Post Raleigh Wrap-Up

Now that I’m back home in New Hampshire, I’m thrilled to report that the Red Adept Publishing event down in Raleigh was a great time, and well worth the trip. The panel and book signing featured Jason Parent, Karissa Laurel, J. Leigh,  Jessica Dall, Erica Lucke Dean, and myself, as we discussed such topics as what drew us to our preferred genre, why we write, and where we write. I got the chance to field a few questions about Novel #3, and discuss what inspired Pale Highway. If you haven’t checked out the other authors on the panel, I highly recommend their works: great stuff!

I then spent some time exploring Chapel Hill and Raleigh. From there, everyone congregated for the Red Adept Publishing annual party, featuring bingo games, a raffle, great people, friendly dogs, and amazing food. All of the Red Adepts gathered together for this epic photo:

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All in all, I’m happy I made the trip down, and I hope to make it back next year. The aforementioned raffle also included prizes, and while it took me some time and dedication to win one – or, really, the assistance of a handful of other friendly partygoers who helped me sort through a massive amount of tickets – I was finally able to win this rather handsome coffee mug, which I am now the proud owner of.

I’d imagine that none of you are surprised I went for the coffee mug. Predictable.

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After an exhausting trip back via Atlanta and Boston, I’m now settling back into my office in New Hampshire, drinking coffee from my new Red Adept mug, catching up on my current writing projects, and finishing up an Octavia Butler novel that I read through three quarters of on the flight back. It’s been a great week, and I hope the same is true for all of you.

Before I forget: I’m on Bookbub now! To follow me there, just click on the following link, and you’ll be updated whenever I have a new release.

Follow me on BookBub!

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Hello, Google+

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So I’ve officially set up my page on The Plus—Google Plus, that is.

Now is as good a time as any, right?  Anyway, I’ll post the link here.   If any of you guys are also out there on The Plus, we can connect through the following link, down below—and while we’re at it, I’ll post some links to my other social network pages.  I’m always happy to make connections, so I look forward to seeing you there!

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In other news, it just came to my attention that the movie adaptation of Gone Girl is supposed to come out this week? 

That’s insane.  Totally bizarre.  For some reason, I had it logged into my brain that it was coming out next spring.   I finally read the book just a couple of months ago, and Gillian Flynn’s writing is (of course) just as astoundingly brilliant as it’s reputed it to be.  Needless to say, I’m thrilled to see how they adapt it to film.

“Hard-Boiled Heart” to appear in Isotropic Fiction Magazine!

My new short story, “Hard-Boiled Heart,” will be published in a future issue of Isotropic Fiction, an excellent speculative fiction magazine available in digital form on Amazon.com.

“Hard-Boiled Heart” is the strange tale of a young man born with a bizarre chest deformity, who one day unexpectedly becomes a worldwide sensation.  I’d say more, but hey—I should let the story do the talking!  When more information about the upcoming issue of Isotropic Fiction becomes available, you’ll find it here.

The Flores Factor interviews Nicholas Conley

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I recently was interviewed by Richard Flores IV for an author feature on his website, The Flores Factor.  We discussed a variety of subjects – including writing, The Cage Legacy, embarrassing author mistakes, and even a little bit about Iceland.  To read the full interview, click on the following link!

Author interview: NICHOLAS CONLEY

Enjoy the read, guys!

EDIT:  On a side note, WordPress has just informed me that this blog entry is officially the 50th post on Writings, Readings and Coffee Addictions.  A big thanks goes out to all of you reading this, following, liking, commenting and so on.   Here’s to the many more posts yet to come!

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Mark Rothko’s Black on Maroon, over at the Tate Modern in London.

Hey, what’ve I been up to?

So, other than currently levitating somewhere between Mars and Earth while my astral projection explores Pluto, where have I been?  What have I been up to?  Quite a bit, actually.  I’ve spent a lot of time down in the Earth’s core, recently; in addition, I recently was bitten by a radioactive spider, struck by gamma rays and spent a weekend at some weird place called Crystal Lake, where hockey masks are apparently not too popular.

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The writing life is always a busy one.  As a writer, so much of one’s life is spent engaged in the most introspective activity imaginable – sitting alone in a room, reconstructing one’s most private thoughts – and somehow, while all of one’s writing projects are going on, the writer must also find time to experience life to the fullest – because that’s where writing inspiration comes from, of course! – and so one must regularly go out into the world, have new experiences, meet people, understand the fabric of society, the backbone of society, the guts of society, and all that other good stuff.  In addition, the writer must also go out and promote their work, although doing so is a challenge, since it requires a skill in extroversion that might initially be foreign to the introverted writer.  After a few runs, though, you slowly get the hang of it.  It’s actually pretty fun, and interacting with your readers is really one of the more amazing  experiences a writer can have.

So now, my friends, let me give you guys the update of what exactly I’m working on.

