Tuesday, January 31, 2012

The Old Royal release date pushed back

*SIGH* Okay. So I said earlier that I wanted to release The Old Royal near the end of January. Well, here we are, the end of January and sadly I have to announce that I am not even close to releasing the book. (I guess my audience of one will be disappointed. Sorry about that.)

I've handed the manuscript over to my primary beta reader (my lovely and beautiful wife) who is still working on going through it. I don't envy her the job of proofing my work because...well, editing is a shitfest. There, I said it. Reading is one thing. But, reading something that you know may contain flaws, plot or otherwise, puts you on your guard. Not to mention, cross-referencing some fact(s) that may crop up hundreds of pages apart for accuracy. No, I don't envy her task, although that is what I do several times before ever handing it off to one of my beta readers. And, believe me, it sucks to read a book over and over and over. Even if you wrote it, I guarantee you will eventually come to hate reading it.

I think I painted a bleak-enough picture of the process so you will understand how badly it sucks. Just the other day, when I asked her how it was coming, she said I could read the notes she's already made. I told her I didn't want to do that, that I would prefer to wait and just hear the whole impression at once. She said, "Well, you could get a head-start on fixing the problems." That's never good to hear. I asked her if they were big problems. Basically, from what she alluded to, it's close to a rewrite, I think. I might be over-estimating the magnitude of said "problems", but nevertheless, it looks like the book will not be out for a little while.

Whenever she finishes, I will correct whatever is wrong with it, shaping it into the story I thought it already was and hand it off to the next beta reader. I usually get the opinions of at least three different people. So, now that I've made my announcement and eaten crow, I'll continue editing and writing the next couple of books in the queue. I've decided to quit trying to predict releases for this very reason. It sucks to be ambitious and announce a tentative release date only to miss the mark by so much. Until I get better at judging my progress, I'll just keep quiet about future releases until they are much closer to actually being finished.

In the meantime, I urge you to get a copy of one of my other books if you haven't already done so. Hopefully, you've read one...and enjoyed it. So, why not help a struggling author out and get another? I'd certainly appreciate it. You can find links to the various formats in the right margin. Thanks for reading and stayed tuned for updates as I get closer to the release.

P.S. This picture pretty much sums up how I feel...

Friday, January 20, 2012

R.I.P. David Gold & Peter Steele

I recently stumbled upon the band Woods of Ypres by following a series of links sent to me by my wife. She wanted me to see some creepy photos or something on a blog. I clicked links and followed a rabbit hole, which eventually brought me to Woods of Ypres's music video that I've posted below. I'm a big fan of death metal and various other forms of hardcore metal. My favorite bands are too numerous to list, but at the top of that list are Obituary and Type O Negative. T.O.N. is the number one spot, by the way.

Last year, it saddened me to hear the news that the lead singer and bassist for T.O.N., Peter Steele, had died. I own a copy of each of their CDs and concert DVDs and hoped to see them in concert one day. Then, I heard the tragic news of Peter Steele's death and realized I'd never get to see them live. When I came across this new band, I was excited. I love their sound. I love the video. I think David Gold really rocked that shaggy beard and his vocals kicked ass, too.

As I read the comments and Googled his name, I learned that David Gold died in a car accident in December. He was a very talented artist and it sucks that, like Peter Steele, he had to go so soon. So now, at the top of my list between Type O Negative and Obituary, I've added Woods of Ypres. I dedicate this blog to the memory of both Pete and David. R.I.P. guys, you'll definitely be missed. Fortunately for us, we can remember them through their music. I hope you enjoy the videos.

Woods of Ypres - I Was Buried in Mount Pleasant Cemetery

Type O Negative - Black No. 1

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

3-Day Book Giveaway

For three days only (Jan. 11 through Jan. 13), my ebook Majoring in Murder will be given away for free on Amazon for Kindle. If you've already received a copy, help a starving artist out by recommending it to your reader friends. And, if you enjoyed the book, please (I can't stress this enough), write a review or, at least, rate it. I would definitely appreciate it!

Majoring in Murder is the story of an average college student's transition from mundane academia to a life where he rubs elbows with some nefarious criminals who blackmail him to rub people out. Jason Mashburn has to deal with one of life's darkest taboos, murdering others. His biggest hurdle, however, is trying to find a way out of his predicament without putting his family in more jeopardy than they already are, all while keeping his double-life a secret. This is the first in a series of the metamorphosis of a hitman.

You can find it here: Free copy of Majoring in Murder. I hope you enjoy the story and please remember to review or rate it. Thanks for stopping in. Tell your friends.

Monday, January 9, 2012

Awesome Sauce

Saturday night I attended a bellydance competition in Atlanta with my wife, Lara. She was one of the contestants. She performed an Egyptian cane dance that she had recently choreographed and, boy, was she nervous. I mean, who wouldn't be, right? Having someone judge your performance is not very different than publishing a book, releasing it out into the world for others to enjoy...or, bad-mouth. They're both artistic creation and interpretation. It makes you vulnerable to do something like that.

