Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Kickstarter! And Other Stuff...


Hello, all you lovely peoples you. Sorry I've been so sketchy about posting lately, there's just been a lot going on. I'm sure you understand, right? Riiiight? Yeah, that's what I figured. ;)

So, hey! As of yesterday I launched my very own Kickstarter campaign to help me to be able to afford to finish The Fight for Caithiir, as it should be done. Since the release of The River Runes I have found more mistakes in editing in the book and I would like to give it another pass. Actually I would like to be able to get a pro in there to get that baby all cleaned up. If my campaign is successful, I will be using the funds for editing, marketing, cover art, etc... toward all three of the books in the series.

The bottom line: I want these books to go as far as they can, and for that to happen they need I better start than I can give them on my own.

Please check out my Kickstarter page, even if you can't be a backer, any and all encouragement is super-appreciated. Kickstarter is a great place that helps indie artists of all types by giving them a platform where they can raise funds for the work that they love. You should definitely check it out.

In other news... hehe, I've always wanted to say that. I am probably going to continue to not be around very frequently as I dive more into work and writing and getting stuff done. I'll do my best to post at least once a week to let everyone know how things are going. I still a owe a couple more indie book reviews, but after that I may just stop doing reviews altogether. At least for a while.

Well, I think that's it, thanks for stopping by!
buh bye then

Monday, August 8, 2011

Indie Book Review #6




Wow am I a slacker! Sorry for skipping out again last week, but I have a review for you today:)

The novel:
Castles: A Fictional Memoir of a Girl with Scissors. Castles is a is a horror/revenge story written by Benjamin X. Wretlind.

Goodreads Description:
When Maggie was six, she hid from desert storms under the sink where the Comet and Windex were kept. Now twenty, she welcomes the storms. Maggie has been abused, torn apart by the sins of others and constantly feels as if she is living on the verge of some grand epiphany. Then again, she may just be insane. Maggie doesn't know if the four bodies she dismembered and placed inside a rusted Volkswagen Bus are the only bricks left to her castle in the sky, but she hopes you'll understand if they're not. Castles is Maggie's story, a literary horror novel about love and redemption, belief and revenge and what brings a person to madness. Set in a nameless desert in a nameless town, it is the view into the life of a young woman who wonders if madness is really mad.

Wow. As some of you may already know, I am a huge fan of Stephen King. If someone had handed me Castles, and asked me to guess the author, I would have said King without much doubt in my mind. This story is well written and fast paced and I devoured it in something like three hours.

Right from the beginning you fall in love with Maggie, a young girl who has had a very tough life. Abusive men, a cold and distant mother, and a grandmother that seems to hold things together, while at the same time seems to be losing her mind.

Benjamin made me care about his characters and the story, and he did so by showing us their lives, rather than telling us we should care about them. The only complaint I could even imagine is that I wish the story could have continued. The paperback weighs in at about 188 pages, and Castles is available in both paperback and ebook format.

Five Stars!

Monday, August 1, 2011

I'm Back :)

Wow, hey there! Long time, no see. Sorry about that.

Sometimes life just gets in the way. I'm sorry that I have been absent for so long, things have just been... well, crazy. I should be able to get back into schedule now. Things will be just as they were, Mon-Wed-Fri, with indie book reviews on Fridays.

Unfortunately, I don't have much writing news for you right now, since I haven't been doing much of it in the last few weeks. Again, I should be getting back on track now.

In the meantime, here's something to make you laugh:

Saturday, July 16, 2011

Guest Blog: Lena Hillbrand



How I Write Now


While every writer has a different process, I’m sure we all have some things in common. I tend to be a procrastinating writer, but sometimes I actually buck up and do something productive. I admire those writers who get up at 5 a.m. sharp, sit down, bang out ten pages in a couple hours, and play golf all day. Their lives sound so peaceful. If only I had that kind of discipline.


But no, I’m one of those writers with chaotic, hectic processes. I bet those golf-playing writers make meticulous outlines, too. And actually stick to them. But I’m what writerly people refer to as a ‘pantser.’ (Those who fly by the seats of their pants). Sure, I’ve done outlines. They mostly got ignored. When I go back and look at them, I think, “Wow, that would have been a great book!” But I didn’t write that book. I started out writing that book, and more likely than not, my main character ended up six time zones away, hitch-hiking through Azerbaijan instead of at Harvard Law.


That’s sort of how my writing process works. I get up, and I want to be one of those organized, outlining authors. I really do. I swear. But I have a snooze button. I hit it for at least an hour. There’s a reason it’s dark out at 5 a.m. The world is telling me it’s time to sleep. When I do get up, I hear bagels calling my name from the kitchen. I must have one. So I eat breakfast. Then I get distracted by the magazine on the table. An hour later, I sit down at my laptop. But that little blue “e” at the bottom left corner of my screen keeps luring me in. I’ll just check my email. Really. Ten minutes, and then I’ll write.


An hour later, I’m done looking at videos of guilty dogs, I’ve Tweeted at everyone willing to Tweet at 7 o’clock in the morning, and obsessively checked all the other websites I obsessively check (do I have new friends? Followers? Messages? Reviews? Hate mail?) You get the picture.


For some of authors, writing is all easy, fun, sunshiny, happy times. They churn out a book every week. They cheerfully call to tell me all about it. I am not one of those writers. I think they’re lying when they call me. I ask to see their drafts. They aren’t lying. I sit down and cry.


Then I realize IT IS OKAY. Not everyone has the same process. We all have our own challenges, and we all come out of them with a different story to tell. I bet even that outlining, uber-productive, always-smiling writer has at least one obstacle. We all have our own way of getting things done. Believe it or not, I really do get things done. After I eat lunch. And take a nap. And do laundry. And check Twitter again.




Lena Hillbrand is the author of The Superiors, the first book in a series by the same name. The books are literary futuristic dystopian vampire novels. How’s that for a mouthful?


Check out the book here: http://www.amazon.com/dp/B004ZGB2I4


>P>
Contact her here:


Blog: http://lenahillbrand.blogspot.com


FB: http://www.facebook.com/LenaHillbrand


Twitter: @lenahillbrand


Or on Goodreads: http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/4836823.Lena_Hillbrand

Friday, July 1, 2011

Indie Review Friday #5




Another week, another indie book review Friday for you!

The Novel:
A Job From Hell. A Job From Hell is a paranormal romance written by Jayde Scott (I know, she has one of the coolest names ever, right?!)

Goodreads Description:
In a world of love bonds, rituals, dark magic, ancient enemies and immortals, nothing is as it seems and no one can be trusted.

Seventeen-year-old Amber enters the paranormal world by chance when her brother, Dallas, sets her up with a summer job in Scotland. Dallas has spied something in the woods he thinks could make them rich beyond their wildest dreams. But instead of finding riches, Amber unknowingly enters a paranormal race—and promptly wins the first prize—a prize for which many would kill. Soon, she discovers her new boss, Aidan, didn’t employ her for her astounding housekeeping skills and he isn't who he claims to be either.

As the dark forces slowly conspire against Amber, her naivety and love for Aidan catapults her into a calamitous series of otherworldly events. With every immortal creature hunting for her, whom can she trust with her life?

A JOB FROM HELL is the first book in the paranormal romance series, Ancient Legends. Book Two, Beelzebub Girl, will be out in June 2011.


A Job From Hell was another quick read for me. Jayde did a great job of giving her readers well rounded characters and a plot that was fast paced, but easy to follow. My biggest worry for this series is just how saturated the PNR market has become, I would hate to see this jewel get buried and lost in PNR purgatory. (I'm saying you should read it and tell your friends lol)

There is a big, open world here, filled with vampires, demons, dangerous shadows and much more. Of course, it wouldn't be paranormal ROMANCE if there wasn't a love story. Our protagonist deals with love and lust and relationship issues all throughout the book, and it blends well into the story and helps keep the reading moving forward.

There are some typo and grammar issues, but not so much that it slowed my reading. There were also some characters in here that I liked that were never really fleshed out. I hope to see more development in the rest of the series.

This is one that I would recommend to anyone that enjoys PNR novels. I give A Job From Hell 5 stars:

This book is available in ebook and paperback formats, and I got mine from Amazon for $0.99.

(Which just happens to be the price that you would pay if you picked upThe River Runes right now!)

Thanks for reading!
buh bye then

Monday, June 27, 2011

Indie-pendence Q&A!

Hey folks!

Just a short post today to share a little info :) I'm very excited to announce that on July 1st I will be participating in Back of the Book Reviews' "It's All About Independence" Read-a-thon. July 1st through the 4th, Back of the Book Reviews is inviting people to give up 96 hours to reading (not that all of us need to be asked!). Here's the blurb from Backofthebookreviews.com

In celebration of the 4th of July we are holding a 96 hour read-a-thon. The event will start on the 1st July (Friday) and go through till the 4th July (Monday).

