Though I have been hard at work on my latest project, I regretfully didn’t speak much about it until its release.
Going off course from writing, I decided to publish a coloring book combining my love for cats and outer space. When you put them together in a coloring book form you get, Cats in Space: A Coloring Book for Kids.
Here is the cover of the final printed version of the book:
As someone who enjoys art in addition to writing (I have my own Zazzle design store and also have made my own covers thus far) it is only natural for me to take a break from one to do the other.
All of the designs were done in a vector program and then formatted for publication.
Here are a couple of pages from the book:
The beginning of the book has a test page for you to test your colors. There you can decide if color pencils, crayons, or other art mediums work best for you. The next page has a short little poem I wrote to kick off the rest of the book.
Each page is one sided so you can rip out the pages if you wish and hang them.
The first coloring page I ever made was for a Renaissance Festival contest. Despite me having fun making a coloring book page, I swore I would never make another coloring book page again.
Well never say never.
I never thought I’d make a book like this, but I am so happy I have. You just never know what turn your life will take or what will inspire you.
I had a lot of fun making this coloring book. I enjoyed working on it and sending my works in progress to family members. But the best feeling of all was to see my daughter’s eyes light up when she’d see a new page. She’s not quite ready to color yet, but when she is I think this may be one of her first coloring books.
As for future projects in the works, I am wrapping up previous projects now which includes a young reader children’s book and a baby book. These books have taken longer than anticipated, but they are next on my priority list. Yes, this deviates from my latest zombie releases, but I can’t help but be a multi-genre author. It’s in my blood.
With that comes a time for giving gifts, but you may find yourself stumped on what to give someone.
Here is a list of ideas for the writer in your life. This list does not guarantee Christmas delivery times. Please check each individual site to see their shipping policies. This list was meant to inspire your holiday purchases if you are stumped on that special writer in your life.
1- Books about Writing
Writers love reference or inspiring books about writing. Here are a few of my top choices.
Yes, I am a bit bias because I wrote this book. So here’s my one moment of self -promotion on this list. However, I think this would make a fun little gift for any writer that loves science fiction and fantasy. Also, if you purchase the paperback, Amazon will sell you the eBook version for only 99 cents via Matchbook!
The book is sectioned off into 10 sections with 50 prompts per section. Think of a number 1 – 500 and easily find that spot in the book.
500 Science Fiction and Fantasy Writing Prompts is also appropriate for writers of any age. So no worries if you’re looking for something for your teen!
I recently made my own homemade brew of hot chocolate by mixing 2% milk, sugar, cocoa powder, and cinnamon in a pot. Ever since then, I’ve become a little obsessed with the idea of making homemade hot chocolate versus a package from the store. Don’t get me wrong, I still like store-bought hot chocolate / cocoa.
I mention gifting homemade hot chocolate because not only is a cute, homemade gift, I don’t think many realize how easy and delicious homemade really can be. If you live in a cold area like I do, anything warm like coffee or hot chocolate is always appreciated. (A side of cookies is always nice too)
Coffee Gift Cards
Gift cards always make a great present for writers who love their coffee. Some suggested places for gift cards include, Starbucks, Peet’s, Caribou, Tim Horton’s, and Dunkin Donuts. Be sure to check the location to make sure there’s a coffee shop nearby so they can use the gift card. Many coffee shops are only located in specific regions.
For an even more personalized gift, find out if there’s a locally owned coffee shop they frequent instead of the bigger chains. When it comes to coffee, many people are very specific.
Combine unique cards that act as story prompts. The listing states it has trillions of combinations. This game would be fun for a writer of any age. Reviews list many people use this for youth writing workshops and their classroom. So whatever age you’re shopping for, this would make a great gift.
Time to Write – Whether it be babysitting the kids, cleaning the house, or a weekend getaway to decompress. One thing writer’s need the most is just time to write.
Amazon Prime Membership (for Prime Music) – Writers need specific music (or for some none at all) when they write. This is a great way to open up the possibility of thousands of albums with no commercials. This is personally how I listen to music when I write.
Register them for a Writer’s Conference – These can be costly, but also well appreciated. If you plan on buying a ticket to one of these, be sure to find out if they really want to attend and consider the potential cost of flight and hotels. These will set you back hundreds, but a really generous gift for serious writers.
Gift Cards to Book Stores – Writers are also readers. Any writer will appreciate an opportunity to add to their library of books, whether it be fiction for pleasure or reference books.
