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First TV Deal!

Zharmae Publishing Press Announces First Television Deal

The Chronicles of Ara, published under Zharmae’s,  Luthando Coeur Imprint has been signed for development as a television series

"The Chronicles of Ara" is an eight-book series, beginning release on November 6, 2014. "The

 books for the title will be released by Zharmae Publishing Press' speculative fiction imprint, Luthando Coeur.

"It's a very exciting time for us," says James Crewe, Luthando Coeur's senior editor. "We hope

this is a springboard for great things to come."

Mirkwood Partners, LLC, creators and rights-holders of all intellectual property related to the upcoming fantasy novel series, "The Chronicles of Ara",  written by Joel Eisenberg and Steven Hillard, have entered into a finance and development  deal with Rhode Island-based Aloris Entertainment to develop a television series based on the property.

Aloris produced "The English Teacher" with Julianne Moore, and is attached to further feature film and television projects with Eisenberg.  Gilbert Adler, producer of "Superman Returns", "Constantine" with Keanu Reeves, "Valkyrie" with Tom Cruise and the original "Tales from the Crypt" television series is attached as producer.

"The Chronicles of Ara" is a hugely ambitious property," Adler says. "We have an amazing

wealth of material to choose from for the show and I'm looking forward to being part of this

team."

The books attempt to decipher the origins of artistic creation. "To get there," says Eisenberg, "we reverse-engineer the myth of the muse. What if there, in reality, was but one muse who inspired all of art and creativity? And, what if that muse was corrupted? What is the endgame?"

The work follows the influences of several prominent authors of horror, science fiction and fantasy as they are inspired to create their greatest works. These authors include Mary Shelley, Edgar Allan Poe, J.R.R. Tolkien, Dante, Jules Verne and numerous others.

The books were inspired by Hillard's "Mirkwood", released in 2010 as a "fictional novel about J.R.R. Tolkien." The author received an order from the Tolkien estate to cease publication of the novel, but the dispute to federal court. The parties settled, the book was released and became an amazon fantasy bestseller. Tolkien figures prominently in the first book of "The Chronicles of Ara".

“Now What?”: How to Revise Your Novel

Finally. It’s been weeks, months, or even years, and you’ve finished your manuscript…all two hundred pages of it. It’s time to take out the red pen. Revision is a daunting prospect for any author, but it doesn’t have to be impossible.

Revision addresses problems of both style and structure. Structural problems are big picture and must be considered first, as they may require adding or cutting whole scenes, chapters, or even characters. There isn’t much point in catching every typo and misused comma if you’re going to end up excising those passages, or if the main character is flat or the pacing is sluggish.

Questions to Ask Yourself: On Structure

Is the main conflict interesting? Is the reader hooked from the first paragraph or chapter? (An author only has a few pages to get the reader involved in the story.)

Is there an internal and external conflict? Are both resolved in a satisfying way?

Is/are your main character(s) compelling and developed? Are we invested in following their arc until the last page?

Does your beginning work? Often authors “write into” a story, taking several pages to define their characters or main conflict. Examine your first paragraph or chapter. Can it be improved by cutting a scene and substituting another?

Does the ending work? Could your last chapter or paragraph be cut without changing the story? Or is another scene necessary?

Questions to Ask Yourself: Fine Tuning

Are your sentences wordy or confusing? Or is there a lack of description and atmosphere?

Is there a good balance of narrative and dialogue?

Are characters vivid and real? Do they each have their own gestures and quirks? Can we picture them in our minds?

Does every sentence and piece of dialogue add to the story, or is it just taking up space?

Can you tell which character is speaking? Is the dialogue generic or specific?

Is the prose easy to follow? Read your manuscript aloud to catch clunky phrasing or repetition.

Once you’ve gone over the story on your own, it is time to present it to an audience. One of the best ways to get feedback is to share your story with readers or writers who you can trust to be honest. It may be an ego boost to get praise from your doting grandmother or significant other, but what an author needs to know is “does the story work for the reader?” A second set of eyes will catch weak or undeveloped areas and ask questions the author may not have considered.

When a manuscript comes back bleeding with red pen, it’s natural to take this personally. Try to take comments in the spirit they are intended—as constructive criticism. Both you and your editors want to create the best story possible. Take a step back and pretend you are looking at a stranger’s writing.

