Thursday, August 29, 2013

Judge That Cover

It may not seem like it, but I love technology and where its taking us.  When its powers are used for good, it’s amazing.  Three to five years ago, I was very much against e-readers.  As a vested reader and author, I love books.  I didn’t see any benefit to e-readers, and rejected them out of hand.  Now, this isn’t a blog promoting e-readers.  Far from it.  I still love books, the look, the feel, even the smell of both new and old books.  You probably know exactly what I’m talking about.

But I’m also a husband and father.  I’m no longer the footloose and fancy-free bachelor who could blow most of a paycheck on books.  I barely even have the shelf-space for the books I’ve been hauling around since high school.  My wife used to give me “the look” whenever an Amazon box showed up with three or twelve new novels.  Finally, I looked at the last ten books I’d bought.  All of them were available as e-books, and all of them were less expensive.  The idea of hauling around a veritable library the size of a single hardbound book was not just appealing, it made economic and marital sense.  I settled on the Kindle, which at the time was 3rd generation keyboard.

But, I had a conundrum.  While I could get onboard the e-reader train, I still wanted my e-book to look like a book.  I wanted to be able to hold it on my hands, open the cover and start reading.  I wanted to protect my digital library, while still being able to “crack” the spine.  It’s a very steampunk kind of thing, and I’m a very steampunk kind of guy, with old world aesthetics attached to modern technological conveniences.  I really need to get to work on that steampunk novel!

But I digress.

Oberon "Tree of Life" Cover
There wasn’t a big market for that kind of cover at the time (and still isn’t), but I eventually found Oberon Design who makes some very beautiful leatherwork journals and had just ventured into the e-book cover business.  The Oberon cover was very nice, and I still love it.  It has never left my first Kindle e-reader, but it has some issues.  The interior of the cover is a felt that would leave little strands in the seams between the Kindle’s plastic outer shell and screen.  I solved this by super gluing a strip of microfiber to the inside.  I also didn’t like the clasp, which pulled at the middle of the cover and was really superfluous.  The four-point restraints for the Kindle were suitable, but not as sturdy as I would have liked, and didn’t really hug the e-reader tightly.

Verso Prologue Cover
So, when I bought my Kindle Fire, I went searching again.  I found the Verso Prologue cover that solved most of the problems I had with the Oberon.  Verso’s covers use a microfiber interior lining (great minds!), they had a wonderful four-point restraint system that fit snugly at all corners, and their cover looked very much like a book, rather than the leather journal I had with my Oberon.  A co-worker even commented, “Now that’s an old book!”  I was very pleased.  But the Verso cover is also not without faults.  It’s a faux-leather plastic that, over the last 18 months, has started to wear thin and show through.  Some of the imaging on the front of the cover has worn off from daily use.  For the most part, this just makes it look like an even older book, but it also heralds the demise of this excellent cover.  Maybe not today, and maybe not tomorrow . . .

My search for the perfect book-looking Kindle case had me stumble upon Etsy, which offers no end of home-made (and home-made looking) Kindle cases.  Most are no better than a slip-cover, and I rejected those out of hand.  Some are made from “recycled books” which I initially thought were great, until I realized that what they were actually doing was destroying books to make these covers.  I also found KleverCase, which seemed to meet all my needs.  I picked up one of these for my Kindle Fire HD, but when it arrived I was deeply disappointed.  What had looked like a faux-leather cover was nothing more than a printed paper case like a hard-bound book with no book inside, and no more durable.  I’ve been using it, but I know it’s going to get banged around far too much, and simply won't survive.  I can't recommend this at all, unless you just want to put your e-reader or tablet on a shelf and have it look pretty.

