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Happy Holidays! Book Updates

20 Dec

New Hope City is now available on Nook. Other formats are coming soon, including a paperback. Episode 4 of the Science Fiction series is moving along slowly but surely. I’ve been quite exhausted lately so I’ve limited my online time and focused on recuperating and writing. I hope that all of you are enjoying this Holiday season. I look forward to publishing even more books in 2013.

 

Win A $100 Gift Card and Other Prizes

25 Nov

I’m participating in a Science Fiction Giveaway and discount bonanza for the After The Darkness series.  Participate in the giveaway by signing up with the Rafflecopter and find free and discounted science fiction books here.

October Update: Novel On Schedule

20 Oct

I just want to give an update to everyone on my progress. The novel is still on schedule for release this Fall. I’ve edited 145 pages and I have about 45 more pages to go. But this little baby is growing. Right now we’re looking at 60,000 words as opposed to 50,000 words and by the time I finish the edits it may be even longer. If you haven’t seen it already here’s the cover designed by Keri Knutson.

If you haven’t already, read the short story prequel “The Shelter.”

Keri also redesigned the covers for the After The Darkness series. The fourth episode in this series will be released by the end of November. Below are the covers she’s already designed.

After The Darkness: Episode 1After The Darkness: Episode 2

Why I Write About Bleak Dystopias

12 Aug

I’ve always had an obsession with real life dystopian societies. At the ripe old age of fourteen, I delved into the corrupt worlds of Hitler’s German, Stalin’s Russia and apartheid South Africa.  Dystopian novels such as 1984, Brave New World and Animal Farm kept me awake at night and during math class, sneaking in a few lines of reading.  But my obsession didn’t stop there; I began creating my own worlds – making them as corrupt and dark as possible.  I wanted to really “go there.” I’ve always wanted to go there. That’s just who I am. I don’t like limits and I will probably never accept them.  I don’t want to censor myself and I don’t want to pretend that the world is a nice place where the bad guys get their comeuppance — eventually. I know that’s not true.  That’s not to say that justice is never served – sometimes it is. And it’s not to say that every person is a low-life, corrupt scam bag – some of them really aren’t like that most of the time.  But it is to say that the world can be a dark place and it’s up to the individual to not only fight the darkness of the world; but to resist the darkness within their own heart if they want to live a life that creates more good than suffering.

Boxer, the loyal horse, is for me the most memorable character in “Animal Farm.” He believed in the system. He toiled away, breaking his back despite the fact that he never enjoyed the prosperity he helped to create. Even as they drove him away to the glue farm – he believed. By the time Boxer realized his true fate, it was too late.  When I wrote “After The Darkness” I wanted to ask the question, “What happens when the “loyal workhorse” realizes that they’ve been duped?”  I wanted to explore the choices people make and examine how they eventually become willing to face a Goliath of opposing forces. But I also wanted to show that heroism isn’t black and white. Heroes are flawed individuals who have decided to do something extraordinary despite their failings.

Bleak dystopias give us a chance to take a closer look into the darker side of our real world society. Maybe we don’t live in a frozen wasteland like the one in “After The Darkness” where people are categorized, branded and sold to the highest bidder; but we do live in a world where people without power find themselves imprisoned indefinitely, murdered for speaking out against injustice or sexually assaulted because of their gender. Maybe it’s not happening in the United States or the U.K. or Canada on a mass scale; but it is happening to our neighbors separated only by an imaginary border, an ocean or even a few thousand miles of roads and fields. When we see our neighbors facing oppression, will we be the loyal horse or will we choose differently?

After The Darkness on sale now $2.99 $1.99 for the month of August!

Part of the Orangeberry Book Tour. Special thanks to Book Connoisseur.

Free Short Story On Smashwords

10 Jul

“The Shelter” is free on Smashwords for a limited time as part of a July summer sale. Use the coupon code: SSWIN to get your free copy now.

The Shelter (A Short Story)

 

In other news…I’m still working on the edit of my novel. It’s the follow up to “The Shelter” and it looks like it may expand beyond the 40,000 words I originally planned.  It’s funny how these things happen. It’s grown quite a bit since I first began my edit. But the additions are definitely improvements. I can’t wait to share with you guys!

Ray Bradbury On Writer Hygiene

20 Jun

Colin Marshall did a great summary of the video so I won’t rehash it. Here’s a little of what he said below. If you want to read more, check out Open Culture.

