Mar 31, 2012

Tagged in The Lucky Seven Game

I've been tagged (*sniff*).

It’s called The Lucky Seven Game, and it’s basically a game of writer tag. If you’re tagged, you're supposed to do the following:
  • Go to page 7 or 77 in your current manuscript
  • Go to line 7
  • Copy down the next seven lines/sentences as they are – no cheating
  • Tag 7 other authors
  • *New Rule* If tagged you come back post a comment here to lead others to your post.

I was tagged by the awesome Sue London. You can read her blog (including her post) here.

However, I'm going to change up the rules a bit and add my own. You'll notice at the end of this I don't have anyone else tagged (at least not yet). This is mainly because the majority of authors I know are participating in the awesome A-Z Blog Challenge and I have a feeling that if I list them here and give them even more to do, well they'll probably just beat me to a pulp. Since I prefer myself unbeaten, I'll do things a little different.

I'm making tagging an optional thing. Here's the deal: if you'd like to participate, leave me a comment below with your blog link, your post, and the name of your book. When I see it, I'll list you below (in nice bold letters :) and share some linking love with your latest work.

Now to my entry:

Except from BIGFOOT HUNTERS: (more teasers here)
Horror/Adventure. This is the scene following where our unlucky characters meet the big furry antagonist for the first time. And you thought it was annoying when those random roofing companies knocked on your door.

Great! That’ll probably be just slightly more effective than thinking bad thoughts at it, but any port in a storm, he mused as Greg took up a defensive post on the opposite side of the window as Harrison.

“There’s no backdoor!” Allison cried out to them.

“Of course not,” sighed Harrison as he waited to see what the creature would do next. “Greg, don’t get too close to the window!”

He was a second too slow in his warning. The beast’s still bleeding arm shot through again. Greg managed to sink the axe into its massive bicep, but not before its grasping hand closed on his shoulder.

Oh noes! Poor Greg! What happens next? Well that would be spoiling things...

(insert yours here!)

Mar 22, 2012

Bigfoot Hunters: interview and book giveaway

I have the pleasure of being featured on Laurie Jenkins' kickass blog Laurie's non-Paranomal Thoughts and Reviews.

Come on over and read an excerpt from Bigfoot Hunters, learn a little about my chaotic writing process, and enter for a chance to win an autographed copy of BIGFOOT HUNTERS, my newest novel.

How cool is that? An autographed paperback! Just think how much that'll be worth one day. Why it might be ok, at least you'll get to see just how bad my handwriting really is. That's gotta be worth a laugh or two.

What are you waiting for? Come on over and say hi!

Laurie's non-Paranomal Thoughts and Reviews

Mar 20, 2012

The Sword of Senack by EC available!

The Sword of Senack by EC Stilson

Aliya Fisher knows nothing about her true heritage until a vindictive sorceress kidnaps her brother and sister. The young adventurer must take up her birthright, battle strange creatures, and find the Sword of Senack if she hopes to best the witch. But even if Aliya finds the famed weapon and survives the perilous oceanic journey, the enchantress is far more than she appears. How does one defeat an immortal who lusts for revenge?

The Sword of Senack: book one of the Mer-son Cycle, a YA Fantasy by EC Stilson, author of the The Golden Sky, is now available!

Need further convincing? Read my 5 star review of The Golden Sky.

To learn more and connect with EC Stilson please visit her at her fabulous blog:

You can find The Sword of Senack online at: & Smashwords

Please join me in wishing EC both congratulations as well as the best of luck on her newest release!

Also stay tuned! A review of The Sword of Senack will be coming soon. Same bat time...

Mar 11, 2012

Bundle Those Books

I have recently seen threads within the Amazon discussion forums as well as some insightful pieces online on the concept of book bundling. This takes from a current practice within the movie industry in which a DVD or digital copy of a film is bundled along with a Blu-Ray disc. Heck, I’m a big fan of it. I can buy a copy of Cars for my kids to watch on the main TV, but there’s also a DVD I can toss into the computer to get them out of the living room (at least until they scratch the hell out of it...but we’ll save that rant for another day). The idea of book bundling is similar, except in this case you’d get an eBook copy along with the print version.