Since The Cage Legacy was finished, I’ve been privately slaving away here at the keyboard, actively developing multiple new novels.  I’m crazily enthusiastic to share these stories with you guys – when the right time comes.  I’m the sort of person who gets my work done way ahead of schedule.  I like getting a lot of work completed and packaged before I fully reveal my hand…so when it comes to writing, one might say I’m a bit of a workaholic.  This work ethic can get exhausting at times, but I do absolutely love writing, so it’s a very satisfying form of exhaustion.  Much better than other forms of exhaustion, anyway.

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So, without spilling too much, these are currently the three main projects that I’m actively developing:

Novel #2: Working on getting this one published. It’s insanely tempting to tell you guys all about this one – it’s an extremely exciting project, for me – but I’ll hold back, for now.

Novel #3: I’m currently editing this one, right now.  I can’t wait to share this one, as well.  It’s a pretty offbeat story, for sure.

Novel #4: First draft complete!  Looking forward to editing this one, sometime soon.

Since The Cage Legacy was released, I’ve often been asked – whether by emails from my readers, real life acquaintances and/or online contacts –  what I’m working on now, or if I have any other books coming out.  Ideally, this blog will explain things in a way that both answers the question, and more importantly, simplifies my often confusing and complicated answers.  From this point forward, I’ll try to use the above three “working titles” whenever I refer to one of my upcoming novels-in-progress.

Cheers!

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Another year, another 600 or so cups of coffee…

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…and as 2014 spreads its wings, as the light blasts through the clouds (and a freezing, bone-chilling snow descends upon us here in New England), it’s time to get on with the year ahead.

There’s plenty to look forward to this year; I have several writing projects to keep me busy, and when I’m not busy writing I’m planning on doing some more traveling, reading, writing, movie-watching, socializing and coffee drinking.

Now, as far as this blog goes…

2013 was my first year here on WordPress – my first year meeting all of you guys on here, and my first time having a regular blog to give shape to, develop and nurture. 2014 will  be a year that allows me to deepen the connections I’ve made thus far, as well as continuing to write about the subjects that fascinate me – be they horror/sci-fi/comics genre-related, psychological, philosophical or whatever else might grab my attention.

In the meantime, it’s time to hop off of here and get back to my current writing projects…because I’ll warn you right now, there’s some big stuff coming up just over the horizon line!

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Citing Your Creative Sources

Every artist has their sources.

It’s a truth that too many creators deny too often.  Sure, we all acknowledge the debt that we owe to real life, the true events that have inspired our stories – but for whatever reason, one generally wants to believe that he or she experiences divine moments of inspiration, devoid of the influence of outside media.  Somehow, one prefers to reject the notion that any books, comics, movies, TV shows and books have in any way helped influence the creator’s baby.

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Like this baby, for example.

But once again, I repeat – every artist has his sources.

Yes, this point may seem obvious.  It’s easy to say that we find inspiration in other forms of media, without acknowledging our debt to those specific works.  But really, it’s important to do so.  By recognizing which artistic works we were inspired by, we can both pay tribute to those works – and we can also successfully differentiate ourselves from them.  After all, there might only be a handful of different stories in the world, but what’s really important is how you make that story your own.

In Stephen King’s fifth Dark Tower book, Wolves of the Calla, there’s a great scene toward the end where Eddie – a former heroin addict – and Jake – the Gunslinger’s adopted son –are discussing the startlingly familiar traits of of the “Wolves,” a pack of bloodthirsty robots that  have been terrorizing the Calla for years. See, the Wolves are eerily familiar, in a number of ways.  For one, they utilize miniscule, golden hand grenades—grenades that they call “sneeches.”  At close quarters, the Wolves attack with energy swords.  Perhaps most significant of all, though, is the Wolves’ appearance.  They have robotic, humanoid bodies, and the only garments they wear are green cloaks, hoods and togas.   As Eddie tells Jake, these wolves look almost identical to a certain classic Marvel Comics super villain – a Latverian dictator known by the name of Doctor Doom.

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Art by Adi Granov.

Now, these traits aren’t simply coincidences; they’re actually a part of the plot.  As the Dark Tower series tells a tale that reaches across thousands of alternate universes, having references to such sources as Doom, the light sabers from Star Wars and the sneetch from Harry Potter actually makes sense, in the context of the story.  What’s most inspiring here, though, is the fact that Stephen King goes so far as to call himself out on these obvious sources of inspiration.  Through the mouths of Eddie and Jake, King displays a brave willingness to openly cite his sources, and he even allows the readers to take part in the game.

I remember the first time I read the Dark Tower series, I found this passage enormously inspiring.  I realized that the idea of a writer denying one’s sources of inspiration – the reality of what happens when a writer pretends that he or she isn’t influenced by the media he/she enjoys consuming – is a fabrication that people will always see right through.

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Art by Jae Lee.

Let’s face it.  Let’s face the truth.  Every artist is inspired by something.  Every artist has his/her favorite works of art; the creator doesn’t exist in a vacuum, and to pretend otherwise is to present a falsehood.

And see, this is what’s important, contradictory to what we might generally believe – originality isn’t found by having an “original idea,” originality is something that comes from the unique execution of an idea.  Believe in your concept—believe that, by telling it through your own voice instead of someone else’s, you can make it original—and then you’ll have something special.

-Nicholas Conley