  • Don’t start out writing novels. They take too long. Begin your writing life instead by cranking out “a hell of a lot of short stories,” as many as one per week. Take a year to do it; he claims that it simply isn’t possible to write 52 bad short stories in a row. He waited until the age of 30 to write his first novel, Fahrenheit 451. “Worth waiting for, huh?”
  • You may love ‘em, but you can’t be ‘em. Bear that in mind when you inevitably attempt, consciously or unconsciously, to imitate your favorite writers, just as he imitated H.G. Wells, Jules Verne, Arthur Conan Doyle, and L. Frank Baum.
  • Examine “quality” short stories. He suggests Roald Dahl, Guy de Maupassant, and the lesser-known Nigel Kneale and John Collier. Anything in the New Yorker today doesn’t make his cut, since he finds that their stories have “no metaphor.”
  • Stuff your head. To accumulate the intellectual building blocks of these metaphors, he suggests a course of bedtime reading: one short story, one poem (but Pope, Shakespeare, and Frost, not modern “crap”), and one essay. These essays should come from a diversity of fields, including archaeology, zoology, biology, philosophy, politics, and literature. “At the end of a thousand nights,” so he sums it up, “Jesus God, you’ll be full of stuff!”

Get your copy of my newest book “After The Darkness” now. Both episode 1 and 2 are available.

Amazon US

Amazon UK

 

Tag I’m It! 7 Things You Probably Don’t Know About Me

12 May

I want to first thank Kat Morrisey for tagging me on her blog. Sorry it took me so long to post a response. I’ve been so busy writing I’ve had very little time for blogging. All of my posts this month will be part of the Blog Me Maybe Fest created by Tracey NeitherCott. This is my first time ever participating in a blogfest so… here we go, seven things you probably don’t know about me:

Photo by Jeltovski

1. I’m vegetarian. I’ve been vegetarian for over 15 years. I still eat eggs and cheese and I don’t plan on giving it up anytime soon. While I’m vegetarian I have yet to create a character that didn’t eat meat. A matter of fact, Sunni Brown, the protagonist in my book “The Shelter” absolutely loves chicken, especially the fried variety.

Photo by Calrita

2. I’m an avid roleplayer.  That basically means I create fictional stories in a communal fashion with some wonderful folks in Second Life and I’ve been doing that for the past two years. I have met some the most talented writers in my Second Life roleplay community.

3. SunHi Mistwalker is a pseudonym, as in pen name.  Nope I wasn’t born SunHi Mistwalker; but I think it’s an absolutely cool name so I’m sticking with it for now. SunHi means “one who brings happiness and good into the lives of others.” Mistwalker? Well, I don’t think Mistwalker has any specific meaning so I’m just going to say that it means “one who performs extraordinary feats” :p .

Photo by Jppi

4. I also write satire and historical fiction. My screenplay set during the early 19th century won two awards; but was never produced. While it’s true that some of my most recent work is quite gritty, I can also write comedy — and I’m good at it.

5. I make my living writing nonfiction. I work as a ghostwriter full-time writing blogs, articles, books and just about anything else that other people don’t have the skill or time to write. People hire me because I can write just about anything — really anything.  I’ve written for attorneys, real estate gurus, fashionistas, dating experts, motivational speakers and academics. I’m really good at mimicry and can copy anyone’s writing voice.

6. I’ve been writing professionally since I was fourteen years old. I first discovered I wanted to write when I was eight years old; but I didn’t enter into my first official writing apprenticeship until I was fourteen.  The first time I realized the true power of words was when I was running for Class Treasurer of my eighth grade class. The girl running against me was popular and everyone vowed to vote for her. My campaign posters were defaced by my opponent’s supporters and I was even threatened by classmates who thought I should drop out of the race. The day of the election all of the candidates were required to give a speech. When I stepped before the class to speak I was booed and mocked. But by the time I was halfway through my speech people were cheering. My speech won me the election and left my opponent in tears.  Side Note: If this kiddie election sounds harsh, try to put it into context. I grew up in Chicago, a place where politics kill…literally.

Photo by Aconant

7. I speak French. I’ve been studying French for the past eight years. While I don’t speak fluently (like a native speaker), I speak well enough to carry on long rambling conversations about just about any subject. I spent a year living in Paris where I made a lot of progress in my French language skills.

