Sunday, November 23, 2014

The Website is Up!

Hey everyone! My new website is up. Head on over to:

Be sure to subscribe (totally free) and you'll get updated on author interviews, book reviews, writing tips, and more!

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Update on the Blog- New Website!

Hey, everyone! I'm sorry that I haven't been posting anything on the blog, but here's a well-deserved update for ya. I am in-process of setting up my own website and moving the blog over to there. From there, it will have purchase information for my book, a blog, archives, sign-up listing, and much more! It's going to be epic, and I can't wait to see you all over there! My appointment to get this stuff figured out is on Saturday at 2:00, and my goal is to have my website fully functional by Saturday night.

All of this is to engage you better, give you better resources with easy access, and to help you enjoy my work with ease! I'll keep you all posted.

Thursday, October 2, 2014

Watch Me Destroy Your Childhood Memories Pt. 1- The Wizard of Oz

This is the inauguration of a series I will introduce in my blog called “Watch Me Destroy Your Childhood Memories”. The first memory I will destroy is one you hold onto fondly, The Wizard of Oz.

The Wizard of Oz is evil, abhorrent, and what would be a child’s rendition of a James Bond/Bourne film. Here, we have the relatable protagonist Dorothy who is thrown into the midst of chaos when a natural disaster strikes. Her family decides to abandon her to the wrathful clutches of nature instead of clinging to the hope that she may get to their shelter before the tornado hits *(for she did have time to knock and scream on the door before running inside). This only shows that her family, large and seemingly caring at the end, decided not to wait til the last second in the hopes they’d find her.

 Despite her shunning family, Dorothy does find shelter and gets skull bashed by a window screen. When everything settles down, she discovers that she is in some weird land full of midgets. She is simple minded enough to believe that she has traveled across an entire state, instead of reasonably thinking that she has just been thrown into the next municipal district, from the obviously manicured roads that are lacking in her hometown, which are largely comprised of dirt.

Anywho, Glenda the “Good” Witch of the North frames Dorothy for murder my magically placing slippers on her. Not only does she frame her in front of an entire city who goes along with it clearly because they are under duress, but she does so in front of the victim’s family *(i.e. Wicked Witch of the West), who only arrived to claim the Ruby Slippers that were obviously a sentimental heirloom to the family.  Dorothy is blamed, thanks to Glenda, for the Wicked Witch of the East’s murder and sworn vengeance/justice on. No doubt, the real culprit behind the murder is Glenda, who caused the tornado to tear Dorothy away from her family so that Glenda could manicure her into an unwilling assassin on a mission to take out the Wicked Witch of the West as the only way to get home.

Along the way, the forced *(soon to be tasked) assassin known as Dorothy uses her charismatic powers to manipulate and deceive others to believe that their problems, which are likely highlighted by serious underlying medical conditions, can be cured by the Wizard of Oz. Where did she get this information? Glenda, the orchestrator of chaos and murder.

When they finally arrive to Oz, they are tasked with murdering the witch. It is only when they seek out the Witch to murder her that she physically retaliates in self defense, imprisoning Dorothy. Yet, she is so controlled by Glenda’s influence that she still refuses to give up what is not rightfully hers- the Ruby Slippers.

So, the others storm her castle to jailbreak Dorothy, despite having committed grand larceny, breaking and entering, aggravated assault with a deadly weapon (the tinman’s axe), conspiracy to murder, and no doubt countless other felony charges. When they enter the Witch’s home, it is then, before the eyes of her own constituents and  under her own roof, they murder her. Why? To steal more family heirlooms *(the Witch’s broom).

When they return to Oz with their prize, they discover that they were had, but are satisfied with metaphorical gifts for some ill-begotten reason. Glenda shows up when Oz escapes persecution for his political crimes. She tells Dorothy that she has had the power to go home all along, proving that Glenda manicured Dorothy into a deadly assassin like the hit 2010 spy film, Salt. When Dorothy is gone, who is left to rule Oz? Glenda, with the Ruby Slippers and magical broom she so desperately wanted, to combine the powers of the most "evil" beings ever known to the world of Oz. It is in this way that she can begin her tyrannical reign after extorting an innocent farm girl to be an assassin, co-conspirating to espionage with Oz, orchestrating a destructive path of serial killing, and overthrowing national government to become the ultimate totalitarian dictator.

Sunday, September 28, 2014

[Book Review] Combat Related PTSD: The Willie Gray Story

This book was fantastic, and, coupled with the last book I read, ignited a certain measure of fondness for nonfiction books. The story deals with the author, Melvina Gray, who fell in love with her future husband. Little did she know that he suffered from combat related PTSD as a result of serving during the Vietnam War.

This book is different from many that I have read, so I'm not quite for sure what criteria I should be using the critique this work. Normally,  I read fiction novels. So, I view this book with a more academic mentality. In that light, this book is interesting in the fact that it brings to the surface some truly sad things about PTSD and how it effects those living with it or around it.

This book also made me realize that if one were to write their life into the pages of a book and read it, then we may be able to look at the characters in them objectively and realize how things should've happened. But the problem with that is we can only write about the parts of our lives we experience, and what we write is the moment we live in.

