Blog Tour: David B. Coe, The Outlanders

The Enchanted Alley would like to welcome David B. Coe!

David is here today as a stop on his blog tour for the newly re-released edition of The Outlanders! He’ll be talking to us about the things he’s learned since The Outlanders was originally released — things about writing, about publishing, and about the facing the challenge of returning to your earlier works once you’ve learned a few things. 

About THE OUTLANDERS!

Four years after the insidious, devastating invasion by agents of Lon-Ser, Tobyn-Ser’s Order of Mages and Masters is riven by conflict and paralyzed by inaction. From the outlander, Baram, they have learned much about their neighbor to the west: Unlike Tobyn-Ser, which is served by the Mage-Craft of the Children of Amarid, Lon-Ser is devoid of magic. Instead it possesses a dazzling and deadly technology that shapes every aspect of its people’s daily life.
Frustrated by the Order’s inability to act, Orris, a young, rebellious mage, takes it upon himself to prevent further attacks on his homeland. Taking Baram from his prison, he embarks upon a perilous journey to Bragor-Nal, an enormous, violent city in Lon-Ser, ruled by a brutal, feudal-like system of Break-Laws, Nal-Lords, and Overlords. As Orris soon learns, however, Baram has been driven insane by his captivity. Upon reaching his strange and fractured homeland, the man abandons Orris.
Armed only with his magic, Orris is thrust into a world whose language he does not comprehend and whose technology he can barely fathom. Together with Gwilym, a man with strange powers, whose vision of Orris has lured him out of the mountains and into the chaos of the Nals, and Melyor, a beautiful Nal-Lord who harbors a secret that could cost her life, Orris must end the threat to Tobyn-Ser without getting himself and his companions killed.
THE OUTLANDERS is the second volume of the LonTobyn Chronicle, David B. Coe’s Crawford Award-winning debut series. This is the Author’s Edit of the original book.

And without further ado, here’s David! 

“Lessons Learned in the Writing Trade”

by David B. Coe

I have recently released the Author’s Edit of The Outlanders, the second novel in my very first series, the LonTobyn Chronicle. This follows the re-release of Children of Amarid, book I in the series. Book III, Eagle-Sage, should be re-released in December. These books are incredibly special to me. They launched my career, won me the Crawford Fantasy Award as best new author (this was back when novels were still published on granite tablets), and established my career critically and commercially.

But I also recognized from the time I wrote the books originally that they suffered from many of the flaws that afflict first novels. They were earnest, ambitious, and in many ways quite good, but they were also wordy, overwritten, and longer than they needed to be. Hence the Author’s Edit of the new versions. The Author’s Edit is kind of like the Director’s Cut of a movie — I have revised the books to make them more readable without, I hope, compromising them in any way when it comes to essential story elements like plot, setting, character, pacing, etc. I was able to do this now because at this stage in my career, after writing nineteen novels over as many years, I’ve learned a thing or two about writing and storytelling.

So, I thought it might be helpful to look at some of what I’ve learned and at a few of the lessons I was able to apply when I edited these beloved but imperfect early novels.

  1. Less is more — One of the things I did in editing these books was remove exposition, adverbs, and unnecessary dialog tags including gestures and facial expressions. Not all of them, but enough that the new version of The Outlanders is some 14,000 words shorter than the original. Children of Amarid I cut by 20,000 words. Why? Because readers don’t need to be told every little thing. For instance, sometimes — most times if we’re doing it correctly — dialog conveys meaning through wording and context. We can usually tell from what a character says whether she is angry or sad or joyful. In the original versions I put in so many expressions and gestures that my characters read as caricatures, their facial expressions changing with every word until they seemed like something out of a Bugs Bunny cartoon. “Less is more” means what it sounds like. I could get away with describing fewer of those expressions and gestures without losing meaning. The result is a cleaner, leaner manuscript.
  1. Trust your reader — This is something my editor told me a lot while working on those early books. Readers don’t need to have every little storytelling nuance explained to them. In fact, as with “Less is more,” if we do our jobs as authors we shouldn’t have to explain much at all. Readers can figure out from dialog, from action, from the little details we show, from limited internal monologue, all that they need to follow our stories. We need to trust their ability to intuit what they need to know. Overtelling, pointing out the already obvious, undermines our writing. In a sense, “Trust your reader” is another way of saying “Trust yourself.” Err on the side of telling too little. Let your story speak for itself. And if your Beta readers or your editors don’t understand something, they’ll let you know and you can bolster the narrative with a bit more exposition.
  1. Don’t overuse adverbs — Some people will say that we should NEVER use adverbs. That’s ridiculous. Sometimes adverbs add to our readers’ understanding of context, scene, and emotion. The danger lies in overuse of adverbs. The problem with adverbs is that when used too often they become of symptom of showing rather telling. I used way too many in the original versions of these books and I removed a lot of them in the edits. Some remain, and they add to the narrative. You don’t need to ban them from your writing entirely (see what I did there?); just beware of them.
  1. Reach high, push yourself — This is actually a lesson I was reminded of in reading through these old books, a lesson from my younger self to my older self. They were ambitious novels that demanded a lot of me when I wrote them. I sometimes wonder if my more recent books have been too “safe” in a way, and I am currently writing a new epic fantasy that is as sprawling and far-reaching as these early efforts. And I’m having a blast. So if you sense something lacking in your current work-in-progress, maybe you need to push yourself a bit harder. You might be surprised by how much fun you’ll have if you do.

