T.E.J.Johnson

Fantasy Author of Cataindar: The Discovery

My first professional writing contract

MY FIRST PROFESSIONAL WRITING CONTRACT

OKAY TIM – WHAT’S ALL THIS ABOUT?

Recently Wattpad gave me the most incredible opportunity. The chance to ‘Go Pro’ they commissioned me to write a short story for General Electric on Wattpad.

WOAH WAIT WHAT? GENERAL ELECTRIC IS ON WATTPAD?

Screen shot 2015-11-24 at 19.50.58Oh yes. Let me start from the beginning. General Electric came out with a run of comics in the 1950’s called Adventures in Science. In doing so they fought the fears of the time that comics would create child delinquents. These comics showed what General Electric thought would be the future of technology – and the kids loved it.

Now they want to re-cast those old-school comic book covers for the youth of today with new stories on Wattpad.

OKAY – COOL. SO HOW DID YOU GET INVOLVED?

I was luckily enough to be contacted by Wattpad. They asked if I would be interested in working on this project and I said heck YES! I was one of six writers on the platform to have the chance to write a story for the project. We were sent a vintage cover and asked to submit a story proposal for it.

SO WHAT IS YOUR STORY ABOUT?

Here is my cover!

Inside the atom imageSo put your self in my shoes for a moment. You have the biggest chance of you writing career so far.

This is the cover you see.

After I finished swearing I bought myself a cup of tea and calmed myself down and really started looking at the image.

Like with all writers, you give me a prompt and I’ll give you a story! I had my two characters right there; but who is that boy in the red jacket? Why does that other guy’s suit fit so badly? OMG and WTF; that is one big metal ball.

But by the time I had finished my tea, I had a tale that I was pumped to write!

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My story is called Inside The A.T.O.M.

Here is what it is about:

“Hi! I am so happy to have found you. For a long time I thought I was alone :-)”

Since humanity received a message from a mysterious celestial neighbour, fifteen-year-old Leonard Yates had only one dream; to join Earth’s finest scientists delving deep into space to meet the entity named Archer, who lives alone on a resource-rich planet.

But time for Leo is running out.

Nearly all the crew for the expedition have been chosen and are already on their way. Leo knows. He has watched each member enter the Astral-Terrestrial Occum Machine known as The A.T.O.M. to be teleported aboard a spaceship already soaring through the stars.

Leo has one chance; the competition for the last ten spots is on and to make the cut Leo needs an edge. This edge comes in the form of the local hermit, a gruff and mean former-astronaut named Trent Green. Leo must enlist Trent’s help to be selected as a potential space-faring candidate.

Will Leo have what it takes to reach his dream and step inside the Atom?

The first chapter was released today and you can read it right now, right here, free on wattpad. 

What Writing Does and What It Can Do If You Let It

What Writing Does and What It Can Do If You Let It.

Submitting to agents

After months of re-drafts and edits I’m finally submitting Cataindar: The Discovery to agents across the UK, USA and Canada for representation.

For those that are unfamiliar with the ‘how to get your book in the shops’ the traditional way it is a process with eight levels. The following needs to happen:

1. You send a one page pitch letter tailored to your dream agents usually with a synopsis and the first three chapters attached.
2. If the agent likes your work they will ask you for a ‘full manuscript’.
3. The agent may a. take it, b. ask you to make revisions on the work or c. decide it is not right for them.
4. If the agent likes it then they take you on as a client!
5. The agent will try and sell your book to a publisher.
6. The publisher will sign your book and possibly its sequel. They may ask for some revisions also.
7. You get a book release date and must work as hard as possible to get people hyped up about your story.
8. Boom! Release date arrives and you are now a traditionally published author.

(9. Make sure you book sells well or it will be difficult to be published again.)

Right now I am on step one. Basically my query needs to be sharp enough to cut my way out the slush-pile of the thousands and thousands of writers, submitting to the same agents and praying for that dream to come true.

Agents have an amazing but tough job. It is their job to sell the books they have signed, work with authors, pitch, network with editors of publishing houses, stop their writers from going crazy, offer advice, celebrate success, promote book releases and, possibly commiserate if they can’t sell a writer’s work. They get hundreds of emails a week thus, their usual response time is 6-12 weeks.  Yup – so three months from today we will likely know where Cataindar is at. I am trying (and failing) not to check my email everyday.

It is quite a crazy thing being here now. Such a crazy adrenaline rush pressing that ‘send’ button. After 6 years of consistent work on this novel I am at a true precipice – all it needs is for one agent’s interest to be sparked and the novel may really fly and then we can all go nuts.

