Writer’s Block: Tales from the Front Lines

This Sunday’s Guest Post is from Joseph Helmreich.  Joseph reached out to Sci-Fi & Scary a few weeks back, and we were more than happy to feature a piece from him. I think lots of people will appreciate this topic. Enjoy!

Joseph Helmreich is the author of The Return (2017, Thomas Dunne Books/St. Martin’s Press) and co-author of Warring Parents, Wounded Children and the Wretched World of Child Custody (Greenwood Press, 2008).  In addition to his writing, he is a member of alternative folk duo, Honeybrick. He lives in New York City and works in film distribution.  Find him on Facebook or at http://josephhelmreich.tumblr.com.

WRITER’S BLOCK: TALES FROM THE FRONTLINES

by Joseph Helmreich

You’re driving down a wide and scenic highway.  On one side of the road lie enormous snowcapped mountains, lush greenery, shimmering crystal lakes.  On the other side, in the far distance, you can make out a stunning metropolis, shiny glass skyscrapers stretching high into the clouds.

Soon, however, the mountains and buildings give way to desert.  Not the romantically rugged wilderness of the Mojave or the sleek and endless gold of the Sahara, but a world of drab and dusty lifelessness, the monotony broken up only by the occasional cactus or ox skull.  You continue to drive.  There’s nothing much up ahead, but that’s okay because you can’t remember where you were going, anyway.  You had a destination at some point, you’re sure of that, but you probably took a wrong turn long ago.  Now you’re all alone in the desert and you start to wonder if you’ll ever find your way back out.

Fiction writers know this feeling well.  Their story, once filled with so much promise and vitality, is suddenly stalled.  The well has run dry.  This can happen at the early stages of a project when the writer is first coming to terms with the infamously paralyzing Blank Page.  It can happen midway through, when the story is spiraling in so many different directions that the writer can’t keep them tied together.  It can happen later, in the face of pressure to deliver a killer ending, or barring that, one that will at least resolve the story.  Whenever it occurs, the result is the same: the writer is stuck.

Or, to use the universally favored term, blocked.

Keep Reading!

Lake Placid: The Reason I like Bad Movies Summed Up in One Film

Editor’s Note: This is the culmination of several excitable dialogues on Twitter about the gloriousness of bad movies. She’s a solid writer, suitably geeky for me to consider a person I want to spend time knowing, and she loves bad movies. So, read and enjoy.


Lake Placid.

Or the Reason I Like Bad Movies, Summed up in One Particular Film

By J.B. Rockwell

I have a confession to make: I like bad movies.

There. I’ve said it.

To be clear, I don’t mean any old bad movie—if you ask me, just about every RomCom is a bad movie—I’m talking about that special class of speculative fiction gem, be it sci-fi, fantasy, horror, or any combination thereof, that is so bad, it’s actually good. Well, entertaining, at least.

Confused? Good! I mean, bad. I mean…let me explain.

‘Bad’ movies—as I view them—generally fall into one of three broad categories, which I’ve presented below.

Keep Reading!

All About Book Blog Tours

A book blog tour  “allows authors to professionally promote their work without rearranging their schedule. Each tour stop enables authors to gain new readers and social media fans while reaching a worldwide audience.” (from Sage’s Blog Tours)

Book blog tours work for both authors and bloggers, albeit for different reasons. It gives bloggers, at a minimum, a topic/reason to post for a particular day. (This can be handy, especially if the creative well is bone dry.) It also introduces us to books (especially from indie authors) that we might not have come across otherwise. It does not, however, increase our page views or anything like that (at least not if the site is a daily poster as-is.)

There are some cons to participating in book blog tours, though. They can be seen as ‘filler content’. (I address that in the next paragraph.) Most blog tour companies seem to require ‘top post’ for the material, which means you cannot post anything else for the entire day. While it’s easy to understand why tour companies request this, it’s still difficult to give up various posting slots solely to book promotion. And you run the risk of having your site not stand out to potential new readers because they may have already seen the content somewhere else.

Sci-Fi & Scary is signed up with a few virtual book tours with blog tour companies, but we really only actively accept requests from one. That being Sage’s Blog Tours. There are several reasons for this but, in essence, it’s because the way Sage does her tours works out well for us. She works with content that most other book tour companies don’t seem to touch (science fiction and horror of the non-YA variety). Also, other than the graphics, we’re not given cut-and-paste material to use for interviews or prepared guest posts from the authors. (This isn’t an across the board thing with all other blog tour companies, just something I’ve noticed more from several.) Instead, we have a lot more control – we write our own interview questions, we have our own guidelines for guest posts, etc. There has been one case where I (Lilyn) received a guest post and got back in touch with Sage saying “I can’t accept this.” Within the day, I had something that I was willing to put up on Sci-Fi & Scary instead. That means a lot. Also, Sage doesn’t require ‘top post’ (although she mostly does get it from us.)

