What’s new for 2015

What’s new for 2015

What’s new for SPMG in 2015? A whole lot! This is just a hint of what is to come!   Brooklynn’s Bridge by KT Hunter This YA adventure by newcomer KT Hunter is now available through Amazon. Go check it out!   Bride Price by Sean Little This much anticipated eBook will soon be available in print.   Standing In The Wind’s Shadows by Ashleigh Galvin Did you love Birth By Fire’s Embrace? The sequel is almost here. Stay tuned.   Garrett Baldwin – Mister Right In Front Of You He has been working on his rewrites – this is still with him. No updates.   And Yet Love Lives On by John Donahue Look for the collection of inspired short stories by spring!   The Box by Jon Arnts This sci-fi thriller will take you to the edge of the galaxy via the edge of your seat! Stay tuned for more!   Kidtropolis eBook and 2nd Edition by Ray Brown Due to demand, this much loved children’s story is set for release in eBook format and for those who didn’t snatch up a copy before, a second edition of the beautiful print book will be available soon!   The Fate Series – by F. Sharon Swope and Genilee Parente The mother-daughter duo is back with the third and final installment of the Fate series – as well as all new collectors editions for all three books.   Yes. 2015 will be that cool. Share this:Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Reddit (Opens in new window)Click to email this to a friend (Opens in new window)Click to print (Opens in new window)Click to share on LinkedIn (Opens in new window)Click to share on Google+ (Opens in new window)Like this:Like...

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Write a Novel in 2014

Write a Novel in 2014

by Alison Lyke I’m going to finish my next novel in 2014. That’s not as much a resolution as a necessity. For one, I promised the good folks at Spectacle PMG at least one more book. I also have this need to write fiction, and to do justice to my characters by seeing their stories through to the end. I won’t presume to tell you how a novel is written, except for word by word, but I will give you some of the techniques that have helped me to reach writing goals and complete my books. Daily Diligence Those of you who “wake up extra early to get writing done,” are maniacs. I can’t even begin to understand you. For everyone else, it may be difficult to fit writing in between work, chores, children, and binge watching Ancient Aliens. I overcome this by making a goal to write a certain amount of words every day, no matter what. Out of optimism, I set this goal at two to three times the amount of words that I know I’ll actually have time to write. Sometimes, I have strings of weeks or months where I can write almost everyday. I often fall off the wagon though and have to rely on other techniques. Carrying Stories My stories are written, either in full or in part, in my mind before they reach the page. I carry them around in my head, nurturing character personalities, filling in plot holes, and adding interesting bits from everyday life. That way, when I do have time to sit down and write, I don’t have to stare at the page and wonder what the hell I’m going to come up with. Fits of Inspiration Something breaks—the fountain of stories in my mind overflows. I have a dream that belongs to my novel. However it happens, inspiration takes over and I have to write and write. I can write chapters in hours. If it was always this easy and I always had time enough to see these fits through, I could finish each book in about two weeks. Inspiration attacks are usually followed by exhaustion and crankiness. Late Night Drinking A few glasses of wine with some friends or a night out at a bar may be followed with writing under the influence. This is great for areas of stories that are weird, otherwise awkward to write, or fantastic. Be prepared to heavily edit any work done using this technique. Deadline Panic I used to have company-imposed deadlines, but I have more freedom in the latest incarnation of my writing life. This means that I have to set my own targets. It’s harder to finish a story on my...

