Far Flung is in the Nerdist Sci-Fi Contest on Inkshares!


The Nerdist and Inkshares are having a party, and my readers are all invited!

Far Flung, my sci-fi novel draft, is going into the Nerdist Sci-fi Contest!

In 2169, Ulysess Spaceflight begins a private mission to colonize the Tau Ceti system. William Flynn, a rising star among the reporters for The Galactic Observer, is aboard with a unique opportunity to record the life of the colonists aboard the Tereshkova colony vessel. Instead of arriving at the fourth planet of Tau Ceti, however, the ship jumps to a new and unknown galaxy billions of lightyears from Earth.

Flynn and the crew are forced to survive in a war-torn region with no help from other humans. As they flee from hostile aliens, the crew is forced to trust the strange beings who offer aid and shelter. With no hope of returning to Earth, they must seek a new home among the stars.

pre-order far flung

Why should anyone be interested in Far Flung?

Did you ever watch Star Trek: Voyager and wish there were more danger and consequences for the crew’s actions? Did you ever watch the Battlestar Galactica revival and wonder what what happen if the crew met other beings and civilizations aside from the Cylons?

The story of Far Flung draws from episodic sci-fi and blends in a multiple point-of-view structure. See the story unfold through the eyes of five different characters on the colony ship Tereshkova – a rookie reporter, an upstart navigator, a brilliant engineer, an ex-military security chief, and an alien scientist. Their stories tie together the trials and dangers of a search for a new home.

Why put this on Inkshares?

I need a metaphorical kick in the butt to get this done. Maybe a real one too. Various issues have led to this book taking a long time, but this contest does not require a finished novel. If I win this, or get a minimum of 250 pre-orders, Far Flung will get finished. It will get the best possible attention that I can give it, along with the editorial talents of Inkshares and the publisher they hook me up with.

Why should anyone pay $10 for an ebook?

You aren’t just getting an ebook – you are contributing to a pool of money that will be used to secure editing, publication, and promotional deals. That’s the big difference between this an a Kickstarter – if I did a Kickstarter I would have to find an editor and a publisher, and handle all of my promotion by myself. At least this way, I can get help from industry professionals who know what it takes to get a book out there.

You get the satisfaction of helping an indie author make his dream come true. If that’s not worth $10, I don’t know what is!

What if Far Flung doesn’t win?

If I do not win the contest and I fail to get enough pre-orders, you get your money back. 100%, no questions asked, easy as that. I will find other ways to get this book done.

If I don’t win but I do get the minimum required pre-orders, I will have help from Inkshares with editing, publication, and promotion.

How close to finished is the book?

The second draft is complete from beginning to end, and the book stands at about 60,000 words in length. You can see samples from the third draft when you visit Far Flung on Inkshares and read the sample chapters.

If I win the contest or get enough pre-orders, I will be able to finish this book much faster than I would otherwise. I’ll have money for the services I need and help from industry professionals.

What are you waiting for? Pre-order Far Flung and let’s explore the universe together:

pre-order far flung

May updates for #IWSG and the #amwriting community.


Hello visitors from #IWSG! Happy Star Wars day! I have some updates here that might be of interest to the neurotic writing community.

First up, I’ve got my ongoing series of writing exercises.

Every week for the past few months I’ve put up posts on Tuesday and Thursday featuring a writing exercise and my own sample take on the exercise. I’ll be compiling these exercises into a book later on, as I really need a new textbook for teaching fiction writing to ESL students. While I won’t claim to be a writing genius, I think the exercises will work well with writers at all levels of ability. I hope they will inspire you as well.

This month’s exercises focuses on using different points of view in writing. I hope you’ll check them out.

Other happenings:


I have a story called Far Flung in a contest on Inkshares.

This contest is held by Launch Pad and Inkshares, and requires that you submit the first 50 pages of a novel you are working on. Your 50 pages will be read by successful authors and publishers, and you will have a chance to win a publishing contract or one of several other prizes. Might be worth checking out!

If you’ve never heard of Inkshares, it’s a crowd-funding program for indie authors. They’re a really good bunch of people, and I encourage you to check out the website.


I’ve been hanging out in writing subforums on Reddit, especially /r/writingprompts

There are some very good prompts, and anyone is allowed to add their own. One prompt was so appealing, it got me to break my long Reddit silence and write a weird little fantasy piece.

Anyway, I suppose my message to IWSG this month is that I #amwriting, and finding excuses to write rather than excuses not to. Maybe that’ll help you find your own excuse!

Reading Radar – Catching Stars and Frey

I’m back with Reading Radar, where I preview promising books from independent authors.

Here’s what I’m looking at in the week of January 8 – 14.