But I’ve always kind of wondered exactly how much work goes into doing a book blog tour. So, when I saw the issue raised on a forum about an author feeling ‘scammed’ because they hadn’t made any sales from the book tour that they had paid for, I went to Sage and asked her how things worked. She laid everything out for me in a post that I could share with everyone.

(I apologize for the rather lengthy introduction. I meant to do a separate discussion piece, but never found the time.)

So here you have it, straight from Sage’s mouth: Doing a Book Blog Tour from Start to Finish

Book Blog Tour

Doing a Book Blog Tour from the Organizer’s Perspective

Since 2012, I have been coordinating blog tours through my online business, Sage’s Blog Tours. In that time, I have created a smooth system that I use to plan blog tours for authors. I can personalize this system to work best for each author and their blog tour. Below are the general steps:

1.) Get to know the book – You can’t plan a blog tour for a book without knowing at least the basics. I request materials from the author, and I use this information to figure out the book’s target audience. This allows me to choose bloggers who would be best suited to participate in the blog tour. The more informative I can be for potential bloggers, the better.

2.) Organize materials – I create media kits for each author using the information they send me and set up a feature page on the Sage’s Blog Tours’ website. While I do this, my graphic designer begins creating a custom tour banner for the author.

3.) Reach out to bloggers – I have built a large database of book bloggers over the past five years, so for each blog tour, I contact the book bloggers who are interested in the genre that the author is promoting. This way I know the author is reaching their preferred audience. If not, the blog tour wouldn’t be as beneficial for them.

4.) Set up a schedule – I create a tour schedule and keep it updated with the book bloggers who have signed up to participate in the blog tour. Once the tour is filled, I share this tour schedule with the author so they can follow along, as well as keep it updated on their feature page located on my website.

5.) Follow the tour – I make sure to follow along with the tour, so I can check to see if each blogger posted their feature and that the information posted is correct. I also share every stop on tour with the author, and on all of our social media pages – Facebook, Twitter, and Google+.

6.) After the tour – The tour is over, but my work isn’t done! I contact each blogger who hosted a review during the tour to ask if they would share their review on Amazon and Goodreads. If there was a giveaway, I collect the winner’s info and send it to the author or distribute the prize if the author has asked me to do so.

A successful blog tour happens with the partnership of the tour coordinator, the author, and the bloggers. When all of those above are on the same page and have good communication, the blog tour is sure to be an excellent experience!


Sage’s Blog Tours “is a full-service publicity company that works with authors of all genres. We offer services to help promote your work in an affordable, fun, and successful way. Sage’s Blog Tours schedules blog tours with reviews of your work, interviews, and guests posts.
Our in-house graphic designer is exceptional at designing promotional tools for your online tour and in-person events. ”

It’s important to note, also, that Sage very clearly states in her FAQs about Book Blog Tours that sales are not guaranteed, and authors do need to be an active participant in promoting the tour stops as well.

Find Sage on Twitter: @SagesBlogTours

We Have Always Been Cyborgs

A short while ago, I wrote a piece called “Prepare to Assimilate: Are Cyborgs in Our Future?” After reading it, S.A. Barton and I were discussing it, and the beginnings of an idea took shape. I ended up asking him to write his own piece on cyborgs so that I could present a different viewpoint on them on Sci-Fi & Scary. The result is We Have Always Been Cyborgs. It’s an interesting piece, and now that I’ve read it, I totally see his point. Feel free to give your input below, and the both of us will check in with responses!

We Have Always Been Cyborgs

S.A. Barton

            Up front, let me dispose of two things.

  One: I don’t mean there’s nothing to consider when it comes to implanting technological enhancements in our bodies. There is. That’s a big change in how we do things, and big changes bring both peril and opportunity. We’re living an example of that right now, with the wide proliferation of internet access and all the good and bad that comes with it.

Two: you’re right: in the most literal sense of “cyborg,” having enhancing technological devices implanted within our physical bodies, we have not always been cyborgs.

But in practical terms, modern H. sapiens is a cyborg species and has always been so.

Have you ever watched a show or video about primitivists or survivalists? Not guns-and-gold survivalists. Live-in-nature-barehanded survivalists.

What’s the first thing they do to survive?

