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Re: Suicide: More than a plot device The silence is deafening.

Death is something we find horrific The loss of a loved one leaves a gap in our lives that is never quite filled, and changes our personal world and perspective on life. You don't consciously think of that person all the time but there are reminders in things you do or places you go. Sometimes memories and thoughts of them return powerfully at times.

Sudden death shocks you and leaves you wishing you could change the near past to spend some time with those who died, say things you wanted to say or take back words you did. Suicide is worse.
There is a tremendous amount of guilt left in the wake of one. It breaks families and destroys relationships and the questions are unending.

Depression is often blamed, whether the case or not. If they were punishing someone that is very much played down. Some questions are better unanswered.

For those who are depressed it is often the case that they kill themselves when things have got better
and life is looking up. Maybe the fear of things getting worse is a motivating factor. Suicide being the ultimate life choice perhaps they decide to die in a happy place emotionally instead of a sad one.
Perhaps some people are strong enough to refuse to live under certain conditions.

Suicides cluster in families and social groups once there has been a suicide others may follow. Social norms have been broken and permission given for others to follow that path, and they do.

This is a plot device to tread carefully around. It needs to portray the devastation of those left behind, the loss, the grief and the guilt. Death in fiction is often without much impact and I feel suicide is too serious a subject to be glamorized or sanitized and should only be portrayed for what it is and what it does to those remaining.

May 25, 2015, 12:52:59 PM
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Re: One Sentence writing advice "“Some writers confuse authenticity, which they ought always to aim at, with originality, which they should never bother about.” - W.H. Auden

When I was in my teens and early twenties I really cared about having an *original* hook to be the basis of a story. Often I'd be dismayed to find an idea I thought was unique had already been done - in some manner - by another writer. The above quote by Auden got me to stop caring about originality, and to care instead more about how authentic I made my characters and how true their actions were.

May 25, 2015, 07:53:13 PM
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Re: Why I don't generally recommend self-publishing. I actually wrote a whole blog series about this very topic (after I got the rights back to my first book, which was published through a small press, I self-pubbed it and have been pleased with the results) which, ultimately, involved comparing the publishing industry to the videogame industry (my day job).

People self-pub in videogames all the time. We call them "indie" games (one recent example - Minecraft). Even if you make a really good indie game, it is very, very hard to stand out or get noticed, at least relative to a game published by a big publisher (EA, Blizzard, etc). You must do all promotion yourself, you're lumped in with tons of poor quality titles (try getting on Steam and see how that goes), and even then it's often luck (such as a random editor on Kotaku playing your game and writing about it) that determines if you get any traction.

Simply put, while you can self-publish a game, it is ALWAYS better to get a big publisher - despite the huge difficulty in doing so - because you start so much further ahead of the pack. Take all I just said and substitute "book" for "game" and you've got the basics of self-pub vs traditional publishing.

The biggest difference between the videogame industry and publishing industry is that the game industry celebrates indie game publishing, and sees it as a positive, whereas it is still the opposite with the book industry - regardless of the quality of the final product. So that's another caution against self-pubbing a book.

That said, whenever I see someone say "never self-publish" I have the same reaction when people say "never traditionally publish" (which, believe it or not, I have heard from self-pub authors who are doing extremely well). Both options have pluses and minuses. You, as an author, simply need to understand them.

As one final note, at a panel I was on at ConCarolinas this year, one panelist made a very good point. The other thing to remember is that to self-publish "right", you must become a publisher, essentially. This means you must hire an editor, must pay for quality art, and (if you don't know layout) pay for someone to layout your book. Yes, this costs lots of money, but if you don't do this, it's no different from releasing a glitchy, crash-ridden Android game. No one will buy it. So yet another advantage of traditional publishing is they pay these expenses.

August 04, 2015, 10:30:13 PM
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Re: Why I don't generally recommend self-publishing. Thanks for putting this up :-)

A few things people missed/ignored over Twitter:

1. The Tweet I initially sent out was labelled why I don't recommend self publishing your 'FIRST' novel. My point was that essentially that is like playing your first football match for Manchester United. You may one day be a good enough football player to wear a Manchester United shirt at Old Trafford, but it won't be your first ever match. My recommendation was, essentially, when you choose to submit to an Agent and they say 'this is not good enough to publish' and then you turn around and say 'Fine! I'm publishing on the Kindle!' you are just wasting time that you could be writing your next novel. There are obviously exceptions. I bet we can all research an author or two who has published their first novel on Amazon and made millions, but, if you are serious about being a writer, is that the best tactic? Probably not.