InksharesCatching Stars by Cayla Keenan


Catching Stars takes place in the kingdom of Aestos, and follows Maddix, a member of the King’s Guard. Maddix is accused of four murders he can’t remember comitting, and finds himself in prison awaiting execution. After Maddix mysteriously escapes his punishment, the witch Jayin is sent to find him – but Jayin and Maddix will have to work together if they want to survive.

The strong writing and descriptive narrative caught my interest – the sample chapters do a good job of pulling the reader in to this world. Currently at 276 pre-orders, Catching Stars is now guaranteed the basic publishing treatment by Inkshares, and any further orders will certainly help the author even more.


Amazon Promotion – Frey, by Melissa Wright

517zm4m8bnlAnother Kindle free promotion – and it’s still going as I write this. Frey lives in a small village where her Aunt makes life difficult and frustrating for her. Frey’s life takes a strange turn as she discovers magic she didn’t know she had, and is persecuted by her village council. She goes on the run, and is forced to seek help from strangers and other outcasts. As she runs, she begins to recover memories long lost to her and she suspects that there is much more to her story.

So far, I’ve found the narrative to be fairly engaging. It’s a little rough and somewhat confusing in places – I think this book could have used another run-through by an editor. The characterizations of Frey and her friend Chevelle get muddled in places, and I found it hard to understand some of their actions. There are enough twists to keep me reading, though, and I have a feeling it may be worth reading through to the second book in the series, Pieces of Eight.


That’s it for now.

What do you want to read in 2017?

Consider buying a copy of Nothing Too Familiar or Convergence to support the author of this site.

Or you can help support this site by leaving a tip. Contributions can be made in any amount starting at $1 US. Thank you for the support!

Leave Tip

Reading Radar – 100 Questions to Ask Your Main Character, They Are The Last

I’m back with Reading Radar for the New Year!

I have a couple of books to start the year of right …


Inkshares – They Are the Last by Elayna Mae Darcy

Piper Anderson is a girl living in a juvenile detention center, alone and forgotten until her grandmother comes to free her. Piper discovers she is a child of two worlds, with an Alterian mother and a human father. She learns that she can wield an incredible power, and must venture forth to save a world she didn’t know she came from. The best thing about this is Darcy’s lyrical prose, which sets a wonderful mood and theme for the story from the very beginning. The prose is helped by excellent worldbuilding and strong characterization – it’s pretty clear that Darcy brings a lot of experience and emotion to this tale. i really hope the campaign for this book starts up again – I think it will be a good one.


Amazon Promotion – 100 Questions to Ask Your Main Character by Lieze Neven

I got this on Kindle as a free promotion, but unfortunately it seems to have expired. It’s less than $3 US, so it’s still a good deal. Sometimes, books like this might seem lazy  – after all, how many books of prompts and questions does a writer really need? But in this case, I think the questions  are well thought out. While some questions like “How do you see yourself today and what has led to these views” strike me as awkward and unlikely to hold much bearing in my story, they remind me of the questions that actors try to answer about the characters they play. The best question I’ve seen yet is “If you could change one thing from your past, what would it be?” – that was one I hadn’t asked some of my characters yet. Seasoned writers may not get as much out of this book, but it looks good for beginners.


That’s it for now.

What do you want to read in 2017?

Consider buying a copy of Nothing Too Familiar or Convergence to support the author of this site.

Or you can help support this site by leaving a tip. Contributions can be made in any amount starting at $1 US. Thank you for the support!

Leave Tip

Reading Radar – Kingdom of Dreams and Soul Siphon

Welcome, readers, to my picks for this week!

Reading Radar tends to focus on self-published and crowdfunded projects, especially by authors who have not had huge exposure in the market. This week, I look at two more works I want to read – and I think you should check them out too!

InksharesKingdom of Dreams by Kevin O’Coffey


This one has pictures – by the author, no less! If I could draw, I’d be doing something very similar to what O’Coffey is doing with Kingdom of Dreams. The byline gives it a nice, weird feel right from the start: “Nightmares that eradicate bullies, possessed vacuum cleaners that bestow binding quests of kingdoms torn asunder. Adolescents have many normal problems–these are not.”

O’Coffey is adding illustrations in with the text, turning this into a mix of graphic novel and standard novel. The pictures I’ve seen so far only add to the surreal, creepy, but perhaps not-too-serious vibe suggested by the byline.

The story is about Jimmy Reve, a boy who just wants his bullies to go away. One day, the bullies start to disappear, one by one, and Jimmy realizes his problems are much worse than he thought. He is introduced to the Kingdom of Dreams, and has to find a way to fix the damage he has caused – or he will disappear next.