It was made clear to me, despite going through what I would say is quite an ordeal, Melvina's life story now and forever was changed by what many may consider to be a flawed character. This book made me realize that love can be found even in the darkest of circumstances, and that even people who are intrinsically flawed can have a beautiful effect on our lives.

The Willie Gray Story is by no means a fairy tale, and it's not meant to be. It's life. The only difference between Melvina Gray and Willie Gray is that the Willie Gray Story ended when the book ended, but not entirely. His story had a great effect on Melvina and Jamar, their son. So, while his story may come the close that we all must meet, Melvina's and Jamar's story will forever be affected by that. Through their experiences, Willie, despite never having met me, also affected my life, my story.

For more information on PTSD, please visit the link below:

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

[Book Review] The Dark History of the Occult: Magic, Madness, and Murder

                I have just recently finished reading A Dark History of the Occult by Paul Roland. I bought this book many years ago for its enticing cover and taboo subject; however, I didn’t read it for a long time despite being drawn in within the first line. Hell, the first 3 pages were genuine and immediately challenged my recently denounced Christian faith. As to why it took me years to pick up again, I can’t say, but I’m glad I did.
                The cover is beautiful and spans the eons of humanity’s existence, immediately foreshadowing the rich history of the occult. The size of the book, untraditional by standard, suited the subject matter, which was another subtlety that I liked. With impressive content and the expertise to back it up, Paul had enticed me into purchasing the book.
                The content itself is executed in 5 Chapters *(plus an introduction). It identifies “Satan”, the history of magic and a brief comparison of some main religions, witchcraft, and more. I must admit, with such an ambiguous subject to be covered in 203 pages (not to mention large pictures), I was worried Paul was going to skimp over vital information that experts sometimes forget to explain or present the information in a haphazard way. To my delight, he didn’t do either.
                The Dark History of the Occult challenged some of the darker corners of my life that I hadn’t illuminated with reason, such as what the manifestation of evil was and symbolism in Christian concepts. Once he had brought what I knew under a microscope and enabled me to objectively view the subject matter, for I do like to keep an open mind to different views, he explored the occult in-depth.
                The history is rich, and I discovered many things I wish I wouldn’t have about the Catholic Church, but such “righteousness” *(some would call evil), must never be forgotten. Even progressing through modern times, Paul explained modern influence of the occult. My favorite part was in rock and roll, but the early 1900 stories of Crowley were fun to read as well. He also convinced me to read H.P. Lovecraft’s work ‘Necronomicon’.
                There's so much about this book that I'm excluding, but I can promise you, all of it is interesting. If you're wanting to know more about the neo-Pagan movement or just want to expound on your knowledge of religion, I highly encourage you to read The Dark History of the Occult (subtext Magic, madness and murder). The link to the book and where to purchase it can be found here:

Saturday, August 16, 2014


One of the greatest intellectual paradoxes and quandaries that sparked an imaginative response among a generation so absorbed with mindlessly operating technology (like robots), is the birth of the philoso-raptor. This meme depicts a raptor musing over interesting or paradoxical questions. For example: 

This meme, while not intrinsically related to books or writing, presents the chance to explore the imagination, fueling the "what if" factor that is so critical to writing. So, without further delay, here are the best Philosoraptor quotes EVER!

1. If tomatoes are a fruit, isn't ketchup technically a smoothie?
2. If we squeeze olives to get olive oil, what do we squeeze to get baby oil?
3. If I received a nickel for every time I recieved a nickel, would I have infinite nickels?
4. We avoid risks in life, so we can make it safely to death?
5. If I'm taught not to talk to strangers, how do I make friends?
6. If dentists make their money from unhealthy teeth, why would I trust a product 4/5 of them recommend?
7. Can you pay a time traveler by the hour?
8. If practice makes perfect and nobody is perfect, why practice?
9. If a tree falls down and no one is around to hear it, how do they know the tree fell?
10. If the pen is mightier than the sword, then why do actions speak louder than words?
11. If Satan has supernatural powers and uses them to punish evil doers, then isn't he a superhero?
12. When people yawn, do deaf people think they're screaming?
13. Why do noses run and feet smell?
14. If you enjoy wasting time, is that actually wasted time?
15. Why do people say "heads up" to tell you to duck?
16. If women are never wrong, what happens when two women disagree?
17. If two mind readers read each other's minds, wouldn't they be reading their own minds?
18. If you have one eye, do you wink or blink?
19. Did bookstores create a "spiritual" section, because they didn't know if they should put Bibles in the non-fiction or fantasy section?
20. If a church gets an insurance settlement due to an act of God, wouldn't that be fraud?

On the next post, I'll do a book review. Until then!