Signed Books by Authors – Some signed copies can be impossible to come by, but others are easier than you think. Some known and active authors like Brandon Sanderson even have a spot on their site dedicated to purchasing signed copies. Just find out their favorite author and do a quick search. You’d be surprised! Writers love to read. They will have their idols–authors they look up to. Signed books are unique and thoughtful gifts to any writer.
I am sure I missed some ideas as there are many more great gifts for writers such as fun t-shirts, accessories, journals, and more.
If you’re a writer, what’s on your wishlist?
Article note: None of these links are affiliate links. The only profit I make is a purchase of books I wrote.
This month, I will be publishing a zombie short story I wrote several years ago by another title. It was collecting dust, yet I couldn’t stop thinking about it.
About The Infected Manuscript:
This story tells a tale about a horror novelist that is so caught up in his novel, he has completely shut himself out from his family. His wife and kids beg to spend more time with him, but he has a deadline to make and a bout of writer’s block.
It is a first person perspective of the novelist losing himself in his zombie apocalypse manuscript.
In November, I went back and updated the title and created a cover for it.
Here’s the cover:
Like my other titles such as 500 Science Fiction and Fantasy Writing Prompts andZombie Writing Prompts, I have done all my own cover art using creative common license images and a bit of Photoshop and typography magic. I intend to continue to do my own covers for a few other future titles. However, this will not always be the case. Depending on the project I would like to have some covers commissioned. Though I do love to work in Photoshop, create vector images, and do pixel art, there are certain art techniques I will be seeking out in future book covers that I cannot do on my own.
I look forward to collaborating with artists in the future.
The Infected Manuscript is set to release within the next week (December 2016). Stay tuned!
After giving it a lot of thought and reading pros and cons lists of other writers, I have decided to take the plunge and become a multi-genre writer.
No longer am I going to restrict myself from writing stories I want to tell, or spend time thinking about the possibility of building a pen name.
This can be a very scary plunge to take, as many believe that an author should pick a genre and stick to it. If I followed that advice, the only thing I’d be allowed to write under my name is fantasy. Some genres easily overlap without a problem, so at most I could be a fantasy and science fiction author.
But then what happens to the zombie stories I want to tell?
About six months ago, I came up with a zombie apocalypse story that is part western, part steampunk, part science fiction all balled into one. (More to come on this one someday, I do honestly plan on writing it.)
But I’ve already written a children’s illustrated book and a young reader novel about a little girl and her magical friends. Do I start a pen name just for the one book? Which stories get the pen name? Which one should I just forget about?
Overall, it just didn’t seem right for me to be having this conflict. Would building a new pen name for each new idea really be a good use of my time?
Now I have a romance novel in the works with geek references, magical spells, and lots of pancakes. How does that line up with my zombie story, as far as “author branding” goes?
Perhaps it doesn’t. But both stories are still me.
I toyed with the idea for over a year that I should just make separate pen names for every genre I wanted to write in. Many authors swear by pen names. But even if I decided to be open about my pen names, it still felt like I was hiding behind a name for the sole purpose of branding.
After much thought, I realized that even though all of these stories I have written or planned on writing are technically different genres, they are still me. A lot of my heart and soul (as cliche as that may sound) pours into those words. Why not group them all together? I don’t want to be any other pseudo name.
I want to be me.
I want my stories to be attached to my name…not something I made up because it sounded good for branding sake.
This isn’t a dis to those that make pen names. This is just me stating that it isn’t going to work for me. For another author, a pen name could be beneficial towards their sales. It just isn’t going to work for me.
With this decision, there will be challenges.
How will a young reader be able to know that when they pick up a book of mine, they won’t accidentally pick up a horror book? It will take clear differentiation in book covers and blurbs of course. Will it be enough? Time will tell.
All of this ultimately is going to be taking it one step at a time…one title at a time…one cover…one blurb. Because I love to read multiple genres, I’m going to just assume there are people out there that do the same.
Young readers grow up eventually and expand their reading horizons. I want my titles to be there for them when they do grow up.
So what genres do I ultimately plan to write in?
Science fiction. Fantasy. Young Adult. Post-apocalypse. Sweet Romance (must still have magic or science in there). Young Reader. Picture books. Light horror (good zombie fun).
There’s a lot of overlap with these genres, so ultimately my heart is still in a similar place when it comes to my writing.
At the end of the day, I will always stick close to science fiction and fantasy. But if an idea strikes me in a random genre, I’m not going to hold back from writing it.