They replicate technology with primitive tools. They make fire, build shelters with branches and mud, knap stone cutters and skin animals for warm clothing and food, sharpen sticks for spears, weave fish traps, and so on.

They do that because humans, unlike most creatures, are remarkably unsuited to live and thrive naked in the wild. Our skin is terrible at keeping us warm. Our natural weapons, teeth and nails, just suck. Our muscles are puny and weak compared to those of other animals.

People worry that if humans become cyborgs wholesale, casually implanting technological enhancements in our flesh, we will become dependent on that technological aid. That we’ll become weak and vulnerable without those enhancements.

That is already our state. We are weak and vulnerable without the technological enhancements we already have. We are utterly dependent on our technology. Without it, we die.

Without the ability to record knowledge and pass it on to future generations to build upon – writing, the printing press, libraries, universities, computer media, the internet – there is no high technology or wide coordinated trade or culture beyond the regional. No seven billion humans, no computers, airplanes, cars, factories, modern medicine, chemistry, engineering, math, literature, astronomy. Certainly no space program, serious science, or science fiction.

          Without those technologies, we are not the humanity you know and sometimes love.

Without warehouses, silos, railroads, refineries, trucking, harvesting and sowing and irrigating machinery, pumps and pipes and aqueducts, plows, yokes, harness, or at least digging sticks there is no agriculture.

Not even a billion humans, then. The Earth, without technological modification, could not support so many. No towns over a few thousand inhabitants. No political units larger than the alliance of a few related extended family lineages.

  Without those technologies, humanity is barely recognizable to the humanity we are today. Alien, and impoverished in every sense of the word. Civilization is nearly nonexistent. The world of any given human hardly extends over the horizon from where they stand.

Without fire, clothing, shelter, or the most basic technological aptitude, the thought to pick up a stick or rock and use it as a club or digging tool, human is just another animal. And it’s not one that will live to reproduce. It’s helpless without technology. Dead.

  If the technical definition of cyborg is “technology implanted within the body,” won’t “will die without technology” do just as well as the definition? Not having an enhancement built into your actual meat, after all, is survivable. But death sure isn’t.

As I said at the start, none of this means it’s not worth asking what effect cyborging might have on our society and figuring out how to regulate it to mitigate negative effects and balance that mitigation with basic human rights. We’re doing that very thing in grappling with the ease of disseminating disinformation to the populace via the internet – or have you not been following politics lately?

We’ll go through much the same type of disruption when/if implanting tech in our bodies becomes as ubiquitous as smartphones. But fearing or resisting those changes won’t be helpful. Look to history and we’ve gone through the same kind of broad social disruptions brought on by the inventions of agriculture, widespread domestication of horses, gunpowder, the printing press, and industrialization. All big trouble. All inevitable. Is the human as cyborg inevitable? I’m not sure, personally. But it may well be as attractive as the shift from bulky personal computers to small portable phones and tablets. Convenience is a powerful incentive to change. Look at all the paradigm shifts in human existence I just listed – isn’t convenience at the root of them all? Convenient food, transportation, killing, spread of information, and production, in order.

Having your phone in your head instead of in your pocket where it can be broken, stolen, or lost may be a very powerful enticement to become cyborgs. And if you’ve ever lost your ID or credit cards – or been denied the right to vote – the same goes for having those safe inside your body, no matter what a horror show for privacy that would be.

Augmented reality may become as necessary for navigating civilization as literacy is now. Eyes that can record anything the user sees may become vital for protecting our rights and receiving justice – or the basis of a totalitarianism more total than the world has ever seen.

The future is a scary-exciting place! Always has been. But don’t worry too much about the rise of the cyborgs.

You’re already a cyborg in every way that matters.

6 Intergalactic Destinations to Put on Your Cruise Ship Wishlist

Feeling bored by your travel options for 2017? Not inspired enough to make use of your annual leave next year? With the release of Rogue One, we’ve been thinking outside-the-box (or rather, the planet) when it comes to travel. Using our expert knowledge, as well as some inspiration from our favourite films, shows and books, we’ve put together our wishlist of intergalactic destinations to visit.

