Steampunk Serials

 

Shauna Scheets - Watched Time

 

To promote the upcoming release of the second volume in Shauna Scheets‘s series of steampunk shorts (say that five times fast!), the first – Watched Time – is free on Kindle today [9-27-14].

Give it a look!  And if you feel so inclined, it’s follow-up – Gunpowder and Lights – is available for pre-order (99¢ on Kindle, due for release on October 15, 2014).

 

Bene scribete.

Free Books from Shauna Scheets

Free Books from Shauna Scheets

 

Just wanted to pass the word along that my good pal Shauna Scheets is offering the current Caillte Saíocht books (The Tower of Boran and its prequel, Ascha) and her short story “Mirrored Worlds” for free on Kindle today through Monday (6-16-14).

If you haven’t checked them out, yet, here’s the perfect chance!

 

Bene scribete.

Ascha – Free for a Limited Time

Ascha - Shauna Scheets

 

From now until next Friday (2-14-14), my former DoD partner-in-crime-justice Shauna Scheets is offering her YA fantasy novel Ascha (prequel to The Tower of Boran) for free on Smashwords!

Just head on over to the book’s Smashwords page and enter coupon code QJ94H at checkout to get your own complimentary copy in all major eBook formats (even plain ol’ PDF).

As a prequel, it can easily be read as the first entry to the series, and as a freequel, there’s not much to lose in checking it out.  (>^-‘)>

 

Bene scribete.

Promotion Time (Free Book!)

The Amber Ring

A wry but whimsical modern fairy tale, The Amber Ring follows a cynical twelve-year-old girl on her reluctant quest to save an enchanted land after its true heroine – her twin sister – unspectacularly drowns in the real world.

 

I’ve been pretty lax with promoting The Amber Ring lately, so in the spirit of the holidays, I thought I’d do a quick little giveaway.

I’ll make it simple – the first two interested residents of North America to comment on this post will receive a paperback copy of the book.  All I ask is that, if you end up enjoying it, you might consider leaving a review and spreading the word.

Or, if eBooks are more up your alley, you can pick it up for free at your favorite retailer (Kindle | iBooks | Nook | Sony | Kobo) or direct download (ePUB | PDF).

Have a great December, everyone!

 

Bene scribete.

Wednesday Writing Word: Metonym

Metonym

/ˈmɛtənɪm/  |  MET-uh-nim

 

Metonymy is the metaphorical referral to something by the name of something closely related to it.  Typically used for poetic symbolism, it’s more often seen in established examples than it is in unique cases.  For my fellow Game of Thrones fans, “The Iron Throne” is an often-used metonym for the rulership of Westeros.

 

Other examples:

  • The slog can drive a writer to the bottle.  [Referring to drinking alcoholic beverages]
  • Lo slog, das slogel slog – in any tongue the slog is still the slog.  [Referring to a language]

 

Metonymy.  Use it.

 

Bene scribete.
 


 

(Want to win a free signed copy of The Amber Ring? Check the link for details. Only a few days left, and no entrants yet, so your odds are sitting at 100%!)

 

On Ghostwriting

Writing ghost

Money is the universal shortcut.  You can get just about anything with it.  Sometimes for a lot less than you’d think.

In my line of editing work, I come across a lot of want-ads for ghostwriting.  Now, I can look the other way when it comes to surrogate writing in certain scenarios – you’re a not-so-eloquent public figure who needs the notes and rough drafts for your topical book or memoir worked into something fluid?  Sure, O.K.  But I’m talking about ghostwriting for fiction.  Things like: “I need a sci-fi novel written.  Preferably something to do with space exploration.  Need it to be around 70,000-80,000 words.  Must sign NDA and forgo copyright. I’m willing to pay up to $500.”  (No joke!)  It shouldn’t come as a surprise that there would be a few people out there with that kind of audacity, but I see a dozen of these a day.  And what’s even crazier – these listings get a ton of responses!

