CyberWitch wins Florida Authors and Publishers Association President’s Medal

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

CONTACT: Ken Johnson, Committee Chairman

Florida Authors and Publishers Association

President’s Book Awards Program

(850)910-1897

kenneth.johnson@myFAPA.org

www.myFAPA.org

Florida Author Receives National Recognition

Lake Buena Vista, FL (8/6/2018) – The Annual 2018 Florida Authors and Publishers Association President’s Book Awards recognized CyberWitch: The Origin of Magic by E. S. Martell, in the category of Adult Science Fiction, as a Silver medal winner.

Hosted by the Florida Authors and Publishers Association, this prestigious national award is open to books published between 2017 and 2018. The judges for this national competition are librarians, educators, and publishing professionals.

The FAPA President’s Book Award exists to promote excellence in the publishing industry by recognizing talented contemporary authors who put both heart and soul into their work. FAPA is proud to be a champion of authors and publishers going the extra mile to produce books of excellence in every aspect.” said Jane R. Wood, Past President of FAPA.  

CyberWitch: The Origin of Magic is a Adult Science Fiction Cyberpunk novel, published by Second Initiative Press, which blends current and near future technology to create a realistic look at where our technology could be headed. The writing is strong and articulate while fully immersing the reader in a compelling story.

Medals were awarded at the annual FAPA President’s Book Awards Banquet held this year at the Hilton Orlando Buena Vista Palace in the Disney Springs TM Area of Lake Buena Vista, Florida.

We are proud to announce this year’s winners who truly embody the excellence this award was created to celebrate. Their works are representative of the creative storytelling, bold concepts and innovative ideas which makes the President’s Book Awards so well respected by librarians and those in the publishing industry. This year was no exception as we had a record number of nominations! We salute all of our winners for their fine work.” said FAPA’s President, Angelina Assanti.

The Florida Authors & Publishers Association is an organization for authors, publishers, illustrators, editors, printers, and other professionals involved in the publishing industry. It focuses on providing the highest quality of information, resources, and professional development to members and others interested in the writing and publishing profession.

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Recognition

Cyber Witch thumbnai newlI was pleasantly surprised on July the 3rd by an email that informed me that my last book: Cyber-Witch: The Origin of Magic has been selected as one of the finalists for the Florida Authors and Publishers Association President’s Award. It seems that Cyber-Witch is going to receive a medal in the Adult Fiction-Genre: Sci-Fi and Fantasy. There has been, to date, no mention of whether it will be awarded Gold, Silver, or Bronze, but I still feel like it’s a significant accomplishment.

I’m working on the sequel to that book. Cyber-Witch spins today’s science (AI, speech-recognition, CRISPR/genetic modification, hacking, encryption) together with a little imagination into a new world where science-based magic is commonplace. The results are nothing short of catastrophic, resulting in an almost complete destruction of the old power structure while forming a new magic-based and almost feudal structure that replaces the old.

The results give free rein to an almost infinite expansion of the author’s imagination and I’m letting mine roam and explore as I write the sequel. At this point, I’m just completing the first half of the book and the threads of numerous conflicts are tracing out their convoluted paths and (hopefully) leading to an amazing conclusion. I planning for the sequel to leave its readers with a feeling of satisfaction as intense as the one experienced in reading Cyber-Witch.

I’d be pleased if some other authors based stories in this new world. There’s plenty of room for fantasy there.

A brief note: Cyber-Witch is adult reading with drugs, violence, and sex.

Thanks to all my readers!

Namaste,

Eric

 

Writing Dangerously

One of my social media groups was discussing an interesting topic the other day. One that I have an opinion about, as a matter of fact. Here’s the question that started the thread (I’ve paraphrased it):

Due to my trepidation about being attacked by members of another group for asking about this, I’ve come here to ask: How important is message in stories? There is a general relationship between message and theme, but I’d like to know how much of your personal or social values do you put in your writing?

I read through the thread and concluded that in general, the consensus was it’s okay to put your values in your stories as long as you don’t preach and actively shove them in the reader’s face. The responses were thoughtful and not hysterical. (You can see why I favor that particular group.)

Here’s my personal opinion on the question:

You cannot help but instill at least part of your own values in a story since your values are both a result and a cause of how you view the world and your worldview informs your imagination.

I’m not saying it cannot be done, but I think it shouldn’t. Trying to suppress who you are while writing is tantamount to lying to your readers. I think they will, at some level, realize that and feel your story is inauthentic. That may be enough to steer them away from your work in the future. That is a result an author should strive to avoid.

