Category Archives: Sci-fi

Grouchy Bear Wearers Who Drink Beer – Guest Post…

Craig Boyack is a guest on The Story Reading Ape where he discusses what authors should not be writing; how writing to the market is a risky business; and what he does to make his characters unique…

Chris The Story Reading Ape's Blog

November marks the third installment of the three post package the Story Reading Ape offered. So far we’ve talked about short form fiction, and paranormal. I also write science fiction and fantasy.

Since these shouldn’t be just promotional, let’s discuss something few authors discuss. What shouldn’t we be writing?

All authors have strengths and weaknesses. Many times we don’t learn what they are until we write something out. It’s a tough lesson to learn with 120,000 words of fantasy. This is where short forms are so helpful to an author. If it doesn’t work out, you’ve lost a weekend. With a novel, you may have lost a year.

Writing to the market is a risky business. In many cases the market changes before the author can reach it. I know there are any number of sparkly vampire novels and schools for witches novels that missed the mark. I think the…

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Macabre Macaroni – Guest Post…

Don’t let the title of this guest post fool you. Craig Boyack is anything but macabre. He’s a down-to-earth, hard-working father and husband who just happens to write sci-fi and fantasy. During the month of October, he’ll be running multiple promos, will have an Amazon giveaway, and will post some micro-fiction on his blog that he calls Macabre Macaroni. Hop over to The Story Reading Apes’ blog for all the details 🙂

Chris The Story Reading Ape's Blog

It looks like Chris decided to allow me back after my last post. I’m honored to be here, and this is the second of four posts he offered.

October is my favorite month of the year. I was born in October, so maybe that’s part of it. I like the changing leaves, the dropping temperatures, and the hint of mischief in the air, Halloween is coming you know. One of the things I have planned this year is to be everywhere during October. This post is part of that effort.

My own blog is called Entertaining Stories and it’s basically Craig central. It feeds into my Facebook Page and Twitter, but the madness happens on the blog.

This month I’m going to be running multiple promos. At the time of this writing, I haven’t initiated them yet (It’s August right now) but here is what I have planned…

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Natacha Guyot, Author

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Natacha Guyot is a French researcher, author, and public speaker. After studying at Paris III Sorbonne Nouvelle and King’s College London, she relocated to Texas in summer 2016. There, she has embarked on a new academic journey: she started doctoral studies in Arts and Humanities at the University of Texas at Dallas.

Welcome, Natacha!

Tell us a little about yourself.  I was born and spent most of my life in France. I lived one year in London and relocated to Texas in summer 2016 to start a Ph.D. in Arts and Humanities at the University of Texas at Dallas. I am a Christian and a Science Fiction/Fantasy nerd. I have strong feminist bones. I love cats, books, and Earl Grey tea. I have been a storyteller since I was a child and wrote my first book when a teenager. I only published fiction a few years ago, though I published academic papers and nonfiction prior to that.

What is the title and genre of your latest book, and who book-natacha-dream-crusherpublished it?  My latest book is Dream Crusher, a Science Fiction novella. Like my previous titles, it is self-published. It has been a very compelling learning curve over the past years to learn more about this process. I enjoy the versatility and creativity control coming with it, especially since I write such diverse kinds of titles.

Tell us a little about your book. Dream Crusher takes place in another planetary system, generations after Earth was destroyed. Some of the human survivors became settlers in this system where multiple species had cohabited for a very long time. A special agent finds out about a biological weapon in the making. He has to team up with the targeted species, the Prisias, to prevent the genocide. He and his team must go against orders to keep quiet because what matters to them is to save lives.

book-natacha-clairvoyanceWhat inspired you to write it?  The inspiration for Dream Crusher came from a male character I wrote in another setting at some point. He was the inspiration for Morden Avachk, the protagonist of the novella. It was a challenge for me as I normally have female main characters. Yet, a lot resonated to me with Morden. The world comes from ideas for older stories and thinking in a more immersive way because of playing many video games at that time. Diversity became one of the most important elements in it, although it isn’t a novelty in my work. I liked being able to see what humans may bring to another setting, as being the foreigners, and how this isn’t always positive. It originally was a short story and then I decided to expand on it and turn it into a novella. It also sets the universe for other books, though not direct sequels.

