What’s Up Wednesday #2


What’s Up Wednesday is a weekly blog hop created by Jaime Morrow and Erin Funk, to help connect writers on this writing journey. If you’d like to join, check out the blogs each week, get to know some of the others taking part, and spread some writerly love!

Here’s the link to my 1st one of these from June.

What I’m Reading
Under the Empyrean Sky, by Chuck Wendig. I got into reading this guy while I was googling for ways to refine my story. I stumbled across his internet bearded man cave of writing awesomeness blog, terribleminds, and really dug the style.
I subsequently checked out this book, and I’m loving it so far. It’s about corn, floating sky cities, desperate bad luck, ships that sail on corn, competitive scavenging, the mayor’s bully-boy son, and punching back at an unfair world, right in the kernels.

Singer, by Brigid Collins. I found this on another blog that I’ve stumbled across and liked the voice of, Backwrites. So far so good.
I loved the opening prologue bit, and after a bit of desert walking that kind of lost me (appropriately enough) the 1st chapter was pretty rad too. The plot follows a quest to a sort of desert-dwelling Atlantis-of-no-return, and a fellowship led by the World’s Best Swordsman (incidentally a lady), also including a historian, a grumpy guide, and finally a singer (that can ONLY sing. No talky).

White Tiger, by Kylie Chan, again. I say again because I’ve read this one before, maybe three or four years ago. I had nothing to read following my holiday, and at the airport I did the mad dash around the bookstore newsagency for anything they had.

I figure this book is perfect for me to re-read, as it’s an urban fantasy set in Hong Kong, and the story I’m writing is Urban Fantasy (kind of, see my post about genre-identity issues) set in Hong Kong (kind of, see my post about the planetoid Ceres and imagine putting Hong Kong there inside a giant crystal bubble).

The story is about a maid teaching English to kindergarten children (in Hong Kong), who is offered a job as a full time maid in a handsome Chinese guy’s house on the peak (home to the most expensive real-estate-per-square-metre on the planet). Turns out he’s got a ludicrous amount of kung fu gear, is possibly a spy or gangster, and demons are trying to kidnap his adorable daughter.

Basically, it’s a bit like Anita Blake mixed with Monkey Magic, minus the slapstick.

Treasure Island, by Robert Louis Stevenson. You all know this one. I’m reading it for the first time, because when you write a pirate tale you’d best brush up on the classics.

What I’m Writing
Still working on Last Resort, which I’m planning as the first in a series of Urban Fantasy / Sci-fi tales following the adventures of Captain Roger, Space Pirate.

The plot in a nutshell:

“Charm only gets you so far, as Captain Roger finds out when overnight he shoots to #1 on the solar-system’s most-wanted. Before you can say shiver-me-timb… MUTINY!
He somehow gets the jump on the crew, marooning them on an asteroid, and sails to New Canton for a holiday (preferably somewhere far from the clutches of the Navy).

He is shot down by a blockade at the harbour mouth, crash lands in the side of the dome, and has to slog through the jungle to even reach the city.
When he finally gets his bags to the room, he grabs a well deserved drink and starts planning. He needs a new crew. In other words, a fresh start.

That would be great, but by day two the Meiji Ambassador’s got her claws into him, the Governor is brooding over a plot (with him at the centre), the Commodore is nipping at his heels, and his first-mate has slithered back to recover her ship.
Even more troubling, the Four Winds have begun to blow, and as each creature of the zodiac converges, the bounds of reality are starting to slip.

At least his tour guide is great, or would be if she’d stop involving him with her theatre aspirations.
If Roger wants to survive he’ll need more than just his usual self-interest and a dash of charisma. He’ll need to find what he was meant to be…”

At the moment I’m re-doing the middle chapter, with the big bad reveal(s), because turning points have gotta be done right.

Still re-writing the second draft now, and (kind of) on track to release in October.

What Inspires Me
In my writing I’m really being inspired by (the abovementioned) Chuck Wendig, because he seems to be the kind of author I’d like to be: writer of punchy fiction, ringmaster of a rabid blog community, characteristic style, and down-to-earth no BS attitude.

In the universe in general? A good blogger friend, Millie Ho gave me the link to a fantastic talk by Neil Gaiman, and I’ve gotten well into his stuff and thoughts on writing.

What Else I’m Up To
Growing a longer beard. It’s a long beard week this week, with no trips required for work, and I’m luxuriating in my flowing mane whilst listening to the new Beard Album by The Beards.

That’s all for this time round. Looking forward to checking out everyone else’s What’s Up posts!

Best regards,


About D.R.Sylvester

A Clinical Research Associate by day (google it), writer by night, D.R.Sylvester lives in Sydney, Australia with his patissiere wife and Siberian Wolf. His interests include travel, music (predominantly Metal), reading, & archery.
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19 Responses to What’s Up Wednesday #2

  1. Welcome to What’s Up Wednesday (one week late). 🙂 Like you, I’m a fan of Chuck Wendig and his blog. I discovered him through his book, 500 WAYS TO BE A BETTER WRITER. Great stuff right there. I wish I could have half the wit and punch he does. Best of luck in your writing endeavors and have a great week!

