The Flight of the Phoenix – Authors

Ahhh, Richard. The man who set me on the next journey in my writing career. He’s one of those guys who will charm the socks off you. I can’t help but listen to his advice. Heck, today I came home with a tub of coconut oil and a packet of coconut flour just because he was telling me about its amazing baking applications.

Initially, I actually met him because he was my middle sister’s best friend’s little brother (at the time, all I really knew about him was that he kept a rat called Rattex). Try that for a tongue twister! Say “my middle sister’s best friend’s little brother” six times fast!

He kept popping up in my life and I never suspected that he would one day be writing right along with me…and that I would learn so much from him.

Here’s what he had to say when I asked him a few questions:

What was the biggest lesson you learned as a contributor to the anthology?

Each writing project teaches you something about yourself, but a collaborative project can acquaint you with your limits. Limits of personal time management, limits of personal leadership and, more importantly, the limitless potential of a collaborative effort. Writing is usually a solitary affair, but when writing for an anthology it’s not just you. Your work needs to match up to others, so you naturally up your game.

An anthology gives you an opportunity that you also don’t always have readily available, access to other writers and an overarching volume editor. These two parties also have a stake in the quality of the anthology, so they tend to provide focussed and valuable feedback to your work, and you to theirs.

If you have the opportunity to write for an anthology, I’d recommend it. Your co-authors will make you a better writer, and hopefully, so will you them.

What are your current writing projects?

It’s a pretty exciting time, actually. I am writing a series with a co-author, the talented Carmen Dominique Taxer, and simultaneously blogging about the process of writing, post-production, publication, and marketing the series on DauntlessWriting.com. I have the aim of doing this full-time, as opposed to trying to squeeze it in between full-time drudgery at a traditional nine to five. We’re going full indie, taking responsibility for every facet of the creative process. Marketing is creative too! I’m hoping that the non-fiction work will be of some help to others who walk the same path as we are.

The series itself is something that I believe will have seen the light of day if the traditional gatekeepers of the publishing world had their say. The beauty of indie authorpreneurship is the ability to do what you want, when you want to, and not being beholden to someone else’s idea of what will be “worthy” for publication. If traditional publishers were honest with themselves, they would admit that they have no idea what makes one book explode onto the bookshelves of every home in the world and another fizzle back down into obscurity.

The series is called Sanguinem Emere, (which is an archaic legal term that, loosely translated, means redemption bought through blood). It is a Gaslight Vamp series which draws from diverse inspirations, such as from the Anne Rice Vampire Chronicles to A Song of Ice and Fire, to the Steampunk genre, to the classics’ Gothic Horror. Like I said, traditional publishers would have had no idea what to do with this.

If an aspiring author approaches you about writing their first novel, what advice would you share?

ABC. Always Be Creating. There is a reason that the first episode of the Dauntless Writing Podcast is on this topic. The rest of the stuff will follow, just get yourself in the seat and write. Even if you think your writing is no good, even if you think you have a bunch of other stuff to do first, like reading up on craft or publishing. Write, because the best way to get better is by writing. Read up, by all means, but never let that stop you from putting words on paper.

Priority number one is Always Be Creating. You can always make it better later as you learn new skills and techniques.

Contact Richard T Wheeler

His personal website

Dauntless Writing

Vampire Bibliographica

Goodreads

Facebook

Twitter – @RichTWheeler

Advertisements

For fellow writers – Dauntless Writing

As a fairly unknown author (don’t worry, I will make it big – no way I’m pulling out of my life dream), I often sit with questions and doubts… If you write, you will know them intimately.

  • This belief that my writing is gold coupled with crippling self-doubt, do other writers suffer from this?
  • Getting feedback on my stories kills my spirit, do I really suck that much?
  • Getting feedback like “I liked it” is nice, but it means nothing to me…how do I get feedback that actually means something?
  • How on earth am I supposed to get around to writing if I have a 9-5 job/kids/household chores/friends?
  • How do I get people to give me feedback on stories? I mean, they know it’s not ready for publishing and they don’t feel like reading it. How do I convince them?
  • People look at me like I’m a bum because I choose to write and be poor for now. How do I deal with the constant judgment?

There are many more. They haunt me everywhere I go.

Luckily, I have found like-minded people. One of these iRichard T Wheelers Richard T. Wheeler, an absolutely invaluable asset to my writer self. Richard has a passion for fellow writers. He loves helping writers find their way. He loves sharing what he has learned in his relentless quest to learn the three big things in writing: craft, organisation and marketing.

I highly recommend checking out his website for fiction writers: Dauntless Writing. He’s adding content as often as he can and it’s all about the stuff independent writers need and want to know.

