Featured Site of the Week
Good morning, all, and welcome back to the exciting world of whatever this is… This week, I’m going to introduce you all to Richie Billing, a fairly new friend I met in a Facebook group, The Sci-Fi and Fantasy Writing Collective. He is the administrator of said group, a collection of like-minded writers of various levels of experience who get together daily to discuss our Craft. As anyone who has spent time in an internet group knows, its success or failure rides on the attitude of the admin, and Richie is proving to be a most admirable example of that particular life form. We hit it off immediately, and I have joined his website, Richie Billing. His approach to his web page is very much like my own: He talks about his writing projects and offers insights into the various lessons he has learned in pursuit of the Craft.
I don’t have much personal information on Richie. He’s from Liverpool, though whether he’s still there is an unknown. He comes across as being about half my age, and my current understanding is that he has several short stories out there in anthologies while he edits his 47-chapter novel. He has some very good ideas about the Craft, and is friendly and open with his opinions about the same. My recommendation, if you have an interest in writing or writers, is to read his work at the group or his page, then drop him a line and get acquainted. This young man is fun to talk with, and a worthwhile contact. Don’t pass up the opportunity to meet him.
View From the Blimp
Regular readers will be aware that I completed A Visit of State, the first novella of the first collection of Darklighter stories, and that it is available to read for free by clicking the corresponding tab below the blog’s title above. Think of it as lightly steampunked alternative history concerning a Victorian-era organization similar in concept to The Man from U.N.C.L.E. If that sounds in any way interesting to you, read the story above, and when you come back, I have an offer for you.
All right, finished? Good. Here’s the offer: Over the course of the next eight to twelve months, I plan to be writing four more similar stories connected by a story arc which will become a book titled The Darklighters: Hong Kong. Those four stories will only be released to the public when they are published for sale on Amazon. But I’m offering a select few people the chance to read them free as they are being written.
Writers need extra eyes on their stories as they are under construction. You may be shocked to hear this, but writers aren’t always infallible. We make typos, use erroneous grammar, even leave gaping plot holes in our haste to complete that all-important first draft, and one of the most important tools we have to combat those shortcomings is a pool of beta-readers. I would like to have about a half-dozen knowledgeable readers for this task, and here’s what I’m offering to anyone who would like to join my team:
- Obviously, you’ll be the first people to read these stories, as I’ll be sending them to you for comments and suggestions before publication.
- You’ll be mentioned by name with your web addresses, for those who have blogs or other sorts of pages, on the book’s acknowledgement page.
- When the book is published, you’ll receive a signed copy for your library.
I’d love to pay $100 per chapter, but I don’t have that kind of cash to throw around. I’m hoping that this offer can attract a half-dozen readers with some experience in the action, spy, or steampunk genres. Interested parties may use the contact form or my Facebook page to set it up.
In other news, I recently blogged about the upcoming Port Reprieve anthology, and posted the beautiful map that we can’t use because I don’t know who owns it, nor how to apply for permission. Factually, we couldn’t use it anyway, because any map we attach to our book has to be in black-and-white, so I put this together:
Primitive though it is, it shows all the pertinent locations around the port that might appear in the stories. We’re hoping to produce stories with a wide assortment of styles, tones, and moods, so keep an eye on the Blimp; I’ll be announcing its release here.
Yesterday, the 17th, this site sailed past the 1,000 visitor mark. That’s over the first three months, which puts it on track for 4,000 in the first year. Not much in the grand scheme of things, but that’s a better pace than any site I’ve had yet. Now all that remains to be seen is where the balance lies; will more people find it and speed the pace, or will the people who found it and didn’t find it interesting enough to come back predominate? Guess which outcome I’m hoping for…
Finally, in the Ain’t it a Small World department, I went to the clinic yesterday to leave a blood sample; can’t be too careful when you have pre-diabetes. Well, I wore my patrol cap with goggles, as I always do when I go out in public, and one of the technicians asked if I was a steampunk. She was an older lady, so I was a little surprised, but always happy to answer. “Yes,” I said, “I’m actually a steampunk author.” She replied that she is the mother of one of the members of Steam Powered Giraffe, so no surprise she knew about the punk; she has better cred than I do! I was suddenly answering questions about being an author, and I won’t pretend that it was in any way annoying, but between the conversations and having a needle stuck into my elbow joint, I’ve lost the name of which member it was, but I gave her one of my classy cards, and hopefully, she or her son will stop by soon and get me sorted on that.
In Other News…
Regular followers will know that one of my favorite authors, Karen Carlisle, is about to launch a new book series, Aunt Enid, Protector Extraordinaire.
I’ve posted about the subject matter a couple of times, but what I want to tip you off to here is that Karen is having a Facebook launch party on the 29th of this month. She’s in Australia, so she’ll be coming to US and European audiences from the future. I’ll leave you each to work out your local parameters, but this will be the 28th in the US. She’ll be on Facebook all day, chatting, answering questions, and making new friends, so drop in at your convenience and get to know a great person who really knows how to write. There are some other associated events listed on the announcement, so you don’t have to wait for the main event. Click the link and go visiting!
And that’s thirty for today. Join me again Tuesday when I’ll be looking at the words we use to deceive one another. I promise I won’t use them on you though, so be sure to drop in and add some new tools to your writer’s bag of tricks. Now, get out there and live life like you mean it!