 

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More importantly, I feel like I owe it to you – my amazing readers, friends and artists who have enjoyed the early draft of Cataindar and really brought the world to life. I feel like that changed everything – the story has gone from words on a page to a real thing that we now all share and care about.

I got a message the other day from @ItzFantasy on Wattpad that just about made my heart burst: “Whenever I close my eyes I hope I wake up in the land of Cataindar.”

When I was reading Redwall way back in the day I used to always shut my eyes and hope I may wake in a magical place. I used to keep my eyes peeled for strange stones, necklaces or any bizarre-looking wardrobes that may have the ability to transport me to a magical world. So to think that Cataindar is giving my readers that same spark is why I will never be able to stop writing!

With the re-writes, working with professional full-time authors and relying on my mates from wattpad like @JayVictor and @JoshTownley for advice and last minute edits I’m so hopeful that together we will make it.

You know I’ll keep you updated when I get news – good or bad!

For now, please join me in hoping there is someone out there who is crazy enough to give this novel about talking cats a shot.

 

Book Review: Summoner: The Novice

Summoner: The Novice book cover

In Summoner: The Novice we join Fletcher on his adventure from the small village of Pelt to the capital of Hominuim, from blacksmith to battlemage novice.

Fletcher is a great hero and smart as they come. He stays a few steps ahead of the reader managing (just) to make up for the odds stacked against him with some excellent strategic thinking always using things we read in the past leading to some great ‘I wish I had thought of that!’ moments. He is the type of character you love to root for and can’t wait to see be put to the test.

Fletcher is a Summoner, meaning he (somewhat accidentally) summoned the sweetest pet and sidekick ever into our realm. Ladies and gentlemen meet Ignatius. Imagine a dog-cat-iguana that can breath fire. Or… a really small dragon with no wings and that purrs when you stroke it. Ignatius and his fellow academy demons are such a fun addition to the book; these bugs, birds and cat-like monsters all come with their own demon-ranking, personalities and grant their owners some awesome abilities. There are gameification possibilities here and I think the mana and demon level (“my demon could beat your demon”) metrics will appeal to many. Before you mentally imagine yourself petting Ignatius just remember that due to the psychic link that’s like petting that person too, add in some hard-to-resist furry friends and it leads quickly to awkward teen hilarity. Enough of this though – the demons are a serious thing, a fighting man’s weapon. Ignatius can literally burn through human skin and bone which is good as he and Fletcher have to fight for their lives on more than a few occasions. I’m looking forward to more demons and monster action in book two – we get a glimpse of a Minotaur demon at the end of Summoner, a seven-foot beast barely able to keep its anger in check and we know there is a lot more to come!

Fletcher doesn’t have it easy. There are forces at work that have no interest in this talented commoner being at the academy. More importantly however are Fletcher’s best friends – Sylva is an elf emissary sent to build relationships with key human nobles and Othello is the first dwarf allowed in the academy. The dwarves are a disenfranchised race and the elves are almost an enemy race so this is a big deal. As well as learning to become battlemages they must bear this added pressure and carry political aims larger than their own. So we get this neat double story line – Fletcher trying to survive school, deal with the nobles that want him, well, deadish, and also try to support the dwarf and elf who carry the hopes of their entire race on their backs. Pull this together with the academy tournament for the very best commissions in the military looming and you start to get the feeling of what this means – yes. Total. Page. Turner.

Summoner is an absolute-must-read. A rip-roaring fantasy set on the backdrop of war, filled with best-friends, big fights, political schemes and an array of fascinating demons. The stakes are high and Matharu paints a big backdrop, a huge world that deserves the exploration of the next two books in the series. Our favourite characters must manage this rich history of Hominium complete with political schemes, war, orcs, elves and complex inter-species dynamics. It makes the novel an engrossing and rewarding read. The ending sets up something very, very cool which I can’t give away but I can say I am so damn excited to explore what this means in book two!

All in all a great book and I can’t wait for the second one.

Red Cross Day of Pink

I’ve had an amazing week seeing the results of the last four months of hard work to put on the Red Cross Day of Pink.

Red Cross Day of Pink is a day to raise awareness against bullying. We had 40,000 people involved this year from the Premier of Saskatchewan, DJs, hip-hop dancers, professional Canadian football team The Saskatchewan Roughriders to elementary school kids and even a police dog!

It was a wild ride! Check out some pics below 🙂

Day of Pink

 

Josh Townley’s blog: What I’ve learned from writing my first novel #2 – Don’t be afraid to discard

During my edit process I’ve often gone back and re-read this blog from my friend Josh Townley.