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Choosing a Great Title for Your Next Novel

Choosing a Great Title for Your Next Novel

by Ashleigh Galvin If you asked what draws me to a book, like most readers I would answer with the following: a nice cover and a snappy title. A good title is supremely important in making an impression on the reader before they even open the book because it lingers in their mind. If they talk to their friends about the novel, it’s also most likely the first thing they say to introduce the book. Choosing a good title is one of the hardest parts of writing a novel. How can a writer summarise the feeling of the entire book in just a few short words? I won’t lie—it’s tricky. This article will look at how to come up with a title that will suit your novel and engage your readers. Asking around, the piece of advice I heard the most was, ‘It will strike you like a bolt of lightning. Suddenly, you will just know!’ I got this advice from readers, not authors. I took this approach when trying to name my first novel, Birth By Fire’s Embrace. It was well after I had finished the novel and started the editing process that I realised it wasn’t that easy to pick a title. It wasn’t going to drop out of the sky in front of me. A good title needs work, patience, and a lot of thought put into it. I wrestled with titles for weeks before I finally settled on Birth by Fire’s Embrace. About a month after finishing Birth by Fire’s Embrace, I started to work on its sequel. I was typing away at home one night when I paused. It had just hit me: the title. After painful weeks wracking my brain for the first novel’s title, the second one was developed in a matter of seconds. I finished that novel with a smile as, for me, the hardest part was already done. To create a good title, you really need to get a comprehensive feel for your novel. The title needs to reflect the vibe of the book. But remember, there are always two sides to the coin. Let’s take a look at some popular examples. Example one: Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets by J.K. Rowling. The main character’s name is Harry Potter, and the story is about the Chamber of Secrets. Nice and simple. It tells the readers what they want to know, but still retains enough mystery to interest them in reading it. It’s a straightforward title, following the style in which the novel is written. Example two: Twilight by Stephanie Meyer. Short and extremely mysterious, it suggests nothing, but allows the mind to explore possibilities. Both titles are great...

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Monsters

Monsters

Monsters by Ashleigh Galvin  This time of year, there is only one thing on people’s minds. Vampires, witches, and werewolves (oh my). These three ‘monsters’ occupy a large portion of fiction. Most bookshops I’ve been to even have their own vampire section. The epic plight for ‘top spot’ between creatures of the night has raged on for centuries, constantly vied for by shape-changing hairy men and those who have waited too long to see the dentist. They’ve become tropes and, like all tropes, people will tire of them when the next big thing sweeps through. What will the next big monster be? This article touches on some of the lesser-known horrors and will help you begin to create your own nightmare. Let’s get straight into it. The big blue deep is often associated with all manner of horrific and in some cases, quite unique monsters. A large factor behind these scary depths is the fear of the unknown. To this day, we are discovering new animals with amazing abilities (search pistol shrimp and you’ll know what I mean). This is simply due to the size of the oceans. They’re huge and if you’ve seen a whale, you know these vast bodies of water can house huge creatures as well. Due to the popularity of the Pirates of the Caribbean movies, there is one sea monster getting a surge in popularity: the humble Kraken. Heralding from Norse mythology, Kraken are squids of tremendous proportions said to be able to tear ships apart and eat them. Remember, monsters don’t have to be huge to be scary—small lakes also house those who wish to feast. The Kelpie are great examples of this. Celtic mythology tells of a water horse that transforms into a beautiful woman that lures men to their watery grave. The Kelpie also entice children to ride them. Once the child is on its back, its skin would turn sticky and the poor child is unable to escape as the Kelpie returns back to the bottom of its lake. If you thought staying out of the water would keep you safe, I’m afraid you’re dead wrong. Terra firma is also home to a host of horrors waiting to seal your fate. Let’s start with a creature you may recognize, the Dullahan. The name may be unfamiliar, but it is a classic specter of death. The Dullahan is a headless horse rider that carries it’s own rotting head under arm. Doors and gates open by themselves when a Dullahan approaches. Another great evil to stay away from is the often overlooked Mummy. Losing popularly slightly, the Mummy was once among the most feared monsters. While Mummies were written about as early...

