Tuesday, February 21, 2017

Five Years Later

Wednesday marks the fifth anniversary of the publication for my first novel, Spell of Entrapment. I can’t believe it’s been five years already. Sometimes, it only seems like yesterday. Other times, it feels as though I’ve muddled through an eternal stretch of time, making next to no progress on my literary journey whatsoever. It’s been an interesting period at least. I just can’t believe I’ve pumped out eight books in this time.

I wouldn’t have ever gotten to this point without the help of a dear friend, Sean Sweeney. He took me in as the newb I was, told me to ditch my efforts at traditional publication, and just put that first book online. My nerves rattled me of course. How was I to ever get Embekah, Patrew, Tarbra, and Halscrad all to an audience without going through the proper gateways. Indie publishing was still a relatively new industry, or at least it seemed so to me. I put it up online, talked about it on my various channels, and watched as eighteen copies of that first book went out by the end of the month.

Over the next five years, more books turned up. Speed Demons arrived in August of 2012. Optical Osmosis was my lone release of 2013. Interstellar Dad and A Mage Among Trolls brought me much joy in 2014. 2015 saw Interstellar Dad #2: The Battle at Stellar Daycare and Fire in the Forest. 2016 offered publication to Interstellar Dad #3: Mass Reproduction. I built up a small but loyal audience and kept putting words to the page.

It is to that audience that I say thank you so much for joining me on this journey. I couldn’t do this without you. Let’s make the next five years even better than the last. You will join me on this journey, won’t you?

Be sure to sign up for my newsletter so you can stay up to date with all of my goings-on!

Tuesday, July 12, 2016

So Many Distractions

There’s no use in denying just how easily distracted I can get. I’ve been sitting here in the library for the past two hours, ready to write something, anything, to keep my writing stuff going. I’ve been meaning to start edits on Dead-End Demons, a follow-up to 2012’s Speed Demons. I have short stories for a fast food anthology I’ve been working on. I even have a novel I need to complete, waiting for me to return to it. So I should be producing something.

Instead, I find myself playing games or just surfing the internet, bogged down in flights of fancy rather than in being productive. The bright and shiny lights and fun blips and beeps keep me occupied, and not in a conducive manner. In fact, just in the creation of this post, I wound up faltering at least three times that I can count. It’s so easy to steer away from the path I need to be on, especially when I have at least six to ten tabs open on my web browser. How am I supposed to get any work done when I keep doing this?

One thing that snaps me back into focus is remembering that I’m the one in charge of my dream. If I don’t do the work that’s required of me, I’ll never be fully content. Sure, there’s an immediate gratification offered in the news feeds of my favorite web sites, and of course there’s always that fun cat video to watch. But these things do not get my writing done. I have to snap myself away from the distractions if I’m ever going to have a shot of being happy.

And writing makes me happy.

What makes you happy? What steps do you take to make sure distractions don’t tear you away from your goals?

Tuesday, July 5, 2016

My First One-Star Rating

Being an eight-time published novelist now, I sometimes like to see how my books are doing as far as ratings/reviews go. I know I should only focus on working on my next work and getting it out into the world. But human nature loves to flirt with curiosity, and I occasionally look to see what reactions people give my books. I already have those loyal fans who are hopelessly hooked on my stories, and I appreciate them for it. Still, I take that occasional trip over to see those numeric values.

Not me, but he could play me in the movie about my life.
So of course I check out my titles on Goodreads. One of the books, A Mage Among Trolls, has become the first title to earn a one-star rating over at that website. Now, there are two things to note about this. I know not everyone will like my writing, and I’m okay with this. It also leads me to my second point. My very reaction to the one-star rating surprised me. I’ve heard stories of authors laying on the proverbial loudspeaker to blast the person who didn’t care for their work. And for many months, I’ve planned to just dance around and sing a happy song because I’ve planned to take this in great stride, a laugh-in-your-face sort of approach to getting a poor rating.

Instead, my reaction to the one-star is a simple shrug. I find my response quite shocking for one simple fact. It means my skin has grown thicker as an author. I’m not sure how that happened, because I remember the first time I got edits back from an editor. Every last red mark felt like blood dripping out of the knife wound in my back at that time. And now I barely blink when someone leaves a poor rating. I think this is called growth, or maturity, or something like that.

How have you handled criticism of any sort? Have you shrugged it off, or have you found yourself struggling with it?

Tuesday, June 28, 2016

Of New Book Releases and Points of View

I’ve just released the third novel in my Interstellar Dad series, Mass Reproduction. More on that in a minute. In fact, if you just want to go to the bottom of this post and look at the links of where to buy the book, by all means go right ahead.