 

STORM Experiences – Launch

I’d never been to a book launch before, so, this was a first for me. I really had no idea what to expect, except that I knew it wouldn’t be one of those super commercial deals. We arranged the whole thing ourselves. We booked the venue, we got catering and did the sales ourselves.

I must say, though, it was ridiculous amounts of fun (and bliss) to sign hordes of books. I stood for pictures with friends and family. I introduced new fans to the other authors. The whole lot of us sat for an interview that I will soon link for you to listen to. Much to my dismay, I never got around to saying some of the more exciting stuff I had planned… But, more on that another day.

The most exciting news? I actually made money! And, yes, that’s after deducting all the printing and launch costs! *does a happy dance* Sure, I won’t be able to live off it, but I can put it down for the next endeavour!

 

PS. Sorry for the lack of posts lately. It’s been a bit of a run around lately. Building onto our house means that I have no office and my toddler keeps typing “aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa” every time I sit down with my laptop. It also doesn’t help that she goes to bed moments before I pass out for the day myself.

If you’d like to help me get more time, feel free to buy all of my short stories off Smashwords – The Mystic, Beyond and The Gravic Exacerbation or leave me a Bitcoin donation. Daycare would make a world of difference!

Hosting STORM

STORM Volume I & II ebooks are available at:

Smashwords

Apple iTunes

Barnes & Noble

Kobo Store

Storm Volume I

 

 

STORM Volume I

Volume I is amix of fantasy, science fiction, supernatural and dystopian stories where people’s lives are influenced by the occurrence of a storm: physical, moral, supernatural or magical. Set in worlds apart from our own, five authors of the Pretoria Writers’ Group give life to characters doing battle for the survival of their people, or fall over themselves in the process of trying.

What can change the nature of a man? In John’s case, it was 90 seconds. His life before was not a savory one, but now it contained a new force, a change agent, A Girl Called Storm.

The fearsome Serpent Storm that surrounds Yrthull has long kept the Myrrh from their ancestral homeland Beyond. Now, their only hope is to fulfill a prophecy that will eventually allow their people to cross the Serpent Storm and return to the fabled Halls of Gata.

In reGENESIS the scientists are sitting with their hands in their hair, because the human species is dying out. A scientist proposed the use of genetic engineering and found the solution to manipulate the fundamental code of life: the DNA helix. It worked, but there was an unexpected side-effect.

Ilgiprart and Oogithap, Electrosquids from the Fungus Asteroid are sent to earth on a dangerous mission. Their only weapon, a deadly one at that, is the storm in a teacup, As fate would have it they lose control of the weapon in their attempt to escape the farmer’s wrath, A tale of hilarious consequences.

The Icarus Curse – Shiloh realises that she holds the only blueprints that could save the planet from the brink of extinction. Does she have the courage to execute this? Who should she place her trust in, in this new dysfunctional place where nothing and no one are what they seem?

In The Gravic Exacerbation Mestrae Corvic is arguably the least liked person at the University of Yithnisia. If he can’t even convince his own apprentice that Mestrara Mikya and Mestrae Yundra’s latest projects are going to have serious repercussions, how will he convince the rest of the University’s apprentices and mestrari to heed his words of warning

 

Storm Volume II final small

STORM Volume II

Volume II is a mix of contemporary stories where people’s lives are influenced by the occurrence of a storm, physical, moral or imaginary. Set in a modern day setting, four authors of the Pretoria Writers’ Group brings real life in sometimes difficult circumstances to this anthology.

Dandelions for Mother is story about a young girl whose heart is broken when her mother dies from cancer. She is left behind in the big house with her father who is struggling to come to terms with the fact that the church people, his so called family, did nothing as they suffered alone.

In Dahlias and Daisies Carla lives in a poor, gang-infested community on the Cape Flats, and dreams of one day leaving this area. Is it really possible to truly leave such a life behind or are the physical and mental shackles too deeply entrenched?

In Once Upon a Storm a new child joins Lauren’s little group for story time in the orphanage, the evening takes an unexpected turn. As the little storm in the story goes in search of courage, the children test the boundaries of their own limited existence.

In The Cutting Horizon Bryce has been drifting away from his wife of ten years. House bound as the result of a thunderstorm, the Sinclairs have to face the facts, and decide if their future should continue on the same path or separate ones?

STORM Authors – Richard T Wheeler

Tell me about your journey as a writer.

How much space do you have available on your blog?

