Tag Archives: Quincy Allen

Meet the Fictorians: Guy Anthony De Marco

“Come in, — come in! and know me better, man!” -Charles Dickens, A Christmas Carol

We’d love for you, our wonderful readers, to get to know us better. That’s why, each month, Kristin Luna will interview a member of The Fictorians. We’ll learn more about each member, such as their writing processes, their work, where they live, and what they prefer to drink on a crisp winter day. We hope you enjoy this monthly installment of Meet the Fictorians.

Meet the Fictorians:

Guy Anthony De Marco

Kristin Luna (KL): Hi Guy! How are you doing and what are you drinking today?

Guy Anthony De Marco (GADM): Coffee. Lots of coffee. Coffee with coffee on top. It’s a good thing I’m not a single-malt Scotch drinker because I’d be spilling my glass of Glenfiddich 40-year old single malt all over the carpet because of the caffeine jitters.

Sometimes I toss in an Irish Breakfast tea to mix things up, or I drink the really hard stuff — egg nog.

KL: Oo, Glenfiddich. I like Balvenie myself. Don’t even get me started on egg nog. Yum! Okay, back on subject… You’ve been a Fictorian for quite some time. When did you join, and could you tell the fine people what all do you do for us?

GADM: I was invited by Quincy J. Allen (link: http://www.quincyallen.com) to write a couple of articles a few years ago, and then I woke up months later and I was a member. Since then, I write the occasional article, post a comment or two, and poke around the back end of the website. I’m familiar and comfortable doing so because I have over three decades in the Information Technology field. I’m not the site admin, but I do keep a watch on things and install updates, plus the little things such as dumping the spam out of the comments. We get over 50 spam comments a day, so that’s a sign the site is spreading. If only the spammers purchased books, we’d all be millionaires. Or at least hundredaires.

I’m also the unofficial “I need a post by tonight” guy. If you see several posts with my byline, odds are there were spots that needed an article. I write fast, and I’m now even working with Dragon Dictate, which helped me to hit my NaNoWriMo 2016 goal in two days.

KL: Not only do you help us out with our website, you are downright prolific when it comes to how much writing you produce. When you’re working on a project, how many words do you average a day, and in a week?

GADM: I have a bunch of pseudonyms I write under, so they all need to be fed. I think my record was 48K words in 12 hours. My usual rate is 2.5K/day on a slow day to 6K/day on a “looming deadline” day. Dragon is boosting those numbers lately, but the first drafts are pretty horrific to look at. Between drafting and editing, it all balances out in the end.

KL: I’m in awe, really. So what’s some of the best advice you’ve received about being productive? What works for you that you could pass on to the rest of us?

GADM: I guess the best advice is just doing the basics. Place your buttocks in a comfy chair and write so it becomes a habit. Understand that your first draft is not a polished manuscript. Allow yourself to suck and tell the editor in your head that she will get her turn later after you’ve dumped the basics onto the digital page. That last piece worked the best for me as far as productivity.

KL: You’ve written short stories for anthologies along with long fiction. What’s your favorite short story you’ve written, what’s it about, and where can we buy it?

GADM: My favorite short story is “Sally the Baker” from the early 1980s. It’s long out of print, although I’m thinking about reworking the story. The original is about a group of adventurers who force a gent named Sally to join their quest to take on an evil wizard. Unfortunately, Sally is an amazing baker with no other skills. In the end, he does save the day when they burst into a high-level evil wizard conference and Sally tosses a handful of flour into the air and starts screaming “Death Dust!” at the top of his lungs. The wizards scatter, the adventurers recover the item they were looking for, and they all escape with their hides.

For a still-available short story, I’d recommend “Grubstake” from Supernatural Colorado or “The Fate Worse Than Death” in Unidentified Funny Objects 3, which I co-wrote with Kevin J. Anderson.

KL: You have a number of titles available on Amazon. Do you find that you like writing short fiction or long fiction better?

GADM: I like writing drabbles or flash fiction best because it takes a lot of work to hit the word count, especially the 100-word drabbles. It’s like writing poetry for me, which I dabble in. As far as prose, I like short and long fiction equally. I write novels like a collection of short stories. That’s how I outline long works…a series of short stories in a tight flying formation.

KL: What are you currently working on?

GADM: I’m in the midst of NaNoWriMo at the moment. I hit my 50K in a couple of days. My record is over 300K. I have a cyberpunk novel in work, plus two horror novels and a bunch of erotica novellas. I’m trying to get 20 erotica works done to launch a new pseudonym.

KL: Ambitious! Who are some authors that inspire you?

GADMTonya L. De Marco is always helping me by editing and finding more stories to write. Kevin J. Anderson inspires me to write more because he is almost at the point where he thinks of a story and it magically appears on paper. Sam Knight inspires me to treat others with respect and kindness. I also enjoy reading lots of classics from Asimov, Heinlein, Clarke, and the rest of the usual gang — plus digging up old pulps and enjoying forgotten speculative fiction authors.

KL: Yeah, that Sam Knight is good people! Other than advice on productivity, what advice have you received through your years of writing that has stuck with you?