Thursday, August 14, 2014

Word Games

Here are some funny, ironic, or thoughtful sentences for your entertainment:

1. The alarm went off, so I had to turn it off.
2. Here is a picture of me when I was younger.
3. If the world didn't suck, we'd all fall off.
4. Don't join dangerous cults; practice safe sects.
5. Blue is greener than purple.
6. I stepped on a corn flake. Now, I'm a cereal killer.
7. The average woman would rather have beauty than brains, because men see better than they think.
8. You're unique, just like everyone else.
9. If there's a will, there's a way...for you to find 500 relatives.
10. The road to success is always under construction.
11. Everyone wants to go to heaven, but nobody wants to die.
12. (Blogger favorite) We live in a country where pizza gets to your home before police.
13. A "word to the wise" isn't necessary- it's the stupid people who need it.
14. When it comes to thought, some people stop at nothing.
15. You're just jealous because the voices only talk to me.
16. Beauty is in the eye of the beer holder.
17. To all you virgins, thanks for nothing.
18. Evening news starts by saying "Good evening" and then tell you why it's not.
19. Why do "fat chance" and "slim chance" mean the same thing?
20. When life gives you melons, you might be dyslexic!

Tomorrow, we'll explore the musings of the great Philoso-raptor! :)

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

The Spectacular Power and Influence of Swear Words

The most effective words, and arguably most powerful, we possess in our language are the words that are not often uttered. The taboo surrounding them give them power. I'm talking of course about swearing.

There are many belief systems that the mere utterance of a word without particular purpose will cause a harmful effect. Saying the "true" name of God in the Jewish faith when in vain, is thought to be of grave offense, for you are attempting to overpower God himself. Hence, they use the term "Yahweh", to indirectly refer to God outside of religious function. Taking the Lord's name in vain is a type of swearing known as Paranormal Swearing, but there are many others. 

Abusive Swearing is the most commonly known, and as the name implies, is designed to insult to an extreme degree that normal words would not allow. These words are given power because of the intent and of the rarity of their use. According to economical law, rarity means value. When we hear someone insult us with a rare form of speech, we feel as if the insult is not just an expression, but an injury. If we are able to disregard the speech or practice this swearing more often, it tends to lose it's value. Thusly, we do not feel as injured as, say, a sheltered Christian.

Another type of swearing is Emphatic Swearing. Emphatic Swearing can be quite effective and truly drive the meaning of emotion behind the swear word. A great example of this is the most climatic moment of the popular movie "A Few Good Men". When Colonel Jessup is asked if he ordered the code red that killed a subordinate after relentlessly being pummeled with questions, he shouts "You're goddamn right I did!". The setting is in a courtroom, a specific area where you do NOT swear, coupled by a high ranking officer who should be above reproach. His emotional outburst and swearing while admitting to murder shock and leave the entire courtroom paralyzed for a few moments. That is the power of mixing emotion with swearing.

Quite the opposite, Euphemism Swearing is much less dramatic, and hardly a form of swearing at all. A doctor may politely say, "After the patient went into cardiac arrest, he defecated." That's swearing? In a way, it is so, and worth noting. The politeness around such a traumatic event is to be equally noted, for it is equally strange. A normal person, while frantic at the time, would give a statement to police similar to, "The guy just shit himself and died!" Normal? Yes. The Euphemism Swearing would be most powerful if the "normal person" had been calm when saying that. Many would suspect, if it was a homicide scene, this guy might be a really polite killer.

Alternatively, the frantic person saying "The guy just shit himself and died!", is a type of swearing. This is called Dysphemism Swearing. This means the person might not swear if they were calm, but they swear to really drive home the unpleasantness of the experience that couldn't be conveyed if they said it in a politically correct way. They want their trauma to be the policeman's trauma.

But swearing isn't all bad. Cathartic Swearing, termed lalochezia by medical practitioners, is when swearing relieves pain. Shouting "shit" or "fuck" after you hurt yourself can actually reduce the pain felt. Just don't say it in front of your kids, like in A Christmas Story.

Ideomatic Swearing is shown best, in my opinion, by Stephen King in his novel/film "Stand By Me". This type of swearing serves not as an emphasis for speech, but actually as the opposite. It is used to show an air of casualness, that bringing taboo to light is only natural. "Well, shit man you can sleep at my house tonight.". It's saying that we're all friends here.

What's interesting about all these different swear words is that the power from them is because, as stated earlier, of their economical rarity. The only time where this rule doesn't apply is in Ideomatic Swearing, which holds a power of it's own because it changes the atmosphere of environment rather than effecting an individual person.

As these terms come into popular use and mainstream by television, radio, and other media outlets, people will and have turned to archaic words not really used today to bring back the taboo meaning behind it. Words like harlot (meaning slut) are already circulating in the "underground linguistics" of more eccentric crowds and religious folk. 

The lesson to be drawn from this is that words have power, usually in unusual combinations to invoke vivid meaning to the reader or listener. There are only few select words that have true power all on their own, and those are swear words. Without identifying the meaning, a novice writer might misuse them. More commonly, they might just repeat swear words for shock value, which is lost very quickly with every swear word used. This is why I mainly use Dysphemism Swearing and Emphatic Swearing. 

As always, thanks for reading!

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

What if TV, YouTube, and Other Media Outlets Came Before Books?