But this post isn’t just about the book I’ve released. I mean, sure I could tell you that the third installment picks up right where The Battle at Stellar Daycare (ID #2) ended. I might even let you know how a Ph’mleez medical technician by the name of Ph’elle has taken it upon herself to detonate an embryo inducer bomb on Earth, and how a lot of men fall victim to the effects of that device. I’d probably even throw in a mention of how it’s up to the Interstellar Dad, Andrew Skyes, to stop Ph’elle and her new friend, Senator Trevor Spenchell, from manipulating the male population into subjugation.
What is that alien up to exactly?

Instead, I just want to talk about how proud I am of the process that went into this particular book. Of course, I’m proud of all of my books. But there’s something different about Mass Reproduction. I think it’s the fact that I’ve experimented with new ways of telling the story.

For example, I split the story up between three POVs, using chapter breaks to switch up the POV. They go between Andrew, the senator, and a character named Arend Fuller. Of these, the senator’s character proves the most interesting for me because I’ve really had to delve into what makes him tick. Exploring a wide variety of POVs enriches the material, I think. The animosity between Senator Spenchell and his son, Rory, serves as a critical piece of the puzzle for that story arc.

Playing around with various aspects of the craft can help a writer grow. I’ve learned a lot with all of the stuff I’ve done in the name of POV. As a result, the Interstellar Dad universe may well have expanded in a most wondrous way.

Here’s where to find all three books in the Interstellar Dad series, including Mass Reproduction:

Interstellar Dad #1

ID #2: The Battle at Stellar Daycare

ID #3: Mass Reproduction

Tuesday, June 21, 2016

Bang My Head, Bang a Drum

(Author's note: This post was actually written back in November of last year. I totally forgot I even had written this. Talk about accidentally creating a time capsule. Anyhow, I'm just going to present this in its original glory. Enjoy!)

Lately I’ve been banging my head on the latest rough draft currently in development. This book, Dead-End Demons, will be my ninth book I’ve written since becoming a self-published author. I’ve spent some time away from the genre of horror, hence the title.

But it’s not the book I wish to discuss today. Rather, it’s the head-banging I mentioned a mere second ago. Two months have passed since I began this title, and I’ve only gotten 30,000 words as of November twenty-seventh. Whole novels have been written in just the month of November, and I struggle to chug along. One could almost blame this on writer’s block, but really I feel it’s a cheap excuse to fall back on.

So I’m banging my head, and I’m head-banging to Pandora music, and then something strikes me. No, not the table surface in front of me, although that would be a reasonable assumption. No, it’s the fact that my soul is craving some serious storytelling in a quick way to ignite the spark I need to carry me through my writing sessions. I read books of course, but still the bind I’m in remains unbroken.

Then I come across a song by Jon Bon Jovi, on his album Blaze of Glory. It’s called "Bang a Drum", and dang if this isn’t exactly the thing I need to pick me out of my writerly doldrums. The prose in the song is enough to excite me, and the melody gives me pause for deep contemplation. Finally I’ve unlocked the block and found a way to press on.
Listening to music is a rather effective way to get a writer out of their literary woes. If you do not have a playlist, consider building one. Streaming services like Pandora can help, or you can even build a playlist on Spotify. I prefer Pandora only because it introduces me to a wider range of songs, but any radio app will likely work. Find what works best for you, and then incorporate it into your writing process.

Thursday, January 28, 2016

The Reader (The Rifters #3) by M. Pax

I'm a little late to the party here, but in December M. Pax released her latest book, The Reader (The Rifters #3). Congratulations on your newest release, M!

For those of you not familiar with M.'s work or who she is as an author, allow me to fill in some of the blanks for you, starting with her official bio:

M. Pax is author of the space adventure series The Backworlds, plus other novels and short stories. Fantasy, science fiction, and the weird beckons  to her, and she blames Oregon, a source of endless inspiration. She docents at Pine Mountain Observatory in the summers as a star guide and has a cat with a crush on Mr. Spock. Learn more at mpaxauthor.com.

So that tells you a little bit about the author, but what about her newest science fiction release? Here comes the scoop for that:

The Reader:

With the rift closed for the season and no more monsters to fight, Daelin Long gets bored as librarian in the podunk town of Settler, Oregon. A job interview and her brother’s arrival present a tempting opportunity to escape, until her brother and her best friend, a ghost, disappear.

While Daelin searches for them, more mysteries pile up: dead people coming back to life, portraits of the town founders replaced with strange white trees, and people on the other side of the rift returning. It’s impossible. The portal that allows monsters from other universes to come to Earth is sealed until next summer.

The Rifters, a secret group protecting our world, believe the troubles are nothing more than the tantrums of an offended ghost. Daelin disagrees. If she’s right, the evil hell-bent on destroying Earth has new technology making the rift more deadly.
Before the monster summons the next apocalypse, Daelin must find it and destroy it.

Book 3 in the Rifter series.