When did you first start writing?  Since I learned how to write, so when I was in first year of elementary school. Prior to that, I have some memories of making up stories already. Storytelling and imagining worlds have always been a strong component of my personality.

What authors have most influenced you? How and why?  This is a book-natacha-galaxydifficult question. From a fiction point of view, I would say C. J. Cherryh, Anne McCaffrey, Joan D. Vinge, Timothy Zhan, Philippa Ballantine. My fellow author and friend Rose B. Fischer has also been very inspirational over the years. From a nonfiction/ academic point of view, I have to include Joseph Campbell, Frederick Turner, Clarissa Pinkola Estes. I am fairly sure I am forgetting other names that have had an impact on my writing, but right now my book collection is still in France so I don’t have it within reach!

What was the first book that touched you deeply?  I loved fairy tales when a child, and some beautiful fairy tale books from then are also coming to Texas within the next couple months. They have had a strong influence on me. C. J. Cherryh’s Serpent’s Reach, Anne McCaffrey’s Dragonflight are two outstanding examples that touched me so much they inspired me to write more and understand it was my calling.

book-natacha-talynWhat genres do you like to read?  Fiction-wise, I mostly read Science Fiction and Fantasy, unless it is for classes. Nonfiction- wise, I read a lot pertaining to my field of interest: the aforementioned genres, film studies, gender studies, fan studies, mythology, writing craft, publishing and marketing. I also read a lot of Christian nonfiction.

How do these books affect your writing?  Reading in my favorite genres help me continue to get new ideas as well as keep up with some of what’s being written in them, especially since I write for these. Nonfiction helps me get broader understanding of life, of my fields of interest, and become more educated and have my attention directed to elements I might not have considered to include in my writing. It doesn’t always happen on a conscious level, and sometimes I reflect on it when revising or promoting one of my titles.

Where do you like to write? Why?  I love writing at my desk. This is book-natacha-j-winchestermy favorite place! When I moved to Texas and had to get a new desk and live at a new place, making sure that I liked my desk and where it was in my room was important. I enjoy being able to sit at the desk and work on the computer. I always carry a notebook and pencils with me, but direct writing is something I prefer doing on the computer (in Word). I also like having my stock of Earl Grey tea and my electric kettle nearby!

What time of day do you like to write? Why?  That depends, really. I tend to get up early and go to bed really early, so this happens during daytime. I normally write when I am not on campus, although lately I have been mostly working on class papers instead of original writing; but the same preferences apply.

book-natacha-before-makoIn what genres do you write?  All of my books, whether fiction or nonfiction relate to Science Fiction or Fantasy (and complex female characters). Most of them are in English, and my first novella that I published in French a few years back should be released in English in a couple of years. I am more comfortable with collections of short stories (Clairvoyance Chronicles Volume One) or novellas (La Cite de Sharianth, Dream Crusher). My nonfiction work for film studies, gender studies, fan cultures, tends to follow a similar pattern, with collections of essays (A Galaxy of Possibilities: Representation and Storytelling in Star Wars) or interviews (Sci-Fi Women Interviews: The 2015 Collection) or individual essays (Before Mako Came Yoko: Comparative Studies between Pacific Rim and Yoko Tsuno, John Winchester’s Orchestrated Fall from Grace in Supernatural, Talyn’s Heroic Journey in Farscape). I am also looking into writing more about faith and Christianity in the upcoming years.

E-books or paper ~ do you have a preference?  Regarding my own book-natacha-sci-fi-womentitles, I stick to eBook only for shorter pieces or ones I keep available for free. Otherwise, I offer my titles in both eBook and print. As a reader, I much prefer paper! I have some digital titles and use the Kindle app on my computer, but I much prefer reading physical copies.

How and where have you marketed your work? I market primarily online, via my social media platforms. I also have wonderful fellow bloggers, authors, and friends writing reviews, inviting me for interviews (thank you, Tina!) and for guest posts. I also talk about my work offline when I get an opportunity. I hope to be able to attend some small conventions and author events in the future, especially now that I have relocated to Dallas.

book-natacha-gender-dynamicsDo you have other publishing credits?  I have been publishing a fair number of titles over the past years. Besides my self-published titles, I have also published several essays internationally and also co-edited a couple of academic volumes. You can find a complete list of my publications on this page (with links whenever possible). I have also been a public speaker at various academic events.

