Introducing Author Galina Trefil

Dragon Soul Press proudly presents Author Galina Trefil! Stoically a Romani activist, she also specializes in women’s minority and disabled rights. To learn more, visit her website.

 

  1. What inspires you to write?
    I suppose the things which most inspire me are various forms of injustice that I see not being given the exposure which they deserve or major moments of history that have, though odd twists of fate, been catapulted into the obscurity of being footnotes.
  2. Do you read much and if so who are your favorite authors?Author Logo DSP
    I don’t read anywhere near as much as I wish I could. I’m very fond of Anita Diamant, Susan Kay, Edgar Allan Poe, Anne Rule, V. C. Andrews, and William Shakespeare.

  3. Have you ever left any of your books stew for months on end or even a year?
    I generally have several works in progress at any given time. So long as I complete at least one novel a year though, I’m happy.

  4. What is your take on the importance of a good cover and title?
    Presentation is immensely important, so I always keep an eye out for great new cover artists online. As for titles, they’re the method to hook your audience, so, even if they’re only a single word long, they necessitate a great deal of consideration. Personally, I always run my title past a few key friends and family that I trust.

  5. How much of yourself do you put into your books?
    A lot of my projects become intensely personal, particularly ones that touch on race, gender, and disability issues, which is why I sometimes need to take breaks from them.

  6. Is there anything you find particularly challenging in your writing?
    Research. I absolutely cannot abide badly-researched historical or medical scenes in fiction. To my mind, it’s better to be stuck in limbo, studying to get a portrayal done correctly, than to go ahead, like a bull in a china shop, and write inaccurate shlock.

  7. What is that one thing you think readers generally don’t know about your specific genre?
    That depends. I write in several genres–mainly historical fiction, horror, and very recently I’ve broken into children’s books as well. Regarding historical fiction, one thing that I’ve encountered repeatedly is that a lot of people have concepts essentially set in stone in their mind about how things were during other time periods and they don’t like those concepts challenged. One needs to keep an open mind. Regarding horror, the question that’s popular to ask is whether or not writing it scares the author, like it scares the reader. For me, the answer’s yes. And, if it’s not yes, then it’s back to the drawing board. Lastly, regarding children’s books, I think that one of the popular myths regarding these brief, illustrated tales is that they have to be limited to non-serious subjects, as though children can’t handle anything else. Unfortunately, children live in a complicated world, many facing very complicated issues, just like adults, and they need literature and art to talk them through it.

  8. What do you do in your free time?
    I have a couple books that I’m very close to having ready for publication submission. Perhaps when those are done, I’ll treat myself to some time off. In the meantime, I’m a full-time author, housewife, and mother of two. Free time? What’s that?

  9. Any advice you would like to give to aspiring writers?
    Firstly, learn to LOVE the editing process. When you’re starting out, sometimes editing can feel like the worst thing in the world, but you’ve got to get rid of that negative attitude and look forward to perfecting the piece. There is no such thing as an acceptable first draft. I’ve seen plenty of people refuse to edit their work and, to my mind, this is what separates the amateurs from the professionals.

  10. Where can readers learn more about you?
    In this day and age, being a writer means more than just writing. Success necessitates an online presence–twitter, blog, facebook author page; et cetera. To be honest, I’m a rather private person by these standards. That said, I do plan to be revving the engine back up on my blog in the near future.

Creating Worlds of Wonder (1 of 3)

Here, we discuss world-building. If you’re a writer in fantasy, horror, and science-fiction, you have to do a little world-building which is establishing the setting, rules, and workings of the environment your characters live and interact with.

For example, your story takes place in a kingdom ruled by a young queen who has reached her fifth birthday. A convent of regents “advise” her on important decisions, but she gets to have the peasants beheaded almost every day while eating a big slice of cake. Now, I made that up on the fly, but as the characters interact living in this kingdom, how do they go about their lives while living in such a place?

So, for Part 1 of 3 regarding world-building, we will focus on the “rules” (guidelines mostly):