In short, when you are raised by a librarian and a university lecturer, you tend to grow up with books. I remember a dissatisfaction with the TV shows and comic books that my primary school peers were spending their time on as well as an ennui towards school work in general. Most of my time was spent in the dazzling embrace of books. My most vivid memories came from an illustrated version of King Solomon’s Mines by Sir H. Rider Haggard, and, while it terrified me utterly, it instilled in me sense of wonder in the written word. Now, I don’t recommend that book to someone as young as I was, what with the bloody giant ice skeletons throwing spears through intrepid adventurers and Zulu warriors, (yes that image is still ingrained in my memory), I would, however, recommend reading as a primary escapist entertainment vehicle for children. It made me interesting at dinner parties as a child.

With that background, I find the odds that I would be interested in the inner workings of creating fiction quite staggering. I found that I was good at telling tales from an early age (lying is such an ugly accusation), and started writing short, plagiarism riddled stories by the time I hit high school. Thankfully, all those early attempts were lost to humanity when my parents moved house for the first time. From there, it was a losing battle to attempt to integrate into normal middle class society before I caved to my inertia and started taking writing seriously.

I am currently consuming literature and books on the craft of writing at a ferocious rate while attempting not to deride every attempt I have at writing as drivel to be deleted for the good of future generations who might be as ill-advised as to publish it posthumously.

 

How did you decide on the name for your story in STORM?

Naming a thing gives it identity, gives it form in the imagination and an anchor point for whoever is experiencing the thing. It’s of little help, say, if you are experiencing the object “elephant”, but is a lot better than the terror of the unknown when experiencing said elephant without that framework.

There is a lot to be said about the title of a short story, a novel, or similar. It is the first impression that you will make to a prospective reader, and as such the single most important thing to entice the reader (up until she opens the work and reads the first line, whereupon that line becomes the most important thing, and so forth). Without a great title, she might never get to the first page.

A book can be written on the process of naming a story, the semiotics of it, the psychology of it, the marketing angle, I’d be genuinely surprised if there weren’t several in existence already.

How did I name this story? I took a line from the denouement that seemed to fit and then retroactively tried to apply all the above angles to it. A moment before I decided to become insane and call myself a lemon and declared the puddle in the back yard a gin and tonic, I gave it a rest and stuck with A Girl called Storm.
What was your favourite part of the writing process for your STORM story?

The challenge of facing off against the shorter format, knowing that I’ll have no space to wax philosophically, to extrapolate extraneously, for additional expositional information or for redundancies.The word count limitations tested my current skill at exposition, and I relished that challenge. I found that I grew as an author by writing this short story and pushed out at my horizons to complete it within the deadline that I was provided.
What was the most difficult part of the writing process for your STORM story?

“A person who publishes a book wilfully appears before the populace with his pants down. If it is a good book nothing can hurt him. If it is a bad book nothing can help him.” ― Edna St. Vincent Millay

I have a bit of a pathological fear of letting a piece of writing go. What if one more draft would have made it suitable for human consumption, whereas currently it was an affront to sighted individuals everywhere? I had it edited by our miracle worker in-house editor, Vanessa von Mollendorf, and with her blessing, I pressed send and tried my damnedest not to panic like a father dropping his teen daughter off in front of a crack-house in a bad neighbourhood. I let it go, the cold never bothered me anyway.
What other projects are you working on?

Currently I am in the process of completing the first draft of the second novel in the SanguinemEmere series. It had a bit of a rough time on the backburner in the writer’s equivalent of development hell and I feel that one more push through the breach will get it to the editing stage, and then, to indie publication like its predecessor.

There is also a new project for my author page (http://www.richardtwheeler.com/), where I intend to serialise a novel over 12 months via the page at no cost to the reader. That project will launch with the first two chapters on 1 June 2014, with two chapters delivered on a monthly basis thereafter.

I have also been approached by the esteemed proprietor of this fine page to contribute to a short story to the Flight of the Phoenix collection that she is involved with. I look forward to seeing her reaction to the submission.

On top of that, there is a ghost story novel set in 2010 South Africa that is in development if I can find the time. I hope to finish it this year in light of all the above. It’s going to be literary fiction, because the themes hijacked the story at gunpoint.

 

Author bio

Richard T Wheeler is the co-author of the SanguinemEmere mythology and author of A Girl called Storm in the STORM Anthology. His first co-authored novel, Bought in Blood was published on Amazon in an attempt to save the reclusive and endangered Lesser Spotted Old School Vampire. It is an ongoing conservation project.

Born in Pretoria, South Africa, he farms stories and crippling self-doubt from wherever he can make a laptop and wine spend time in the same room with him. That is if and when he can pry himself away from the novels by Jim Butcher, Sergei Lukyanenko and Terry Pratchett.  He considers borderline alcoholism as part and parcel of the writer’s job description and is starting to understand why Ingrid Jonker walked into the sea.

 

Get in touch with Richard:

http://www.richardtwheeler.com/

http://www.vampirebibliographica.com/