Month: November 2016

Infographic: Third Person Limited vs Omniscient PoV

Nicholas C. Rossis

Reedsy recently published an inspired infographic on the differences between the third person limited point of view (PoV) and the third person omniscient one. As they say, an image is worth a thousand words, so here is the perfect way to understand the differences between the two.

Many thanks to Reedsy for letting me share this.

Infographic: Third Person Limited vs Omniscient PoV | From the blog of Nicholas C. Rossis, author of science fiction, the Pearseus epic fantasy series and children's books

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Big Paperback Sale & SPECIAL OFFER

Big Paperback Sale & SPECIAL OFFER

Dawnrigger Publishing

SALE ALERT!

This Saturday and Sunday (26-27 November)  you can get paperback copies of  Flight PlanControlled Descent together for only $22.00 plus FREE SHIPPING from Amazon.com.

Thank the Amazon “Black Friday” book sale that goes on all weekend. Drop  $25 worth of books in your cart, enter HOLIDAYBOOK promotional code screen, get $10 off AND free shipping. Details here: Amazon Black Friday Book Sale

Real books. Made of paper. Books like Controlled Descent, Flight Plan and Weaving In the Ends. Lemmee do the math…eeniee, meenie…yup, that’s all three for only $32 plus tax.

Books make great Christmas gifts. Hint, hint. HINT.

AND THE SPECIAL OFFER!

  1. Email me a shelfie showing two or more of my paperbacks–or post it to my FB page.
  2.  I will send you official  Dawnrigger Publishing signed bookplates for each book.
  3. Bookplate offer ends Dec 31, 2016 or when I run out.
  4. You don’t have to show your face, just…

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The Trouble with Prologues

Michael J. McDonagh

This should really be a five word blog post:

Prologues are trickier than shit.

The end.

Notice there’s no advice. The second rule in Elmore Leonard’s ten rules of writing is “Avoid Prologues.” At first this sounds like Mr. Leonard is telling us not to use prologues. Until you realize that the Rule 1 and Rule 3 don’t start with the word “avoid.” They start with the word “never.”

Avoid means steer clear of, think twice about, shy away from. Never means, well, never. Ever. Not even once. That’s a big difference. Particularly when Mr. Leonard’s comments about that rule consist largely of a brilliant example of someone (well, not someone, John Fucking Steinbeck) using a prologue.

From a pure writing standpoint, the answer is probably this: If you really know what you are doing and execute correctly, there’s nothing wrong with having a prologue. But remember, prologues are trickier…

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Multi-Review: Short Stories by MA Ray — Lurking In The Shadows

Okay, I write short reviews, especially for short stories…yeah, deal! Here are a number of reviews for short stories written by the wonderfully talented author MA Ray. These all revolve around her Rothganar World. Description: In this short tale, a tree and a boy find love. This story appeared on M.A. Ray’s blog, and in […]

via Multi-Review: Short Stories by MA Ray — Lurking In The Shadows

***** Review of “The Long Way to a Small Angry Planet” by Becky Chambers

Marcha's Two-Cents Worth

longwaytosmallplanetcvr

Join the multi-species crew of the tunneling ship, Wayfarer, for a wild ride through intergalactic space.

This story started out a bit slowly, but when all was said and done, I absolutely loved this delightful spaceopera.  If a book can make me both laugh and cry, plus keep me entertained inbetween, it will invariably earn five stars.  I would actually give this one more, if it were possible. It has definitely earned placement on my list of favorites.

The story is character driven and thus maintains a steady pace as you come to know each of the characters that comprise the crew of the Wayfarer. If  you’re looking for a fast pace, nail biting suspense, and unending action, then you’ll probably be disappointed. This is not to say there aren’t a few exciting scenes, because there are, but much of the suspense is more subtle. If you want to be…

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Sunken Cities: Egypt’s Lost Worlds

Nicholas C. Rossis

Photo via The Economist

If you are in London until November 27th, you have a great opportunity to visit “Sunken Cities: Egypt’s Lost Worlds” at the British Museum. The exhibition contains treasures excavated from the Mediterranean and, as the Economist points out, explains how the ancient Greeks knew how to win hearts and minds when it came to subduing Egypt.

In the eighth century AD, earthquakes, floods, and subsidence caused the Egyptian coast at Alexandria, the city founded by Alexander the Great after he took Egypt from the Persians in 332BC, to sink beneath the waves. From the 1960s onwards, teams of underwater archaeologists have been mapping and excavating a whole submerged Graeco-Egyptian world.

