Welcome to my blog!

Welcome to my blog! This is my journey, my first steps into the world of fictional writing. This blog is an online journal of sorts, where I share the progress of my work as well as what I have learned along the way. I hope you enjoy your time with me and that my experience may be of some use to you.

Friday, August 26, 2016

By the Book - Science Fiction


Welcome back,



            I chose the following book, Science Fiction, because it sounded different from what I usually read. It is a retro/sci-fi style adventure, pitting humans against world conquering aliens. I came across this book at the free library at my campsite, and had the opportunity to read it over a week end. Though this makes it sound like my reading speed skills magically increased to record breaking levels, I must confess that the book is roughly sixty pages long. Despite its diminutive size, I still managed to take away something from this novella.


The No-Frills Books were a series of novellas with generic black and white covers published in 1981. There were a total of four books in the series, each meant to represent a different genre; Mystery, Romance, Western, and Science Fiction. Today I am reviewing the book called Science Fiction, which is an obvious comical look at old-school retro sci-fi, complete with outlandish plot, stilted dialog and one-dimensional characters. This book was intentionally written in an exaggerated manner and filled with throwbacks and clich├ęs. Bottom line; it is so bad that it is good.  




Back of the Book:
“Science Fiction: Complete with Everything: Aliens, Giant Ants, Space Cadets, Robots, and One Plucky Girl”


Could not find any official site for this publication, so here is a listing on Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/Science-Fiction-Complete-Everything-No-Frills/dp/0515062472


What I learned:
  • The importance of editing: If I ever had the opportunity of publishing a novella, one of the first things I would do is make sure it was well edited. Unfortunately that is not the case with Science Fiction. In a story that is not even sixty pages long, I found several spelling mistakes.
  • The importance of consistency: The style of this story was meant to have stereotypical characters and plotlines, however I found there were a few inconsistent elements throughout the book. The most obvious culprit was the lead female character, who plays the role of the strong independant woman in the first few pages, only to turn into a damsel in distress by the end of the book. Also, the goal of the main protagonist was to save his father, but what is the point if doing so means the world gets destroyed in the process?
  • Retro Fiction: One thing this book got right, was embody the retro-sci fi experience. It successfully recreates the feeling of a futuristic setting as imagined in an earlier era. Just any science fiction story can include elements such as aliens and robots, but details like giant insects and bubble glass helmets is what gives this story it's retrofuturism tone.  


There was no author listed on this publication, only the publisher (Jove Books) who I can only assume either wrote the book themselves, or contracted someone to do so. For those interested in learning more about Jove Books, please check out the following website:


In closing, though this book had its fair share of shortcomings, it did succeed at its goal, which was to entertain. Not to mention it did teach me a few important points as well. I would like to thank my wife Linda, my family and my friends for the tremendous amount of encouragement they keep giving me during this endeavor.


Until next time!


Cheers,

            Patrick Osborne

Friday, August 19, 2016

Interview (follow-up) - Andy Peloquin


Greetings!
 
           Today we welcome back an author I had previously interviewed; the self-proclaimed Lover of All Things Dark and Mysterious, Andy Peloquin.






Link to previous interview:


Andy has been very busy with his new series lately, and is getting ready to release his second book; The Last Bucelarii: Lament of the Fallen. We hadn’t spoken much in the months following our interview, so I was happy to hear from Andy and what he has been up to. I saw this as an opportunity to do my first ever follow-up interview, and Andy was more than happy to participate and share his experience with us.


What have you been working on lately?

A whole gods-darned lot! Since our last interview (late 2015), I've:
* Finished Book 2 in my The Last Bucelarii series, submitted it to the publisher, and have published it! (August 19th)
* Finished Book 3 in the same series and submitted it for publishing (hopefully early 2017).
* Written the first draft of the Book 4 and gotten back alpha reader notes. Work begins as soon as the Book 2 launch is over.
* Completed a 120,000-word grimdark fantasy novel and begun shopping it around to agents.
* Had a short story accepted into an upcoming anthology.
That's not to mention all the smaller secret side projects I can't tell you about. It's been one heck of a crazy year, and I've loved every minute of it.


Has everything gone according to the way you had planned? (If not, why and how did you manage the situation?)

I'd have to say there was a smidgen of disappointment when The Last Bucelarii (Book 1): Blade of the Destroyer didn't quite make it to the #1 spot in the dark fantasy category last year. Authors always hope to get their work into best-seller spot, so it's hard to see the book come so close (#9, and #3 in Top New Releases) and not quite make it. But that's part of the publishing game, right? You try your best, enjoy your successes, and smile through your disappointments. It doesn't just take a thick skin to be an author--you've also got to know how to keep soldiering on through letdown.


Did the results of your work meet your expectations? (If so, how? If not, why?)

