North Carolina author Robert Creekmore‘s initially self-published his first novel Afiri through Amazon.com last year, but quickly withdrew it from commercial publication when he discovered that he could not make it continually available for free. After considering his options, in late February he elected to simply make the novel available as a PDF download from his website. With readers from North Carolina to Saudi Arabia, the move has paid off in more ways than one. Creekmore describes the novel as “polemical, narrative driven, mid-twentieth century science fiction” and it is written in a style “specifically geared toward young adults with Aspergers and High Functioning Autism”. The author is a veteran special needs teacher, who himself has Aspergers, and along with themes of social relationships and autism/neurotypical interaction the book presents a story of oppressive theocracies and segregation. After short introductory chapters dealing with death and hospital bills, young and soon-to-be-homeless Aksel Lauht sets off for the Linville Gorge Wilderness to make it on his own. Before long, however, he stumbles into a star-spanning narrative of genetic engineering and artificial intelligence. Here, Creekmore writes about developing the greater science fictional allegory for his thoughts on our own peculiar species.
By Robert Creekmore:
“The hardest part” wasn’t writing, rather, it is being “me” in a tidal pool of “yous”. First off, there is certainly nothing wrong with being a “you”, rather I’d deem it desirable. The “yous” have an amazing ability: they can read the minds of other “yous”. Then there is “I”. “I” am abnormal, a closed looped mind in a world of clairvoyants. “I” am autistic and you’re probably not. My front row ticket to the Homo-Sapien show has taught me a great many things about the “yous”. The problem is, I have a tendency to be rather intense and talk at people about my ideas, which can give one an air of lunacy. Read the rest of this entry »
Israeli author and game designer Uri Kurlianchik was the first person with whom I had a Google audio chat, way back when we were discussing edits on his short story “The Sad Story of the Naga” in Bull Spec #2. (Or it might have been about his choose-your-own-adventure project I never figured out how to publish in a magazine?) Over the years now, I’ve enjoyed hearing his stories of teaching kids to play roleplaying games — the foolish or genius things that “his” kids try both in and outside of the rules and their understanding thereof has proven quite entertaining, as has watching him develop his own RPG, RATS, about “the rat holy war against humanity”. And his photos of the various landscapes in his travels are mind-blowing. Back in early 2012, he launched an Indiegogo campaign to fund an illustrated 20-story cycle of stories generated from those travels and those landscapes, and from the many peoples who have and still inhabit them. Last fall he e-published the collection as Tales from an Israeli Storyteller, but it took until January of this year for Uri to wrangle a print edition. That epic struggle with margins and fonts is only part of his essay on the hardest part(s) of putting this collection together.
By Uri Kurlianchik:
I have written numerous adventures and locales for various role playing games over the years. I often had to deal with rather capricious clients who insisted on reasonable deadlines, some semblance of readability, and not making offensive remarks about their mothers. This experience made me think that crowd-funding and self-publishing a story collection of my own should be a piece of cake.
In retrospect, I have no idea why I thought this. Read the rest of this entry »
Charlotte author John G. Hartness is a larger-than-life figure in our world, so it’s no surprise that his characters are bold, colorful, and (quite often) either from out of this world or dealing with the things that aren’t. From his first novel The Chosen in 2010 to his “Bubba the Monster Hunter” and “Black Knight Chronicles” urban fantasy series, Hartness has a knack for giving a distinctive — and usually southern and profane, and funny — voice for his characters as well. For his new book, Raising Hell: A Quincy Harker, Demon Hunter Novella, Hartness looked to repeat some of those winning formulae while also creating something new, and in less space than a full-length novel would have allowed.
