Welcome to my blog!

Welcome to my blog! This is my journey, my first steps into the world of fictional writing. This blog is an online journal of sorts, where I share the progress of my work as well as what I have learned along the way. I hope you enjoy your time with me and that my experience may be of some use to you.

Monday, April 25, 2016

Interview - Shawna Railey

Welcome back!

Today we have an interview with a newly published writer, the lovely Shawna Railey. Her first book, Asylum Journals, was supposed to be released next month, but she encountered some unexpected hurdles, and had to make some hard decisions. Regardless, she continues her work, not letting these issues slow her down. So I’m happy for the opportunity to interview her before she gets bombarded with requests and responsibilities that come with being a new writer.

I met Miss Railey via Twitter. We began chatting, and while discussing her book release, she gladly volunteered to answer some of my questions. She came across as very positive and enthusiastic, and I am delighted for the opportunity to have her on my blog.

Now on to the interview!

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Short Bio: I am a mother, wife, author, animal lover and artist. I love the sound of my daughter’s laughter, the crunch of gravel and the perfect click of a keyboard. When I’m not reading or writing, you can find me with a paintbrush in my hand rocking out to Panic! at the Disco.

Social Media:

Published Works: Asylum Journals (due May 2016)

Current Projects: Bella's Curse (due Spring 2017), Blue's Brothers (in revision with my agent before submission).

When did you begin writing?

I've been writing ever since I can remember. I wrote my first book at age four, The Digging Ant, lol.

Did you receive any special training or attend a school?

I've taken various writing classes and workshops, but no special training or degree. For me, the way I learned to write is by READING.

Where do you get your inspiration from?

My dreams and my life experiences. I like stories that are real. I don't mind a happy ending, as long as the story feels authentic along the way.

Do you use any special resources when writing? (other books, computer programs, etc)

I have thesaurus.com open at all times, lol. There's nothing worse than being in the zone, the words flowing, and then getting stuck on a word. I also have my own notes for the chapter I'm working on, along with a general outline for the book.

What is (in your opinion) the most important thing to remember when writing, and why is it so important?

Oh man. There are so many things. I think, for me, it's to remember the plot. I like to go off on a side story and then end up having to cut it. And word repetition. We all have a favorite word. Mine are "just" and "that." So I would say write the words as they come to you, but always go back and edit edit edit.

What is (in your opinion) the most challenging part of writing, and how do you overcome it?

I get inside my head and it can completely stop me from getting anything done. So I would say just trying to relax. If I find myself staring at the screen for an hour or more, I leave. I'll take a shower or walk the dog...anything to just get away and relax.

Have you encountered any pitfalls or drawbacks while on your way to becoming a writer? And how did you overcome them?

Well, there's the most recent setback with leaving the small press I signed with. I actually feel lucky, though, because I recognized the red flags and got out quick.

The biggest thing I think was learning how to be an author along the way. I wrote my first book and thought, okay, I'm ready. Who wants my masterpiece? I had NO IDEA how crappy it was, lol. And I didn't realize trying to become an author would be the equivalent of trying to become a rock star. It's not an easy career path, to say the least. But it's in my soul, so what can I say? I'm a tortured artist, lol.

Did you use an agent? (why or why not?)

For the first series I wrote, I participated in a twitter contest for aspiring authors. A small publisher "liked" my tweet, which meant they wanted to see my query letter. After requesting the partial, and then the full, they offered to publish and sent over the contract. I signed right away, ecstatic to be chosen. I think this is a good lesson to learn: Not everyone is what they seem. I quickly realized I'd made a mistake and I'm still in the process of terminating that contract. There are a lot of small presses out there and I can only urge authors to do their research diligently before signing with anyone.

For my second book, I went the agent route. I sent out queries to my favorite agents and accepted an offer of representation from Steven Chudney with The Chudney Agency. We are currently revising before he sends it out on submissions. That sounds so simple, but it wasn't, lol. I had many, many, MANY rejections along the way.