Now, for the first time, an exhibition highlights the excavations begun in the 1990s by an underwater team headed by Franck Goddio, founder of the Institut Européen d’Archéologie Sous-Marine (IEASM)…

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Homo Ludens – Life Playing Games

AsanteMiddle.png

One way to look at people is as sophisticated game playing instruments. A child is born and plays with parents and others as she learns to navigate the world. She goes to school and plays the game to get along with teachers and fellow students. If she learns the rules and fits in well enough, she can remain in school settings long enough to get advanced academic degrees. She will learn rules for some kind of employment and stick to the rules in order to win at paying bills. You don’t want to hear my rant about the games that are played in political systems. Let’s just agree that people build imaginary systems by which to govern themselves and choice leaders. I am suggesting we can model people’s behavior as game playing throughout the life journey.

There are activities people engage in that naturally appear as games or play. Such activities include sports, online computer games, fictional entertainment, and some social interactions. In 1938, Dutch historian and cultural theorist, Johan Huizinga published Homo Ludens. Huizinga suggested that play is a part of the way human culture is created and maintained. Many literary and art theorists discussed how to analyze creative products through the lens of game playing. Since then, some critics have focused most on game theory and looking at detective fiction. Obviously, computer games are an embodiment of gaming and playing. They approach how people interact with those types of games, and how games can be crafted. Some types of fiction seem especially compatible with viewing as game activities. The author of detective fiction toys with the reader by sharing some clues while withholding others. The course of the story teases the reader and characters with a growing body of evidence for the truth about the crime. At the conclusion of the story, the reader is either satisfied with the game path they have followed, or not. It is easy to see this type of fiction as directly connecting to people as game players.

Perhaps this ludic model is even useful when looking at sciences like evolution. Biological organisms function within tight constraints to live. They must process air and water. They must gather food, reproduce and raise offspring. The steps they must take can be seen as rules to the game. The options taken by plants and animals are moves in the play. When a species’ offspring have undergone changes in form or function, that species has manipulated the game rules to its advantage. Perhaps early humans began to develop a brain that could run scenarios and anticipate the next steps in possible games. Human language itself may have been constructed in order to express the possible games steps between different people. The brain is a wonderful instrument for producing and understanding games. The downside is that humans can create games that cause a great deal of trouble for people, like the electoral college in America.

Fiction writing seems like a good topic for me to end this blog post. As stated above, some fiction books are easy to model as play between the author and the reader. I would extend the model and say that all fiction writing can be treated the same way. In my book, Asante’s Gullah Journey, I tease the reader with characters who face difficult or impossible tasks. The reader is meant to try and guess how the characters will overcome their challenges. A fiction book like Asante’s fits within a genre that supplies certain expectations and rules. An author is expected to mostly follow the genre expectations while producing enough surprises to keep the reader on their toes. So, fiction stories can be a subtle play between author and reader to find enjoyment and fulfillment. Homo Ludens loves fictional play, as demonstrated by the resources invested in online gaming, movies, television, books, and comics.

S. A. Gibson is the author of Asante’s Gullah Journey. The story is set in a future United States without modern technology. Only 99 cents this month:

https://www.amazon.com/Asantes-Gullah-Journey-S-Gibson-ebook/dp/B01G60UZ7K/

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Review: MADE TO KILL, by Adam Christopher

Space and Sorcery

PrintMade to Kill is the perfect example for the warning about not judging a book by its cover: although being aware of its existence, I never looked beyond the unappealing (for me) exterior appearance of the book, to inquire what it was about. That is, until the very positive review from a fellow blogger, whose comments piqued my interest.

This book is a curious mix between a classic noir novel and science fiction: Raymond Electromatic (the first name a clear nod toward Raymond Chandler) is a robot, the only one remaining after humanity decided to dispense with mechanical helpers, and he’s a self-employed private investigator – with a side activity as a hired killer. No one could image a more dispassionate, detached murderer than a mechanical creature, and Raymond fulfills this requirement most admirably, also thanks to his peculiar structure, one that requires a daily power recharge and the installation…

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Call to Arms: Year-long survey reveals which book advertiser offers best value for money

Nicholas C. Rossis

Last year, I shared with you the result of my Call to Arms, on my very popular post, Book Marketing Results 2015. I now have collected enough data to follow up with this year’s results. Like last time, I knew most of the media mentioned, although there a few surprises as well. Indeed; I hadn’t heard of 3 of the top 10 advertisers!

Methodology

Book Marketing Results | From the blog of Nicholas C. Rossis, author of science fiction, the Pearseus epic fantasy series and children's booksFor anyone wishing to take a look at the raw data, you can download this Excel spreadsheet. I have only processed data from discounted books, as that formed the vast majority of responses.

To compare the various ad media, I came up with a number that represents the ratio between number of sales and cost of advertising. In other words, if you spent $1 and had one sale, then this number would be one. If you spent $1 and had two sales, the number would…

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