Showing posts from 2016

Work in Progress: SciFi Parody

I have always been a fan of parodies.  Well-written parodies, that is.  From Space Balls to Monty Python and the Search for the Holy Grail, it's fun to poke fun at some of the more serious things we revere. Hence, I am announcing a Science Fiction parody.  This untitled series will study the lives of four individuals with a galactic war in the background.  Two masters of the Lifestream, opposite one another, are both assigned incompetent apprentices after their first ones meet untimely deaths. Now, I know how parodies can go from funny to stupid.  Not funny stupid, either.  The Scary Movie franchise is a great example.  I do take great care as to write something for content's sake rather than writing to write. Stay tuned for further updates.  I do plan on having this parody as a short "ten episode season."  And this Season One for free.

Books for Writers: The Forest for the Trees

If you look on my Goodreads account, you will see that I gave The Forest for the Trees a two star review.  I gave it so because I felt it did not deliver what was promised.  However, this book is still good in some sense, and I recommend that indie writers (particularly fiction writers) read this. The Forest for the Trees gives insight to the publishing world from the perspective of an editor, but it is crammed full of anecdotes of literary uppity-ups and how they were full of themselves in this way or that.  The examples of the publishing industry are few and far between.  However, the examples and stories about how the publishing industry works is invaluable.  For that alone, I recommend reading this.  One example is that (at least when the author of this book was an editor) there was no market research done on the artwork for book covers.  It consisted of the artist going around the office and asking his/her coworkers of their opinions.  And author agreement (getting the autho

Books for Writers: Techniques of the Selling Writer

This is a must read if you have never studied fiction.  While the text is dry (it was written many decades ago and serves as a textbook in many creative fiction courses), it is invaluable. Firstly, it lays out fiction wonderfully.  Swain has a treasure trove of do's and don'ts lined up in all areas, be it character, setting, or the middle of the story. Be prepared to highlight.  I never ever ever mark in my books.  Ever.  It's the 8th Deadly Sin.  But still I found myself thinking "Hey I need to mark this."  This is great for indie authors who are just setting out or those who are experienced and want to improve their craft.  I find myself referencing it even when I'm not writing. I literally (sorry for word choice, but it's true) cannot go into how much value this book is on your bookshelf.  It's almost entirely made up of information, as opposed to other books that promise that simply retell their experiences and market it as "expe

Tales from Crusader One to Support Veterans

Currently, my stories involve the US Military.  It's a huge part of the universe I built, be it the branches of the Army, Navy, or Marines, or even a made up branch like NASA.  I've got protagonists like Ishmael, Pummel, and Justice, and I have antagonists like Jensen and all the spies, traitors, and defectors.  You can see my point here. There's a reason we say that those in the military serve (or have served).  Presently, the US Military is an all-volunteer force, which means that people like me (and quite possibly you) never have to enlist.  Others have taken the burden to fight in wars, battles, combats, and skirmishes while I can sit here comfortably and type this on my phone.  This is in stark contrast to conscription, or a draft based way, to fill the ranks of the military (though this is what Vietnam Vets had to deal with, among other hardships like disrespectful protesters). I grew up seeing soldiers return home.  I witnessed the Walter Reed Hospital scan

Tales from Crusader One and a Free Book

Great news! Tales from Crusader One is available for ebook* preorder on your favorite platform: Amazon , iBooks , Smashwords , Nook , and Kobo .  Crusader One is scheduled for release on July 1, 2016.  What better way to spend your 4th of July weekend than with the action-packed chronicles of Americans defeating evil?  Low, preorder pricing is guaranteed through July 8th. Tales from Crusader One is the second installment in the Civil Tribulation series, cataloging Ishmael's quest for vengeance.  See below for blurb. Haven't read the first installment?  No problem there.  A Spark in the Darkness is free during this preorder period.  You can pick that ebook up on your favorite platforms as well ( Amazon , iBooks , Nook , Smashwords , Kobo ). After you get done reading, please leave reviews.  Authors thrive on reviews. Tales from Crusader One: Danger. Progress. Fatigue. The Americans have rallied behind a few victories. And the Crusader team is

Should Authors Stick to One Genre?