It’s a little hard to believe.  I can’t see the appeal to either side of this arrangement.  Does anyone really love the writing process itself so much that they’d be willing to undertake the grueling process of producing a novel for pennies an hour, only to forsake any rights and claims to their own creation upon completion?  Is anyone so desperately enamored with the idea of being known as a writer that they would be satisfied with the hollow “achievement” of putting their name on someone else’s work?  Apparently the answer is a disturbingly frequent yes on both accounts – it’s a big industry.  It baffles me.  It really does.

If I’m being entirely honest, I suppose I would consider ghostwriting a novel for someone if I were offered an absurd amount of money to do so (financial freedom to pursue other projects is nothing to take lightly), but these jobs are being offered at too comical a salary to be considered “just work”.  I could never quite comprehend the sentiment behind the other side of the table, though.  If you want to be a writer then, you know – write!  At the very least seek a co-author if you need help with a specific book.  I simply can’t see fiction-ghostwriting as something that has any reason to be a thing – particularly not as big of a thing as it is.

But I’m curious to hear others’ thoughts on the matter.  Have you ever had experience with ghostwriting (from either side)?  Would you ever consider it?  Am I taking crazy pills?

 

Bene scribete.
 


 

(Want to win a free signed copy of the non-ghostwritten The Amber Ring? Check the link for details. No entrants yet, so your odds are sitting at 100%!)

 

Wednesday Writing Word: Chiasmus

Chiasmus

/kaɪˈæzməs/  |  kye-AZ-muss

 

This is a fun one. Chiasmus occurs when parallel phrases/clauses are syntactically or semantically inverted.  It can be as simple as reversing parts of speech (such as the order of a verb and its adverb), or it can set up statements with poetic symmetry.  Probably better explained by showing than telling.

 

Examples:

  • I hate that the slog exists, and what it does I despise.
  • I wish that the slog would suddenly disappear and die horribly.
  • From a muse you get inspiration; you only get inhibition from the slog.
  • The slog is stupid like a rock, but like a boulder it can crush you.

 

Chiasmus.  Use it.

 

Bene scribete.
 


 

(Want to win a free signed copy of The Amber Ring?  Check the link for details.  No entrants yet, so the odds are sitting at 100%!)

 

The Amber Ring – WordPress Giveaway

The Amber Ring

When the twelve-year-old Heroine of the Fairwoods dies, her morose twin sister reluctantly joins her trusty gryphon sidekick on a quest to save the enchanted land in her stead.

 

The giveaway I did at Goodreads a few months back got some decent traction, so I figured I’d do a quicker, smaller one here just for my fellow ‘bloggers.

Let’s try this: If you’d like a chance to win a free signed copy of this cynical fairytale novella, just reblog this post.  I’ll gather up the names from the track-back comments, throw them into a randomizer, and announce a winner in two weeks (July 21, 2013).  I don’t anticipate many entrants, so your chances should be pretty good!

 

[This giveaway is for the physical (print) edition.  The eBook, as always, can be acquired for free at your favorite retailer (Kindle | iBooks | Nook | Sony | Kobo) or direct download (ePUB | PDF).]

 

Bene scribete.

A Silly Scene from The Amber Ring

Only a few days left to enter the drawing for one of three signed copies of The Amber Ring.

 

Goodreads Book Giveaway

The Amber Ring by A.L.  Walton

The Amber Ring

by A.L. Walton

Giveaway ends May 15, 2013.

See the giveaway details
at Goodreads.

Enter to win

 

And, as always, you can get the eBook for free right now at iBooks, Sony, Kobo, Nook, or download the PDF here!

Still aren’t convinced you want to give it a shot? I don’t blame you – time is precious and new things are iffy. But in an effort to maybe pique a little more interest, I thought I’d share one of my favorite scenes in the book (at least one of the most fun to write), wherein the reluctant heroine Maya and the gryphon Camden encounter the mirthfully single-minded Fairy Cobblers.

