First Draft and Beyond

Free eBooks and Short Stories

After writing 50K words and winning NaNoWriMo 2012, I had resolved to finish the manuscript for my latest fantasy novel, “The Wayward Way” by the end of December. I’m four days late, which I’ll blame on the holidays ;), but it is accomplished. I have a completed first draft. It’s a huge mess, but it’s something I can work on, polish, greatly improve and hopefully get published.

I opened my email and saw that a writer friend, Nicole LeBoeuf, had just published an Examiner post on New Year’s resolutions for the working writer. The article has all kinds of great, pressure-free suggestions. One that particularly caught my eye was the suggestion to apply to attend Viable Paradise.

Viable Paradise is a one-week, intensive workshop for speculative fiction writers, limited to 24 participants. The list of instructors is jaw-dropping and include big guns in the genre such as Steven Brust, Elizabeth Bear, Teresa Nielsen Hayden and Patrick Nielsen Hayden. This year, the workshop will take place from October 13 through October 18 on Martha’s Vineyard. The application period runs from January 1 through June 15. The cost to apply is $25.

It’s been on my mind for a while to apply to attend this workshop. The overall cost is not cheap. How could it be with such great instructors and at such an awesome location? But if you don’t invest in yourself, who will? I’ll give it some deep thought and if I do decide to apply, you’ll be the first to know.

For those who may not know, Patrick Nielsen Hayden is the manager of the science fiction and fantasy line at Tor Books. Teresa Nielsen Hayden is a consulting editor for Tor. I’m a huge fan of Tor and attending workshops taught by them would be spectacular!

What is Tor Books looking for in terms of writing? One of the best ways to figure that out is to read what has already been published. Today, I found a couple of free YA speculative fiction anthologies called Fierce Reads. These are available for most eReaders. You can find the download options near the bottom of each page. publishes original short fiction which can be read free on their website. Each story also includes a fabulous illustration. You can find the stories here.

  The Fierce Reads Anthology
This anthology includes short stories from five fierce young adult authors! Inside, you’ll find a magical mermaid tale from Anna Banks, a fantastical Russian-influenced story from Leigh Bardugo, an electric thriller from Jennifer Bosworth, a post-apocalyptic drama from Emmy Laybourne, and a cybernetic fairytale from Marissa Meyer. This free anthology will give you an exciting taste of the fierceness of these authors’ debut novels.

  The Fierce Reads Anthology: Volume 2
This anthology includes short stories from six fierce young adult authors! Inside, you’ll find a futuristic zombie tale from Ann Aguirre, a science fiction thriller from Gennifer Albin, a nautical mermaid story from Elizabeth Fama, a story full of unicorns from Lish McBride, a postapocalyptic story from Caragh O’Brien, and a paranormal alternate future from Marie Rutkowski. This free anthology will give you an exciting taste of the fierceness of these YA authors’ novels.

Descriptions provided by Macmillan

Disclaimers and Disclosures

These free books are potentially limited time offers. There is no guarantee either of these books will still be free when you click on the links. Grab them sooner rather than later.

Motivation and Extreme Writing

Free Today on Amazon

The holiday season, with its fun, food, travel, snow, marathon movie days, not to mention illness (cold chased by the flu), have played havoc with my writing schedule. It’s time to get motivated again and for that I usually turn to writing guides.

I seldom read an entire guide. I usually skip to that parts that are relevant to my particular needs. Today, it’s motivation, so headed for the Kindle freebies to see if I could find anything short and to the point. I found several books that look promising.

NaNoWriMo is awesome for motivation. While I wouldn’t want to do it every month, I wish it were more than once a year. I’m aware there are other extreme writing competitions and through the freebies today, I discovered a new (to me) one.

The Story A Day challenge takes place in May. Participants must write one short story for each day of the month.  During the rest of the year, the organizer, Julie Duffy, offers weekly writing prompts on her blog. She also wrote a book about breaking writer’s block, which is offered free today.

Another freebie offers advice on how to write a book in 10 days or less. I’m usually skeptical of such claims, but the book has received a couple of good reviews, so I’ll give it a look. I’m always looking for advice on how to write faster and better.

The final book has to do with unleashing the creative spirit. Sad fact, I know I’m the one who puts that leash around that neck. Time to break free!

If you know of any books or websites that motivate and inspire, let me know!

The Guide To Breaking Writers' Block  Breaking Writers’ Block by Julie Duffy
Writer’s block can come out of nowhere. It can be temporary and related to one project, or it can be chronic, stopping you from writing anything creative. It is always painfully frustrating. Julie Duffy, host of, the month-long short story writing challenge, takes you through more than 60 techniques for breaking writer’s block that have helped StoryADay participants become insanely productive writers. Conversational and light-hearted, this powerful guide may just become your favorite new writer’s handbook.

