Sunday, February 20, 2011

"I'm not Bad. I'm just Drawn that Way!"

Around the House
Sunday night has arrived, and I am sad to have to return to work tomorrow. I enjoy the time to myself and my writing.  I didn't get much of it done this weekend, but what I did accomplish makes me happy.  Death's Merchant is coming along great.  I am really getting into the story.  It is really starting to inspire me for the other works that I have coming down the pipe line.  So, after I finish the draft of Death's Merchant I will be editing Pandora's Last Breath and Chronicles of Illumination vol. 1: Hunted.  Both of these books are scheduled to be out in 2011; I just don't have concrete dates yet for them.  I do have to say that I am happy about the emails and responses I am getting regarding my book, Witches, Demons, & Deals.  For those of you that don't know Witches, Demons, & Deals is a prelude to the Chronicles of Illumination, so get on board now.  I looking forward to start seeing reviews being posted on Amazon and BN.

My Thoughts
I watched an interesting movie today and it got me to thinking.  The movie itself isn't important, and I don't remember the title.  It was about an actor that slowly destroyed a promising career in the 70's.  It made me think about how authors fall under the category of celebrity, but are mostly hidden from the publics view.  We don't see them on TMZ or in US Weekly.  We don't hear about all their dirty little secrets.  I have to wonder what skeletons are hidden in these closets.  I find it funny how you can hear about Lindsey Lohan or the Real Housewives which are currently making a fraction of the money James Patterson does, but we never hear about his life.  Are authors all quiet home bodies that don't get into trouble?  I doubt it.  Maybe it is just that our works are more interesting than we are.  I can totally believe that, but for once I would like to see an authors dirty laundry dragged out.  I wonder what that would do to their sales.  I bet they would double over night.

Mind you, I like my privacy.  I think I would cry if I was followed around during my days out on the town.  I like the fact that I can be anonymous and well known at the same time.  I really do hope that the most I ever have to worry about is what I produce being criticised and not what I did on the weekend.  Makes you think that in today's world it really pays to fly under the radar.  Would I get in to trouble as an author or celebrity?  Oh yea.  I don't believe in hiding my thoughts or who I am, so that worries me as social media really takes ahold in this country.  I don't do bad things; I am bad things.

Book Review: Dead in the Family

Around the House
I am an avid reader, so most nights I find myself curled up with a book before bed.  While I am absolutely in love with the digital age and Ereaders now that I have a Nook, there is just something about a hard cover book that I can't let go of for a favorite read.  They are always my go to books when I want something to curl up with.  I find reading to be a great escape, a writing inspiration, and a constant in an every changing world.

My Thoughts
No this isn't my first time reading the Sookie Stackhouse Series or even Dead in the Family.  This is one of those series that I run to every time that I feel the need to curl up with something familiar.  On a whole I give the series a nine out of ten.  It is fun, pleasurable, and interesting every time you read it.  Charliane Harris is a master craftsman for her world including the short stories that support the books which can be found in a variety of Anthologies and a companion book.  Having said that, I am sad to know that she is in the process of winding down the series.

When reading Dead in the Family the first time and then again now I can tell that many of the choices Charliane Harris made in this novel where to begin the wrap up of the series.  This novel seems a bit disjointed when compared to the rest of the series, almost like an extended short story.  While seeing all of our favorite characters is great, it feels like it could have been added to the last book and broken into a short story.  Even reading her new short story "Two Blondes," we get the feeling that this book is missing some of the magic the series has held.  While I understand story lines have to eventually be wrapped up; I wish Dead in the Family had the meandering yet cohesive plot lines that you feel in her other novels.  Placing all of that aside it is still an excellent novel and a great addition to the the series.  I just wish it had been three short stories.

The parts I love of this novel are they she continues to deal with the past and how it affects Sookie's future.  Nothing is just swept under the rug and forgot; it still affects this young telepath every day.  With the abrupt feeling ending of this tale I am curious where the next tale is going to take us.  I am actually itching to get my hands on it.  What I wouldn't give to get a review copy especially after reading the chapter excerpt on her website,   I know we are going to continue to see the fun, and have a blast as the series comes to an end.  I just hope she keeps the magic going and leaves us an opening for more short stories and novels for the future.  I always like having hope.

