The Quinquennium

 

  

 

The second novella in the Quinquennium series, As It Was In The Beginning, is taking shape. It takes place three years before the events in book one, To Thee Is This World Given, over the week leading up to the “end.”

While To Thee Is This World Given was intended originally to be a stand alone novella, everyone who read it asked the same questions, “What happens next? Are you writing more?” My answer was always “They continue on” and “no.”

It took me awhile to put enough distance between myself and the effort it took to write To Thee Is This world Given, but I eventually got to the place where I agreed that each of the four characters in it deserved their own story and the world in which takes place deserved to be expanded, and so the Quinquennium was born.

The titles for books three through five are still to be decided but the stories themselves have already been plotted. Book three takes place one year after As it Was In The Beginning, and follows the male character from To Thee Is This World Given. Book four takes place one year before To Thee Is This World Given. It follows the young Amish man. And book five takes place fifty years later and follows the young girl, who is now approaching sixty years old.

The timeline: day one, As It Was In The Beginning; one year later, Book 3; two years later Book 4; three years later, To Thee is This World Given; fifty years later, Book 5.

Simple, vibrant, eye catching single-color covers that reflect the mood and theme of each book were chosen to create a unified look for the series. Double click on any of the covers to see it in greater detail. Each has an identical star field pattern and a white border.

 

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To Thee is This World Given turned one year old today

All week long Khel will be posting about how it came to be.

The first two posts, on being able to find the time to write  and the ideas behind the story  are already up. And over the next couple of days, the story of writing the first draft will be posted as well.

Also, from now until June 22nd, we are running a giveaway on Goodreads for five signed and numbered hardback editions of To Thee is This World Given.

There are no strings attached and you can enter for free at the link below. You can also read impressions and reactions to the novella from Goodreads’ reviewers by clicking the title link in the box below.

We are extremely proud of the fact that the number one response has been about the high quality of Khel’s prose (even by those who found fault with other elements).

Happy birthday little book. Here’s to many more.

Goodreads Book Giveaway

To Thee Is This World Given

by Khel Milam

Giveaway ends June 22, 2016.

See the giveaway details
at Goodreads.

Enter Giveaway

AutoCrit Automated Editing — An Author’s Best Friend

AutoCrit is an easy to use, automated, online substantive editing tool for fiction of any length, be it flash fiction or an epic novel. It can be used at any stage of the writing process — from the first draft to the last — to help identify common weaknesses in your writing and any areas that may need your attention. And it’s awesome!

The aspects of your writing that AutoCrit examines relate to sentence craft, not grammar — it isn’t a copyediting program. It doesn’t flag misspelled words and punctuation mistakes.

When you upload your text, it generates instant reports on your story’s pacing, dialog, word choice, repetition, strength of writing (overuse of adverbs, passive voice, showing vs telling, cliches, redundancies, and filler words), and a comparison of your work to successful fiction.

When it locates potential problems, it lists them in the sidebar and highlights them in the text in the main window. It doesn’t make changes, or recommend any specific changes to make, it just suggests the number of any given problem to remove. It does allow you to make changes to your text while you are in AutoCrit and to export the edited text to you computer, if you like.

Because To Thee is This World Given has circular structure, where the first and last chapters, second and second to last chapters, third and third to last chapters, and so on, are mirrors of each other, we needed to be able to evaluate each pair of chapters side by side, so printing the reports out and making the changes in the manuscript itself worked best for us.

We’ve posted a sample of one of the reports from the 3rd draft of To Thee is This World Given here, so that you can see a real world example (the changes made to the 3rd draft with the help of AutoCrit became the 4th draft, which was the first draft sent to an outside, [human] editor). This sample report illustrates why you still need a human editor — the section evaluated was all dialog. AutoCrit can’t distinguish between dialog and narration, and since people tend to speak in the passive voice using a lot of filler words and vague pronouns, dialog will often be “red flagged,” even if it is fine.

There are three 12 month subscription plans available: for $60, you can evaluate up to 1,000 words at a time; for $96, you can evaluate up to 8,000 words at a time; and for $144 you can evaluate an unlimited number of words at a time. You can use any level repeatedly over the duration of the subscription, so while there are limits on the number of words you can upload at any one time with the first two plans, over the course of the year all three programs allow you upload an unlimited number of words. You can try it for free here.

We chose to go with the $60 / 1,000 word option, both because we were skeptical the program would be worth it and because we weren’t sure how unwieldy the longer reports would be. The service so greatly exceeded our expectations that it’s hard to put into words how satisfied we’ve been with it.  AutoCrit is the best $60 we ever spent.

One final “plus” — AutoCrit can help you gauge a prospective human editor’s competency. In the future, we plan on requiring potential editors to provide a sample edit of around 1,000 words that we can compare to an AutoCritted sample.

Wendy Van Camp on her blog, No Wasted Ink, also reviewed AutoCrit and provides a nice comparison of it to a few other automated editing services.

You might also like our proofreader, Chereese.