    • Thanks! Yeah, I haven’t read his non-fic stuff yet, but thinking about getting a physical copy. He has another one about 1001 ways as well, I’m pretty sure. Thanks again and you too 🙂

  2. Chuck Wendig’s blog is brilliant. So much useful advice, and it’s hilarious, too! I’ve read BLACKBIRDS, but I’ve not checked out his YA series yet.

    Your WIP sounds really intriguing!

    • I would buy Blackbirds, but the whole Amazon thing at the moment means I would need to buy it from somewhere else, and I’m deathly afraid of stepping into previously unexplored parts of the Internet in order to buy things… I am going to get onto that after I finish the stuff he does have available on there.
      Also thanks! I’ll head over for a look at your WIP too

  3. Hello! I haven’t read Treasure Island is such a long time. It’s a good tale for summer, too! Have a great week.
    Happy reading and writing! from Laura Marcella @ Wavy Lines

    • It would be awesome for summer! Unfortunately I’m in Australia, and we believe in doing things upside-down and back-to-front over here. I’m vicariously enjoying the tropics through the characters…
      Thanks and you too!

  4. space pirate! love the sound of that. I also love when I accidently stumble across a blog and end up with great book recs. Good luck with your beard (and writing, or whatever)!

    • Thank you! And I’m blessed that luck with beards and luck with writing are not mutually exclusive: both are going terrific!

      Also, you’re very welcome, and I hope one of those books hits the spot.
      I see too many reviews like “It was great… them characters… ooo it had plot and everything” and I think: would it kill the reviewer to tell a bit of the story as well? At least tell me what other books and authors is the work similar to?

      Thank you for the encouraging words re; space pirates. I find them very relateable (could be the beards) and this book is already very dear to my heart. Now if only it would play nice and let me finish it…

  5. Miss Cole says:

    White Tiger is definitely going on my TBR pile!

    Your WiP does sound great. Best of luck with it.

    • Hurrah! Book Reviewer mission accomplished. Hope you enjoy it. I’m thinking I need to write a spin off series with one of my female cast-members as a lead, because I know these kinds of stories can be really cool. All of the Jim Butcher shorts with Murphy or Molls as POV character are AWESOME.
      And thank you, I’ll keep plugging away at it.

  6. backwrites says:

    Wow! Wasn’t expecting to see a mini review of my book today. Thanks so much! I hope you continue to enjoy it. You already know I can’t wait to read yours.

    • Haha no worries, it’s really on the list of stuff I’m reading (most indies I kind of pick up and then quietly put back down again, so this is a good indicator of me genuinely liking it so far).
      And thank you! I’ll keep at it 🙂

  7. Jana Denardo says:

    White Tiger sounds really interesting. And good luck with your own writing.

  8. I just checked out Chuck Wendig, and his blog is entertaining. His style kind of sounds like it is similar to Neil Gaiman’s and/or the book, “Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy.” I read that a long time ago, but I remember I liked it quite a bit. I’m actually getting my hair cut this weekend before my sister’s wedding. It’s longer than my butt at this time, so I sometimes sit on it XD It’s just way too much work, and as I age it’s not as attractive. Sounds like you’re at an entertaining part in your book 🙂 Not all chapters are fun to write. . .

    • Absolutely, it’s a great blog.

      Not a bad analogy about his writing contemporaries, but I think his (Wendig’s) style is grittier than Douglas Adams or Neil Gaiman usually do, and slightly less bizarre in premise. He definitely writes to make a living, following genre conventions and formula, whereas Gaiman & Adams both went WHEEEEEEEEEE I’M GONNA GO OVER HERE! and somehow made it work.
      Don’t get me wrong, Wendig is far from boring, but he’s not in crazy genius territory like those two.

      As for your hair, awesome. My wife’s hair is about that long now as well. Pretty sure she could just tie it creatively and she wouldn’t need to wear clothes. Or fan it out and look like Grug. Grug with nicer feet. You’re not going pixie style though, right? That could be too much of a cut all at once. Congratulations to your sister!
      As for my beard, it’s not quite there yet… but it is thick enough to deflect incoming missiles.

  9. Erin Funk says:

    Chuck Wendig’s blog is pretty darn funny. I haven’t been in a while, so I might have to go check it out and see what he’s been saying lately. Best of luck working on LAST RESORT and rewriting that middle chapter. A story about space pirates sounds great!

    • He’s mostly talking Hachette VS Amazon at the moment, but it’s Chuck so he is ripping into both sides equally, and somehow makes the whole thing funny and poignant.

      Thank you! I’ll keep at it. 🙂

  10. Pingback: What’s Up Wednesday #3 | WRITES & RESPONSIBILITIES

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