 

From bustling metropolises to arctic slopes, pour yourself a Pan Galactic Gargle Blaster and make sure your portal gun is fully charged. We may still be a good few years away in terms of technology, but when we’ve finally advanced enough to get further than the moon and back, we’ll be ready to give you the top guide of places you need to visit. And after all, with infinite galaxies, dimensions and possibilities, who’s to say these places only exist in our imaginations? There’s a whole universe out there to cruise to.6 Intergalactic Destinations to Put on Your Cruise Ship Wishlist

 

  1. Coruscant – Star Wars

 

Ripped apart by years of conflict, most of the Galaxy Far Far Away is somewhere you wouldn’t want to cruise to. Can you imagine a brochure for trip to the Death Star or Tatooine, for instance? Even the film location for Tatooine is, tragically, currently unvisitable. Coruscant, however, is a planet-sized city with thousand-storey skyscrapers, the streets bathed with neon lights. Perhaps not somewhere you would want to live (I don’t even want to imagine the carbon emissions from a city that size), it would still be fascinating as a cruise stopover.

The closest to Coruscant we can manage on Earth right now is Hong Kong or Tokyo, both of which are popular cruise destinations for travellers who cruise from the UK or the US. Although we haven’t yet developed the architectural structures to allow thousand-storey buildings, you’ll still feel like an ant in the shadow of these Asian metropolises.

6 Intergalactic Destinations to Put on Your Cruise Ship Wishlist

 

 

  1. Endor – Star Wars

 

If you’re a fan of watching indigenous creatures in their natural environment, then a cruise to Endor to see the Ewoks is definitely one to put high up on your wishlist. The peaceful, tree-dwelling creatures live in a beautiful forest ecosystem with many different characters to charm a flora and fauna loving traveler.

Of course, there’s a strong chance you’ll find nothing but an empty planet, thanks to the ending of The Return of the Jedi which might have left the Ewoks extinct.

 

  1. Gallifrey – Doctor Who

 

Gallifrey, the home of the Doctor himself, is a planet in a binary star system within the constellation of Kasterborous. The Doctor’s granddaughter, Susan, describes the planet as having “bright, silver-leafed trees and a burnt orange sky at night”, however it appears to have a blue sky during the day.

Over the series, the Doctors themselves describe Gallifrey having “rocks [that] weren’t gray at all — but they were red, brown and purple and gold” and vast mountain ranges “with fields of deep red grass, capped with snow”. Gallifrey has two suns which would “rise in the south and the mountains would shine”. The trees had leaves of silver which in the mornings resembled “a forest on fire”.

Aside from getting to explore the world which has given us great Time Lords, Gallifrey sounds like a beautiful planet to experience on holiday.6 Intergalactic Destinations to Put on Your Cruise Ship Wishlist

 

  1. Milliways – Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy

 

NCL Cruises and Royal Caribbean may be proud of their menus, but they have nothing on Milliways, the Restaurant at the End of the Universe. While you eat your meal, you can watch the Gnab Gib, the Big Bang in Reverse. This attraction would also be accessible to most, as the meal only costs a penny in the present time deposited into any bank account. By the time the Gnab Gib arrives, the interest accumulated is enough to pay your bill. It’s certainly an unmissable addition to any intergalactic cruise itinerary, even if your food does introduce itself to you before your meal.

 

  1. Beaumonde – Firefly

 

The space Western created by Joss Whedon is hardly a Utopia, but it would certainly be interesting to experience the after-effects of a universal civil war. While the majority of the planets sound like nothing too exciting, Beaumonde roughly translated from French means “Beautiful World.” Although the planet is heavily industrialised, the countryside still retains some beauty. The city of New Dunsmuir, built on an ocean, features carefully maintained avenues of trees and flowers and is a popular tourist destination.

The closest we can currently get to New Dunsmuir as a destination is Dubai, also a man-made city built on an ocean. Easily accessible with a Cruise from the UK, there’s thankfully no risk of pirates and smugglers, unlike the world in which the crew of Firefly exist.

6 Intergalactic Destinations to Put on Your Cruise Ship Wishlist

 

  1. Bird World, Replacement Dimension – Rick and Morty

 

Bird World, where Bird Person lives, is a peaceful and tree-filled planet in the Replacement Dimension. Travellers who visit would get to enjoy the peaceful scenery, although finding human food might be hard. Luckily, this is where cruising comes in handy. You can eat on the ship before exploring the beautiful planet populated by bird people — a morally upstanding race who live by a strict code of conduct.

 

Unfortunately, it looks like it won’t be in our lifetime that we get to explore the outer reaches of the universe. Although Royal Caribbean released an announcement saying that their  ‘Orbiter of the Galaxy’ would be ready for launch in 2030, this turned out to just be a rather excellent April Fools prank. In the meantime, we’ll have to keep ourselves satisfied with dreaming, as well as visiting Hong Kong, Dubai, and the other parts of the world which are as close as we can get right now to these intergalactic destinations.