I recently stumbled upon a fascinating YouTube group called Vsauce. Their scientific theorizing and musings are truly captivating, and one of the things they said struck me. They quoted a book called "Everything Bad is Good For You". The author wondered what would happen if books were invented after computers, and pontificated a possible quote from a teacher (to paraphrase) 'Perhaps the most dangerous property of these newfangled books is that they follow a fixed linear path. You have the story dictated to you. Why would anyone want to embark on an adventure choreographed by a singular person? Reading is not an active participatory process- it's a submissive one. The bookreaders are learning to follow the plot instead of leading.'

This is a fascinating concept. It enabled me to look at my computer screen and the words/videos I see on it as a form of a book. Also, it caused me to read books as a sort of collusion of varying outside factors to cause the author not to choreograph a particular work based on their own singular idea, but of the conditions of nature they were in at the time. For example, if one of my author friends, S.G. Redling, wasn't flying on a plane and using hand sanitizer, she probably would've never have thought of her debut novel "Flower Town", even in her own writing space. If Stephen King hadn't been driving in a car listening to religious radio at a specific time, he wouldn't have thought up "The Stand".

The collaboration of events in nature, in part, determine what we write. Authors typically regulate their writing areas to what they deem to be most comfortable. True, while this may comfort us to explore the deepest recesses of our minds to 'discover' these ideas, I propose that perhaps changing the scene and taking us out of our comfort zone might help us reach a more introverted state. Introversion in the first draft manuscript is critical, for both plotters and pantsers alike, so it'd be natural to assume that a structured writing environment will provide us a certain measure of control over the masterpiece we wish to create. But if we think harder, we might find that this isn't the case.

The most ingenious writing pieces we tend to create are created by not what is controlled by us, for that is the nature of the ordinary. Rather, it is created by us questioning what ISN'T controlled by us or what we don't know. Surrounding ourselves by things we are unfamiliar with may be the key to piecing something together that we couldn't do with what we have familiarized ourselves with. It is easier to familiarize the strange, but harder still to make strange what is familiar. One of my favorite writing quotes actually dictates something similar. "The best asset a writer can have is the ability to make the strange familiar, and the familiar strange."

The randomization and rationalization of that randomness we place ourselves in brings us to the reality we live in. And you know what? Each person rationalizes their reality differently. Surely you've heard of the exercise where one person will whisper a sentence to another, and they to another. By the end of the line, it's a new sentence. How then, can something so concrete be so misinterpreted? It's because of the variation. In this case, the variation of the person's dialect, audibility of their whisper.

The lesson to be drawn from here is that variation is the opportunity of exploration. The deeper we explore, the farther we will get from anyone else. This unexplored portion of our realities is where we will find the next Stephen King, Dean Koontz, Anne Rice, etc. While everyone can reach these unexplored realities, only you can reach yours.

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Marketing: Advertising vs. Publicity

In a nutshell, there are two types of marketing, and those are advertising and publicity. Advertising is, in my opinion, the lesser of the two. Advertising requires research on who you're targeting and what your target audience will see. Your ad has to be carefully tailored, both in appearance and in location, to effectively reach the targeted demographic. You're paying for a placement and are relying heavily on either credentials or market need for the book you're choosing to advertise.

Book publicity is the effect of being chosen, whether it's by an agent, editor, etc. This automatically gives your book credibility. Having a third party verify your writing skills is usually more effective than an ad campaign, because in this way you are getting people to talk about your book rather than you telling them. 

I remember seeing an article that said, statistically, 84% of people talk about a book they read. I wouldn't disagree with this number. That being said, if you get one person interested in reading your book, odds are you'll get at least two people who know about it. Generating authentic interest is crucial to creating public interest. This is why so many emphasize the critical importance of quality content. If you're writing isn't up to par, then you're going to have a more difficult time selling your book.

If you choose to embark on a publicist, be sure to research them and ask them questions. They don't come cheap, but you can learn things along the way. Some are better than others, in the sense of experience and contacts. Be sure you're making the right decision, because a PR campaign is something that is very serious, and you will always be the biggest advocate for your work.

If you choose to embark on an ad campaign, be sure that you're targeting an audience as opposed to simply putting an ad up for all to see in a random location. You'll see more interest in your work. 

Friday, June 20, 2014

Game of Thrones (The Book Version) Review

I must admit, I disliked the book's beginning. I felt like George RR Martin, my genre idol now, just completely threw me in the deep end of the pool. He built this world and seemed to expect me to know it, throwing names and locations at me rentlessly. However, I pressed on.

At the end of the first chapter, I was shocked, and I couldn't stop reading. By the end of every chapter, I was hooked.

There were so many plot points I could see building up each chapter, and I couldn't keep up. When each bombshell fell, I remembered. He made coherent such an incredibly complex plot without losing me, which is something very difficult to do in writing.

The characters were entirely believable and memorable. Every single one. I found myself wanting to skip ahead chapters to get back to a character, but had to resist. *(SPOILER ALERT) I knew Ned was going to die from the start, however. He was too clean, and I would've been disappointed if he hadn't.

I can't wait to read the rest of this novel. In his interviews, George RR Martin says that the series adaptations follow the books perfectly, aside from adding scenes. This is highly unusual for motion pictures and TV shows to follow original writing so closely, but is only a testament to his creative talent.

His style and voice is fresh, and he knows things about the era that are not only true, but unknown. When I looked up certain things that he wrote, I was LEARNING! That is something, that few books do, that I absolutely love.