2. I did say there are exceptions. Some people genuinely do want to Self Publish. I'm not sure why, but I have spoken to a few people who have never submitted to an agent. There are others who are good writers and will be missed by agents because their work is A) too niche B) of an era gone by C) too far ahead of the market. In these cases there could well be demand for the work and self publishing may make sense, but I do think it is a pretty big gamble. Sanderson is a good example of an author who probably could have Self Published and become rich doing it, but ended up rich Traditionally Publishing anyway... Gollancz said it well: "There are no Ronaldos playing pub football".

August 05, 2015, 08:40:19 AM
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Re: Why I don't generally recommend self-publishing. dammit.  sorry.  one more.

this list:
http://www.amazon.com/Best-Sellers-Kindle-Store-eBooks/zgbs/digital-text/154606011

the large majority of those titles are self-published.  basically, anything on the list selling for $4.99 or less.

August 07, 2015, 04:19:01 PM
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Re: Shattered Sands Chapters I-X Only read to Chapter 4 but yeah, really loving this. The Royal Cushioner I think is where the fixation began. Such an interesting position, and as Eclipse said, made me smile seeing as I had never heard of it. Also adds a good bit of nuance to the world so quickly.

I had already read a review about Barka being young (my age in fact!), so his whole sympathetic scenes didn't really hit me as hard as it probably would other people. Still interested to see how Saraband work with slavery in this context.

But flipping most prostitutes as the other gender (male)? Stroke of brilliance from a social critique standpoint. I know, I know. There's plenty of books out there that does that, but name me some for Fantasy? I know, I should probably be looking at other stuff like characterizations (I forget her name but the woman at the Council meeting was amazing btw) or maybe the setting (alchemy, magic, an actual politic system, and a quasi-Middle Eastern experience?). Yeah, this sounds like my cup of tea when it comes to Epic Fantasy. Something different.

Only problem I have is:

Spoiler for Hiden:
You tend to tell at some points when you could show. Usually a "first book" syndrome, but still, I'm anal about "show don't tell." Nothing too big, and I'm sure it'll work itself out as you get past some of the "back-story" parts, so to speak.

Anyway, I'll pop back in when I reach 10.

August 14, 2015, 07:17:42 PM
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Re: Shattered Sands Chapters I-X Is it ok to admit that it feels amazing to see a Read Along of your own book on these forums?  :-[  ;D

I don't think I'll join in with much, as I would feel the need to explain every little thing and justify many others, and that would be stupid and undesirable for the purpose of an enjoyable read along.

But I'll be keeping close attention to what is posted here, and take all critiques into serious consideration!

Have fun, and thanks for being interested ;)

August 15, 2015, 12:31:37 PM
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Re: Shattered Sands Chapters I-X
the writing feels as though it was written in Portuguese then translated to the English? Am I correct in this? while your English is excellent some of the sentence structure seems strange.

Nope, I never wrote a single line in Portuguese for the book - but I do think in Portuguese, so that may be the source of the problem. I noticed that quite a lot in the beginning, when writing certain sentences that made sense in Portuguese but that sounded strange in English, but it's something I've been working on for a long time.

While I made an effort to spot and change all the instances where this became particularly noticeable, it's much easier for native English speakers to spot it  :)

August 16, 2015, 01:45:10 AM
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Re: When They Shine Brightest IT'S ALIVE! Uh, khem, I mean it’s live! The book’s finally on sale on Amazon!

http://www.amazon.com/dp/B011JD9VEC

http://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B011JD9VEC

http://www.amazon.fr/dp/B011JD9VEC

http://www.amazon.de/dp/B011JD9VEC

http://www.amazon.com.au/dp/B011JD9VEC

http://www.amazon.ca/dp/B011JD9VEC


The Look Inside feature is active, feel free to check it out! Those that pre-ordered it should've received it by now. Happy reading!

August 17, 2015, 08:17:06 AM
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Re: Q & A for Shattered Sands (Spoilers) I'm very happy to answer any questions, thanks for being interested! :)

My first Question is was Ghamzi based on a family member as she reminds me of my mother being very hospitable with asking if anyone needs food and drink hehe?

My grandmother was certainly the greatest source of inspiration for Ghamzi. The one who worries about everyone else first, who stuffs her grandchildren with food because that's her idea of growing up healthy, who makes sure her home is always in order and ready to sit one more person at the table at all times.
Ghamzi comes from a concept of maternal love, and it just developed from that. That's her essence - she is lovely, and cares for all things in the best way she can.

My second question is where did the inspiration come from for talking elephants?

It's one of those ideas that just came out of nowhere. Probably because my strongest motivation was the idea of writing the story which hadn't been written yet, and that I so desperately wanted to read. Elephants have always been amongst my favorite animals, and I always perceived them as very humane creatures, seeing as they cry and mourn the loss of their own. Giving them a voice was only a small thing, compared to how amazing these creatures are.  :)

August 17, 2015, 11:12:58 AM
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