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Last night Helen and I finished the final story for our upcoming anthology!

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Thank you!  Thank you!  You’re all being too kind.  But today’s post is not to talk about the anthology itself, as much as what went into making it.  How did it differ from writing full-length novels?  Was it easier?  Was it harder? What was the process like?  Where did we get all the stories for it, etc.?

Well, for starters, coming up with a decent number of stories was and wasn’t hard really.  Helen had been writing stories long before e-books and well before I tried my hand at penning a tale.  I can easily say I learned so much from her earlier attempts at getting published, and let me tell you she got damn close to seeing some of her work in print.  But, that’s a tale for another entry.

What I want to say is that I learned a lot about what to expect when I decided to try  going the traditional published route.  Although in my case, I started shortly after the birth of e-publishing and after 2-3 years of trying to get an agent to represent and hearing over and over again “You’ve got something here, but you crossed several genres and I wouldn’t know what publishing house to try and sell it to.”

You see, at that time (and this still seems to hold true today) publishers don’t like to take risks on unknown authors or mixed genres. They want a straight up “Mystery”, “Thriller”, “Horror”, “Science Fiction”, etc.  They’re not keen on trying to sell a book that crosses multiple genres like the Para-Earth Series which we classify as “Paranormal/Sci-Fi”.

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Now some of you may be pointing out that they do it more often these days, but most of those authors are well-known like Stephen King, Dean Koontz, J. K. Rowling, etc. who all have proven sales track records.

Anyway, getting back to how our upcoming anthology came to be a reality.

During that 2-3 years I tried to get published the traditional way, more stories were taking shape.  New characters and ideas were forming.  One of them was vampire I called Nathan Eoghan (pronounced Ewan) Steward.  I swore I’d never do a vampire character, unless I could introduce new angle or angles to the character.  Yet I still wanted to keep a lot of the traditional trademark strengths and weaknesses people have come and know and recognize.

By this time, I had already been blogging for several years and had learned from other writers the concept of giving sneak peeks into upcoming works, and even sharing short stories.  This is done to introduce characters and concepts to prospective readers and build a demand for them.  So, after creating a vampire character that would fit nicely into our paranormal/sci-fi concept, I began doing short stories with Nathan over on a new blog called “The Vampyre Blogs – Private Edition”.    Over the course of 3 years we had a number of tales about Nathan and introduced a number of his friends who appeared with him in “The Vampyre Blogs – Coming Home”.  And we’re still making new stories.  And that presented a problem, how many people want to wade through 4-5 years of blog posts to read all those stories?  Furthermore, most of those tales are rough 1st drafts and it shows.

During this time, I noticed some of my fellow authors who had created short stories on their blogs were bundling them into anthologies and that got us thinking.  With all the stories we’d already created, why couldn’t we create an anthology centered around all those stories on the blog?  While it sounded nice and easy, it also didn’t feel completely right to me.  While having all those earlier stories put into a more convenient format, shouldn’t we give the readers more?  Shouldn’t there be new never before seen stories in the collection?  Furthermore, should the stories not be just about Nathan but his friends, and even characters from our first two novels “The Bridge” and “The Ship”?

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This led to Helen coming up with the idea of recycling some of her earlier works which were firmly established in the realm of the macabre.  With a little reworking and adding scenes, she felt a number of those pieces could easily fit in with our Para-Earth Series, while also giving those unread tales a chance to finally see the light of day.

*Now I want to pause and say one thing.  Remember how I told you all, many posts ago, never to toss out your unfinished works, or fragments because you never knew when they might fit into some new idea/concept?  This is a perfect example of why you do that.  You just never know when that day might come.*

So right there, we had some brand new stories to slip into the anthology.  But we didn’t stop there, we went ahead and created several more brand new stories just for the collection itself.  The result?  One third of the tales appearing in this anthology are completely brand new.

Plus, we also added an afterthought following each story, sharing some of the who, what, where, and how each tale came into existence.  We thought it only right to share some of what the writing process can be like and hopefully inspire others to take that next step in whatever creative endeavors they are involved in.

Now, seeing how long this entry is getting and knowing there’s still a lot more to share, I’m going to end this one here.  I know I covered a lot of background areas today and haven’t really gotten to more of the technical and details of actually what went into the building of the anthology.  But rest assured that will be covered in the next installment.

