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Simple Wisdom from Gandalf

“‘Where did you go, if I may ask?’ said Thorin to Gandalf as they rode along. ‘To look ahead,’ said he. ‘And what brought you back in the nick of time?’ ‘Looking behind,’ said he.”

As I was thinking about what I might write for the newsletter this week, this quote from Gandalf came to mind. Like so many others, I’ve been both looking ahead with anticipation toward the holidays, but also thoughtfully looking behind as the year nears its end. What has been accomplished that I can be proud of, and what setbacks have kept me from doing more? No doubt all of us have fallen short of our dreams in some areas, yet we may have found unexpected blessings in others.

Joining newsletters with Renee and Joshua has certainly been one of those blessings for me. Through it I have found new friends, as well as fans, and have been challenged to branch out and try new things I hadn’t thought of before. I would say overall it has been a successful year, and all of you have been part of that success! So thank you for sticking with us each week, and for encouraging us to keep writing, blogging, and reaching for those coveted review stars that help us entice more readers.

The new year is always a good time to make a fresh start, and I’m already thinking about what I might do differently for 2017’s newsletters. But before I change things up, I’d really love to know what you think I’ve been doing well, and also how I can make my editions of the newsletter more interesting to you, the readers. I would be extremely grateful if you would take a few minutes to answer this short 4 question poll. Consider this my end-of-the-year review!

Next week’s newsletter will be a special Christmas edition, featuring a rare treat you won’t want to miss! 

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Picking up momentum…

We have entered the final month of 2016, mentally preparing for the hustle and bustle of the upcoming holidays, while gazing longingly into the distance at a promising New Year. NaNoWrimo November is a wondrous bonding moment between authors, but we writers know the writing doesn’t stop on the first of December. Oh no, we have only begun!

I have personally completed two short stories in the Thrice Nine Legends Saga (to be released shortly) to bridge the gap as the third and final book of The Kaelandur Series receives its final touches. That is right! Maharia will be hitting the shelves in early 2017, completing the tale of Branimir and the legendary copper dagger, kaelandur.

In the meantime, I am sharing the first book, Melkorka, on Wattpad for readers to enjoy. I will be uploading a chapter or two each week. Please consider checking it out on my WATTPAD, and leave me your thoughts. Also, if you have your own story, I would love to check it out.

Lastly, we would like to personally thank the outstanding readers and fans who have subscribed to the Weekly Fantasy Fix over the past year. The numbers of our newsletter have ground tremendously, and we are touched to have your support in our lives. Please feel free to contact myself, Allison, or Renee, if you have any questions, comments, or suggestions as we approach the new year.

Joshua Robertson, CEO
Crimson Edge Press, LLC

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Weekly Fantasy Fix Black Friday Sale!

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The Weekly Fantasy Fix Authors are having a Black Friday Sale!

Get discounts on our books all weekend long, plus a select number of books from other authors published through Crimson Edge Press. Check out this week’s special edition of the Weekly Fantasy Fix for deals and links.


Give the gift of reading for Christmas! Right now, my e-books are just 99 cents!

Want a paperback instead? Use promo code 992ES8RE to get 25% off all my printed books when you buy directly through the CreateSpace store.

Prices go back to normal next week, so don’t miss out!

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Writing for a Cause

Writers are a passionate bunch. We spend years of our lives dedicated to writing, re-writing, editing, re-editing, and marketing our stories, with little expectation of a significant financial return. We love it, even though at the end of the day most of us are probably making about two cents per hour! We write because we just can’t contain our imaginations, and the worlds and characters welling up inside us need a place to go. It gets unbearably crowded in there otherwise. Sometimes writing is our best form of self-expression, too, and through our stories we learn how to deal with our own internal conflicts.

There are also times when we write for a greater cause—a meaning that extends beyond our creative passions and into the real world. For the past year, 10 writers have been working hard to put together a fantasy book called The Realms Beyond, hoping their stories will help raise money for the June E. Nylen Cancer Center in Sioux City, Iowa.

The project was envisioned by a young, upcoming author, KJ Hawkins, who had just lost her grandmother to pancreatic cancer. When I asked her how the idea for the book came together, she replied, “In many ways I felt like I needed to do this to help with my grief, but realized that my grammy would have wanted me to use what I was good at to leave a mark on the world. And I couldn’t think of anything better than to help those families fighting for their loved ones by putting together a book with the sole purpose of bringing them aid.”