Hope you enjoy!


 

Amber Ring Title

“Ho!  Come in, come in!” exclaimed a boisterous little man in a tan shirt and maroon overalls, moments after Maya knocked on the door of his towering boot-shaped house.  “Honey-bear, we have customers!” he called over his shoulder.

“What’s that, sweetie-muffin?” a woman’s voice came in return.

“Customers, cherry-doll, customers!”

The woman came quickly into view, rushing up to meet Maya and Camden as they stepped through the doorway.  She wore olive overalls and a white blouse, and was clapping her hands together with excitement.  “Not just any customers, lovey-cakes, but the Heroine of the Fairwoods herself!”

“Actually,” Cam winced, holding up a talon.  “This is her sister, Maya.  Sofia’s…”

“She’s dead,” Maya said bluntly.

The couple blinked, sharing a surprised look.

“We’re very sorry to hear that,” murmured the man, taking off his cap – which matched his overalls – and holding it against his chest.

“She was just the loveliest girl,” the woman added, shaking her head at the floor.

After an awkward moment of silence, the man put back on his cap.  “Well, we’re glad to meet you in any case, Miss Maya.”  He pointed a thumb to himself.  “I’m Pilder, the husband.”

The woman copied the gesture.  “I’m Hilma, the wife.”

Together, they finished, “And we’re the Fairy Cobblers!”

Maya stared for a moment.  They were about goblin-height, these shoemaking spouses, and had pointed ears.  They looked like they were perpetually on the edge of middle age.  Lesser elves.

“Nice…to meet you,” she managed, taking her first good look around the cobblers’ combined home-and-workshop.  Shoes were piled at every wall from floor to ceiling.  Boots, sandals, clogs, loafers, heels, and slippers in all shapes and sizes covered every spare surface, spilling from shelves and closets and even the chimney.

What was it with fairy-types and shoes, anyway?

“See anything you like?” Hilma asked, noticing her eyes wander.

Maya found it hard not to gawk at the dizzying array of footwear.  There must have been over a thousand pairs just within her sight.  “There certainly are a lot of…shoes.”

“Of course!” Pilder grinned, swinging a fist across his chest.  “We’re cobblers!”

“Are you stocking these all up for a large order?”

“Well…not exactly.”  The shoemaker shrugged abashedly, scuffing the floor with his boot.  “It’s only just…not a lot of Fairwoods citizens actually wear shoes, so…they sort of kind of pile up a little bit.”

Maya raised an eyebrow.  “If the shoes you have aren’t getting taken, why keep making more?”

“Because we’re cobblers!” Hilma cheered.

Maya exhaled lengthily.

“So!”  Pilder clasped his hands together and rubbed them briskly.  “Shall we get you fitted up?”

“Good thinking, sugar-loaf!” his wife chimed.  “I’ll get the big boy.”  She was already behind Camden, grabbing at his hind paws with measuring tape in hand.  He looked back, startled, then tried to pull away gently, turning, but the elf woman spryly and persistently kept up.

“That’s all right,” Maya told the couple, holding up her hands.  “We didn’t come here to get shoes.”

Pilder froze, his expression drooping.  Then he laughed – a nasal, rickety sound – and tapped his foot.  “Didn’t come to get shoes, she says!  Did you hear that, candy-bean?  We’ve got a jokester on our hands!  Ha!  Ho!  Didn’t come to the cobblers for shoes!  That’d be a real cat-at-the-end, wouldn’t it?”  He chuckled again and winked at Maya, then turned and knelt to start digging through piles of his product.

Maya twitched.  “I’m…no, I really—we only came here to ask you a question.  Just a question.”

The cobblers both stopped what they were doing and shared a disappointed look.  “No shoes?” Pilder asked, voice nearly despondent.

“No shoes,” Maya confirmed.