Well, that’s it about me. If you want to join my mailing list to find out about my upcoming books, events and free giveaways, please join my mailing list.  Also, check out my books:

The Shelter (A Short Story)

Amazon US

Amazon UK

Amazon DE

Amazon FR

Amazon US

Amazon UK

Amazon DE

Amazon FR

The Darker Side Of Childhood

19 Apr

When I wrote “The Shelter” I was terrified of writing something that would offend a lot of people.  But then my old writing mentor’s words rang in my ear, “Bleed on the page!”  Bleeding on the page is when a writer creates something without censoring themselves. And it is in this spirit of non-censorship that I wrote “The Shelter.”  Why was I initially afraid of my own words? Well the truth is that  so much of today’s dystopian fiction chooses to avoid tough issues around growing up, especially when it comes to issues concerning girls. Issues like poverty, sexism and sexual exploitation are often avoided or treated in such a way that the end result can only be compared to magical thinking. Because of this I knew that my story might be viewed as extreme.

Last Spring I was reading a YA novel that’s been compared to Hunger Games, while the book was well written I found myself unable to continue reading. Why? Well, some of the storyline just did not ring true for me. How can you have a dystopian story about a teen girl living in an oppressive society who is jailed by a brutal ruling class; but she doesn’t even face the threat of sexual assault? I know that it’s YA literature and you don’t want to depict graphic upsetting images; but come on let’s be real here.  I’m not saying that every dystopian story about a young girl in an oppressive society has to have some type of sexual assault issues, all I’m saying is that oppression and rape usually go hand and hand in the real world.  And if you try to completely avoid even the slightest innuendo about how sexual assault is often used as a weapon in an oppressive society, I think that you’re cheating your reader, especially young readers.

Sometimes Childhood Is Hell

Sometimes childhood really is hell. There isn’t a week that goes by that we don’t hear about some tragic story about a young girl being killed or exploited, especially in undeveloped countries.  A matter of fact, some people in this world have so much hatred of girls that they try to kill them for doing something as wonderful as going to school. Look at the recent story about Afghan schoolgirls being poisoned. How terrible!  Are these men who did this just naturally spiteful and sexist? No, I don’t think so. But I do know that when a society has collapsed the worse in some people is bound to come out.  But the hell of childhood is not confined to some far off lands. We can look right here in the United States to find children facing challenges most of us can’t imagine.  Right now, we have cities and towns in this country that have collapsed. Municipalities are returning roads to gravel, cutting back on public services and many citizens are finding themselves unable to survive financially. Some of those people turn to illegal means to survive, many of those people are children.  Did you know that there are millions of underage girls (and some boys) trafficked in America’s booming sex industry and that the number is growing?  Girls are especially vulnerable in collapsed societies because there is no rule of law that will wield it’s mighty force to protect them. If you add poverty into the mix, girls have even fewer rights in societies that are in the process of imploding.

Why The Dark Side?

For the past few years I’ve had a very strong desire to tell stories about young girls living in dying societies. How do they survive? How do they cope? Who will become their allies?  I didn’t want to tell these stories in a milquetoast way. I wanted to write it honestly and authentically. It feels good to know that I achieved that authenticity with “The Shelter ” and I hope that I’ve also reached my goal with my new novel New Hope City which continues Sunni Brown’s story when she’s 14 years old. If you want to receive updates about the about sales, new fiction and other things related to my work please sign up for my mailing list.

If you haven’t purchased your copy of New Hope City please purchase it on Amazon | Barnes&Noble | Kobo | Smashwords | iBookstore | Paperback Version

 

First Episode In Scifi Series Done!

20 Mar

It has been three years since I started writing my scifi series “After The Darkness” and I am finally finished with the first episode.  It’s kind of embarrassing.  Honestly.  I mean I am a professional writer, so why has it taken me this long to take care of my business. And yes, taking care of my business means more than just ghostwriting for others so I can make a living. It means writing MY fiction so that I can make a life.  I have won several awards for my fiction writing and I still have been putting off the big leap. No more.  2012 is my year to do great things in fiction.  I have written the first episode of an ongoing scifi series and now I am working on editing my novel.  But that’s not all. I am making a commitment to write at least four other works of fiction in addition to the novel and the series. I can do this. I did the calculations on my word count and in the past six years I have produced 21,000 words a week — at least — for clients. Why can’t I do that and more for myself? There is no reason why I can’t do it, that’s why I won’t have anymore excuses. I’m making that pledge today!

Great Post On The Changing Face Of Publishing!

14 Mar

Okay, so here is the link: http://davidgaughran.wordpress.com/2012/03/12/the-end-of-limits-guest-post-by-matthew-iden/