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The Darkest Age Interview

The Darkest Age Interview

by Judy Spring Spectacle Publishing Media Group has recently published a horror role-playing game, The Darkest Age, collaboratively written by Eric Staggs, Rob Gee, and Julia Gengenbach. Based on the d20 OGL system, The Darkest Age is set in 14th century Europe where an unusual strain of the bubonic plague creates a world full of zombies, corruption, fear, and paranoia. Eric Staggs has answered a few development questions to give us insight to the frightening experience that is DA. Where did The Darkest Age originate? What was the motivation behind the role-playing game? There have been quite a few attempts in the tabletop gaming world to capitalize on the zombie craze. I wrote an elaborate research paper on the sub-genre of zombies when I was doing my undergrad. work and since then have spent much time considering this phenomenon. I wanted to try to explain all the inconsistencies, to create a viable game world that would allow players to explore a dangerous environment, yet without the futility of a true “extinction level event.” How did the project mature or expand over time? The initial idea was intense—profound almost. What happens when the Black Plague, which killed ¾ of Europe, also turns the infected into zombies? We had to determine how the world would react, how would a medieval/pre-Renaissance society survive? Could they at all? We had to do some detailed anthropological work, as well as extrapolate concepts from other writers, like Max Brooks (Zombie Survival Guide and WWZ). What aspects of DA are different from other RPGs? First, DA has unique character classes. Most character classes are based on a cultural concept—the Skald for example. We worked hard to find a way to logically create a measure of gender equality in this historical setting. The Midwife and Mystic are great examples. The mystic is a historical figure not often mentioned in church history—a heretic or prophet [with powers] a church official thought they might use to their own advantage. It’s pretty shady stuff, but imagine if you were accused of witchcraft, yet offered this chance to have the ear of a bishop? The midwife has evolved into something much more powerful than a nurse or medicine woman. They’ve become an organized power group that literally has control over the future of humanity. Further, The Darkest Age is a role-playing game. The precarious grip of this civilization requires players to be clever, and to think. The typical, “I draw my sword and attack,” scenario simply won’t work. What aspects were important to keep the same, and why? Well, it’s still a d20 based game system. This is important because anyone who’s played Dungeons and Dragons 3.0 or above will know...

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Learning to be a Writer

Learning to be a Writer

By Yen Ooi The journey in becoming a writer neither starts nor stops at writing itself. Of course, producing copious amounts of stories, prose, poetry, and text is vital for a writer, but there is also the much ignored fact that in becoming a writer, one must be like a writer. Don’t worry—last I checked, writers are not a different species or a specific sub-species, but there are two important characteristics of a writer that I believe are key. These characteristics are probably true across all creative types, all artists. Neil Gaiman famously said that, “If you cannot be wise, pretend to be someone who is wise, and then just behave like they would.” So, I twist his words and say, pretend to be a writer and just behave like writers would, and slowly, you will be one. But what is it that makes a writer, a writer? In the last few years, I have met many people in various creative careers—writers, artists, designers, musicians—and I realised that everyone is creating something, and that we are all passionate about our own creations. I also realised that there are those, like Gaiman, who are a cut above the rest. I believe that this is because of two characteristics. Good artists are: 1) humble 2) proud.   Yes, I know. It sounds like the above makes all artists hypocrites, but hear me out. All artists, people who create, know that their skills and quality of their creations can always be improved upon, and that there are always people out there who are better than them. This keeps them humble. This also is how they are able to accept criticism at a level that no other jobs require, whilst giving them an open heart and mind to be able to work with others collaboratively. However, to be a good artist in today’s world of social media, self-publishing, and accessible technology, artists need also to be proud. Proud enough to believe in their own work and sell it. The solitary writer is a dying breed, preserved only by the archaic functions of traditional publishing houses. A writer needs to be able to approach future readers and say, “I know you’ll love this!” and believe it. Writers and other artists have a difficult job to do today. Humble and proud are antonyms of the other, but they go hand-in-hand in creating a good artist. It is the balance of the two that we all seek, in order to survive in a very harsh environment that destroys all who fail, and makes celebrities of those few who shine. So, if you are thinking of becoming a writer or if you are in a transition to do so,...

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