I'd have to say I'm beyond thrilled by the feedback and reviews I've received. Out of 75 reviews on Amazon, 95% are very positive. The book has a 4.6 star rating (out of 5), and even the few 3-star ratings I've received have been due to simple mistakes or people simply finding it too gory or gruesome for their tastes. There were no big flaws or errors. For that, I'm incredibly delighted.
But more than that, I've found that most people who read about the Hunter find themselves drawn to the character. There's something innately human and relatable about the flawed character, something that people love. Instead of seeing a shiny hero with a heart of gold, they're reading about a cynical, ruthless criminal who has just enough humanity to make him both intriguing and empathetic. They love him, and for me, that's worth more than gold! (Almost…)


Looking back, is there anything you would have done differently, and why?

Honestly, I can't say I'd do anything different. I was incredibly pleased with the completion of both Books 1 and 2 in the series, and I'm loving where the Hunter's story is progressing (through Books 3 and 4, and eventually through Book 6). I can't wait to bring readers on the twisting, terrifying journey the Hunter will go through to finally come to terms with who--and what--he is.


Given your recent experiences, do you have any new advice for other writers?

Don't give up! Writing and being an author is an incredibly difficult career, one with very limited chances for success. You have a better chance of being elected CEO than you do of becoming a successful writer. But so what? If you can tell your stories and share pieces of yourself with others, isn't that worth it? I know it is for me!


            I couldn’t agree more. Money was never the main reason why I decided to start writing a few years ago (though it wouldn’t hurt, lol) but rather the idea of leaving a part of myself out there. The idea of something I created enduring even after I’m gone is what finally motivated me to get started on my book.


For those who are interested, Andy was kind enough send me all the details about his upcoming book. Here is the information on the book, and where to purchase it:


Book Info:
Title: The Last Bucelarii (Book 2): Lament of the Fallen




Author: Andy Peloquin
Official Launch Date: August 19th, 2016
Publication Date: July 21, 2016
Paperback Price: 15.99
Digital Price: 3.99
Pages: 340
ISBN: 1535388668


Tagline/Elevator Pitch:
A faceless, nameless assassin. A forgotten past.  The Hunter of Voramis--a killer devoid of morals, or something else altogether? (The Last Bucelarii--dark fantasy with a look at the underside of human nature)


Book Blurb:
The Last Bucelarii (Book 2): Lament of the Fallen
The Hunter of Voramis is no more.
Alone with the bloodthirsty voices in his head, fleeing the pain of loss, he has one objective: travel north to find Her, the mystery woman who plagues his dreams and haunts his memories.
When he stumbles upon a bandit attack, something within urges him to help. His actions set him at odds with the warrior priests commanded to hunt down the Bucelarii.
Left for dead, the Hunter must travel to Malandria to recover his stolen birthright. There, he is inexorably drawn into direct conflict with the Order of Midas, the faceless, nameless group of magicians that holds the city in a grip of terror. All while struggling to silence the ever-louder voice in his mind that drives him to kill.
From feared assassin to wretched outcast, the Hunter's journey leads him to truths about his forgotten past and the Abiarazi he has pledged to hunt. His discoveries will shed light on who he really is…what he really is.
Fans of Joe Abercrombie, Brandon Sanderson, and Brent Weeks will love the Hunter…


Buy Links:


           Seeing a fellow writer progress is truly inspiring. It reminds the rest of us that, though the road to success is not easy, it is still possible. I would like to thank Andy for sharing his experience with us, and to wish him the best of luck on his new release and on his upcoming books. Keep in touch!


Until Next time,

Cheers,

           Patrick Osborne

Monday, August 15, 2016

100 for 100 part 2



Welcome back!
           A few months back, I had posted part one of my 100 for 100 promotional initiative. Though I am still far from my original goal of 100 followers on my Facebook Page, I have reached 10k views on my blog. So it is with great pleasure that I post part 2 of my campaign.

           The following is a shortened extract from the backstory of a paranormal-military inspired group that will play a major role in my story. The initial incident is based on true events, then gradually has paranormal elements added in.


I hope you all enjoyed this small taste of what I have been working on. Stay tuned, as I will be posting more as my blog and social media accounts crosses more milestones.

Until next time.

Cheers,

           Patrick Osborne

Monday, August 8, 2016

Inspiration part 14 - Aquariums


Welcome back!



    The massive heat waves we’ve been experiencing recently made me wish I could find a way to cool down. So to get our minds off the debilitating temperatures and ridiculous humidity, I figured why not focus our imagination on more interesting things, like summer vacation! With my own vacation just around the corner, I decided to base this month's inspiration post on one of the highlights from last years trip to Chicago. I still have plenty of photos to share, so this is a great opportunity to show you all what else we encountered while in the Windy City.



While in Chicago, one of the great locations Linda and I had the opportunity to visit was the Shedd Aquarium. Conceptualized by John Graves Shedd, the aquarium was which bears his name was inaugurated in 1930 and has seen two expansions since. It is located in Grant Park, not far from the Field Museum and the Art Institute of Chicago.


With a neoclassical style, the building is made out of white Georgia marble and terra cotta. There is a fountain near the main entrance, depicting a man holding a giant fish, which greets visitors as they approach the aquarium. Once past the main doors, we enter the main hall, with its white walls, marble floors and high ceilings, giving the room an appearance that is both sophisticated and imposing.