Pilder rose and sighed dramatically, hunching his shoulders and slipping his hands into the pockets of his overalls.  His eyes bored holes in the ground for several seconds, and then he took a sharp breath and looked back up to Maya, jolly composure suddenly regained.  “All right, then!  No biggie!  What can we answer for you, Miss Maya?”

Maya cast a dubious glance back toward Hilma, who seemed to have undergone the same transformation, then asked, “Do you know Gnarble—Gnilling—er, Gnibling—”

“Gnarlington Gnibblemeister?” Camden saved her.

“The gnome geographer?” Hilma intoned.

“The geographer gnome, butter-button!” Pilder corrected.

Hilma put a hand to her chin.  “I don’t know, cookie-lumps, I swear it was gnome geographer…”

“Geographer gnome, coffee-bird!  He’s a gnome who is a geographer.”

“But isn’t he also a geographer who is a gnome?”

“He was a gnome before a geographer, I think you must agree!”

“So shouldn’t gnome come first?”

“No, jelly-dove, geographer is the descriptor, the distinguisher, the—”

“Do you know him?” Maya interrupted.

“Oh!” Hilma touched her chest, smiling apologetically.  “Yes, of course!  We sold him the most dashingly dapper pair of boots just a few weeks back.”

“And you delivered them to his house?”

Hilma clapped her hands.  “We sure did!”

Finally, they were getting somewhere.  “Can you tell us where he lives, then?  We need to go see him.”

The elf put on a pouty face and looked to her husband.

“Well, you see…”  Pilder scrunched up his features, making fists and tapping his knuckles together.  “The thing is…that’s confidential customer information!  We can’t just go telling anyone that, even if you are the Heroine’s sister…”

Maya sighed.  “But you’re the only ones we’ve found who seem to know his current whereabouts.  It would be a very big help to us.  I’m sure he wouldn’t mind.”  He probably actually would, Maya had to imagine, but it seemed like the thing to say.

“It’s about the goblins,” Cam added.  “He can tell us what we need to know to stop them.”

“Goblins,” Pilder grumped, nose reddening.

“Those dirty little devils stole half our leather supply,” his wife mourned.

“And their blasted weasels killed our guard-pig, Spoinky.”  Pilder shook his head, raised an eyebrow to Hilma, who nodded, then turned a grin on Maya.  “I’ll tell you what, Miss Maya – maybe we can make a little fairy bargain.  If you can answer us a riddle, then we’ll tell you where ol’ Gnarly hangs his hat.”

“A riddle?” Maya echoed.  That sounded like a hassle.

Pilder bobbed his head, then cleared his throat into his fist.  “I’m not always right, but I’m never wrong.  I have a tongue and a throat, but no mouth to speak of.  I move better when tied up.  What am I?”

Maya groaned, eyeing Camden with the expectation of shared incredulity, but saw him deep in concentration, mouthing the riddle to himself.  “A shoe,” she answered, pinching the corners of her eyes.

The cobbler blinked.  “O.K.  O.K., that may have been an easy one.  You try, caramel-puff.”

“Sure thing, vanilla-boo, I’ve got just the one!”  Hilma pumped a fist, then gave Maya a devious smile.  “You tread on my sole, yet—”

Maya cut her off, “A shoe.  Are you a shoe?”

Hilma stood in silence, her mouth still hanging open, then folded her arms and nodded gravely.  “Very clever, this one.  I think she’s got us beat, cricket-pie.”

Even Pilder seemed to double-take at that one.  “Yes, yes,” he conceded.  “Very well.  We’ll give you the gnome’s current address.  But on one condition – you must pick out a new pair of shoes to take with you!  No charge, of course.”  He winked at his wife.  “Do we have a deal?”

“You’ll tell us what we need to know if I let you give me free shoes?”  Maya slipped her hands into her pockets and shrugged.  “Yeah, that sounds fine.”


 

Bene scribete.