Do you have any criteria when looking for an agent? (feel free to describe the process here)

Absolutely! I stalked each agent before I queried them, lol. Publishers Marketplace is the best tool for researching potential agents that I've found. (I also like querytracker and Absolute Write). I chose my top five agents based on three things: if they represented my genre (duh), their sales, and - this is where the research comes in - how they are as an agent. Are they editorial? Are they nice? Are they going to want to represent me just for the book they sign or for the length of my career? Are they well regarded in the writing community?

Did you use an Editor? If not, what process did you use to edit your work?

I've never used a professional editor - it was very much trial and error with my first book. Two people in particular, an agent and a best selling author, were brutally honest with what was wrong with it. After the tears passed, I realized they did me a huge favor and I am incredibly grateful for their honesty and wisdom. But the truth is, some people are mathematicians, some people are scientists. Me? I was blessed with the ability to spell and knowing where to put a comma.

How did you get your book published? (self-published, Vanity publishing, Mainstream publisher).

I am finishing up revisions for my agent and then I will send it back to him. After a few more revisions (I'm assuming), he will submit it to the publishing houses and editors he thinks will be interested in it.

Do you have any criteria when looking for a publisher?

That is, for the most part out, of my hands. My agent will choose the publishing houses he wants to send the manuscript to. :)

Do you handle your own marketing?

I haven't done a whole lot of marketing yet. I will once it gets closer to a publication date. But it is so important for authors to do their own marketing - don't rely on your publisher!

What is your best marketing tip?

Be authentic. Take an interest in others.  

Do you have any advice for other writers?

Keep writing!! Everyone always says it, but it's true. Read your favorite authors. Find a critique partner (or two or three). Don't be afraid to ask for help. The writing community is like a little family, one I am incredibly lucky to be a part of. :)

In closing, I would like to thank Shawna for doing this interview, especially amid all the chaos of last minute changes she went through. As someone who is still in the process of finding himself as a writer, I found her energetic personality to be quite motivating. I look forward to hearing more about her in the future.

Until Next time,
Patrick Osborne

Friday, April 22, 2016

By the Book - Monster

Welcome back!

In honor of April Fools day, the selection for this month’s book review was inspired by the literary genre most befitting of the celebration of pranksters: Comedy. I’m not someone who laughs easily, so when it came time to try and find a comedy themed book, I went back to an author that had me chuckling last time I read him: A. Lee Martinez.

    After a pleasant experience with The Automatic Detective, I was looking forward to reading something else written by Martinez. While looking at a list of his works, one stood out as it sounded a lot like the project I am working on; a story about an inhuman individual who hunts monsters. This immediately got my interest, which explains why I chose Monster.

    This story takes place in a contemporary setting, but in this reality, magic and mystical creatures exist. However, these elements remain imperceptible to most of the general populace, and those who do see them, forget any encounters with the supernatural shortly after. The story focuses on a man named Monster, a Cryptobiological control service agent and Judy, a store clerc. Their adventure begins after crossing paths during a yeti attack in the store Judy works at. They keep running into each other during other crypto attacks, which begins to raise suspicion after the number of encounters defies all logical odds. The mystery leads to further twists and turns, when they realise that the appearance of a third party is responsible the rise in the monster population.

The book can be found at:

Back of the Book:
Meet Monster. Meet Judy. Two humans who don't like each other much, but together must fight dragons, fire-breathing felines, trolls, Inuit walrus dogs, and a crazy cat lady - for the future of the universe.

Monster runs a pest control agency. He's overworked and has domestic troubles - like having the girlfriend from hell.

Judy works the night shift at the local Food Plus Mart. Not the most glamorous life, but Judy is happy. No one bothers her and if she has to spell things out for the night-manager every now and again, so be it.

But when Judy finds a Yeti in the freezer aisle eating all the Rocky Road, her life collides with Monster's in a rather alarming fashion. Because Monster doesn't catch raccoons; he catches the things that go bump in the night. Things like ogres, trolls, and dragons.

Oh, and his girlfriend from Hell? She actually is from Hell.

