Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Fraterfamilias: Book Review

From the back copy of the speculative thriller Fraterfamilias by Judith Doloughan and Paula Stiles.

French artist Paul Farrell kills four people in Paris and walks into a hail of police fire at JFK Airport. A Russian history professor and shaman with a dark secret steals the body. Police on both sides of the Atlantic are on the case, but they each have secrets of their own. And a powerful enemy watches from the shadows, one who could destroy them all.

The first chapter opens very strong and is quite the page turner, you can't help but be pulled into the mystery. And while I was very intrigued with the character of Kedward, his language and mannerism (using the second person POV) did kinda throw me off.

That said, his being a mystic shaman did interest me and make me want to follow him throughout the story still, seeing ghosts as he works toward re-animating Paul, casting salt about the room to ward them off and such. I'm always a sucker for that mystic Templar stuff.

On the other end of the spectrum, both Interpol and the NYPD are working toward why did Paul kill some Russian mafia in Paris and then do suicide by cop in America? Why was his body stolen from the morgue? Are Paul and Kedward brothers? They look alike-and they also closely resemble people who should be long since dead-who disappeared mysteriously in years past.

The characters are well drawn and the story gives us divergent viewpoints on the consequences of immortality. I liked the twist that Jonah discovers about his genealogy.

I also would have liked a little more with the Dominican and yes, we are also left with that this was likely the first of a series. Several plot threads are still unresolved or unanswered. The unfortunate passing of co-author Judith Doloughan, has also affected the continuing story-we'll have to see what Paula continues with.

You can order a copy here.

Friday, May 27, 2011

Happy Birthday Christopher Lee: Epic Badass

Happy Birthday Christopher Lee (one of my favorite actors) Lee has performed roles in 266 films since 1948 making him the Guinness book world record holder for most film acting roles ever. He was knighted in 2009 and received the BAFTA Fellowship in 2011. He is now 89.

Monday, May 23, 2011

Interview at Dagan Books

Yours truly gets interviewed at the brilliantly Lovecraftian Dagan Books website in relation to my eerie short story "The Dig" coming soon in the IN SITU anthology.

It was inspired in part by female archaeologists struggling for recognition earlier last century, a couple of mummies that were supposedly found in nearby San Pete county, the pseudo-Egyptian architecture of the Nubian kingdoms along the upper Nile, and while I'm at it-why not throw in some fascist's during World War II as well?

It made for an eclectic story and I'm grateful Dagan Books liked it too. I believe the IN SITU anthology will be available July 15th.

Saturday, May 21, 2011

Rest in Peace: Jeff Jones

Jeffrey Catherine Jones January 10, 1944 – May 19, 2011
While I have admired Jones work for years (all the fantasy book covers) I knew nothing about him/her. Very intriguing person with a great amount of talent. Thought I better post a bit of her art here-just like I did last year for Frazetta and Friberg.

Visit the Jefferey Jones site for more Here.

Friday, May 20, 2011

Counterpoint on King's Advice

I read recently that Stephen King said (and I'm seriously paraphrasin') Don't write down idea's because IF they are good idea's you will remember them anyway-and if you don't remember them-they weren't good idea's.


And here's why.

YOU as the writer won't/don't/can't know what is going to resonate with the reader and move them.

Sure, sometimes you'll think, hey this will work or that will work--but other times a little aside that has little conscious meaning to you as the writer will strike a nerve and move someone-it will resonate and rock their perception and the readers perception of your story is the readers reality.

I know because I have done it. Small tweaks in stories have changed characters into some readers favorites-and that would not have happened if I wasn't taking notes and later perusing them and putting that stuff into the book. I call it Tetrising things in.

It's all well and good for King to throw out that particular advice but the reality is we all forget things and will continue to forget things and at King's age - How many things has he already forgotten? How many sparkling gems has he potentially trod over? I suggest it isn't even a potential-its absolutely already happened countless times.

So I advise, in contrast to a million dollar writer (because he is wrong), take notes because YOU will forget.

The Muse can be fickle, don't ignore her, don't think she'll call back later with the same message, and don't forget to map the journey she is asking you to travel on.

Crossposted at the Man Cave Authors Blog.

Monday, May 16, 2011

What's It About?

I recently read the wonderful Save the Cat by Blake Snyder. It is billed as the last book on screenwriting that you'll ever need.
That better be true.
Good thing I'm not working on screenplays anyway though.
The point is, it is a fantastic book when it comes to story structure and keeping to the beats in your story.
There are a number of things Snyder advises that I was very happy to find I did naturally = such as his "Save the Cat" theme - denoting having the main character do something at the beginning of your story to make the viewer/reader LIKE and ROOT for them.