Customize Me AZ Cover
But then I found an Etsy vendor Customize Me AZ, which offered some very classic looking “book” covers for my tablet.  I liked everything I saw, from the Harry Potter-themed covers (Defense Against the Dark Arts, Hogwarts: A History, etc.) to The Neverending Story and Lord of the Rings.  They use a leather and faux-suede, which immediately hooked me, and they even offered a customizable cover, where you could send them any image and they would print it onto their cover.  I liked the title books, but I wanted my cover to be an anonymous-looking book, so I contacted them directly and asked if they could do the Neverending Story cover without the title on it.  No problem, they said, and so the cover is on its way.

In the meantime, I'm considering buying an Auryn and attaching it to my new cover.

Saturday, August 24, 2013

Round One - Fight!

Before we get started, I need to give a big, flamboyant shout out to my editor, Shawn Rost-Howen.


When Shawn sent me the first editor review of my book, Tears of Heaven she was worried that I would be mad.  I kept insisting that I was actually excited.  After all, I’ve wanted to work with a real, live editor for a real, live publisher for . . . well, ever.  Working with an editor would mean I was getting that much closer to seeing my book in print.

Turns out, we were both wrong.

Depressed.  That’s what I felt when I got the review back from my wonderful, beautiful editor.  On the page, pointed out repeatedly, were the errors that I had made.  I had made them over, and over and over.  All my filler words, all my “style” choices.

The depression wasn’t deep and it didn’t last because, as I told Shawn, I really was thrilled to work with an editor.  I pushed on, and immediately saw that the writing was stronger.  It was work, though.  The worst part of writing is writing.

Today, I sent back the initial revision to Shawn.  I know, without a doubt, that there is more work to be done, but this is another milestone.  This is another first among all the firsts of being a first-time published author.


Friday, August 23, 2013

By the Pricking of My Thumbs

Editors are evil.  This has been known since the first petroglyph carver, Urrgh, met his editor Giselle.  (What?  It’s my article.  Anachronisms are fun.)  Urrgh had just pounded the last mark into his masterwork, and turned expecting the buxom, blonde Giselle to have nothing but praise.  High praise at that, for his effort.  He was shocked, shocked that her face was not glowing with the pride of just being in his presence.

“Urggh,” she said and shook her head sadly, “passive voice, bad.”

That’s an editor for ya!  Here are some things that you should understand about your editor:

It’s Her Job
You’re the talent here.  Your work is perfect.  You know it.  I know it.  Sure, there might be some misspellings or a missing comma.  But that’s because your genius works faster than your fingers can type.  Those little corrections are understandable.  But editors are only in this for the money.  If she found nothing wrong with your work, she wouldn’t get paid.  A proofer could do her job for her.  So obviously she’s going to start finding things “wrong” that really aren’t.  Sometimes, your work is so perfect, she has to make up new rules, like: It’s is the contraction of “it is” not the possessive form.

She’s Jealous
Those who can, write.  Those who can’t, edit.  Your editor is an editor because she can’t write.  She’s tried, and failed.  Probably for years.  But your work is elegant, poetic, and mentally stimulating.  Your characters are deep, complicated and realistic.  Reading what you’ve written was probably a life-changing event, so how else would a broke-down, sad, bitter editor feel when she sees your glowing manuscript?  You are succeeding where she can’t, and she’s going to try to make your life a living hell because of it.

She’s a Grammar Nazi
The rules of grammar aren’t set in stone.  They’re more like guidelines.  They’re suggestions meant to help lesser writers, which an expert author like you can ignore at will.  Of course you wrote it that way on purpose.  It was a style choice.  You weren’t worried about rules.  You were writing poetry.  You were breaking through the stagnant walls built by generations of writers who blindly adhered to such restrictions.  You are a writer of vision with purpose and you can do whatever you want.  Who cares if grammar and spelling make it easier for the reader to understand your story?  Who cares if this is only your first or second novel?  Does Stephen King have to put up with this?  This is about the art!