On the other hand, I think you shouldn’t proselytize. That quickly gets boring for most readers and at least some of today’s readers have become sensitized by both cultural trends and education to the point that they find something to offend them in any opinion or story that varies from what they’ve been taught.

Styles of writing change and evolve, however. Modern fiction is mostly intended to entertain, but in the past, novels focused on particular values and often dropped them with all of the subtlety of hitting the reader on the head with a hod of bricks. Mark Twain used this analogy in one of his essays wherein he writes of a man who was killed by a bricklayer’s apprentice accidentally dropping his load from the roof. Twain wrote that humans were susceptible to such events, but dogs were not. That is because, as he observed, a dog would know enough to look up and would then get out of the way.

I would suggest that same foresight on the part of overly sensitive individuals would forestall a lot of the criticism directed at authors who don’t follow popular guidelines. In other words, if the book offends you, just put it down, but at least have the grace to allow others to make up their own minds about the value therein. Screaming for help and working to assemble a group attack on the author is the act of a cultural barbarian. If humans always condemned creative or different ideas, we would be sitting in a cave watching a fire and scratching flea bites.

I would argue that communicating cultural values is the main point of telling stories. Authors write stories because they love to entertain others (and would like to make money at it). They usually don’t set out to create morality plays, except in the case of some factions. There are specific groups who are actively writing science fiction and fantasy (I speak of the genre in which I write since I don’t read much else) who find it necessary to slam the reader in the face with their ideas about inclusiveness and diversity. Generally speaking, I find that such tales quickly become tedious and are often unreadable. However, I will defend the author’s right to write what they want. Let them proceed and let the market sort out the winning stories from the losers.

Let’s approach the issue from another angle. It is possible to gradually move your readers’ worldview, provided you tell a compelling story. That’s why I opt for positive character arcs that allow the protagonist to develop more self-responsibility. I firmly believe that is the first step in taking control of your life–stop being a victim of circumstances and others. Victims languish and complain. Those who have a modicum of self-responsibility will take action to change their results in life. There is no honor or glory in allowing oneself to be a victim since we always have a choice.

I firmly believe that a great author will always intend that some good come to the reader from the story. I realize that this is subject to challenge, but, overall, I think it is true. It’s just that “good” can be defined in so many different ways. Readers of horror stories find some value for which they seek, just as do readers of inspirational literature.

This viewpoint has gotten me in trouble with some ideological readers who are intolerant of any challenges to their worldview. (Fair warning: My stories are based on my love of self-responsibility, liberty, and the belief that reality is what it is and cannot be denied.) That bothered me at first because I naturally want to please everyone. Then I decided that my primary position is that if they opt to be offended, it’s their choice, not mine. I’ve found that anything in life that you cannot handle — anything that upsets you — will continue to present itself until you learn to deal with it with equanimity. As a result of my decision, I sometimes describe myself as a “dangerous” writer in the hopes that sensitive types will be warned.

As an object lesson, consider that cats always try to sit on the lap of the person in a group who most dislikes them. They’re brilliant that way and will go to great effort to help humans cope with their biases. Some dogs do the same, but with less regularity and forcefulness. Basically, the correct response here is to accept the cat’s attention and pet them. They will consider that their job is done and get on with other catness-related activities.

Ignoring them can work, but they can become importunate. In that case, you can always leave.

This last strategy also applies to critics. The general rule that all writers should understand is basically the same one that should be used with trolls in comment threads. That is to say, don’t engage with anyone who gives a hateful review. It only serves to validate their feeling of self-righteousness and stimulate them to further attacks. Of course, ignoring them may incite them also, but you don’t have to suffer their insults that way.

A person actively decides to be insulted or to ignore perceived slights. One can be offended by an entirely innocent remark directed at someone else, but that is a choice, not a mandatory requirement. Many people don’t understand that self-responsibility is a requirement for personal growth, civil discourse, and progress.

Here’s the takeaway point: if this post makes you angry … you (it’s not my responsibility) have to work on some issues:-)

Namaste!

 

Free gift weekend: 5/12/18 and 5/13/18

Two day Gift for You
bit.ly/ParadoxBlade
Free on Kindle Friday and Saturday
5/12 & 5/13/18. How would you respond if you were faced with a personal disaster and then found yourself in the Pleistocene with no obvious way to return? Predators think you’re food, and then there’s that crazy, elusive girl who keeps showing up.