There will be prizes for:

The Most Books Read
The Most Pages Read
The Person Who Reads For The Longest
The Most Trivia Questions Answered Correctly
Our Independence Day Prize Winner (everyone who enters the read-a-thon will automatically gain entry and one special winner will be randomly selected on the 4th July)

We don’t expect anyone to read solidly for the whole 96 hours. We appreciate that people may already have plans for that weekend, but as its fun we hope the above prize opportunities will cover everyone’s needs. If you can think of any prize we haven’t thought of please will you let us know of your idea by the 27th June (Monday).

We will announce the prizes for competitions on the 29th June (Wednesday) so please keep tuned for these as we have some exclusive and amazing prizes to give away. If you would like to donate a prize for the prize bundles then please contact us.



So, if you're interested in joining in on the fun, head on over to their page and check it out. I hope that some of you will even visit Twitter on July 1st and take part in a Q&A with yours truly, hosted by the great folks at Back of the Book Reviews. Once I know the specific times and hashtags, etc... I will let you know!

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Indie Review Friday #4



It's been another week already, and so it is time for the next Indie Review Friday :)

The novel:
Wednesday's Child. Wednesday's Child is a political thriller (my own tags, since there are none listed on Amazon) by independent author, Alan Zendell.

Goodreads Description:
Dylan Brice is living his days out of order, but it hasn't always been that way. One Tuesday evening in July, he went to sleep expecting tomorrow to be Wednesday, but when he woke up the next morning it was Thursday instead. A frightening and confusing day ensued with Dylan trying to figure out whether he was losing his mind or the victim of some cosmic prank.

If struggling to come to terms with his new reality on his surreal Thursday wasn't enough of an ordeal, late in the afternoon, just as his anxiety was finally beginning to subside, a voice from the past he'd hoped never to hear again added a terrifying new dimension to his situation. Dylan had once been a warrior in the battle against nuclear terrorism. A sleeper since the months following nine-eleven, he has suddenly been activated to help combat a new, deadly threat. His nerves in a shambles, he finally drops off to sleep hoping he'll wake up to find Thursday was a dream.

When, after his harrowing Thursday, he awakens on the Wednesday morning he thought he'd missed, he doesn't know what to believe. He cannot believe Thursday's events were coincidental. He must be living his days out of order for a reason -- some powerful, unknown entity has cast him in a role he never asked for, and everything he holds dear may be at stake. He "knows" he will continue to live Thursdays before Wednesdays until he figures out how to use the unique perspective that gives him to avert a disaster that may be global in scope.


This was definitely a good read, something that I would recommend to anyone interested in this genre. Mr. Zendell, the author, does a fantastic job of laying his protagonist out there early-on, and making you care about him. Dylan is an imperfect, relate-able character, more than able to carry this story on his shoulders.

The story, background and secondary characters are also well rounded and not forced. The plot is fast paced and kept me eager to read more, every time I turned the page.

Although there are very few grammatical errors to be found, the writing may sometimes be just stiff enough to slow the fast-paced story down (though, I never wanted to walk away). Also, there are some obvious, and at times heavy-handed, political and moral issues where the author clearly wants to take a stand, even at the expense of the story.

Something I haven't dealt with here yet is cover art. Obviously, when it comes to cover art, tastes will differ depending on the individual. In my opinion, though, the cover art for Wednesday's Child feels very dated and had me ready to read a story set in the 1970s, rather than today. No matter what your grade school teachers said, people do judge a book by its cover.

This was a great read, and I give Wednesday's Child 4 out of 5 stars
It can be found in paperback and ebook format. I got my copy directly from the author for review.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Excerpt from: Clockwork Charlie




Prologue to Clockwork Charlie:

The smoke from her cigarette drifted lazily through the falling snow, toward the streetlamp. The windows of the buildings across the way were all dark, making their flat, gray stone facades shine out, ghost-like, in the orange fluorescent light. Somewhere in the distance the young woman heard a temple bell ringing out mournfully, trying to break through the silence of the winter's night.
It would come as no surprise to her mother if Charlene stayed another night at the shop. Bernice was sure that her daughter couldn't carry the workload her husband had left behind, and nights away from home convinced her that Charlene was struggling to keep up.
"We could ask one of the neighbor boys to give you a hand," she would say.
"I've got it under control, Mother."
"It's not safe for a young lady to be out that late... and it might give people the wrong idea."
"I'm not out. I'm at the shop, and it locks up a whole lot safer than this place."
It was the same conversation they'd had dozens of times, and it inevitably ended the same way. "Fine, Charlie," her mother would say in that special bitter tone she had cultivated, "I just hope I never get to say I told you so."
"Fine," and that would be the end of it, until the next time.
Truthfully, though, Charlene wasn't behind in her father's work. She finished on time, every day, and never had any iron come back for the same problem twice. It wasn't the cars or the customers that kept her away from home... it was her project.
The idea had come to her one night, after she'd finished fixing a Buick that had been built nearly a decade before, and rebuilt that day. It was a heap when it was came into the shop, but now it shone out all black and chrome, and purred like a kitten. As she stood there, admiring her handy work, it struck her how closely the round, aluminum headlamps resembled eyes. As a matter of fact, the polished, chrome grill looked like nothing more than a jagged set of teeth, and the lumpy wheels like ears that stuck out just a bit too far.
It was an odd and fleeting thought, easily brushed away with a laugh and hidden behind the hours of cleaning that followed. Charlene's subconcious mind, however, was not so quick to let it go. She tossed and turned, her dreams filled at first by the facial expressions of different autos, and then by a mechanical man from one of the stories her father had told to her when she was younger. She always loved the stories he would make up, and all of the characters young Charlie met in her adventures; but the loyal robot had been her favorite.
She awoke the next day with a picture in her head; a mechanical man to help her at the shop, and immediately she began to collect the things she would need. For weeks she gathered gears and sprockets, scrap metal, and copper wiring. It started as a personal joke, a lark that was not to be taken seriously, and she never wrote any plans or drew a single diagram.
It was three months since those first dreams and anticipation had her shaking so badly she could barely keep the cigarette between her fingers. This was the night that she would test her experiment, the night that she would try to start her first real adventure, but she was afraid.
Failure could mean a lot more than just wasted time. Though the robot from her father's stories had been powered like a harmless clock, wound tight and left to be, Charlene's creation was not so simple. It was a new age, and she believed she was living at the beginning of the future. Machines didn't run like clocks anymore, they ran on diesel fuel and heat, fire and electricity. One simple mistake, and Charlene's whimsical project could end catastrophically.
She turned away from the street and the ghostly buildings across the way and the falling snow, and let her gaze fall to the rigid form lying on her makeshift table. The pale, yellow light hanging over the table was unflattering and almost useless. The machine wasn't a pretty sight, with uncut rivets sticking out in every direction, and wires hanging loosely where there was no metal plating. It was in the shape of a human, but Charlene hadn't bothered to finish covering the body. She didn't figure there was any reason to make it look nice, until she knew whether or not it would even work.
She took one last drag, allowing the smoke to work its calming magic, before tossing the pill into the street. It was time to get to work, time to find out if Charlene's "magic" could stand next to the magic of the young, adventurous Charlie from her father's stories.


So, since I haven't mentioned it this week, if you are interested in joining in on the 50 to 100 follower giveaway, where you can win a copy of The River Runes and a $50 Amazon giftcard, just click on the badge below and read the instructions :)
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Thanks for reading!
buh bye then

Monday, June 20, 2011

WIP Wed... err Monday, and some other stuff.

Wow, things are going crazy and I just can't seem to hit my schedule here. At least not the way I want to. Oh well! I've got some stuff to share, so share it I will.

I have been featured on the website, Lost in Fiction, and they have posted my short story, From Under The City. You can check that out RIGHT HERE.

And, I have decided to drop the price of The River Runes to $.99 on all ebook formats. My hope is that this will help me to 1. Raise sales and 2. promote Clockwork Charlie.

Speaking of, I finally have a description up for Clockwork Charlie, along with some temporary cover art. I'm not sure what the cover art will be in the end because I have a great friend of mine working on it, but for now I actually really like what I've done :) Here it is:



Also, here is the description (again, this will likely change before the book's release):

Even after building her own mechanical man, and bringing him to life, it never struck Charlene Collins that she was special. When she was younger she had dreams of being great, like the people in one of her dad's stories, but that was before the Great War and before her mother's death. Now that she's an adult, she just wants to fix cars in her father's old shop and tinker around with Mac. It's a good life, and she's happy with it...

Then, she finds out that her dad has died, off in the city. Before she even has a chance to deal with the news, a stranger that calls himself Nash arrives to give his condolences. He knew her father and her mother... and he knows about Mac. Nash talks about talents and Muses, tells Charlene that she's more than she knows and that her dad's death was no accident.

Now that everything has changed, Charlene is more grateful than ever to have Mac by her side. Together they will journey through a landscape of war and blood that has been built for thousands of years on lies, myths and religion. Everyone wants the young woman and her special abilities on their side of the fight, even if they have to take her by force.