 

Paul Edge, director of Cruise Club UK, has spent over 25 years working to improve the travel industry. When not in the office, he’s on a Cruise from the UK relaxing on the deck with Ford Prefect, Arthur Dent, and a couple of Wookies.

*all photos from Fotofolio*

Translating Books: Get Someone Fluent to Do It!

I became acquainted with Olga after I became a part of Rosie’s Book Review Team. We’ve interacted a few times on Twitter, and I’ve always found her to be approachable and honest. I’ve corresponded with her on good books to learn to read Spanish from. That led to me being very curious about the translation of books from one language to another. Happily, she was willing to write something for everyone to read. So, here we go! Olga Núñez Miret on Translating Books: Get Someone Fluent to Do It. (The headings are questions I specifically asked her.)


Lilyn, first of all, thanks very much for having me as your guest on your blog. It’s a great honor as I’ve been following your blog for a while and know how busy you are and what great guests visit you.

Thanks for taking an interest in translations. It’s a fascinating topic. Never a moment’s boredom, for sure!

How often do you have to change phrases dramatically when translating books between English and Spanish?

There aren’t that many sentences that can be translated straight because Spanish and English come from very different sources. There’s always the risk of the false friends (words that are so familiar and so similar to words in our own language that we think we know their meaning, but they mean something different in the other language), but French or Italian have sentence structures that are more similar to Spanish, for example. (I’m originally from Barcelona, Catalonia, and I also speak, read and write in Catalan, and there are many more similarities with those languages too, as they all come from Latin). I remember when I first moved to the UK and wasn’t as fluent in English, I would start a sentence, directly translating it from Spanish, and realise that it didn’t make sense in English and had to start again. It doesn’t happen that often these days, but it’s true that there are always expressions that seem to capture exactly what one means in a language but require complex changes in the other.

Why couldn’t someone just use something like Google Translate to translate books from English to Spanish, one line at a time?

I’ve seen it done and the results are not very good. Google Translate works well enough to give one a general gist of a sentence, but it’s not a person and can’t provide the context. It doesn’t always select the right option, for instance, if a word has many possible meanings. Sometimes the results can be unexpectedly funny. The first novel I translated for another author (not one of my own) was a historical novel set in the Inca Empire. There were several mentions of llamas (the animal, written the same in Spanish and English), but llama in Spanish can also mean ‘flame’, and it’s a word used more often than the animal, so the translation offered by Google Translate was hilarious. One of the other difficulties I’ve observed (and it’s a tell-tale sign for translations made using Google Translate) is that Spanish, like French, Italian, German… is a gendered language. Not only people, but objects also have a given genders (and they don’t coincide in the different languages either, to make life more confusing), and that means that articles, adjectives, adverbs, also have to change according to this. Google Translate never seems to get this right, and it’s something that people studying the language also find tricky.

Of course, the more complicated the language, the worse Google Translate handles it. But even an instructions manual can become something completely different in the hands of Google Translate. But it is a useful tool for basic matters.

Can you give some examples of common phrases in English that are very different when taken literally in Spanish or vice versa?

Among the trickiest things are proverbs and sayings, as they don’t always have an equivalent in the other language. Shakespeare’s: ‘The apple of one’s eye’ … Yes, la manzana del ojo de alguien…  In Spanish we’d say something like ‘la niña de sus ojos’ (the pupil of one’s eye is the expression we’d use in Spanish, as having an apple in somebody’s eye would sound really weird in Spanish). And sometimes expressions that are culturally bound and become popular can cause confusion. I recently translated a book where two friends wrote letters to each other, from Spanish to English. These were old friends but had lived in different countries for years, one in Spain and one in the UK. One of the women is writing to the other and telling her there’s no way she was going to do a certain thing. I used the expression: ‘No way, Jose!’ The author was revising the translation and contacted me thinking I’d made a mistake because there was no character called Jose in her novel. I had to explain what the expression meant, but I don’t think it’s something that even people who might have learned English going to school would necessarily be familiar with, but most people reading the book would be (and I thought it would be the type of thing the character would say).

Other things that prove very complicated are wordplay and double meaning. I am translating a book at the moment called Re-bound, and in this case it plays on bound as binding and also as in re-bound, because the female protagonist has come out of a relationship recently and meets someone new. There isn’t a similar word that has both meanings in Spanish, so I’m trying to get my head around that (and yes, this expression would sound really strange in Spanish).

If someone wants to hire someone to translate their book into another language, what should they look for?

