Thursday, January 31, 2013

Sophie Davis Giveaway

This is monumental! Sophie Davis is having a massive giveaway spanning all of February! On Sunday, the 17th, you can enter to win one of four copies of my book, Memories of the Dead, so be sure to hop on over, read up, and prepare to be floored by all the goodies you can take home!

Five Sentence Fiction – Delicate

The Five Sentence Fiction is a simple idea:
Five Sentence Fiction is about packing a powerful punch in a tiny fist. Each week I will post a one word inspiration, then anyone wishing to participate will write a five sentence story based on the prompt word. The word does not have to appear in your five sentences, just use it for direction.
This week, Lillie chose the word "Delicate," and today I dream of life's return.

***

The leaves are crumbling as they fall.

Beneath my feet, I feel them crunch; and in my hands they are reduced to dull, brown powder.

Yet, still I can see their former glory: the near translucent luster is dimmed but not gone.

Winter comes, and soon there will be none left on the branches; but this is not the end.

Life finds a way back, and shall return vibrant green come spring.

Sunday, January 27, 2013

Blog hop! The Next Big Thing

I was asked by Sophie Davis to take a bit of a breather and answer a few questions about what's going on in my writing life at the moment. So, I present to you, dear readers, my answers to "The Next Big Thing" blog hop/tour.

What is the working title of your next book?

The title is “MINIMAL,” and capitalization is important.

Where did the idea come from for the book?

It came out of a documentary I saw a loooong time ago, and I wondered if a person were to take the concept to the extreme, logical end what would happen. Could it be done, and why?

What genre does your book fall under?

I'd peg it as “Mystery/Thriller” at the moment, and I hope it's both mysterious and thrilling to the reader! :)

What actors would you choose to play the part of your characters in a movie rendition?

For the most part, I hadn't thought of it that way, but possibly Mark Wahlberg and Katherine Hiegl as the “good guys,” and for the antagonist...I'm thinking a younger version of Stephen Mangan...

What is the one sentence synopsis of your book?

“The Count,” a serial killer on the loose, and police detectives Zac Toumille and Jenny Clark are on the case to bring him to justice before his latest victim is discovered in pieces.

Will your book be self-published or represented by an agency?

I plan on self-publishing this since I'm not certain that an agent would pick it up.

How long did it take you to write the first draft of the manuscript?

Currently, it's not finished, and as of today, we're looking at just over a year.

What other books would you compare this to within your genre?

Mary Higgins Clark meets Stephen King with a dash of Melissa Foster.

Who or what inspired you to write this book?

My twisted little mind.... ;)

What else about the book might pique the reader’s interest?

There's a large part of the book where you learn “why” this is all happening. With a lot of stories like this, there's little answer beyond “because,” which seemed disingenuous to me—my villain needed to have a real reason as to why he's doing these things. Strangely enough, he thinks he's doing this for all the right reasons.

Thursday, January 24, 2013

Five Sentence Fiction – Ringing

The Five Sentence Fiction is a simple idea:
Five Sentence Fiction is about packing a powerful punch in a tiny fist. Each week I will post a one word inspiration, then anyone wishing to participate will write a five sentence story based on the prompt word. The word does not have to appear in your five sentences, just use it for direction.
This week, Lillie chose the word "Ringing," and there are lots of things that can ring. I wonder what it was she said?...

***

Her words shattered my psyche with a hammer's blow.

Standing in awe, agape, my mind reeled at the truth as she spoke it.

My mind could not process the raw emotion as it flooded my veins.

Growing hot, my ears burned; my mind, once clear, was now sullied.

I grasped for words--anything at all--that could be used to counter, but there were none.

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Words of Wisdom

Not long ago I mentioned that self-publishing is hard. Well, guess what? So is traditional publishing. But no matter what road you take, there's wisdom to be learned, and today's wisdom comes from TerribleMinds. I suggest you all give it a read. Are their points of contention? Sure, but from my POV, there's tons of goodness here, and I would be remiss if I didn't share the wealth. Enjoy!

Thursday, January 17, 2013

Five Sentence Fiction – Forgotten

The Five Sentence Fiction is a simple idea:
Five Sentence Fiction is about packing a powerful punch in a tiny fist. Each week I will post a one word inspiration, then anyone wishing to participate will write a five sentence story based on the prompt word. The word does not have to appear in your five sentences, just use it for direction.
This week, Lillie chose the word "Forgotten," and with it, I think of sad things.

***

My savage heart knew no solace: peace, tranquility, and harmony were all lost to me.

