New Milestone: 500 Follows!

fireworks1The good people that run WordPress have just informed me that this humble blog o’ mine has reached an important milestone. As of 3:00 AM this morning (Pacific Daylight Time) I received my 500th follow! Combined with followers from Facebook, Yahoo, and Twitter, that brings the grand total to 2,091!

I’m especially happy about this because for some time now, I’ve had trouble breaking the 2050 mark. It seemed that with every new follower, I would lose one, and that’s never nice. Sounds greedy, I know. But it seems that the more people you have willing to listen to you, the more concerned you are about keeping that following.

Naturally, I want to thank all those people who have signed on to follow Storiesbywilliams. This past March marked its third anniversary, and for those who have chosen to stick with me over the past few years, I am especially thankful. The support and encouragement I have received since deciding to go public with my writing have made quite the difference.

Not only has it helped me to bring my written work to publication by giving it the feedback and constructive criticism it needed, it has been the difference between toiling in anonymity and making meaningful connections with people. This is why I began writing in the first place, and knowing that there is a receptive public makes all the difference.

Here’s to three years more and (fingers crossed) another 500 followers! And to those I’ve been following myself, I hope I have managed to make a similar contribution to your work. None of us is alone on this journey and we all need to know that we are doing matters to others. May it lead us all to somewhere joyous, fruitful and (God willing) profitable as well!

WordPress Tag!

wordpress_cloudMy thanks to Rami for tagging me in the latest round of WordPress Tag! This means I have to answer the following questions and then send some tags out of my own. So lets get this party started…

What are you currently working on?
Having finished with my second zombie book (Papa Zulu), I’m now working full-tilt to finish my anthology of science fiction short stories. It’s called Flash Forward, and contains short pieces of fiction that deal with subjects ranging from climate change, militarized borders, drone warfare, neural downloads, cybernetic augmentation, space travel, and cosmic evolution.

How does your work differ from other authors in the genre?
These days, most authors I know are writing in the dystopian sci-fi genre. Somehow, with the growth of the YA market and the popularity of books like The Hunger Games and Divergent, the whole dark future theme seems to be making a big comeback. But I want to deal with future scenarios that are in keeping with current trends, addressing the impending Technological Singularity, Climate Change, and how the interaction of these two forces will shape the coming decades and centuries.

Why do you write what you do?
Because I have this obsession with recreating the kind of things that inspire me. The books that have done the best job of that in the past were always works that captured the zeitgeist of the age, making predictions about the future in order to tell a story about the here and now. It’s been my hope for almost two decades now that I could create something that would do the same thing for others.

How does your writing process work?
My mind is constantly dreaming of things that inspire me and looking for new ideas. I try to feed it as best I can with research and the latest in science, tech, history and geopolitics, until such time as a breakthrough comes and I begin to plot it all out. Then, once I have a framework in place, I start field testing it out by writing the first few chapters and seeing if it has traction. Once that’s done, the story begins to evolve and take on a life of its own. Some don’t make it to fruition, but others do.

And now I tag three writers:
I nominate the following three people for the next round:

Goran Zidar

Emily Guido

Deirdra Alexander

Good luck!

Next Big Thing Blog Hop

inspirationGood morning people! Today, I will be participating in the NBTBH, thanks to my good friend and fellow author Melanie Edmonds who was nice enough to invite me to participate. As some of you may know, Mel and I are members of the Writer’s Worth group, an indie writer organization that is dedicated to the betterment and promotion of new and aspiring authors.

In addition, she’s one of the people taking part in the Yuva anthology and one of its chief contributors. Look for her story Swan Song in the collection just as soon as it’s available. And you also click the following link to learn more about her work:

So, what is this blog hop thing all about? Well basically, its a thing where I and my fellow authors, in their respective blogs, offer people a sneak peak at our works-in-progress by answering ten questions about it.  We’ve also included some behind-the-scenes information about how and why we write what we write: the characters, inspirations, plotting and other choices we make. I hope you enjoy it!

Please feel free to comment and share your thoughts and questions. Here is my Next Big Thing!

1. What is the working title of your book?

Well, there are a few. But in this case, I’d have to go with Whiskey Delta, my first attempt at zombie apocalypse literature.

2. Where did the idea come from for the book?

Actually, interesting story, it came from two place. I began working on an idea for a near-future story about a militarized border between the US and Mexico, as part of a Climate Change-fueled dystopian scenario. But at some point, with all the talk of fencelines, borders, military units, and blockades, I became convinced it would be cooler with zombies. And an idea was born!

3. What genre does your book come under?

Tricky, but I’d say horror since zombie lit tends to end up in this category. Post-apocalyptic would be an equally appropriate category too, since the greatest theme of the work is how disaster of such proportions turns people against each other and forces us to put survival ahead of all else.

4. Which actors would you choose to play your characters in a movie rendition?

I’d say Adam Beach or Lou Diamond Phillips as Sergeant Dezba, Stark Sands as Lieutenant Braun, either Anne Hathaway or Jennifer Lawrence as Corporal Saunders, and

5. What is the one-sentence synopsis of your book?

In the sun-baked lands of New Mexico, the Rattlesnakes live by a singular philosophy: “Leave none undead!”

6. Is your book self-published, published by an independent publisher, or represented by an agency?

Self-published, like all my works thus far. However, that may change with time and a little promotion. We shall see!

7. How long did it take you to write the first draft of your manuscript?

Roughly six months. But then again, once you got a working idea, zombie lit pretty much writes itself!

8. What other books would you compare this story to within your genre?

I would have to say World War Z, since the focus is on the zombie apocalypse, though more concerned with the aftermath than the way it happened. And of course, the graphic novel of The Walking Dead and 28 Days Later, which were big inspirations for me.

9. Who or what inspired you to write this book?

Watching Generation Kill was a big boost, as it gave me a really good feel for the kinds of antics, military lingo and problems faced by today’s grunts. Studying up on various zombie franchises, from 28 Days Later and Shaun of the Dead, to Dawn of the Dead and The Walking Dead, were also a big push. My own passion for military history also played a role, as it helped me to understand things like grand strategies, unit tactics, and the way wars are planned and carried out. And of course, playing lots of Modern Warfare also helped to get me in the shoot-em-up, blow-em-up, action-packed mood to write all the action scenes.

10. What else about your book might pique the reader’s interest?

Plenty of speculation as to how a zombie virus (the Ambulus Mortus strain, in my story) would work, where it would come from, and the effects it would have on the infected. I explore a good deal of the long-term effects in my story, and the race to find a vaccine and/or a cure is central to the ongoing series which I have planned.

Who’s next on the NEXT BIG THING BLOG HOP?
So glad you asked! Below you will find authors who will be joining me by blog, next Wednesday. Do be sure to bookmark and add them to your calendars for updates on Works in Progress and New Releases! Happy writing and reading!

  1. Rami Ungar: Without a doubt, he’s my first nominee. He has several irons in the fire, some of which I have had the honor of reading, and I know he’s hard at work and would like the chance to share about his process.
  2. Khaalidah Mohammed-Ali: My second-in-command over at Yuva and an indie writer in her own right with An Unproductive Woman. I know she too deserves to share her writing and anything I can do to bring it to a wider audience, I will.
  3. Goran Zidar: Another major contributor to Yuva and an indie writer of renown. I’ve been reading his material for some time and very much enjoy his techno-savy, grit, and realism. I know for a fact he’s got works in the works, so I say let’s hear about em!