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Excerpt from “The Alien”

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This short story is available at http://www.wattpad.com. Here is the direct link to the story.

Chapter 1 – Found

 I could tell by the way he looked at me. He was afraid.

I was totally alien to him. And I guess, he was totally alien to me, too.

His skin was so pale. His hair was short and the colour of dirt. His eyes were mostly brown, with a little black circle in the middle and white around the outside. That was weird. But as far as the shape of his body went, he was okay. Well, maybe more than okay. For an alien. I mean, he had two arms, two legs, one head, and a whole lot of muscle under those primitive clothes.

He stood staring at me, his back rigid and his face a mask of forced calm.

I was in a dangerous situation. I was on an unknown and possibly hostile planet with an inoperable ship and had been caught red-handed sleeping in this alien’s animals’ quarters. And all I could think about was how well-muscled he was. I must’ve lost my mind after the crash. How could I be attracted to an alien? I mean, I didn’t even know if our species were compatible. Agh! Why was I even thinking about this?

This was serious. I needed to focus. I couldn’t see if he held a weapon in his other hand. I had a laser on my belt that was set to stun, but I didn’t want to use it if I could help it. I needed this alien, as much as I hated to admit it. There were no other dwellings around here for a great distance, and I was cold and hungry. There were rations in the ship, but I couldn’t limp back there tonight. I might just pass out on the way.

“Greetings,” I put my hands up, palms out. “I am not your enemy.” I wondered if he spoke any of the languages I knew. Probably not. I was way out in the rocks here.

His eyes widened and he said something, but I didn’t recognise the dialect. Great.

I took a step forward and my head felt fuzzy. “I am peaceful. I need food and warmth.” I made a gesture of putting food in my mouth and rubbed my upper arms to show that I was cold.

He responded by showing me the weapon he’d been hiding. Just what I needed. I didn’t want to hurt him or scare him off. I just wanted to try to communicate enough to get the things I needed. I moved my hands so that they were slightly raised and away from my body, so he could see that I wasn’t going to try anything. “I don’t mean you any harm, but I cannot let you hurt me. I’m sorry.”

He said something else and pointed the weapon at my chest, which made me look at his chest. It was broad and I could see the muscles bulging a little under the clothing he wore. I cursed under my breath. I was crazy.

I had to try to focus. How could I remove the weapon without freaking him out? This would take some doing.

Maybe if I could work out how it worked, then I could disable it. He wasn’t going to show it to me, so I’d have to feel for it.

I reached out with my mind, stretching out the invisible tendrils until they reached the weapon. Huh?

It was very primitive. Just a simple projectile weapon. Easy to fix. I started by teleporting the powdered substance from all of the projectiles inside it to a place on the ground nearby. I really didn’t want the whole thing to explode and blow his hand off. That would be disastrous. And a damn shame. He would be damaged. And I liked looking at him the way he was.

Stop it!

He said something else, but I had to keep my attention on the weapon. I concentrated on the barrel section and focused my mind. I created a bit of heat, but I had to keep it localised so he wouldn’t feel the heat in his hand.

After a while, I relaxed. It was done. I’d fused the projectile to the barrel. It wasn’t going anywhere. And he wouldn’t be able to load any other projectiles into it either. Good.

Now I needed to focus on him. I needed to gain his trust somehow. I slowly reached for my laser and he tensed up, holding his weapon out further from his body. I got the impression that he wasn’t very proficient with the weapon and that he didn’t really want to use it, but he would if he had to. Fair enough.

“Uh.” I nearly lost my balance. My head hurt. Using my mind like that wasn’t such a good idea. I thought I’d hit my head in the crash. The dull ache I’d been feeling turned into a full blown headache of migraine proportions.

I gritted my teeth against the pain, pulled the laser pistol out of its holster and held it by the butt with two fingers. I lowered it to the ground and stepped back. Maybe that would help.

Oh, no. Bending over like that was not a good idea.

He seemed pleased with that. He stepped forward and picked it up. I managed to smile at him.

How could I communicate and make him understand me? My stomach gurgled and growled so loudly. His eyes widened. I felt the heat rush to my cheeks. I didn’t realise how hungry I was.

He looked into my eyes and made a hand gesture as if he was eating something. I nodded vigorously, making the same movements. “Yes. I’m very hungry. Can you help?”

I immediately regretted nodding my head like that. My head throbbed even more. This was not good.

I wasn’t sure if I could eat the same food as him. The ship’s computer hadn’t been able to provide enough information about this planet before it died. I knew that it had a similar atmosphere to home and carbon-based life forms and a few other details, but not really anything about culture and food and more detailed anatomy.

That got me thinking about the alien’s anatomy again. I was really messed up. It must be the result of hitting my head so hard.