A lot of this discussion seems to revolve around the big six publishers using this as a strategy to help fend off the many-tentacled Kraken of their nightmares, However, what they don’t seem to realize is that Amazon has a not-so-secret weapon at their disposal...all of the self-publishers currently available for the Kindle and/or their KDP Select program. A lot of self-publishers, like myself, offer print versions of their books. Often this is through a print-on-demand service. One such popular service is Createspace. Guess who owns Createspace (I’ll give you a starts with Amazon and ends with dotcom).

Should Amazon ever key up their systems to allow for bundling between their print and eBooks, I know I’d be one of the first to sign up for it. I see only upsides to doing so. Allow me to point out a few:
  • Quality: I’ve been very happy with Createspace’s work. Heck, I’ve been accused of showing off the paperback version of my latest book as if I were a two-year old proudly showing off the poopy I just made in the potty. I love how it and my other books have turned out. Why wouldn’t I want more of them dotting the bookshelves and coffee tables of America? Even better, Createspace is continually improving. Is this a side effect of having parents with deep pockets? I don't know, but I wouldn't doubt it.
  • Profit: Here’s where the big publishers will fall on their ass. Why? Well I’m not a betting man, but if I were I’d put my money on them trying to add in a cost increase to their books. This is bullshit, of course, as the digital version would cost them next to nothing to bundle. But I have little doubt they'd make a go of it. However, this could play out differently with self-pubbers. I for one am very happy with the profit I make off a singular sale. I don’t need to double-dip. I’d see no reason to raise prices. If it didn’t cost me anything to offer the bundle (and I have no reason to believe it would), then it shouldn’t cost my readers anything. I don’t want to speak for my fellow self-pubbed authors, but I’d be willing to make a wager that many of them would do likewise.
  • More Readers: Here’s the part that makes me drool and is probably making the big publishers quake. When I buy a Blu-Ray/DVD combo, let’s face facts, I’m not letting it leave the house. However, when I buy a paperback and am finished with it, I’m more than happy to loan it out. I’d be even more likely to do so if I had an eBook backup. Heck, I’d probably buy paperbacks for presents and then keep the eBook for myself. I’m sure this would make me some filthy combination of thief and pirate to a publisher. You might think the writer in me would be freaked out by this prospect. I’m not. Far from it actually. Say I sell a thousand bundles that wind up in this scenario (wishful thinking perhaps, but let's go with that for now). I’ve made the profit from 1000 sales, but now 2000 people have copies of my book. In the short term I just took a bath. However, I now have double the amount of people aware of who I am, this is key for a writer such as myself. Exposure is worth it's weight in gold. I have multiple books available. All I need is for a few of those extra thousand readers (who would probably never have heard of me otherwise, and thus I would have never made a dime off of them to begin with) to enjoy my book and decide to look into my others. In short, the original buyer just did my marketing for me. I’d say that’s worth the price of a book.

This is proposed as a tool for publishers to fight back against Amazon, but Amazon could pick up these bullets and fire it right back...with potentially greater effect. I for one eagerly await to see whether or not they do so.

Your thoughts?

Mar 6, 2012

Meet The Larva

Those of you who follow me (or my wife) on Twitter, have probably seen mentions of ADD Boy, Misery, and Chaos. If you read my previous post on Autism, you also saw mention of them. Additional, some of you have asked who we’re talking about. Thus I figured I’d drag them kicking and screaming (especially the screaming) into the limelight. This, and it also gives me some basis to reference them in any future posts (writing is fine and all, but sometimes a good parent rant can satiate the blog demons).

They are, in short, the three young males who inhabit my domicile, call me dad, and proceed to consume all of my worldly possessions...not always in that order. As for those nicknames...well let me assure you they are quite apt, if sarcastically so.