 

2015 Fall Writing Contests for Short Stories & Indie Books

Short Stories

Writer’s Digest Popular Fiction Awards for short stories up to 4,000 words long in the following categories —

  • Thriller / Suspense
  • Mystery / Crime
  • Horror
  • Science Fiction / Fantasy
  • Romance
  • Young Adult

(there is also a separate poetry contest)

$2,500 to the winner

Multiple submissions allowed

Entry fees $20-$25 per submission

Open now through October 15th

Writer’s Digest Short Story Competition for short stories up to 1,500 words long, genre-neutral

$3,000 to the winner

Multiple submissions allowed

Entry fees $20-$25 per submission

Open now through December 14th

2016 Writer’s Digest Annual Writing Competition for short stories up to 4,000 long in the following categories —

  • Mainstream / Literary Fiction
  • Genre Fiction

$5,000 to the winner

Multiple submissions allowed

Opens in November

Entry fee has not been announced yet

(in addition to short stories, there are awards for poetry, script writing, inspirational writing, and memoirs)

Foreword Reviews’ IndieFab Awards for independently published short story collections published in 2015

$1,500 to the overall winner in fiction

Multiple submissions allowed

Entry fee $99 per submission

Open now through January 15, 2016

(there is also an award for poetry collections)

Independently Published Books

28th Annual IBPA Ben Franklin Awards for books published in 2015 in 41 genres and categories of fiction and non-fiction, as well as awards for covers and interiors, best new voices, best 1st book (The Bill Fisher Award)

Non-cash award (trophy and national exposure in trade journals, such as Publisher’s Weekly)

Multiple submissions allowed, single titles may be submitted in multiple contest categories

Entry fees $225 for first title & category, $95 per additional title & category (fee includes 1 year membership to IBPA)

Open now through September 30th, for books published between January 1st and August 31st, and December 15th, for books published between September 1st and December 31st

Shelf Unbound Writing Competition for Best Independently Published Books for books of any length and genre

$500 to the winner, plus a year’s worth of full-page ads

Multiple submissions allowed

Books do not have to have been published in 2015

Entry fee $40 per submission

Open now through October 1st

Foreword Reviews’ IndieFab Awards for books independently published in 2015 of any length and format in 60 genres and categories of fiction and non-fiction (including graphic novels and comics)

$1,500 to the overall winners in fiction and non-fiction, recognition of the individual category winners

Multiple submissions allowed, single titles may be submitted in multiple contest categories

Entry fee $99 per submission, per category

Open now through January 15, 2016

20th Annual IPPY Awards for books independently published between January 2014 and February 2016 in 77 fiction and non-fiction categories, as well as cover design and book/author/publisher website*

Non-cash award

Multiple submissions allowed, single titles may be submitted in multiple contest categories

Entry fee $95 per submission, per category

Open now through February 27, 2016

*Note entries may not be read in their entirety and are initially judged on overall impression

 

Design For Writers — Great Covers, Great Service, Great Experience

The cover art for To Thee is This Word Given was designed by Andrew at Design For Writers.

The final design was the culmination of a 3 month collaboration between eponym and DFW.

When Andrew presented us with the first pass proofs, we were impressed with how he well had captured the essence of Khel’s book.

We didn’t have a clear idea of what the cover should look like up front, only that it needed to be somewhat enigmatic and not stereotypically post-apocalyptic, because the story, while placed in a post-apocalyptic setting, is not stereotypically post-apocalyptic.

We wanted a cover that could appeal across genres. A cover that could appeal to those who would not normally consider picking up a post-apocalyptic novella.

The covers that we referred Andrew to were almost all from literary titles such as Fiskadoro and Last Car Over the Sagamore Bridge.

The process at Design For Writers is geared for success — they have a very lengthy, in-depth intake form, which not only elicits information, it forces authors to think seriously about what their stories “look” like and what emotional response they want their covers to evoke.

Their attitude is also geared for success — they are responsive, they listen, and they respect their clients’ feelings, wishes, and input.

We had a great experience working with Design For Writers. If you are looking for a cover designer, drop them a line at hello@designforwriters.com.dfw-km-ttitwg-cover-3d

You might also like our proofreader, Chereese.

To Thee is This World Given, Book One of the Quinquennium

Three years after the day the world reset, when the dead stopped being dead, a man, a woman, two dogs, and a cat, cross paths on rural road littered with desiccated corpses. When the man chases the woman into the woods he links their fates for the next twenty-four hours. What each wants, where each is going, and whether either can be trusted will play out against a vivid, evocative backdrop and the ever present menace of the undead.

To Thee is This World Given is the first of a planned quintet of novellas by Khel Milam highlighting four characters as they cope with and adapt to a post-apocalyptic world. It is the only one of the five books in the Quinquennium series in which all four human characters appear together. Chronologically, it takes place between books four and five.

At just over 100 pages, this understated, thoughtfully composed novella’s steady, unrelenting pace shifts seamlessly from overt to subtle tension, creating a slow burn that holds the reader’s attention from start to finish. Its fluid, effortless prose is always driving forward with no extraneous motion.

What People are saying about To Thee is This World Given:

“A rare gem…a measured, well written…philosophical perspective on the end of the world.” Dom Mossiah, Dom on Wrting 

“Extremely well written — the prose is descriptive and interesting. The characters are memorable.” Ed Morawski, author of over 20 books

“Extremely well written. Milam really knows how to paint a picture with words.” RachaelReads TTITWG page

To Thee is This World Given is brilliantly imagined, expertly told, and hard to put down.

About the author:

Khel grew up in Texas in the 1980s, but has lived in South Florida on and off for the past 20 years. Degrees in Anthropology and Philosophy and Law greatly influence her writing, as does her admiration for the works of John Steinbeck, Ernest Hemingway, William Faulkner, Dennis Johnson, and Jorge Luis Borges. Despite having intended on being a writer since high school, life seemed to always get in the way. And so, when finally given the opportunity to pursue writing full time, she took it, and her first book, To Thee is This World Given, was released the following year.

Read the first chapter 
Buy A copy now — Amazon     Barnes & Noble  

 

To Thee Is This World Given, Khel Milam, Eponym ISBN 978-0-9862625-1-7 (hb) US $16.95 / 978-0-9862625-0-0 (pb)  US $9.95 / 978-0-9862625-2-4 (Kindle/Mobi) US $2.99 / 978-0-09862625-3-1 (Nook /ePub) US $2.99