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Camp NaNoWriMo

April 16, 2016

This month is Camp NaNoWriMo, the April writing challenge. Unlike NaNoWriMo in November, you can set your own word count goal and keep track of that on the site, and you get to join a virtual cabin of other writers.

This time I’m in a cabin with some of my JukePop pals which is super cool. It’s a bit like a virtual writing group.

I’m working on a novel that takes place in the world of my novella Conviction. It’s set around 10 years before Iliya’s trial and revolves around the Keeper, Cornelius Rowenheall. The scope of it is a lot broader than Conviction, and it has multiple viewpoint characters (one of them will, hopefully, reappear in the sequel to Conviction someday) who tell the story of the Keeper and a national crisis that arises in the country Gerania. I’m really enjoying being back in that world and exploring some of the things that I haven’t had the opportunity to do before.

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An old draft, my outline and files on some of the characters related to my project.

 

5 Books That Shaped Me: Teen Reads

March 15, 2016

I did say I would make it a series, didn’t I? Here’s the second post about books that shaped me. (The first one was about childhood memories.)

It’s terribly difficult to choose just five for this post because I read a lot as a teenager. I would devour anything that looked interesting (and sometimes books that didn’t as well) in the local library and it’s a period during which I (like all teenagers) evolved a lot, so my taste changed accordingly over those years. Anyway, I decided on these to represent my teens:

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It’s a mix of supernatural genres. In my teen years, I really was most into science fiction. All my favourite TV shows were science fiction.

  • Interview with the Vampire by Anne Rice was the first novel with a focus on vampires that I read. I went on to the next few in the series and found that I really enjoyed the narrator change (I was more for Lestat than Louis). In a way, these books inspired me to write about vampires in the first place. I still have a few of them around in my stories, but it’s probably needless to say that they are not very much like Anne Rice’s.
  • I had to include Dragonflight by Anne McCaffrey because I read the Pern series right around the time when we got internet at home and the books became a catalyst for my interacting socially online (this was way before Facebook and Twitter, kids. We’re talking mailing lists and IRC here). They also made me start writing in English (albeit not very well to begin with) to share my own stories with others online.
  • Ray Bradbury’s The Martian Chronicles has to be on the list because our household had a number of his books (translated into Danish), and this one was my favourite. Science fiction, you know. I loved how the short stories were connected, and one of them included a poem by Lord Byron (my first encounter with him, I think).
  • I picked the first book of J.K. Rowling’s Harry Potter books for this list although my favourite was probably The Prisoner of Azkaban. I  got started on the series rather late, but I fondly remember breezing through the first four books (the fifth wasn’t yet out at the time).
  • The Hitch Hiker’s Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas Adams kept me busy during a summer break. I remember getting the first book from the library to see if I liked it – and then the next ones a couple of days later. I loved the humour, I loved Ford Prefect. When I look back at the stories I wrote at the time, it’s clear that I was so inspired by Douglas Adams. Not so much when it came to plots, but I was definitely trying to be funny. Mostly Harmless was the first novel I read in English (it hadn’t been translated into Danish). Clearly I didn’t stop again.

Which books have changed you, helped you or shaped you? Please feel free to join me in the comment section or on your own blog (or other social media) using #5booksthatshapedme – I would love to hear which books mean something special to you!

5booksthatshapedme

Ready for a new serial? Focal Point is here!

January 27, 2016

If you’re a regular here, you’ll know that I’ve muttered something about launching a new serial novel on JukePop for a few months. Guess what! It’s finally here!

My new serial is called Focal Point. I actually wrote the first draft years ago and have been wanting to do something more with it. It’s a bit different from anything else you might have read by me so far, and I’m pretty excited about publishing it. The first chapter is online now I’ll be updating biweekly (at least to begin with) on Thursdays – starting tomorrow.

Here’s the blurb:focalpointcoverforjp

Sean considers himself a pretty normal guy. His biggest problems include making ends meet as a freelance photographer, his mother’s obsession over a picture he once took of a puppy, choosing the best wine for a double date, and his perfect boyfriend’s brain surgeon uncle who hates Sean for no apparent reason.

Well, that is until Sean’s whole world starts cracking at the seams. Only, no one else seems to be noticing, and Sean is known to have an overly active imagination. But what’s lurking in the darkness underneath the fabric of reality?

Literary fiction with a supernatural twist.

 

I hope you’ll check it out. And please, do let me know what you think! Tell your friends if you like it. Tell your enemies if you don’t. Ahem … Well, seriously, a serial really does depend on support from its readers.

And on the subject of my jumping from magical fantasyland to contemporary Copenhagen, here’s a question for readers and writers alike: Do you usually stick to certain genres, or do you read/write across them? Are there some genres that you absolutely would not dream of touching, or does it depend on the execution rather than the genre?

 

5 Books That Shaped Me: Childhood Memories

January 16, 2016

I am going to start a small series of posts about books that changed, shaped or otherwise have had a big impact on me as a writer or as a person. Each of these posts will feature five books that played a role in a certain period of my life.