ADD Boy is the oldest. I have no clue how we got him. My best guess is that there was a mix up at the hospital and we somehow wound up with the son of socially competent parents. He’s outgoing, friendly, and popular with just about everyone who’s ever met him (including a growing population of young gods I'm going to be broke when this kid starts dating) short, it’s weird. If my wife and I ever die (probably as a result of Misery’s machinations) there is going to be a massive war amongst the family for possession of ADD. He’s also maddeningly talented. He’s one of those rare people who can be good at just about anything without bothering to apply themselves. My wife, a flutist, is constantly driven bonkers by him, complaining that he could eclipse her musically if only...and here is the kicker...he applied himself. That’s the thing. See, for all of his fine traits, ADD has the attention span of a bucket of fruit. Right now he has three passions: gymnastics, cell phones, and cars. If you aren’t one of those, you could be on fire and ADD probably wouldn’t notice you for long.

However, whereas ADD wouldn’t notice if you were ablaze, Misery wouldn’t piss on you to put you out. Some years back there was a comic book called Saint Sinner. It was about a man who was simultaneously possessed by both a demon and an angel. If such a thing is possible, then Misery is the perfect poster child for it. Some days he can be the sweetest of kids...but most often he’s not. In a nutshell, Misery was born angry. The kid has a temper with a near non-existent fuse. He’s also in scary smart (with potential to grow into terrifyingly smart). I have yet to see the electronic device he couldn’t master within minutes. From a young age, we could tell he was a plotter. Hell, if you were to visit my house, you might wonder if my neighborhood was besieged by crackheads due to all the locks on the doors. Not so, I would answer. Those were all put there to try and keep Misery from escaping during his toddler years. He’s my personal candidate for becoming the next Dr. Doom. He’s been voted person most likely in my household to incite a global genocide. You are advised to not get on his bad side, especially if your insurance premiums are lapsing.

Chaos is an unholy fusion of his two older brothers. Social and scatterbrained like his oldest brother, temperamental like the other, Chaos is, in short, a force of nature. He is the bull in our china shop. Whereas Misery is a planner, Chaos is a doer. He moves from one disaster to the next, usually just stopping long enough to come over and demand a hug (and juice box), before going forth and causing a crash elsewhere in the house. Chaos will be that kid in high school who could never say no to a dare. He is the reason that bubble wrap was invented. He also really likes to be tickled...a lot. I mean really really a lot. I have yet to meet a person with the finger strength to tickle Chaos nearly as much as he wants. He likes it so much that one day we expect to discover if it is indeed possible to tickle someone into a coma.

And those are my kids. They are never boring and will most likely be the reason I eventually wind up insane and penniless. However, I love them with all my heart and every day they bring me joy in ways I couldn’t otherwise least in between the moments when they aren’t busy doing something to cause me to gaze wistfully into my pc while Googling adoption agencies. :)

Mar 3, 2012

Double Book Review: Blood Orchids & Cassidy Jones and the Secret Formula

Lately I have begun to feel like a kid with a comfortable but somewhat narrow taste in food. I’ve been living off of chicken nuggets, macaroni & cheese, and pizza and have been very happy doing so. Of late, however, my parents have put their foot down and started shoveling pasta, vegetables, and other such alien cuisine down my throat.

Much to my adolescent surprise, I’ve found myself enjoying it.

As such, I have found myself wandering out of my comfort zone of genres. I am typically a horror / techno-thriller reader. As long as authors keep churning out tales of monstrous beasts wrecking havoc upon their hapless victims, I am happy.

That being said, once more I find my literary musings wandering towards genres I normally do not give a second glance to, and once more I find myself coming away pleasantly surprised. Go figure...string beans actually taste pretty good.

Blood Orchids by Toby Neal

Before I talk about the book, first a little trivia about myself; once, many years ago, I applied to the FBI academy in Quantico, VA. What few might suspect is I actually made it pretty far along in the process. The only reason I’m not sporting a badge today is that I received a job offer in the private sector about a week before the government notified me that they had a spot open. Being that I had small kids at home, ultimately I decided to go with the position that was less likely to involve people shooting at me.