That is a difficult one. My advice would be to ask other authors who’ve had their books translated, especially if you know they are happy with the results, and if they’ve obtained good feedback from readers. We all know about nasty reviews that bear little connection to the content of the books (I even read a review of a book written by a Spanish writer who uses an English sounding pseudonym when writing and somebody said the translation to Spanish was really bad, when the book had been written in Spanish originally) but, in general, word of mouth is a good way to go. There are groups available in places like LinkedIn, which also offer the option of checking somebody’s work and credentials.

There are places like Fiverr (www.fiverr.com ) and Upwork (www.upwork.com ) where one can hire somebody to do a job, and there is a process of selection and feedback by other clients to check. It’s always possible to get a sample translation and get it checked if one is not sure. There are also official organizations of translators, but not everybody will be a member and members might specialise on different aspects (not always to do with translating books). In my case, I find authors like the fact that I’m also a writer and understand the process of publishing and am, perhaps, more sympathetic towards the anxieties and feelings this process generates.

There are options that might be worth exploring if one doesn’t have funds to get a translator. Babel Cube (www.babelcube.com), for instance, offers the possibility of putting in contact writers and translators and then splitting the earnings 50/50 between them (minus the percentage for Babel Cube, and of course exclusivity is granted for a number of years to the company).

A similar option (that I’m exploring at the moment and I’ve had a few of my books translated already) is Fiberread (www.fiberead.com ) for Chinese. It’s worth checking out!

Do you find that any of your books do better sales-wise in one particular language? Any clue why, if so?

In my case, not really. One of the things that are surprising is that quite a few of my books in Spanish (mostly the free ones, but others too) are also bought in places like Italy and Brazil (of course also Mexico and .com if we’re talking about Amazon), where Spanish is not one of the official languages. I’m never sure if those are people who are studying the language, or perhaps they are curious and think the language is close enough and they can understand it. I’ve seen differences in books set in a certain place or that have a local interest, as those might sell much better in one place than in another, and non-fiction is quite different.

I know a Spanish author who writes in different genres (fiction and non-fiction), and after having some of his self-help book translated to Greek (via Babel Cube) discovered that they sold like hot cakes there. He has no idea why, but it seems they struck a chord. I guess it’s a bit what happens sometimes with singers or bands that become very popular in countries very far away from their own, seemingly not the intended audience.

Research as to popular topics in different markets might help, but nowadays many trends are global, and coming to the attention of reviewers or bloggers popular in a particular country might push a book. And, getting to know writers from other places and checking what they do to promote their books can always help too.

Thanks very much for your questions and your interest and thanks to all your readers for having me.


Want to find out more about translations?  http://authortranslatorolga.com/olga-the-author/

Take a look at some of the books Olga has translated: http://authortranslatorolga.com/translationstraducciones/

olgaprofilpic - translating books guest postOlga Núñez Miret is a doctor, a psychiatrist, a student (of American Literature, with a Doctorate and all to prove the point, of Criminology, and of books and people in general), she writes, translates (English-Spanish and vice-versa) and although born in Barcelona, Spain, has lived in the UK for many years. She’s always loved books and is thrilled at the prospect of helping good stories reach more readers all around the world. She publishes a bilingual blog (http://www.authortranslatorolga.com ) where she shares book reviews, advice, talks about books (hers and others) and about things the discovers and enjoys.

Those are my free books in English: http://authortranslatorolga.com/free-book/ And in Spanish: http://authortranslatorolga.com/libro-gratis/

Other Author Links: Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/Olga-Núñez-Miret/e/B009UC58G0 | Twitter: @OlgaNM7 | Author page on Facebook: www.facebook.com/OlgaNunezMiret | Goodreads page: http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/6562510.Olga_N_ez_Miret

 



escapingpsychiatry - translating books guest postEscaping Psychiatry. Beginnings
. By Olga Núñez Miret

How far would a writer go for a killer story? This is the question psychiatrist Mary Miller must answer to solve the first mystery/thriller of her career. You can get to know the main characters of this psychological thriller series for FREE and test your own acumen and intuition in this novella about the price of ambition.

Dr Mary Miller is a young psychiatrist suffering a crisis of vocation. Her friend Phil, a criminalist lawyer working in New York, invites her to visit him and consult on the case of a writer accused of a serious assault. His victim had been harassing him and accusing him of stealing his story, which he’d transformed into a best-selling book. The author denies the allegation and claims it was self-defense. When the victim dies, things get complicated. The threshold between truth and fiction becomes blurred and secrets and lies unfold.