GADMFind a group of like-minded individuals and work together, like a local writing collective. Seek out folks who know how to edit and are not afraid to tell you what works and what sucks. Find beta readers and treat them like gold. Always be nice to others, even if they’re not. Especially if they’re not…they need to see how a professional acts. Support everyone and never talk down or bad-mouth anyone. It’s easy to pick on authors, such as Stephenie Meyer, who wrote Twilight. I’ve been on several panels where they bash on her, but I always say she was laughing all the way to the bank. She wrote something that caught the attention of the reading public, and even though it’s not my cup of tea, it sold well and made her a household name. I’d like that to happen to me someday.

I would also recommend joining a professional writing organization. Some of them can help you on the way to greatness, sorta like Slytherin House. I’ve been impressed with what Cat Rambo has been doing with SFWA, so I’d suggest considering them first.

KL: And finally, what’s your favorite Fictorians post that you’ve written?

GADM: To be honest, I don’t particularly have a favorite. If I had to choose, I’d probably go with “Putting a Fresh Clip in My Revolver,” “My Muse is Dead,” or DMCA Tools. All of those generated some good feedback from Fictorians readers.

***

If you have any questions for Guy, please leave a comment below. Thank you for reading!

Tinkering with History: The Mainstay of Steampunk

Guest Post by Quincy Allen

Quincy 2Steampunk, at its purest and most basic, is anti-establishment fiction in a Victorian setting that adorns an adventurous stage with impossible gadgetry driven by steam, clockwork, aether and Tesla coils. Imagine 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea, Frankenstein or The Time Machine, but with more goggles, zeppelins, corsets and guns … oh, and the odd zombie, vampire or mad-scientist thrown in for good measure. But that’s just the textbook answer … or would be if a textbook on steampunk existed, anyway.

Commercially, steampunk is a growing sub-genre under the rather wide umbrella of science fiction and fantasy. It’s intriguing that steampunk as an aesthetic has been branching out into other genres, including romance, horror, paranormal and pure fantasy. Or is it the other way around? Is steampunk an underlying aesthetic or is it window dressing? Those questions are best left to the purists and the marketplace.

Most good steampunk literature has a strong sense of being part of real world history. It’s real history told with a twist … a change in the very fabric our knowledge that turns the impossibilities of steampunk into an alternate reality more compelling and vibrant than the history itself. The question is, how does a writer achieve this?

The answer? Research.

It would be foolish to suggest that every writer of every steampunk story researches actual events and then merely applies and alters them. There are many examples of researched and un-researched steampunk that are good reads and are commercially successful. However, a writer can increase the likelihood of both a good story and its success by delving into real history-even at a cursory level-and then playing with it as a god plays with the fabric of the universe. After all, truth frequently is stranger than fiction.

For me, it is critical to create a moment in time where my fictional history deviates from the real one. Doing so allows me to extrapolate from that moment in time and rationalize the existence of both magic and impossible technologies in a recognizable but alternate nineteenth century. Imagine a world where witches are as common as blacksmiths, the railroad was surpassed by zeppelin transports and fully functional artificial limbs are a reality, albeit an uncommon one. And all derived from a single change, a critical moment gone awry in the history of the Catholic Church.

The irony is that the altered moment I refer to-the assassination of Pope Gregory IX in 1227-is not even mentioned in the manuscript I’m currently editing. What is important is the awareness of this “revisionist” history. Because of it, I understand the reason why witches were not exterminated. I know why the populace didn’t die off from The Plague and how technology flourished a hundred and fifty years too early. This awareness lends itself well to understanding the social, political, economic and cultural influences that shape characters and culture .

History is awash in a variety of extremely colorful characters that can give-with a little bit of research-a truly genuine and vibrant feel to an invented history. For example, while researching the American West of the 1870s, I discovered real people like Emperor Norton (yes, America had an Emperor in the nineteenth century) and Bloody Bill Anderson, who was a brutal and ruthless advocate of both slavery and the slaughter of anyone who believed otherwise. Both historical figures are in my manuscript, and they add both color and validity to what is a very alternate history.

I’m not suggesting that a writer of steampunk needs to be a historian. Far from it. However, steampunk authors owe it to their readers to be familiar in the aesthetic and at least some of the significant people and events of the time. An adventure story traversing Europe and the East Indies in the early nineteenth century should mention the East India Company or justify why it doesn’t exist. A story set in America in the 1860s should address the Civil War or eliminate the war completely. A steampunk story set in China during the Victorian period should mention British influences there or find a reasonable way of working around them.

In the west, we refer to the nineteenth century as the Victorian Era as a direct result of Queen Victoria and the British Empire’s influences. However, that period of human history was an exciting time all around the world. More and more steampunk is reaching out to the four corners of the Earth and exploring it with truly interesting explorations of world cultures.

Steampunk audiences understand the historical setting in one way or another. When you take pen in hand (or finger to keyboard) you’d best have a few ducks in a row. Not only will you be drawing upon actual history to invigorate your writing, you’ll be giving your readers easy markers and handholds to lock onto as you fiddle with the space-time continuum.

Quincy has been published in multiple anthologies, online and print magazines, as well as in one omnibus. His steampunk version of Rumpelstiltskin is under contract with Fairy Punk Studios, and he’s written for the Internet radio show RadioSteam. His novel Chemical Burn-a finalist in the Rocky Mountain Writers Association Colorado Gold Writing Contest-was first published in June of 2012, and has been picked up by Fantastic Journeys Publishing. His new novel Jake Lasater and the Blood Curse of Atheon, will be on sale this summer, and he’s writing an off-world steampunk-esque series. You can follow his ongoing exploits on FaceBook and at www.quincyallen.com.