My Writing Process: A Blog Meme for 2014

iStock_000021621315XLargeAs you all know, I’m always game for something new online, and last week I got an invite for something new—a blog meme. The concept is I go on and share with you all what’s happening in my writing life. I then introduce two people where, next week, they post their own answers to these questions. Hence the blog meme—from my answers, you jump to two new authors who will take you along on their journey.

While our intern-of-awesome K.T. Byski had a hand in making this happen, the invitation come from author Emily Swartz, a recent graduate from USM’s Stonecoast MFA program in Creative Writing. She has a work-in-progress called The Midnight Thief, a drama set in Appalachian Kentucky, but a freelance writer’s life is peppered with experience and it is that experience she brings to her work.

Thanks, Emily, for this invitation. This should be fun.  Continue reading

The End of a Beautiful Friendship: Lessons Learned from a Kickstarter

BB1_front_Aug108_wallWhat a ride! Over $11,500 raised, reaching 77% of the Billi Kickstarter. I even had three $500 backers and one $1000 backer.

Wow! Just… wow! Above and beyond what I expected.

Before people start pounding my Comments with all the things I did wrong, it might be better if I just share some popular thoughts people have already shared on this Kickstarter. It may seem hard to believe, but there was a plan here. Now is a good time and place to review the strategy behind what I did, how I did it, and why I’m okay with the way how all this played out over the weekend. Continue reading

Endless Possibilities Blog Tour 2014: Stacia D. Kelly on Setting Stages and Creating Worlds

If you are new to my blog, having discovered me following my Post Mortem on True Detective, welcome. You have a lot to read here, especially as I’m in the final week of the Endless Possibilities Blog Tour. This is the final week of featuring exciting, new voices in and out of this genre, all of whom are located here in Prince William County. Last week, you met my buddy, Nick Kelly

Now, meet his better half.

Stacia Kelly is very much like Nick, and you’ve already met her if you’re a listener to The Shared Desk. She is a bodybuilder, a health advocate and consultant, and a talented writer. Tonight, Stacia bring to you all her take on world building and setting the stage for your characters.

SDK_DarkHair_Jan2010Thank you, Tee, for letting me come share my love of world building with your readers. I write Urban Fantasy with my husband, Nick Kelly, and Paranormal Romance with the voices in my head. It can get a little crowded unless I get the words on the page.

It’s very rare I set my characters in a familiar environment; instead, I take delight in creating my own realms. I think that’s what really drew me to sci-fi/fantasy when I was a kid. You can lose yourself in the creation of a world all your own. I get to create the mountains, the valleys, oceans, and everything in between. Of course it took me years to understand that I had to include the laws of physics for my realms. Yes, I can include two moons I just have to make sure the explanation is accurate or plausible for the reader. And, as we learned during a brainstorming session with my 10-year-old son on his screenplay if we’re going to explode the Sun we can’t go to Jupiter as a new home, physics requires we jump solar systems. Continue reading

Happy Valentine’s Day from Billibub Baddings!

ind-ratpackToday marks the seventh anniversary of the first episode of The Case of the Singing Sword: A Billibub Baddings Mystery. I still remember when I first put together the first episode, and then moved along to create the following four episodes. I remember the email to the creative mind behind Rubber Band Banjo who was gracious enough to offer his music as the theme to Billi’s podcast. It was 2007 and still podcasting was a wild frontier. Back in 2005, it was me, Scott Sigler, and Mark Jeffrey as the Three Musketeers of Podiobooks. Two years later, it was me, Scott, and new guy J.C. Hutchins, and we were dubbed “The Rat Pack of Podcasting.”

I was Dean.

So how does one celebrate a podcast’s anniversary? For me — I launch a Kickstarter. Continue reading

How an Action Hero is Made: “Thanks for the Memories” Now Available from Kindle Worlds and Valiant Comics

Screen Shot 2013-10-08 at 2.54.21 PMLast week, I gave you a quick run down of my wild and crazy July writing for Valiant Comics as part of the Kindle Worlds program from Amazon. My first offering was from the Harbinger universe, entitled “What’s in a Code Name.” The story, inspired by Harbinger Wars #2, dug deeper into Harbinger Institute’s star student, Daniel Hessler or “Ion,” and his own story with fellow Anoisaibushi, Susan Adams, code name “Saturn.” It’s already received a review after its first week, and I welcome more! Please, go on and take a look…

…after you consider my latest Kindle Worlds novella, “Thanks for the Memories” featuring Bloodshot. Continue reading

Behind the Secret Identity: “What’s in a Code Name” Now Available from Kindle Worlds and Valiant Comics

Screen Shot 2013-10-07 at 8.26.24 PMThis summer was a bit of a blur. The afterburners kicked in at the end of June when I got a phone call from the agent of awesome, Laurie McLean. I received an opportunity to write for properties from Valiant Comics as part of  Kindle Worlds  from Amazon. This would be my first foray into media tie-in’s so I had to bone up on my lore behind several properties: Harbinger, X-O Manowar, and Bloodshot.

As this writing gig centered around comic books, I asked myself “WWBD?” or “What would Batman do?” Well, if Bats needed help, he’d ping Oracle. In Batman’s world, that’s Barbara Gordon.

In mine, it’s Jared Axelrod.