Charlene is going to have to find the truth and make a choice, but in order to do that, she'll have to find out just how special she really is.



So, yeah. On Wednesday I think I will toss up an excerpt from the book. I'm crazy excited about it, still having a ton of fun with it, and can't wait to see what others think as it comes out.

Thanks for reading,
buh bye then

Friday, June 17, 2011

Indie Review Friday #3



It's Friday, and that means it's time for another indie book review.

The Novel:
Black Moon. Black Moon is the first part in the Moon Trilogy, by C.L. Bevill.

Goodreads Description:
Donovan is a werejaguar sworn to fight against his enemies, the dreaded werewolf clan - the Whitelaws. Isabella is an uncommon librarian, a member of the Committee. When she faces down the Whitelaws to retrieve a very dangerous book, she encounters Donovan and their lives will never be the same.

With this being only my third book review on this blog, I really wish that I had more positive things to say about this story. We start by meeting Donovan, a werejaguar, who is sneaking around in his enemy's territories when he comes across a super hot and athletic girl that he just knows he's in love with.

I think one of the big issues with this story is that it seems to be an adult story, written in more of a YA (young adult) style. The author spends most of the narrative by interrupting whatever is happening to remind us of how badly each of our protagonists want to be all-up-on each other. There are also more than an acceptable amount of grammar issues and even missing words.

On the upside, Bevill opens up a whole new world, filled with werejaguars, werewolves, werelions and even a wereocelot. This part of the story telling is more unique and and gives me some hope for the rest of the trilogy. I also picked it up for free from Amazon, so as a quick read it was definitely worth it.

Overall, I can only give Black Moon 2 stars. **
It is available in Kindle and other ebook formats.

Monday, June 13, 2011

That First Novel

Good day, all you... people. (dang, I just couldn't find anything clever to finish that with today)

Wow, it is tough out there finding people that will read your book when it is your first published novel. Right? Riight? Yes, it is. (Although I think that most of these things are likely to pertain to anyone, I have to admit that I am writing about my experiences as an indie author, rather than an author involved in legacy publishing)

There are lots of reasons for this:

Almost all readers already have favorite authors, and if this is your first book, you are not one of them. It's sad and not likely to change soon, (due to the not reading of your book) but it's something you need to be able to deal with.

There are thousands of books out there that cost less than yours, and were there first. People with ebook readers tend to have their readers loaded with free and cheap ebooks that they hope to one day, eventually, hopefully read. Yours is a newbie and it takes a while for people to find it.

Umm, who are you again? Aside from the handful of friends and family that are kind enough to read your blog once a week or so, not many people know who you are. Yet.

And then there are the reasons that are kicking around in your head, the may or may not be true.

Your writing sucks. I believe every writer worries about this at some point. Maybe you didn't edit enough, maybe your dialogue is horrible, maybe your characters are unlikable, etc... These things could be true. If you think they are, maybe you should reread your book, re-edit, and decide if you really want it out there.

Of course, this is a short list that could be much, much longer. The truth of the matter is this: Finding an audience is a marathon, not a sprint- paraphrased from J.A. Konrath

You're not going to sell a million copies in your first month, probably not even 50 copies. This can be stressful, even if you went into it with realistic expectations. You believe in your work, you know it will succeed, so why should you have to wait? Because it takes time. Finding an agent, finding readers, finding your place... these all take time.

Hold out. Make changes if you think they are warranted, but keep moving forward. Write. Every. Day. If you want your work to be its best, you have to keep getting better.

Things to do that might help, maybe but also might not because this game is a lot of luck, include:

Have good cover art. If it looks dated, it's probably a turn off to today's readers. Hell, the stock art provided by places like Lulu or Createspace is better than a lot of the covers I've seen lately. This is the first thing people see, and no matter what they say, people do judge a book by its cover.

Keep your prices competitive.

Make sure your writing is at its best.

I think that's it for today. :)
thanks for reading,
buh bye then

Friday, June 10, 2011

Indie Review Friday #2




Wow, I have slacked through this whole week! Sorry folks, but I did read another indie book and am ready to jump into Indie Review Friday #2!

The Novel:
Demon Girl (Rae Wilder #1) Demon Girl is a YA/Paranormal Romance written by Penelope Fletcher.

Goodreads Description:
Rae Wilder has problems. Supernatural creatures swarm the earth, and humanity is on the brink of extinction. Stalked by a handsome fairy who claims she is like him, demonkind, Rae thinks maybe it was a mistake breaking the rules by going over the Wall into demon territory. Plunged into a world of dark magics, fierce creatures, and ritual sacrifice, she is charged with a guarding a magical amulet. The changes to her mind and body are startling, but rather than accept her purpose she struggles against who she is destined to be. Throw in a big lust for a vampire who can't keep his hands off her, and life starts to get complicated. Rae is forced to make the ultimate choice: to live and die human, or embrace her birth-right and wield magics that could turn her into something wicked, a force of nature nothing can control.

I'll be completely honest here: I am not the biggest fan of Paranormal Romance. What a shock, right? So why would I choose a PNR as my second review? Because I am doing my best to review as a reader, rather than a writer who reads. And as a reader, this genre is hothothothothot-hot right now.

So I dove in. Honesty again: I finished this book in one day. Not only because I had set it as my goal for the day (so I could be sure that I had a review), but also because it was a fun read. Rae Wilder is a likeable character, with human flaws and issues, even though she's not quite human.

Although this story is sort of confined to a handful of locals, it is easy to see that the world Penelope Fletcher has built has some depth to show us yet. Now, parts of this story are very typical of this genre; there is a love triangle and a hidden heritage... However, these things become formulaic for a reason. Readers like them. (period) I didn't think these elements were forced and the story moved along comfortably.

On the downside, there were more typos and grammatical errors than I think the average reader would be able to easily forgive (You WILL find typos and errors when you read indie, but I believe it's only an issue when it slows the story). This wasn't a huge problem for me, but I think it should be noted. I am also hoping that the next part of Rae's adventure allows for a little more character building. These are great, likeable characters and I want to know more.

I liked this story and I will definitely read more from Miss Fletcher in the future. Overall, I am giving Demon Girl 4 out of 5 stars. It is available in both ebook and paperback versions.

And, just in case you didn't know... My own novel, The River Runes, is available from KINDLE as well as in PAPERBACK!

Also, if you haven't already, you should click on the 50 to 100 badge on the right side of the screen to find out about my giveaway! :)

Well, thanks for reading,
buh bye then

Friday, June 3, 2011

Indie Review Friday #1



It's time for my first indie book review! And for my first, I thought that I would dive right in with the horror/thriller story, Serial, by Blake Crouch and Jack Kilborn (aka JA Konrath).

Goodreads description:
Remember the twin golden rules of hitchhiking?

#1: Don't go hitchhiking, because the driver who picks you up could be certifiably crazy.

#2: Don't pick up hitchhikers, because the traveler you pick up could be raving nutcase.

So what if, on some dark, isolated road, Crazy #1 offered a ride to Crazy #2...


This story was a short, quick read, written in a very unique way. According to the info at the back of the book, Kilborn and Crouch each built their killer, and their killer's pre-story before sharing what they had with one another. Then, they collaborated and finished it up together. Sounds sweet, huh?

It's anything but sweet. As far as stories about kindred souls finding each other go, this one was dark as all hell. Even in such a short format, Crouch and Kilborn are able to stick you into the warped minds of their characters, and make you never want to be on the side of the road again. It's gory and perverted and definitely not for people with queezy stomachs.

I give it umm... (wow, hadn't thought of a rating system so I guess I'll be generic for now) 5 Stars. I was hooked from page one, Serial is well written and the characters grabbed my attention. I would recommend Serial for anyone that wants a quick and bloody read.

I wish it was longer, but to be fair, there is a longer story out there, Serial Uncut, that I haven't picked up yet. This one is only available in ebook format, and I got mine for free, on Amazon.com.

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

WIP Wednesday

So, we meet again, Wednesday.

For those of you that are interested, here is a little about my WIP (work in progress, since I haven't said the actual words in a long time)

Word count for Clockwork Charlie: 26,547 (Not a big change here, trying to focus on the day job for now so we can continue to live in a house with a roof and eat food. I'll be back to a daily word count soon, I hope.)

To be found in those words:
Lots of things on fire (a hotel for instance)
Handcuffs made from the roof of a car
A robot using swords

I will post an excerpt here soon :)

Also, I am still waiting on Smashwords to approve The River Runes for their premium catalog, though you can already find it on KINDLE or in PAPERBACK, if you prefer. Just click those links to check it out!

If you have not already, you should join in on the 50 to 100 Giveaway. Just click the badge and read all about it!
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That's it for today,
thanks for reading,
buh bye then

Monday, May 30, 2011

Rambling Man

Hey, all! Happy Memorial Day!

Sorry I didn't do a review on Friday, I'm a huge slacker. I will get one done this week, though.

I need a kindle. Reading on the computer is suckish. A lot.