How to write your novel in 10 days or less  How to write your novel in 10 days or less by Amy Bates
You have always had some scenes and characters running through your mind; and now, you want to bring them all out of there and make the perfect story that people will love. So do you need to invest years of your life to fulfil this dream? Not necessarily! This ebook shows you how you can write your story in ten days… or less!

Unleashing Your Creative Spirit  Unleashing Your Creative Spirit by Cate Russell-Cole
This e-book will help you turn your dreams into reality! It explores the process and practical aspects of creativity; and has been written for artists, writers, musicians, dancers, gardeners, cooks, craft lovers: anyone trying to tap into their creative potential. It looks at the mental processing behind creativity; philosophies that drive how we think about and assess our creative worth; creative character traits; historical role models; an extensive bibliography and web link list and more. The content is practical, not just analytical. It will give you ideas on how to move forward in your creative life.

Descriptions provided by Amazon

Disclaimers and Disclosures

I found these books via Amazon’s Kindle eBooks store. Resources for free Kindle and other format eBooks are listed in my sidebar.

These freebies are limited time offers, so there is no guarantee any of these books will still be free when you click on the links. Grab them sooner rather than later.

Death and a Short Story Competition

My neighbor, Laura, died on Monday night. She and I are the same age, so it hit home rather hard. It was only a month ago she told me she had cancer. Laura was a warm, lovely person who always asked me about my writing. Her death reminded me that nothing is promised in life. It’s easy to noodle around and write when you feel like it, but your goals won’t be fulfilled unless you make it happen.

So, I spent yesterday polishing a short story for the Seán Ó Faoláin Short Story Competition. The grand prize is fabulous: €2,000 (approx. $2,690), publication in the Irish literary journal, Southword, and a week-long residency at an Irish writer’s and artist’s retreat. The entry fee is €15 (approx. $20) and the deadline for postmarked entries is July 31, 2012.

This is an international competition, so anyone can participate as long as the entry is in English. If you have a story ready, or near ready, consider joining me and honoring Laura by entering this competition.

Seán Ó Faoláin Short Story Competition

Kindle Freebies – June 22, 2012

Today I Loaded My Kindle With…

Just a few anthologies. I think I overloaded on novels with yesterday’s Summer Solstice spree. By the way, I checked and many of the books are still free today. Here’s the link, in case you missed out yesterday:

Summer Solstice Free Fantasy (2012)

Some of you may wonder, “How does she read all those freebie books?”

I don’t. How could I? That’s a lot of books. Plus, I still buy books or check them out from the library. What I love about the freebies (aside from $0.00) is that I can get a good look at a book before deciding to invest my time in reading the whole thing. Of course, I can read the blurb and take a look at the sample chapter. That’s especially helpful for checking out a writer’s style. Often, though, I’ve found that the first chapter isn’t the best indication of how the story will progress. Sometimes, a book will get much better. And sometimes, well, not so much.

Through the freebies, I’ve found some great authors and have gone on to buy – yes, buy – more of their books. I’ve also found some authors whose stories and style didn’t resonate with me. I deleted them from my Kindle without a snick of regret because I wasn’t out any cash.

Nonfiction is a different story. I hoard travel guides and recipe books. Why not? You never know when you’ll be craving ice pops or find yourself in a city such as Reykjavik. Totally not kidding. I made ice pops last night. Icelandair just added non-stop flights between Denver and Reykjavik, and I am so tempted to go.

I also hoard short story collections because they’re great for travel or for when you want to read something, but don’t want to make a commitment to a novel. The anthologies I picked up today include a 2011 sampler of Tor/Forge authors. Looks like a real treat for genre fiction fans. Dig in and have a great weekend!

The Eclective: The Celtic Collection
Six stories from The Eclective, six accounts of Celtic things. There’s more than one way to go Green.

From the trenches of WWI to the abandoned rowhomes of Baltimore; From a rural charnel house to the Texas-Mexican border these six stories explore the dark heart of crime fiction today.

Tor/Forge Author Voices: Volume 1
Ever wanted to hunt a notorious ghost through the halls of a spooky old house? Be swept away at a Regency ball? Solve a murder mystery, Vegas style? Then Tor and Forge might have the perfect summer read for you. With this sampler, Tor and Forge Books proudly present a one-of-a-kind collection of articles written by our authors, excerpts of forthcoming books, and unique content. We’re highlighting a cross-section of our exciting new titles in urban fantasy, paranormal romance, young adult fiction, science fiction and fantasy, historical fiction, women’s fiction, and mysteries and thrillers.

Descriptions provided by Amazon

I found these books via Amazon’s Kindle eBooks store. Resources for free Kindle and other format eBooks are listed in my sidebar.

These freebies are limited time offers, so there is no guarantee any of these books will still be free when you click on the links. Grab them sooner rather than later.