This novella is one or two fruits of my summertime labors from a long “at the feet of a master” session with Jared, purchasing a fistful of comics from my local comic book (and gaming) store, and downloading even more for my iPad. “What’s in a Code Name” found its inspiration from two pages of Harbinger Wars # 2, just after Toyo Harada gets served (and served hard) by a savage attack from Bloodshot. Those two pages sent me back to the beginning of the Harbinger story arc to dig deeper into the Harbinger Institute, assemble my cast of characters, and—as odd as it may sound—better understand and practice school protocols. Continue reading

From Rock Star to Ronin: The “True Dat” of This Writer’s Life

Closing in on the end of the summer, I’m looking back at the year with a cockeyed perspective. First, I’m trying to figure out what happened to the summer. Second, I’m trying to gauge how this year will come to an end. You would think with the launch of my second steampunk novel, The Janus Affair, I would think this was the banner year, especially with the showing Tales from the Archives is having at this year’s Parsecs.

It’s been a ride, safe to say.

For those of you following us on Facebook, you know that Pip and I returned from New Orleans just last week. What brought us to The Big Easy was an unexpected invitation to an unlikely match for the Ministry of Peculiar Occurrences. We promised ourselves a priority of 2012 would be to make each appearance count, attempting to reach more steampunk-centric events like the Steampunk World’s Fair, a nice introduction to our target audience. Continue reading

Parsec Awards Finalist

There may be a good possibility you are new to this blog this week. If you are — I hope you had fun in New Orleans! I hope to see you again in Savannah!

(If you are curious as to what I mean by that, stay tuned. I have another blogpost in the works about that.)

Being new to the blog, I’d like to bring you up to speed on some good news from the podcasting front, made official on receiving this badge:

If you are not enjoying podcasts because this is the first time you have heard of them, a podcast is some sort of online media (usually audio or video, but really any kind of file) automatically delivered using iTunesJuiceBloglines or some kind of app that can subscribe to its feed. It sounds complicated, but trust me — it isn’t.

The 2012 Parsec Awards, now in their seventh year, honors podcasts featuring Science Fiction, Fantasy, and Horror, celebrating the best in speculative fiction. I’ve not been up for a Parsec since 2008 when Billibub Baddings and The Case of the Singing Sword won that year for Best Audio Drama (Long Form).

This year, however, I’m apparently making up for lost time…

Best Speculative Fiction Story: Small Cast (Short Form)

Best Speculative Fiction Magazine or Anthology Podcast

Best Podcast about Speculative Fiction Content Creation

What makes this year’s Parsecs so special for me is that this year marks the first time Pip and I are appearing as producers, not just podcasters. Tales from the Archives also appears twice in the Best Short Story (Large Cast) category, and I don’t know who is more excited — Starla, Paul, or Pip and myself. We are so proud of the talented authors appearing in the Tales from the Archives (all of them — even the ones that weren’t nominated), but the Ministry’s presence at this year’s Parsecs only validates what we already knew. Thank you, everyone!

And to everyone in the Final Round, congratulations. To make the finals in the Parsecs is practically standing in the Winners’ Circle as far as I am concerned, and it’s a nice place to be. I wish you all the best of luck!

Onward to Dragon*Con…

From the “Coming Out of Left Field” Department: The 2012 Parsec Awards

Holy Hanna on a hotplate!

This past Thursday, it turns out, was the day the 2012 Parsec Awards were announced. Now if you have never heard of the Parsecs, don’t sweat it — you’re about to get schooled on one of the most prestigious awards in podcasting and Science Fiction.The Parsec Awards, now in their seventh year, is awarded to podcasts featuring Science Fiction, Fantasy, and Horror. Whether it is fiction, fan news, or even geek-a-licious music, the Parsec Awards celebrates the best in speculative fiction and do so as part of the wild ride that is Dragon*Con.

(Pictured here is the 2011 Parsec brought home by Technorama. Good on ya, guys!)

It’s been a while since I’ve been up for a Parsec. In 2008 Billibub Baddings and The Case of the Singing Sword won that year for Best Audio Drama (Long Form), although you could argue last year I was in the Parsec Run as Tales from the Archives gained a nod for Best Short Story with “The Astonishing Amulet of Amenartas” by Nathan Lowell.

Nah. Pip and I produced that episode. “The Astonishing Amulet of Amenartas” was all Nathan, and more of a nice feather in the cap for the Ministry of Peculiar Occurrences.

Now we’re up to this year’s Parsecs. I was chatting with Veronica Giguere when the announcements went live. I know this because she started chuckling and then said, “I’m laughing about the Parsecs, and about you in the Parsecs.”

I’ll say it again… Continue reading

New Fiction: Grimm, Once Upon a Time…and now — ME!

With the successful run of the first season of Tales from the Archives, Pip convinced me to take that step into being a self publisher. In this trip, I’ve been taking copious notes from other writers like Mur Lafferty, James Meltzer, and Chuck Wendig.

Today, I’m releasing out into the wild my first novella.

Aladdin and His Wonderfully Infernal Device

As I mentioned on The Shared Desk, Aladdin and His Wonderfully Infernal Device is an inspiration from a steampunk fairy tale anthology Pip is affiliated with. I went back to a few of the original translations of Aladdin and His Wonderful Lamp (quite a few of those, it turns out…) and then brought in a bit of steampunk for fun. Here’s the summary:

Aladdin is a street-wise thief that finds himself under the tutelage of a world-renown illusionist. He is escorted deep into the deserts in search of a treasure beyond his wildest dreams, and discovers instead something far more valuable—a destiny.

My first step into fiddling with fairy tales, and my first novella. It is now live and can be yours for a mere $1.99, exclusive for the Kindle! Have a read, leave a review, and tell a friend.