Escaping Psychiatry. Beginnings is the prequel to Escaping Psychiatry a volume collecting three stories where Mary and her psychiatric expertise are called to help in a variety of cases, from religious and race affairs, to the murder of a policeman, and in the last case, she gets closer than ever to a serial killer.

If you enjoy this novella, don’t forget to check Mary’s further adventures. And there are more to come.

 

 

Buy Links:

 

 

 

 

 

Putting the Environment in a Fantasy Novel

I’ve loved D.G. Driver’s works for two reasons, but the one I asked her to write about was how she wrote environmental concerns into her fiction. I wanted to know all sorts of things, like what her aim was, and how much research she needed to do. I’m very pleased (and honestly surprised!) with the information in her guest post.  So, we present: Putting the Environment in a Fantasy Novel by D.G. Driver


Keep Reading!

The “Science” of Science Fiction

Our second guest post for Sci-Fi month is from Dawn Napier. Dawn is the author of several fantasy books, including the Many Kingdoms series. She has a science fiction book coming out soon, and was happy to contribute to Sci-Fi & Scary. Find out more about Dawn at the end of this post. We present:

The “Science” of Science Fiction

by Dawn Napier

Science fiction is in my opinion the most eclectic and thought-provoking genre in human history. While fantasy shows us monsters and creatures that have never existed outside our imaginations, science fiction shows us things that could happen. Fantasy sings, “What if horses could fly?” Science fiction wonders, “What is the socioeconomic impact of flying horses? What would it mean to Earth’s gravity, our farming industry, to the future of the planet? What does it all mean?” Science fiction is, to borrow a slang term from my parents’ generation, “heavy.” It examines possible futures and asks the child’s eternal question, “And then what happens?”

You would think, then, that science fiction stories with technology that has been thoroughly debunked would be of little or no interest to readers. Why read a story about life on Venus or Mars when science has thoroughly proven that life on these worlds is impossible? What’s the appeal of a story like Journey to the Center of the Earth? We know now what’s down there, and it’s not an ancient civilization. So why are these stories still in print, still being read, even being taught and discussed in schools?

Keep Reading!

Everything Old is New Again by Michael Drakich

When I was considering guest posts for Science Fiction Month, I knew instantly that I wanted to try to get Michael Drakich, author of I AM. He had done such a fantastic job on his novel that months later it still stood out in my mind. Happily, he agreed to write something for Sci-Fi & Scary, and here we are. We present Everything Old is New Again by Michael Drakich.

Keep Reading!

Horror: More than Frights and Gore

Our final guest poster for the Month of Horror is Konn Lavery, author of Seed Me. Konn’s article, “Horror: More than Frights and Gore” examines the stereotypes of horror and how horror writers can combat them. You can find out more about Konn at the end of the article.


Horror, it is more than just frights and gore.

-by Konn Lavery

There is a broad stereotype when it comes to horror storytelling whether that is film, literary works or other mediums – it is violent, filled with blood and tremor. Personally I love this kind of thing and find it a lot of fun, but that is not all that horror has to offer. The public perception of horror is better known as the Body Horror genre or the Shock genre, these are very small sections of what really encompasses all of horror. Unfortunately the other large section of horror genres are shadowed by these commonly known ones. Think about Frankenstein’s Monster or Dracula, these are both horror stories but are not gore infested or filled with shock. They happen to have a lot of thriller and mystery elements with a dark overlay to the plot.

Konn Lavery

©Konn Lavery

Often people will either gravitate to, or turn away from the sight of a book being labeled as horror due to the common perception of the genre. They may say “yeah! That’s right up my alley.” Or “that really isn’t my thing” or “I don’t like scary stories” before even engaging in the synopsis or hearing the elevator pitch of the story. Other times, you will find people who are familiar with the differences in types of horror and ask further questions about it, such as what is the sub-genre. The common personae of the horror genre can make finding new readers very challenging. They will shut down the premise before they even had a chance to check it out. You might be asking yourself:

Then how do I go about getting my horror story to new readers then?

This has been an ongoing scenario for decades, thankfully, marketers are always looking for new and innovative ways to gain the public’s interest. Thanks to this, over time, new terms – or genres – have come to surface that are now industry standards. These new terms help categorize your book to be recognized for a more niche type. Horror books can be categorized under different genres such as Weird Fiction, Dark Fantasy and Gothic Fictions, to name a few. H.P. Lovecraft is known for coining the term Weird Fiction, a specific type of monster-related horror that he specialized in. Books similar to H.P. Lovecraft have also been categorized as Lovecraftian to make potential readers more familiar with the subject matter of the book. Weird Fiction and Lovecraftian are very similar, with the exception of Weird Fiction being a broader term.