So, we get to the studio (nearly an hour and a half early) and take our seats to await the show. Other dancers started arriving. At one point, my wife noticed the arrival of one dancer and made some comment about her being very good and that she would no doubt win. Now, I know nothing about bellydance or these other dancers. Well, that's not entirely true. I know only the little bits I glean from my wife, which isn't much.

Well, the first and second contestants danced and did a mighty fine job. My wife was a bundle of nerves, I'm sure. She was, no doubt, thinking of everything that could go wrong. Lara was the third contestant to dance. Fortunately, everything went smoothly. There was no technical difficulties with her music or her routine. (Although, the last contestant's music CD failed to play and she had to improvise to another song, which she had never heard. I think she did a marvelous job at improvisational dance, even if I'm not educated in bellydance. She surely had more nerve than I did to get out there and just take that leap of faith!)

When it was over, and the judges tallied their votes, the MC began announcing the winners beginning with third and second-place. Two women who did a phenomenal job took those positions. I was perplexed by this news as I thought one of them would have won. One of the women (it alludes me which one it was) was the dancer my wife predicted would win. I was not expecting what came next. The MC called my wife's name for the grand-prize winner! Yes, you read that right. We were floored.

Lara went up to take her place beside the other two dancers and I thought she was going to cry. Hell, I could've cried, I was so happy. I waited as she hugged and thanked the other dancers and judges. She told me later that one of the judges (there were two by the way--both professional bellydancers), said her technique was executed perfectly. And, the woman running the sound, who was also from Egypt, commented that she was proud Lara represented the dance so well. Man, I couldn't be more proud. Therefore, I decided to dedicate this post to my wife, Lara, whom I couldn't love more. By the way, the post's title is an inside joke between us. She'll get it.

Here's a video one of the other dancer's husband shot. I don't know who he is, but I want to thank him! I hope you enjoy watching it:

Saturday, January 7, 2012

The Idea Flood of 2012

Okay, so I finished my initial revisions for The Old Royal. I printed out the manuscript and am ready to hand it over to my wife, who will go through it with her editing pen (and, hopefully, not give me anything below a grade of B-). All right, so that was just silly. No, she doesn't actually grade my stories. Although, being an English professor, she could. I doubt I could stand that though.

Each revision from here on out will pass through several of my beta-readers. I'll make changes based on their feedback. Hopefully, it will meet with receptive, open arms, and not receive the cold shoulder. Of course, I'm sure this is every author's wish.

While I'm floating in limbo (is there really such a thing for a writer? I think not), I have begun the first-round iteration of editing an old Southern Gothic story I wrote in early 2010. It's called Lathem's Lament. I wrote it while I was bending the covers on some Erskine Caldwell, Steinbeck, and Faulkner novels. I really enjoyed reading those writers' stories and attempted to write one of my own. I think the plot is engaging and I'm eager to see it in print. I stuffed it in a desk drawer and only recently took it out again. So, I'm also eager to rediscover what happens to the characters and re-experience their trials and tribulations. It's been more than a year since I've thought about that story, let alone read any of it. Hopefully, it won't need any major rewriting.

In addition to editing Lathem's story, I have several ideas rushing into my mind, tackling each other, as they vie for my attention. Not only are there story ideas begging to be written, I've got a host of characters lined up who continue to walk onto the stage in my mind's eye. These are unique characters who I find intriguing and want to cast in some of these story ideas. I think they can definitely enhance the right story and make it really pop.

But, the main thing I want to point out is that The Old Royal is still marching toward publication, even if it is using baby steps to get there. I'm still hoping to release it by the end of this month. In it's wake, I'm remaining busy with other writing projects, all of which I want to release soon. I hope you are as excited about them as I am and I hope they live up to your expectations and give you hours of entertainment. In the meantime, check out some of my other stories, if you haven't already. Links to places where you can find them are over to the right, up top. Yeah, right there! Sorry, you can't see me pointing.

Thanks for stopping by!

Sunday, January 1, 2012

Vacation pics from the Keys

Happy New Year!

I wanted to start the year off with some pictures I took while spending my Christmas vacation in the Florida Keys. I should be editing right now, but my family always complains that I don't upload any of the pictures I take. To remedy that, I've just spent the last two hours separating the best pictures, resizing and uploading them to share with all of you good folks. So, here they are! I hope you enjoy them. Feel free to leave a comment telling me which are your favorites.

Updated: Okay. These are still too large to display properly. However, if you click the images, they show up full size.

Okay, adding those got tedious pretty quick. There are loads more in my album on Facebook. If you want, hop over and check out the rest. I really hope you've enjoyed them. Now, if you'll excuse me I have to get back to editing. Thanks for stopping by.