A pain shot up the side of my head. Yep. I must’ve hit it a lot harder than I thought. I’d treated my leg injury and not checked out my head. That was a dumb move.

I gingerly touched the right side of my head, toward the back, and found a large lump. The pain spiked and my legs wobbled a bit. When I pulled my hand away and looked at it, my fingers were covered in blood.

I looked up at the alien. He looked concerned. That was weird. He held a weapon on me and he was worried about me. Go figure.

Wait. Something was wrong. I didn’t feel right. My head was really fuzzy. The whole room started to tilt and there was blackness clouding the edges of my vision. This was so not good.

I had no idea what the alien would do if I fainted… Oh… no…

Blackness washed over me.

I’d love it if you could go and read it and let me know what you thought, either here or on Wattpad.

 

Please check out some of the helpful tutorials for authors here at TechSavvyAuthor.net.

To the readers who have recently purchased Tamisan

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To the amazing readers who have recently purchased my book, Tamisan, I’d firstly like to thank you. It means a lot to me.

Secondly, I’d like to ask a small favour. Could you please write a review on the site you purchased it from just to say what you thought of it? Even if it’s just a short paragraph, that would be enough. You don’t have to be an expert on writing reviews. It would mean the world to me personally to know that you enjoyed my book, or if you didn’t, but professionally, it would really help me out. Word of mouth is the absolute best way to get more sales in any profession.

The fact that no one has written a review yet, even though the people I know who have read it have given me terrific feedback, gives the rest of the world the impression that it’s not a good book.

I admit I didn’t use Beta Readers during the writing process – mainly because I have only recently discovered how important they are and how to go about getting some. I have Author-tubers like Jenna Moreci, Kristen Martin, Vivien Reis, Kim Chance, Rachael Stephen, Natalia Leigh, and Shaelin Bishop to thank for the excellent info on the Beta Reader process and the importance of having Critique Partners. And a bunch of other stuff.

You can never have too much help when it comes to writing. Well, you can, but I only find it overwhelming if too many people are giving conflicting information, which doesn’t happen too often. I encourage any authors out there to check out the above authors who have amazing videos up on YouTube that give great writing advice.

And if you can’t write a review, a comment here would be really nice.

Thanks in advance!

 

Please check out some of the helpful tutorials for authors here at TechSavvyAuthor.net.

Don’t delete your deleted scenes!

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Okay, so you’ve been editing your novel and found that there are some bits of your novel or a whole scene in there that you didn’t need. It needs to go. But… there’s some good stuff in there. There are some good descriptions and some action sequences that just don’t fit into your current story, but they’re still good. Too good to dump in the electronic garbage disposal of the computer world.

This is my advice to you: DON’T THROW IT AWAY! Don’t just delete it!

Copy it and paste it into a new document, give it a meaningful name so you know that it’s your deleted scene and save it to a folder with a meaningful name. Call it “Deleted Scenes” or “Extras”. Whatever you want. You might just need those scenes one day. It costs nothing to save and takes up such a small amount of space on your computer, and you never know, that action scene – or whatever it is – may just fit perfectly into another novel one day.

Please note that there will also be bits and pieces that are not worth saving. You be the judge. If it really sucks, trash it.

I have kept all sorts of bits and pieces out of my first novel, Tamisan, and may never use them anywhere, but I’ve still got them, just in case.

The thing is; if you delete stuff you’ve written, it’s gone forever. Just think about that.

What do you think? Let me know in the comments.

 

Please check out some of the helpful tutorials for authors here at TechSavvyAuthor.net.

Bonus scenes

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A couple of novels I’ve read – I think they were all YA – had bonus scenes at the end of the story. I’m not sure what you think of this idea, but I thought it was really great. They’re usually a key scene in the novel retold from the point of view of the other character in the scene. Usually the love interest of the main character. It’s a great way to give the reader a glimpse into the mind of the other character and a new perspective.

The best example of this is Obsidian by Jennifer L Armentrout. The novel itself is a fantastic story about a girl that moves to a small town and discovers that there are aliens living next door. It’s the first book in the Lux Series and I recommend it to anyone who has even a slight interest in the genre. And there are actually two bonus scenes from Daemon’s point of view.

I love the idea of doing a bonus scene so much that I have included one in my work-in-progress, Spark of Lightning (formerly called The Andromeda Mine). It will be from Daniel’s point of view.

When I get to the Beta Reader stage, I will be asking my Beta Readers for feedback on the bonus scene to see if they like it.

For all the authors out there, what do you think? Let me know in the comments.

 

Please check out some of the helpful tutorials for authors here at TechSavvyAuthor.net.

Not ready to write a full-length novel? Try Wattpad

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Even though I do have a full-length novel published (called “Tamisan”), I also have two short stories online on a site called Wattpad. Wattpad is a website chock full of stories of all lengths and genres that are free to read. All you have to do is sign up for your free account. Of course, as with any non-published fiction, there will be stories that you won’t like or that will be so bad that they’ll be unreadable, but there are plenty of good ones there too.

