Sunday, June 15, 2014

Guest Post + Giveaway ~ Fires of Man by Dan Levinson ~ Virtual Book Tour

Fires of Man
by Dan Levinson

Science Fiction
Date Published: June 17, 2014

In a world where a gifted few can manipulate reality with their minds, two great nations—Calchis and Orion—employ these psionic powers in a covert war for global superiority.
In the heart of Calchis, a powerful young psion named Aaron Waverly is kidnapped, and forcibly conscripted. To the north, in the capital, a plan is hatched to decimate Orion, to be carried out by the ruthless operative known only as “Agent.”
In Orion, fresh recruit Stockton Finn comes to terms with his incredible new powers, and learns firsthand how dangerous they can be. Meanwhile, officers Nyne Allen and Kay Barrett navigate the aftermath of their shattered love affair, oblivious to the fact that Calchis draws ever closer to destroying the tenuous peace.
Finally, in the arctic land of Zenith, Calchan archaeologist Faith Santia unearths a millennia-old ruin. This lost temple might just hold the hidden history of psionic powers, as well as hints of a deeper mystery . . . that could shake the foundations of all mankind.

~Guest Post~
On Inspiration
Advice for a sustainable writing career
By Dan Levinson
Inspiration is a fickle mistress.
There’s a conception, especially among new writers, that in order to write, one must first be struck by a great creative impulse — a flash of genius that drives us to put words on the page with all due haste. It’s true that sometimes this occurs. There is no more magnificent feeling than to receive divine communication from the Muses, to let that flow from the fingertips, creating something where there was once nothing.
Certainly, there are authors who choose to write only when the mood takes them, when the timing is right. New works are produced once every three, four, sometimes five years, or more. Invariably, some of them are extraordinarily talented, some are incredibly successful, and some are both.
However, this methodology does not lend itself to a sustainable writing career for most of us, nor even to the completion of a single piece of work. If one sits back and waits for lightning to strike, then undoubtedly one will spend far more time waiting than writing. Where’s the fun in that? And, dare I say, where’s the money? 
In college, I trained as an actor, and a teacher once advised me to, “throw everything at the wall and see what sticks.” This meant auditions, summer stock theater, and pursuing my own creative endeavors. If I cast as wide a net as possible, I would inevitably bring something in.
This very same principle can be applied to a writing career. The challenge, however, lies in the production of material. If one is only completing a single piece of work every few years or more, how much reward can one hope to reap? Even in the case of self-published books and e-books, the best way to build a following is to have a wealth of material for readers to enjoy. If a reader likes one book, they are more likely to buy subsequent volumes by the same author than to head back to the store, or Amazon, or Goodreads, and look for material from a different writer. 
And there’s the rub. We need to produce to be successful; we need inspiration to produce. Or do we? Inspiration is not something we can manufacture. There’s no light switch we can flip. How then do we produce an ever-expanding portfolio? 
The simple answer: you don’t need inspiration to write. Inspiration only strikes the spark, begins the story. After that, it’s up to you. As Thomas Edison said, “Genius is one percent inspiration, and ninety-nine percent perspiration.” He wasn’t kidding. 
Of course, if we can’t wait for inspiration and then just write until the well runs dry, how do we know how much to write? 
The answer came to me from my screenwriting teacher, Jake Krueger. He told me to come up with a manageable goal . . . and then cut it in half. 
We often set high bars for ourselves. Even when we’re instructed to come up with a so-called “manageable goal,” we still veer toward something that may strain our limits and prove unsustainable. That’s why we should take our initial gut response of what that goal should be and settle on something less grueling. 
Next, Jake told me another secret. In a first draft we can’t control quality; only quantity. A writer’s job is to put words on the page. Good words or bad, it doesn’t matter. 
That was the hardest part to wrap my head around. When writing a first draft, it’s okay to write poorly. That’s right. Put your inner editor demon out to pasture and get words on the page. Even if you know you’re going to excise them in the next draft, those words still count. It’s part of the process, moving you toward your goal of completing a manuscript. Oftentimes you’ll never get to the great stuff if you don’t write the lousy stuff in between. Then, when the time is right, you can take the lousy stuff out. 
As for the quantity, the manageable goal I set for myself is 1,000 words a day, six days a week. It doesn’t seem like much. In Stephen King’s On Writing, he notes that he produces 2,000 a day. That was the goal I aspired to, but on Jake’s advice I chopped it in half. 
And guess what? That “measly” amount translates to 313,000 words a year. That’s two to three novels a year. 
But don’t feel compelled to follow my precedent. Write 500 words a day if you have to. Write 200! Write what feels right for you. 
Then throw everything at the wall, and see what sticks.

Dan Levinson

Born and raised on Long Island, NY, Dan grew up immersing himself in fantastical worlds. While other kids dreamed of being astronauts and cowboys, all he ever wanted was to be a novelist. Now, he’s living his dream.

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