Remember that you don’t have to accept every piece of advice. Everyone has their own taste and biases. One reader may praise your lush description, while another may ask if you were paid by the word. However, if two or more reviewers comment about the same issue, you should consider the matter carefully.

After taking all advice into account, edit carefully. Although the process can be painful, in the end you will produce stronger writing.

 

 

The loss of Maya Angelou

 

The Zharmae Publishing Press was saddened to hear about the death of Maya Angelou, revered author and poet, at 86 years of age. She had been in declining health for some time, and passed away in her North Carolina home on the morning of May 28, 2014. The cause of death is not immediately known.

Angelou is perhaps best known for her 1969 autobiography I know why the Caged Bird Sings, and for reciting her poem, “On the Pulse of Morning,” at the first inauguration of President Bill Clinton, becoming only the second poet to read at an American president’s inauguration.

Angelou, nicknamed Maya by her brother, was born Marguerite Ann Johnson in St. Louis, Missouri on April 4, 1928. As a child, she moved between St. Louis and segregated Stamps, Arkansas. At the age of seven, she was raped by her mother’s boyfriend, who was subsequently tried and jailed for only a day. Following his release, he was killed, and she refused to speak for the next five years, believing the power of her voice was what killed him.

After having moved to the Bay Area and shortly after high school, Angelou gave birth to a son, and she shuffled through various occupations to raise her child as a single mother. In 1951, despite the stigma of interracial marriages, she married Tosh Angelos, from whom she derived the latter portion of her pen name. Their marriage ended in 1954, and, for the next ten years, Angelou toured Europe as a singer and dancer, and later traveled to Cairo and Accra, Ghana, where she worked as a freelance writer.

Angelou befriended Malcom X during his trips to Ghana in the 1960’s, and in 1965, shortly before his assassination, he invited her to return to the United States and help him create a new civil rights organization. Angelou was lost and adrift until early 1968, when Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.—also shortly before his assassination, on her fortieth birthday—asked her to organize a civil rights march.

Later that year, Angelou was challenged by Random House editor Robert Loomis to write an autobiography that could be considered a piece of literature. She released I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings in 1969 to international acclaim. In it, Angelou flagrantly depicts growing up in the Jim Crow South and is chiefly concerned with overcoming long-lasting, pervasive trauma and resisting racial oppression. In 1971 she published her first book of poetry, Just Give Me a Cool Drink of Water 'fore I Diiie, which was nominated for a Pulitzer.

Angelou became an able screenplay writer, composer, and writer of short stories, essays, poetry, TV documentaries, and numerous autobiographies. She was also a notable actor, appearing in both plays and television, and as visiting professor at various universities, including the lifetime Reynolds Professorship of American Studies at Wake Forest University in Winston-Salem, North Carolina. She was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom by Barack Obama in 2010.

Angelou leaves behind a legacy of unapologetic, nonvindictive growth out of turmoil. She managed to find her voice through the personal pain of her childhood and the imperative struggle for African American civil rights. Angelou’s voice, never limited to the page, is a resounding testimony to the raising of the self over the figurative, though very real cage of oppression.

She is survived by her son, Guy Johnson.

 

Happy Memorial Day, From Zharmae

This weekend, we honor the men and women who gave their lives while serving in the U.S. armed forces. Memorial Day, formerly known as Decoration Day, began with people visiting cemeteries and memorials to “decorate” the graves of fallen servicemen and servicewomen. Zharmae urges you to fly a flag this weekend, or—better—to leave one on the grave of a fallen veteran.

Should you find yourself with some free time on your hands this long weekend, pick up a good book (Zharmae has plenty!) and while away your extra hours reading. Memorial Day puts us in the mood for some great military and war fiction. Consider dipping into one of these worthy titles:

For the Literateur

The Things They Carried, Tim O’Brien

A Farewell to Arms, Ernest Hemingway

War and Peace, Leo Tolstoy

For the Thrill-Seeker

The Hunt for Red October, Tom Clancy

Four Blind Mice, James Patterson

Final Flight, Stephen Coonts

For the Romantic

The English Patient, Michael Ondaatje

Cold Mountain, Charles Frazier

Atonement, Ian McEwan

For the Adventurous/Experimental

Slaughterhouse Five, Kurt Vonnegut

Catch-22, Joseph Heller

Gravity’s Rainbow, Thomas Pynchon

Happy Memorial Day  from Zharmae and, as always, happy reading!