Lessons learned. Every writing project teaches me something new, whether I’m editing or writing. I love that about this craft. It keeps my work fresh, and it keeps me feeling challenged. As long as that continues to be the case, I’ll keep writing.

Thank you, David!

Everyone here at the Enchanted Alley hopes you will be writing for a very long time. 


About the Author

CoeJacksonPubPic1000-150x150.jpg

David B. Coe/D.B. Jackson is the award-winning author of nineteen fantasy novels. As David B. Coe, he writes The Case Files of Justis Fearsson, a contemporary urban fantasy from Baen Books. The first two books, Spell Blind and His Father’s Eyes came out in 2015. The third volume, Shadow’s Blade, has recently been released. Under the name D.B. Jackson, he writes the Thieftaker Chronicles, a historical urban fantasy from Tor Books that includes Thieftaker, Thieves’ Quarry, A Plunder of Souls, and Dead Man’s Reach.

David is also the author of the Crawford Award-winning LonTobyn Chronicle, which he is in the process of reissuing, as well was the critically acclaimed Winds of the Forelands quintet and Blood of the Southlands trilogy. He wrote the novelization of Ridley Scott’s movie, Robin Hood. David’s books have been translated into a dozen languages.

He lives on the Cumberland Plateau with his wife and two daughters. They’re all smarter and prettier than he is, but they keep him around because he makes a mean vegetarian fajita. When he’s not writing he likes to hike, play guitar, and stalk the perfect image with his camera.


Where to find David online


Essential Information

The_Outlanders-ebook-cover-199x300.jpg

Title: THE OUTLANDERS (The LonTobyn Chronicle, Book 2)

Author: David B. Coe

Publisher: Lore Seekers Press

Price: $4.99 eBook/ $18.95 Paperback

Length: 561  pages

ReleaseDate: October 2, 2016

ASIN: B01M0ZQPZ9

Goodreads link

Purchase links
Amazon
Barnes & Noble
Books-A-Million


Let’s Talk Promotions is also sponsoring a tour-wide giveaway. Click below for more information and to enter. 

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Advertisements

Guest Post: Jim McDonald

The Enchanted Alley would like to welcome today’s guest, Jim McDonald! 


About Jim McDonald

Jim has spent over 25 years as a business and technology consultant, which has allowed him to travel around much of the world.  Now somewhat settled down in the Carolinas, he is using a lifelong interest in history, mythology, anthropology, the hard sciences and B movies to bring his own versions of folklore to life.

When not clacking away at a laptop either for the job that pays the bills or drawing the odd ideas from his head to paper to disturb and amuse the readers, he can be found playing with hot glass or running around in a kilt promoting Celtic culture with his wife and three dogs pretending not to know him.


Today Jim is talking about what it’s like to be a writer, constantly being judged, and how to handle that fear and criticism. 

Fear in a Sea of Judgement

Has your finger ever hovered over the button, poised to send your manuscript off to your beat readers? Your editor? Your publisher?

The one that shoves it out into the world on Kindle?

When your heart races, the sheen of sweat on your brow, dampness in your palms that sends you to make another cup of coffee instead of sharing your work?

Do you have thoughts about the controversial scene? The one that kept you up at nights, or that you wrote around for weeks, knowing you’d have to come back to it at some point?

That statement you know will bring down scorn from some people?

Just even the simple internal doubt about whether or not your work is good enough to warrant a form rejection letter from the slush pile?

You know, that old friend. Fear.

As a writer, you pour your heart and soul into words streaming on the page. Your thoughts stretch to wondering what people will think of you, because of what you have written. What will you do if people don’t like it? Even worse, what if a lot of people read it, and you stir up a lot of noise because of the subject?

Good.

There’s an old saying. Kill your darlings. I carry it a little further. Give life to your dreams and fears.

If your writing is truly worthwhile, it is not only entertaining, but will energize some, and infuriate others. Trying to make everyone happy leaves no one satisfied.