She Doesn’t Get It
Your story is so eloquently and passionately told, that the publisher wanted it.  But you’re editor got “stuck” with you, and she’s not smart enough, not knowledgeable enough, not even clever enough to understand the intricacies of your plot, the characters or any other element of your writing.  She’s so mired in “logic” and “rationale reasoning” and “realism” that she can’t see the genius that is your book.  So what if she’s been doing this for ten, fifteen, even thirty years, successfully shepherding authors through the publication process?  So what if she’s read, literally (pun intended) millions of words from hundreds or thousands of stories.  This is your book.  It’s fresh, it’s new, it’s inventive.  It is unique.  It can’t be compared.

So remember your editor hates you, hates her job, and hates everyone around her.  She’s definitely taking it out on you, and it’s definitely personal.  She’s been having a bad day since the mid-90s.  She isn’t trying to make your book better, to make the story stronger, or try to help you sell (even though that’s where she makes some of her money).  Nopers, she’s doing everything she can to thwart you, make you feel small, and cackle the entire time.  It’s the one joy she has remaining in life. 

So give her a break, huh?  It’s not her fault she’s evil.  Or maybe it is.  But she’s evil, and that’s what you should keep in mind.

Tuesday, August 20, 2013


Sorry, can’t talk.  Must edit.

Here’s a picture of a kitten.

Here’s a quote by Stephan King:

One rule of the road not directly stated elsewhere in this book: "The editor is always right." The corollary is that no writer will take all of this or her editor’s advice; for all have sinned and fallen short of editorial perfection. Put another way, to write is human, to edit is divine . . .

You’re still looking at the picture, aren’t you?

Monday, August 19, 2013


Tour Stops

August 19: Emraz :The Spark
August 20: From Me to You ... Video, Photography, & Book Reviews
August 21: Book Bling Blog
August 22: Journey of a Bookseller
August 23: Must Read Faster

"The old one will come. When he comes, his one true wife must carry within her a child of the old one who would be king. Only then can the heart be found and the evil of the world kept in its bounds." –The Prophecy of the Land

Sorann is the queen's daughter and training to be an empathic healer. Javert is a member of the wandering tribe called the Zingari and their future king. When Sorann's failed healer's magic test brings them together, they discover the prophecy governing the land is false. In order to prevent magic, and the Zingari, from being wiped from the land, Sorann must become Javert's wife and leave everything behind that she once held dear.

Tricked by demons, and followed by the queen's soldiers, they must find the fabled Wizard's Heart in the frozen Winter Valley.

What sacrifices will they have to make along the way, and will Javert ever discover the true meaning of the Wizard's Heart before his people and the love of his life are lost?


Standing in the makeshift shower, peace descended in a comfortable blanket. Nighttime birds sang and whistled to each other, a frog croaked bass, and the crickets formed the string section. Conceivably, Cryant lived far enough away from the city for the emotions of those in the city not to carry into his compound, to reduce the overflow from battering at her shell.

Sorann let down her guard, expecting a deluge of energies to cause her to feel dirty again. A dog barked and went silent. The pig grunted in its pen, perhaps upset at having its mud rearranged. But no feelings invaded her. In her palace rooms, a shield stayed in place to protect her from the invasion. Could the same be true of Cryant’s canvas?

Dim moonlight spilled in when she pushed the flap aside. She stepped outside marveling at the emotional vacuum she found herself in. Silly to think Cryant could afford the spell needed to empower a canvas to keep out the extended aura of others.

The sky above her wore a sprinkling of bright stars on an inky background. The cool night air caressed her skin. Goose flesh rose over her entire body. The hard ground under her feet felt warm with leftover heat from the day. The stones she stood on glowed in the faint luminosity of the yard light, wet here and there, the water from the shower ran in twin streams on each side of the stone path.

The clarity of her mind extended beyond her in the absence of others emotions and feelings. The world came to her in clear brightness--a veil of gauze lifted. She ran her hands over her stomach, her own skin felt different. The bumps caused by the cold felt alien and as she ran her hands over them, she could feel the tiny hairs on her skin, a chill shook her. She hadn’t even realized a barrier existed between her own hands and her flesh before.

Animal smells came to her, the scent of the soap was even stronger. Why did everything feel magnified? Perhaps subdued?