What is your current writing project?  Right now I am focusing on class projects, as well as the promotion of Dream Crusher. When I get time to work on original fiction again, I will return to the English translation of a novel I wrote in French a decade ago that is also in need of heavy revision. I hope to publish this as serial fiction around 2019. I also need to write the second Clairvoyance Chronicles volume, so these are the two next writing projects I want to tackle.

If you have a blog, what subjects do write about?  I do have a blog. I book-natacha-la-citewrite mostly about writing, Science Fiction, popular culture and feminism. I have been developing a monthly feature for almost two years now: Sci-Fi Women Interviews celebrates a woman creating, writing, enjoying, promoting Science Fiction every last Friday of the month. I also interview authors that work within my fields on a regular basis. I hope to include more about faith and Christianity in the upcoming months, as I am still pondering on how to best do that.

Where can your books be purchased?  My free eBooks are available on Smashwords. All of my paid titles are available Amazon. If they are available in print format, you can purchase paper copies through Createspace store as well as Barnes & Noble’s website.

book-natacha-feminist-bloggersWhat advice would you give a new writer?  The long version would be my blog series The Digital Quill’s Writing Tips. The short version would be to read and write a lot. Educate yourself through various types of resources and understand that practice is crucial.

What do you wish to say to your readers?  Thank you for your support! I am grateful that my books resonate with you, and I hope you will continue to enjoy more of my books. I am always happy to speak with you, so don’t hesitate to reach out to me via email, comments, or social media.

Thank you, Natacha, for being my guest. It was a pleasure to learn more about you.

Natacha’s main fields of interest are Science fiction, Gender Studies, Children Media, and Fan Studies. Besides her nonfiction work, she also writes Science Fiction and Fantasy stories. She is a feminist, nerd, Christian, cat lady, book dragon, and Earl Grey drinker. Her new Science Fiction novella, Dream Crusher, is coming out in Kindle and paperback format in November 2016.

Learn more about Natacha:   Website   Twitter   Facebook   LinkedIn   Goodreads   Amazon   CreateSpace   Barnes & Noble   Smashwords

 

Working With Non-Human Characters – Guest Post…

A terrific guest post by Jaq D Hawkins on anthropomorphizing non-human characters. Hop over to the The Story Reading Ape and read the full article ~ very detailed and enlightening 🙂

Chris The Story Reading Ape's Blog

Fantasy, Science Fiction and Horror writers have a few things in common, but I want to address just one: Non-human characters. Whether your character is an elf, an alien or the creature from the black lagoon, we, as humans, have a tendency to anthropomorphise these non-humans and that can rob them of their unique attributes that make them interesting characters for your story.

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To make an interesting non-human, the writer has to break away from assumptions and values that would be applied to human characters. Aspects of a non-human character’s behaviour would be determined by environment, back story and level of development.

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For example, in the movie Enemy Mine with Dennis Quaid and Lou Gossett, Jr., the alien creature has distinctive eating habits and survival mechanisms that differ from the human character, including reproducing asexually. Another, more diverse example is the Lord of the Rings series by J.R.R. Tolkien. The…

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The PTS Files – The Rorschach Test – Guest Post…

Are you a realist or a dreamer? Pragmatic or idealistic? Enjoy Phillip T. Stephens’ guest post on The Story Reading Ape’s blog 🙂

Chris The Story Reading Ape's Blog

The Rorschach Test

Imagine yourself driving down a rural highway…

Imagine you and your lover, or a former lover, driving down a rural highway at midnight, a two lane highway with no illumination other than your headlights and the stars. The moon set an hour ago and the clouds drifted away.

You argue about how badly you mistreated his parents, boss, former friend or second cousin who hasn’t spoken to him for years. Or perhaps her head is collapsed against the windshield while she snores, and you can see a single drop of saliva rolling down her chin. 

This leaves you trying to tune in a late night ball game from the West Coast because even baseball is better than Tammy Winette singing “D-I-V-O-R-C-E” between occasional waves of static.

Suddenly she jumps in her seat, or he shakes his head, points to the windshield and shouts: “What’s that?”

You see three lights, two…

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