The key to having your message heard, is giving people something worth remembering. And almost always, this comes from triggering one or more of our four core emotions. Happiness, Sadness, Fear or Anger.

When I look at the books that hold the most meaning for me, they are the ones that pushed the limits for their time. Robert Heinlein is one of my favorite authors, and he was more than able of stirring up people of every ilk, and pushing buttons. Some people saw Stranger in a Strange Land as the foundation for the Free Love movement of the 60’s. Others saw Starship Troopers as both an endorsement and an indictment of the military industrial complex. Both are stories that spurred controversy, satires of their subject matter and the societies he modeled.

Not so far on my end of preferred reading has been the 50 Shades of Grey phenomenon from E. L. James. Definitely controversial, sending some people into frenzies that it promotes and glamorizes abuse. For others, it’s been freeing to give a tantalizing glimpse into a niche lifestyle.

What do these have in common? They are controversial, and influential in society. I have to think that when Robert H. was writing freely about incest, it gave him a little pause. E. L. James has certainly taken some backlash, as well as praise.

Writing gives us a medium to explore those ideas that fascinate, titillate, and terrify us. And then we get to share that with our readers, and do the same for them.

So why do we hold ourselves back, and ultimately fail our readers?

We are afraid what people will think. We worry about how others will judge us.

And guess what?

They are going to do it anyway.

I’ve been guilty of toning down some of my writing. It’s often been my regret about some of my work. I worried about how people would view me based on something from a story, and I’d cut it, or at least trim it back. When I talk to my readers afterwards, and they talk about how they read something, or how it affected them, I’ve realized how much of a punch I’ve pulled in a few cases.

I’ve gotten better about this, and the reactions I get these days are much more visceral. On a couple of earlier works when I’ve new editions to fix the little things, I’ve taken opportunities to make small enhancements to restore some of that impact. But at some point, you’ve got to push your children out into the world, warts and all.

So I hereby challenge myself to push more boundaries, especially the ones that make me uncomfortable. The ones that make me grow. And hopefully, touch at least one reader out there.

I’d rather be judged for pushing some limit, testing some boundary, shoving someone’s darling off a cliff with a hand grenade attached than being judged for doing something without substance or meaning. And no, I’m not looking to make everyone happy. Really, I’m not looking to make anyone happy. Except myself.

Even if I worry how my work will be received, I’d rather people look at me and shake their head because of what I do, not because of what I might have done.

Will you do the same?

Want more of this? Come by and see me at http://www.jim-mcdonald.net/. And soon will be launching a podcast over at: http://www.thewritermind.com/.

Thank you, Jim!

We’re really looking forward to seeing you push those boundaries and see where you go from here! 


Jim can be found all along the interwebs at the following places:

Be sure to show Jim’s latests releases some love as well! 


51rxx8jz1xlWe Are Not This 

Over two dozen writers from North Carolina or with deep ties to the Tarheel State band together to raise money for LGBTQ charities in Charlotte and North Carolina as a response to the NC General Assembly’s passage of HB2, the “bathroom bill.”

We are not discrimination.
We are not hate.
We are not fear.
We are not oppression.
We Are Not This.

Proceeds from the sale of this anthology will go to support LGBTQ charities and non-profits in North Carolina.


51ucbzaj9dlUnbound and Determined

Greyson Forrester, born and raised to be a powerful wizard, has survived his trial but left with bigger mysteries behind it all than before. Discovering the trial was just the first battle in a much longer war and the veils between the realms nearly impenetrable, Grey’s lost everything and is again on the run, trying to keep a tenuous hold on life and discover if his restored powers are a gift or a curse.Lost, injured, and alone, someone makes the offer he can’t refuse. To save the two women he loves, and amend for the trail of destruction in his wake, all he has to do is one little job.One thing is certain.The ferryman’s price is a lot more expensive on the return trip from the land of the dead.

Interview: Artemis Rising, Welcome Back!

Today we have two very special guests!

Lindsay Archer and Carrie Anne Hunt are here from Artemis Rising Productions to talk about their project: OTHERWORLD!

20150405202755-Otherworld_Poster-678x1024


You visited the Alley about a year ago (link to post) and talked about your project, OTHERWORLD. What has happened in the past year with that project?

Carrie Anne: So much has happened! In the past year, we’ve finalized our pilot script for the first episode of OTHERWORLD, had it read by an amazingly talented group of actors, and gone full force into pre-production for what we are calling “phase one.” What does that mean? It means gathering the funds to make a Proof of Concept for OTHERWORLD, which is essentially a short film/extended trailer that will help us showcase our beautiful world and characters to investors and networks. It is an essential tool to help us move into Phase Two, which will be the pitching process where we go to networks and larger investors to make the entire series a reality. It’s really exciting!!


You have an IndieGogo campaign set up for Otherworld. How’s it going?