I was contemplating... thinking... wondering really... Do you think puppets mind? I mean come on, it can't be comfortable to have someone's hand so far up your hooha that they can move your jaw... right? I say we all stand for puppet rights and demand that puppeteers use all string puppets instead of rectile mastering... it just seems wrong!!!

Fuddruckers sounds like a bad word, but their burgers are tasty deliciousness. However, I'm now a vegetarian so that's kind of moot.

If you haven't already, you should click on over to the 50 to 100 giveaway page and sign up.
Photobucket

Wow, there's really not a lot to say today. Sorry about that :)

thanks for reading,
buh bye then

Monday, May 23, 2011

Where have all the reviewers gone?

Hello, all.

So, I didn't get raptured this weekend, did you? No, I thought not. Oh well, maybe next time.

I did, however, participate in my final round of the Book Blogger Hop. I think that both features, the Hop and Follow Friday, are great for adding followers to your blog. So, if that's what you're looking for, you should get on the train. I was hoping for more readers, though, and I just don't think that those features are helping in that area. So I'll not be participating any longer.

"But, Ken, that leaves Fridays open and blank and void and hopeless and full of sorrow and misery and darkness, etc..."

I realized that, and I have just the thing to fill in that empty part of my blogging soul.

I will be starting Friday reviews. I've noticed that finding a book reviewer who is willing, and not too busy, to look at an indie title is... well not impossible, but impossible adjacent. Therefore, I will be giving my Friday blogs for just such a feature. I want to do what I can to help other indie authors, as well as help folks find great books that they might not have found on their own.

My reviews will be honest, but I will do my best to review as a reader, rather than a writer who reads.

"What is the difference?" you ask, bewildered.
Well, I think that a lot of writers who read often forget that most readers are not looking for grammatical perfection. They can be blinded by the rules they have learned through their writing. If the world is immersive and the characters are rich... well, that's what most readers are looking for.

There will, however, be a line. I don't know where it is yet, but I know that I can't stand to see obvious spelled with a "d" or there switched with their or they're. We'll see how it goes. :)


That's it for today, I think
thanks for reading,
buh bye then

Friday, May 20, 2011

Book Blogger Hop

Book Blogger Hop

The Book Blogger Hop is hosted by Crazy For Books

"If you were given the chance to spend one day in a fictional world (from a book), which book would it be from and what would that place be?"

I would love to go to Narnia, from C.S. Lewis's Chronicles of Narnia. The place is magical and amazing, and not nearly as war torn and bitter as Middle Earth. Centaurs, man! I love centaurs.

Thanks for reading,
buh bye then

The River Runes is now live on Kindle!! You can pick it up HERE FOR ONLY $2.99!!

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

WIP Wedensday: To Squee or Not To Squee...

Yay, it's WIP Wednesday, and I have a word count change to talk about!

So, Clockwork Charlie is doing well, thriving, you might say.
New word count: 24,385 words

To be found in all those new words:
1 man, eating a fat lady
1 robot that thinks he can be a pilot
1 star, turned into a beautiful girl
1 war of the gods
and, 1 broken shower curtain rod...

Phew! I'm having a ton of fun with this book so far, and there is still a long way to go.



The paperback version of The River Runes is officially available as of today, you can Get it here for $12.44!! And of course, The River Runes is still live on Kindle!! You can pick it up HERE FOR ONLY $2.99!!

I got my first paperback copy and almost squeeeed from excitement. (okay, I did squee a little, but there was no one home to hear it, so it's alright)

So, that's it for this week's WIP news.
thanks so much for reading,
buh bye then

Monday, May 16, 2011

"Biting is excellent..." -The Doctor's Wife

Neil Gaiman's photo: Perhaps there's still someone who doesn't know that my episode of Dr Who goes out in the US & UK on Saturday. But I doubt it.
Neil Gaiman on WhoSay

First, I have to start today's post by saying, if you have not been watching Dr. Who this season, go watch it. Secondly, Neil Gaiman is a badass. He wrote this week's episode and it was amazing. The plot was killer; funny and scary and creepy all at the same time. My favorite line:

"Biting is excellent. It's like kissing, only there's a winner."- The Doctor's Wife

If, for some ungodly reason, you have not read anything from Mr. Gaiman, go do so now. Some of his great stuff includes, but is not limited to: American Gods, The Anansi Boys, Neverwhere (BBC show, book, graphic novel, etc), Fragile Things (short stories), and so, so much more. And it's all brilliant. I'm not afraid to say that I have a non-sexual, writer man crush on Neil Gaiman.

You should too.

I don't have a lot else to say that would be relevant...

Thanks for reading,
buh bye then

Friday, May 13, 2011

Follow Friday and The Deleted Post



Another Follow Friday!

Today's question:
The Blogger Apocalypse made me a little emotional. What is the most emotional scene in a book that you have read lately?

I'd have to say that the scene from, The Vampire Lestat, where Lestat decides to turn his mother is pretty freakin emotional. (I'm re-reading after like 10 years and it's still awesome.)
******

I'm also going to put yesterday's blog on today's, since it was deleted in the Bloggerocalypse. It's a little longer than most of my posts, but please to read and enjoy:

I can't begin to describe how good it feels to be writing again. I've been editing and revising and talking with beta readers and revising and editing for months. That's part of the gig. I'm okay with it and even happy to do it. Those last bits of writing a novel are hectic and scary and, at times, brutal as all hell. But when you're finished...

What a feeling.

I've been looking around a lot at book reviews on Goodreads and Amazon. Especially, indie book reviews. I've also been looking around at blogs and forums to see what types of things folks are saying. Wow, is it ever polarized out there?!!

A common thread on one side out there, is the belief that all indie authors have self-pubbed because their writing wasn't good enough to get published traditionally. Is there some merit to that? Yeah, of course there is.

When you give everyone the means to put their ideas and opinions out there for the world to see, a lot of what goes out is going to be crap. People who don't know the first thing about world or character building, spelling, punctuation, editing, etc. can now write anything and call it published.

So, yes, of course people will take advantage. Every teenager who writes a poem about how badly his girlfriend hurt him and how no one in the world has ever felt that way before and how the darkness is crushing and the world is fading... They all believe that they are writers. Good writers.

Although, is this true of every indie author? Of course not. Joe Konrath is an amazing writer. Read something from him, I dare you. It's great stuff. He has a general rul, that I think makes a lot of sense. You can't be great at anything, unless you've put 10,000 hours into it. I think he's right.

Writers, real writers, know that it takes time and work to create something worthwhile. There will be failures (oh the failures) and missteps along the way. You will crumple pages full of writing and never look at them again. You will cuss and pound your head on the desk because you have to delete thousands of words that you wrote when you were full of coffee and cable tv. You will finish stories that you spent months on, and then realize that they are garbage.

So, will some indie authors be horrible? Yes. Will they learn from it and get better? Maybe.

On the other hand, do you really believe that agents and other readers of the slush pile the world over will always give every book a fair shake? I don't think so. I do believe that most folks in the writing industry truly love what they do. They have to. Anything to do with writing will swallow time like a fat kid with cake.

But everyone has bad days. Everyone with a job looks at the clock at the end of the day, just wishing they were somewhere else. I know that there are unpublished books out there that would have been great, but were never given a shot.

There are problems with both sides of the issue.

Writers: Write the best book possible, and then get people to read it. Not your family or your friends. Strangers. Find people you don't know that will read your book and tell you the truth. Find lots of them.

Then listen to what they tell you. Revise, edit, do it again. Find new readers. Once you know that your book is at its best, make your decision. I chose to self publish, not because my manuscript was rejected.(I didn't really try the traditional route, other than half a dozen queries I sent out to agents right after I finished my FIRST DRAFT. Don't do that!) I chose this route because I think things are changing, and I want to get in before it's too late.

Could I be wrong? Yes, but I could also be right. I'm happy with my decision and I know that I am going to keep on learning. The day I decide my writing cannot get any better is the day I stop writing.

Thanks for reading through my rambling,
buh bye now

Thursday, May 12, 2011

Warning: This is a long one :)

I can't begin to describe how good it feels to be writing again. I've been editing and revising and talking with beta readers and revising and editing for months. That's part of the gig. I'm okay with it and even happy to do it. Those last bits of writing a novel are hectic and scary and, at times, brutal as all hell. But when you're finished...

What a feeling.

I've been looking around a lot at book reviews on Goodreads and Amazon. Especially, indie book reviews. I've also been looking around at blogs and forums to see what types of things folks are saying. Wow, is it ever polarized out there?!!

A common thread on one side out there, is the belief that all indie authors have self-pubbed because their writing wasn't good enough to get published traditionally. Is there some merit to that? Yeah, of course there is.

When you give everyone the means to put their ideas and opinions out there for the world to see, a lot of what goes out is going to be crap. People who don't know the first thing about world or character building, spelling, punctuation, editing, etc. can now write anything and call it published.