A result of the shell she kept in place? She’d lowered the shell before, and it wasn’t like this--not even in her rooms with their encasing spell. She spun around holding her arms out in the moonlight. She caressed her own arms, enjoying the feel of the gooseflesh on them. She laughed at the feel of the mud between her toes. She stepped off the path and took slow steps with her toes spread, so the mud curled as it squished between her toes. More laughter escaped her. Her hands traveled to her breasts, her nipples went hard in the cool breeze--had that ever happened to her before? Perhaps she hadn’t felt it?

Sorann, you dressed?”

With a gasp, Sorann scrambled into Cryant’s robe. It stuck to her wet shoulders; luckily, it was over large for her. With quick movements, she wrapped her hair in the towel.

“Yes,” she called back. “I just need to re-rinse my feet. I . . . I accidently stepped off the path.”

“I’ve got soup on.” Cryant stood holding up the door flap. “Stay on the path.”

She quickly rinsed her feet in a clear puddle that remained on the platform under the barrel--the water mixed with mud creating patterns as it ran off her feet. Still puzzled, but prepared for the onslaught of Cryant’s life,
she moved to the slice of light coming from Cryant’s doorway.

Cryant moved back so she could enter without touching him. Sorann almost tripped over the threshold. Nothing came from Cryant, no feelings, no buzz singing along her nerves in a stinging assault.

The upper wall revealed how the home stayed warm. Inside, plaster coated it, and, going through the door, she saw the wall consisted of two parts with what looked like straw stuffed in between.

The inside of his home held the aroma of potato soup and fresh bread. A slightly musty smell road on the tail of the soup. She rubbed her nose. Things in the room, a small wooden table with two chairs, a handmade broom leaning in the corner, two glow lamps, and a braided rug jumped into clarity. Things in her life were always fuzzy, smells, sizes, shapes, colors--all made so, she assumed, because of her constant battle to keep out the everyday life of others.

Perhaps the hog knocked her unconscious and this was the result? A dream? She pulled Cryant’s robe up around her neck, aware of how low the neckline rested over her breasts. The fabric carried a slight scent--a slight male scent. Cryant’s robe hadn’t been laundered since the last time he wore it.

“Here, sit by the fire,” Cryant told her. He stood near a makeshift clothesline stretched across the room. Using wooden clothes pins he hung her now clean clothes so they would dry.

Sorann carefully sat on the chair nearest the fire. Cryant finished hanging the clothes before he retrieved two wooden bowls from a homemade shelf hanging over a tin washtub. He spooned soup into both of them and set them on the table.

“Thank you,” Sorann managed. Questions tumbled through her mind. Why could she let her guard down in Cryant’s house? Why had she been so overwhelmed at first, but now--now since Cryant touched her in the pig pen--skin to skin, she didn’t need to be on her guard? Was it possible Cryant’s left over aura on his clothes allowed her a measure of control? Maybe Cryant himself?

Cryant picked up a small crate from near the fireplace and brought it to the table. He set the box on the floor in front of Sorann and set the thin towel covering the top aside. Small bird voices started up in a demand for food. Sorann pushed the chair back ready to spring away from the birds. She stopped.

“You saved the birds?”

“Some of them,” Cryant answered.

She peered back into the box. Birds. Young birds. The way they looked--one with a bandaged wing, another laying with its neck outstretched and its sides heaving as it tried to breathe.

“I can’t heal them,” Cryant said. His voice carried a note of sadness.

Slowly, Sorann reached into the box. She touched the gasping bird and almost shrieked when she felt its young body hit the pavement. Instantly, she knew about the bird’s broken bones, its injured ribs--the bird struggled in her grasp. She set him back in the box where he strutted around the other injured birds squawking and chattering at her.

“You healed him,” Cryant blurted. “But . . .”

Sorann reached into the box and one at a time she picked up the hurt birds. When she set them down they strutted about whole and healed. Cryant leapt to his feet and brought out a small cat from behind a curtain hanging around his bed.