Brief Update on Writing Activity

Troll and girl

Cover concept for Cyber-Magic

I’m now working on my eleventh book “Cyber-Magic.” <see the cover concept to the left> It’s the sequel to my cyber-punk novel “Cyber-Witch”.  Which hasn’t been getting much attention, by the way, although the people who’ve read it like it (note the clever use of homophonic alliteration;-)

Anyway, this one has become a problem. I’ve ventured away from what I view as hard to semi-hard science fiction and fallen out of cyber-punk gritty reality (with a drug-addicted MC) into a post-modern world where civilization has totally changed due to A.I. mediated “magic.” It’s essentially a fantasy and this is my first foray into this genre. I’m finding it difficult to gather all the strings together.

One of the problems is that “magic” allows the author to define the rules of the world. My version of magic is so powerful that there are few rules. With enough ability, a character can do almost anything. That’s not a good story line. It leads to the reader thinking, “Why not just wave your hand and solve all of the problems in chapter one? Then I wouldn’t have to waste time reading the entire book.”

Well, it’s not really that bad, but I’m seriously having difficulty defining the scope of what is possible.

Today my goal is to get my WIP in progress again.

I’m sitting on 25k words, six magicians (1 evil, 1 bad, 2 neutral or possibly allies, and 2 superstars), trolls that breed like tribbles (for you Trekkies out there), one fairy, a were-bear, an A.I. creature in the form of a snake, and an implacable dark force in the form of a distributed AI and my plot line suddenly seems inadequate, so I’ve been wandering in the wilderness for a while.

Besides paying business has picked up greatly and gets in the way. Then I’m moving. It looks like it may rain and the grass might grow and need attention. <Delete more excuses and cue sad violin music.>

This is what writer’s block looks like and I DON’T LIKE IT. I don’t like it in a box. I don’t like it with a fox. I will not tolerate Writer’s Block. I will not, Sam-I-Am.

More about this struggle to come soon. <Provided the grass behaves.>

Namaste,

Eric

Some observations on Reader Feedback

It’s funny how many people read my books and yet fail to leave a review or even rate them. Amazon seems to run on ratings and I have very few. I keep searching for ways to get more, but nothing seems to work very well.

I read every reader’s comments, good and not so good, even the ones from would-be readers who are horribly offended by something I wrote. I’m sorry about that, but I’m not a ‘safe’ writer. I deal with reality as I see it and few topics are out of bounds as long as I’m enjoying the story I’m telling. Most readers seem to expect a riveting tale and various types of mayhem mixed with a little sex doesn’t offend them. I don’t pull punches, although I haven’t “killed the dog” yet (advice that is often offered to writers: Don’t kill the dog.” That’s probably because dogs don’t like that – neither do people. I don’t kill cats either, just in case you were wondering.) I just keep trying to become a better writer and tell compelling stories.

I’ve come to the conclusion that a reader shouldn’t have to leave a review – it’s an imposition to ask for some of someone’s time in this busy world. I opt out of Internet surveys from vendors when I can, so I can sympathize with my readers.

My only request is, if you like my stories, then please recommend them to your friends. I spend months creating the best story I can for my novels and then spend a lot on cover art and editing, because I’m dedicated to providing you with the best reading experience possible.

I still love feedback, though:-)

Namaste
Eric
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Here’s a review of my most recent novel: Cyber-Witch. The first cover didn’t work and I got very few sales. I’ve now changed the cover to one more representative of the cyber-punk genre andCyber Witch thumbnai newl I’m currently working on a sequel to this tale, since the characters weren’t content with where I left them.

***** 4.0 out of 5 stars
A thrilling cyberpunk tale
February 18, 2018
Format: Kindle Edition
In the not-too-distant future, Sophie, a young woman with a debilitating addiction to opiates, finds a new chance at life in a good Samaritan who takes her in and helps her battle her addiction. Cal, a hacker, also teaches Sophie how to code, and she soon becomes a decent hacker as well. But their cyber-adventures lead them to cross the wrong people… which leads to devastating consequences. Determined to get revenge, Sophie infiltrates the powerful company behind the attack — and learns that there’s more at stake than she bargained for.

Cyber Witch is a thrilling cyberpunk tale full of twists and turns. Sophie is an unlikely and sympathetic heroine — one who must battle personal demons as well as the external forces she stumbles upon. I don’t want to say too much about what happens because a great part of the thrill lies in the unexpected twists, but suffice it to say that this story didn’t go the way I thought it would… in a good way.

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