The Zharmae Publishing Press will be closed from Friday, May 23 through Monday, May 26 in observation of Memorial Day. While our offices are closed, we may not respond to inquiries, but please follow us on Twitter and Facebook to receive any news or updates.

Dark Guardian

The Zharmae Publishing Press is excited to share the cover for Dark Guardian. Author Ammar Habib's debut novel scheduled for release in July 2014

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It has been four years since Ethan Daniels stepped foot in Crown City. Four long years that he allowed everyone to believe he was dead and gone. But now he's back, and with a vengeance.

After the gruesome death of his adopted sister at the hands of a merciless gang, there is nothing he wants more than revenge. He can't sleep, he can't think; all he hears are her cries in his ears and all he sees is her death in his mind.

Ethan comes home to take on one of the world's most notorious crime lords in his bid for revenge, but he doesn't expect a reunion with Katrina, the girl he loved as a boy. After multiple reencounters with her, Ethan's resolve begins to waver as he is forced to realize that he can't have both love and vengeance. Retribution exacts a price, and fate—well, she has plans of her own.

 

Using Dialogue

A common problem many authors make is that they are afraid to use the word “said.” The characters hardly ever “say” something. They shout, whisper, chortle, sneer, interject, retort, etc. Their goal in using these dialogue tags is to make dialogue more lively and dynamic—however, this usually has the opposite effect.

A common piece of advice is to vary your word choice to create richer and more descriptive writing. However, in the case of dialogue, “said” works more like punctuation. The word “said” is so ubiquitous as to be unmemorable: that is its usefulness to the author. The reader’s eye skims over “said,” allowing him or her to focus solely on what the character is saying.

That does not mean you should never have a character shout when they are excited or whisper when they have a secret to share. However, when every single dialogue tag is an alternative to “said,” it can be distracting. It’s as if the characters are hammy actors, gesticulating wildly to get us to pay attention to their lines. Let your dialogue stand on its own.

Substituting supposedly better words for “said” creates the same problem as pulling out the thesaurus “to improve” every piece of description. While the phrase “luminescent viridian orbs” contains a few ten-dollar words, the reader would appreciate simply knowing the hero has bright green eyes.

Telling authors to use different words for “said” does address an actual problem. Dialogue like this isn’t exactly exciting, either:

            “You’re the only one I’ll ever love,” he said.

            “I wish you wouldn’t say things like that,” she said.

            “Why not?” he asked. “It’s true,” he said.

            “This isn’t serious and you know it,” she said.

Keep “said” in your writer’s toolkit, but also vary the dialogue’s structure by adding in actions and descriptions.

One way to do this is to bring in the character’s thoughts. This is a way to demonstrate a character’s inner conflict; there are many things we think that we don’t let ourselves say. Just remember to keep direct thoughts in the head of the viewpoint character. For example:

 

Original:

            “You’re the only one I’ll ever love,” he said. “Being with you is the best thing that ever happened to me.”

            “I wish you wouldn’t say things like that,” she protested.

 

Revision: 

            “Stop.” She wondered if the other diners could hear them. “I wish you wouldn’t say things like that.”

            Or

            “I wish you wouldn’t say things like that.” Why do I have such bad luck with men?

Another way to develop dialogue is to bring in more description. Showing a character’s actions, facial expressions, or body language will bring them alive for the reader. More description can also give us a clearer picture of a scene by having characters interact with the environment. For example:

Original:

            “Why not? It’s true,” he retorted.

            “This isn’t serious and you know it,” she argued.

Revision:

 

            “Why not? It’s true,” he said. John unconsciously clenched his fist, knuckles whitening. She wondered if he noticed.

            A headache pounded behind her temple; the restaurant‘s music was grating.“This isn’t serious and you know it.”