As the 2016 election kicks into high gear, the supporters of each party will become more vocal and fierce.  This isn't a bad thing.  It's great that we are free to express our opinions in the U.S. Much like the election or the 24 hr news cycle, there is another topic that is hotly contested, finding readers and authors on both sides of the aisle.  I am referring to genre-specific authors.  Should an author stick to one genre?  Must they? A large benefit to sticking with one genre is the trust that develops between reader and author.  Readers come to know the author and trust the author to give them an experience worthy of their money and time, which is even more valuable.  Not only this, but an author refines her craft as she continues to write in that genre and improve, futher enhancing the author-reader trust cycle. On the other side, the sentiment is that an author shouldn't be pigeonholed into writing one genre.  The argument is that the fans are of the author and wi

The Year Going Forward

Honestly, I have been dragging my feet.  More or less, I have had the sequels to A Spark in the Darkness done for a little while.  (I need to still write a little over 4,000 words for this next one, but still). Writing is easy for me.  While starting to write is tough (a lone blank page can be intimidating), the terror actually comes in the publishing.  Any artist can relate in this.  Fear, pride, ego, and complacency.  They have been my enemies.  And they can be yours, too (although maybe under different circumstances).  Recently I have undergone a change in attitude and have decided that I need to cast the above Four Negatives aside. So my plan of attack is this: Post-production. I am going through my stories to write their second drafts.  This mainly gets all the content in line and axe the items that don't belong. (Also catch spelling/grammar/detail issues as well before sending it to my editor). Publish. This goes without saying.  I need to get these two sequels out thi

Ray Bradbury as a Mentor

Before recently, I had only read Bradbury's Fahrenheit 451.   And I was forced to.  In high school.  In 8th Grade I was forced to read bits of his Dandelion Wine.   I thought it was dumb.  Incidentally, in the past few months I have chosen to read Bradbury's Martian Chronicles and his essays on creativity as well as the works I have read in years past.  Themes and mannerisms have bubbled to the surface that can serve me (or any writer) as inspiration or guidance. Imitation:   It is ok.  In this sense, I differentiate imitation from copycat.  One story in Martian Chronicles comes to mind is titled Usher Two .  Bradbury takes plot elements and themes from Edgar Allen Poe's tales of horror (whom Bradbury will admit he tried to imitate early in his own career) and weaves them into a new story.   Exploration: Try new things.  Get creative.  Bradbury did two things here that set him apart from others.  He had a word association journal.  He sat down and wrot

Work in Progress: Portal Quest

A month or so ago I announced on my Facebook page a few stories I was working on.  I wanted to briefly elaborate the girl on a portal quest. The idea of a portal quest is enticing.  I remember my sister and I would play in our house looking for secret passages or hidden doorways to other worlds.  This was before we could read or had any knowledge of Narnia or Tarabithia.  However, hoping for the chance to be whisked away to a magical world was captivating.  This brings me to Hazel, a little girl in mid-America.  Young and fearless, Hazel ends up spiraling into another realm to rescue her mother.  Full of adventures, strange landscapes, and odd characters, I hope to have Hazel's journey to another land remind us all of the adventures we had when we were children (or transport current young readers away on an adventure with Hazel).

Reading Good

When I first did my research on writing, I saw an offhand comment on having to read a lot.  Well, my research was not so much on writing as it was on the industry of writing, or how to nab an agent or get a nice fat royalty check every week from your New York Times bestseller. The article said to read a lot in the area you wish to write in.  Me being young and naive, I thought this was a sort of sales gimmick.  You want to write as a [insert genre] author? You wanna write in the big leagues?  You can! all my books, buy my imprint's books, and buy all the genre's books.  It's important to support one another as authors, after all. Like I said, I was naive.  As far as the money aspect goes, I had forgotten about this wonderful, magical place called the public library where you can borrow any one of a thousand books for free based off of nothing but the trustworthiness of your word.  In the age of the Internet, these libraries have banded together to o

What Dune has Taught Me about Writing

For those of you who have read Dune , you understand that is nothing short of a masterpiece of fiction.  Unfortunately for me, I hadn't read it until recently (and I have yet to follow up with its half dozen sequels).  For those of you who have not read Dune, it follows the Highborn House Atreides from the lush planet Caladan to the wasteland of Arrakis.  But there are some things that I noticed that Herbert did really well writing Dune . Narrative:  The reader gets to see inside everyone's mind, in nearly every scene.  Initially, this was hard to follow for me because I haven't read too many books where this occurs.  However, once accustomed to it I couldn't stop thinking why more books aren't written this way.  And because of this, I found myself caring more about the characters than about the events that happened to them. Character:  The reader never wonders what a character wants.  The story is character driven.  There are so many egos and this work