Monday, April 25, 2011

In The Dark - What's In A Name?

Time again for a glimpse into the dark with me, your silly but loyal author friend. If nothing I'm consistent. After all, weeks have gone by now since I started this video blog feature and I'm still filming it from the dark cavern of my studio. This time, however, the result is a touch more serious. In the current edition, I talk about some meanings and interpretations behind the title of my latest novel, THALO BLUE. Oh, and this video should put to rest the rumor that I write naked. It doesn't definitively clarify whether I wear pants though.

Other instalments of "In The Dark" are also available. If you have any questions you'd like answered (silly, serious or life-changing), drop 'em at me in the comments below or fire them off to me via Twitter (@JasonCMcIntyre). You can also send me an email at jason @ the (without the spaces).

I'm going to go finish the laundry. I've been wearing that shirt since THALO BLUE launched more than a month ago.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Behind The Words // Larry Enright

I know Author Larry Enright from Twitter, after first hearing his name uttered by mutual acquaintances who mentioned how darn funny his book, "Four Years From Home" is. When I think of Larry I imagine a somewhat seasoned writer who's seen it all, done a good heaping portion of it, and took home the t-shirt as a souvenir. Plus, he's charming as all-get-out. Let's see what Mr. Enright has to say about his unique writing situation and experience...

Larry talks about this guy named Larry Enright...

Who the heck am I? I often ask myself that question. I was born in Pittsburgh four years after World War II ended and am the middle kid in an Irish Catholic family of five children. My father and mother were married during the war and started their family after Dad came home in 1945. I have his wedding photo. He was in uniform and my Mom was in a beautiful dress - her mother’s wedding dress. Things were very different then. People were happy to be at peace again after that terrible conflict and struggling to rebuild their lives, always hoping for things to get better. There were no personal computers, no Internet, we shared a phone line with the neighbors. TV - if you were lucky enough to have one - was black and white. And if you were a writer, you used a pencil and paper.

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Behind The Words // "The Night Walk Men" - Alternate Ending

I've been getting a lot of questions about how I work. I will, in time, write a lengthier piece about some of my habits as I put quill to digital paper for those of you that are curious about such things.

In the meantime, though, I thought I'd share some cut pieces from one of my more popular short stories, currently free at Smashwords.  This is done in the hopes that it may give a bit of insight into what gets tossed and what stays and how things evolve as I write. It's a small sample, but kind of fun for me to look back at too.

This bit was cut out of "The Night Walk Men" the short story which acts as a prelude to the coming novel series I'm working on. I cut this for a number of reasons, but mostly because it interrupted the flow or was just too "Sparrow-ish", that is to say, too arrogant, even for the extremely arrogant narrator of the story. In the end, it was one of the pieces from the puzzle that simply wouldn't fit with the rest and had to go.  The joy for me is in sharing it, even if it's not part of the "official" story.

For those of you who haven't read "The Night Walk Men", AHOY! SPOILERS AHEAD!

This would have been an ever-so-slightly different ending, one where Gabriela has a big tumble into the hands of the fates.  To everyone who has read the story and wants to see a slightly altered ending, enjoy!

Our Gabriela, she’s not really gone, is she?
I mean, she’s not gone for good, is she?
     I can’t tell you everything.  And it’s not because I want to hold anything back.  It’s not because I’m trying to punish you for something.  You should know it all.  Or, at least, you should know everything there is to know.
Even I don’t know it all.  If I did, I would be more powerful, and then, in turn, so would you.  You would be the next to get everything, every morsel.  It would only be fair.
But I don’t know every last detail. I only know a good heaping portion of it.
     I can tell you that our Gabriela didn’t hear a speech before her plummet.  Not a whispered version, not a shouted judgement.  No one said, “I am black volcanic glass to your white palomino skin.”  She did not hear these words.
And I can tell you that when she descended, when she swooped down like a bird with her small white shirt and her unwashed blonde hair flapping madly, she finally closed her eyes, closed them tight against seeing anything at all.
I can tell you that she didn’t see who caught her.  I can tell you that she doesn’t remember anything past the fall, that she doesn’t know how she came to be sitting in her parents' car in the parking lot with the back door swung open, or that she doesn’t how much time had passed or even if the fall really happened.
But I can tell you that it did.  When she is conscious again, she feels warmth on her back and on her thighs and on her shoulders – it’s the touch of Obsidion, of his black volcanic glass coming into contact with our Gabriela’s white palomino skin.  It was him who appeared and saved her from the fall.  He’s not human, you know, and I told you he could conjure nearly anything.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Behind The Words // Berit Ellingsen