Need to catch up? You can read books 1 & 2 in the Rifter series for free by becoming an M. Pax Reader. ENTER MY DIMENSION


“The world Pax creates here is like the Wild West meets Ghostbusters with some Stargate and a bit of Steampunk thrown in. Even though everything seems a bit familiar, it’s not, which is what makes it compelling.”CHOOSE YOUR OWN END

“This book catapults the reader right in mid-events and, like Daelin, one is forever trying to figure out the ins and outs of the situation. Though readers have one advantage in that we are prepared to believe. However, what in some books can be annoying, becomes an enjoyable ride, where you are constantly excited to see where the plot will take you next. I really enjoyed the slightly wacky and off center world of Settler.” AMAZON

Here's where you can buy The Reader:



Again, congratulations on the new release, M. Pax!

Friday, October 23, 2015

Hungry to the Bone

This week I'm just throwing together the re-posting of a story I originally submitted to Draven Ames several years ago. I'll eventually move this one over into my Horror Realities sub-section, but for now enjoy Hungry to the Bone!

Matt Krudd just wanted a fucking burger. Something fast and simple, something that wouldn’t cost him an arm and a leg. Stomach threatening to gnaw away at muscle tissue if it didn’t get fed soon, he raced his Subaru Impreza through the parking lot of the first restaurant he had come across, Hungry to the Bone. With a distinct lack of cars and customers around, it seemed the store would close in a few minutes.

Slamming his foot against the brake pad, he reached the order box.

“We’ll be with you in a moment,” said the distorted voice through the speaker.

“Yeah, I want a burger,” Matt said. “Just give me something hot. It doesn’t have to be fresh.”

For a moment, silence filled the air. Then a blip came from the speaker, followed by, “I told you to hold on a moment. You’re dealing with a skeletal crew here.”

His arm dangling out the window while he waited, Matt began rapping his fingers against the car door. One at a time, the digits on his car clock ticked away. 10:47, 48, 49. 50. What could’ve been the hold-up? It wasn’t like he’d gotten in back of a long line of cars or anything.

“Are you there?” Matt tried his best to keep his temper in check. But when no one got back to him after five minutes, he hurled his fist at the empty passenger’s seat to his right. “Damn it, dude. I want food, and I want it now. Your lot lights are still on. I’m not going anywhere until you serve me.”

Another blip at last. “I don’t have to deal with this,” the order taker announced defiantly.

“Excuse me?” Matt’s jaw hung low. What the hell was wrong with this person? Receiving no further response from the jerk at the box, Matt swung around the drive-thru lane, pulling up to the window. Like the outside lights, everything inside was still lit up. He pounded against the window, hoping someone would take his damn order already. No one approached the glass.

Furious, Matt parked his car and stormed up to a side entrance. The handle twisted as it should have, indicating the staff hadn’t yet locked up for the night. He threw the door open and stomped inside. A dank odor, possibly of moldy meat, attacked his nose upon entry.

“Hello?” he asked, searching for someone to yell at over the horrendous service he’d gotten just now. Again, no answer. Covering his mouth with an arm to keep himself safe from the stink of the place, he marched away from the entrance. A moment later, he heard something click from somewhere nearby. The lights went off. Glancing around in all directions, including the entrance behind him, his search came up empty.

“I’m not going anywhere until one of you idiots apologizes and gets me a burger.”

“Looks to me like you’ve had your fill of burgers, young man,” a raspy voice spoke out to him from the shadows. “Haven’t you heard of dieting?”

Matt’s blood soared to beyond boiling. “That’s it. I’m calling your corporate office.”

Before he could reach for his cell phone, something icy grazed the skin on his arm. Bony fingers tickled his hairs, and then seized his wrist with a stone-hard grip. Matt struggled to break free, but as a second set of skinless digits snatched his remaining hand, his heart chilled.

The office light came on, shedding dim light on the inside of the restaurant.

Three skeletons had cornered him, all in tattered rags that may have once resembled crew member slacks and polo shirts. Maggots skittered about the eye area of the only one wearing a loosely wired head-set. A small noose, possibly a manager’s tie, dangled around the neck of the second. The third one, the one holding tightly onto him, wore slight patches of hair and flesh over disconnected sections, just enough to suggest that this creature had likely been a teenage girl in life.

A swallow of bile swimming around in his mouth, Matt choked on his next words.

“My employee did warn you that you were dealing with a skeletal crew,” the tie-wearing skeleton grumbled, gesturing towards the one wearing a head-set. Head-set Skeleton chattered his teeth at Matt and a few maggots plopped to the floor.

A weak whimper escaped from Matt as the manager skeleton fondled his face, using its talons to slice open Matt’s cheeks.

The skeleton with the head-set fingered Matt’s sides, asking the others, “Will we be eating here, or shall we take it with us?”