Exciting times for D.M. Cain!

Well, summer 2016 has been a busy one. As a primary school teacher I have six weeks summer vacation in which to catch up with all the writing and editing I can’t do in the school term.

So, what have I been up to in these six weeks?

Aside from looking after my hyperactive, cheeky little 5 year old son, I’ve been away on two holidays – Snowdonia in Wales, and a cruise to the Norwegian fjords. Both had beautiful, mountain scenery – just what I need to get my writer’s inspiration flowing.

These two breaks, as well as a significant amount of time at home have allowed me to achieve the following:

Camp NaNoWriMo

My editor (and awesome friend) Pam Elise Harris asked me this July to take part in Camp NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month)  I was terrified of the concept of only having one month to complete a writing project, but I decided to go for it. As it was my first challenge, I set myself a manageable target of 20,000 words and started a brand new novella entitled ‘Origin of Shadow’.

I am delighted to announce that I managed to completed my target! I now have a shiny Camp NaNo winner’s certificate to be proud of!

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This story was written to complement Genesis of Light – a similar sized novella. Each of these novellas tells the story of the origin of one of the armies in my Light and Shadow Chronicles series. Origin of Shadow lets readers in on the secrets of how the Brotherhood of Shadow were formed.The two novellas will need to go through editing but I hoping to release them sometime next year (My cover designer, Irina French, is due to start work on the covers shortly!)


Author talk at Newbold Verdon library

On Wednesday 10th August I gave my first ever author talk at my local library. I did this 2.5 hour presentation/interactive Q&A with a fellow author named Stewart Bint (we live 500 yards from each other!). It was so much fun and the engagement from our audience was wonderful! I am pleased to say I even managed to sell a few copies! I can’t wait to do more events like this in the future.


#Writestorm marathon day

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July 31st was our first #writestorm marathon. Facebook group ‘The #Awethors’ (of which I am co-creator) joined in with a 24 hour writing marathon. People were not required to write all day (that would have been crazy!) but they were asked to select certain hour long periods entirely dedicated to adding words to their current Work-In-Progress. The #writestorm methodology is a concept developed by talented author Andy Mengel, which involves short, intense periods of writing which are timed and structured. This method allows authors the chance to blast out a high word count without distractions, and helps to feed motivation in the next writing session.

The event was a huge success! Between us we managed to write 41,000 words! No small feat of accomplishment for 24 hours. We’ll be sure to run more events like this in the future.

For more about the #writestorm process – check out the official handbook:

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GRAB YOUR COPY HERE!

 

 

 

 

 

 


I’ve finally finished the first rounds of edits for The Shield of Soren!

The next novel in my Light and Shadow Chronicles series is ‘The Shield of Soren’. The books in this epic fantasy series are not chronological so this new installment could be read before or after the first release ‘A Chronicle of Chaos’ (available to buy here – just saying…) There are some characters who will appear in The Shield of Soren whom you might know from A Chronicle of Chaos: Raven, Deacon, Callista, Vincent, the mysterious tattooed man in black…

Now I’ve finished first round of edits, the book will be heading back to my editor for round 2 and I am hoping to be finished editing by the end of 2016, with a view to release in 2017.


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What writing advancements has this summer brought for you?

I wrote a book!

As an author, I constantly beat myself up about my work – day in, day out. Why haven’t I finished my work-in-progress yet? This piece isn’t edited well enough. Am I clearly defining the plot/character/location? Why isn’t my book getting as many reviews as other people’s?

I often forget to just sit back and look at what I do objectively. I wrote a book for goodness’ sake!

Do you know how many people yearn to write what is inside their hearts and never manage to actually get it down on paper? Well, I did.

So I say, forget all the stressful hard work and confidence bashing that comes with writing and, from time to time, just sit back and say to yourself – I achieved something incredible.

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Will O’ the Wisp by C.S. Boyack – blog tour

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The Frighteningly Fun Halloween Tour

Will O’ the Wisp is a paranormal tale from C. S. Boyack. It involves a mildly handicapped girl facing a mysterious threat. The wisp has been killing off Patty Hall’s family for generations, and she’s next on the list. It is suitable for young adult readers. It’s a perfect Halloween read.

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Interview with C.S. Boyack

Whenever I’ve followed a blog tour, there always seems to be one post about writing tips. This is always one of my favorite posts, because I think we can all learn something from one another.

With a story like Will O’ the Wisp, I really wanted to use a few suspense techniques. I keep a living document on my iPad that’s full of writing advice, tips, and tricks. When I find something new, I update the document. The suspense techniques have been languishing here for a long time, and this was the perfect story to play with them.

Suspense is all about the unknown and waiting until discomfort settles in. There are quite a few tricks to create this, and I used a few of them in this story.

Have someone ask a seemingly innocent question, but have the answer be something vague and cryptic. This perks me right up as a reader. Didn’t seem like that big a deal, why is Aunt Tilly avoiding the question? This makes me want to turn the page. Make sure some waiting is involved to get the reader salivating. Have the phone ring before the character can ask more questions. Distract and avoid. Change the conversation.