So, yes, of course people will take advantage. Every teenager who writes a poem about how badly his girlfriend hurt him and how no one in the world has ever felt that way before and how the darkness is crushing and the world is fading... They all believe that they are writers. Good writers.

Although, is this true of every indie author? Of course not. Joe Konrath is an amazing writer. Read something from him, I dare you. It's great stuff. He has a general rul, that I think makes a lot of sense. You can't be great at anything, unless you've put 10,000 hours into it. I think he's right.

Writers, real writers, know that it takes time and work to create something worthwhile. There will be failures (oh the failures) and missteps along the way. You will crumple pages full of writing and never look at them again. You will cuss and pound your head on the desk because you have to delete thousands of words that you wrote when you were full of coffee and cable tv. You will finish stories that you spent months on, and then realize that they are garbage.

So, will some indie authors be horrible? Yes. Will they learn from it and get better? Maybe.

On the other hand, do you really believe that agents and other readers of the slush pile the world over will always give every book a fair shake? I don't think so. I do believe that most folks in the writing industry truly love what they do. They have to. Anything to do with writing will swallow time like a fat kid with cake.

But everyone has bad days. Everyone with a job looks at the clock at the end of the day, just wishing they were somewhere else. I know that there are unpublished books out there that would have been great, but were never given a shot.

There are problems with both sides of the issue.

Writers: Write the best book possible, and then get people to read it. Not your family or your friends. Strangers. Find people you don't know that will read your book and tell you the truth. Find lots of them.

Then listen to what they tell you. Revise, edit, do it again. Find new readers. Once you know that your book is at its best, make your decision. I chose to self publish, not because my manuscript was rejected.(I didn't really try the traditional route, other than half a dozen queries I sent out to agents right after I finished my FIRST DRAFT. Don't do that!) I chose this route because I think things are changing, and I want to get in before it's too late.

Could I be wrong? Yes, but I could also be right. I'm happy with my decision and I know that I am going to keep on learning. The day I decide my writing cannot get any better is the day I stop writing.

Thanks for reading through my rambling,
buh bye now

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

The River Runes Available on Kindle!!





Just a quick blog for you today. I couldn't hold it in, it's so exciting!

The River Runes is now live on Kindle!! You can pick up HERE FOR ONLY $2.99!!

And here is the trailer again, just in case you missed it:




So, if you love me or like me or maybe just think we might get along ok, do your good ol' buddy a favor and tell all your friends about the book!

Monday, May 9, 2011

And Now It's Out There (shiver)

As of this afternoon, I have officially submitted The River Runes to CreateSpace and Kindle for publication. Smashwords will be soon to follow, but my brain is mush from all of the formatting and reformatting already. In a last minute decision, I chose to publish paperback through CreateSpace, rather than Lulu.

Why? Because I can sell for less. I want people to be able to buy the book. It's still more than I'd like it to be, but several bucks less than it would have been.

297 pages. It's out there. Whew, this is definitely a new feeling. Nervous. Excited. A little insane.

I've been doing the work and I believe in it. Hopefully others will as well. I've already gotten lots of positive feedback and I can't say how much everyone's support means to me.

Once things are finalized you'll be able to get a paperback copy HERE. If you have a Kindle, you can find a copy on Amazon.com or from your Kindle store for only $2.99. I'll get all the links together and post them up as a store page here soon.

If you are a member of Goodreads, I'm hosting a giveaway! To enter, just click the button at the bottom of the page.

I've sent requests out asking some book bloggers to do reviews. I guess we wait to see how things go from here. This is all new territory for me, so I have no idea what happens next. Lots of work, I'd guess.

I can't wait.

Now I can get back to writing!

Thanks for reading,
buh bye then

Friday, May 6, 2011

Follow Friday and Book Blogger Hop

Some quick news: You can now find my author profile over at Goodreads. I'm pretty pumped about this, it seems like another great place to network and meet lots of folks that just love to read.

If you click on this LINKY RIGHT HERE you can see my page. Please add me as a friend if you are already on goodreads, or sign up if you're not because it's rad. You can see some of my short stories, as well as an excerpt from The River Runes :)




It's Follow Friday again already! Click on the button up there to join in on the fun.

Today's question:
Time to share. What character in a book would you most like to be, what character in a book would you most like to date?

Hmm... This is a weird one. I suppose that if I had to choose a character to be, right now my choice would be Shadow from Neil Gaiman's, American Gods. I suppose if there was someone I wanted to date, it would be Arya from Christopher Paolini's, Eragon. Who doesn't love an elf-girl?


Book Blogger Hop

And Book Blogger HOP!! (Since I missed last week, I'm doing both features this week)
Click on the ol' button if you wanna find out more about this HOP.

Today's question:
"Which book blogger would you most like to meet in real life?"

Ah ha! An easy one. I would like to meet the Query Shark, just so honest and hilarious all the time.

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

WIP Wednesday: Lots To Tell!!



Wow, I haven't posted anything in over a week... sorry about that. I do have an excuse, however. I have been getting lots of work done!

First off, I have been editing and editing, and my hope is to have it all wrapped up within a week from now. Wish me luck. Right after that, I have to finish all of my title pages, copyright stuff, and recheck formatting.

Then I submit to Lulu and the paperback is ready to go! I'll get some ARCs and hopefully find a few book bloggers to do a review for me. ;)

Then, I have to remove the formatting from the entire thing.

"What?!?" you may ask.

Well, in order for Smashwords to publish in all ebook formats; it has to be completely undone and then reformatted to meet their specifications. Which are nothing like paperback formatting specifications.

Once that's finished up; it's time to set a release date and start self promoting like mad. There should be HOPs and interviews and contests galore, so keep a look out and tell your friends to come by, read, and follow.

Nextly, (no that's not a word but I'm all hopped up on fresh dreams and coffee) I made my own, possibly temporary, cover art. I dig it and am impressed with myself for pulling it off. (look on up to the top of the ol' page, just in case you missed it)

Also, I have finished the book trailer for The River Runes! Here it is:


(big thanks to Chris Nichols and Cycledown for letting me use their awesome song; Autumn Fades)

So those are a few of the reasons that I have been absent from the internet. Haven't Facebooked, tweeted or blogged in over a week.

I'm okay with it :)

thanks for reading,
buh bye then

Friday, April 22, 2011

Follow Friday: Playlist?



It is once again Follow Friday, hosted by Parajunkee. If you are interested in finding other book bloggers and blogs you might like, you should definitely head over to visit Parajunkee and join in on the fun.


This week's question:
What is your current playlist?

That's easy!
Death Cab For Cutie: The New Year
Dropkick Murphys: Worker's Song
Elf Power: Come Lie Down With Me
April Smith and The Big Picture Show: Terrible Things
Iron and Wine: Sodom, South Georgia

That's it for today,
thanks for reading,
buh bye then

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

WIP Wednesday (Book Trailers?)


(picture found at thedvshow.com)


Sooo... I don't know how to say this, but there isn't much for me to tell you about my WIP this week. I am actively editing every day, but there has been no writing and that bums me out.

However, I have decided that once I receive the book's artwork I will be making my very first book trailer. It's a strange concept to me, and most of the book trailers that I've seen have been... well, just awful. I did see a few that were rad, though, and I have some great ideas on making mine rad as well.

Hopefully.

Here is one of Amanda Hocking's book trailers. I really dig the simplicity of the artwork and music together the way she's done it.

Click here to see the book trailer at Youtube


It's another step I've decided to take toward using every medium available to get the word out there about my book. It's all about self promotion, and I need to wrap my head around it.

Have you ever created a book trailer? Seen any that you absolutely loved or hated?

Thanks for reading,
buh bye then

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Point of View

Ken sat in front of the old, beaten desk, his blue eyes now dry and bloodshot from staring at the screen for so long. Back and forth, back and forth he went as he tried to make his decision; knowing that this one choice would shape everything. He rubbed his eyes and breathed deeply, cursed softly and began typing. The keystrokes were quick and succinct as he banged away, filling that white page with tiny, black symbols.

Once I was finished with that first page I downed what was left in my coffee cup. The dredges were cold and bitter... time for more. I didn't want to look at the page yet, didn't want to know whether or not I had made the right choice. Still holding the coffee cup, I patted Willie as I stood and headed toward the kitchen.
He hopped off the couch and followed me closely, his floppy ears bounced happily as we went along. It was a treat that he wanted, and I couldn't resist after looking into those puppy-dog eyes. He laid on the cold kitchen floor, chewing away on that smelly, jerky snack as I filled my cup again and went back to my desk.

Ken slammed the steel blue coffee mug onto the desk, slopping its contents over his mousepad, his desk speakers, everything. It didn't help his mood as he held down on the delete key. It was all wrong and he knew it. Another morning without making a decision, another blank page.
"This shouldn't be so hard," he muttered as he used his sleeve to clean up the spill. "It's only first or third person!"


What about you guys, ever have any problems deciding what the point of view for your WIP is going to be?