When KJ Hawkins asked me if I’d be interested in participating, I was happy to say yes. My own grandfather died of pancreatic cancer, and other members of my family have been cancer survivors. I can imagine that all the participating authors share this connection in one way or another, and that many of the readers will too. Today pre-orders for the book have started, with the official release date scheduled for April 2017. It’s a project I’m thrilled to be a part of, and I hope that through it many lives will be touched in a positive way, readers and beneficiaries alike. Ten of us have come together to write for a cause—you can help too by reading for a cause. All of the proceeds from the book will go to the June E. Nylen Cancer Center.

realms-beyond-coverParticipating Authors and Included Works/Sub-Genres:
Allison D. Reid — Into the Shadow Wood (Christian Fantasy)
Ali Cross — Blood Crown (Sci-fi/New Adult)
Artemis Crow — Leona’s Descent (Fantasy)
D.B. Mauldin — The Chosen One (Young Adult/Fantasy)
Fiona Skye — Tools of the Dragon (High Fantasy)
KJ Hawkins — Half-Blood Academy Short Story Collection (Young Adult/Fantasy)
Melissa Barker-Simpson — Badge of Honor (Adventure/Fantasy)
Renee Scattergood — Makari’s Mission (Dark Fantasy)
Samantha Bryant — The Good Will Tour (Superhero/Fantasy)
V.L. Holt — 97 (Young Adult/Paranormal)

 

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How To Craft A Terrifying Monster

As this year starts to wrap up, we see writing communities going WILD with NaNoWrimo, new publications, and attempting to prep for upcoming conferences, book conventions, and events in the upcoming year. I suspect many of you are involved in the madness that is November, enjoying the mayhem, while looking forward to the calm.

Are you a part of the shenanigans of November or are you missing out? Go out there and get comfortable in a writing group and feed off of the energy surging through the masses of authors. The three of us at the Weekly Fantasy Fix wish you much productivity in the coming weeks!

This quarter I wrote a column for the OWS Inked: Literary Journal on How To Craft A Terrifying Monster for your current manuscript…

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Heroes and Villains

In a previous Inspiration Sunday post I mentioned that in the process of working out some things for the third book in my series, I’ve been thinking about the very different motives and actions of my heroes and villains. Where my story goes from here largely depends on their inner battles, and how those translate into actions that have world-wide consequences. What is each side trying to ultimately achieve, and in what ways are they trying to get there? Are they staying one step ahead of their enemies, or are they simply reacting as each new thing gets thrown at them, never really gaining any ground?

But even beyond that, what makes heroes and villains who they are is not just their inner conflict, but their inner character. The best heroes aren’t perfect people—they are just as flawed as the rest of us; sometimes more so. And yet what makes them different? Sure they might have special abilities—those can be squandered. They might be more desperate than most. Desperation can also turn to bitterness that produces nothing good. And we’ve seen time and time again how the same set of circumstances can turn one person to darkness and another to the light.

I found the answer in a quote from C.S. Lewis. “To love at all is to be vulnerable. Love anything and your heart will be wrung and possibly broken. If you want to make sure of keeping it intact you must give it to no one, not even an animal. Wrap it carefully round with hobbies and little luxuries; avoid all entanglements. Lock it up safe in the casket or coffin of your selfishness. But in that casket, safe, dark, motionless, airless, it will change. It will not be broken; it will become unbreakable, impenetrable, and irredeemable.”

Our heroes have to accept their flaws, allow themselves be deeply wounded by them, yet still have the strength rise to action…even when that action is self-sacrificial. They have to care about something larger than themselves, and to care, a heart capable of love is required. So where does that leave our darkest villains? By contrast, they are cold and selfish. Their flaws do not make them vulnerable to heartache—they won’t allow it. And while they might also care about something larger than themselves, it is only to the extent that they will greatly benefit in the process…and they have no problem sacrificing someone else to get their prize. They worship none but themselves. Over time, our villains’ hearts grow increasingly incapable of love until, to use Lewis’ words, they become unbreakable, impenetrable, and irredeemable. Those are the true villains that our heroes must rise against—the ones worth risking everything to defeat, because if they win, there will be nothing left worthy of living for.

For those of you who are writers, forget for a bit the mechanics of the plot you’re building, and look deep into the eyes of your heroes and villains. What lies hidden deep down in their hearts and souls? What, and who, do they really, honestly care about? How do their vulnerabilities impact their character, and what are they willing to do to achieve their goals? For all you who are readers, which heroes and villains stand out as the most memorable to you? What made them real?

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Simple Writing Tips!

A couple weeks ago, we talked about NaNoWriMo starting on November 1st. Although I will not be personally joining a camp, I will be writing a significant amount of words during the month. Whether you have been writing for two years or two weeks, I wanted to include a few healthy reminders of what may help you be successful in your writing endeavors.

  • Start small. The important thing is to maintain a routine of writing every single day. 300 words per day is plenty. Did you know John Grisham began his writing career as a lawyer? He got up early every morning and wrote one page. You can do the same.
  • Have an outline. I am currently working on a webinar talking about important tips when writing. One large piece of writing is maintaining an outline. Think of your book in terms of beginning, middle, and end. Anything more complicated will get you lost. Highlight your plot points and break them down into major events.
  • Have a set time and place to work on your book every day. Schedule your time to work and your time to be off. When you are writing, you should be in a special space for writing, so when you enter it, your body is ready to tackle the manuscript. And don’t let yourself off the hook.

These are not entirely complex tips to follow, but even the best of writers forget the simplicity that keeps us on track. Now get out there if you are a writer, because you should be writing.

Joshua Robertson, CEO
Crimson Edge Press, LLC

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