Planet Fleep is Here!

Today I’m excited to share my new middle grade novel with you! It’s on pre-order starting today for just .99 (if it’s not available at your favourite retailer yet, it will be along soon!).

Robots don’t always know best!

When a meteorite storm wreaks havoc on their family’s cargo ship, sort-of-twins Rudi and Trudy find themselves stranded on an alien planet. In their search for help, they uncover a fiendish plot against the friendly and mysterious alien critters the twins call “fleeps.” With only an overprotective robot for company, can they survive on their own, find their parents, and save the fleeps from a horrible fate?

I’m really pumped about this beautiful and fun cover from goonwrite.com, and early comments from advance readers are very positive. The print version of Planet Fleep will follow in September, but all ebook formats are available to pre-order now. The book’s official release date is June 20th.

If you can’t wait for the full release, you can read the first five chapters in this preview. You can subscribe to my newsletter at that link as well, but it’s not required.

This pre-order sale is a great chance to pick up a copy for your e-reader, just in time for summer vacation reading to your kids! I promise there’s lots of fun and fast-paced adventure ahead!

Sherry’s Challenge Writing Prompts

So, you know how sometimes you get a fun idea, and you want to run with it, but your common sense speaks up and says, “Hang on, you have far too many plates in the air already, stop this nonsense and save that for another time”? And you sensibly listen to your common sense and put the idea aside?

Yeah, I don’t listen, either.

So here’s what happened. I was making an infographic in Canva the other day, and I noticed that they have a whole lot of free layouts for Pinterest graphics as well. Customizable images you just add text to, and voila! A lovely, pinnable, Pinterest pin.

“Cool,” I thought, and went on with my infographic. But a little voice in the back of my mind (NOT my common sense) was saying, “you could do something fun with those…”

And then I thought it would be fun to make some writing prompts with them, using the graphic images as inspiration. And then I thought I could try to create a writing prompt for each of them that Canva provides for free. AND THEN my writing prompt personal challenge was born.

I created a Pinterest board (naturally) as a home for the project. Here’s how I described it:

I’m challenging myself to create a writing prompt based on each free Pinterest graphic offered on Canva. I’m trying for five per week until I’ve done them all, and they will quite probably be SF/F/H prompts (have you met me?). I’ll pin the prompts here, and anyone can take a prompt and run with it. Have fun! If you write something based on one of the prompts, let me know! :)

Now, I’m not sure how many images there are. For all I know, there could be no end to them. Or Canva could go away and leave me in the lurch. And hey, sure, this could fizzle out like so many ideas do, but for now I’m having fun with it. There’s only one pin on the board so far, but another will follow today. Pop over and have a look! Who knows…they could get you started on a whole new story…

If you write anything based on one of the prompts, let me know! I’d love to hear about it.

The Picture Perfect Writer-Blocked and Anguished

Earlier this evening, I came across an article called “Stock Photos of Scientists Reveal That Science is Mostly About Staring.” It was a collection of stock images hashtagged #BadStockPhotosOfMyJob and quite funny. Because yes, most of the stock photos of scientists show them just…staring at various things.

Okay, I get it; it’s difficult to represent the dynamic undertakings of scientific research in still images. However, it did make me wonder how writers and writing get represented in stock images.

It was quite an eye-opener. Apparently, I’m doing this writing thing all wrong.

I mean, there’s not a single balled-up piece of paper in my entire office. Not even in the garbage can. I looked everywhere, I swear, and it’s obvious from these photos that balled-up pieces of paper are de rigeur in the writer’s environment. I do have pens and paper, but the thing is—I write mostly everything on the computer, my laptop, or my iPad. I hardly ever scribble ideas on actual paper. It’s better for the environment, but in a way, looking at these photos, it’s like I’m not even trying, right?

The second thing I noticed is that I’m far too happy. I’m not saying that the writing life is all rainbows and fireworks, but for the most part, I feel like it’s a pretty sweet gig. I get to do a job I love. I can work in my pyjamas if I want. Occasionally I get a note from a reader who really liked something I wrote. Most of the time, I’m happy. Wrong again, apparently!