    There are many things to see once you are past the ticket lines. First, we will take a look at some of the exhibits, displays and interactive kiosks available.


    The goal of a public aquarium is to showcase aquatic life for educational and scientific purposes. Thousands of different species are displayed in hundreds of different aquariums of different shapes and sizes. Also present are human sized sculptures of aquatic animals, either to indicate the content of a nearby tank, or to help visualize the actual size by comparison. There are also interactive kiosks, one of which was Linda’s favorite, sting ray petting!





 


 
 


Next we come to the most obvious component of an aquarium: the marine life. A wide variety of species, ranging from fish, to invertebrates, to amphibians, to mammals, can be seen up close. Their holding tanks are meant to imitate their natural habitat, which not only to makes the animals more comfortable, but increases the experience for the visitors as well.


 


 


 


 


 

 


As you can see, a trip to the aquarium, especially one as big and impressive as the Shedd Aquarium, can be especially beneficial for any writer. Maybe you are searching for references on neoclassical structures, or the layout of a public aquarium for a particular scene. Perhaps you need to study underwater environments for a story taking place at sea, or take a closer look at some aquatic life for a character concept (good fictional fish examples include Jaws the shark, Nemo the clownfish, or the classic white whale from Moby Dick).




    I hope you enjoyed this month's inspiration post as much as Linda and I enjoyed visiting the Shedd Aquarium. I strongly encourage you to go out there and experience it for yourself.


Until next time.


Cheers,

            Patrick Osborne


***all pictures are taken by myself. Copyright Patrick Osborne, 2015***



Monday, August 1, 2016

Current Projects part 19


Welcome back!


    This past month has just evaporated. Between work, renovations and a family life, it felt like July was gone before I had a chance to realise it was here. My head isn’t done spinning, and I have been feeling stretched thin all month. With everything going on, I barely managed to meet my goal of getting some writing done everyday. So because of my crazy schedule, the content for the month of August is still up in the air. I may manage to get my usual four to six articles done this month, or I may have to sacrifice content in favor of other responsibilities.


    Bottom line, it is all about finding balance. Despite all the craziness going on in your life, you must find a way to get some writing done. With that being said, let’s see what I have been up to.


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    This past month has seen the next milestone in my creative journey; reaching ten thousand views on my blog! To honor the event, I will be writing another ‘’100 for 100’’ post, which will be the second part of my Cerberus Initiative background write-up. Hope you all enjoy it.


As for progress on my story, I recently completed the write up for another main character, Ana Fernandez. Ana will be one of the allies of the main protagonists, and will be playing a pivotal role in the storyline. She is an inventor, and will be creating various devices which will affect the story’s progress in some way. With her completed, I can now move on to another supporting character; Vivian Winters. Vivian’s role will revolve around practicing magic and studying the arcane. She will be depicted as a woman who is very knowledgeable in her field and wise beyond her years. While Vivian will also be portraying a highly educated character, her personality will be the polar opposite of Ana’s. I’m hoping the contrast between these two characters will play well off of each other.


People have been asking me why I bother with creating character profiles and not just go straight to writing the story. The simple answer; it’s how I learned to write. Most of my writing has been done while working for Missing Worlds Media, where components of the setting and characters had to be ironed out before any progress on the story was made. I find this method to be quite practical, as it helps me flesh out the characters in my mind, making it easier for me the write their conversations or guide their actions in scenes. I’m very grateful to the other writers from MWM, for everything they taught me about organization, planning ahead and the writing process.


Speaking of Missing Worlds Media, I haven’t done any substantial work on the project in the past month. I am currently still waiting for reviews of my submissions, catching up on other people's work and attending meetings whenever I can. For more information on the game’s progress, please check out the following links:




    The renovations for my wife's studio are still underway. We did some more demolition in the stairs and installed new appliances for what will be an accessible bathroom for her business. What is most impressive, however, is the work we managed to get done in the studio itself. It took us an entire weekend, but we completed a good 95% of the room. Here is the latest picture of Linda’s future business; Glam & Glow, Microblading & Permanent Makeup.






Am I shamelessly plugging my wifes business? Maybe. But there is a point to why I am doing it here on my writing blog. There was a moment when I felt that writing a book was going to be an impossible task, but seeing Linda pull this project together has been truly inspiring. In order to achieve so much progress, Linda had to take some risks, make some sacrifices and work harder than she has had before. There is something to be said about watching someone fight for a dream they believe in, and now Linda is my tangible proof that if you want something badly enough, you can make it happen. Helping her on this project has renewed my own self-confidence and determination.


    Several months ago, I had made mention of wanting to start sculpting in order to get a three dimensional vision of my concepts. I am currently looking into polymer clays and how their characteristics, since I have no experience with it. Last time I sculpted, was with standard earth clay while studying visuals arts back in college, some fifteen years ago. I am looking forward to see what I can come up with.


    That is all I have for this month. In closing, I want to thank everyone for taking the time to visit my blog, and I want to give special thanks my wife Linda, for being an inspiration and a driving force in my life (and for giving me the occasional kick in the pants when I need it).


Until next time.


Cheers,


Patrick Osborne