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The Maddening Science – New Writing Process Blog

The Maddening Science – New Writing Process Blog

Start from the very beginning with me…

So, perhaps I’m a bit of a fool, with the Tumblrpocolypse potentially coming, but I was backing up all my Tumblrs and sideblogs (see the above-mentioned Tumblrpocolypse) and realized that I never really did anything with my sideblog about my short story The Maddening Science. I never got around to producing the short film, and I had to back-burner the full-length novel version when I got the contracts for The Accidental Turn Series and The Skylark’s Saga

I considered just deleting the sideblog – there were only a few posts – and then I realized that this would be the perfect opportunity to form a Writing Process Blog so my readers could follow along with my new novel from the very moment I begin it. 

I plan to use this blog to archive articles, photos, and any discussions of interest pertaining to the themes and events of the novel. I also want to use it to chronicle my writing process and accomplishments (or failures!), and share snippets of the novel in sneak previews. I’m also be open to questions, suggested articles from readers, and conversations about the book in specific or writing in general.

You can read all about the intended novel project here.

If this sounds interesting, please come follow me there! 

I hope that Tumblr doesn’t implode, and that you enjoy the content! I am always happy to interact with readers, so please don’t hesitate to drop me an ask, message, or note!

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JM FreyThe Maddening Science – New Writing Process Blog
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COVER REVEAL – The Accidental Collection

COVER REVEAL – The Accidental Collection

The Accidental Collection, the fourth and final book of The Accidental Turn Series

Releasing July 3rd 2018!

You can preorder your copy of The Accidental Collection right here.

Once again, REUTS Publications and Publisher/Cover Designer Ashley Ruggirello has smashed this one out of the park. I specifically requested a purple cover because Pip’s magic, unlike the Viceroy’s, is violet. (The same color as a Mary Sue’s eyes!) It was also important to me to get the enchantment on this cover, because the third and final Accidental Novella – Magic  – is debuting exclusively in this collection.

Isn’t it pretty? I can’t wait to get a photo of the whole series on the shelf together.

If you haven’t had the chance to start the series, now’s the time. You can get a free copy of book #1, The Untold Tale, by signing up for the Voracious Readers Only newsletter this month and selecting “Fantasy”. You’ll also be automatically signed up for my newsletter as well.

For those of you who didn’t know, I have a past life as a musical theatre performer. Yes, I sang, danced, and acted my way across the boards in my youth. (And I still do so in community theater productions where I can, on occasion). But this means I love singing.

So when someone hooked me up with Brigit O’Regan, the famous YouTube Electric Violinist, you better believe that a song was going to come of it! In the process of building a culture and world for Forsyth Turn, I had the joy of getting to write a lullaby for book #2, The Forgotten Tale. Forsyth sings it to his daughter Alis in the opening chapters, and Brigit composed a melody that sounded exactly as if she had reached into my brain, plucked it out, and laid it gently on paper.  I also had a freaking hoot recording with Brigit – she’s bright, bold, and brilliant. And it was awesome to hear her go “yaaaaas!” every time I hit the high notes.

So without further ado, here is For Calling Children In From Play:

Lyrics:

Ah! The fields are dappled over, my love,
And the spring sings high and sweet!
Ah! The fairies flit and spin, my love,
And so it’s time for us to meet!

The sun sinks ever lower, my love,
It marks an end to play,
So come straight to my side, my love,
Now at the close of day.

Come not through murky forest, my love
Where trolls and goblins bide,
Come not oe’er standing pools, my love
Where kelpies wait and hide.

Come not through vasty deserts, my love
Where sun and djinn are cruel,
Come not through the icy wastelands, my love
Where reflections baffle fools.

Come not past cavern mouths, my love
When they issue smoke and steam,
For those are the homes of dragons, my love
Where they hoard things bright with gleam.

Heed not to the call of sirens, my love,
Nor any creature deep,
For they long to sing away children, my love,
To hold, to drown, and to keep.

Go not through the lofty halls, my love,
Made of fir, or ash, or pine,
For those are the realms of the elves, my love,
And to trespassers they are not kind.

Nor too, through the deep mountain kingdoms, my love,
Though the dwarves are a good and fair race,
They like not surprise from strangers, my love,
When they find folk out of their place.

Oh, the road goes ever onward
No end to sea and sky.
And Quests may call you forward,
But many go awry.
Just promise, heed my word, love,
Wherever that you roam:
Ensure your eyes stay on the route,
For that will bring you home.