Thanks for reading,
buh bye then

Friday, April 15, 2011

Book Blogger Hop

Book Blogger Hop

It's Book Blogger Hop time again. If you're interested in joining and finding lots of other book bloggers to connect with, head on over to Crazy For Books and join in on the Hop.

Today's question:
"Pick a character from a book you are currently reading or have just finished and tell us about him/her."

Well, I'm actually rereading the Vampire Chronicles by Anne Rice (if you're wondering how much they sparkle, go read the books and forget about the Cullens).

I'm still on the first book, so the character that is most prominent is Louis. Now, Louis is a gentle soul... what I mean by this is; Louis is a whiner. He spends the first century of his new life trying to get away from Lestat, who is fun and awesome (even if a little abrasive). As a matter of fact, I'm fairly certain that Lestat is the only person that Louis ever comes in contact with that he doesn't fall in love with. He's wishy-washy like Romeo, and he does everything he can to make sure that he is sad about the amazing life and powers he has.

However, Louis is still pretty rad and able to dole out punishment when the time comes.

Ok, now go visit other blogs on the Crazy For Books link list, follow new bloggers, and have a great weekend.

thanks for reading,
buh bye then

Thursday, April 14, 2011

WIP Wednesday... or Thursday if I'm a slacker

Sorry I didn't get anything posted yesterday, somehow I completely forgot that it was Wednesday.

There's not a whole lot as far as updates go, I've been editing and editing and editing, which doesn't leave much time for writing. To be honest, I'm having a hard time working on Clockwork Charlie this week because my brain is full of things that need to be done before I can publish "The City."

However, I can tell you the new title for, The City:
The River Runes; Book one of the Caithiir trilogy

It took some time to settle on a title, but this is it folks. I'm excited about it.

I will give an end word count soon, once editing is final.

Clockwork Charlie has had a little work done, the new wordcount is :18,804

I will be updating the rest of the pages just as soon as I'm finished here. Which I am :)

thanks for reading,
buh bye then

Monday, April 11, 2011

Self Publishing Rules (that I have learned so far)

Here we are at Monday again, don't worry it's only one day. We can beat it!

First off, I'd like to say, "Welcome!" to my new followers. I have to say that my first Follow Friday was a great success. I came across lots of new blogger friends, and there were even a few that found me. I've decided that I will rotate the Book Blogger Hop and Follow Friday each week for at least two months. More traffic to this blog is pretty exciting, and both are fun and easy to do.

Today I'd like to talk about some of the things that need to be done, to be successful in self publishing. Though it seems there is no "yellow brick road" to being successful, there are several things that link many of our more successful self publishing authors.

Make it your very best work!
Once the novel is finished with revisions and editing and editing and editing and the cover is all ready to go, it will be time for publishing. I'll be using Lulu and Smashwords for my paper and ebook publishing, respectively. These are both great options for authors that are serious about self publishing. I will have to buy my own ISBN, but so will anyone else that wants to be able to sell a paper book. (publishers that only sell books through their own site seem to be rather scammy to me)

Self Promotion. Promotion. Promotion.
Though I will do my best to keep shamelessness to a minimum, I will be promoting everything I do. Everyday. This blog, my Facebook page, and my Twitter account will all be used to let people know about what I'm doing, as well as how, when, and where they can get my work. Also, once I have submitted for publishing, I will be starting my own GoodReads page. (no link in that one, there is no page yet!)

Book Blogs!
There are many fantastic book review blogs out there, and most of them would be happy to help a new, self publishing author by giving a review. If they like your book, their readers may jump on the bandwagon, and if they don't like it, well, at least it puts your name out there. These folks mostly do what they do for free, so no complaining. Be gracious and thankful for their honest opinion. You can also do a blog tour, though to be honest; I'm not sure what this means yet. (hehe, that's me slackin)

Keep writing.
Write everything you can, tell every story your brain wants to put out there. If you like them when they're written, start over at the first step and keep going. The more work you have out there, the more likely it is that people will find you and be able to decide if they like your work. Most of us are not famous, and it takes a lot of work to get your name out their.

There are other things to be talked about (ebook prices and how and when to change them, refreshing your backlog, whether or not to find an agent, etc...) but I have blathered on long enough today. Besides, I'm no expert so you may not even want to listen to anything I said. :)

thanks for reading,
buh bye then

Friday, April 8, 2011

Follow Friday: Judging a Book By it's Cover



Follow Friday is an awesome chance for people to meet their fellow book bloggers. All you have to do is click on that button up there, and then follow the directions from the host of "Follow My Book Blog Friday"

This is my first week so I'll post the rules here as well. First, however, I'd like to answer this week's question:

Do you judge a book by its cover?

I suppose I do. I tend to be drawn to covers that are simple and help to point you in the direction of the story. It's not a concrete thing, I'll read a book that seems interesting no matter what it's cover looks like. I just may not ever pick it up to see what it's about if the cover is all cluttered.


To join the fun and make now book blogger friends, just follow these simple rules:

1. (Required) Follow the Follow My Book Blog Friday Host { Parajunkee.com } and any one else you want to follow on the list
2. (Required) Follow our Featured Bloggers - http://mykeepershelf.blogspot.com
3. Put your Blog name & URL in the Linky thing.
4. Grab the button from Parajunkee and place it in a post, this post is for people to find a place to say hi in your comments
5. Follow Follow Follow as many as you can, as many as you want, or just follow a few. The whole point is to make new friends and find new blogs. Also, don't just follow, comment and say hi. Another blogger might not know you are a new follower if you don't say "HI"
6. If someone comments and says they are following you, be a dear and follow back. Spread the Love...and the followers
7. If you're new to the follow friday hop, comment and let me know, so I can stop by and check out your blog!

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

From Under The City- a short story

I decided that I would throw another short story up here today. I hope you all enjoy it:)


From Under The City

It’s been years since I could walk the city in peace. Once the trees decided to grow over Old District, it seems that the lights were turned to dim and the city just stopped welcoming strangers on those old cracked sidewalks. The trees… I remember being a kid and playing on these now decaying streets. I could always climb the trees to hide from a friend, or sit in their shade for that much needed cool on a hot day.
There are no more hot days. I’m not even sure there are cool ones for that matter. No sunsets underground. It’s damn impossible to keep a calendar without seeing the sky.
What amazes me the most is the smell. I haven’t tasted the open air for almost a decade, yet it still smells like the last day of autumn. It’s the smell of twenty thousand people putting the last log of the year into their fireplaces. It’s the smell of children playing with fake swords and dogs drinking from busted hydrants.
I truly believe that if I sat down and closed my eyes for one minute, even though I never would, I could convince my mind that I was still a child. I could lie; tell myself that I still lived in a safe world instead of the vacant corpse that now sits under a blind sun.
I have a job to do. Nostalgia never helped anyone so I’ve got to move forward and stop trying to conjure memories from old signs and busted fences. I convince myself the smell is in my head. It’s not.
In the dim light I can see The Last Chapel ahead. That’s where I need to be. It was a shelter, the last line of defense… a memory of that false feeling of safety that I can’t afford to dwell on. I need to focus on finding him.
When the outcasts started filtering above ground, we all knew it would only be a matter of time before the rumors started to catch on. There have always been rumors of peace and calm in the open air. I suppose it’d be easier for the young ones to forget how quiet and peaceful everything was before the war started.
I can see the address numbers still hanging by the door, 619. It’s funny how things that don’t matter can survive horrors that the things you care about never will.
I know why he came up. It’s the same reason I want to sit down and just breathe in this delicious air. Somehow, it’s also the same reason the church wars started. Hope. goddamn, never breaking, spirit devouring hope. No matter how many times our dreams are quashed, not matter how many of our loved ones disappear, hope still lingers. Hope is what gets our young soldiers killed when they just want a taste of the old world.
It’s funny, even though most of the walls were torn from this place; I still walked through the doorway. I’m sure the kid’s in here. If he’s not here… well there’s no point in my sticking around.
I hope he was smart enough to get to the cellar. I can’t say whether or not they ever found the cellar. It’s the only haven we’ve had up here since we went under. Every few months or so one of these kids has to come up, try his luck. They either turn up in the cellar or not at all.
Every creak I hear makes me reach for Susanna. I remember the day my old man gave her to me. He called me into his study, and set a long, thin box on the desk in front of him.
“Son, you’ve done well. Your mother, may she rest in peace, would be gushing with pride to see the man you’ve become. Stand up straight.” He was constantly telling me to stand up straight. I hated it. It’s strange that the behaviors I used to loathe in my parents have now become fond and even funny memories.
“I never wanted to see my son delve into magic, but now that I see how far you’ve come… Anyhow, I’ve got you a gift. To show you that even old men can learn to appreciate something new if it’s for one of their children.”
The horrible smells in this place are rich enough to bring tears to my eyes.
I call out, “KEVIN!”
Although I’m not surprised by the lack of response, the sound of my own voice in this dry silence sent chills down my spine. I cling to Susanna with my right hand; I can feel my knuckles turning white, though my skin is impossible to see. A slight glimmer hangs on her long cool blade and Susanna basks in the tension.
If I don’t find him soon, there’s no point in staying. No one has ever been found after forty-eight hours other than that girl. The state she was in… I just told her brother I hadn’t found her. I still see her when I close my eyes. Her face, so beautiful and her eyes closed serenely. Not a mark above her neck, but below… It still brings bile to the back of my throat. I’m not here for her now.
“KEVIN!”
I can hear the wind changing outside. Even with no walls above, this cellar somehow blocks the elements. I suppose that’s why they all end up here. Dry, quiet, and almost warm…
CRASH
I spin quickly and see the crate topple as Kevin runs at me. Tears soak his face and no sound comes from his mouth. That’s how it always is. They either can’t make a noise or they scream themselves hoarse and pass out. This way is better. I can’t carry him and Susanna at the same time.
He clings to me, his body shuddering and heaving, wracked with the sobs that just won’t come. I can feel his tears and spit already soaking through my shirt. Kevin… a twenty-two year old man… he’s got a fiancĂ© and a job underground.
The scared misfit now hanging on me is a scared child. He’s a little boy whose parents were taken from him too young, and his legs can barely hold him.
Once I get him back, he won’t speak to me or even look at me anymore. They never do. I guess it’s an embarrassment to be scared or to cry on the shoulder of another grown man. That’s alright; at least his young lady will have someone to dance with at her wedding.

