Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Two Interviews, a Review, & a Writer's Rant

Before I get started, I just have to point out the fact that this post's title sounds a little bit like a failed ABC sitcom. That is all.

Naj over at Unputdownable Books recently asked me to answer some interview questions for her blog and the conversation is now available HERE.  Not only is Naj a great supporter of indie authors, she's also a fantastic graphic designer. Explore her website and check out her artwork if you can. It's pretty amazing.

In related news, I'll soon have another interview posted at the blog Kindle Author. I'll be sure to post a link as soon as it goes live.

Also, this: an amazing review fellow author Tominda Adkins wrote about my book "Prismatica" on Goodreads. The recommendation of "Prismatica" for fans of Neil Gaiman nearly turned my brain to pudding. And, for those of you who aren't sure, that's definitely a good thing. Go check out Tominda's (unsolicited) review. And when you're done there, check out Tominda's ebook "Vessel" on Amazon.

Finally, I received my first royalty check from Amazon about a week and a half ago. Small as it was, I actually got a little choked up when I first saw that envelope. The first check is going in a frame above my desk.

Rereading what I've posted so far, I can't help but think how some people might get into writing (or any creative act) for the simple gratitude of easy praise. It's a real possibility that many writers only work in order to stroke their own egos.

Believe it or not, that's not why I'm here.

The real artist, the one who cares about the craft, doesn't make something to be congratulated. They make their art to share it with others. They create in order to share an experience. Sometimes the art isn't popular. It's not a candy-coated commodity that every person can enjoy. Sometimes, there are risks to be taken.

I knew publishing "Prismatica" was a risk. It wasn't a full-fledged novel, nor was it actually a true collection of short stories. It blended horror and fantasy and action and even poetry. And, it's a prequel to a story that hasn't even been published yet. The audience wasn't enormous, but I knew that there were people hiding on the Internet, just waiting for something like this book. And they're beginning to find it and enjoy the story I had to tell.

That pleasure is the reason I do this. Do I enjoy making money from writing? Hell yes. The moment I'm able to make a solid living through my art, I'll post a video of myself doing a dance of joy.

But there's nothing more exciting than seeing someone else get into a book like "Prismatica". It means the risk paid off. And that calls for a chorus line of joy dances.

Monday, June 13, 2011

Indie Author Showcase 17: Keryl Raist

Before I get to the showcase below, I have to thank the wonderful people who continue to support me in this grand adventure. Whether you've purchased Prismatica or Lane 8, or you've simply mentioned me on Twitter or Facebook, you have to know that I am deeply grateful. In short, you rock.

Today's featured author is Keryl Raist, who offers a bit of urban fantasy and romance for your consideration. Be sure to visit her website and blog for more info, inspiration, and some additional fiction.

And now, from the author herself....

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Book Title: Sylvianna

Genre: Urban Fantasy

Your Book in 1000 Words or Less:

Sylvianna is something of a genre busting story.

It's a story about true love, but it's not quite a romance.
It's got enough erotic content to keep the erotica fans happy, but it's not the main point of the story.
Like any good fantasy it's got wizards and sword fights.
And like a paranormal book it's got angels and demons.
The main characters are in college, but it's not a coming of age story.

The back of the book reads: Sarah Metz just got to Sylvianna College. She went in search of a biology degree. She found a group of wizards on the run from their past. They remember her. She doesn't remember them. Over the next year, she'll help them fight off the creatures trying to kill them, fall back into love with the man who used to be her husband, break the heart of her best friend while doing it, and maybe, if they're very, very lucky, not remember who she used to be.

Sylvianna is a modern day fantasy with a scorching hot romance and a deeply layered plot. Angels, demons, magic, sword fights, free will, destiny, and true love all weave into a complex tale of the search for redemption.

Book Link: Sylvianna

Author Website: www.topublishornotto.blogspot.com  or  www.kerylraist.com

Something Unique About Your Writing Process: I'm a firm believer in the BIC method. Every day, you sit your Butt In a Chair and write. And you don't get back up again until you've written something new. Good, bad, indifferent, doesn't matter. Every day you write something. Eventually you get into the habit, and once it's a habit, it's hard to not write.

Friday, June 10, 2011

Indie Author Showcase 16: Nancy Holzner

Greetings, writers and readers! I'm trying to get the author showcase up and running smoothly again. I somehow turned into that blogger who promises content, then disappears for a time (only posting sporadically and incoherently). That won't be happening anymore.

Today's featured author is Nancy Holzner. She writes out of New York and offers an intriguing mystery novel below. Be sure to visit her blog because she also writes paranormal / urban fantasy and has several other books available.