I thought you may like it too.

What I’ve learned from writing my first novel #2 – Don’t be afraid to discard.

My new favourite show: The 100.

I must say, the last 45 seconds of this trailer made me dubious of The 100, the new young adult sci-fi show gracing Netflix in Canada. I was worried it would be an over-sexed predictable drama, with teens being stupid, saying “Hello is anyone there?” Before walking out into the night and getting hunted down by mutant beasts of the forest. If you haven’t seen it, watch the trailer here and you’ll see what I mean.

Boy was I wrong. The 100 has absolutely blown away my expectations and is right up there for me with The Walking Dead and Game of Thrones for some unmissable TV.

What I love about this show is its absolute plot-line balls. It takes such strong irrevocable steps, and then backs them up with fantastic story lines that tie into the ever-thickening main plot.

The 100 is based on the Kass Morgan book of the same name available here. Which is no doubt what has given it the plot-line thickness.

The 100 is back on our screens January 21st 2015. Which gives you plenty of time to binge watch the first season and the first half of the second until then!

Have you got any unmissable SciFi that you are addicted to right now? Please let me know!

 

Doing my day job.

Raising funds and awareness for the Red Cross and our partners to combat the ebola epidemic in West Africa.

I have donated – I hope others will too!

Video here.

 

 

Cataindar The Discovery hits quarter of a million reads on Wattpad

It is Canadian thanksgiving and Cataindar The Discovery has just flown past 250,000 reads on Wattpad.

I have been working hard on the novel this week as I have been given a some solid advice and great suggestions to make the story water-tight and so the pace packs a real punch.

Having so many people interact with my work with so much energy and positivity has without a doubt completely changed my life.

This is the power of Wattpad.

I have made fantastic friends and met amazing readers – connections that I believe will last my whole writing career.

With these thankful themes in mind I am going to be marking this time reaching out to some of my key supporters and making sure to thank each one properly.

Onwards and upwards my friends.

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Wattpad Spotlight: Brittanie Charmintine

Brittanie Charmintine has been smashing up the Wattpad charts with her Mermaids and the Vampires that Love them, hitting the #4 spot in Vampires. 

Amassing over a hundred of thousand reads in a few months, the novel has been a runaway Wattpad hit!

Check out the interview with Brittanie below;

What you currently working on?

I am working on a YA Fantasy novel called Mermaids and the Vampires Who Love Them. It is about a teenage mermaid, Waverly Marie Fishwater, who has to move to a new school for her senior year of high school. To make matters worse, it’s a vampire school, and mermaid blood is like vampire crack!

What was the inspiration for your novel?

I read a lot of genre fiction, both YA and adult—vampires, werewolves, wizards, fairies, aliens, whatevers. I wanted to write a YA book for Wattpad as that is the largest audience on the site. But I wanted to write something different because basically everything has been done. So I thought of the most disparate creatures I could and challenged myself to put them together. Vampires and mermaids just popped into my head.

Originally I planned it as a straight Romance piece. But when I got to the scene where the hero is supposed to rescue the damsel in distress, my heroine turned to me and said “I don’t think so.” I urged her to allow herself to be saved. “Guys like saving the girl. It will make him like you more,” I told her. But she rolled her eyes at me and Waverly Marie Fishwater, kickass mermaid and “nobody’s kelp smoothie,” was born.

Once I was prevented from doing a Romance, which has a very straightforward plot, I knew I had to come up with my own. Can’t just have a kick-ass mermaid sitting around mooning after her handsome vampire beau. The lovers needed an important goal. I thought it should be something to do with the water because that is Waverly’s home. I wanted the goal to have a more universal meaning, so I decided the school would have all kinds of creatures—vampires, werewolves, mermaids, fairy princesses, fairy godmothers, minor Greek gods—and show how they all must learn to work together to battle the bad guys who are polluting the water.

Who should read the book?

People who enjoy funny, romantic books about supernatural beings. People who see the magical in the natural world. I have male and female readers of all ages.

What other works and authors have influenced your writing?

There are so many but a few are: J.K. Rowling, Douglas Adams, Jane Austin, Christopher Moore, Gail Carriger, Mary Jane Davidson, Simon R. Green, Charlaine Harris, A. Lee Martin, Suzanne Collins, Veronica Roth, Ally Condie.

Is this a Wattpad exclusive or do you plan to publish?

Once it is complete, I plan to publish the book.

How can readers find more?

Find me at Wattpad.com. http://wattpad.com/BrittanieCharmintine

 

Thank you so much Brittanie!

If you think you should be featured next, please give me a shout.

 

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