If you want to learn, go on an adventure, and become emotionally traumatized, pick up Game of Thrones.

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

What's the Point of a Beta Reader?

Beta readers are invaluable to an author, and many don't understand the gravity of the position that they are in. They are the author's first readers and objective editors of a product that the author put a great deal of time into. Often, they don't get back to us as early as authors would like, but that's just a price you pay, and in the writing world, patience is a requirement.

Recently, I donned my beta reader's hat for the first time for a book by an author. By now, I was thirsting for someone else's creativity to inspire me. As soon as I began reading, I found several things wrong. Pacing, character reactions, etc. However, the more I read, the more invested I was in the plot, and I was intrigued enough to overlook some of those things for the sake of a good story.

However, the author posted on his Facebook account that he was beginning edits on the book. Huh? When you give a book to your beta readers, it has to be the best you can possibly make it. If it's not, then you're sending book (in this case, unfortunately, an epic) that isn't as attractive as it can be. Annoyed, I decided to press on with the book.

A few days later, I got an invite to an event. Yep. You guessed it, the book's release party. Now, I wouldn't mind if it was scheduled in far in advance, but this author was releasing it in 2.5 weeks. There was no way that I could read the book, list the editing advice, and the author be able to change it.

The result? I dropped the book, and I have no intention of telling this author. Why? Beta readers are the most valuable things to an author. They are people who believe in your work and make a heavy commitment to help you to success. If you give beta readers less than your best and schedule the book to be released within a fortnight, you're not only putting pressure on the beta reader, but you're mitigating them and their role. Thus, you make a beta reader feel unimportant.

Something I learned when I started writing was the author works for the reader, not the other way around. However, the few that are willing to work with the author, directly in this case, deserve nothing but the utmost courtesy, because they are doing what no other reader who picks up your book will do for you- help you make it better.

Saturday, June 14, 2014

Tips for Aspiring Writers/Authors

Writing Tips for Other/Aspiring Authors
1.       The best way to learn to write well is to read from both good authors and bad authors. You have to decide what’s good writing and what’s bad writing.
2.       Give your characters choices and consequences; it shatters the linear feel of a storyline.
3.       Live in the world you create. Many writers know things about their world that never make it into the book(s) they write, because they want to make it real to themselves so they can make others believe it’s real. Readers are intuitive creatures, and they know if something has been fleshed out without ever knowing it themselves.
4.       Treat all your characters as if they are secondary characters. Some of my best characters are secondary characters, because I’m not committing them to a preconceived plot line. Don’t be afraid to exaggerate character’s personalities and mannerisms.
5.       Once you really know your characters, let them take over the story. They usually will not disappoint you.
6.       Most good ideas that ‘stick’ aren’t produced after a moment of inspiration. They are produced after you toil and write shit.
7.       Speaking of writing shit, write, even if it’s shit. I have a saying “It’s easier to edit a scene than it is to build a world in your head.” Writer’s block is the expectation that the next thing you write will be unedited and perfect. It won’t. It never is. Write that shitty shit.
8.       Learn to convey emotion and find your voice. If you write about the worst thing that ever happened to you, and then you place that next to the worst thing that ever happened to your character, does the voice and style match up? If it doesn’t, you don’t know your character as well as you thought you did, and you need to bleed that emotion into you character.
9.       If you love your [unedited] book so much you want to marry it, throw a George RR Martin themed “Red Wedding” for it, because it needs to die. You need to be as objective as possible before you even begin editing. That’s why most authors recommend waiting a few weeks to a month to edit it after they finish. For example, here’s an atheists view of the Holy Bible (quiet possible the most objective person to read it):

“Christianity: The belief that some cosmic Jewish Zombie can make you live forever if you symbolically eat his flesh and telepathically tell him that you accept him as your master, so he can remove an evil force from your soul that is present in humanity because a rib-woman was convinced by a talking snake to eat from a magical tree.”

Monday, June 2, 2014

Motivation for Writing

               The most difficult thing about writing is, of course, writing. The motivation just isn’t there, your job is stressing you out, your free time is too dominated for such scholarly activities- so many distractions! But a writer isn’t a writer until they actually write. The planning and plotting that is schemed doesn’t make anyone a writer. So, what can you do to be motivated to write?
1.      Listen to music that matches the scene you’re writing. If it’s scary, listen to a Halloween track. If it’s a war scene, listen to percussion tracks. If it’s peaceful, listen to classical.
2.      Don’t set a word count goal for that day. The thing that is blocking you from writing is usually an idea of how much you need to get done.
3.      Keep your writing area clean. If it has soda cans or last night’s dinner leftovers on it, you’re not going to want to sit there, usually. Place a bonsai tree or something aesthetic there to make it more inviting and beautiful.
4.      Go somewhere else and write. Sometimes, a change of location can work wonders. Coffee shops are a great place, because you can keep rewarding yourself for writing as long as you are there. $10 or $15 can go quite a ways in a coffee shop!
5.      Find one interesting thing about the era your writing takes place and try to write a scene to include it. It’s great for world building!