When you come to me, my dear sweet love,
Come safe, come sure, and come true.
For adventures are all well and good, my love,
But home is now calling for you.

Come only to the parlor, my love,
Come only down the stair,
Come to the fire with me, my love
And sit with your family there.

Like the song? Want to learn it for yourself? You can download a copy of the sheet music – written, and transcribed by Brigit O’Regan – Right Here!

See you on JULY 3RD for the launch of THE ACCIDENTAL COLLECTION.

 

JM FreyCOVER REVEAL – The Accidental Collection
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Album Review: Victor Sierra’s “The Manchurian Pass”

Album Review: Victor Sierra’s “The Manchurian Pass”

I am very happy to once again have the privilege of filling my head with the glorious sounds of my Parisian friends The Legendary Converted Princess, Big Machine, and Commander Bob a.k.a. the marvelous steampunk band Victor Sierra.

Their fourth album – take that in! four albums – was released earlier this month, and it is yet another wonderful, fantastical jaunt into the realms of alterverses, distant planets, and eternal social struggles.

I’m a storyteller at heart, and what I love best about Victor Sierra’s albums is that enjoyed individually, each song has a tale to tell – a disenfranchised defector, the crashlanding of a spaceship crew on a distant planet populated with the statues of long-dead fantastical creature, the cry of a woman in this age of Fake News – but taken together, the whole album has an overarching narrative to relay.

This time the intrepid crew of their ‘punked up airship the Hydrogen Queen has travelled off world, and into realms of bizarre bazzars, aborted missions, and strange realms.

What I have always liked best about Victor Sierra is how distinctive their music sounds – not just among other industrial rock groups, but other steampunk bands as well: Vaguely atonal, always just a bit uncomfortable, deliberately off-beat in places, voices honest. There is nothing pretty, or pre-packed, or overly engineered about their sound. Victor Sierra is not a slick, shiney fabricated music with autotuned voices, poppy sounds and insipid lyrics.

They dare to sound exact as they are – raw, authentic, cobbled-together. This is Maker-Space sound. This is what the beating heart in the clockwork chest of Steampunk sounds like.

And yet, this time around, while the songs absolutely still sound like Victor Sierra, the melodies are fresh, and this album infinitely hummable. I will admit, there’s nothing I like more in a song than my ability to sing it later all by myself!

We open the album with Visitors, which is an apt title for the theme-setting song of the narrative of discovering the new and the weird.  I especially like the chugging backbeat of this song because it sounds like the train featured on the cover and sets the pace for the rest of the album – relentless, sometimes exhausted, sometimes triumphant, but all about what it means to keep going, keep going, keep going at all costs.

My favourite has to be Track Four – “Arguments & Facts”, featuring Mark Rossmore. It’s framed as a woman refusing to bend to the pressures of her society – and as a steampunk world we can imagine what sorts of issues she must face – but is also a scathing critique of modern media, fake-news sharing culture, and Google Science.

The lyrics are:

 

PAIN RUNNING ‘ROUND MY BRAIN ALL DAY
I MUST GET A GRIP ON MYSELF
THEY WANT ME TO THINK THE SAME OLD WAY
AND LEAVE MY SENSES ON THE SHELF

I’D LIKE TO FLEE THIS KINGDOM OF ENNUI
AND SPEAK WITH THE MASTER OF CLOCKS
WE’D FIGHT OVER THE THEORY
AND SPEND EVERY NIGHT ON THE DOCKS

SUSTAINING A NEVER ENDING INNER FIGHT
WHILE VERITY IS FADING AWAY
SOME PRETEND TO BE BEACONS IN THE NIGHT
STRUTTING WITH VERY LITTLE TO SAY

ARGUMENTS AND FACTS / INTELLECT VS QUACKS
BETTER USE YOUR NEURONS AND SYNAPSES TO THE MAX
ARGUMENTS AND FACTS

THEY CHOSE NEW SPINELESS KINGS TO ENTHRONE
IT’S A CORNERSTONE OF THE BOHO’S ROUTINE
I DRINK TO THE SPIRIT OF THE UNKNOWN
EVEN THOUGH THEY PUT ME IN QUARANTINE

SOMETIMES TALKING TAKES SUCH A HEAVY TOLL
SOMETIMES I’M LOSING CONTROL

My only critique is that I do wish there had been one or two ballads where the relentless pace of the chugging machine had slowed for a few minutes. But maybe that’s the point.