He held the tiny black cat out to her. Sorann took the kitten in her hands and saw from the cat’s point of view the cart coming towards it and felt a flash of pain as the cart ran over the kitten’s leg and hip--her body didn’t feel as though she’d been run over. The cat’s feelings didn’t overcome her. She used her hands to completely surround the cat and in moments it struggled to be free. She let him go, and he ran to the box of birds and began batting at them. Cryant picked the kitten up.

“Out you go, but not in the street this time,” he said. He shut the crooked door over the curtain after he scooted the cat outside. “What they say about you, it isn’t true.”

Sorann looked up into his blue eyes. Lines creased his forehead, his thin face betrayed his puzzlement. She’d never noticed the shadow of stubble on his face before, or the tiny scratches, perhaps inflicted by an injured animal, like the kitten.

“It is true. I can’t heal. I get caught up in the emotions and can’t even diagnose what’s wrong because I feel as if all the things are happening to me. I don’t understand this at all. With animals, you aren’t supposed to receive the clarity to diagnose and heal the way you attain it with a person, but I didn’t expect to simply hold them and poof they are back to normal.” Her stomach rumbled, and she felt as if she’d eaten her last meal weeks ago.

“Eat, eat,” Cryant said and shoved both bowls of soup toward her.

She picked up the slightly bent spoon and touched a small bite to her tongue. Flavors exploded across her mouth, rich deep flavors of spices and onions she’d never experienced before. Spoonful after spoonful, each one a new adventure in taste and satisfaction until she cleaned both bowls of soup without a thought.
“Do you think the stories, you know from the Lost Lands, the ones about The Dark Towers are true?” He spooned more soup into the bowls.

Sorann glanced up at him and continued to shove food into her mouth. Her stomach kept begging for more with rumbles and demands she couldn’t ignore.

“I mean, the orange cat, outside, the one with three legs, sometimes, it almost feels like she is trying to talk to me.”

“The stories about those dark wizards turning their enemies into animals?”

Cryant nodded.

Sorann chewed more food. She let out a small laugh. “I don’t think there is enough magic left in the world, dark or otherwise to turn people or animals into something else.”

“But isn’t that what we do with our gift?” He sat back and spread his hands on the table in front of him. He snapped his fingers shut. “Isn’t what we do magic of a sort? We take broken bones and turn them into whole bones, something other than what they were.”

Sorann stared at him a moment before she spooned more soup into her mouth. Around the food, she said, “Broken bone that was once whole bone, not something entirely different. Take the cat, where would all the difference in mass go?”

“Still, I think I would like a cat who could talk to me and could understand what I say.”
“I had a cat once, when I was small, I used to think she understood what I said. I think they do on many levels, if I can feel what they have eaten and their enjoyment, then . . .” Sorann shrugged. She looked up at Cryant after her spoon scraped the bottom of the wooden bowl.

“I’m sorry. You lied when you said you weren’t a good cook. I’ve never tasted anything, well, anything so full of flavors. I didn’t mean to eat all of it,” she added with a glance at the empty pot.
“Never mind. I have more friends in need, will you . . .?”

Sorann laughed, energy jumped along her nerves--she could heal. A miracle had happened this night--the speck of dust that sparkled with light--a wish fairy, if any still lived with the bounty on most things magic? Sorann laughed again, whatever had happened, she could heal. “Yes, yes, I will.”

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Horror Author Patrick Royal

     The only thing that multi-published, award winning horror author, Tom Elliot, wanted was to move to the country for a change of scenery and relaxation, to a quiet part of southern Illinois. It seemed he'd picked out a wonderful spot, miles away from the closest neighbor and even further away from civilization.
     Tom couldn't write to save his soul. Weird thoughts trampled through his head and left him wondering if he'd made a mistake moving from Chicago. Could it have been that he ripped himself from his element, like his best friend, Michael Gully, had predicted? That he couldn't answer yet.
Words came and flowed like wildfire, but at what price? Tom's imagination was getting the best of him and running rampant. The very characters that he created tormented him, driving him mad where he couldn't distinguish fiction from reality.