6.      Associate with other readers and writers. For me, I added a lot of authors on Facebook. Now, when I Facebook surf, I see the progression others are making with their books or writing, and it makes me wonder what I’m doing on Facebook and not writing!

Sunday, April 20, 2014

Flex Your Writing!

               I heard a bit of advice recently that I am going to take to heart, and I love it. “Verbs are muscles and make your writing stronger.” Consider the following:
·        “The castle is tall.” Flex it!
·        “The castle loomed over them.” Isn’t that much better?
               Verbs are the muscles of writing, and they can carry your words right off the page into reality if you put enough in it. What’s also important to note is that your decision on what verb to use can work overtime for you and create tone. If I was to create a dark theme, I would most definitely use the word “loomed”, but if I was writing a happy scene, I would use another word that paints a brighter picture. Sometimes, these verbs that work overtime for us will just not come, and that’s fine! Just ensure that you don’t contrast the tone of the story with your verbs.
               Also, adjectives aren't entirely evil either. They can work overtime by attributing humanistic traits to objects or animals, often for the same purpose as a simile or metaphor- to get us to understand a difficult concept without burdening the reader with explanations. “The castle stood proudly.” I’m certain that someone’s inner editor is screaming at this moment, but I will simply respond by saying that to use it in this manner is a purely stylistic approach.
               Now, adjectives can also be useful when they highlight an action with a counter intuitive description. For example, “Jessica smiled darkly.” Many writers believe that adjectives are evil, but most would agree that a modification in this manner is entirely acceptable. The thing to always remember is there are no rules in writing!

Saturday, March 22, 2014

How I Became an Amazon Bestseller

I released my book today, and it has skyrocketed up the charts to reach best seller status in its respective genre. While I do believe luck has some role to play in the success of authors, I'm going to let you in on a few things that you can control and are imperative to the success of your work.

Have a Game Plan

There is no professional, be it football players or actors, that expects to walk out on opening night to win without having a strategy. If you work hard enough to create a product to introduce to the public, you owe it to yourself to invest in marketing.

In today's social media enviornment, it has become easier than ever before to become noticed, but you must identify how to get there. Here are some examples:

  1. Ask people who've already established an audience to promote or review your product. This doesn't have to be a formal letter, and it can be as simple as saying "Hey, will you review/promote this?" Many people with audiences will want to know why your product is interesting so they don't insult their audience by putting some old thing up.
  2. Build your own following. This is self explanatory, but you can do this in many different ways. Invite people, host events, pay Facebook to advertise your content, etc.
  3. Get involved with local media. News people are always looking for stories, and if you have a success story, no matter how small, they may be interested in reviewing it. If they say yes, then it will drive the sales of your product, make your more successful, and garner an audience.

Have Great Content

Most products that are crap don't sell well, unless they have an astounding marketing plan, but don't rely on any one factor to get you success. All those millionaire overnight stories are incredibly improbable, and you shouldn't have your success hinge upon chance. So create something great, or at least as great as you can make it.

If you get satisfied customers for a great product, ask for some testimonials. People feel more comfortable buying something when other people are saying positive things about it. However, seek critiques, for they will make your product all the better.

Invest in the Long-Term

Any sort of on-going sale is a perpetual effort, and you shouldn't feel discouraged if your product doesn't just take off. Promote all the more, or review who your promotions are targeting. People who want to buy guns won't buy a product that isn't about guns. Be smart in who you target.

Ever hear of "You have to spend money to make money"? Well that is mostly true, but you shouldn't go for broke on one product. Set a budget and work with it accordingly. 

Produce More Products

If someone has a lot of things to offer, they have a wider range of people they can appeal to, and can even convert them to be interested in their other products. They key thing is building yourself as a reputable figure, and if you have a lot of quality material, then people will not only take you more seriously, but they will remember your name better. Don't let one success or failure stop you- keep pushing!

Friday, February 28, 2014

Author Interview - Jayson James

Hello, and welcome to my blog! Today I will be interviewing Jayson James about his novel, T.E.D. After the interview, you can find out more about him, follow his feed, and take a look at his works in the links below.

1. What is your book T.E.D. about?
T.E.D. is about three diverse guys Tim, Eric and Delsin, whose lives are intertwined as they each face their own struggles.   The story takes place around entries Tim made in his journal while Eric and Delsin provide the back-story of the events taking place.   Tim is a kid you feel sorry for and you want to give him advice how to better his life, and eventually you want to tell to quit being a wimp.  Eric is a character hiding his fear of being discovered by picking on others.  Delsin is supportive and does what he can, but is dealing with his own issues.  These guys are all flawed, yet likable characters.  It was important for me to have real people that my readers could identify and relate. 

2. What inspired you to write it?
The idea for the book I had a little over a year ago.  I jotted down some ideas, and then I has some more ideas, so I would jot them down.  One day the ideas for the book simply clicked.   Although I knew there are quite a few books out there about bullying, as far as I have ever seen none of them were written like my book. 

