It’s amazing what a writer can discover while researching for a book. Writing a post-apocalyptic story for the past few years made me look into the whole survival thing. Now, I’m not much of a survivalist myself. In fact, I’m such a city slicker, that I feel I’m in an alien and hostile environment even if I’m left in a park. You know, one of those big parks, with lots of trees and flying critters buzzing all around me. Chances are, after a couple of minutes there, you’ll probably see me running half crazy, arms flailing, and screaming in utter panic.
True story, by the way, on more than one occasion, but let’s not get into that right now, shall we? Moving on…
Even though I’m not too fond of nature (I think the right word is incompatible), I couldn’t help but timidly start researching things about survival in the wilderness (like a park). After all, you never know when an apocalyptic event will occur with you as one of the survivors. And yes, this includes a zombie apocalypse. You’ll still need to eat during a zombie apocalypse, wouldn’t you?
One of the first things I came across was a video that showed how to create a stove to cook food. Of course, that implies you already know how to capture your food, how to overcome any mental barriers you may have about killing your food (preferably before your food kills you – always a good idea to do things in that order), how to prepare your food for cooking, and other various important things for survival.
Now obviously I haven’t tried this at home, so in the case of an apocalypse, I can’t guarantee it won’t turn the world’s or humanity’s leftovers into cinders,
but it may be something that could help you survive. And yes, why not, have a party with your friends in the middle of a zombie apocalypse (word of advice: your plus one should NOT be muttering “brains” all the time and should NOT be part of the mindless horde. Nobody likes a party pooper). If you do want to try this, be mindful of any harmful and/or toxic substances that may or may not migrate to your food from the makeshift stove. On the other hand, if a zombie apocalypse occurs or fiery mushrooms of doom burn the atmosphere, toxic substances from your makeshift stove may be the least of your worries.
If only John Piscus, the main character in my debut novel, The Darkening, knew this… man, oh man!
For a little over a month now, I’ve been trying to build an ARC team for my debut novel, The Darkening. If you’re unfamiliar with the term ARC, it’s an acronym that stands for Advanced Review/Reader Copy. What this means is that an interested party receives a copy of the book (in this case, a digital copy) in the hopes that he/she will be willing to review the book when it launches, regardless of the review being positive or negative.
It’s not easy. I’m going about it the hard way. That is, I scour the internet for book bloggers and reviewers, looking for those who would be willing to consider my book for a review. For those who enjoy reading horror and post apocalypse. When done like this, it’s incredibly time consuming. But when someone starts out and doesn’t have a strong fan base, I think it’s unavoidable.
In order for a book and its author to compete with the big names of traditional and self publishing, authors with thousands of fans who hit the bestseller lists almost on day one, it’s crucial for the book to come out with as many reviews as possible on release day.
Though I haven’t checked my browser’s history, I know that each day since I started building the ARC team, I visit more than a hundred book bloggers’ sites. There were a few days where I found a list of two hundred of them, and I went through it in one day.
Yeah, that’s me after all the searching is done, minus the hair, plus the exhaustion from the heat (go away summer, I’ve had enough of you).
So this post is a call for ARC readers. Does any of you enjoy reading post apocalypse and horror? Here are the book’s details.
Title: The Darkening (standalone book)
Genre: Post-apocalyptic horror
Available format: epub, mobi (pdf upon request)
Release date: Sunday, 28 October 2018
Trigger Warning: mention of dead animals and humans. Moderate violence.
Similar books (in terms of mood): The Road (Cormac McCarthy), Children Of Men (P. D. James).
Excerpt: Available upon request.
Description: Don’t fear the dark. Fear the light.
The end came when light changed. It decimated humanity, leaving scattered bands of survivors stumbling in the dark.
Faced with saving himself or his family during the apocalypse, John Piscus made the wrong choice, and has been living with the guilt ever since.
When a glowing girl shows up at John’s shelter begging for help, his instincts tell him to kill her. After all, light kills.
But when masked troopers tasked with capturing survivors come after them, it’s up to John to protect himself and the girl. Not only may she hold the key to reversing the lethal effects of light, she could also be the one who can save his soul.
The book’s launch is scheduled for the 28th of October. I can only hope that, should you decide to join my ARC team, there will be enough time for you to read it before that date. When I started building the team, I thought it would take me a month, perhaps a little more than that, to assemble a group of about fifty (brave) readers. Alas, this newbie was wrong.
If any of you wants to receive an ARC, please use the site’s contact form, or post a reply here with your email, or tweet me (@c_sarantopoulos), or message me on Facebook. I welcome all reviews, both positive and negative.
I come to you with a question. A few years ago, I had a short story published through an e-zine. Since then, the magazine ceased to exist, although the site is still up. My story was featured in the last issue they published. No one could access the story unless they paid to read the issue. That was back in 2014. Pretty much what any print magazine does. Pay to read. As far I know, even today, one can only read an excerpt of that story, but needs to pay a subscription to read the rest.
The story is related to my upcoming debut novel, The Darkening. In fact, they are so closely related, they have the same title. Yeah, I know it’s not a good idea to do this in general, but I suck at coming up with titles.
Anyway, now that I’m redesigning my newsletter, I was thinking of using that short story as part of a reader magnet that will also include the first four chapters of my debut novel, and access to a short interactive story I designed. So three items in total.
But here’s the problem. My style has changed significantly since 2014. I improved considerably in these four years. As far as I’m concerned, that short story is not as good as it could be. It was good then, when I only had a year or so of writing experience. But if I were to write it now, it would be different. The story doesn’t resonate the same to my ears. I’m worried that if I let people read it the way it was published then, readers may get the wrong impression of my current writing skill and style. Of course, as I’ve told you before, I’m a perfectionist. Never satisfied with the quality of the material I produce. So it may all very well be in my mind.
So here’s the question to you, the more seasoned and knowledgeable writers: Have you ever had to rewrite a previously published story of yours for a new publication or to give it away to new readers? If so, how far is a writer allowed to go with new revisions/edits? Would such a thing create problems for the publisher of the original story? Would you even consider reusing or repurposing older material for new readers? Ultimately, am I right to be worried or am I worrying too much?
“Oh, for the love of Holy Morhan, will you please stop thinking that there’s always something wrong?”
Jonas stuck his hands in his pockets, kicked a pebble, and lowered his head. “Something is wrong, though,” he muttered under his breath.
Pela rolled her eyes, sighed, and slapped her hands on her thighs. “You’re impossible. You know for once, just once, I’d like to hear something positive from you.”
They reached the edge of the forest at the top of the hill. Jonas stopped.
“Were your parents really cruel?” Pela asked and carried on walking on her own down the path. “Was it a hex one of the enchanters put on you, huh?”
“Did you pee on one as an infant?” Pela continued without paying attention to her surroundings.
“Pela?” Jonas insisted, still frozen in place.
“Did you accidentally fall into one of their cauldrons perhaps?”
“What?” She stopped and looked around her for Jonas. “What are you doing back there?”
Jonas jerked his chin at the hanging-upside-down citadel. “Is that wrong enough for you?”