In retrospect this was probably a good thing. See, I don’t normally watch crime dramas or read crime thrillers for one main reason...I absolutely suck at figuring out the whodunit part. Hell, Scooby Doo mysteries confound me. Sherlock Holmes, I am not.

Thus, when Toby Neal suggested I might be interested in reading Blood Orchids, I was a tad hesitant. However, as I am a fan of her blog musings and greatly enjoyed her excellent guest post, I decided to take her up on her offer.

I’m glad I did.

Blood Orchids is Hawaii Five-O meets Silence of the Lambs. It’s fast paced, brutal, and sucks you right in from the very start...all the while immersing you into the rich culture of our fiftieth state.

In many ways, this latter part almost gave this story a bit of a sci-fi feel to it for me. I’ve never been to Hawaii, so this was like finding myself in a whole new world. Neal does an excellent job of bringing the surroundings in her book to life. Despite having never been there, through her writing I was able to easily picture the various scenes as they unfolded.

Her main protagonist, Lei Texeira, is a fascinating study in a flawed individual. She’s a person struggling to overcome her personal demons, yet determined to keep pushing on until justice is served no matter how beaten up (mentally and physically) she gets along the way. She is joined by a rich, multi-cultural, assortment of supporting characters that all serve to bring this story to life.

If I have any critique it’s that the stilted Pidgin English spoken by many of the characters took me a little while to get into. However, I’m fairly sure this is less an issue with the story and more of an indication to just how poorly traveled of an individual I am. I need to get out more!

Blood Orchids is a non-stop crime drama that will leave you guessing until the end (especially if you’re like me :), all set against the backdrop of paradise full of serpents. A 5 star read!

Click Here to Buy BLOOD ORCHIDS (and read my review) on Amazon

PSST! Word through the grapevine is that Blood Orchids is FREE the weekend of March 3rd. Don't tell...err, actually tell everyone you know!

Cassidy Jones and the Secret Formula by Elise Stokes

Yes, I admit it; I read the Harry Potter books. I enjoyed them too. However, almost all the other YA novels I’ve tried since then have been lacking. Thus, I usually find myself with no particular interest in coming back to that genre.

That being said, my wife recently read Cassidy Jones and the Secret Formula (Henceforth just Cassidy Jones to keep my fingers from cramping up). She absolutely loved the story and has been raving about it. What eventually caught my notice was her mentioning that at its heart this is a super hero tale. That intrigued me, being the Marvel Comics nerd that I am. Eventually I decided: what the heck?

Once again, I am glad I took a chance.

If one were to check Amazon, one would see nearly universal praise for Elise Stokes’ book. There’s a reason. There’s something here that will appeal to everyone. There’s action, teen angst, drama, romance, super-powered butt kicking action, etc etc. That Stokes is able to wrap this all up into a well told, exceptionally fun story, speaks volumes towards her skill as an author.

It also speaks well about her ability to write characters. At times I wanted to cheer for Cassidy, while at other moments I wanted to reach into the pages and smack her upside the head. She is a teenager after all...and let’s face facts, if you’re an old curmudgeon like me, there is no such thing as a teenager that doesn’t get annoyingly whiny at times. In short, Cassidy feels real and so do her reactions at finding herself a super-powerful mutant. Her friends and family feel real too. About the only person who doesn’t feel entirely real is the character of, Emery Philips. He’s a bit too smart, too skilled, etc etc to be authentic. Still, every X-man needs their Charles Xavier, and this is easily forgiven as at times he’s even more entertaining to read about than Cassidy herself.

There isn’t much else to add other than to say I immediately jumped into the sequel, Cassidy Jones and Vulcan’s Gift, the second I was finished with the first one. We’ll save that review for another time, but here’s a was really good too.

5 Stars! Shy teenage girl plus super powers and a lot of mayhem = lots of fun.

Click Here to Buy CASSIDY JONES AND THE SECRET FORMULA (and read my review) on Amazon