem not yours. If people say something offensive, they’re entitled to that opinion, and don’t let it break you or push you towards being someone or something you don’t want to be.

If a doctor tells you that you have anxiety or depression, or something multisyllabic and scary sounding, you don’t have to let it define you. You are more than your mental illness. Find out more about it, learn what superpowers it gives you, and be proud of who you are. People don’t need to add stress to their own lives by worrying about what triggers you. You are in control, and if anyone tells you otherwise it’s just because they fear your power or they have been taught that different is wrong and honestly don’t know any better.

Some of those that try to keep you from expressing yourself may have a mental illness or two of their own, and have been taught that they are victims of it. Show them they’re not. That they’re special, talented, and wonderful people. Being different is what makes us powerful. We don’t need to be taken care of. We can take care of ourselves.

That’s my opinion, and it’s served me well, after learning the hard way and deciding I’d had enough. If you have a different opinion, or think I’ve missed Jessielle’s point entirely, please feel free to comment below. I promise you won’t trigger me.

Have a great day 🙂

Shameless Self-promotion

Since it’s the weekend and many of the Facebook writer’s groups I’m in only allow links and promo posts on weekends, I thought I’d pack as much as I could into one article!

First, there’s this blog in which I write about whatever I feel like writing about. It could be about something actually happening in my life. It might be about a new geeky product, game, movie/tv or book that’s gotten me excited. It could be an article about the writing process itself. Or it could be an idea I’ve had for a story that I’m not currently working on.

These general articles can all be found under the ‘Blog of Indefinite Purpose‘ tab, and are categorised and tagged to make them easier to browse through. Everything except ‘secret stash’ articles are also shared to my author page on Facebook, Antony M Copeland.

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Then there’s the book I’m currently working on. Hermes925. I’m writing it a bit at a time, as if they were journal entries written by the protagonist, Jaime. Here’s what I have so far:

Hermes925 also has it’s own Facebook Page.

Dragon attacking City

Then there’s also City of Gate, a long running fantasy rp group on Facebook. Basically, I update the group every Sunday to tell the group members what’s happening. If they’ve created a character, they then have until the following Saturday to add a comment describing what their character is doing in response to the situation. It’s fun, and it keeps me on my toes, often having to come up with new layers for the narrative based on what the player controlled characters are doing.

Over the years I’ve written quite a bit of non-player character backstory. You can read this in the City of Gate group under files. I’ve played with the idea of making this into a book, filling in the gaps between character-written accounts with a more traditional narrative based on the events that have already taken place in the game. The project is on pause while I focus on finishing Hermes925. If you’re curious though, you can check out the City of Gate: Chronicles tab or the City of Gate: Chronicles Facebook page.

Boom! One link filled article that would do the job of a timeline full! I look forward to any and all feedback, I can take it! Have great day 🙂