Genre: Horror
Book Length: Novel
Word Count: 53, 387
Pages: 181
Price: $4.99
Formats: PDF, ePub, Mobi, HTML


Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Write Your Review the Right Way

Welcome to the wonderful world of reviews.

You, as a newcomer to giving your opinion (and yes, you do have one) may be apprehensive, even scared.

But fear not!

(Ooo, that felt good.  I’m going to say it again.)

Fear not, I say!

My step-by-step guide will show you exactly how to write the perfect review, no matter what genre, your experience, or even having read the book!

Step One - Skim

Reading is for suckers.  There is nothing new under the sun, and this book is no different.  Most writers fill their stories up with useless knowledge about characters, settings, plot, obstacles and resolution, etc.  This should have no bearing whatsoever on your review.  Read a few pages, skip ahead, don’t bother with any intricacies of dialogue, or author choices, finish up the last few pages and then hustle to your keyboard.  Your work as a reviewer is done.

Step Two – Make It Personal

You are, after all, the audience.  Not part of an audience.  THE audience itself.  Numero Uno.  The Boss.  The Big Cheese.  The Head Honcho in Charge of the Universe According to You.  The writer is writing specifically for you, and if he or she or they or it fail to meet your every need and address your personal whims, then now is the time for character assassination and good old-fashioned name-calling.

Step Three – Logic?  What’s Logic?

Author’s don’t make choices for a reason.  Ever.  If you think and author has some kind of internal logic, then, as a reviewer, you’ve failed.  Authors, always willy-nilly throw around characters and events.  They never try to justify a choice with previous dialogue or information.  Don’t try to follow along, just build your review knowing the author was an idiot.

Step Four – It’s Your Turn

What’s a review for except to point out all the ways in which you could have written this story, and made it so much better?  After all, you can see so much clearer into the author’s world than they can.  It’s only right, fair, and even responsible for you to show that, no matter how in-line with the characterization or the plot, the book would have been “so, so much better” if it was written your way.

Step Five – You’re the Expert

So what if the author has a PhD in Native American history and has written the book specifically based on a previous peer reviewed article?  Who cares if the author is actually a Native American herself?  What does that matter when you have Wikipedia and own the director’s cut of “Dances with Wolves”?  So-called “experts” are nothing more than a pedantic wannabe, and it’s your duty to point out how things really are.

The last thing to remember is that, whenever possible, you should engage in an angry argument with the author.  Don’t let things like “facts” or “quotes” dissuade you from your original stance.  No one was every called a hero for reasonable discourse (except that Gandhi fellow, and that Martin Luther King, Jr. guy).  There’s no such thing as “right” or “wrong” where a review is concerned, only where the author is concerned, and then he or she is always wrong, wrong, wrong.

Thursday, August 8, 2013

Meet Marrin - Tears of Heaven Teaser

Del sagged to the floor, her body wracked with pain.  She fought through the film of coming unconsciousness to see a sight she wouldn’t soon forget.

The rogue was on the business end of a sword, four or five feet of steel.  He was held two feet off the ground by Marrin who looked like some kind of Nordic god.  Except for a hotel towel wrapped around his waist he was completely naked.  His golden hair, loose from its usual scrunchy, hung down over his shoulders, bare chest and stomach.  Every inch of him was well toned with muscle that Del had never before noticed.  An overhead light shone down on his hair and skin and gave him a kind of divine glow.

I must be delirious, Del thought.  I’m dying.  I’m already dead.  Marrin never looked so good.

“Saprophyte mutha’,” Marrin said.  The eccentric mixed with the ghetto seemed oddly perfect as he spoke.

