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Saturday, October 15, 2011

Spotlight Saturday: Guest Post and Giveaway with Phil Stern

Hi, everyone!

Welcome to another edition of Spotlight Saturday at Darlene's Book Nook, where we feature authors and their books!

We will be joined today by Phil Stern.


About Phil:

Born in 1970 in Ossining, New York, Phil Stern grew up with a love of all types of science fiction, including the works of Robert Heinlein, Anne McCaffrey, John Wyndham, Piers Anthony, and more.

While science fiction remains his first love, his experiences in the media and other jobs formed the basis of The Bull Years, a hard-hitting comedy about the frustrations and setbacks commonly experienced in modern-day life.

Currently Stern's Unbridled Boundaries series of science fiction and fantasy novellas is being published on Kindle, with Reylar, his second full-length work and debut science fiction novel, expected later this year.
 
 
 
Welcome to Darlene's Book Nook, Phil!

Phil has written a guest post, so I will now turn the floor over to him!
 
 
 
Guest Post by Phil Stern:

Plotting Success

            Years ago I asked a friend of mine to read my first unpublished novel. I was immensely proud of my achievement, which would no doubt lead to quick fame and easy fortune. That week, in fact, I would begin sending it off to prospective literary agents, who would surely fight one another tooth and nail for the right to represent me.

            So my friend reads a portion of the book, giving it a cautious thumbs up. However, at the very end of his review, he throws in this chilling line:

            "Actually, Phil, I'd say it's very good. Better, in fact, than most other creative fiction I've read."

            Creative fiction? What! I felt crushed, my "professional" achievement instantly demoted to the level of what bored high schoolers grind out in their spare time.

            But it does bring up an interesting question. In the ebook age, when anyone with a computer can proudly publish their work online, what exactly is the difference between mere "creative fiction" and professional-grade work?

            One key distinction, I believe, is plot, and this is where many independent publishers seem to have problems.

            Too many indie offerings consist of interesting characters with unusual abilities or backgrounds, in exotic settings, doing absolutely nothing. Authors proudly introduce their characters, explaining why they're sad or happy, their fears, hopes, and dreams. Wow, you think. This is a good one.

            And then the book grinds down. These characters simply hang around for ten pages, thinking and wandering alot. Soon, however, they meet another interesting character. More thinking and wandering. Sometimes the plot picks up a bit at that point, sometimes not, but the inertia is gone. At some point they might die for no reason, everyone feels sad, and then...well, you get the picture.

            In this sense the writing of the new-age indie author, who can now effortlessly bypass the obnoxious literary agents and editors who stymied them in the past, begins resembling the creative fiction of old. Rather than a complete book, one feels they're simply reading sketches of the indie author's imaginary friends, given some type of quasi-permanent existence as an ebook fragment. The plot, obviously, has never really been worked out, or perhaps only developed in the most general fashion. 

            I love great characters, but that's not enough. Flesh out a complete, interesting storyline, from beginning to end, before you start writing, and the characters will become part of something far more than they ever were in your own head. And that is how a great book takes shape.

            By the way, my first novel I just mentioned? No literary agent ever showed the slightest interest in representing it. But I kept writing, producing better work, which the ebook age has now allowed me to offer to the world at large.

            But I've never published the first one. Reading it now, I realize it's really just creative fiction.
           
             
Thanks so much for joining us today, Phil!

If you would like to learn more about Phil and his books, you can find him at the social media links below:

Amazon
Smashwords
Twitter


Giveaway:

FIVE LUCKY WINNERS will win two of Phil's books, Witches and The Bull Years.

Since these are e-book copies, this giveaway is open to all.


SYNOPSIS: 

They've lived among us for centuries, protecting those in need. But now a powerful wizard has appeared, attacking empowered women across multiple worlds.

A young Terran-based sorceress, the strongest of her generation, must find and stop the magical madman before he can bend the Coven to his depraved will. Along the way, however, she must also confront doubts about the role her fellow witches may have played in her own family's demise.

*****

Whether a dedicated genre fan or casual reader of thoughtful, inspired speculative fiction, The Unbridled Boundaries Series of Science Fiction and Fantasy novellas will provide a rich, dynamic universe for anyone needing occasional escape from our own.

Between 40 and 80 printed pages, each piece establishes its own vibrant world, providing comprehensive, imaginative, and unique content easily enjoyed in a compact space of time.

Witches is Volume Two of the Series.


SYNOPSIS:

Phil Stern’s groundbreaking novel shatters the traditional paradigm of success and failure in modern-day life, exposing the churning emotional turmoil of middle-class America at the dawn of the new millennium.

Now approaching 40, Steve Levine, Sophia Danton, and Dave Miller were raised in the 1980's, when everyone assumed a future of affluence and ease. But the birthright of their youth has never seemed farther away. Instead of basking in the promised land of established adulthood, these one-time college friends are immersed within the wreckage of their professional and personal lives.

Very raw and utterly real, the everyday struggles of the various Bull Personalities burst forth page after engrossing page, interwoven in a complex tapestry leading squarely back in time to the failed intimacies that blasted them apart forever.

Nothing is out of bounds in this stunning, often hilarious, and ultimately uplifting look within the secret lives of what is surely America’s Most Disillusioned Generation.


To enter the giveaway, you must complete the Rafflecopter entry form below.

This giveaway is open to all with a valid email address until 12:01 AM EST on Saturday, October 22nd.

 



1 comment:

  1. Thank you for sharing with us today and for the awesome giveaway opportunity. I especially would love to read Witches :)

    ReplyDelete

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