Berit Ellingsen's focus is on speculative and literary fiction. Oh. And fjords. She's based in Norway and her entire presence on the web (and in my world) is streamlined and precise. I know she'll disagree with this statement.

I met Berit on Twitter and continue to enjoy following her and learning what fascinating and 'science-y' stuff she's currently writing about. She comes across as a very prolific and knowledgeable creator. Let's learn a bit more about what drives her to write, and how she does it at home:

Berit on Berit...

My name is Berit Ellingsen and I’m a Norwegian literary and speculative writer. That means I’m from the same cold part of the world as Stieg Larsson, but write stories with less words than him, or set in imaginary worlds.

I have written several short stories, ranging from science fiction, fantasy and horror to stories set in our world. They have been published various places on the net and in different print anthologies. I also dabble in creative non-fiction. The themes span from free divers to people who are obsessed with buildings. For a list and links, see the “Bibliography” page on The Empty City website.

My longest work is a book called The Empty City. It’s about becoming comfortable with silence, letting go of the past and finding yourself. The story is set in an unspecified city, and in dreams and images of the main character. It's told in short episodes that each describe a place in the city, a dream, a question, a memory or an event.

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Behind The Words // J. Alexander Greenwood

Time for a new feature here at The Farthest Reaches. Guests step behind their words to discuss some of the elements that go into their writing. This is a bit different than most guest posts by authors on other websites; I'm not focused on selling or plugging -- though you will see a link to the author's website where you can presumably make a purchase. 

I'm all for facilitating a way for readers to get a hold of the books they wish to buy -- certainly! But this space is primarily for writers to share with you a bit about how they do what they do. The technical or functional aspects behind how their stories are made are the focus here.

I recently got in touch with Author J. Alexander Greenwood, writer of  the eccentric thriller "Pilate's Cross" who I first met some months ago after he graciously mentioned me in an interview. This week, we yakked about his process, writing space and more. Check out what Alex had to say, in his own words:

J. Alexander on J. Alexander...

I'm J. Alexander Greenwood-- Alex to my friends and Jason to my Mom. I reside in Kansas City with my wife and daughter. My grandfather was a midlist Western and historical fiction writer who encouraged me to write. I've written the thriller novel Pilate's Cross, the award winning short story Obsidian, a half dozen or so failed book manuscripts and thousands of press releases in my day job as a public relations consultant.

J. Alexander on his writing space...

I write in a small room crammed with books, trinkets, a telescope and lots of collectible toys. On the walls are a framed 45 of The Police's "Synchronicity II" (autographed by all three members of the band), a playbill of "The Best Man" autographed by Gore Vidal and lots of miscellaneous Sherlockiana. The room overlooks a large deck on the back end of our house that I affectionately call "The Crow's Nest." It has a pirate flag fluttering in the breeze. It's a nice place to drink vodka and watch the sunsets.

I like to drink tea while I write. The best days are when the tea goes cold after two sips because I get lost in my work. I listen to a lot of Mark Snow (he scored all of the X-Files shows and features) when I write thrillers and my paranormal short stories.