Monday, April 4, 2011

To The Cynics


"Wow, writing is one of those things that I always wished I had the time to do. You're lucky, my schedule is just too demanding."

or

"Hey, that's great about your writing stuff. I'll bet you could still do it if you had a real job too."

I know that as a writer, I love it when the people I respect, care for, or even love say things like that. There's nothing better than having my work and dreams squished into a tiny, unimportant/time wasting/childish/never gonna happen, box.

Can you taste the sarcasm in that? I hope so because I was laying it on pretty darn thick.

I am a writer. Even when I was living the "adult" lifestyle; working a job that made me miserable, taking that misery home and making the people I loved miserable, and still being broke as well as almost completely unfulfilled, I was still a writer. Even if I tried to hide from that fact.

This isn't some sort of pyramid scheme, we writers and artists are not asking for your money or your credit card info. When we talk about our projects, we're not doing it because we want you to buy something. We do it because you are the ones that we want to share our lives with, the ones we feel safe handing our hopes and dreams to.

So don't spit on it. Think. Remember those days before you decided that you had to be whatever version of "adult" you are now. Growing up does not mean giving up. Trust me, that will only make things worse in the long run. I'm not saying quit your job or be unreasonable about what you can accomplish, just don't give up on what you really want out of this life.

I'm not going to. Not again. Not ever.

I've been debating on whether or not to write this for quite some time, I hope it doesn't sound angry. It's not. I have an amazing support structure in my life right now, something that I've never had before, and I am happier than I've ever been.

The moral is this: If you love, respect, or care for someone... be supportive and let them know that you will stand behind them. They probably already know that they might fail, don't feel like you need to remind them.

phew
that's it for now
thanks for reading,
buh bye then

Friday, April 1, 2011

Follow Friday & The Book Blogger Hop

Book Blogger Hop
The Book Blogger Hop is hosted by Crazy-For-Books

The Book Blogger Hop is a place just for book bloggers and readers to connect and share our love of the written word! This weekly BOOK PARTY is an awesome opportunity for book bloggers to connect with other book lovers, make new friends, support each other, and generally just share our love of books! It will also give blog readers a chance to find other book blogs to read! So, grab the logo, post about the Hop on your blog, and start HOPPING through the list of blogs that are posted in the Linky list over at Crazy-For-Books!!

RULES:

Your blog should have content related to books, including, but not limited to book reviews.

1. Enter your book blog link in the Linky List over at Crazy-For-Books, including the genre that you review!
In your link, please state the main genre that you review: eclectic, contemp. fiction, ya, paranormal, mystery, non-fiction, etc.

Example: Crazy-for-Books (contemp. adult fiction)

2. Post about the Hop on your blog. Spread the word about the book party! The more the merrier! In your blog post, answer the following question (new question each week!).

Today's Question:
"Since today is April Fool's Day in the USA, what is the best prank you have ever played on someone OR that someone has played on you?"

Answer:
Back when I was 17 years old, my mother woke me up far too early for me to realize that it was April Fool's Day. She knew that I had an obsession with the Ford Mustang, and decided to use that against me. With excitement in my eyes (and lots of sleepy still in there as well) I threw open the garage door to find a tiny model Ford Mustang. "Happy April Fool's Day!" she exclaimed as my heart died a little.

3. Visit other blogs in the Linky List! Make new friends! Follow new book bloggers! Talk about books! Rave about authors! Take the time to make a quality visit! Check out other posts and content, make a new friend! Don't randomly follow someone if you never intend on actually following them! No spamming please! (Please do not leave your link and not visit other blogs - it's just not cool and not in the spirit of the Hop!)

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

The Hobbit is coming!

Hey guess what. I'm a nerd, so we're going to talk a little about the Hobbit, which is finally making its way to being a movie. Yay!

Now, as far as movie recreations go, I believe the LOTR movies did an amazing job. I think that most Tolkien fans agree with me, and are most likely excited to finally be getting on with The Hobbit. (for those folks that say the movies didn't work, because, "where was Tom Bombadil?" Come on, let's just face it: Tom Bombadil was awesome, but really, how does the story go forward without anyone just handing him the ring and being done with it?)

I am excited for this flick, and growing more excited every time I hear about it. Martin Freeman (who you probably know from The Office, Hitchhiker's Guide To The Galaxy, and a whole host of other film and tv parts) is taking on the role of Bilbo Baggins, and I can't think of anyone better. He's a great actor, with great timing, and I can't wait to see him filling out those big, hairy feet.

Cate Blanchett, Orlando Bloom, Ian Mckellen, and Andy Serkis(Gollum) will all be taking up their old roles in this prequel as well.

Is there a point to this ranting? Maybe. I'm excited and you should be as well. If you haven't read the books, read them, it will make all of the movies that much better.

That's it for now,
thanks for reading,
buh bye then

Monday, March 28, 2011

New Book Giving Holiday News

Hey there folks, have a good weekend?

Sorry if anyone missed me on Friday, I kept reminding myself that I needed to do a blog but as I've said a thousand times; I'm kind of a slacker.

So, Neil Gaiman wrote a Great Blog about our lack of celebrations that involve giving each other books. He then tossed out the idea that people should give each other scary books on Halloween (check out the blog for more info since I'm keeping it short). Since Gaiman said it, of course the world listened. You can check out the new "All Hallow's Read" page Here.

I think it's a brilliant idea, and if there is anyone out there that thinks giving people books, on any day, is a bad idea, well tough.

As far as my work goes, here's a quick update:

Clockwork Charlie is going well, though I didn't get as much as hoped done last week. That WIP now sits at 18,702 words (it was higher, but I ripped a bunch of stuff out and fixed a part that was bothering me).

The City (not its title anymore, will give actual title soon, mmkay) is still in its editing phase.

For everything I'm working on, here's hoping to getting a lot done during Spring break!

I guess that's it for today,
thanks for reading,
buh bye then

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Just Some Stuff

Hey there fun seeker :)

So I don't have a lot to write about today, just trying to get work done on Clockwork Charlie, waiting for cover art, and also waiting on editing stuff. Phew.

I am however also trying to find an artist that would be interested in working on a weekly webcomic with me. It is a comedy/fantasy story, and I think it'll be tons of fun. It's just crazy hard to find an artist that is willing to put the time into something like this, and I just do not have the talent for it. But I have faith that someone will come along, hopefully soon.

Also, we have leveled up *PING* and obtained a fuzzy puppy. Actually we got him almost two months ago, but I'm writing about him just now. His name is Willie, and he's some kind of border collie/Shepard/mutt mix. He's a ton of fun, really smart, and currently shedding more than any beast has the right to.

Lastly(ish), To the gym with me! Or, at least that's the plan. My girlfriend and I have decided that I need to lose this Winter weight (that I've gained by eating her delicious cooking all Winter) and thusly, we will be hitting the gym mon/wed/fri. So, wish me luck :)

I suppose that's it for today,
thanks for reading,
buh bye then

Monday, March 21, 2011

Spring and The Other Guy

I'm so glad Spring is here. It's still cold, but I believe it's a different kind of cold; it's your cold foot when you wake up with your leg hanging out from under the blankets. It's only the leftover chill from the night, and it means that the rains, and then finally, the sun is coming. I'll miss the snow, but I'm ready for the new season.