What I learned:
  • Character contrast: Having a distinctive cast of characters is important. Different personalities help advance the story by telling it from different perspectives. For example, in this story we see the characters of Monster and his sidekick Chester play well against each other, as the first is aloof and ill-mannered, and the other is polite and professional. However, when you take a look at Monster and Judy, the two are so similar to a point that it makes the story slow down or feel stagnant in sections where they interact. This contrast helps underline the importance of variety in characters
  • Making it funny: Martinez proves to be successful at implementing comedy in his works of fiction. Though Martinez says he sees himself as more of a fantasy writer than a comedy writer, his witty style and humorous visualizations make for an enjoyable read.  
  • Playing with the source material: In an interview found in the back of the book, Martinez admits one of the bonuses of writing fiction with elements such as magic and mystical creatures, is that it saves on research. Creatures like Yeti’s or Griffon’s don’t exist, so a writer is free to use, interpret and/or alter them in anyway they see fit.

A. Lee Martinez is an American fantasy and science fiction author who was born in El Paso, Texas on January 12, 1973. He has written several published fantasy novels, which have been translated into five languages.

For those interested in reading more books from A. Lee Martinez, please check out his website and wiki description, where you can find a complete listing of his published works and all other pertinent information:

In closing, I would like to thank my wife Linda and our family and friends for the tremendous amount of encouragement they have shown me since the beginning. And a special mention to my good friend John for introducing me to this great author.

Until next time!


Patrick Osborne

Thursday, April 14, 2016

Inspiration Part 11 - Pets

Welcome back!

Keeping in line with April's Comedy inspired theme, this month's inspirational post will be about something that manages to make a lot of people smile. I am talking of course about our furry family members, more commonly referred to as pets!

Everyday, thousands of pictures, videos, jokes and “memes” are uploaded to the web about domestic animals, either doing hilarious things or captioned with funny comments. Family pets are often good for a laugh, popular examples would be the Grumpy Cat or Doge, which everyone with an internet connection has surely heard about by now.
Pets play a big role in people's lives, and the same can be said in litterature. Domestic animals have made their appearance in various forms, playing different roles in stories of all genres. Here are a few examples.

Main Characters. In some stories, animals have proven to be so charismatic, versatile and intelligent, that they occupy the main role. In these tales (har har!), the animals usually progress the story by interacting with the setting or secondary characters, in order to achieve a goal. Popular examples are Lassie, the Littlest Hobo, the Black Stallion, Flipper the dolphin or Skippy the kangaroo.

Companions: Just like real life, animals in literature can play the role of loyal companion. In these cases, they are often used as a plot device to help the progression of the story, either by performing an action the main character cannot, pointing out an important element to the story that is otherwise unseen by the protagonist, or simply being a friendly ear to which a character can talk to. Popular examples are Tintin and Snowy, Harry Potter and Hedwig, Dorothy and Toto, or the Lone Ranger and his horse Silver.

Anthropomorphic: These characters have animal abilities and\or characteristics. They can be either animals with human traits or humans with animal traits. Their animalistic features usually help accentuate their roles in one way or another. Examples are Scooby Doo, Salem from Sabrina, Babe the pig, Captain Carrot and the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles.

Symbolic: Any character whose very existence represents an aspect of society or humanity. They may also embody the theme, moral or idea of the story. Good examples are the cowardly Lion, the Tortoise and the Hare, Garfield, King Kong and the big bad Wolf.

Now on to the visual reference part of my inspiration post. I will be using my own furry family member, my dog Dimitri, in order to better demonstrate how animals can be an inspiration when writing.

First we will take a look at how expressive animals can be. Even though Dimitri can’t talk, he does a fine job of getting his point across, using his big boston terrier eyes.
The ever popular head tilt.


Sleeping in the most uncomfortable places...

… or sitting in awkward positions.

You wouldn’t like me when I’m Hangry!
Da fuq?

    Domestic animals are like children, and like children, they love to play. Watching an animal entertain themselves can be both amusing and funny as hell. Not to mention playing with your pets can be a great stress reliever, and the welcomed distraction can help with writer's block.

Rearranging the bed.

Playing fetch in the lake.


I haz a hoop!

No work, rest now.