J. Alexander on his current work...

I'm working on two things: first, a sequel to my thriller Pilate's Cross titled Pilate's Key. It picks up a few weeks after the first book ends. Our hero left the snowy wastes of Cross Township in favor of kicking back in a hammock in Key West. However, he still manages to stick his nose (and other body parts) where he shouldn't. It should be finished buy the end of summer. Should being the operative word.

The other project is a novella that sets up a back story for a series of paintings and sculptures titled What the Gardener Saw by David Terrill (he created the Pilate's Cross book cover design and illustration). Think Edward Gorey meets Tim Burton meets Arthur Conan Doyle drinking too much absinthe. We're doing an installation in October 2011 at a Kansas City art gallery with music composed for the series and excerpts from the novella. Publishing the novella itself is a complex issue as it has more than a dozen rich illustrations, so we'll be shopping for a publisher or a backer before it gets out there.

After that, I'm writing nothing but short stories for a few months before I tackle the third and final installment of the Pilate series, tentatively titled Pilate's Ghost. (You heard it here first, folks!) I'm shooting for Summer 2012 on that one.

J. Alexander on his writing style...

I compose at the computer keyboard--either in my office or on a laptop at the dining room table or yes, even a coffee shop. My hands are a little arthritic so longhand wears me out quickly. I also have horrific handwriting (it seems more suited to the practice of medicine--though I'm a PR man, not a doctor, Jim), so I'm sure I would have a hard time reading it when the time came to type it up anyway.

I research a bit. Pilate's Cross had extensive research because it's based on a real life murder-suicide in Peru, Nebraska. I had crime reports, crime scene photos, affidavits--the works.

Otherwise, I prefer to have visited locations I write about at least once. I think it adds a degree of verisimilitude if you can confidently describe a place or thing--even if only in passing. For example, in Pilate's Cross, one of my characters is beaten severely and has to go into an induced coma. My brother-in-law is a nurse practitioner, so I called him to ask what drug would be used. (Diprivan.)

I rewrote Pilate's Cross six times, with about four or five more polishes. I have a circle of readers I trust to tell me if something needs work, is confusing or just plain stinks. I hired a fairly basic (read: inexpensive) line editor, too. However, there are still a few typos so I think I'll hire a really serious editor to go to town on the next ones. We indie authors have enough credibility problems without mucking it up ourselves with careless editing.

J. Alexander on his gang...

My wife is very, very supportive. She listens to me when I need to talk out parts of the book. More importantly, she never treats writing likes it's some tedious hobby. She treats it with respect and encourages me. We had a baby a couple of years ago, which really threw me off my game, so when I came to her recently and said I have to spend more time on it (after the baby is asleep) she was cool, even though it meant she would be a writer's widow a lot more. My daughter hasn't quite cottoned on to what I do at the keyboard, though she likes to wander in and sit on my lap and write all over my post-it notes while I work.

Where to find out more about J. Alexander...

The "mothership" is at but the Facebook page seems to be where all the action is. Or, if you want something fancy, have a look at the book trailer:

Thanks, Alex! This was a charming peek into your writerly world. You've provided some great insight into how you wrote your first book, what your habits and goals are, plus, some neat first teases about your upcoming books. Many thanks for sharing with us!

Sunday, April 3, 2011

In The Dark 2 - Another Reader Question

Ah, music. The light of my life. What would I do without it? I love music. Classic rock, pop, baroque, dance, techno, weird, ethnic. I love music.

Today's "In The Dark" segment has a fun, albiet brief look at music from my writerly perspective. Oh, and by the end, I'm sure someone will be calling me up and sharing news of my nomination for the "Hammiest Half-Ham Award" in cheeseball facial acting. I bet William Shatner would be proud.

If you have any questions you'd like answered (silly, serious or life-changing), drop 'em at me in the comments below or fire them off to me via Twitter (@JasonCMcIntyre). You can also send me an email at jason @ the (without the spaces).

I'm going to get working on my acceptance speech for the Ham Awards. I just know I'll win.

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...