Thursday, July 16, 2015

Saving the Day

Super Girl Returns by Jungwon Park
Hi Everyone,

Happy New Moon!

If you want to check your scopes for this month, jump on Facy and find your sign. (I've been a bit under the weather this week so popping them there was my easy option.)

For my writerly friends, from published authors to emerging newbies, I 'm posting a couple of quick tuts.

The theme is saving the day, in two very distinct ways.

Number one is literally about saving your work in a way that not only insures against lost files, it give you the freedom to edit at will.

I learned this technique from a film animator and I swear by it now!

Save the Day - Part 1 


Number two delves into plot and character, what it takes to write narrative with stakes.

Whether your hero saves the day or fails, there is one thing your writing must have - stakes! This short tutorial talks about what stakes are, where they come from and how they fit into the storytelling.

Quick references to great resources including Donald Maass, Joseph Campbell and Blake Snyder. Clear and concise, what it takes to raise your stakes.

Save the Day - Part 2 


I'd love to know how many of you 1) save your work in this way and 2) have favorite books or films where the stake drag you to the edge of your seat.

Feel free to share in the comments.

Happy New Moon, everyone!


Kim Falconer is a Supernatural Underground author writing paranormal romance, urban fantasy, YA and epic science fantasy novels.

You can find out more about Kim at the 11th House Blog, and on FaceBook and Twitter.

She posts here at the Supernatural Underground on the 16th of every month.

Her latest release is "Blood and Water" in Supernatural Underground: Vampires Gone Wild

Monday, July 13, 2015

w00t! The UK Cover For Daughter Of Blood,The Wall Of Night Book Three Is Revealed!

And here it is for all you lovely folk, right here on the Supernatural Underground! You can also check out the Big Reveal on the Orbit blog.

And there's extra synopsis goodness below the image. :)

Meanwhile, here's that cover -- ENJOY!

A failing wall, a broken shield, and an enemy that will exploit every weakness...

Malian and Kalan have recovered two of the three legendary weapons of the Derai, but already it may be too late. The Wall of Night, fractured by centuries of blood feud and civil strife, is on the verge of falling.

Meanwhile, among Grayharbor backstreets, an orphan boy falls foul of dark forces. A daughter of the House of Blood must be married to the Earl of Night, a pawn in the web of her family’s ambition, and Kalan is caught in a political web he may not be able to escape.

While even as Malian dodges Darkswarm pursuers in her search for the Shield of Heaven, rumour whispers that it may be broken beyond repair – and she herself may be the blade the ancient enemy will drive into the heart of the Derai Alliance.

Friday, July 3, 2015

Alone is not Lonely

Year of Living Authentically: A writer is never alone.

I was a kid who spent a lot of time alone, but looking back, there are very few times I felt lonely. Even as early as third grade, I would choose to be writing or reading, rather than socializing and that's probably why I don't have the suave social skill of my little brother who loved to be in the crowd. I had the people in my books and the people in my head and a family who took me to the library every week. 

As I grew up and life got decidedly less fun, I would retreat into the world in my books and the people in my head. While others were boozing away their Thursday nights in collage, I was curled up with a spiral notebook creating the world that would become Diaries of an Urban Panther. I have characters in my head who have been with me longer than some friends.

I teach as part of a writing program and we are always talking about building your writing tribe and finding others who speak your language. I talk about the synergy of writing with a group of people and the relief that comes when someone else gets a 'Call to Adventure' joke. How finding others who share your passion for writing is one of the best things a writer can do.

But fundamentally, writing is an alone process. It is you and your story and maybe a cup of coffee. Writing isn't lonely. You have characters who are making you as you are making them, but the process is not a communal one. You have experiences that you crafting for others to live, but you can not share in the creation because it is creating you as you go. The writer you on page one  is not the same writer you as the one who finishes the manuscript. You have been changed. You know more about yourself than you did on page one and that change is just as important as the one on the hero went through.

Writing is an intrinsic force that almost demands you shut yourself away from the outside world to focus on the internal one. Writers are stereotyped as hermits, because hermitting is a natural reaction to the need to form a cocoon around yourself so change can happen.  I haven't met a writer yet that doesn't fantasize about cabins in the woods or cabanas on the beach where they can just "be" with their stories.  

I advocate both. Find quite time. Find a ritual that takes you to that internal world and spend lots of time there. Get your story on the page before you share it. But then, find flesh-and-blood humans you can talk to this stuff about, who you can share this process with, who understand the desire to hide under a blanket because change is hard: writing is hard. Find those who understand that a first draft is a new creation, fragile and still hardening its wings, and will respect it as they do their own. 

So when you see that girl in the coffee shop with her over-the-ear headphones typing away at something, instead of making a big show of 'why does she even come here if she's just going to take up a table on a Saturday afternoon,' give her a knowing smile, so she doesn't feel lonely, but let her be alone. She's already got a table full of friends, and maybe an enemy, and there is magic happening right before your eyes. 

Until next time, YOLA!

Amanda Arista
Author, Diaries of an Urban Panther

Wednesday, July 1, 2015

It's Copyedit Time...

The Wall Of Night, Book One
... which means I shall be totally 'head down, tail up' gal until this round on Daughter Of Blood, the third novel in The Wall Of Night series is a wrap.

Exciting times, though — because after the copyedit there will only be the "first pass proof" and then my part in Daughter Of Blood will be pretty much done.

After that, it's all up to the publishers (Voyager in the US, Orbit in the UK) to get Daughter out into the world and into readers' hands...

The Wall Of Night Book Two
What this means, of course, is that I will then be able to concentrate fully on The Chaos Gate (working title), which is the fourth and final book that wraps up The Wall Of Night series.

Exciting times!

I got a hint of even more excitement to come today — apparently both my USA and UK covers for Daughter Of Blood are about to be revealed Very Soon.

I'll be sure to let you know right here on the Supernatural Underground when that happens!


Supernatural Underground regular, Helen Lowe, is a novelist, poet and interviewer whose work has been published, broadcast and anthologized internationally. Her first novel, Thornspell, was published to critical praise in 2008, and her second, The Heir of Night (The Wall Of Night Series, Book One) won the Gemmell Morningstar Award 2012. The sequel, The Gathering Of The Lost, was shortlisted for the Gemmell Legend Award in 2013. 

Helen posts regularly on her Helen Lowe on Anything, Really blog, occasionally on SF Signal, and is also active on Twitter: @helenl0we