  1. Be consistent. This is a definitely a rule, unless your story is a tongue-in-cheek comedy about inconsistency. Every other type of story, you need to be consistent. If you establish that fire mages cannot wield water spells, don’t have a scene where a fire mage is casting a water spell unless you have a very good reason for breaking the rule. If you’re not consistent in your world-building, you’ll confuse your readers, who have to stop and ponder what it was they read, figure out how to make their own connection, and if they are dissatisfied, they will leave you a bad review or quit your book.
  2. Create what you need. This is a guideline, but a good one. I read an article a long time ago that Robert Jordan, author of the Wheel of Time series, created a story-bible (all the detailed notes on how his world worked) that is as thick as one of his books (it was over 1,000 pages). Now, it was evident he needed all of it to write and plan out his series (which ended up being fourteen large books), but if you plan out your book and it only takes place in a small barony, you don’t need to create detailed notes of the government of a kingdom on the other side of the continent. In my book, Fallen From the Stars, the entire setting is in the elven village. I had notes on all ninety-eight elves who lived in the village, a map of the village, but beyond that, I have a few general notes of the barony and the kingdom, and some general notes on magic and religion.
  3. Reveal through dialogue. People like Robert Jordan, GRR Martin, and Tolkien crafted incredibly rich-worlds and they painstakingly took their time to explain the workings of the world to the reader; however, just as many people who loved it, there are just as many critics who hated it calling it info-dumping. Info-dumping is you, as the narrator, explaining parts of your world to the reader prior to getting to any dialogue, in between scenes, or after a scene has concluded. A more viable way to explain your world is through dialogue. JK Rowling did this 99% of the time in Harry Potter. Harry, being ignorant of the wizarding world, would ask a very innocent question, and someone would take the time to explain to him on how it works. What made it fun would be Harry’s reaction afterward. In Fallen From the Stars (my novel), the main character is a human from our world, so the elves explained to him how things work around the village.

    Use this method with a bit of caution. There is a reason why Robert Jordan chose to info-dump as opposed to revealing through dialogue in that all his characters were very knowledgeable of the world around them. In would have been unrealistic for Matrim Cauthon to be approached by Moiraine Damodred and he asks her, “What’s an aes sedai?” and she replies, “We cast spells, manipulate politics, the Reds have men issues, and crap.” Matrim knew what an aes sedai was and he lived in a very backwater rustic village in the middle of nowhere, so Jordan established that even the rustics possessed knowledge of the world around them.

In the next part of this series, I will discuss the tools you can have at your disposal to build and maintain your world while crafting your series, and then in the follow-up, how to fix problems that are created when you need (or want) to create inconsistencies.

Happy writing!

 

“First Love” DSP Reader’s Choice Results

First, a ginormous thank you to the hundreds of individuals who took the time to vote for these twelve authors! The First Love Anthology released February 28th as Dragon Soul Press’ second official anthology. The DSP Reader’s Choice was created soon after.01

For those who are still new to the concept, the anthologies and novels are voted on for the entire year. Three stories are chosen from the anthologies and one novel is chosen. The full short stories are republished in a large collection along with a special preview of the novel chosen.

The voting for First Love has ended and provided us with the first three authors who will be featured in the 2019 collection. Congratulations goes out to Simon Dillon, Meg Beopple, and Galina Trefil!

Here are brief samples of their stories below. The next chance to vote is for the Sea of Secrets Anthology. Voting begins May 30th.

 


Papercut by Simon Dillon

The Paper Girl is here again.

She stands in the centre of my bedroom, staring right at me. I ought to be afraid, but I never feel scared of her. Nor do I ever question how she got into my house in the middle of the night. Instead I stare at her beautiful face, completely mesmerised. Her eyes are blank like a statue. Long strands of paper hair flow down her back – not white, but cream-coloured, like the kind of paper you get in novels. Why does she keep appearing? I sense she wants to tell me something, but what?


Message in a Bottle by Meg Boepple

I’m lonely. Come find me. Before it’s too late.

Moira stared at the slip of paper she’d pried out of the plastic Coke bottle.

How long had the message been floating before it landed on the beach? Where had it come from? And how desperate must the writer be to omit the required apostrophe?

She had not expected a mystery when she’d signed on for a week long “Eco-Mission” trip. Cleaning environmentally sensitive beaches like Padre Island wasn’t glamorous, but it was necessary. At least, that’s how she’d looked at it until five minutes ago.


The Rusalka of the Murashka by Galina Trefil

It was said that a crown of flowers would protect its wearer from evil spirits, but as Svetlana watched her lover gripping her by the back of the neck and forcing her face into the shallow, slender undercurrent of the Murashka river, her eyebrows knit in frantic confusion, knowing this was not so.


 

Rowan Thalia Announces 2nd Series

Up and coming Reverse Harem Author Rowan Thalia has completed her first paranormal trilogy, Keepers of the Talisman! After her rapid releases full of witches, Fae, and mayhem, the romance author has more in store for her avid readers.

Introducing a new apocalyptic trilogy centered around a female soldier. Life is far from easy after the BioWar (World War III), wiping out most of the populace and mutating nearly everything left. Enjoy the first official book summary below.

 

BioWar, World War IIIRoxs-Renegades-Kindle
Sixty years ago, the first shot was fired.
  
In the last ten years, our country has fallen. Chemical agents dropped mercilessly on friend and foe alike have created two new species of humanoid, and the world population has been reduced to small colonies of humans fighting against them to survive.
 