3. Have you written other works? If not, then what else are you working on?
I have four other published works, which take place chronologically one after another.  However, I wrote each of them as a stand-alone book.  My readers started calling the books the Finding Our Way Series and the name stuck.  After many requests, I released the books together in a series collection.
Finding Our Way is about after one night of drinking and going too far these two friends, Derrick and Justin become aware of their own sexuality. 
Tormented Discovery explores Derrick and Justin being who they are and how others around them handle it.   The readers get to read more about Hayden and get a closer look at his and Ryan’s relationship.
Drifting focuses on what happens in a relationship when one loves someone but is questioning whether they both are in love anymore.   This time readers get to read from Ryan’s perspective and what is going on in this shy guy’s head.
I also have a few published novellas.  Summer Escape is about two friends who on a weekend away decide to live by their own rules.  I thought it would be a good way for new readers to sample my writing.  Far & Away is about two guys who meet online, fall in love and realize life is too short to stay apart. 
My current work in progress is something unlike anything I have ever released before.  It takes place back in 1988 and is a coming of age novel about this guy and girl who are best friends who growing up and coping with life’s changes. 

4. What writers inspire you?
Mainstream, would have to be Stephen King who has been my longest running inspiration.   I would be delighted to have half the success he has had in his lifetime of writing.
The gay scene is Nick Nolan who I met after I read his book Strings Attached  and left a review of what I thought of it.   Nick is a talented author, one of the smartest people I’ve ever met and someone I am glad to have made friends with him.

5. Where do you get your book ideas?
The preverbal question I did not think I would ever see another author ask.  Someone once said, “Write what you know.”  I guess my ideas would come through life and experiences.   However, I want to write about book from the point of the view of the killer someday and I do not plan on killing anyone to know what I am writing about.

6. What’s the hardest thing about writing?
Time, energy and ideas coming together.   It feels like I have two out of the three and yet so rarely all three, which is what it takes in order for me to write.

7. What advice do you have for aspiring authors?
Believe in yourself and keep close those who believe in you.  Seek out constructive criticism and value those who are willing to tell you when something stinks as well as what they like about your work.  If you publish, celebrate your success, being each book you sell is one more than you had previously sold.

Interested in more Jayson James?
Twitter: @jaysonjamesbook

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Give Me A Break!

           “Give me a break” and no, I don’t mean from that Kit-Kat bar. Writing is hard because you can’t just write, you have to write effectively. For example:
           Give me a break! vs. Give me some slack!
           Both mean the same thing, right? Wrong.

The first one is more forceful, and it would only suit a dramatic scene. It implies that they have been ridden harder than a donkey through the Grand Canyon.

The other one is more passive aggressive. This is great if you’re writing a scene that’s meant to be funny or informative, as it adds just the right touch of drama and tension.

Be careful in how you write, because if you just wrote the most fantastic book, that is technically correct, one sentence will draw them out, and every time you do that, they aren’t believing in your book. It doesn’t take a lot of sentences like that to make the reader feel that way. And out of those 100,000 words you took to write the book, you can’t afford for the reader to get tripped up over those four above.              

Monday, February 24, 2014

Overlooking One Small Thing Can Ruin A Big Thing

               Today I got in trouble at work. I did a good job doing something, but I overlooked something that snowballed into a big issue. In relation to writing, this is important too. If you overlook small details and forget the world you created on the page is a real place, it can upset the balance of the entire writing piece.
               For example, in my novel the Director of an orphanage leaves for an important duty somewhere else. Yes, this is an important and well-done plot, but I forgot to mention who is going to run the orphanage in his absence. Details like this are important.
               As a writer, you can be so into your story and focused on making it a great work, that you forget the readers think it’s real, and they’re not going to believe that thing you overlooked. The result? That pulls them out of the story, and that is something a writer never wants to happen.

               Remember, the devil is in the details.

Sunday, February 23, 2014

Writing Ideas

               Coming up with book ideas can be hard, but even the bestselling authors can struggle with this. A completed book idea doesn't just pop into your head! Sometimes, we can think of book ideas when we least expect it. For example, Stephen King, my writing idol, was walking across a bridge when he thought of the Three Billy Goats Gruff, and wondered what it would be like if a troll lived under a city. That birthed “It”.
               He came up with another when he was listening to a religious radio channel and a preacher said this generation would destroy the world. That birthed The Stand. One more example: Stephen King’s son, Owen, almost got hit by a car, and he wondered what he would have done. That birthed Pet Semetary.
               Personally, I came up with my idea from the lyrics of a song. I like this method best because songs, of course, are art, and art is open to interpretation. So if I hear a song that’s abstract, I may just be able to build a story after it. After all, songs are just mini stories.
               Another way to come up with ideas is to re-imagine old tales just like Stephen King did with The Three Billy Goats Gruff. If you get stuck, just play the what-if game.
               I think that it’s important for writer’s to just be able to go off in weird tangents. For example, another author friend of mine, S.G. Redling, came up with her book idea Flowertown because she was using hand sanitizer and thought to herself ‘what if this is a biological weapon?’ 