And now, from the author herself...

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Book Title: Peace, Love, and Murder

Genre: Mystery

Your Book in 1000 Words or Less: Finding a corpse in the trunk of your cab is a rotten way to start the day. For Bo Forrester, things go straight downhill from there. The cops are asking a hell of a lot of questions. The murder weapon turns up too close for comfort. And the attractive woman giving him the eye turns out to be Trudy Hauser, a cute-but-crazy deputy dead set on arresting him for murder.

Bo returned to Rhodes, an upstate New York college town, hoping to reconcile with his parents, gentle hippies who couldn't accept his decision to join the Army at eighteen. Twenty years later, the commune where he grew up is a subdivision and his parents are long gone. Pondering his next move, Bo takes a job driving a cab. And he has no clue how the bullet-riddled body of art philanthropist Fred Davies ended up in the trunk.

Now, he can't turn around without bumping into Trudy-it's not her case, but that's not slowing her down. The local cops, suspecting robbery as the motive, are right behind her. When Davies's beautiful widow asks Bo for help, he can't say no. Starting his own investigation, he plunges into a world of privilege, corruption, and high-stakes greed. A lot of people had reason to want Davies dead: a flirtatious art history professor with a taste for booze and men; her insanely jealous, ex-felon husband; the business partner with a secret addiction; and an avant-garde artist who proclaims that murder is the ultimate art form.

As the body count escalates, Bo must combine the skills he learned as a soldier with the values he grew up with on the commune to flush out a vicious murderer-if he manages to stay alive that long.

Book Link: Peace, Love, and Murder (A Bo Forrester Mystery)

Author Website: www.nancyholzner.wordpress.com

Something Unique About Your Writing Process:
I almost always end up writing a whole new first chapter, so now when I start a new project, the first words I type are "Chapter 2."

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Music & Fiction: Peanut Butter & Jelly For The Soul

Here's a secret.

Not only am I an author, but I'm also a musician.

My tangled love affair with music and fiction has been persistent throughout most of my life. I was the kid who, on middle school and high school field trips, would sit quietly at the back of the bus with a novel in hand and headphones clutching my ears as I fell deeper and deeper into my own imagination. Oddly enough, I've never done drugs. I guess creativity was my only addiction.

I've always been fascinated by soundtracks. The way well-crafted music can emphasize cinematic elements is magical; for this reason, I am a huge fan of composers like John Williams, Danny Elfman, Howard Shore, and Ramin Djawadi. But I'm also a fan of hard rock... and I'm not talking bands like KISS or ACDC. I'm talking progressive metal, blistering rock that is intelligent and primal at the same time. I go crazy for bands like Mastodon, Dream Theatre, Alice in Chains. You get the picture.

So, I'm a musician. And I make music that I would like to hear, heavily influenced by the bands I just mentioned (and so many others). I've been making music for about fifteen years; I've been writing fiction for about the same time.

You see, it's all about expression. Sometimes, the written word gets the job done. It tells the story sufficiently and I can live my life when I'm done writing.

But sometimes, words don't work. Sometimes it's just the sound that tells the story. It's the sound that carries me forward, allows me to express something deeper than words can describe.

And sometimes, I can put the two together.

I discovered a few years ago that I could incorporate spoken word into many of the songs that I compose. For a long time, I was afraid of singing, but I knew my writing was pretty decent. And so was my guitar-playing. So I started melding music and fiction, developing this unique blend that I'm about to unleash on a global level.

If you're particularly observant, you've probably noticed a few new items on the blog. First, there's a ReverbNation player that features a few of the songs I'll be making available for download in coming weeks. They are part of a project I call "The Pale Hypnotic", which is actually a huge fusion of storytelling, music, and virtual reality. It's one part concert, one part play, and one part audio book about a post-apocalyptic, dystopian, epic comedy. Yeah, you heard me correctly.

And it will be streamed to this website whenever I do a performance in Second Life (that's a subject to be covered in another post). The second new item you might have noticed? At the top of the page I've added a player that will stream my upcoming shows and readings right to this website. So you won't have to be in Second Life to hear the music or the fiction. You can just enjoy it wherever you have an internet connection.

Beyond those two additions, I'm also working on a soundtrack for the fantasy novel I'll be publishing soon. All instrumental music, all original, and made specifically for you loyal readers.

The (r)evolution of indie publishing is taking a new turn. And I'll be the one holding your hand and guiding you around the blind curves. Let's have an adventure, shall we?