Literary Alchemy... one podcast at a time

GUEST HOST UPDATES

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  • Iris Wildthyme is back in Wildthyme Reloaded!
    Good grief. Where has the week gone? There has been much script writing for Big Finish, a little bit of comic work and a couple of brilliant days leading writing workshops at Manorcroft School in Egham, Surrey. It’s meant that I haven’t been able to blog, and so haven’t mentioned this – the epic return of Katy Manning as Iris Wildthyme at Big Finish. Long time readers will know that Mark Wright and I… ... read more
    Published on Friday, April 24th, 2015
  • The Black–23
    Download Now If you want a Q&A wrap-up show, please post comments on the site, my facebook author page, or twitter using the hashtag #theblack. Signed, personalized trade paperback copies of both The Black and Legends of Garaaga are now available at Shadowpublications.com. Supplies are limited. There will be NO back orders. Get ’em while they’re still around. Basically, I NEED TO CLEAN OUT SOME SPACE FOR MORE BOOKS! So feel free to get… ... read more
    Published on Friday, April 24th, 2015
  • Ditch Diggers #8: Why you should NOT crowdfund or self-pub
    Despite what the gurus tell you, crowdfunding and self publishing are not the golden ticket to magical unicorn success. Some people shouldn’t go this route. We discuss those people in this episode. Also, Matt has robot-saving delusions of grandeur. And I challenge him to write me a story. Obligatory Buy our books please! links: (affiliate)   ... read more
    Published on Friday, April 24th, 2015
  • Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America Southeast Reading Series – TONIGHT
    Date: Friday, April 24, 2015 Time: 7:00pm Location: Edge Workshop Room, Bostock Library Tonight I’ll be appearing at Duke University with several other area SFF writers for the Southeast reading series. Should be fun! It’s free, so drop by if you like. The SFWA Southeast Reading Series will present a panel on science fiction and technology with authors Mark Van Name, Mur Lafferty, Richard Dansky, Jay Posey, Justin Achilli, and (via Skype) Tiffany Trent. The panel… ... read more
    Published on Friday, April 24th, 2015
  • THE MACHINE AWAKES is out in the UK (and just about everywhere else) today!
    Following the North American release on Tuesday, The Machine Awakes, the second in the Spider Wars trilogy, is now out in the rest of the English-speaking world from Titan books. And, to tingle the senses of those of us with the collector gene, it has this rather striking cover: The Machine Awakes is available at your favourite bookstore – here are some handy links: The Machine Awakes at Amazon.co.ukThe Machine Awakes at WaterstonesThe Machine Awakes at HiveThe Machine Awakes ... read more
    Published on Friday, April 24th, 2015
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FOR THE WRITER…

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  • Fighting For A Better Freelance Future
    Investigative journalist Scott Carney is battling back against declining freelance rates. Today he launched a Kickstater campaign to share intel, compare contracts, review editors and – most radically – setting up a revenue-sharing system for mentors. “The dirty secret of the publishing business is that there is still a lot of money in the media, he writes. “Publishing empires like Conde Nast pay less than 1% of their gross revenue to writers and instead buy billions of… ... read more
    Published on Friday, April 24th, 2015
  • The Winter of Our Discontent
    by Frances Howard-SnyderJoe here: Earlier this month, eighty-six writers submitted stories to our Becoming Writer Writing Contest, which we hosted in association with ShortFictionBreak.com. Today, I’m honored to present the winning story, “The Winter of Discontent” by Frances Howard-Snyder. ShortFictionBreak.com will be publishing one of the rest of the contest finalists each day, and so make sure to subscribe to their magazine here. If you’d like to participate in future contests like this, make sure to sign up… ... read more
    Published on Friday, April 24th, 2015
  • WHEN I COMPLETELY FORGET I ORDERED BOOKS BUT THEN THEY ARRIVE IN THE MAIL
    dukeofbookingham:It’s just like: ... read more
    Published on Friday, April 24th, 2015
  • Flash Fiction Challenge: It’s X Meets Y Again!
    I did this challenge back at the start of the year and kinda adored it. Therein I described it as follows: I love that some writers describe their stories — usually in an elevator pitch or to sell the story to an agent, editor or reader — as “THIS STORY meets THAT STORY.” Right? “Oh,” the writer says, “It’s like CATCHER IN THE RYE meets SPONGEBOB SQUAREPANTS.” And you’re like, whoa, what the fuck does… ... read more
    Published on Friday, April 24th, 2015
  • Flash Fiction Challenge: It’s X Meets Y Again!
    I did this challenge back at the start of the year and kinda adored it. Therein I described it as follows: I love that some writers describe their stories — usually in an elevator pitch or to sell the story to an agent, editor or reader — as “THIS STORY meets THAT STORY.” Right? “Oh,” the writer says, “It’s like CATCHER IN THE RYE meets SPONGEBOB SQUAREPANTS.” And you’re like, whoa, what the fuck does… ... read more
    Published on Friday, April 24th, 2015
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CREATIVITY

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  • Winner’s of NASA’s Human Exploration Rover Announced!
    Every year since 1994, high school and college teams from around the world have converged on NASA's Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Alabama to compete in the Human Exploration Rover Challenge (HERC). Designed to inspire students to solve the same kinds of engineering problems routinely faced by NASA engineers who design rovers for future exploration missions, the competition also highlights NASA's commitment to inspiring new generations of scientists, engineers and explorers. Formerly known as… ... read more
    Published on Friday, April 24th, 2015
  • Nizar Ibrahim: How we unearthed the spinosaurus
    A 50-foot-long carnivore who hunted its prey in rivers 97 million years ago, the spinosaurus is a "dragon from deep time." Paleontologist Nizar Ibrahim and his crew found new fossils, hidden in cliffs of the Moroccan Sahara desert, that are helping us learn more about the first swimming dinosaur -- who might also be the largest carnivorous dinosaur of all. ... read more
    Published on Friday, April 24th, 2015
  • Mind Tools Newsletter 378 – Who are Your Best Customers?
    In this newsletter, find out how you can identify your most valuable customers from clues which may be hidden in your sales data. ... read more
    Published on Friday, April 24th, 2015
  • Straw into gold: A TED Fellow cultivates mushrooms to fight climate change
    Social entrepreneur Trang Tran is teaching Vietnamese farmers how to use rice straw as a material in which to grow profitable mushrooms, helping to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and improve livelihoods. Photo: Fargreen In agricultural entrepreneur Trang Tran’s native Vietnam, farmers traditionally burn the straw and husks that remain after the rice harvest. This practice happens at least twice a year for two months at a time, releasing noxious smoke and greenhouse gases into the atmosphere.… ... read more
    Published on Friday, April 24th, 2015
  • How to Manage Rivalry in the Workplace – Avoiding the Negative Effects of Rivalry
    Personal rivalries can damage morale and productivity. Learn how to improve collaboration among competing team members. ... read more
    Published on Friday, April 24th, 2015
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Thoughts and Inspirations - RTP Blog Posts

Story Development
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There is no one better equipped to build rich authentic characters than someone who has actually “lived” (for a few hours) as someone else. In order to appear authentic on stage, an actor has to be able to respond to cues and events AS THEIR CHARACTER. If they don’t, the performance is flat and uninteresting. Writers are striving for that same authenticity… and suffer the same consequences if they fall short of the mark. So how do actors do it?

Story Development
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“We want to believe the best of who we are, and ignore and deny the worst.  The most intriguing moment of a story is when a villain begins to convince…

Ideas and Inspiration
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“There are people who appear to be able to invoke creativity on command.  They sit down and BAM, creative inspirations suddenly leap from their lips like spawning salmon.  Want to…

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20 Minutes with Peter Newman

Peter Newman – author of “The Vagrant” (releasing in the US in just a couple days!), co-writer for the “Tea and Jeopardy” podcast, and performer in that same delightful podcast -…

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20 Minutes with Peter Newman

Peter Newman – author of “The Vagrant” (releasing in the US in just a couple days!), co-writer for the “Tea and Jeopardy” podcast, and performer in that same delightful podcast -…

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“One Question: Developing an Idea” at Balticon 48

You get an idea for a story. Now what? What happens between the inspiration and perspiration? How do you prepare and develop a story idea so it’s ready to be written?

That’s what I asked seven gifted and articulate writers at this year’s Balticon 48 (sponsored by the Baltimore Science Fiction Society). The answers from Paul E. Cooley, Jared Axelrod, Maria V. Snyder, Starla Huchton, Pip Ballantine, Nobilis Reed, and Myke Cole are as diverse and inspired as the people we asked.

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Workshop Episode 76 (Guest Host: Jilly Dreadful)

Returning Guest Host Jilly Dreadful – founder and director of the remarkable  Brainery Workshop – returns to the Big Chair to lend her potent story mojo to a brainstorming session with a story about…