Category Archives: News and Updates

Long-Overdue Update

Oh, my! Has it really been that long? 5 months?

I had intended to still blog in the course of the fall, despite a hectic work schedule. Honestly, everything really came down to one decision: Do I use my limited remaining energy to blog or to work on one of my stories?

That question was often moot, since I’ve been very bad about writing the past few months.

Sure, I participated in National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo), but only made half my word count goals for the month. Still, I’m quite content at the progress I made in my multicultural Mars murder mystery.

My Mars story is the first one I’ve written where I’ve needed to do extensive research. I have been learning bits of other languages, discovering idiosyncrasies of different cultures, and studying some of the most barbaric crimes people can commit. Needless to say, this was an exhaustive project that I really need a break from. I’ll resume writing it as soon as I’ve recovered some of the emotional heartache I endured during the research process.(Check in again in a few years to see if I ever actually finish this story…)

So the big question is: What is Amy writing now?

Well, if you don’t care, you should just skip reading this post. I don’t mind…

This summer, I had taken all my stories off of Kindle in an attempt to revise them and re-release them with second editions. A few weeks ago, I commissioned my friend, Zybrena Crawford Porter, to design a new cover for my novella, “Undoing Life.” Seeing as how she is a beautiful artist and a talented graphic designer, I knew she’d create a much better cover than I had originally.

So let’s compare. Here’s the cover I made 2 1/2 years ago when I first release “Undoing Life”:

And here is what Zybrena created:

Oh, it’s so stunning that I cried when I first saw it. I’m so happy with it and can’t wait to release the second edition on January 1st, 2018.

I have no yet decided if I’m going to re-release “Iris” or “Reps and Royals” next. Heck, I might just go for the first edition of “Mended by Ashes.” No one has had the chance to read it yet–save for my beta readers–and I’m anxious to see what people think of it. However, I think I need to revise it a bit more before it’s ready for an audience.

On top of all this, I’ve got several short stories in the works. I’m almost done with the first draft of a social commentary on friend-making. I’ve also been dabbling in fantasy with a story set during an Egyptian-themed magic show where the ancient gods are not at all amused at the blasphemous conjurers. At the moment, I’m stuck in the middle of a draft about the taboos and misconceptions about addiction in society. That’s been fun, but I’m not sure what to write next in it. With all these ideas turning around in my brain, I also have the first draft of a sci-fi western set in an anarchist culture with mercenaries and dying robots.

As if that’s not enough to keep me busy for awhile, I also want to revise the sequel to “Iris”: “Alteration.” Plus, I plan on a total of nine books in that series. And I want to write more books set in The World in “Reps and Royals,” and I want to continue Colonel Arbeck’s story in a sequel to “Undoing Life.”

But all these must wait. Sadly, I’m not yet to the point of being able to write full time. Perhaps in a couple of years. In the meantime, I’ll have to discipline myself better in order to write more efficiently throughout the work week.

Do you have a mountain of ideas you’re working on conquering? I’d love to hear what you’re writing. Feel free to pass along any writing tips as well in the comments, or ask me any questions you have about writing. Thanks for reading! Have a blessed day!

–Amy Engle

 

Undoing Life Q&A

Q: What kind of influences affected the story of “Undoing Life”?

A: “Undoing Life” is like The Truman Show meets Groundhog’s Day meets The Butterfly Effect. (Thanks to ‘Nefarious Old Man’ for mentioning it in the review you wrote!)

 

Q: What is “Undoing Life” about?

A: Sal Chancellor has a mundane, unfulfilling life until he finds a watch that lets him go back within his time line. He uses his new ability to undo all the horrible events that has happened to him. Sal is able to make enough money to leave his dead-end job and pursue wooing the woman he’s been dating on and off for a decade. All the while, Sal is being observed from a militant research team 400 years in the future. Colonel Lucile Arbeck along with her crew study the ramifications of time travel as Sal is changing his life. Every one who has played with the Time Devices has met with tragedy.  Arbeck’s team hopes to learn enough by observing Sal in order to prevent future catastrophes.

 

Q: How did you first come up with the concepts in “Undoing Life”?

A: I grew up without a filter on my mouth. As a child and young adult, I tended to say every little thing that came to my mind. I often said things that were inappropriate or offensive–without meaning to. In college, this was particularly humiliating as I was attempting to be involved in class discussions and collaborations. I wished I could go back a mere 10 seconds and keep myself from saying things that I shouldn’t. The rest of the story grew from that single desire, mixed in with my paranoia about being spied on. (PS: If you haven’t seen The Truman Show, you really should.)

 

Q: Who is your favorite character from “Undoing Life”?

A: That’s always difficult to answer. There are minor things about every character that I love: Fanny’s confidence despite physical flaws, Selma’s dismissive cynicism, Velma’s blind passion, Graham’s strange speech style, etc… But I suppose my favorite character is Colonel Arbeck. Lucile has a rather fascinating back story–most of it I’ve hidden from the readers until the very end of the book. I’m hoping someday to write a sequel that I can explore deeper into Arbeck’s past.

 

Q: It’s been over 2 years since you first published “Undoing Life.” Now that it’s been revised and released for a second time, what kind of changes did you implement?

A: “Undoing Life” is essentially the same as it has ever been. The plot lines are still whole and follow the basic progression in both. All I did in revisions was fix basic punctuation, grammar, and spelling errors. I added a tiny bit of descriptions to a few places. So if you purchased the original e-book through Kindle, don’t worry; it’s still almost the exact story–just with a prettier cover!