Saturday, February 22, 2014

Writing and Editing

            “No writer is entirely without sin…” Stephen King states here, in a profound way, that every writer makes mistakes. The sin of the writer is always as black as the ink he writes with, and there is no writer that is without it. It is that black sin as well as that black ink that defines writers. Both ink and sin must be poured and splayed onto the paper to achieve better writing skills.
            When focusing on writing, it is critical to focus most on the subject. You MUST have a goal. For example, if someone is writing about the Kalam Cosmological Theory and its base links on temporal relations, then say so. Even if the subject is complicated the subject does not have to be, and it can be understood by anyone even if they do not know what the subject it pertains to.
            Once the subject is identified everything must correlate to it. The subject is god and everything else is simply a creation of it. If there is something in the paper that is not created by the subject, then there is another god, and the monotheistic quality of the paper is lost. That is simply heresy. The paper should be uniform, concise, and religiously devout to the subject. 
            If one must formulate their own subject, they must create it carefully. It is not only the spoken word that can be misinterpreted. One can write a research paper with the subject “People are wicked” and give the most irrefutably true contentions. However, not all people are wicked. The subject itself is flawed, and therefore the entire work is flawed. The subject should have stated capability as opposed to existence by saying “People can be wicked”. A slight word change such as that can save an entire work from becoming irrelevant.
            The organization of the paper helps keep the focus of the reader. If the information must be reread to understand a new concept introduced, the reader will become agitated. Just because someone wrote something does not mean everyone should read it. The reader is trusting the work to be good because they are investing their valuable time in it by reading the material. The author owes it to the reader not to waste it, because the author works for the reader- not the other way around.
            The organization and presentation of the material is dependent on the purpose. If the paper must be organized by chronological order, such as how to do something, then that will always take priority. However, if there is no chronological order, then one must organize the paper by hierarchy or importance. This paper is ordered by title, main points, sub points, and conclusion.    
            The collection of main points is critical. Every point must be necessary to get the overall message across. If there is something missing or if the main contention is not the strongest it can possibly be, then the paper is weak. To create a great work, every point must leave no doubt as to its necessity.
            The organization of sentences must be ideal, and this is the most complicated of all organizational skills. Any sentence can be grammatically correct and still not feel right. If the flow is bumpy, then all of that structure, organization, and careful planning will be for naught. This asset is part intuition and part skill. The most helpful thing to do is to take a break. A lapse in time enables you to come back to your work with a more objective eye. Then, read it aloud and see if it sounds like honey dripping. If it does, the writer has done well!
            Selecting the format for a paper is the most covert writing skill of all. For example, the reason tabloids and newspapers have narrow columns that happen across two or so meager rows of the page is because they want the reader’s attention. Quickly finishing a line every second or two and finishing the article in less than a minute surmises a sense of accomplishment and silently strokes the reader’s ego.
            With that being said, the purpose of the subject and the application of it is important in identifying the format of a paper. If the text is going to go in a newspaper or tabloid, choose the format previously mentioned. If it is going to be submitted as a college work, use APA format (or as directed by the instructor). Selecting proper format can assist students’ grades or attract readers.
            When formatting, it is also important to know who the audience is. In college, APA format is used in research papers because it is a formal format and can be viewed as a pedigree. Books have multiple formats. If the audience is young adults, the font is typically bigger and less words per page. Typically, quotations are stand-alone paragraphs. If the audience is adult, the words are more per page, smaller font, and the quotes are incorporated in the paragraphs.
            It is also critical to know what the purpose is of what is to be written. There are many purposes that a paper can hold such as informational, humorous, poetic, etc. There are many styles to each purpose of writing. In college, the most common purpose for writing is informational, which is to include research papers. For each purpose, there are multiple formats to select. Although many college papers are APA format, not all of them may be. The most appropriate format must be selected in order to deliver a truly perfect coup de grĂ¢ce.
            Without any shadow of uncertainty, editing a paper is a screamingly important stage of writing. Editing is the saving grace of all writers. It does not matter the mistakes made before, because everything can be redeemed by this process. To be perfectly honest, most of the rough draft looks nothing like the final draft. At least, that is true if the author’s skills are superb.
            The creative stage is the editing stage- not the rough draft. The editing stage is where an author can reread their work, find new pathways with better views, and still get to the same destination. That is exploration; that is creativity. The ways that are least obvious are often the most beautiful, and whomever the author may be, it is their dutiful obligation to show the reader to it. Do not lure the reader down a road of mud when there is a flowing river nearby they can walk along. The author’s writing shoes will be cleaner for the good of it all, too.
            Every word in a paper is meant to count. If one was to take out a single word from a sentence and the sentence still be complete, then that word must go. Every sentence, every syllable, and every letter must be absolutely necessary and advance information continuously to the reader without repetition. If the author attempts to annihilate every word he created and reduce his work to a blank page once more, then he successfully wrote and edited his work.
            The skill of editing is a tough one to learn. To edit, one must first ensure everything before this paragraph in this paper is complied with. Once that is completed, edit paragraphs by properly separating new ideas and keeping same ideas together, edit sentences by creating smooth flow and proper structure, and edit each individual word by spelling and necessity.

            While these are not the only skills in writing, each one of them has multiple approaches and strategies to them. If the reader of this paper remembers nothing else, remember that editing is, debatably, the most important strategy to writing. “To write is human, to edit is divine.”