Tense moments work well too. If a guy in a hoodie and shades follows your heroine through the park, drag it out. Don’t tell the reader that he saw her drop her wallet and just wants to give it back. While your heroine is panicking, maybe she can come up with a lightbulb moment to propel the plot forward. That sigh of relief can be followed immediately by an encounter with the real bad guy. In other words, she thanks the good samaritan, shakes his hand, and watches him leave. She breathes a sigh of relief, turns and runs right into serial killer #1.

Make a character lie, but make sure the reader knows it’s a lie. This is not the place for immediate consequences. Drag the consequences out. It’s even sweeter if the other character knows it’s a lie, and doesn’t call it out. Maybe the other character has some nefarious reason not to reveal that she knows the truth.

Use distance to your advantage. Have your heroine sit next to serial killer #1 at the cafe. Have him pass the salt, and let them touch. He knows he’s serial killer #1, the reader knows, but she doesn’t.

Distance should be increased to isolate your character. The more distance to rescue, the more tension. Just your heroine and serial killer #1 all alone at abandoned castle.

Make your heroine sneak, even if it’s not completely necessary. Back at the cafe, serial killer #1 heads for the restroom. Your heroine could ask the waitress how to get to Carnegie Hall. Instead, she grabs SK #1’s cell phone and Googles it. You know, the same phone with pictures of his dismembered victims on it.

Throw in a few temptations too. Temptations are things your heroine wants. The new office stud muffin invites your heroine to Aspen for the weekend, his treat. She ought to torture herself over the decision. She wants this, but promised to watch Aunt Tilly’s cat. Aunt Tilly lives right next door to Serial Killer #1.

There are hundreds of ways to establish suspense, and I used a few of them in Will O’ the Wisp. I’m pretty happy with the way things turned out, but readers will be the ultimate judge. Please consider being one of them.

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Patty Hall is perfectly prepared for the wrong problem. She is enamored with the space race, and knows the history of NASA by heart. She is faced with an ancient threat that has been targeting the Hall family for generations.  Hampered by an overprotective mother, if Patty can’t figure it all out in time, she may be the next member in the Hall family cemetery plot.

It’s not hard enough to be a fifteen year old girl, and a social outcast. As she watches her friends mature and grow, she has to face the idea of never turning sixteen. Please consider joining Patty on her incredible adventure.

You can pick up a copy on Amazon using your Kindle or a free reading app. Download it here:

North American version: http://a-fwd.com/asin-com=B00UPH6BNS

International version: http://a-fwd.com/asin-com=B00UQNDT2C

Author Bio
I was born in a town called Elko, Nevada. I like to tell everyone I was born in a small town in the 1940s. I’m not quite that old, but Elko has always been a little behind the times. This gives me a unique perspective of earlier times, and other ways of getting by. Some of this bleeds through into my fiction.

I moved to Idaho right after the turn of the century, and never looked back. My writing career was born here, with access to other writers and critique groups I jumped in with both feet.

I like to write about things that have something unusual. My works are in the realm of science fiction, paranormal, and fantasy. The goal is to entertain you for a few hours. I hope you enjoy the ride.

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Follow Craig at the following locations:

Follow my blog: http://coldhandboyack.wordpress.com

Check out all my novels here: http://www.amazon.com/-/e/B00ILXBXUY

Twitter: https://mobile.twitter.com/Virgilante

On Goodreads: http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/9841203.C_S_Boyack

“This tour sponsored by 4WillsPublishing.wordpress.com.”

#Writestorm – a concept that changed my entire philosophy about writing

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Yesterday, I downloaded the book ‘Writestorm’ by Andy Mengel and I read it cover to cover in one sitting.
 
I was so inspired. Andy’s experiences with writing his early books were exactly the same way I wrote The Phoenix Project. It took me ten years and I would write huge amounts one day, then literally leave it for five or six months, doing nothing at all. My next book, A Chronicle of Chaos, only took 3 years, and my latest – The Shield of Soren, 1.5 years. So it’s getting better.
 
But since Andy introduced the concept of Writestorm into our group, my whole writing ethic has been completely transformed. In two months I have written 30,000+ words – all entirely through Writestorm sessions.
 
Something he talks about in the book really resonated with me. I want to be a doer now, not just a dreamer. I’m ready to stop this being a little hobby and make it into a proper career now. 
If you haven’t read Writestorm yet – do it. NOW. I promise it will revolutionise the way you look at writing a novel. 
U.S. – http://www.amazon.com/Writestorm-Create-Novel-Conception-Publication-ebook/dp/B0139V15T6/
 
U.K. – http://www.amazon.co.uk/Writestorm-Create-Novel-Conception-Publication-ebook/dp/B0139V15T6/
My wonderful Facebook community, The #Awethors, has adopted Writestorm whole-heartedly and we are now holding Writestorm Saturdays every first Saturday of the month, where authors from across the globe can drop in one various sessions throughout the day. Why not join us?