 

Q: When will you write a sequel to “Undoing Life”?

A: I can’t answer that right now. I do hope to write another story. I certainly end “Undoing Life” in a good place to set up novella number 2. My time and creative energy is currently devoted to other writing projects, but my subconscious is stewing over a couple ideas.

 

 

You can get “Undoing Life” through most e-book providers (with the exception of Kindle until 2019).

 

For the first time ever, “Undoing Life” is available in paperback! To get a physical copy, you can go to most bookstores and have it shipped directly to your home. (If you know me personally, let me know you’d like a copy and I can save you taxes and shipping costs!)

 

Thanks for reading! Don’t forget to subscribe to my Newsletter to get information on my up-coming books:

  • “Iris” (Coming February 2018)
  • “Reps and Royals” (Coming March 2018)
  • “Mended by Ashes” (Coming April 2018)
  • “The People’s Order” (Coming Summer of 2018)

 

–Amy Engle

Mended by Ashes Inspiration

Now that National Poetry Writing Month (NaPoWriMo) is done, I’d like to thank everyone who has visited my site to view my very amateur poems. They can be viewed under the Poem Category in case you missed seeing them. I shall be posting more every once in awhile as I’m inspired to write them.

 

With NaPoWriMo done, I can focus on finishing my next book, “Mended by Ashes.” It’s been a long year trying to get the manuscript even close to being done. A lot has happened and I’ve been distracted with my full-time job and other writing projects. On top of all that, I was disappointed at the lack of sales and positive feedback from my last novel, “Reps and Royals.” Still, I’m proud of the progress I’ve made with “MBA,” despite how long it’s taken.

 

But I’ve recently had a creative revitalization. I had the pleasure of returning to my old high school to see a production of “Les Miserable.” Of course, it was wonderful. The next morning, I remembered that the original concepts for “Mended by Ashes” were inspired when I first saw the film adaptation a couple years ago. I’m taking it as a sign that “MBA” needs to be completed. Sure, it still needs a bit of work, but I’m confident that I’m up to the task.

 

I’ve been asked a lot what “Mended by Ashes” is about. I reply cryptically that they will soon find out. However, I’d like to share just a little bit about it here.

 

“MBA” follows the story of an eighteen-year-old girl, Myx, who has grown up without any skills. The two civilizations that inhabit her planet have been at war on and off for generations–ever since the planet was first colonized. Myx has no place in this military world.

 

With “MBA,” I am exploring how hardships shape people. Myx is essentially a blank slate with very little knowledge and even fewer skills. But the difficulties that she faces are greater lessons for life than she had bee taught in school.

Short Break

Hello, everyone! I hope you had a splendid Easter Day.

 

Thanks to all who have being reading the poems that I’ve been posting the past few weeks. However, I need to take a short hiatus from my blog–only a week, though. I’ve neglected a few too many things in my personal life that I need to get caught up on. Plus, I will be house-sitting this week for a family who doesn’t have wi-fi, so posting would be impossible anyways. But I’ll still be writing poems throughout the week. I’ll just get to post a week’s worth in one day next Sunday. Thank you for your patience!

The Impossible Challenge

I’ve recently had the pleasure of meeting a lot of wonderful new people. I’m growing so much spiritually and emotionally, and I’m even being inspired to take better care of my body. For the most part, it’s been wonderful.

 

However, I met a man today who told me to do something that is completely impossible. I had mentioned that I’m a writer and currently writing my 4th science fiction book. He then asked if I blogged. I replied that I have a website, but never have time to post–what little time and energy I have to write goes towards my book. But he was not to be deterred by my excuses. Very matter-of-factly, he said that I should be blogging every day.

 

EVERY DAY! This complete stranger is telling me what I should do. My stubborn, defiant nature automatically shot down the idea.

 

Of course I’d love to blog EVERY DAY. But what will I write about? I teach full-time (a very emotionally-demanding and time-consuming job). I can’t write about my students–it’s very frowned upon to post on the internet details about what happens in the classroom.

 

The other lunch guests then all offered a dozen different ideas on what I can blog about, all of which were activities that I had told them I’m involved with. Still, I was skeptical that people would really want to read about my life.

 

But what the man said has been pressing in my brain all day. Even if it’s only a couple paragraphs, I could write a little SOMETHING every day. I reminded myself on my daily walk how much I love challenges and that I had recently prayed for God to give me something to break up the monotony of my life.

 

So I’m going to undertake this impossible challenge, starting with this exceedingly long explanation on what I’ll be doing. I keep trying to back out, telling myself that I should only write a couple times a week instead of every day. But I know myself well enough to know that I will fail at this challenge being unmotivated like that. I hope that any readers I might gain will keep me accountable. I want to find outraged comments after my posts when I fail to write a day; that is the best way to get me to stick with it.

 

If you’re still reading this and aren’t bored yet, thank you so much for your time. If you are a fellow author and would like to see posts about certain aspects of my writing process, feel free to leave me a comment and I’ll get to it.

 

Oh, and if you downloaded one or all of my books for free this past week, I hope you are enjoying those as well. I’ll try not to let this challenge interfere with my progress in “Mended by Ashes,” which will hopefully be released by the end of the Spring. I’ll trying to post a bit about how that story came to be sometime in the next few weeks.

 

PS: You can also get in touch with me through my Contact Form. I’d love to hear your questions and comments on “Undoing Life,” “Iris” and/or “Reps and Royal.”