Until then take care and keep writing everyone.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


Having just recently passed the 5 year anniversary mark of the release of our first book “The Bridge”, we thought it might be nice to share with you all just how this journey began.  Where did the ideas for the Para-Earth Series come from?  Who and what inspired the concept?  And finally, for those who haven’t had the opportunity to actually read any of the books but are curious to know more, what IS a Para-Earth?  To answer all these questions, let’s begin with a familiar opening from a very familiar television show from the 1960’s…

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“Submitted for your approval…” these are the opening words written and spoken for the Twilight Zone by its creator Rod Serling.  In that place, people found themselves facing death, adventure, revelation, terror, or even worse… themselves.   So in the spirit of the late Mr. Serling, today’s entry is submitted for the approval of all our readers (whoever and wherever you may come from) as I guide you through the process of how the Para-Earth Series came into being.

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     In the early 1900’s Mr. Howard Phillip Lovecraft (often referred to as HP Lovecraft) created a series of stories that would come to be known as the Cthulhu Mythos.  In these tales, the audience was introduced to beings from not only outer space, and some cases out of time.  Some of these creatures were here on Earth long before man ever took his first breath.  Yet as familiar as the names of Great Cthulhu, Yog-Sothoth, Nyarlothep and others, these were actually only a part of his fantastic imagination.

     Wizards, alchemy and magic also played a large part of his writings. So did tales where human nature reverting to something more primitive and sinister, without help or influence from Cthulhu and his kin.

     Mr. Lovecraft also dabbled in tales of science such as the ultraviolet wave machine that revealed things of such malice and horror that it was only by the saving grace of a barrier neither we nor they saw, that kept us safe.

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       Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, more well-known for his famous detective Sherlock Holmes, also dabbled in tales of the incredible.  In one story he created a jungle in the air where beings existed among the clouds (mind you this was the time of bi-planes and early mono-planes when aviation was still taking its early steps into adulthood).  In this setting, many of these creatures were merely curious, while others seemed almost playful.  But like any jungle, this setting had predators.  Luckily these ‘air jungles’ were in pockets scattered above us, which was why most flying machines of his day passed untouched and safe.  But occasionally… well you get the idea.

     All of these stories, along with many others were floating in my head when I first conceived my fictional reality.  I knew I wanted to create something that had numerous possibilities for expansion, yet still have a thread that connected all the stories that were to come.  There were to be intrusions into our reality, but why and where from eluded me.

     My brain kept going back to Mr. Lovecraft’s tale of the ultraviolet wave machine that revealed beings existing side-by-side to us, just out of sight by laws of reality we never suspected.  This held a lot of promise, but I felt as if I were intruding upon the works of a great man who cast a shadow as large, or even larger, than Great Cthulhu himself.

    Then I read an introduction in one of the Lovecraft collection of stories, by Robert Bloch, another great writer I truly admire.  I quickly learned that Mr. Bloch was not only a contemporary of Lovecraft, but a friend.  And in this introduction he extrapolated upon the various aspects of Lovecraft’s own life and how they became part of his writing world.  One of those aspects was dreams.

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     In that instant, I thought about some dreams of my own.

      Now I don’t know if I’m an ‘experienced dreamer’ like Lovecraft’s Randolph Carter or just an average one.  But time and again there are certain types of dreams we all seem to share at some point.  Those are dreams where we are living a very different life from the one we know in our waking hours. In these dreams, family and friends are readily recognizable to us.  We’ll even meet some who were merely part of our childhood, and long since parted ways.  Yet in these dreams they can show up and we know everything about them as if we never parted. In fact, an entire life’s history is known to us in these dreams where we are single, married to our real-life partners, or to someone you never would have thought of as a love interest.  In other cases you might be in love or married to someone you’ve never even met, but in that dream and in that moment, you know everything about them.  Then we wake up, back in our beds in this reality.  Naturally the dreams fade from memory and we’re sometimes left with feelings of having lost something, while at the same time we wonder, ‘Where did all of that come from?  Was it the burrito?  The pizza and the late night talk show circuit?’

 

      In my case I began to wonder if maybe it was something more…

    The realism in those dreams, at least in my case, were so remarkable that I could wake up with a feeling of having had a breathtaking experience, or even a terrifying one.  Sights and even touch seemed so real to the point that if something unexpected or unnerving happens I would react physically and jolt myself awake.

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      I then began to wonder aloud about the theory of parallel realities.  One school of thought is that for every choice we don’t make here, it’s made elsewhere.  So I began to wonder, what if a part of our mind (which is still vastly uncharted) had slipped over to one of those parallel worlds and we were inside the version of ourselves that lived there.  This would explain why we seem to have a full set of memories in the dream and know those who appear, even though in ‘the real world’ we’ve never met those people.  In short, what if we were getting a chance to see and know what had happened if we had made those other choices.