Personification is the attribution of a personal nature or human characteristics to something nonhuman. Pet owners do this all the time, dressing up their animals in costumes or sharing pictures of their pets doing “human-like” things. The results are sometimes cute, often hilarious.

Bath time.

Can I eat candy cane?!!!

Dog in the hood.

Doctor Dimitri

It’s not what it looks like!

    Some people say that dog owners often make connections that don’t exist, such as claiming their pets look like them. Though I don't believe their is actual scientific proof behind those claims, one can’t help but wonder…

That is all for this month's Inspiration post. I hope you enjoyed it and managed to  learn something in the process. In closing, I would like to thank each of you for dropping by, it is truly appreciated.

Until next time.


Patrick Osborne.

***All pictures are ©Patrick Osborne 2016***

Friday, April 1, 2016

Current Projects 15

Welcome back!

    Spring is finally here, and after the last few heavy snowfalls we experienced, it’s arrival was greatly appreciated. Soon the temperature will rise and all of the snow in the neighborhoods front yards will turn to a muddy mess. This new season means nature starts blossoming anew, which can be a great source of inspiration for some writers.

But that is not what I will focus on this month!

In the spirit of April Fools, I decided to have each of my posts this month be inspired by Comedy. My focus will primarily be on learning more about humour, jokes and the principles behind comedic expression. Here are a few things I will be covering.

This month’s writing article will be about the various forms of Comedy and their effect on storylines.

In this months book review, I will be revising an author read last year; A. Lee Martinez. I figured it would be nice, since his style did have some humorous elements.

I have something special planned for my inspirational post. I will be sharing with you all something that always manages to make me smile (but I’m keeping it a secret for now).

Currently still working on a writing prompt tailor made for this month, but haven’t found anything yet. I may drop this if I put together an author interview together in time.

    In regards of my other writing projects, my last assignment from Missing Worlds Media has been completed. I have finished writing both the Plot Tokens and the Clue Tokens for the villain storyline and have submitted the final documents for review. So in terms of these assignments, I am simply waiting for feedback or possible corrections.

    I also received my next assignment, writing missions for a specific section of our world map. The setting our game will be taking place in is a city landscape which exist in a superhero universe. Inspired by the Silver Age of comics, this game world has been separated in sections which will be accessible to the players at different times during their heroic (or villainous) careers. Each of these sections will have their own theme, which in term will affect the type of missions found in that area. So this week I have been assigned an area and tasked to create missions appropriate for that location. Unfortunately, I cannot go into further details at this time.

    Now to discuss my own project. I am happy to report that my decision to reduce my blogging has paid off. I managed to get a lot more progress done compared to previous months.

My Time Line chart is now complete up to chapter four. This is probably my third version of this doc, since the original was lost due to a computer failure, and the second needed to be rewritten after the creation of several new characters and scenes. Regardless of how time consuming is it, this document is turning out to be really useful in terms of organizing my thoughts and story progress. I still need to get around to making a monthly writing article about the importance of making of one these types of documents.

Speaking of charts. Last month I mentioned starting work on a new worksheet entitled “Walker’s Tattoo Map” in order to keep track of all different markings on my protagonists body and their effects. Well, after several hours of brainstorming and balancing, the list is now complete. What is left is to create an actual map, showing which marking goes where.

Finally, probably the biggest news I have to report this month, is the completion of the first chapter of my book. I am sitting on it for now, and will return to it after some time passes in order to look at it later with a fresh pair of eyes. Once I am done looking it over, I will submit it for a first pass at editing. Though one chapter seems like a small achievement considering how long I have been working on this project, I must keep reminding myself that I made progress in other areas, such as character sheets, background research and fact checking. Funny how one year ago I was so proud after having completed my “hook” for the first chapter.

How time flies.

Eco fish vector icon

That is all I have to report for this month. Thank you all for dropping by and keeping up with my progress. I would also like to take this opportunity to thank my lovely wife Linda, for taking the time to review my material and give me her feedback. And I would like to thank my readers, for taking the time to drop by.

Until next time!


Patrick Osborne

**All images in this post are considered public domain under the Creative Commons law (CC0)**