Rating: 6 out of 10 as a novel but 9 out of 10 if they were short stories

Saturday, February 19, 2011

Second Stop on the Virtual Tour for Witches, Demons, & Deals

Around the House
Enjoying a Saturday at home.  Responding to some fun emails and seeing what is going on with friends and family.  There is nothing like spending a Saturday curled up with a book and a cup of tea to relax.  I am completely dreading going back to work on Monday.  I am about to call and harass my editor on my new book.  I am dying to hear his thoughts.  He has been too quiet the last couple days, so I am curious what he is thinking.  If you haven't figured it out yet I am extremely impatient.  I have started to look around for an artist to help with cover art and an editor for first round edits, but finding someone local that is into fantasy is slightly hard.  I may see if the local community college has anyone to recommend.

My Thoughts
I was very excited that Walter from Heroic Fantasy agreed to do an interview with me to support my book, Witches, Demons, and Deals.  Walter was actually the first to agree to an interview.  See the link below to enjoy the interview.  Make sure you leave him some supporting comments.

Walter, thanks again for taking the time out of your busy schedule to interview me.  It was a real pleasure getting the chance to work with you.  I look forward to building a bigger relationship in the future.  Well off to respond to another interview request.  I am looking forward to getting several more completed.  I am then going to go back to working on my current project and harassing my editor.

Going Liquid

Around the House
I just got home from Dinner and a Movie with Katrina Rue.  These nights are always great.  It gives us the chance to talk about our lives, projects, hopes for the future, and cats.  We are big cat lovers.  While talking she got me to thinking about the state of publishing which I will get into in a minute.  We did see "I am Number Four" which looked interesting, but I did not want to see it because the author did not receive proper credit for his book.  It always upsets me when someone creates something whether it is a book, art, movie, or picture and does not get the credit.  I find it shameful that this is still a practice in the publishing industry.  It is time for authors everywhere to stand up and take credit.  No more ghost writing!  Books should be by the writer with interviews or insight by the celebrity or company that asked for the project.  Authors should not be nameless ever.

My Thoughts
Yes, since my original rant I know I have been quiet about the Borders issue.  As a shopper I never really enjoyed the Borders experience I was always a Barnes and Noble guy, but as I see the company going into bankruptcy and closing stores to try and save itself, I am sad.  Not sad they aren't surviving; I think they made lots of mistakes at the top, but sad about what it says for the future of the publishing industry.  Looking around I see that the publishing industry is now where the Music Industry was during the 1990's with Napster.  So much content is free on the Internet or pirated that it is going to make it hard for retailers and consumers to find new great books.  I hope that with the growth in ebooks we are seeing that the publishing industry heads this off before the authors become the real victims.

Also, I worry about the survival of Borders.  If they do go completely out of business leaving mass market stores and Barnes and Noble as the main company to get books I fear that voices of authors are going to become extremely censored.  You can see how this is happening right now.  Look at what Amanda Hocking has done for independent publishing via the Nook and Kindle.  As an author that couldn't get a book deal because her style or story was not what the publishing business was looking for; she ended up quiet until the rise of the ebook.  Now look at her; her books are flying off the digital shelf.  This goes to show you that what consumers are looking for are not what is being produced.  She not only found a place for her stories, but showed the publishing industry they were wrong about censoring her by not granting her agent representation and a book deal.  So with Barnes and Noble as the major book store out there will this problem get worse?  I think it might.  So I call all readers to gather up and really look at the self published/independent authors out there.  They are the voice of the consumer because they write what they love and not what the publishing industry is looking for.  If we buy more of their books we are telling the publishing industry to sit back and reevaluate what they are looking for.  It is time for a change.  So now I am going to get off my high horse and curl up with a favorite book.  I may even write a little while I smile knowing that authors like H.P. Mallory, Amanda Hocking, Jason Letts, and so many others are making a change in the publishing industry by believing in themselves when the industry doesn't.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Blog Tour Begins

Around the House
I am completely wiped out right now.  Between work and the new projects I am working on I am exhausted.  It doesn't help that several weeks ago I gave myself second degree burns with Icy/Hot that are still healing.  They are getting really annoying and keeping me up at night.  Otherwise I can't complain much about what is going on at home.  I just wish there where more hours in the day, but what can you do?  I am excited that I took a three day weekend that I am looking forward to enjoying.