In this modern world, we all have our side hustle, our crazy schedules, our personal and societal battles, or ideals and convictions. And Victor Sierra gives us the soundtrack for fighting the good fight.

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I was provided a copy of The Manchurian Pass by the band for review purposes.

 

JM FreyAlbum Review: Victor Sierra’s “The Manchurian Pass”
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WORDS FOR WRITERS: How Do I Turn My Travel Bucket List into a Book Worthy of Reading?

WORDS FOR WRITERS: How Do I Turn My Travel Bucket List into a Book Worthy of Reading?

Hello, my lovely readers! Welcome to a special guest WORDS FOR WRITERS post from Beverly Johnson! Want to know all about travel writing? Read on! –J

Photo by Pexels

How Do I Turn My Travel Bucket List into a Book Worthy of Reading?
by Beverly Johnson

The thing about travel writing that George Stone articulated perfectly is this: Everyone is a travel writer, but not everyone knows it. People tweet, take photographs, and scribble notes whenever they travel, and each activity is a unique take on your experience in a new place. The Editor in Chief of National Geographic Travel argues that the only difference between a normal traveler and a travel writer is a deadline.

While that last part is true for magazine writers, it’s not the case if you’re looking to write a book on your own spare time. Still, the demands are the same: You must sweep the reader off their feet to be present in your journey with you; you must take them on a spatial, outward journey, but also inward and across time; and you must, most importantly, do it well. But how exactly do you turn your travel bucket list into a book worthy of a reader’s time, money, and effort?

Getting started

For starters, make sure your bucket list is as detailed as possible. Lottoland explains that this can take the form of one long list of things you want to do or a shorter one exclusively related to travel goals. The latter is better suited for the purposes of your writing. Avoid general entries like hiking, spending a day in a village, etc. Modify your list so it revolves around a specific place (Things to do in Bangkok), or activities under a common theme encompassing several destinations (Studying the Nuances of Southeast Asian Cuisine).

Making your list is the first step you can take to shape the book you are about to write. Your trip shouldn’t just be the story itself but rather, a series of events from which you can draw your narrative. There are plenty of books and websites out there following the Bucket List format (The Top Places to See in the World and so on), so it’s best to write from your own point of view. Instead of simply recommending places to visit, challenge yourself to weave a story in connection to your travel bucket list and your own experiences and thoughts. As Carl Rogers succinctly puts it, what is most personal is most universal, and this remains true in psychology and in writing. In truth, some of the best travel books not only offer marvelous views into the world out there; they also take a journey through a writer’s life and psyche, which can altogether be more fascinating.

The nitty gritty

With this in mind, remember that there is no need to tell your entire trip chronologically. Skip the touristy areas, ask a lot of questions, make friends, take notes of what people say and how, and snap a lot of photographs. Sometimes, a taking strolls along the streets can tell you more about a place and its culture than any number of museums you visit. Try shopping at a local wet market or eat alongside residents in simple restaurants. Save the best pieces, anecdotes, and descriptions you absorb during the trip to tell the story. Make it truly your story by interweaving facts, descriptions, and observations in your narrative.

The great thing about travel writing is that there’s absolutely no shortage of inspiration anywhere you go. However, if at any point you’re feeling stuck, check out the guide to getting over a block previously shared here on the J.M. Frey blog.

The hard part

Of course, your project doesn’t end with all that nitty gritty work! As any writer with publishing experience will tell you, the hardest part is the homestretch. For instance, editing isn’t just about getting perfect grammar, it’s about making sure your story works; it’s relatable; and that it draws out the best from your travel experience. Travel writers of The Guardian emphasize the importance of triple-checking your facts and being economical about your work. Be ruthless about editing out words and anecdotes that no longer add to your book’s purpose and do your best to avoid clichés. Have a trusted friend or beta reader to go through your work, if you wish.

After all of this, it’s finally time to reach out to publishers about your book. Granted, going through an agent isn’t for everyone, but as explained in another Words for Writers blog post, there are still many advantages related to having one.

Have any more questions? Be sure to check out more WORDS FOR WRITERS articles or CONTACT J.M. HERE.

JM FreyWORDS FOR WRITERS: How Do I Turn My Travel Bucket List into a Book Worthy of Reading?
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