• Steph Brandt

It's Been Way Too Long!

What happens when you've spent all your time ghost writing for other people's blogs?

You neglect your own! :-(

Yeah, I've been really behind the times on keeping my own blog up to date, so I figured I'd do a quick recap of all the things that have been going on in Steph-land since I released New Caviar last year. Here goes!

So, the big first announcement was the release of my sci-fi/horror novel Darkness last year. This is a story I like to describe as being "kind of like the Shining meets Mutiny on the Bounty...in space!"

This is the second novel I've written, and one of the stories in my horror lineup. Along with Wilderness, and next year's Feeding, you'll get a nice taste of how I like to blend the elements of good and evil into many of my stories, whether they're sci-fi or set in the present day.

Darkness focuses on the premise of: "what if you survived the end of the world...what would you really do?"

I'd had this image running around in my head for about twenty years of a group of astronauts taking off on a space journey, while below them the earth was on fire. The scene played like a little movie over and over in my head (set to the tune of David Bowie's Space Oddity) so at a certain point I decided I needed to write this down and turn it into something. (Coward that I was, I went nearly 15 years without writing, and I began this journey back to the pen in 2014.)

When you start a story with just an image, then you need to figure out how this scene becomes an actual tale that can unite a story together, and I came up with the idea to delve into how a group of astronauts might really react if they'd escaped their doomed home planet. Would they fall apart, fall in love, or tear at the fabric of their newfound family? Where would they even go?

Darkness was a long time coming. I started the first half in 2015, and then it sat for a few years because I didn't think I would publish any of my books. Enter my sister, the author Jean Lowe Carlson, who kicked me in the rear and demanded I start publishing the backlog of stories I'd been working on.

I still write every day for my own personal happiness and mental health, so I hadn't planned on anything I did seeing the light of day.

So the process of getting Darkness to the light was a long one, started in 2015 with the initial writing of the first half of the novel, then a major re-write of the finished portions in 2017, then I finally finished in the fall of 2018 and had it ready and edited for release in 2019. I had to take a lot of time off from writing due to health reasons, so creating Darkness felt like a labor and birth of sorts. (Intermixed with a lot of short stories written...more about that later...)

Next up was the release of my sci-fi love story Perfect, this June. Perfect is a departure from the elements of horror, and I'll do a longer blog post about that one tomorrow - detailing why I've decided to do some stories that don't have a horror element as well. Perfect was written primarily in 2018 and 2019, in between bouts of my health problems, and in tandem while I was also finishing Darkness.

I also am doing a complete re-write on Wilderness, a story that is not on Amazon as of now, but will be as soon as I clean it up. This was the first thing I'd written in nearly 15 years, and now that I look back on it, there's a lot I'd like to re-edit and smooth out. This idea sprung from a writing experiment I did to adapt Wilderness into a screenplay, and while writing the screenplay, I decided I wanted to change some of the things about the story - so it's back to the drawing board on that one. Look to see a new version of Wilderness in 2021!

Thanks to that script-writing experiment, I'm also turning Perfect into a TV series, and playing around with writing in a different format. It's been a fun thought experiment, and a way to keep stretching my writing skills.

In the world of novels, I've got the first draft of my alien refugee story Here finished and in editing, and it's slated for a December 2020 release. That makes two novels for 2020, and it's a pace I hope to keep up now that I'm healthier. I'll write a blog post on Monday with more about Here, and the fun to come.

My daily writing project right now is a new horror novella set in Oregon in the present day, exploring how families are formed. This one will most likely go into the short story anthology Feeding - which is slated for release in 2021.

I've also started an Instagram account to show the locations where my stories are set. Since most of the stuff I write is based in Oregon, I figured it might help my readers to see the places I'm visualizing when I write, and that might help them feel more immersed in the tale too! To check it out, give this link a click.

Oh yeah...I also got a haircut! :-)

So, that's all for now family, readers and friends! I'll follow up with another blog post tomorrow talking more about Perfect, and then another one Monday talking about my upcoming novel, Here.

Hugs to you all, and stay well!

Cheers,

Steph


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