     At this point, my imagination was really getting fired up.  Some kind of parallel reality setting held a lot of possibilities for me.  However, it is also an area that has been explored so many times in books, short stories, movies and TV.  What could I bring that would be knew and fascinating for readers?  If I were to aim in this direction it had to be something new and different, something audiences had never encountered before.

TO BE CONTINUED…

In the meantime you can find our books at these online stores:

Amazon: The Para-Earth Book Series

AmazonUK: Para-Earths UK

Smashwords (Nook, Apple, Sony, Kobo, PDF): Para-Earths

Barnes and Noble: The Para-Earths Series

 

 


“The Vampyre Blogs” are here. Click below to get your first glimpse into the life of the first vampire from the Para-Earth Series.  Feedback and comments are welcome and encouraged.

http://thevampyreblogs.blogspot.com/2014/01/a-brief-introduction-to-this-blog.html

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On this week’s blog I’m proud to introduce author Cherley Grogg, who is about to release her latest children’s novel “THE SECRET IN GRANDMA’S TRUNK”.  This book will be on Amazon starting July 29th and will be available on Kindle for FREE the 29th-31st.  So please welcome my guest, Cherley.

Cherley Grogg

I’m so glad to have this opportunity to share a little about myself and my children’s novel “The Secret in Grandma’s Trunk”, which is free to download from Amazon for a limited time.   The inspiration for the book came from my grandsons. I have three grandsons and a granddaughter. My granddaughter loves to read, but the boys do not, so I decided to write a book they would love to read. I knew it’d have to have strong kids in it, strong physically and head strong too.  The characters would all have to be realistic with problems and scuffles among themselves, it would have to be fast paced and full of adventure.  Plus my grandsons like sports and girls so I needed to put that in there as well. I couldn’t leave my granddaughter without someone to relate to so I gave the brothers in the story a female cousin who could keep up with them in most things and top them in other things. In addition to the children, there are some strong, funny and interesting adult characters. This book appeals to people of all ages.

The main character in “The Secret in Grandma’s Trunk”, Brandon is not quiet. He’s very outgoing and loud. He’s a leader and his outgoing boisterous personality works well for him, but not listening also gets him into a lot of trouble. Jordan his cousin is a female version of Brandon, but Jacob his brother is the opposite. He’s a quiet listener, a thinker. The 13 year olds get in a passel of trouble because of not listening, and Jacob quietly follows them.

Here’s the Blurb: A teen’s life disrupts when his Great-Grandmother, a stranger comes to live with him and his family. She upsets his life so much that he stoops pretty low to get rid of her, including trying to find a way to get into the oversized trunk she has stored in his garage. Spunky Grandma keeps the key in a special place.

The kids expect treasure, but discover a terrible secret instead, which puts Grandma in danger’s way. Will she turn to her grandchildren for help or to a young ghost?

This is an excerpt from Chapter Fourteen:

Jacob looked astounded. “How in the world did you pull that off?”

“A girl has to have stuff.” She grinned. “You know girl’s stuff.”

“No, we don’t know, and we don’t want to know. The important thing is you got the card.” Brandon reached for the credit card.

“I want to know,” Jacob said.

“Believe me, you don’t want to know,” Jordan laughed as she handed the card to Brandon. “Hurry up. I need to get Dad’s card back to him before Mom’s out of the shower.”

                In the next chapter the kids went to play soccer. Grandma went with them. Here’s an excerpt from Chapter 15:

                Lilly turned to Grandma. “It doesn’t matter what she thinks, she’s not on our team. I don’t know why the coach favors Jordan. Maybe he feels sorry for her. She’s so big and clunky.”

Grandma’s eyes flashed, and her little fist doubled up.  Brandon hoped she wouldn’t spit. He put his hand on Grandma’s shoulder. “Let’s go.”

“I’ll go, but I want her to know that Jordan sure is big.   She has a big heart, and a big personality, and she’s twice the lady that girl is. She would never put someone else down to try to make herself look better.”

“I don’t need to put her down to make myself look better. I always look good.”

Grandma turned her head and spit.

“The Secret in Grandma’s Trunk” is free from Amazon; I hope you will enjoy it. 

Secret Grandma's Trunk

 Free on Amazon-limited time

http://www.amazon.com/The-Secret-Grandmas-Trunk-Along/dp/1475282656

Join me on my Facebook Fan Page:

Cher’ley’s Books are listed below and on sale at Amazon and local bookstores. 

 Stamp Out Murder”.  stamp out murder

The Secret in Grandma’s Trunk” This is an especially good book for your Tween Children and Grandchildren.

Secret Grandma's Trunk

And please join me on my Facebook Fanpage, that’s managed by one of my most faithful fans: Cindy Ferrell

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Here’s a link to Cher’ley’s  WEBSITE

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