The first post is about five books that I read as a child. Here they are:

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I could easily include a lot more books because I loved being read to and (when I was old enough) reading as a child, but I’m limiting myself to five, and I think these were the ones that had the greatest impact on me.

  • Howl’s Moving Castle by Diana Wynne Jones is one of those books that I’ve read first (a couple of times) in Danish and later in English. I clearly recall the magical feeling of entering this wonderful fantasy world. And I had such a crush on the wizard Howl.
  • Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll is, of course, a classic. It’s also a book that can be enjoyed on several levels, so when I read it again later (at the university), it showed me new depths. The Danish translation did a wonderful job with the puns, as far as I can remember from back then.
  • Mio, Min Mio (Mio, My Son in English) by the Swedish author Astrid Lindgren was one of my absolute favourites as a young child. It was sweet, scary, sad and funny. I could have picked a number of Astrid Lindgren books for this, but Mio was the one I loved the most overall.
  • I had to include the Narnia books by C.S. Lewis. They probably need no further introduction. I remember having them read to me in Danish when I was really small and then later reading them on my own on a vacation in Sweden in a cottage in a forest that had just one wrought iron lamppost outside. If I had to pick one favourite, it would probably be Prince Caspian, but it’s a close one.
  • Michael Ende’s Die undendliche Geschichte (here in the Danish version, Den uendelige historie, probably better known in English as The Neverending Story) may be better known in its film version (all of these books have been turned into films, come to think of it), but the book is lovely too. I would actually have put one of Ende’s other works, Momo, on the list instead because it had an even greater impact on me and inspired a subplot in a story I wrote years ago, but for some reason I don’t own it (I need to do something about that).

So four out of five of these books are about someone going from the regular, mundane world and into a fantasy world (in a way, the last one is too, but I’m not going to spoil how). I wonder why I grew up to be a writer … Or not.

Which books have changed you, helped you or shaped you? Please feel free to join me in the comment section or on your own blog (or other social media) using #5booksthatshapedme – I would love to hear which books mean something special to you!

5booksthatshapedme

Happy Holidays!

December 24, 2015

The holidays are upon us, so happy Solstice, Hannukah, Christmas, New Year and whatever else is happening around this time of year to you all!

 

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A Christmas present from a good friend. It’s Hector from Aconitum on a pillow and I absolutely adore it!

Thank you to all of you who participated in the survey in my last post. It was great to see what you’d like me to work on next. The poll is still open, by the way, if you haven’t voted and want to.

So far, a sequel to Aconitum is in the lead, followed by a three-way tie between a sequel to Conviction, Sparks and The Secret of Stillwater. One more vote for the Keeper, Cornelius Rowenheall, and his story will be tied with those as well. It’s great to see that you’re curious about what happens next to the characters you already know and fantastic that you’re also interested in new projects. I’m definitely giving some serious thoughts to all of those and am at least 25K words into the first draft of a couple of them.

Oh, I don’t think I’ve mentioned this on my blog before: Both of my serials have received some very nice reviews recently. Here’s one by TCC Edwards and another by Kathy Joy.

Well, happy holidays again to everybody! Here is a drawing of Iliya and Hector to celebrate:

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What’s Next?

December 3, 2015

Hey there. Would you like to help me decide what to work on next?

shortstoryOver the past months, I’ve worked on a few short stories. One of them is related to Conviction and you can get it for free if you sign up for my super sporadic newsletter. I only use it for important announcements such as book or serial launches.

I intend to start polishing Aconitum and Conviction for potential publication elsewhere soon, but I do miss serialising.

I have one story that I really want to share because it’s already written (and I prefer to have at least a complete first draft before before I begin posting) and I would love to see what my readers make of that kind of story – and what better way to test the reactions to something new than a platform like JukePop? But more about that later.

Anyway, although I have decided on my next serial, I have lots of ideas bouncing around in my head. I really want to write (or continue writing in most cases) all of them, but I don’t know where to start.

Want to give me a hand? I’ll sum up the projects I’m working on, and then you can toss me a vote if you like. – Oh, almost all titles are working titles, by the way.

The Keeper’s Story
A fantasy novel about Cornelius Rowenheall, his apprentice and a national demon-related crisis.

Iliya’s Fate
The sequel to Conviction about prison life and what happened next to Iliya Radov.

Other Conviction-related stories
Not actual sequels, but stories set in the world of Conviction.

Aconitum II
A sequel to, you guessed it, Aconitum. About Hector and Royer.

Other Aconitum-related stories
Not actual sequels, but stories set in the world of Aconitum.

The Secret of Stillwater
A MG/YA rural fantasy story about two kids visiting their uncle’s mansion in the English village Stillwater and the strangeness that surrounds the place.

Moonless
A post-apocalyptic sci fi about a boy, a robot and an Earth that is radically different from last time you looked out of your window.

Sparks
Urban fantasy comedy about runes, blood magic and a guy who talks before he thinks and gets himself involved with a super secret organisation.

Other
It could be something about vampires, demons, a nuclear disaster that causes strange mutations or something entirely else. Yes, I have ideas for those.