In a movement that was just short of miraculous, Marrin adjusted the grip on his sword, lifted the blade to point upward, and knelt at the same time.  The pommel of the sword thunked on the floor and Del watched Jenoa slide down the entire length to grunt when he hit the cross guard.  Taloned hands made a grab for Marrin, but he was too fast.  In a blur of motion, he let go of the sword hilt, pulled and punched home a cold-forged iron spike.

The spike didn’t come out the other side of the rogue’s skull, but only just.

Jenoa’s body convulsed and a shockwave exploded outward.  It knocked Marrin backward and slammed him sideways into, and almost clear through, the wall opposite Del.  A light dust fell over his still form.

Amazingly, the towel remained in place.

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Tears of Heaven - Plot Synopsis

In the past, the children of angels and humans, the Nephilim, were allowed to lead their lives as they willed.  But they proved too strong, too ambitious, and too cunning for their own good.  They became warlords, conquerors and emperors.  They caused battle, death and strife until the Throne stepped in and forced them to submit to Its will, or die.

Unlike most of her fellows, Del, one of the first Nephilim, had no interest in conquest and domination.  In the ancient past, prior to the Throne’s interdiction, she met and fell in love with Dami, a Mediterranean ship captain and trader.  Together, they faced down pirates and storms and tried create a future together. In the present, two-thousand years later, Del unwillingly works for the Throne, obeying the commands of the angel Ahadiel.  She helps keep the world safe from the horrors of escaped demons.  At the same time, she keeps herself in the Throne’s good graces.  Whenever a rogue demon breaks free from Hell, she and her partner, Marrin, another Nephilim, work together to banish it.

These are “Tears of Heaven” coming this Fall.

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Sorry about the mess.

What inspires me to write?

It probably goes without saying that I love “Star Wars: A New Hope”.  It’s not just that spaceships, blasters, andlaser swords are being tossed about (though they help).  It’s also not that I saw the movie in the theater when I was three and it forever changed my life (although it did).  It is actually a story well-told.

Even if you haven’t seen it, you likely know theplot (though you should wear the cone of shame).  Local boy meets a wise stranger and finds his destiny to save the galaxy.  You see.  Elegant in its simplicity.  It’s a fantasy that every kid who ever had to do yard work or take out the trash can relate to.  You’re not just an average teen in an average life.  You were meant to carry a sword instead of a shovel.  You were meant for greatness.

But that’s not the whole of s what makes “Star Wars” a wonderful tale.  It’s the characters.  It’s Han Solo.  It’s Princess Leia.  Tough-as-nails, take-no-prisoners, shoot-the-Greedo-first characters.  Lucas didn’t know it at the time (though he later claimed he did), but he had tapped into some pretty standard archetypes and (clunky exposition aside) and lucked into some great one-liners.

It’s that kind of stuff that really inspires me to write.

Friday, August 2, 2013

So Say We All?

Am I the only one who does this?  When I’m getting on the freeway and I hit the on-ramp, I thump the accelerator to the floor, brace against the back of my seat and say, “Launch all vipers!”


Just me?

I also do it in the old school BSG voice.  Nothing wrong with the new one.  I just grew up with that classic.

Still no one?

Thursday, August 1, 2013

Write, Damn You!

You know when you’re writing along, struggling to make up the story, make the characters realistic, make the dialogue flow, make the plot intriguing, but you just can’t find it?  You know when the going advice is just to keep writing, to push through that mess and figure it out later?  You know?

So you follow the advice, you do what Stephan King and every other author of note says.  You write your little heart out.  Your fingers bleed from the effort of pounding the keyboard.  Your carpal tunnel is acting up and your eyes are bleary from the strain.

Two-thousand words.  Five-thousand.  Six-thousand and you have a full chapter. Ten-thousand words, and you’re deep into the second chapter.

That’s when the house of cards comes down.

You knew it was wrong the whole time.  You were building your house on sand.

The only good thing is that some of this is salvageable, and you now have the “true” start to your book.

Goodbye chapters one and two.  You fought a good fight, but you were outmaneuvered and outnumbered.