I’ve read some good stories on there. You can vote on your favourite stories, so this is a way to tell if the story is good or not – just see how many people have read it and how many have voted for it.

You can follow other authors and have a bunch of readers and authors following you. You can send them messages and they can be notified when you post your next chapter. You can be notified when someone likes your chapter. People typically post a chapter at a time. Sometimes once a day. Sometimes once a week or month.

Some people write a chapter at a time and post them as they go, but some will wait until they have the whole story written before posting. I’ve heard stories of authors who have a huge following on Wattpad being contacted by publishers to get their story published. This sounds really great – like something out of a fairy tale, but don’t get your hopes up and rush to Wattpad with your story thinking it will happen to you. This occurrence is very rare.

So, if you want to try out some of your stories (or just one) on the unsuspecting public to see what kind of reaction you get, maybe you could give Wattpad a try.

Please note that I don’t get paid or any other kind of kickback by recommending Wattpad. I recommend it because I think it’s a great way to put your stories out into the world before attempting publishing, or as well as publishing.

I have a really short story up there that is only in one part called “Seduced by a Vampire” and another that is seven chapters long called “The Alien”. I’d love it if you read them and commented so I can see what you thought.

If you put a story up on Wattpad, feel free to come back here and put the link to it in the comments so I can read it.

I hope this has been helpful to you. Let me know in the comments.

 

Please check out some of the helpful tutorials for authors here at TechSavvyAuthor.net.

Naming your chapters – my opinion

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I’d like to give my opinion of giving your chapters names. I don’t think it’s wrong and that you should never do it, but I won’t do it in a full-length novel. And I’ll tell you a few reasons why.

Firstly, it is difficult to do well and takes a lot of time and effort. Secondly, if you don’t create good names, they’re going to sound awful or cheesy. Thirdly – and this is my main reason – they can act as a spoiler. I’ve had chapter names spoil what’s ahead for me so many times that I actually try not to read them. But I can’t help it. I have to read everything. It’s the way I am.

It’s distracting for me too. While I’m reading the novel, I start to wonder why the chapter has that name and how it relates to the story. I start thinking about what it could mean for the protagonist and sit and stew about it if the chapter name is a spoiler. Then I have to read the page I was just reading all over again because I wasn’t concentrating.

My advice is not to name your chapters. Do it for me.

Now, if you’ve been to Wattpad.com and read my two short stories, you’ll probably be thinking that I’m crazy. One of my stories – The Alien – has named chapters. The main reason for me doing this is that everyone else seemed to be doing it and since the stories on Wattpad are uploaded one chapter at a time and read over a long period of time by the readers, I thought that maybe it would be a good idea to help people keep track of what they’d read. The Alien was only seven chapters long and I tried not to give too much away with the names.

So I’ll say it again. I won’t ever name the chapters in a full-length novel. It’s not really needed in books meant for adults and teens.

I hope this has been helpful to you. Let me know in the comments.

 

Please check out some of the helpful tutorials for authors here at TechSavvyAuthor.net.

I am looking for a Critique Partner

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Hey everyone! I wanted to just put this out there. I am looking for a Critique Partner so we can share feedback on each other’s novels as we’re working on them. My genres are Paranormal/Romance, Science Fiction/Romance, Fantasy/Romance, and Dystopian/Romance.

For those of you who don’t know what a Critique Partner is, it is someone who is also an author, or aspiring author. The idea is that you give them your story to read as you’re working on it, and they give you feedback and constructive criticism from an AUTHOR’S point of view so that you can determine whether your manuscript is working or whether it maybe might just fall in a heap and not hold up as a strong story. It works both ways. You do the same for their story. It helps immensely if you both write the same or at least similar genres.

You might be thinking; isn’t that what Beta Readers are for? Well, no. Not exactly.

Beta Readers will read your story and give you feedback from a READER’S point of view. They can’t tell you if your characters aren’t developed enough or if your premise is strong. But that doesn’t mean that a Beta Reader’s opinion isn’t valid or needed. You should use them too. I plan to follow some suggestions made by one of my favourite Author-Tubers, Jenna Moreci, and get a Critique Partner during my writing process and use about twenty Beta Readers once I’ve written and edited my manuscript. Once I get their feedback and I’ve incorporated what I think is necessary into my novel, I can do my final polishing and publish it.

I strongly recommend Jenna Moreci’s YouTube videos. They’re informative and funny and have helped me a lot.

If you’d like to be my Critique Partner or just want to contact me and say hi, my email address is: suemckenzie68@yahoo.com.

 

Please check out some of the helpful tutorials for authors here at TechSavvyAuthor.net.