Although revision can seem daunting at first, with just a few changes you can create more dynamic prose. Dialogue is a key aspect of writing fiction, a way to produce memorable and exciting characters. Don’t let your readers become distracted by awkward phrases or word cho

Kudalis: Storm Dragon

Coming June 19, 2014

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Karin knows she’s gone completely insane—nuts—absolutely batshit crazy, when she spots an insidious blue dragon twining through the trees at a rest stop in the Cascade Mountains. Despite agreeing to join her roommate at a psychic fair, she’s never believed in anything metaphysical. She’s pretty sure the Reiki treatment she succumbed to has brought on a frighteningly realistic hallucination—until they roll their mini-van in the middle of I-90, and she is rescued from the vehicle by the same monstrous blue figment of her imagination. 

She awakens to find that she’s been delivered to a cabin high in the mountains instead of to a proper hospital. The “doctor” looking out for her is more of a new-ager than a physician, and the people who own the house, including the urban highlander version of Fabio, don’t have any intention of letting her leave.

Faced with the unimaginable, and strapped to an all-too-real dragon, Karin must decide how to tame the beast or risk losing herself to it forever

 

Be sure to add Kundalis Storm Dragon by Frances Pauli on GOODREADS  and learn more about Frances Pauli and her books by visiting her WEBSITE

An Easter Treat: The Literary Easter Egg

 

   No Easter tradition is better loved than the egg hunt. Every year, children scurry through the house and yard, searching behind bushes and under chairs for eggs filled with goodies. After all, who doesn’t love a competitive adventure that has chocolate waiting at the end?

Grown-ups can find their own version of Easter egg hunts, although the treat at the end is (perhaps unfortunately) not candy. “Easter eggs” is the term used to refer to hidden content or messages. While Easter eggs originated in computer programs, they have since spread to other forms of media—video games, movies, artwork, and, of course, books. 

            So, what exactly is a literary Easter egg? Some common examples are inside jokes, secret codes, and subtle references. Any sort of unexpected, veiled surprise could be considered an Easter egg.

Many great stories throughout years have been dotted with Easter eggs, although you might not have noticed them if you didn’t realize you were on the hunt. Here are a few examples.

1.     Through the Looking Glass: Lewis Carroll’s famed work features an acrostic poem that spells out “Alice Pleasance Liddell,” the name of the real girl who inspired the fictional Alice.

2.     A Series of Unfortunate Events: This children’s series by Daniel Handler, pen name Lemony Snicket, is full of twists and intrigue, creating the perfect atmosphere for hidden Easter eggs. For example, in A Hostile Hospital, a list of names features anagrams of both Daniel Handler and Brett Helquist, the book’s illustrator. Another anagram is made from the pen name Lemony Snicket for the name of one of the characters, Monty Kensicle.

3.     Star Wars: In some of the Star Wars books, Han Solo mentions that he uses the name Jenos Idanian as an alias. This is an anagram of Indiana Jones, who is played by Harrison Ford—the same actor who plays Han Solo in the Star Wars movies.

$14.     Sarah Dessen’s novels: Popular YA author Sarah Dessen is known for setting her stories in recurring locations, and many of her characters run into each other across their books. Just to name a couple of examples, the protagonists of The Truth About Forever make a cameo appearance in Just Listen, and a character from This Lullaby is seen briefly in Lock and Key.

5.     The Great Gatsby: This literary classic opens with a poetic epigraph that begins, “Then wear the gold hat, if that will move her…” and is attributed to Thomas Parke D’Invilliers. While, generally, readers expect epigraphs to be quotes from other published authors, only true Fitzgerald fans would know that Thomas Parke D’Invilliers is actually a fictional character in Fitzgerald’s third novel, This Side of Paradise!

6.     Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire: When J.K. Rowling received a letter from a young fan named Natalie who had a terminal illness, Rowling wrote the girl a letter detailing the rest of Harry Potter’s storyline. Unfortunately, Natalie died before receiving the letter. Rowling named a minor character in her honor; Natalie is a young student who is sorted into Gryffindor at the beginning of the book.

These are only a few examples of the various forms that Easter eggs may take in writing. Hopefully they provide inspiration for the kind of “treats” you can hide in your writing.

Easter eggs are beloved by readers because of the sense of fun and discovery they deliver. Entertain and challenge yourself by weaving hidden surprises through your writing as you create a literary Easter egg hunt of your own.

Happy hunting, and happy Easter!