The other big point I've been pondering is the root of everyone asking What is the story about. Snyder says he doesn't start writing anything without a logline - a simple sentence that says what the story is about in an enticing and (he recommends ironic) tone.
That hit me like a ton of bricks.
I could not (at least off the top of my head) come up with a single sentence about Heroes of the Fallen & Blood of Our Fathers...yet.
At the Storymakers conference I ended up having Sarah Eden read that, "Heroes of the Fallen is a Book of Mormon historical with Pulp Fiction sensibilities," as I drew the winning name for a giveaway.
(I think a gal that also writes B of M fiction won my book, so that was a kick in the teeth-haha don't think she asked to get her picture taken with me.)
Anyhow, I can't say that that is a particularly good logline but it is better than telling someone a whole paragraph and losing them along the way.

For my other works in progress I have come up with these at least for now.

GODS & ROBBERS: A colorful ensemble of rogues risk unleashing the apocalypse when they steal a "god" from a sorcerous Godfather.

MIDNIGHT SONS: A pair of superstitious soldiers and a haunted psychic are charged with hunting down sorcerous war criminals.

Granted I may change these a bit in the future, but they give a clear vista of what the story is about and where its going.

Snyder recommends having a good adjective for the hero and one for the villain-and yes I used the same one for each work on the villain but hey - they're fantasy stories.

Save the Cat has a lot more than these couple of things I mentioned going for it-these are just what struck me to blog about at 3 am.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Angie's Out of This World Adventure Giveaway

I'm helping my friend Angie Lofthouse with her blog contest by hosting her story "Highway Songs".

"Highway Songs" appeared in Residential Aliens in December 2009.

When trucker Andy Shumway's truck is hacked on the Shipping Highway, he expects to be robbed or worse. He doesn't expect to get swept up into a quest to save the life of a little girl, or to witness the fulfillment of ancient Mayan prophecy.

To enter The Out of This World Adventure giveaway, click on the story title to read the story, then come back here and answer the following question in the comments:

What are the most impressive ancient ruins you've visited?

Your comment will give you one entry in the grand prize drawing "grand prize drawing" (includes an Amazon gift card, free book and other fun stuff!), plus one commenter on this post will win a Milky War bar. Mmmm. Include your email address, if it isn't on your profile, so we can contact the winners.

Be sure to visit the other stops on the Adventure and good luck!

Monday, May 9, 2011

Laying the Foundation: Music & Branding

I went to the LDStorymakers Writers conference over the weekend. Had a pretty good time hanging with a number of author friends (too many to list so I won't even try)

When it came to presentations, I stuck to the more advanced ones generally and I did get some great tips/advice/what-have-you. Branding = Perception, I ponder that in relation to being a pro-author and that dreadful place where art must meet marketing. That and it sure didn't hurt talking with a few agents and getting their feedback. Good thing I volunteered to be a time-keeper with pitch sessions. I ended up getting more 1-on-1 time with them than if I had actually had a pitch session.

So I've begun work on the next project after Blood of Our Fathers & Midnight Son's (more on that thus far unmentioned one later)

I like to make soundtracks for my writing projects~here is a quick sampling of the "score" for the next one. (With which I had a modicum of success pitching over the weekend~boo yea!)

Of course I expect this will only make sense to me, anachronistic as it may seem for a medieval/renaissance-level fantasy setting but it is what it is~sets a mood~there ya go.

Friday, May 6, 2011

Lovecraft eZine: Curse the Child

My short horror story Curse the Child is online at the Lovecraft eZine here Its a free eZine so check it out.

My tale is about the dark union between the Queen of Sheba and King Solomon.

Lovecraft eZine is chock full of great Lovecraftian inspired tales by a wide variety of authors-Wilum Pugmire, Willie Miekle and Bruce Durham are among some of the greats I get to share the TOC with.

artwork by the eerie Mimulux

oh, yeah I'm posting this news while at the LDStorymakers Writers Conference while in Dan Wells writing class about horror.

Monday, May 2, 2011

Different Strokes for Different Folks

When you write and get published! (my dig at unpublished haters! Ha) You are going to have people who don't like what you do and will need to fill that terribly empty void within themselves.

These people will give you bad reviews.

A funny thing I have noticed is, they will especially review your book, giving you bad marks, when they can't get up the motivation to write reviews about what they actually like.

I take occasion to look upon what these people don't like even more than I do at what my fans like, because it always brings a good dose of comfort.

You won't feel so bad that someone gave you a bad review, claiming that your characters have poor dialogue, no growth and no personality-when they also gave 2 stars to Harper Lee and George R.R. Martin. I take consolation knowing that particular reviewer has no depth or taste and just leave it at that.

I'll bet a lot of you read about an author that recently had a melt down and actually argued on a blog with a reviewer and their commenter's about her book. She actually swore at people on the blog and threatened them, etc, etc.

I know everyone won't like what I do ( & why should they? Led Zeppelin didn't write songs everyone liked-they left that to the Bee Gee's)--but to argue? = insanity

So next time you're on the tree of woe over a review, just laugh.