Wednesday, July 15, 2015

Quick Little Poll

Question time!

What's your favorite period of history that never gets used enough in literature? This could be as a setting for historical fiction/fantasy or as a base on which an author builds an entire fantasy world.

Leave your favorite in the comments.

For me, I have no idea. I've never been much into historical fiction. Fantasy for a very long time has been enamored of the medieval world so it's definitely been more of a challenge to find non-European non-Middle Ages inspired worlds.

Thursday, January 8, 2015

When Is It time?

No, this is not one of those, "When's it my time to shine?" posts.

At what point in the long slog of a project do you decide it's no longer viable?

When is it time to toss it in the proverbial dust drawer?

When's it time to say that enough is enough and the characters and plot no longer interest you?

Because if they don't interest the writer they're sure as pigs loving slop not gonna interest a reader.

When is it time to say goodbye to the stories and characters you've spent years listening to? When's it time to say goodbye to the ones whose stories you'll never get to listen to?

All this to say that I may soon be saying all this to yet another fantasy project.

Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Spreading the Cover Love: Even Villains Have Interns by Liana Brooks

Because I love you, dear followers (however few of you came over from my other blog), I'm sharing something very special with you all today.

The cover for the forthcoming Even Villains Have Interns, Book 3 in the Heroes and Villains series by Liana Brooks.

But first, the blurb!


Bootleggers, drug dealers, crooked cops, and dirty politicians... Chicago has always had a reputation for indulging in the finer vices of life. That’s why Doctor Charm’s favorite daughter found America’s Second City so appealing, criminals are never boring. As second in command for the powerful Subrosa Security group, Delilah Samson finds opportunities to use her superpowers at every turn. Whether it’s stealing a priceless French painting from a mobster or stopping a drug deal, she’s game.

In fact, the only thing she doesn’t care for is Chicago’s favorite native son, Deputy Mayor Alan Adale, the man who made Lucifer jealous. Sinfully handsome, or possibly just sinful, Adale has been pursuing Delilah since she first arrived, and she’s been dodging.

When she finds ties between the new kingpin in town and a drug The Company wants to buy so they can create more superheroes, Delilah takes the gloves off. Teaming up with the spooky Spirit of Chicago, she aims to take down the dealers, the mobsters, the kingpin, and The Company. All without falling in love with the one man capable of capturing her heart.

Doesn't that sound amazing?

IT IS!

I've had the awesome pleasure of getting to read a couple of early drafts of this book to help with some major cheerleading whilst Liana wrote and edited the book. Those early drafts weren't even complete yet so I'm dying to see the ending of this one!

Onward to the cover reveal. And let me tell you is it ever so wonderful.

Are you dying from suspense yet?


Don't you just love it?

And just because we love you all, here's a little excerpt!

From the book:

Snow crunched under Delilah's boot as she stepped out of the cab on East Jackson Drive. "Park down by the university," she told Freddie as a voice on the police radio confirmed an ambulance was en route to collect the final remains of Mayor Ar├ímbula. 
Buckingham fountain was beautiful, even late on a winter night. Past the skeletal trees, golden lights illuminated the sparkling water—the strobe of blue and red from the waiting squad cars rather ruined the romantic affect. 
The cab pulled away. Delilah walked through the fresh-fallen snow, drifting across the icy sidewalk with the calm demeanor of someone exactly where they belonged. 
At the edge of the square, one of the officers noticed her. "Ma'am, can I help you?" he said stiffly, shining a flashlight at her face.
"No."
He squinted, trying to make out her face under the black top hat she wore. "Did you hear anything? See anything?"
"I didn't." She watched as the ambulance pulled up and paramedics hurried to the body. They lifted the dead mayor onto a stretcher and a scrap of paper fell out of his pocket. The wind caught it, lifting the paper up out of the snow and blowing it toward her. 
"Hey!" one of the officers shouted. "Somebody grab that! Gelphi! Catch that!"
Delilah snatched the paper out of the air with a gloved hand. "Here," she held it out to the policeman she assumed was Officer Gelphi. Three barely legible words scrawled across the paper: Kalydon - 77 Wacker. 
"Thank you." Gelphi took the paper back with obvious hesitation. "Ma'am, I'm going to ask you to move along. This is a crime scene."
"Of course." News vans were already parking on Lakeshore Drive and she didn't need to be on camera. "Have a good evening." Pivoting on her heel, Delilah strolled back along the snowy streets until her nose was numb. Seventy-seven Wacker was an office building that had been on the market for several months. It wasn't somewhere the mayor would have gone for a party, but a black market business deal? That sounded plausible.
A warm breeze alerted her to company. "Fancy meeting you here," The Spirit of Chicago said.
Delilah stopped, watching him from the corner of her eye. "How did you hear about this?"
"I have friends at the police department. You?"
She shrugged. "I know all the good gossips." She turned to face him, or as much as there was of him. The festively lit streets twinkled through his gossamer body. "Where were you tonight, superhero?"
"Where were you, do-gooder super villain?"
With a grimace, she shrugged again. "Busy. I have an airtight alibi. Over a hundred people saw me flirting with a handsome man tonight. We didn't get as far as drinks. Disappointing, overall. Your turn."
"I was trying to attract the attention of devastatingly beautiful woman."
Delilah almost laughed. "Oh? How'd that work out for you?"
"She looked right through me."
They turned side by side to watch the paramedics cover the late mayor's body. A chill that had nothing to do with the temperature and everything to do with the muted pallor of death wound its way up her spine, leaving her feeling isolated and angry.

Now that you've been absolutely tantalized, here's the scoop:

You can buy it next month. January 16, 2015, to be exact. Go forth and pre-order or whatever it is you people do with your fancy e books.

About Liana:

Liana Brooks would like to SCUBA dive Europa (that moon around Jupiter), but with the NASA shuttle program shut down she’s resorted to writing science fiction instead.  She likes southern beaches, warm weather, sharks, and striped socks. 

Her superhero romance series started with EVEN VILLAINS FALL IN LOVE and continues with EVEN VILLAINS GO TO THE MOVIES and EVEN VILLAINS HAVE INTERNS. For those who prefer their romance without a side order of spandex she’s written PRIME SENSATIONS (part of the Tales From the SFR Brigades anthology) and FEY LIGHTS. 

You can find Liana on the web at www.lianabrooks.com, on Twitter as @LianaBrooks, or on Face Book under the same name.



Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Titles: The Bane of a Writer's Existence

Why is it so hard coming up with decent titles? I've always struggled with it. Woven has gone through several titles over the years, some of which I guarantee I'll never recall. The other books in its trilogy have had various iterations too. Same with the series title.

And it's series titles that are giving me the most grief right now. I'm trying to come up with a series title for my superhero stories. I have a vague notion of the series plot lines that'll run through the books. Right now, I've got about 5 books in the series. I'll be world-building on them come January to really make them connect and pop while standing alone. (There'll be a definite reading order though.)

I think every project I write or set out to write goes through the angst of finding the right name. I know titles change 99.999% of the time between contract and appearing on shelves for purchasing. But it's important to have a title if for no other reason than to be able to hashtag the angst of writing and revising the thing. (And tagging posts appropriately on one's blog.)

Monday, November 17, 2014

Lego Batman 3: Beyond Gotham

I promised this blog was gonna be a lot of me. And that includes video games.

I have a confession to make. I'm in love with the Lego games. Batman 3 will be my fifth title I've bought and played. I've jumped around as far as when the titles were released and when I bought them. My first was Lego Lord of the Rings then Lego Star Wars.

Jumping around in time like that has given me a skewed sense of development in game mechanics and such. That said, here's what I think so far of Lego Batman 3. (I've completed the story and am now in free play mode in hub and levels.)

The good:

~They stuck with the flight mechanic they'd developed for Lego Marvel Super Heroes (which I believe came out after Lego Batman 2). No more of that atrocious target aim for flying that was present in Lego Batman 2.