The Zharmae Publishing Press will be closed from Friday, April 17 through Monday, April 20. While our offices are closed, we may not respond to inquiries, but please follow us on Twitter and Facebook to receive any news or updates.

 

Announcing Anne Carly Abad

Zharmae is pleased to announce the signing of author Anne Carly Abad and her novel The Myriad Paths: The Light Bringer's Kingdom.

Path Liang is the last person you would expect to believe in spirits or the supernatural. Her father, Hector Liang, is the inventor of the Wireless Command System (WCS), a technology that amplifies brainwaves to operate machines and computers and has revolutionized the society of the Phillipines in 2066. By day Path is a talented badminton star, and by night she is a hypergamer, immersing herself in the super-fast WCS-enabled virtual world. 

But despite Path's best efforts, she has been haunted by a strange dreamworld since she was seven years old. Little does she know that she is a descendant of a powerful babaylan, shamans of ancient Phillippine society. Path will need all the help she can get to master her newfound powers. Demons, led by Lucifer himself, want to use her abilities in a new rebellion against Heaven.

Path is protected by Elantiel "Eli" Clementir, a revenge-driven young man with a mysterious connection to the angels and an ancestral magic of his own. As apocalypse looms ever closer, Path realizes their fates are more entwined than she could have ever imagined. To protect all they hold dear, Path and Eli must face their own families' tragic pasts and confront a cosmic rebellion a millennia in the making.

Anne Carly Abad combines sci-fi and fantasy in her new book, blending a futuristic world with mythology such as the Aswang, fickle and dangerous spirits of Phillippine lore. Abad has earned several writing awards, including third prize in the Diogen Summer Contest for Haiku, Senryu, Tanka & Haiga; Her short stories "Haze" and "Sage's Reckoning" won honorable mention in On the Premises Short Story Contest #20 (2013) and Q3 of The Writers of the Future Contest, respectively. Her work has appeared or will appear in Star*Line, Dreams & Nightmares, and Strange Horizons. Visit her blog at http://the-sword-that-speaks.blogspot.com/

The Light Bringer's Kingdom has an anticipated release date of January 2015.

New Release: Breakshield by J.B. Rockwell

The Zharmae Publishing Press recently released

BREAKSHIELD by J.B. Rockwell on March 27, 2014.

This debut fantasy release is an action packed

adventure with several twists and turns, sure to keep

you on the edge of your seat.

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Found at the intersection of life and the afterlife, the Between is a place where science and reason are replaced by magic and violence. It is a place where Typhon and his Huntsmen of the Dark Waste spread like a plague and where Talents go to die. 

The only thing standing in Typhon’s way is Morgan Quendalen and the people of the Shining Lands. They are sworn to protect the last remaining Talents, a precious few who teeter at the edge of extinction.  Morgan valiantly fights, protecting these last remnants of magic in a war he's not sure he can actually win. 

When Jamie Aster, a mortal Talent with undiscovered powers, is put under his charge, Morgan weighs his oath against a desire to save the Shining Lands. Could he kill a Talent if it meant saving his people?

Breakshield is out now and avaiable for purchase:  Amazon  |  TZPP Direct

 

We will be hosting a week long review only blog tour to celebrate the release of BREAKSHIELD. Go to https://docs.google.com/forms/d/1eDFreGv49_X0ZG-Vtia0qGqFIkHdcHXrl3F3OpZ7BkQ/viewform to participate.

About the Author

JBRockwell Author Photo

J.B. Rockwell grew up reading fairy tales, folklore and mythology, as well as anything everything about ancient cultures and their history, and never lost her taste for any of it. Unsurprisingly, her college studies focused on anthropology with an emphasis on investigating mythical events and trying to tie them back to historical fact. Unfortunately, there are not a lot of jobs (much less money) in anthropology so after several years of low-paying, unsatisfying jobs, she went back to school and earned a very practical (and very boring MBA). Somehow that MBA landed her a job in IT and for the past twelve years she has been managing software systems and information technology development projects for the US Coast Guard, a job which is neither boring nor unrewarding. She continues to write in her spare time and has several short stories that have been picked up for publication. Born and raised in Connecticut, J.B. Rockwell currently lives in West Virginia with her husband and two cats, all of whom provide inspiration for her stories, whether they know it or not.

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