This work is currently seeking backers. I usually toss in $10 to one Inkshares book each month, and I think this will be my choice for December. Check it out – I think this project deserves a proper chance.

Website Visitor – Soul Siphon by James Harrington


This book appeared on my radar thanks to a visitor to my website! I tracked down a like for a previous post, and found that James Harrington’s latest book is Soul Siphon, and that it came out last April on Amazon. So I decided to give the preview a read.

This book has a cool premise – good enough to keep me interested through the free preview. The story follows Corban, a man who was possessed by a demon and who died as a result. He is brought back to life by a mysterious figure and joins others who have been mysteriously resurrected. From the looks of it, these once-dead characters have mystical powers based on how they died. It seems they have been recruited into fighting evil beings – but honestly, it’s a bit hard to tell where this story is going from the preview.

The writing is a bit clunky, with a lot of tell where there could be show. Entire paragraphs are written in the past perfect tense, describing backstory without allowing the reader to experience the events. The prose could use tightening – a lot of sentences could be shorter and simpler. The worldbuilding and detail seem interesting enough to merit a full read, however, so I’ll give it a shot.

That’s it for Reading Radar this week. What are you reading?

Consider buying a copy of Nothing Too Familiar or Convergence to support the author of this site.

Or you can help support this site by leaving a tip. Contributions can be made in any amount starting at $1 US. Thank you for the support!

Leave Tip

Reading Radar – Fae Child and Enemy of an Enemy

It’s that time of week again!

I’ve looked around the internet and decided on some new reads to get me through the week. Here are my choices for November 27 – December 3.

Inkshares – Fae Child by Jane-Holly Meissner


fae child

The author of this book sent out an update this week – Fae Child stands 89 orders out of the minimum 250 it needs for a basic publishing deal from Inkhares. The book follows Abbie is she is pulled into the world of Fae from her Oregon home. Meanwhile, a changeling double of Abbie appears back in the real world – a double that looks and acts almost like the real Abbie. I’ve read over the sample chapters, and I just love Meissner’s imaginative details in her descriptive prose. The dialogue is fairly crisp, and I can see great potential for this story in the YA fantasy market. I wish Meissner all the best in her campaign, and I’m certain this book is a good investment and well worth a read.


Amazon Promotion – The Enemy of an Enemy by Vincent Trigili

Oh, free books, how can I resist? I found about The Enemy of an Enemy by promotional email – at time of writing, the book is still free on Amazon Kindle. I thought I’d just click the big yellow button and scroll through the first chapter, because hey, why not? Here’s the thing – I’m still reading. It starts off as sci-fi, with the main character, Vydor, as the captain of a ship sent to investigate a secret research colony. Fantasy elements work into the story as magical forces are introduced into the plot, making the story a mash-up of genres. Unfortunately, I’m finding the writing style a bit clunky – the narrative doesn’t use contractions at all, for starters, and there are other quirks with the grammar that suggest the writer is coming at this English story from another language. I like the idea. though, and apparently there are several more books in the series. Worth a look, I think.


That’s all for this week’s edition. What are you reading now?



Consider buying a copy of Nothing Too Familiar or Convergence to support the author of this site.

Or you can help support this site by leaving a tip. Contributions can be made in any amount starting at $1 US. Thank you for the support!

Leave Tip

Reading Radar – Human Resources and Nightlord: Sunset

Just two books on the reading list for this week, but they are two good ones!


Inkshares – Human Resources by Robert Batten

A zombie virus breaks out, but big corporations step in to save humanity – only the corporations are run by vampires (because of course they are). Humanity is saved, but kept as a subjugated food supply! With a good cast of characters and well-paced narrative. This book has already met the minimum orders for publication, so if you can support it, you will be helping Robert Batten get to 750 orders – a threshold that will net him full editing and production support from Inkshares.

Online Book Club – Nightlord: Sunset by Garon Whited

Over at Online Book Club, they choose independently published books and have their reviewers look over them. The selections are hit-and-miss, but this month’s choice looks really entertaining. the hero of the book unexpectedly becomes a vampire and is forced to live and play by the rules of the Undead. From what I’ve read so far, the writing style is amusing and well-written. I admit to nearly dismissing the book based on its premise and less-than-thrilling cover art, but the reviews were enough to get me interested. At least look at the free sample pages on Amazon – it’s worth checking out.

That’s all for this week’s edition of Reading Radar. What are you reading?

Consider buying a copy of eFiction Vol. 06 No. 04, Nothing Too Familiar, or Convergence to support the author of this site.

Or you can help support this site by leaving a tip. Contributions can be made in any amount starting at $1 US. Thank you for the support!

Leave Tip