~The suit wheel is an improvement over the clunky pads in Batman 2.


~Doesn't appear to be as glitchy as the last few Lego titles I've played. I did encounter one fatal glitch on level 4, Space Station Infestation when fighting Killer Croc.


~The voice acting is pretty on par with the other Lego games I've played.


~Graphics are par for the course on a Lego game. (I loved seeing some familiar landscapes in the London portion of "Europe Against It".)

~I like the addition that once you activate a red brick and turn it on in the options menu, it stays on even if you exit the game and turn your console off. (Wii U). This may be a glitch, but if it's not I like the addition.

~When going into a level on free play, some (if not all) of the levels are split into parts, I would assume to make it a tad easier to go back in and pick up something you've missed, say the last mini-kit at the end of the level. I could see it being a useful feature, depending on your play style.

~Big name cameos that felt right and made the game even better.

The bad:

~No changes or improvements to the flight mechanic following Lego Marvel Super Heroes. An on-screen hint did appear during one of the auto-save screens that indicated you can change your elevation while flying using the right-side joy stick on the Wii U. This does not appear to be the case, however.

~Too much handholding in the game. From the bat signals where you can get hints to the automatic changing of suits/characters when at a puzzle, they dumbed it down enough that I'm annoyed. It takes the puzzling out of puzzle-solving to press a button and you're playing in the suit or as the character you need for that section of the level.

~Annoying repeated voice overs. Primarily this is in the control room when you're selecting your levels on the Lantern planets. Every time you go up to it you don't need to hear the "This is what this is" instruction. This was a step back from Marvel Super Heroes where Coulson only told you once that the Helicarrier control room was where you could choose levels.

~I wish they would have put the form change and suit wheel controls on a different button than the character selection button. As it is all three functions are accessed from the X button on the Wii U. This makes free play a bit of a chore, especially if you happen to have one character with a suit wheel and one with a form change. This was a grievance I had in Marvel Super Heroes too.

~Depending on how you play and how you feel, this could be a positive too. The True Hero stude thresholds seemed very high in this game. Depending on how much you like to be challenged in collecting this portion of the levels, this is a bonus or a negative. Once I unlocked the Studs X 2 bonus and turned it on, True Hero didn't seem to be as big a challenge to make.

~Level length. Some of the levels felt really short while others felt incredibly long.

~Big name cameos that made no sense or added nothing. You might know who I mean.

~ Serious lag time in changing suits during free play.

The Ugly:

~ The atrocious camera on the lantern planets. Whose awful idea was it to force a top-down perspective that moves opposite to your movements? Oa seems fine but the rest make me nauseous after 0.2 seconds on the planet. Guess who won't be getting 100% on this game?

Overall, I've really enjoyed the game so far. (Even though some of the levels felt incredibly short.) I'm no comic book aficionado by any stretch, but the little call outs to the films that have been made and to some of the comic book storylines are fun and if you get them add another layer of humor to the game.

Friday, November 14, 2014

New Blog, New Start

Hello, everyone.

You may be a little confused about the redesign, etc., assuming your bookmark was stephanie-mcgee.com and not novicewriterchronicles.blogspot.com.

I've been blogging over at Chronicles of a Novice Writer for a while now. (It's been approximately 5 years, just a little over.)

Recently, I've decided that a fresh start at my writing career warrants a fresh start at some of my social media. Namely, this website. So I've started over.

My old blog remains on the interwebs. But I'm not going to link over to it or anything like that from here. This is my domain to start fresh.

To start over. I started blogging at CNW not sure of a direction or voice. I was just getting started on a writing career and blogging was all the rage. If you wanted to be able to call yourself a serious writer, you had a blog, you had facebook, you had it all.

I've changed a lot over the last five years. I've learned a lot, I've grown. I'm not with an agent yet or published. And that's okay.

For now, this blog will not have a regular schedule of content. But it will have something the last one didn't.

Me.

This blog will have a little bit of writing stuff, a little bit of cosplay stuff, and a lot of me.