Having surrendered to the pain of long ago I would often weep openly; and when confronted, would lash out against the undeserving.

It is impossible to remember the last time I knew true happiness--I don't know how to feel--so much have I lost!

Still human; simply much less humane.

I weep mostly for my forgotten self.

Friday, January 11, 2013

Five Sentence Fiction – Inspire

The Five Sentence Fiction is a simple idea:
Five Sentence Fiction is about packing a powerful punch in a tiny fist. Each week I will post a one word inspiration, then anyone wishing to participate will write a five sentence story based on the prompt word. The word does not have to appear in your five sentences, just use it for direction.
This week, Lillie chose the word "Inspire," a writerly topic if there ever was one.

***

From where does it come, and why does it depart?

Does it not know that it is always welcome?

I cannot call it; it must arrive in its own good time.

Waiting, pen and paper at the ready, I hope, I want, I pray for its sweet caress.

Words seem empty without my muse.

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

MINIMAL cover!

Here's the more-or-less finished version of the cover to MINIMAL. I hope you like it. From Left to Right you will see the back cover, the spine, and the front. Enjoy!

Thursday, January 3, 2013

Five Sentence Fiction – Midnight

The Five Sentence Fiction is a simple idea:
Five Sentence Fiction is about packing a powerful punch in a tiny fist. Each week I will post a one word inspiration, then anyone wishing to participate will write a five sentence story based on the prompt word. The word does not have to appear in your five sentences, just use it for direction.
This week, Lillie chose the word "Midnight," a magical hour if ever there was one...

***

Do you know what it's like to die?

Few live through the experience to tell about it; but I do, for every night, at the stroke of twelve, I perish and am reborn.

Like a human phoenix I rise from my own ashes refreshed, renewed, and young.

However eternity has a price, and after centuries of this nightly rebirth I grow weary.

But there must always be a Justicar, so I seek the one who will take my place, so that I might know real rest.

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Requesting input on a cover-design

I'm collecting input on my proposed cover-design for "MINIMAL." Let me know what you think. Does it "pop"? Does it grab you? Are you interested in what's going on? All input is welcome.

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Self-publishing is hard

One of the things that distresses me about being a self-published author is that when you surf around you will find lots of the same advice repeated over and over--specifically that you need to (a) hire a great cover artist, and (b) you need to hire a great editor (and sometimes three of them) to make sure your manuscript is in perfect harmony with the planets as they align. While I have nothing against these two pieces of wisdom per se, the problem is...self-published authors are what we call in the vernacular..."poor."

See, artists and editors don't do their job for free. Who would? They provide a meaningful and valuable service, but the truth of the matter is, the cheapest I've seen for either of these two fields is $200 a pop. That's a total outlay of $400 per book just to upload it to KDP, or Kobo, or Pubit!, or Smashwords...

Take that number ($400) and compare that to the price of your average self-published novel, $2.99, and you see that you need to sell 134 copies to even break even. Most self-published books, everyone will tell you, never sell more than 500 copies; and the majority of them sell far less than 200. The odds are stacked against you from the get-go.

What we need is a bunch of people, editors, artists, document layout experts,...the whole gammut that is needed in the publishing world...to offer their professional services cheaply, or even better, freely.

That's not going to happen. To steal a quote from the Joker: "If you're good at something, never do it for free."

For editing, you might say "Beta readers," and they are a help in many ways, yes; but few of them have the requisite grammatical knowledge (like a BA in English) to be of a "real" help. Believe me, they do help quite a lot, but a real editor is a thing of sublime beauty. Something we sorely could use.

Artists and graphic designers are the same. These magical creatures are special, rare, and expensive; and I don't know any that will do the needed work with quality for free. We're lucky if we manage to get a decent cover at all since we're more-or-less stuck with going it alone.

So, when you read a self-published book and find some grammatical errors, or the cover just plain is terrible, keep this in mind: self-publishing is hard. We don't have a big corporation behind our work, helping us at every turn with marketing, management, style, layout, covers, editing...and all that it takes to get a book from "A" to "B"... There's just us.

Am I asking you to cut us a little slack? Yes, I am. But not when it comes to the story, that you have a right to critique...but all the things that we're now "expected" to master...not so much. It's a tightrope I'm asking you to tread, and honestly I don't envy the walk, but along the path I believe you're going to see some amazing vista that would otherwise be hidden from view.

What's coming in 2013

I'd like to take this opportunity to wish you all a very Happy New Year! I hope all your dreams come true. What's up for me this year? Well, it's all about this...