Shower of Stones by Zachary Jernigan: A Review

Shower of Stones by Zachary Jernigan: A Review

For those of us who appreciate a fantastical tale with more meat on the bones, Shower of Stones delivers that in spades. Here is novel that simultaneously causes us to examine the context with which we view family, the gods, and the world around us, and it asks us to keep asking questions.

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Shower of Stones by Zachary Jernigan ... a few early thoughts

Shower of Stones by Zachary Jernigan ... a few early thoughts

Books which are given to me for review get bumped to the head of the line. Right now I have two such books. Shower of Stones got to the head of the line, not because the author asked me to read it--for in the interest of full disclosure, Zachary and I know one another from our online interactions--but because I requested this particular novel.

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Manifesto: UF is out

Just in case you missed all the excitement yesterday, the ebook urban fantasy anthology Manifesto:UF is officially out. [Let me pause here to give a shout-out and say thanks to the folks at Reddit r/fantasy and SFFWorld.com for helping us get the word out last night! You guys rock!]

Manifesto features my short story "Naked the Night Sings." This anthology is really special to me because "Naked the Night Sings" qualifies as my very first short story sale.

Angelic Knight Press has released the ebook edition of Manifesto: UF and it is live on Amazon.com. For those of you who are print aficionados, print will follow sometime within the next few weeks.

I love anthologies because they're like Whitman's samplers: you get a chance to see an author's writing style and how he or she carries a story without the full time commitment of a novel. If you take a bite and find a certain story isn't to your taste, move right on to the next one. This anthology is like a box of rich dark chocolate and is full of interesting nuggets.

Now I want chocolate.

Of course, just throwing a bunch of stories together isn't what makes an anthology good. I would recommend following Ryan Lawler's advice to read the stories in order. Tim and Tyson did a magnificent job of creating a flow between one story and the next.

If you have missed it anywhere else, the table of contents for Manifesto: UF is:

Rev – Kirk Dougal
I’m an Animal. You’re an Animal, Too – Zachary Jernigan
Los Lagos Heat – Karina Fabian
Savage Rise – Adam Millard
Front Lines, Big City – Timothy Baker
Break Free – Ryan Lawler
Naked the Night Sings – Teresa Frohock
Double Date – Andrew Moczulski
That Old Tree – R.L. Treadway
Dharmasankat – Abhinav Jain
Nephilim – TSP Sweeney
Toejam & Shrapnel – Nickolas Sharps
Green Grow the Rashes – William Meikle
Under the Dragon Moon – Jonathan Pine
Gold Dust Woman – Kenny Soward
Wizard’s Run – Joshua S. Hill
Chains of Gray – Betsy Dornbusch
Bloody Red Sun of Fantastic LA – Jake Elliot
Queen’s Blood – Lincoln Crisler
Beneath a Scalding Moon – Jeff Salyards
Separation Anxiety – J.M. Martin
Blessing and Damnation – Wilson Geiger
Jesse Shimmer Goes to Hell – Lucy A. Snyder

Well? What are you waiting for? Go sample!

tips for the debut author & happy release day to Zachary Jernigan

Happy release day to Zachary Jernigan, author of No Return!

Over the weekend, Zachary wrote a post about his own hard truth about being a writer. His post made me realize, once again, that while everyone online has tons of advice about how to write a good story, get an agent, publish a book, etc., etc., etc., but you rarely see blog posts with advice for what happens AFTER you become published.

So here are my tips for the debut author (from one slow writer to another):

#1 -- You are a good writer. Otherwise, you wouldn't be published. Remind yourself of that at all times. You worked just as hard as any other writer to get where you are today. You deserve your success. Period.

#2 -- Don't compare your book to anyone else's book. Your novel is what it is, but more than anything else, it is a part of you. If you compare your work to works by George RR Martin, Octavia Butler, Madeleine L’Engle, or any other author, you will always find ways in which your work is lacking. When you engage in this behavior, you are cheating yourself, because you do not, will not, cannot write like them. You write like you, and you are unique. Be proud of your accomplishment. Not many people make it as far as you have.

#3 -- Lasting success takes time. Lasting success comes from building goodwill and trust with your readers. You accomplish this by continuing to write the absolute best possible novel that you can write. Some people write very quickly, others do not. If you, like me, fall into the latter category, remind yourself that to throw shabby work at your readers betrays their trust in your ability to entertain them.

#4 -- Deadlines are inevitable. However, you can sometimes negotiate those deadlines. Most publishers are very understanding, especially when you are dealing with circumstances beyond your control. Don't allow someone to pressure you into releasing a work that is not ready, because when doing so, you hurt yourself, the publisher, and, worst of all, your readers.

#5 -- Don't feel pressured to accept every, single blogging invitation immediately. When you don't have time for an interview or blog post, be honest. Book bloggers are wonderful and they will work with you. There have been times when they have asked me for interviews or blog posts and I had to tell them that I would love to, but that I couldn't do it immediately, and they worked around my schedule. On those occasions when they had a scheduled series and couldn't negotiate the timetable, I bowed out and they quite often asked me back again for a different series.

#6 -- Whenever possible, go to cons. Cons are where you will find other writers, publishers, and editors who totally understand what you're going through. And trust me, you need their wisdom, I know I do.

#7 -- There is nothing wrong with writing slow. I write every evening between 7pm through 11 or 12pm. I edit on weekends. I work 40 hours a week, have a family, and a social life--sometimes I get sick. I need all these things (except getting sick--I could happily forego getting sick), and I devote a great deal of time to writing. Given all of the things in my life, I write pretty freaking fast. So the next time you think of yourself as a slow writer, take an inventory of the things you've done that week. You might be surprised that your time was spent more productively than you think.

#8 -- Thinking about the storyline counts as writing. Plotting and daydreaming count too. Sometimes I don't think we do enough of either.

#9 -- Don't feel pressured to read everyone else's novels. There are only so many hours in the day. Read when and what you can. If you don't get to read a colleague's novel immediately, trust me: we understand. We all have been where you are now.

#10 -- Follow your heart and enjoy life. That is where the stories are.