Alien Days Anthology — Releasing May 17th

It’s been a long, long while since I’ve had a chance to update this website. My son, Thor, is now three. I’ve had to move our family across the country, without the benefit of my wonderful, deployed wife. I’ve also managed to get another story accepted for publication.

I‘ll be focusing on that upcoming book, Alien Days, today. I will admit that this bit of interweb has been neglected by me — that’s going to change. Look forward to more updates. This website has always been an outstanding tool for my personal and professional growth — not to mention the host of amazing people I’ve met via this site.

Rest assured, I’m never going to be the author that bludgeons you about the face and neck with buy-my-books adverts on this page — or really anywhere else. I’ll toss a post in, here and there, as the timetable requires.

The Alien Days anthology was one of those opportunities that fell into my lap via a connection with an author I knew — J.R. Handley. Together, we’ve worked on many projects in the past — you can check those out by clicking/touching here.

J.R. had mentioned Castrum Press was looking for submissions. J.R. and I collaborate often, and we have a folder of overflow stories we’d puzzled together in the past. Some individual stories, some planned pieces for bigger things. We picked one, J.R. submitted, and here we are — feeling good.

The book is set to release on May 17th. To be honest, I know very little about the contents of the book. I do know there are some really outstanding and prolific authors listed. It’s humbling to be among them. It’s weird to be published in a book with authors who I’ve read and idolized professionally.

Our story is titled: Am I Alone? It’s the tale of Alexis Monroe. One of the first women through an elite military school, she now stands mind-numbing guard duty on a secretive U.S. Air Force base. Every day, Alexis guards an entrance to a massive warehouse. Every day, she grows more and more despondent. A drink (or three) from her flask, while standing guard duty. A risky decision. An awakened alien artifact. All these come together to alter the course of her life.

Alexis Monroe is an important character in a sprawling universe. J.R. and I have very, very big plans for her. The Odera Chronicles (as we are calling them) are coming, and we are chomping at the bit to get those books into your hands. For now, I hope you pick up Alien Days on May 17th, and I really hope you enjoy our story.

10 Bad Reviews Which Will Actually Increase Your Book Sales

10 Bad Reviews Which Will Actually Increase Your Book Sales

This is a fun and brilliant post about what I’ve been saying (not on the blog, but in “real” life) about book reviews. Tara crushes this post, and it’s just the kind of thing I wanted to read at 1 a.m.

Number 2 and 10 on this list is spot on. It also takes a number 2 on some of the “high society” views on swearing, smut, and general tomfoolery. Seriously folks, write the book you want to read and people will give you a shot.

Tara Sparling writes

Look at my face. Seriously. Take a good long look at this face. It’s blue. And why is that? Why is my face the colour of childish summer skies, frozen computer screens, and musical moons?

It’s because I’m BLUE IN THE FACE telling you that 5-star reviews do not sell books. Stand-alone 5* reviews (rather than bunched together in aggregate, which I admit wield pens of power and therefore refuse to deal with here) are as much of an incentive to readers to buy a book as broccoli yoghurt is to naughty children to behave. They are meaningless: often vapid: frequently regarded as fake, and I have blogged about them so many times that my fingers are weary and my face is blue.

You know what can sell your books, though? A bad review, that’s what. And why is that? Because bad reviews contain 97.5% more useful information than good reviews, that’s why.

10 Bad Reviews Which Will Actually Increase Your Book Sales This…

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The Art of Character: Book, Blurb & Collage

The Art of Character

A collection of phrases and quotes from the book, The Art of Character, written by David Corbett. Image created by me and free to share.

 

During my transition to the new state over the last month or so, I’ve continued hitting the books and eating my greens. The Art of Character, by David Corbett was a delight to read. Honestly, I’ve burned through so many bloody books about writing characters and examining archetypes that it was starting to get repetitive — this book caught me by surprise.

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Image linked to Goodreads.

Corbett offers some fresh perspective about understanding how to craft and build believable characters. Unlike many of books I’ve read, he emphasizes the importance of shaping the character before your build the book. In my experience working with other authors, many go the opposite direction: starting with the story or general plot, then populating it with characters.

The issue, and I’ve seen it happen, is the characters are custom fitted to the story and one dimensional when you plot the story then begin to craft the characters afterwards. They say, “I want a scene where he/she commandeers a pirate vessel then builds a robot out of Pixy Stix, duct tape, and bubble gum…oh, they must be able to knit kitten sweaters too! I better make sure the character has X, Y, and Z traits.”

The book is separated into four main parts: Conceiving the Character, Developing the Character, Roles, and Technique. Each section builds on the previous and provides instruction on how to weave characters into the tapestry of your story. This is bolstered by countless examples from a smattering of different genres.

Speaking of examples, one thing I like to do when I read books on the craft of writing is glance at the bibliography at the back of the book. Corbett’s bibliography is three pages long with about fifty cited sources. That’s a goldmine!

When it comes to character studies, this book has quickly jumped to the top of my go-to pile. I can see it being one I refer to clients and friends alike. If your Amazon trigger finger is itchy, give it a go!

question markThat’s it for today. If you are curious about some of the other writing books I’ve read you can check out a listing of them I made by clicking right here (going to have to update this beast soon), or jump to my Reads section. I’m constantly eating my greens, and I encourage you to do the same. What writing books are you reading? I’d love to hear about it. I’m always looking for more books to devour. Until we cross quills again, keep reading, keep writing, and as always—stay sharp!

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