Out on a routine patrol, my team and I run into the worst kind of trouble. Branded and left for dead by our superiors, we form bonds that cannot be broken and find asylum with the enemy.
 
Seeking knowledge, my sexy team of four and I race across the wasteland fighting zombies, mutants, and our own transformation for the one thing that can give us answers: a sample of untainted DNA. Aligned with vampires and on the run, we thought things couldn’t get worse until a hidden threat finds me.
 
When conspiracy is the norm, who can I trust?
 
The war is not over and the fight between the species has just begun.

 

The first of this trilogy, Rox’s Renegades, will be releasing May 20th, 2019. However, the preorder is available now for those wanting to take advantage of the limited time offer of $0.99. Once preorder ends, the price will raise to the regular $3.99.

Thankfully due to Rowan’s impressive writing speed, you will not be waiting long for the two sequels. Renegades at War and Renegades in Space will be releasing in June and July. To keep up with the author, follow her on Facebook and visit her website.

Staying Motivated to Write

Being a writer is hard work. An experienced writer will have a ton of ideas raging through their head, several works in progress at any one time, social media updates on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram, their website to maintain, their own blogging, etc.

You, on the other hand, are new. You’re just trying to write and finish that one book, but you keep running into motivation problems. How do published authors do it? How do they keep themselves going day-in, day-out? Here are some tips:

1. Avoid Burnout – don’t write every day. You constantly hear this piece of advice, “Write every day.” DON’T. I personally have found the people that scream the most are wannabe authors. Let me ask you: are you supposed to exercise every day? No. Why? Because you risk injury to your muscles from over-exercising. Writing is the same way. In addition to that bad case of carpal tunnel, you wear yourself out by constantly thinking in pushing a story through instead of giving your brain time to absorb and think about what you wrote. You’ll burn yourself out. Give your brain a day off.

2. Set realistic expectations. Successful authors set goals for themselves that are attainable. One of the things I’ve seen new authors flame out is because they possessed unrealistic expectations. They got a really awesome idea for a book. They may even plot out the whole thing, did character sheets, created a small story-bible of how magic, religion, and how the world works, and then after writing a couple of chapters, they are done. Why? They had an image of them writing their novel in 30 days or maybe writing 3,000 words a day, but they didn’t come anywhere near that. Second, the “honeymoon” with the novel’s plot wears off and now begins the tedium of actually writing out the story. Writing is an endurance sport.  If you’re trying to cut your teeth in this field, start small. Practice. Dragon Soul Press offers opportunities for new authors to submit short stories around six times a year.

https://dragonsoulpress.com/anthologies/

3. Read about the learning the craft. On your “days off,” read blogs or watch YouTube videos about writing. There are many talented people out there. If you read or watch them, you’ll find yourself inspired.

4. Good feedback pushes you closer to the goal! What separates an amateur from a professional author is their ability to handle criticism or whether they ask for it. An amateur won’t solicit for criticism on their work or when they do, they expect glowing praise. A professional will always strive to ask for feedback and when they are told their WIP has problems in X, Y, and Z, you know what they do? They dive right in! Good feedback that is used with tact will always motivate you to push yourself to a new height and a new challenge. An example of this was when I was going through a second round of critiques on Fallen From the Stars. One of my readers posed a serious question about a supporting character and couldn’t make a connection. Eureka! He was right! I went back and added three more chapters just to create the build-up, tension, battle, and resolution  for that supporting character. Result? It eliminated a “dry spell” in that part of the book and added a level of tension and drama not expected.

5. Love the tedium (or at least put up with it). Congratulations! You finished that book! You managed to crank out 100k words and to you, it’s done! However, in reality, it’s not done because you now need to get feedback on it, but before you do that, you need to edit it. Edit, yeah, that word. You know, make it readable for the rest of us. Another amateur mistake I’ve seen a lot of indie authors make is they will not edit their own work. They will run it through spellcheck or maybe Grammarly and then boom, they think they are done. They then format the book and hit the publish button on Amazon. Editing is a part of life. You have to do it. If you love it like I do (I have an unhealthy obsession with it), then tasks like these actually help you cope with the melancholy that comes after you finish the first draft. Even if you don’t love it, at least put up with it.

Regarding amateurs, some hate editing with all capital letters. Once the fun part of the craft actually turns into work, that can deflate motivation quickly. Once a writer realizes they’re only producing crap, they give up and blog about being a professional author or something like that.

There are many other tips on how to stay motivated to write, but with a good mindset, understanding how writing is all about endurance, and good encouragement, then receiving a check at the end of the month is just icing on the cake.

Happy writing!