I realize that it's been a long time since I've posted any of my writing on here, so I'm going to give you guys another of my short stories. WARNING: FOUL LANGUAGE AND DESCRIPTION OF DOMESTIC VIOLENCE

I hope you enjoy it, this one's called:

"The Other Guy"

I remember the night that I decided to leave. He had been drinking again, which wasn't any kinda surprise, and came home yelling about how I'd stolen his life (also not a surprise).
“Fuck you, Denise,” at that point, it had become his catch-phrase. “I can't believe I'm stuck with a waste like you, I coulda' had any girl in school... I coulda' done whatever the fuck I wanted... but you had to get knocked up!”
It was a mantra by that time, and he'd been perfecting it since the first time I asked him to stay home, instead of going out to get plowed with his buddies. I was used to it... hell, it was almost a comfort on those nights I had been worried he wasn't coming home. I don't know what did it that night, but hearing him say “knocked up” in his special way... well, it just brought bile to the back of my throat. I'm still not real sure why I said it... or at least, I'm not sure why I picked that night to say it.
“You're right, Steve. If only you could've been as limp on that night as you normally are...”
WHAM.
It definitely wasn't the first time he'd hit me, but I'd never felt the blood explode in my mouth like that before. What a prick.
“You dumb bitch...” gosh, my fella had a way with words.
I spit. It was disgusting. Saliva and snot, mixed with blood and... oh shit. It was tears too, the bastard had made me cry. I think that's what did it. I was so disgusted with myself for crying, and giving that pig the satisfaction.
I spit again, this time just to clear my mouth so I could talk. I was pissed, and I was going to be heard. Even if he killed me.

“Wait.” CLICK
I take a drag off my cigarette as Dave turns his recorder off. I don't really know him, but he's cute and he smells great, and he asked me to call him Dave. So I do.
“Do you mean that he'd beaten you before?”
“Well sure,” I'm givin' him my sweetest grin, and he looks surprised. It's cute.
“Why didn't you leave earlier, then?”
“I was in love, wasn't I?”
“How could you ever love someone that would hit you?” He's naive, but his voice is sweet, and he means well.
“Well, Dave,” I start, noticing I'm getting pretty far down on my cig already, “my daddy used to hit me with a switch when I was bein' bad...” I give Dave a second to think on what I'm sayin'. “I still love him.”
CLICK WHIRRR
Poor Dave doesn't get it, so he takes a deep breath and starts his recorder thing again.
“Okay, Denise. So, you spit out the blood so that you could talk...”

There he stood over me, staring down like I was something he'd wiped off the bottom of his shoe. I could see that he hated me in that moment, and it made me feel so much better.
“There ya go, Steve, don't stop now. Show me how much of a man you really are. Hit me again.”
For a minute, his face turned red and I could see that he was trying to fight that fire that had roared up inside of him. He wanted to go off on me, to beat the words back into my mouth, and I just sat there waiting for it. But, if you'll believe it, the anger disappeared just as fast as it came.
“You bitch,” he smiled as he said it. The asshole. He smiled and he cussed, and then he had the nerve to start laughing. Fucking prick.
“You just wanna be able to go to work and show all your new pals how mean I am. Damn girl, you almost drug me in with that shit.” He walked into the kitchen, then, and from my place on the floor, I heard the sound of a beer can opening. “Well I aint gonna be the one payin' for your pity party this time, honey,” he said from the kitchen. “You want a beer?”
Like I said, fuck him.
“Honey.” I kept hearing his calloused fucking voice, just dripping with sarcasm as he said it. That was the moment when I knew that I was done.

CLICK CLICK CLICK
Dave's recorder starts making a funny noise and he snatches it up off the table.
“Sorry, Mrs. Henley...”
“Denise.”
“Sorry, Denise.” He licks his lips as he talks and it gives me a shiver. “Just need a new tape, okay?”
“No worries, sweetheart,” I say as I light another coffin-nail. I can't keep the flirting tone out of my voice with this kid, and he's young enough to be my son. Damn, it's been a long time.
CLICK WHIRRR
“Ok, Denise, so he was outright mocking you... you had to have been pissed.”

Pissed doesn't even begin to describe how I was feelin' that night. I was out of my mind, right then. If I could've set his ass on fire with my thoughts... well, you better believe that I would've been roasting marshmallows.
“That's what made everything so shitty, ya know,” Steve said as he made his way back to the living room. “You had to go get that job. You coulda done anything... cooking, cleaning, or hell, you coulda got a job a the goddamn 7-11.”
I couldn't take my eyes off him. I hadn't moved from the floor, my shirt was soaked, and all I could smell was copper, from the blood in my mouth, and the booze he reeked of.
“Nope,” he started again, “you had to go help that slut Penny run her little 'coffee house.' Steve flopped onto the couch like he'd been working all day, instead of jacking off to the Sears catalog and then getting drunk. “Oh well, Neesy, you dug your own grave on that one.”
I don't have to tell you, Steve hated Penny. She was taller than him, and he was one of the only guys we knew that she hadn't had sex with. So, of course, he hated her.
“You're right, sweetie,” I said with as much phony sugar as I could muster, “it has nothing to do with you being a drunk, or the kiddie porn you think you've got hidden on your computer.”
For a second, I saw that flare in his nostrils, and I thought he'd come at me again. Somehow, it didn't last, and his lead-ass didn't budge from the couch.
“Not tonight, Denise. Tonight, you get to be the bad guy.”
Can you believe that shit?! I sat there, blood still trickling in my mouth, stunned as if he'd hit me again. I get to be the bad guy? Fuck him. Did I say that already? Fuck him.
So there he sat, bold as day and with his beer in his hand, and he fell asleep. I remember watching as it happened, and being completely at a loss for words. I knew he wasn't going to wake up til those drinks hit his bladder and he had to piss, and all I could think about was the likelihood of me having to call in to work the next day. I couldn't let Penny see me with a fat lip.

“So that was the night that you decided you were going to leave him?”
“Yeah, that was it for me.”
Dave picks up his recorder and starts playing with it, but doesn't turn it off. I can see his mind working, he has questions but maybe don't know how to ask. Jesus, his eyes are a pretty shade of green.
“What are you thinkin' about, hun?”
“Well, why?” he starts and stops real quick. “I mean, if he'd done it before, why was that night so different?”
You know, I've wondered that myself. The only difference I can see is that he stopped.” I light another cigarette as I think on what to say next. Dave just looks on at the wall, like he's waiting for me to explode or something. “The only answer I could ever come up with, was that it was his final insult, wasn't it?”
“Calling you a bitch?”
I almost spit out my cigarette, tryin' not to laugh. “Heck no, sweetie. He spent lots more time callin' me a bitch.”
“I don't think I understand what you mean, then.”
“Well, the bastard didn't even think enough of me to be hurt by what I said. After all the time he'd spent wailin' on me, and cuttin' me down, I figured he owed me that much. If he hit again, or at least screamed at me... well at least then I woulda' known he was payin' attention.”

CLICK
“Can I get one of those?” he asks, pointing at my cigs. I flash him my best smile as I fish one out of the pack.
“What's the matter, hun, don't want proof of your smokin'?”
“Ha,” he laughs as he lights it and sets down the non-recording recorder. He takes a long pull from the cig and I can see it, pure ecstasy, as the smoke rolls down his throat. I know that feeling. “I suppose not, my girlfriend would be pissed.”
“Well, we wouldn't want that now.” I'm a little jealous about the girlfriend, and I can't even believe it. Dave relaxes as he smokes, casually blowing rings, and obviously somewhere deep in his head. I take a quick look at the clock, it's ten-fifty. He won't be here much longer.

CLICK CLICK WHIRRRR
“Denise, I just have one last question for you.”
“Shoot, darlin.”
“From the story you just shared with me, it seems like you decided to leave Steve about ten years before the fire. Why did you stay for so long? Why keep letting him push you?”

We had a lot of good times, Steve and me. Even after that night, when we weren't drinking, we got along pretty well.
Some days, he was a downright sweetheart. He'd rub my feet, or make dinner and light some candles. No it wasn't Steve that pushed me too far. He was my friend, hell, my partner... I loved Steve. It wasn't Steve I was tryin' to get rid of when I torched that house, it was the other guy.
Once he got some drinks in him, Steve wouldn't be there no more. He became somebody else, and whoever it was, he was a prick.
That's who I killed the night I started that fire. Steve was just an innocent guy that didn't get out in time.

CLICK
Dave's nervous now, I can see it in his eyes. “It's okay hun, I would probably think I was crazy too.”
“I don't. I was just wondering... Is that why you pleaded guilty? Most people would have gone for self defense, or even an insanity plea.”
“Hell, Dave,” I say as sweetly as I can, “I killed him. No question about it. I figure that I should pay my bill, just like everyone else.”
BUZZZZ
“Visiting hour is over,” comes the security guard's voice over the intercom.
“Oh. Okay,” stammers Dave as he picks up his recorder. “Thanks, Mrs. Henley.”
“Denise.”
“Thanks, Denise. You'll have to let me know how your parole hearing goes,” he says as he lays a hug on me.
“I will, hun. And make sure to tell your professor that if you don't get a fair grade,” I flash him a little wink as he heads to the door, “even convicts can get free matches.”------