My Thoughts
I am very excited to announce and thank Tracy from Her Ladyship's Quest for the time and effort she put in with me doing an amazing interview on her blog.  She has been a great person to meet.  I look forward to building a relationship with her in the future.  She is just the first to publish an interview I did regarding my book and world.  I look forward to sharing them with you as they come up.  Go see the review by clicking on the link below.

I am still looking for places to do review and interviews for this, my first virtual, tour, so any suggestions or requests you have would be great.  I love getting the chance to share my works with people.  I am really looking forward to my tours in the future when I can visit old friends like Tracy and make new ones along the way.  I have to say the writing community has been really positive and great when it comes to requests for interviews and reviews.  I am definitely excited about this new chapter in my life.

Friday, February 11, 2011

The End is Near

Around the HouseWell I have to blame Katrina Rue, my best friend and fellow author for putting me into cat frenzy again.  We had one of our car conversations last week and now all I can think about is getting a kitten of my own.  I lost Buffy, the White Avenger, back in May, so it has been lonely not having a baby to cuddle with.  I miss having a cat running around the house doing interesting things.  I especially miss having company at bed time.  Buffy only really liked to play when I was ready to pass out.  I miss it.  It is amazing that things you get used to.

Now I am looking at Toygers and Bengals.  I have always wanted a Bengal, but I know they are so active they would have to have a playmate.  Last thing I need is a bored cat ripping the house apart especially while I sleep.  Additionally, my niece is starting to get to the age where she needs to be exposed to animals.  I want her to understand what is appropriate and what isn't.  Since she is an only child she doesn't get much kid exposure outside of day care, so I think a pet would help.

My Thoughts
I really hate when things come to an end.  While I knew it was coming it is hard to see it in print.  We are reaching the end of the Sookie Stackhouse Series, the book series that inspired the hit TV show True Blood.  L.A. Times reported today that Charliane is getting ready to wrap up the series with two more books.  That will leave a big hole in my reading world.  I have fallen in love with the average southern girl who ends up tangled in all sorts of supernatural messes because her cousin couldn't keep her mouth shut.  I hope it all ends well with a bit of Sookie Happiness, but I don't know if that is possible.  Also, I really hope she manages to find a life away from the vamps.  Additionally, I hope that Charliane keeps doing the occasional Sookie short story so she can keep living on in all of our hearts.

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Marketing Magic

Around the House
Well it is definitely winter in Chicago, so I am freezing.  Like most authors I also have a "day" job, so I am forced to go out and brave the elements.  I would much rather be curled up with Jason Letts new book!  As an Aquarius, I really love the water and miss the Summer (or Spring/Fall) sun.  I really do function best when the weather is nice and I get to wander the streets of Chicago.  Currently, I am working to connect with Urban Fantasy/Paranormal Romance Independent Authors who have self published at least one novel for my Anthology.  I am not planning to make any money off this anthology, but use it to promote each featured authors as a means of increasing each of our individual reading audiences.  I am actually very excited about this project.  Katrina Rue has already signed on for the project, and her forthcoming novel should be out this summer.  Also, I will be including a preview of my next book.  I am hoping to get some of my fellow authors involved so I can list their previews and short stories.  See my other postings for information if you are interested.

My Thoughts
Self marketing is like Russian Roulette.  You never know when you are going to hit a real money maker (get your book some great exposure).  I am in the process of collecting a list of websites/blogs that I hope to try and get my book reviewed on this spring.  This is known as setting up a virtual tour.  I am actually excited by this prospect.  Along the way I will be announcing a contest to win my book in the coming weeks so keep your eyes peeled for more information.  I am not hosting the contest, but the copy will be signed.

Currently, I have found that Facebook is a great method of promotion for little cost.  Unfortunately, I am not seeing the sales from it that I was hoping for.  After my ad campaign expires I am not sure I will be continuing with the service.  It comes down to simple word of mouth as the best method of getting your work noticed.  So, get reviewed on as many blogs as possible, see if other independent authors will review your book and give you a quote, and keeping working everyday to keep your book noticed.  Additionally, I will be doing a run of local press releases which I hope will generate some interest.  Wish me luck!

