29 October, 2016

The wonders of good music

Remember the last time I checked in, I was still fighting with the final chapters of Comedy of Rain? Well, not anymore!

One of my coworkers at my new day job is as much a classic metal fan as I am, and he pointed me in the direction of Last In Line, which is comprised of most of the original members of Dio. And just like so many times before, when I find the right song, I can write the chapter.

In this case, it was "Starmaker" by Last in Line. It got me through chapter 44, which I've been stuck on for months. HipĆ³lito finally cooperated, and I got the plot twist and everything written down. So far the next chapter is on track, so I'm looking to keep that pace going.

Next up on my list, of course, is to start the cover art for my next short story, due to be released in early February. This'll be the next story in the Appalachian Dream Tales, and will close out the first wave of introductions to my main characters. I'm in the process of getting it polished and ready, and I hope it'll be a load of fun for anyone who's familiar with Waiting for Godot. Absurdist comedy, anyone?

Anyway, that's all for now. Back to work, and I'll see you all soon for my next update!

14 October, 2016

Author Spotlight: Tabitha Chirrick

Welcome to the next installment of my author spotlight. This month, I'm interviewing Tabitha Chirrick, who is a self-published Sci-Fi writer, who recently published her first novel, Overshadowed.

Tabitha, what drew you to write science fiction?

Tabitha: There are two kinds of science fiction: philosophical “this-could-be-the-future” sci-fi, and pulpy “there-are-booms-and-lasers” sci-fi. I’m the shmuck who writes about booms and lasers.

I like Clarke, I like Herbert, I can tolerate me some Asimov, but I’ve always been drawn to what I wish was commonly called science fantasy, by which I mean fantastical stories in future or hi-tech settings rather than places with trees and tiny villages. Think Star Wars or Fortune’s Pawn or Ender’s Game. I find the marriage between the fantastical and the science fascinating, and have always been drawn to stories that fall into this genre. It’s a joy to write in, and feels truly limitless.

Fascinating; "Sci-Fa" should definitely get more attention as a separate genre! What did you think was the hardest thing about writing Overshadowed?

Tabitha: That’s a tough one. I ran into all sorts of challenges: cutting major characters and rewriting over the gaps, balancing multiple point of views, keeping the dark side likeable, and the ending, of course. Had to carefully consider the number of explosions.

But I think, even everything else considered, the hardest part was the beginning. I rewrote the intro almost twenty times – full rewrites, not tweaks or basic edits. I got a lot of feedback over the entire writing process, and every beginning I wrote seemed to have a major pacing flaw. Starting too soon, starting too late, starting too slow, starting too fast, and on and on and on the problems went.

Luckily, I had a lot of patient critique partners, and ended up with a beginning better than all prior versions. Looking back, there are still things I would change (aren’t there always?), but I’m happy with how it turned out. Beginnings are tough. They have to accomplish so much!

How often do you write, and do you have a special time during the day to write?

Tabitha: My writing schedule is all over the place. Whole chapters written in between rounds of Halo, 3AM insomnia notes, paragraphs of plot while I’m waiting for dinner to finish, and, occasionally, a very normal couple thousand words in a writing-only afternoon. I’m trying to make the latter my typical day. I mean, I get the work done, but maybe not in that stereotypical "sitting in a big chair sipping tea while the words pour out for hours" kind of way. I wish that was my process. Tea is good, and I like big chairs.

What is your favorite motivational phrase?

Tabitha: “Just do it.” – Nike . . . or is it Shia Labeouf now? Eh, either way.

LOL! Okay, last question. What advice would you give to aspiring writers?

Tabitha: . . . Just do it.

Okay, but really, I’d tell them to read broadly, practice deliberately, converse with their writing peers, and, yes, actually do the writing part. Talking about writing isn’t writing. Tweeting about writing isn’t writing. Sharing writer jokes on tumblr isn’t writing. Writing is writing. Do all that other stuff too – those things are fun – but make sure you actually write. Growth happens in the act.


Tabitha Chirrick is a writer of all things speculative, geeky, and/or badass. Overshadowed - a YA Sci-fi - is her most recent release, though you may have also seen her work in Pigeonholes, Unbroken Journal, or even the International Conference on Interactive Digital Storytelling. She has a BA in Creative Writing from the University of California Santa Cruz, lives in Silicon Valley, and aside from reading and writing, her favorite pastimes include cooking, gaming, stargazing, and tempting deadlines via the power of procrastination! You can follow her on her website or Twitter.


Ash Litton

Ash Litton is a writer and lover of sci-fi, fantasy, and all things fictional. She is the author of Thoroughbred, Evening Hallow, Comeuppance, and Cabover Cabaret, and works on other Appalachian Dream Tales between her ongoing novel projects. She's also written No Diet, No Surgery, No Sweat, an ebook chronicling her weight-loss journey.

When she's not writing, she's drawing, and when she's not doing either of those, she's dreaming up new projects to work on. Born and raised in rural West Virginia, Ash has always wondered what things lay hidden in the hills around her. She attended West Virginia University, where she studied the English language before returning home to her family in rural West Virginia.