Just look at these people—abject misery. Writing or trying to write is just the worst thing that’s ever happened to them. They’re in the pit of despair. And surrounded by more of those pesky paper balls. I’m starting to think the paper balls are somehow connected to demons. Demons who feast on the souls of writers. Also, not a laptop in sight. I’m thinking technology plays a role in the levels of angst represented here.

Finally: beverages. Apparently, writer beverages are either coffee or whiskey. Wine-drinking writers, you’re doing it wrong, too. I’m 1 for 2 on this one, because the coffee is a staple. The whiskey, not so much. But look at that image in the upper left. Coffee notwithstanding, this writer is soon to join his miserable colleagues, because that coffee is so going to spill on his laptop. Who would put that there? He also looks like he’s about to dip his pen into the cup, which is also not going to go well.

Thanks to Shutterstock, CanStock, DepositPhotos, Dreamstime, iStockPhoto, and 123rf for the image fun. But I think you guys might have to try a little harder if you want to avoid the #BadStockPhotosOfMyJob attention. :)

 

 

 

Friday Desk Report – May 4, 2018

It’s Star Wars day, so May the 4th be with you! I’m wearing my Rebel Snoopy t-shirt as I write this, so rest assured, the Force is strong in my office today.

Camp NaNoWriMo finished up on Monday of this week, and although I had to rock out more than 5k words on the last day to make my goal on time, I did it! I wrote an entire new middle-grade science fiction novel during April, which was pretty cool since I didn’t even have the idea until a few days into the month. Now it’s complete and in editing, so expect to hear lots more about that really soon! Although I claim to like the flexibility and reduced pressure of Camp NaNo, I still couldn’t allow myself to *not* reach the goal I’d set. Guess I have to work on that…or maybe not, since it meant I finished the book.

I took a day off writing once I typed “The End” on that novel, and spent it trying to clean up the house, which of course had suffered a great deal of neglect during April. I managed to put away some winter stuff and clean up the kitchen and bathroom, so I guess that was a good start? The rest will follow as it follows.

I made a spiffy animated version of the new cover for The Murder Prophet, which I began revealing this week. The animation doesn’t seem to be showing up here, sadly (because it’s really cool!), but you might catch it on Facebook or Twitter. Or I might get it working yet…but I mustn’t get distracted from the editing I want to get done today. I let myself have some play time to create it, but I mustn’t go on tweaking it forever. That way lies…not getting anything else done.

In word metrics, I wrote about 42k words in April, spread over two novels and some non-fiction. That was almost twice as much as the first three months of the year combined, so I’m pleased with that. My goal for this month is to come close to April’s count across two other projects. I guess I’ll report on that at the beginning of June!

The Olympia Investigations specials are still on, so if you haven’t grabbed the free story or the sale, or the new release yet, what are you waiting for? (Oh yeah, I made this cool splash graphic today, too. Maybe too much play time?)

 

 

 

Workshop News ~ Exploring Speculative Fiction

I’m happy to announce that I’ll be presenting a workshop at the end of May in Truro, NS. This is my “Exploring Speculative Fiction” workshop that I did in Antigonish last spring, to *ahem* glowing reviews. Here’s the description:

In this workshop, we’ll explore the map of the many different paths through the landscape of speculative fiction. We’ll talk about what makes a story speculative, tropes and expectations, and what it takes to make a good speculative story work. We’ll discuss the importance in SpecFic of three strong and interconnected story pillars (idea, character, and plot) and the best ways to approach building the world of your story. Finally, we’ll explore paths to finding speculative fiction ideas in the mundane world, and some helpful tools in the pursuit of professional publication in these genres.

This workshop is for anyone interested in writing speculative fiction, whether you’ve already begun your journey, or would simply like to learn more about the genre’s terrain.

The workshop is scheduled for May 26th, from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. at the Colchester-East Hants Public Library, 754 Prince St, Truro, NS. The cost of the workshop is $150, but if you’re a WFNS member, you can sign up for just $90. We had a ton of fun at the last session, so think about joining us!

P.S. If you leave this workshop without at least one new story idea, you’re just not trying. ;)