Lindsay Archer: We’ve slowed down at 11% So we could really use some help hitting that end mark.
CA: Like Lindsay said, right now we are at 11% with our campaign. There’s a lot that fans can do to help! First, I’d like to remind folks that it doesn’t have to be a huge contribution. For example, if we had 927 people donate $25, wed make our goal. Not so bad, huh?

What can folks do to help?

LA: Other than contributing, sharing the project on Facebook, Twitter, and just getting it out there to people who are interested in fantasy is a huge boon.
CA: What we have noticed is that we are getting a lot of shares and traffic to the site, which is GREAT! However, we really need to get the campaign about 10x the exposure it has now. So, what can fans do? Share, share, share! Also, if anybody out there knows of any podcasts or blogs or other Facebook or Tumblr groups that might be interested in what we are doing, please contact us and let us know!

Both Lindsay and I have been doing interviews here and there to raise awareness. Right now, it’s a little bit of a numbers game with traffic vs. donations. So, let’s make this thing go viral! Thank you to all of you for your support, we appreciate it more than we can say!


What’s the next step for the project?

LA: This IndieGogo Campaign is to produce a Proof of Concept. Basically that is a short film, somewhat like a teaser, to get people interested in the show, especially investors and Networks. It helps generate industry support to film a pilot and additional episodes and air them on Networks that can reach their target audience. Ultimately we want to see our series on TV entertaining audiences and sharing this amazing story that we’ve created together.
CA: Yeah! What Lindsay said! Once the Proof of Concept is funded and filmed, we’ll begin the process of pitching it to networks and investors to make the series a reality. The Proof of Concept will help us showcase our unique vision. We are SUPER excited to share the beautiful epic that we’ve crafted (and are still crafting!) together.

Do you have any other projects that you’re working on as well?

LA: Presently, Otherworld is the main focus for Artemis Rising Productions at the moment, but I’ve got several other concepts that I would love to see produced in time.
CA: Like Lindsay said, OTHERWORLD is our main focus right now, but between the two of us, we’ve definitely got some other stuff cooking on the proverbial back burners.

Now, on to some more rapid-fire questions! Favorite color?

LA: Red
CA: Blue-violet!

Favorite song?

LA: Ack! Too many to choose! Recently I’ve become fond of Little Black Submarines by The Black Keys
CA: This is really tough question! But, if I had to pick ONE of my favorites, it would be: The Mystic’s Dream by Loreena Mckinnett

Ireland or New Zealand? Why?

LA: Although I would love to visit either of them, I’d probably prefer to visit Ireland because of its ancient history and castles.
CA: Can my answer just be a resounding YES to both? haha! When I watched Lord of the Rings, it was the landscapes that pulled at my heart more than anything, so I would absolutely love to go over there and get a real feel for the land. Ireland is such a part of my personal heritage that I’d love to be over there as well. Plus, like Lindsay said — Castles! I’m a sucker for castles and countryside.

So. Both. hah!


If you woke up and found yourself as the lead role in a movie, what movie would you most like it to be?

LA: Most of the roles that Gena Davis played, Eowyn from Lord of the Rings, since Aragorn isn’t female, or Katniss in Hunger Games if I could have my younger body.
CA: Assuming we are talking about woke up and as an actress have been cast in a particular movie that’s already been made, rather than waking up living in that world. Uhm… this is a super hard question for me because I’d rather wake up and be cast in a new fantasy movie or period piece as the lead that hasn’t been done yet. Like, OTHERWORLD! hah!

I suppose we could say Labyrinth, since that’s one of my favorite movies and getting to work with the Frouds and the Henson Company is a pretty big dream of mine. That, or Legend, because of the Unicorns. hah.

Or, if they ever end up doing a live-action The Last Unicorn, I would LOVE (OMG, seriously, okay maybe this is it.) LOVE to play Amalthea. I identify with her so much!


Cake or pie?

LA: Pie, because it reminds me of Dean Winchester.
CA: Cobbler! I know that wasn’t an option, but it’s the best. Blackberry cobbler in particular. Just leave it on the windowsill … hehe.

Which way does the toilet paper go? Over or under?

LA: Over!
CA: Whatever floats your boat!

Anything else you want us to cover?

LA: My art on books? Kidding.
I do hope others will help support this project. It’s been a long time in the making. Thank you for taking the time to Interview us, and best wishes!
CA: Nope! I do want to say what an AMAZING team we have pulled together for our Proof of Concept, though. I’m so excited I can barely stand it. So, PLEASE, help us out! Toss us a few bucks and/or share with the masses.

Thanks so much, Lindsay and Carrie Anne. You’re always welcome here.

Best of luck with your Proof of Concept, and hopefully we will have you back soon to offer our congratulations!