Monday, February 7, 2011

A Supernatural Makeover Anthology Request

Around the House
I am currently starting to compile information for an anthology I am putting together.  Also, I am busy working away on my next book.  Nothing major is going on here in Chicago besides trying to stay warm and avoid the snow which doesn't seem to want to go away.

My Thoughts
D.J. Cappella and Gilbert Press are currently accepting submissions for "A Supernatural Makeover" Anthology which will support and promote independent authors trying to establish themselves in publishing industry.  We are currently looking for short stories with a supernatural twist that involve the makeover of a home or individual character.  We are accepting stories from independent authors as well as published authors.  This project will be available for sale in print and ebook format in the US and UK.

Reading Period: Submission period is open until March 15, 2011.
Word Count: 2,500 - 15,000 words
Content: Makeovers with a Supernatural Twist!  We are looking for original fiction only and will not be accepting or responding to fan fiction.  Stories must feature characters that the writer or writers have personally created.  These may be previously published shorties, excerpts for novels, and new short stories/novellas!  We will not be accepting material that individuals do not have the copyright to use, and/or distribute worldwide.  We would love to see stories that tie into series and books you have currently written and published.
Payment: Authors receive one contributor copy of the book.
Submission Guidelines: Submissions will only be accepted via email at this time. Manuscripts must be doc or rtf formatted attachments.  Manuscripts must follow standard formatting with out the use of special characters and fonts.  Each page of the manuscript must include Name of the Author, Contact Information including email, and page numbers.  Additionally the manuscript must include an short author bio, where and when the story was originally published if a reprint, and a statement that you have the right to print this story internationally. In the body of the email please include a cover letter with author information, previous credits if any, and a short synopsis of the work.
Reply To:
Response Time: Four to six weeks from date of submission.
Estimated Release Date: Late Spring/Summer 2011.

Friday, February 4, 2011

A World of Updates

Around the House
So I have survived the Chicago Blizzard of 2011.  In truth I got off very lucky.  No major issues with me or the family, no lost power, and nothing out of the ordinary besides really bad road conditions.  Unfortunately, I have been a bit sick recently, so my writing has been on hold while I ponder and read trying to feel better.  I am taking the down time to reconnect with Charliane Harris's Sookie Stackhouse Series which I absolutely love.  I am excited to announce that in the next several weeks a contest for my book Witches, Demons, & Deals will be appears on a young adult fantasy blog.  As soon as those updates are available I will get them to you.  Also, I am looking to kick off my own web page this year near summer, so as we get to that point over at the Cappella camp I will let you know.

My Thoughts
Since I haven't been feeling great and my current project is with my editor Tim; I have been thinking about what comes next.  I know I have mentioned more projects than you can shake a stick at here and in my book.  So, I have decided to give you a bit of a teaser and let you know what my tentative thoughts on my world of magic and mystery are for the coming year.

While my next project, that is currently under editing and revision, takes place in the same world as Witches, Demons, & Deals you will not get to see any of your favorite characters.  Now no long faces, one of the main characters of this story will be making a transition into Raisa's world in a slightly major way.  That is all I am going to say on that.

The next project on my plate is the editing and revising of the first novel of a five part series which I hope to be optioning out to agents in the summer.  This project does feature all off the main characters from my current book: Raisa, Brendon, Sarah, Alaster, and even Damian.  Let us just say the witches' plates are going to get a lot fuller with even a goat or two along the way.

The final two projects I am working on are companions to the Witches, Demons, & Deals world.  The boy from Sarah's story will be getting his own fully fledged out story, and we will see more of our friendly neighborhood Death Dealer.  Don't be surprised if you haven't seem the last of the Godfather of Wish while I am at it.  I think they are going to make for some fun and interesting reading.  Don't look for anything to hit the local shelves or Internet pages just yet, but updates will follow.

Remember to comment lots, send reviews, and share will all your friends.  Have a safe and fun rest of the winter.  I just hope we are coming to and end here in Chicago.  I miss the sun!