By John G. Hartness:
Like Darin last month, I’m an old rock and roll fan, so my immediate inclination was to go all Tom Petty on you and say that the waiting was the hardest part. But there were two things stopping me. First, Darin did it better, and second, it just wouldn’t have been true. Read the rest of this entry »
Charlotte “doctor by day, novelist by night” Darin Kennedy‘s debut novel, The Mussorgsky Riddle, is squarely right up my alley. “The Great Gate of Kiev” (part of Mussorgsky’s Pictures at an Exhibition) is one of my favorite pieces of Russian symphony, and Kennedy turns the mythopoeity up to “11” combining music, paranormal mystery, and classical mythology in a heady, panpsychic mix. All set in Charlotte — and the infinite mindscapes therein. Here, Kennedy writes about the hard part of discovering the first person present tense voice of psychic Mira Tejedor, as she struggles to unravel the riddle of 13-year-old Anthony Faircloth’s catatonia. In person, in addition to appearances at MystiCon, ConCarolinas, and ConGregate on the regional convention circuit, Kennedy will take part in the Bookmarks Movable Feast – Winston-Salem, NC on Sunday, January 25 from 3 pm to 5 pm.
By Darin Kennedy:
Tom Petty said “The waiting is the hardest part,” and I have to agree with him. The writing process does seem to be fraught with lots of hurry up and wait. Read the rest of this entry »
I met Cary author Stephanie Ricker through publishing her story “Inseparables’ War” in Bull Spec #7, and her reading of the story at a NC Speculative Fiction night event. I was very happy to see her have a story in the Rooglewood Press anthology Five Glass Slippers: A Collection of Cinderella Stories in June of 2014, and very excited when I learned that she would be continuing the universe of her story “A Cinder’s Tale” in a novella series The Cendrillon Cycle. In December, Ricker published the first of those novellas, The Battle of Castle Nebula, and as you might be able to guess from the cover art, this is a planet-spanning science fictional retelling. And here, Ricker tells us about the hardest part of, well, everything.
By Stephanie Ricker:
When asked what the hardest part of writing The Battle of Castle Nebula was, I’m tempted to gaze back with haunted eyes and melodramatically whisper, “Everything.” Looking back on the process from a comfy couple months without looming deadlines, I’m forced to admit that’s not really true.
But, wow, did it feel that way. Read the rest of this entry »
I don’t have too much of an intro for you this time as I’ve only almost met Raleigh author Bridget Ladd. I can tell you that she came to my attention by way of Bull Spec art director (and fellow ECU grad) Gabriel Dunston, and that her 2013 dystopian Steampunk debut novel The Lotus Effect has received (and continues to pick up) acclaim and readers and reviews, including being named a Cygnus Award Winner. (It’s also available in a fantastic audiobook edition, narrated by Elizabeth Klett.) Last year, Ladd published a sequel, book two in her “Rise of the Ardent” series, entitled Ardent Ascension, and here she writes about “forging” ahead in her series. (For which, incidentally, she’s just unveiled the cover for Soul Arbor, the forthcoming third book.)
By Bridget Ladd:
Last night, after what felt like hours of scouring through my extensive Netflix queue, I finally settled for a Nova documentary, Secrets of the Viking Sword, which showcased the legendary Viking sword ‘+VLFBERH+T’ which may have you thinking, what’s that got to do with this article? Well, many things! First off, now you know I’m a dweeb and secondly, I’m going to illustrate how forging a sword (an awesome sword) relates to writing a great second novel. Read the rest of this entry »
I used to rely on (former) local author Michael Jasper to help manage magazine deliveries to Wake Forest’s Story Teller Bookstore. Now that he’s been living in Boone for a few years, I can only continue to rely on him for fantastic stories. The author of a fantastic collection (Gunning for the Buddha) and digital comic series (In Maps & Legends), novels of first contact sf (The Wannoshay Cycle) and contemporary fantasy (A Gathering of Doorways, which is excerpted in Bull Spec #1), a YA contemporary fantasy series (“Contagious Magic”), and the best supernatural historical baseball novel I’ve ever read (The All Nations Team), Jasper is back with a new novel, out yesterday, starting a new series set in Boone. Here he writes about the struggles of finding the right voice and perspective for that novel, Finders, Inc.
By Michael Jasper:
While the actual writing, editing, and revising of my novel Finders, Inc. took less than half a year, the book itself required over five years for me to figure out how to write it. That was definitely the hardest part.
The novel is a mystery set in the northwestern corner of North Carolina, and it features two misfits from the mountains: Hank Johnson, a 5’5″ black guy obsessed with fitness and his personal code of honor, and Bim Mayer, a 350-pound white guy with no fashion sense and the ability to connect psychically to other people. Together, they fight crime! Read the rest of this entry »