You can pick as many or few as you like (please feel free to comment too). I’m just curious, and your opinion may help me decide which story to start working on next.

How to Support Serial Fiction

October 31, 2015

So your friend is running a serial novel, and you never read anything in their genre, but you still want to show some support? Or you are reading some really awesome serials and wish you could do more than just vote and comment? Do you want to promote a serial, but don’t want to be on social media? Or would you like to get some exposure for your own blog while helping a writer? Here’s a list of things you can do to support a serial and its author.

Please note: This was written primarily with the books on JukePop Serials in mind, but most of the points are valid for serials on personal blogs, Wattpad and other platforms as well.

I have colour coded the points for simplification: Quick & simplemedium – complicated or time-consuming.

A screenshot of some of the stories getting attention on JukePop on a given day this month.

A screenshot of some of the stories getting attention on JukePop on a given day this month.

Add to bookshelf
By bookshelving a serial, you help it climb the charts when others sort through stories. It shows readers on the site that the serial has made others interested and makes it easier to discover it for new readers.

Read
Readers are important to books of any kind, and usually analytics will tell the author that someone has visited their serial. Don’t feel daunted by a serial that already has several chapters out. Authors don’t expect you to read half a novel in one go. They are just happy if you decide to check out their story (and get even happier if you get hooked and keep reading over time).

Vote
Voting is one of the most important things of a serial on JukePop. You can vote once for every chapter of every serial. Some readers follow several serials and vote for their favourite chapters as they go along, others only read one and vote for every chapter. Sometimes one or two votes can make a great difference as to a serial’s placement on the charts and can determine whether it ends on the monthly Top 30, so even if you only manage to read one chapter, every vote does count.

Comment
Feedback is great and every writer loves it. A lot of them enjoy hearing observations and speculations and getting suggestions and thoughtful critique. But don’t feel intimidated or afraid that you have to say something groundbreaking. Most writers love hearing a simple, “I liked it!” just as much. (Plus it will bump the serial to the top of the front page if we’re talking JukePop and this gives it a bit more exposure).

Review
Leaving a review is as easy as leaving a comment, but you may want to write something a little longer or helpful to other readers who are considering reading the story. You can leave a number of stars with your review that will help reflect the serial’s overall reception.

Want more
When you finish a serial (or what is published of it so far) on JukePop and click “next”, you are taken to a page where you can let the author know that you want more. If you click that link, you earn the serial a bit more exposure and make the writer happy.

Donate
Some serials have a donation button. If you have some change to spare, you can help the writer. Regardless of the amount, the writer is likely to really appreciate the thought. – Some writers have a Patreon page, and supporting them there can make a big difference to how much time they can afford to spend working on their serials.

Share on social media
Most serials have “share” buttons. By using those, you can tell your own followers on Twitter or friends on Facebook that you like the serial, and then they may get curious and check it out too. If you are using Pinterest, Tumblr, StumpleUpon, Google+ or other platforms, it’s usually easy to link to the serial from there as well.

Word of mouth
Even today when a lot of marketing is done online and the serial is a web-based medium, word of mouth is really important. Don’t twist the arms of everyone you ever met to read and vote for every single chapter of your favourite serial, but you can always mention this cool serial that you’re reading/that your friend is writing/that you have heard of. If you are in a reading group or have friends or family who enjoy reading, they may be interested.

Review/recommend elsewhere
If the serial is listed in a database like Muse’s Success, Web Fiction Guide or Write Now Wiki, you can often review it there, comment its entry or add it to a list of stories you enjoy or recommend for other users.

Other off-site activities (follow + like)
While it’s not directly related to helping one serial, it can still help spread the word if you interact with its writer on social media (follow them on Facebook or Twitter or subscribe to their blog). If the serial is published on a platform with an official Facebook page, why not like that too?

Get creative
If you are up for it, there’s a lot of other things you can do. Some of the suggested things are quick and easy while others are probably only for the very, very dedicated.
Do you run your own blog? Offer the writer to let them make a guest blog or interview them (or write a review of their serial).
Most writers love getting fanart (drawings of the characters in the story) and fanfiction (fan-written stories about the characters in the story). Maybe you can ask the writer if they have flyers that you can hand out in your local library, café or tennis club or just send the writer a mail and tell them you really liked their serial.
Or, and this is where we get really crative, why not make a Wikipedia or TV Tropes page about the book? Make a fanpage (on Tumblr, Facebook or somewhere else). Post a picture on Instagram of your cat on the keyboard while a window with the serial is open on your computer, or make a Youtube review. If you’re on Polyvore, why not make an outfit inspired by the serial? Or how about making a fanmix of music that reminds you of the serial on 8tracks? You could even cosplay your favourite character and send a picture to the author. The sky’s the limit.

More ideas
I wrote this specifically with serial fiction in mind, but if you want a broader perspective on supporting the writer of your favourite book or friends who self-publish a novel, here are some articles you may enjoy:

Anything to add? Don’t hesitate to leave a comment below.

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