Other sub-genres such as Occult, Supernatural and Paranormal are used to further define what the book is about.
Some of these sub-genres might not deal with blood at all and play in the psychological realm which can create a real unsettling experience for the readers. It still all falls under horror.

You can find a large list of genres and sub-genres under Wikipedia that breaks down all of the primary genres and the sub-genres that are used in the literary world for marketing purposes. There are always more sub genres popping up as well. This has been due to cross-genres or varying iterations of existing ideas that gets coined as a specific genre due to their uniqueness. The one key thing to remember is that all of these sub-genres are all simply marketing terms for the parent genre. They are used as more direct ways to attract people to read the novel that might not be as receptive to the book if it was categorized as only horror.

So How Do I Know What Genre My Work Falls Under?

Konn Lavery

©Konn Lavery

This can take a bit of research. Let’s suppose we have a scenario where you have a horror novel finalized and you’re ready to start promoting it. You’ll have to ask yourself, what genre does your book fall under? This question requires us to put on a different mindset from our normal writing and creative thoughts. To answer this question, you will want to do online research, browsing through the genres that are on novel websites such as amazon.com, kobo.com or goodreads.com. Other sites offer other genre titles as well, such as the Wikipedia article linked earlier.

While you are looking at these genres, take note on the books that are categorized under the genres; specifically analyze the high-ranking novels for sales and reviews. If they have positive feedback from the reviews and sales, chances are they fit that genre. Read the synopsis and the reviews of these books. Does your book fall under these categories? If so that is great, you will know what marketing term to use to describe your novel. If it does not, you will need to do further research in other genres to see if it fits the general theme of the novel. This market research process is time-consuming to go through but it will benefit you in the long run. It will provide you with what is known as a target market. An important part of being an author and in any form of marketing. This is especially true if you are an independent author, all of the extra roles are on your plate.

Takeaway

Depending on the literary piece, your novel may fall under a number of genres opposed to just one. The sub-genres tend to be very specific at times and it can be a challenge to pin your novel down into just one category. If you are uncertain, placing it under one of the primary genres (hint: horror) to keep it under a broad stroke can simplify things. However this does raise the initial point brought up – the masses are quick to jump to stereotypes.

Most book vendor sites like Amazon or Kobo will let you select a couple of genre options anyways, making it easier to decide what the novel fits in. You can also place these genres on the physical copy of the book, often the genres are kept on the back of the cover next to the ISBN.

If you think of your genre as a marketing term, it will make the categorization process more flexible than simply constraining your novel to one type of genre. We are creating works of fiction which makes the stories open for interpretation. You or the readers might feel it fall under a number of genres. Pick the primary genres that have the strongest reflection of the story. This will define what genres your novel falls under.


About Konn Lavery

Konn Lavery

Konn Lavery is a Canadian horror and dark fantasy writer who is known for his Mental Damnation series. The
second book, Dream, reached the Edmonton Journal’s top five selling fictional books list. He started writing fantasy stories at a very young age while being home schooled. It wasn’t until graduating college that he began professionally pursuing his work with his first release, Reality. Since then he has continued to write works of fiction ranging from fantasy to horror.
His literary work is done in the long hours of the night. By day, Konn runs his own graphic design and website
development business under the title Reveal Design (www.revealdesign.ca). These skills have been transcribed into the formatting and artwork found within his publications supporting his fascination of transmedia storytelling.

Konn Lavery’s website: http://konnlavery.com/


Seed Me Konn LaveryWARNING: DO NOT CONSUME

If you’re reading this, then you did not take the above warning seriously. In that case, you’re probably as stupid as me. I’m Logan, by the way. I didn’t pay attention to any warning signs either. Being an unemployed deadbeat in Edmonton with no family and getting dumped by your girlfriend for her best friend can wear a guy down. All I had was my cokehead buddy, Skip, to cheer me up.

Surprisingly, my precautionary tale was not caused by either Skip or the drugs. Let’s just say a drunken make-out session with a pale girl by a dumpster, who was supposedly pronounced dead earlier in the evening, can leave you mentally jumbled up. A good motivator to figure this scenario out is having robed cultists stalk you, asking where the girl is.

Is this an ill twist of fate? Did I bring this on myself? Is there a reason behind my misfortune? Is the moral to not make out with spooky girls behind dumpsters? Hell if I know…-Goodreads Synopsis of Seed Me by Konn Lavery

See Sci-Fi & Scary’s review | View on Amazon

  • I love Audible. Tons of books, fantastic narrators, good prices.