This was a fun prompt book to write. The prompts came to me almost easier than the science fiction and fantasy ones. This fact made me realize how much I enjoy writing about zombies!
What does that mean?
Well, there will probably be a zombie short story or novel coming in the future.
In the mean time, here is the cover reveal for 100 Zombie Writing Prompts.
This cover mimics the other prompt covers, but with a green overlay.
While making this cover, I had a bit of a catastrophe.
Somehow, my original Photoshop file for my book covers was corrupted or deleted off my computer. The shortcut still existed. It still appeared to exist in the recent files within Photoshop. I spent a couple hours trying to recover my original file.
I finally had to surrender and start over.
Through this experience, I learned to make sure I have multiple copies of important files just in case.
Here is a screenshot of my work in progress, attempting to recover my original design.
Comparing the final version to my work in progress, you can see I added a jagged edge to the word Zombie at the end.
100 Zombie Writing Prompts is available for pre-order and will release September 26th, 2016. Order the e-book today!
Art is a great creative outlet that I thoroughly enjoy. It keeps my create juices flowing when I am not writing. In the coming weeks and months, I will have several new releases including the paperback version of 500 Science Fiction and Fantasy Writing Prompts and a surprise prompt book for Halloween!
If you’d like to see any of these designs on different products, do not hesitate to let me know!
In less than one week, (unless there’s a technical catastrophe) I will be publishing 500 Science Fiction and Fantasy Writing Prompts as a follow-up to the 100 Science Fiction and Fantasy Writing Prompts title that was released in April 2016.
One thing I wanted to mention is that I did not come up with 500 prompts between the time of April and June. In fact, this upcoming release is something I’ve been working on since 2013. It has gone through many revisions and prompt replacements. Many prompts were originally written down on a notebook piece of paper as they came to me.
The biggest challenge of writing all these prompts was constantly switching gears between tenses, point of views, and tone. Because this book meant to inspire many different kinds of writers, I didn’t want all of the prompts to have a uniformed structure from one another.
To keep with the style of the previous book, I created a cover with only a few variations in design.
Here is my cover reveal for the upcoming title, 500 Science Fiction and Fantasy Writing Prompts.
In preparation for my upcoming release of 500 Science Fiction and Fantasy Writing Prompts, I slightly redesigned the cover to the shorter installment. Though the main image is the same, the typography, contrast, and title have been changed slightly.
Here is the before and after:
Covers were designed by me using painting programs on my iPad and filters in Adobe Photoshop.
The next installment to my writing prompt series is set to release in the next week or two.
Keep your writing sharp by writing every single day. If you’re stuck on what to write, writing prompts are a great way to get inspired. Use these prompts any way you’d like, from flash fiction to a full-length novel. Here is a list of 10 creative fantasy writing prompts to work with. Also, check out my other blog post: 10 Science Fiction Writing Prompts.
1. She carried a song in her heart, only to be heard when the world was at peace. If sung, the listener would live forever. But until then, the songstress sang of nothing but heartache. To what lengths do people go, to get the songstress to sing the song of eternal life?
2. The leaves on the tree turn every color of the rainbow. The touch of the bark feels warm and comforting. I do my very best to hide the tree from my neighbors. There is something special about it…I just know it.
3. She was given an opportunity to change one event in history. What event does she choose? How does it ultimately affect her life?
4. The tall rock blinked with glowing eyes in the darkness. More mesmerized than afraid, the lone traveler stood and waited for the rock to speak.
5. Write about a game of chess. Every move you make sends you and your opponent to a different world. Once the game ends with a checkmate, you both are stuck in the last world you traveled to. Is there a way back home?
6. The sword he wielded was said to be able to cut through anything. One day, he discovers a material his sword could not cut through. What was it?
7. The shapeshifter followed the circus and performed his famous act for large crowds every night. He could shapeshift into any creature, person, or object that was requested. One night during his act, someone made an impossible request. What made it impossible for him to shapeshift this one time?
8. The only way to rid of his black magic was to have wizards of light absorb his powers. Absorbing his powers would not only cancel out their magic, but also increased their risk of turning evil. How do they combat this powerful foe?
9. A job board at the local inn is looking for skilled warriors to hunt down a beast that is burning down cities. You take the job with six others, but quickly find yourself in a predicament. The job board had lied. The beast has the power of ice and your group was only prepared for fire. What happens next?
10. Write about a children’s storybook that has the power to randomly generate a new story every night. Where does the power come from? Is this book rare or common?
For more writing prompts, check out my latest eBooks: