New Blog Series at Comparative Geeks + New Author Interview

This week, I was at Margarita Morris’s blog for an author interview. I am grateful for this opportunity and I loved being able to talk about how my academic journey has influenced my writing.

I have also returned to Comparative Geeks! I will do two blog series of 3 posts each in the upcoming weeks. The first series is Human-Centric Diversity in Science Fiction and my post this week was about Farscape.

I hope you enjoy reading those. Have a lovely weekend!

Background by Ivory Mix.
Background by Ivory Mix.

No Need for Alien or Machine to Exterminate Humankind – The 100

Dystopian settings often draw on how humankind experienced a form of apocalypse, throwing the contemporary civilization into turmoil. While it can be caused by machines (whether Skynet in the Terminator franchise or Cyborgs in the shape of the Cylons in Battlestar Galactica) or aliens (Falling Skies), humans can also very much be the cause for their own demise, such as in The Hunger Games.

The TV show The 100 depicts such a case. While the third season introduced the question of Artificial Intelligence, most of the prior narrative and even current story is related to how different human groups can’t cohabit peacefully.


The show’s major conflict is between the Sky people, who came down to Earth after the space Ark where they lived became unfit to keep them all alive, and the Grounders, who descend from the survivors of the nuclear apocalypse that killed most of the life on Earth a few decades ago. The tension between both sides remains significant even when peace seems to be attained sometimes. Getting more in depth within both groups is a pillar of the narrative, even when some character arcs seem to make little sense in season three, in the light of prior developments.

It is noticeable that genocide does happen by the end of the second season after a conflict between both the main groups and the people who lived in seclusion beneath Mount Weather. One of the main characters, Clarke Griffin, who emerged as one of the leaders of the young generation sent from the Ark in the pilot, chooses to kill the inhabitants of Mount Weather to protect her own people.

This is a testimony to one of the most compelling aspects of The 100. The often impossible cohabitation between humans remains predominant in the story, even as more groups emerge and try to either wipe another out, in a barbaric or more manipulative manner. Yet the show portrays characters who can have many diverse opinions and beliefs, regardless of age (the show used an older generation versus younger one at times but went past it for the most part), gender (many female leaders are featured), ethnicity (the only marker is the community they belong to: Sky People, Grounders…) or even sexual orientation.

Why do you think stories featuring humans having life-threatening difficulties to cohabit is important?

Blogging Plans + New Author Interview

Starting first week of October, I have embarked on an 11-week project of Science Fiction opinion pieces. The first one was Prevalent Alien Heroes in Star Wars, featured on the Wookiee Gunner.

In the next weeks, you will find these pieces both on my blog and elsewhere (Comparative Geeks, Part Time Monster, Poetic Parfait), so stay tuned!

I am also happy to share my author interview published today on Tina Frisco’s blog.

Have a great weekend!


Upcoming #SciFi Book Release – Dream Crusher

Those of you who follow my Facebook page already heard about this. I am delighted to announce that my upcoming Science Fiction novella Dream Crusher will be released on November 10.

Morden Avachk of the Pravos Department is used to dealing with terrorists in the Dantek System. What he didn’t expect to find in a weapons cache was preparations for large-scale biological warfare.

He and his crew can’t face this alone. They need help from the targeted species: the Prisias. Reaching out to High Priestess Vahika and her peers, Morden’s team hastily develops a plan in the hopes of stopping the terrorists before they strike.

And to hell if Morden’s superiors disagree; they have a genocide to prevent.

The Kindle version is already available for pre order on Amazon and I hope to soon have the print version available as well. Waiting to receive the second proof copy then I should be able to confirm all details. The print version will also include a bonus short story.

Dream Crusher also has a Goodreads page.


The gorgeous cover was designed by Jennifer A. Miller with an illustration by Jean-Pierre Bordier.

I will soon create a page on the blog where I will share all the links to interviews and reviews for the book. Stay tuned for I have a lot in store surrounding the release of Dream Crusher, from now until December!

Top 5 Websites for Authors Who Are Not Bloggers – by Cassie

Today’s guest blogger is Cassie. She is a freelance writer who enjoys covering the topics of technology and literature. As a writer herself, she has used many of the listed resources and hopes they help others to take the plunge and get writing!

Information overload isn’t just a buzz term. It’s definitely a real phenomenon. There are millions of new websites, blog posts, articles, Facebook status updates and tweets on a daily basis, and it’s impossible to keep up with all of them. Even worse, with so much information, it can be difficult to parse good advice from fluff.


As a writer, the more time you spend researching, the less time you’re spending actually writing your book. If you want to improve your craft but don’t want to spend a ton of time reading, fact-checking or looking up information, this list is for you.

Aerogramme Writers’ Studio

Aerogramme compiles writing news, opportunities, calls for submission and even contests, making it a perfect all-in-one stop for your daily updates. There are also a lot of amazing articles regarding the art of writing. The tips are applicable to all writers whether you’re a non-fiction or genre writer.

They also delve into other markets, such as video game writing and blogging. There’s generally a new post daily as well as plenty of writing tips to keep you busy should the daily post not interest you.


If you haven’t heard of Litreactor, go visit the site now! It offers some of the best workshops taught by small authors as well as bigger ones, such as Chuck Palahniuk. There’s also a bustling community board where you can connect with other members and ask questions, play literary games, advertise your book and get feedback on your work.

Besides the workshop, it also provides excellent writing tips, reviews and even a podcast, so you can continue to hone your skills even if you don’t take part in the workshop. It’s a perfect place to browse if you’re procrastinating because you’ll end up learning something that will inspire you to start writing.

David Gaughran

Even if you’re signed on with a publisher, many expect you to do a lot of the marketing on your own. If you’re self-publishing through Amazon or Barnes and Noble, then you definitely need to know how to get in front of your audience to sell your books. David Gaughran offers great insight into the market with his articles and books.

He also goes over relevant topics, such as pirating and how it affects authors, updates to Amazon’s terms of service and much more. These topics could be incredibly dry, but Gaughran manages to make these topics come to life as he retells the issue through his own experiences or those of others.

You can also download his book Let’s Go Digital for free on Amazon. It’s a great reference for beginners just getting started in digital publishing. If you cannot access the book due to geo-restrictions, you should use a Virtual Private Network service such as ExpressVPN to reroute your IP to a server that isn’t geo-blocked. You might find it especially necessary if you are a traveling writer.

Positive Writer

Even if you love writing, it’s also a path full of hardship. From getting rejection letters to sacrificing time with your loved ones, many days it is an uphill battle. Enter the Positive Writer. The author covers a lot of sensitive topics, such as overcoming your fears and doubts, handling rejection and taking the bumps and bruises in stride.

As you would imagine, the articles are about motivating yourself and positive thinking. Although it’s aimed at writers, almost anyone in a creative industry can relate to the topics. If that’s not enough to convince you to read it, it also won an award from Writer’s Digest as one of the best websites for writers in 2016.


They say the best writers are avid readers. When you read a variety of authors and genres, you begin to understand what works in terms of structure, pacing and storytelling elements and what doesn’t. If you’re looking for a new book but don’t have the time to scour Amazon or your local bookstore for something interesting, IndieReader is the perfect place to find quality work.

You can also read interviews from indie authors, reviews on books and articles from top indie authors. You can even have your book reviewed and posted on the site. Of course, you only want to pay for the service if you’re sure it’s good. A bad review can have a negative impact on people’s view of you later on down the line.

Of course, there are hundreds of other resources available to writers, but these are the five we think offer some of the best advice and classes on the web right now. Do you have other resources you think should make the list? Tell us in the comments below!

#SciFi Women Interview – Tracy Gardner

September guest for #SciFi Women Interviews is Tracy Gardner! I met her about one or two years ago through the Star Wars online community (I am pretty sure it was thanks to Johnamarie Macias and/or Amanda Ward). I am glad Tracy is with us today.

Tracy Gardner.
Tracy Gardner.

I will let her introduce herself:

I’m a Los Angeles native with a degree in Art History and Women’s studies from UC Irvine. I worked for art collectives and institutions, primarily focusing on public works, performance art, and archives. I have a passion for history, art and technology. I’m an aspiring artist and one half of the podcast Rebel Grrrl on the Making Star Wars network. Additionally, I’m a whiskey and craft spirit specialist, as well as a fine dining server of ten years in Orange County.

NG: How were you first introduced to Science Fiction? 
GARDNER: I was introduced through films and books. As a child I was an avid reader. H.G. Wells and Edgar Rice Burroughs had a huge effect on me. I’m pretty sure I read The Time Machine at least ten times when I was 11. Films like The Day the Earth Stood still captured my imagination and started a life long obsession with Science Fiction and fantasy.

NG: What are you top 3 favorites for Science Fiction books, TV shows and movies?
GARDNER: 3 is so hard to narrow down! My top three books are Oryx and Crake by Margaret Atwood, Saga by Bryan K. Vaughan and the Time Machine by Margaret Atwood. For TV shows,   Battlestar Galactica, Star Trek and The Twilight Zone. For movies I’d have to say The Empire Strikes Back, The Day the Earth Stood Still and 2001: A Space Odyssey.

NG: Which Science Fiction characters have had the greatest influence on you?
GARDNER: I would have to say Starbuck from BSG, and Princess Leia and Padme from Star Wars.

NG: What place does Science Fiction have in your life?
GARDNER: It’s not only a personal interest, obsession, and hobby, but it has greatly influenced my academic pursuits. I’m very interested in the agency and role of women in Science Fiction. I love reading and writing about the history and cultural significance of Science Fiction. I believe the stories we tell are indicative of our complicated relationships with technology, progress and industry.

NG: How did you start podcasting?
GARDNER: I had a commute from Orange County to Hollywood and I started listening to quite a few podcasts. I loved the format and ease of conveying culturally relevant information in a casual, genuine manner. It felt like something I could do. I actually started podcasting with Randy from MSW back in 2011. The focus was video games. From there I started Force Cult, which is still around. I’m excited to be back home at MSW doing Rebel Grrrl with my cohost Amanda.

NG: Can you tell us more about your Science Fiction-related projects?
GARDNER: I’m currently finishing my Masters degree in American studies with and large emphasis on art and technology. Science Fiction has fallen perfectly into this emphasis and I hope to keep analyzing marginalized identities within Science Fiction. I also paint scenes from my favorite Science Fiction. My art is mixed media and can be found at

NG: Do you think that Science Fiction’s responsibility in diverse and inclusive representation?

GARDNER: Science Fiction has historically been a mirror for society’s fears and anxieties, as well as its optimisms. Like most media, It has a complicated history of further marginalizing certain identities. I argue consistently that Science Fiction has a responsibility to its fans to be more diverse. It’s an opportunity to represent and grant agency through story telling that is otherwise absent.

NG: Do you think that Fangirls are an expression of Feminism?
GARDNER: Absolutely. I’m so impressed by what the trans/queer/female/minority fans around me are accomplishing. We’re challenging the status quo and carving out a space in a traditionally male dominated fandom.

NG: How do you think fangirls can change media industries?
GARDNER: I think we already have. You can’t ignore the influence we’ve had. We’re consumers, content creators and and an ever growing vocal presence in media. We’re getting strong female leads. There will be set backs, but we are seeing changes.

NG: What hopes do you have for the future of the Star Wars franchise?
GARDNER: I hope for an integrity and commitment to meaningful stories. Star Wars shaped my childhood because at its core, it’s a powerful story. The allusions to mythologies and the resonance of the saga come from a deep and passionate place. I hope this legacy is respected and protected by future writers and directors.

NG: Thank you very much, Tracy! I am certain my readers will be glad to find more about your projects and check your art out.
Designed by Christin Gattuso.
Designed by Christin Gattuso.

Author Interview – Jenny Graham-Jones (Witherfist)

I am glad to welcome back Jenny Graham-Jones whose Inkshares contest entry in hope to see her Fantasy novel Witherfist published, is coming to a close. You can check and pre-order her book on Inkshares site.


NG: Can you tell us about your writing process?
GRAHAM-JONES: To say that I have a process might be a little bit generous, but let’s see. I’ve often read that there are two kinds of people: people who can outline everything, and people who look on in baffled wonder at that other group. I’m firmly in the latter camp. I love to world-build, to imagine the setting of my story, the culture, history and so on – but when it comes to plotting, I tend to leave that relatively loose. I have my start, middle and end, and I let my imagination wander down as wobbly a path between those three points as it likes. This can involve a fair bit of revision, as I might ‘discover’ something new about a character. Regarding my surroundings when I write, I use a lot of music to establish mood and setting for myself and often look at a look at images of real-world inspirations.

NG: What are the significant themes in your writing?
GRAHAM-JONES: People doing bad things for good reasons. In Witherfist, Irusai has made a pact with a malevolent spirit. She does this in the hope that she will be able to use the spirit’s power to defend the people of the province she protects. Meanwhile, Arren must consider whether she is willing to wake an army of the undead and use it to oust her mother from the Imperial throne. In both cases, Arren and Irusai view themselves as being in the right, but there would certainly be a significant number of people who would argue otherwise. I think this is another theme that I enjoy exploring: the subjectivity of morality. It’s an old trope of the fantasy genre that there is a clear, dividing line between what’s good and what’s evil – but it’s so much more fun, exciting and ultimately human to blur that line.

NG: Why did you choose to join Inkshares and enter their contest?
GRAHAM-JONES: I have to admit; I hadn’t heard of Inkshares until a month or so ago. Details about the contest popped up on my social media feeds on the day that it launched. I decided to take that as a sign. For the longest time, I’ve gone to and fro with the ideas behind Witherfist. The start of the contest was just that little extra shove that I needed to get the story moving with some urgency.

NG: Who do you believe will enjoy Witherfist?
GRAHAM-JONES: Witherfist features magic, mystical spirits and a healthy dose of political intrigue to top it all off. If I had to pick a series or two that to compare to, I’d say Brandon Sanderson’s Stormlight Archive, Steven Erikson’s Malazan Book of the Fallen or George R. R. Martin’s A Song of Ice and Fire. The style and story of Witherfist doesn’t match any of those three exactly, but there are common elements – such as shifting viewpoints, far-reaching plots and a healthy dollop of the magical – that I think readers will enjoy. In a broader sense, I think the book will appeal to anyone who enjoys reading about characters on a journey of redemption.

NG: What are your hopes for Witherfist?
GRAHAM-JONES: Right now, my main hope for Witherfist is that I’ll be able to share it with readers. The book is still in the process of being written and has a good amount of work to be done before it’s ready for production.

NG: Thank you Jenny and good luck with Witherfist! I was very happy to be among the first to-order it and hope to see it published soon.

Jenny Graham-Jones.
Jenny Graham-Jones.

English author Jenny Graham-Jones is a newcomer to the fantasy genre. Based in Newcastle-upon-Tyne, England, she spends her days at her job as a software developer and her evenings writing about the weird and the wonderful. Witherfist is her first foray into novel writing.

You can connect with her on Facebook, Twitter and Inkshares.

The Digital Quill’s Writing Tips – One Last Word (For Now)

I want to leave you with one last advice, one that matters to keep your passion alive and encourage you to keep the hard work going.

Enjoy and experiment!

Beyond the difficult times, the roadblocks, you should always remember your calling and that you chose to be a writer (or that the muses dragged you to the desk and never let you go, but by now you know that befriending them was only a matter of time).

There is joy to be found in answering one’s calling and writing should be that to you, fellow writer! The amazing feeling of finishing a chapter, of coming up with a good book idea, putting together a satisfying structure…

The other thing is to feel free to experiment. You have time before your writing is available to all to see to decide what you want to do. The experimentation is part of growing and learning, of having fun with following your calling. Don’t hesitate to do it, whether it is something small and simple like a new secondary plot or something big as a new genre.

In the end, everything is a learning experience.

I hope that you enjoyed those writing tips and that they are helpful to you. If you have any questions, you can check out my blog series The Digital Quill Answers, to see if you can find an answer. If not, don’t hesitate to ask me and I will gladly post an answer!

Digital Quill's Writing Tips

The Digital Quill’s Writing Tips – Love Your Editor

This applies to your beta readers, book designer, publisher, agent or whoever you work with. Yet, I focus on the editor because this is a very important aspect of your writer’s life, especially if you mean to make a career out of your passion.

Finding a skilled editor who will have your manuscript’s best interest in mind and won’t hesitate to tear what needs to be torn down, will be a life changer for you. I had experience with a first editor I trusted blind without thinking twice. It put my credibility as an author at risk after the first title I had published independently. I was lucky to find another one who since then challenges me as a writer and make me better.

Your manuscript should go through hell and back before publishing, so be grateful when your editor invests themselves into what you do. They should seek to improve and fine-tune your work, while honoring what you seek to say.

None of us like to see our labor of love turned into pieces or with tons of things to change. Yet, be grateful when it is done before the word is officially out in the world. So be grateful for your editor once you have found them and love their advice!

What about you?

  • Do you have an editor you commonly work with?
  • If not, what are you looking for in an editor?
  • How do you approach your editor’s suggestions and corrections?

Digital Quill's Writing Tips

The Digital Quill’s Writing Tips – Fellow Authors Aren’t Competition

This is one thing that I learned early on, despite being a competitive person by nature. Considering other authors as competition will just make you bitter and keep making unhealthy comparisons. This is the wrong choice for all parties involved. If you choose to build one another up, this is a more effective and positive approach. Will you get along with all fellow authors? No, you won’t, but neither will you with every person you come across.

Wanting to partake in a sense of community with your fellow authors helps you learn more, share joys and concerns, be of help as much as you benefit from it as well. Approaching it as a self-serving decision isn’t what you should do of course. You must approach it with sincerity to make it a valuable experience.

While writing conferences or conventions should be events you are interested in, those aren’t always easy to attend. In the meantime, you can also look out for writing groups online. And if groups aren’t what you are most comfortable in, you can also choose to build connections via social media  and authors you meet and then connect and stay in touch with.

What about you?

  • How has your experience with fellow authors been so far?
  • Did you ever attend a writing workshop or conference?
  • Do you belong to any writing group?

Digital Quill's Writing Tips