Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Blog tour finale

My February 2012 blog tour winds down today with my final post over at the site of horror author Ty Schwamberger. Yes, that's another "Ty" in the fiction writing biz. In my post, I talk about the fun of blog touring, but also that it's a lot of work. While you're over there, don't forget to check out some of Schwamberger's books.

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Back to the blog tour: About my latest fantasy novel, "Demon Chains"

If you are interested in knowing a little more about my latest epic fantasy novel, Demon Chains, here is your chance. Scottish writer William Meikle is hosting me today for my blog tour, and I give the skinny on the basics of the novel.

William, thanks for hosting me!

Sunday, February 26, 2012

Why do writers argue all the time?

It seems the Internet was made for arguing, and the world of books and writers is no different. There are those who argue for and against digital publishing. There are those who argue for and against self publishing. There are those argue for and against book stores. There are those who argue for and against Amazon. I could go on.

All of this arguing, this bickering, consistently baffles me. I simply don’t get it. I understand people have their preferences, but why is all this worth arguing over? Why is it worth allowing your blood to boil and your heart rate to jump? Frankly, why is any of this an either-or situation?

If I decide to self publish with Amazon, why should others act as if I’ve infringed upon their personal rights and kicked their favorite puppy? If I decide to send out a manuscript to a literary agency, why should this offend someone so much they have to curse my name and any spawn I might foist upon the world down to the seventh generation?

Are we really that petty?

For writers, the truth is there is not one solitary road to success. We must all find our own way. What works for me might not work for you. What works for John Locke or Stephen King or Dr. Seuss probably won’t work for me. Picking up advice from other writers is great, but we can’t follow their exact path to success because there is too much open ended within the world of publishing. No one knows for sure what the next “big thing” is going to be. No one. Oh, yes, the next Danielle Steel novel is sure to sell so many millions, but her audience is already built. No one can predict from where the next Harry Potter or Bridges of Madison County or The Da Vinci Code is going to spring.

Since it would be impossible to create a near perfect road to success for a writer, would it not be prudent to keep one’s options open? You can never tell what might lead to that big break. It could come from the traditional publishing world, or from Amazon, or from a celebrity who loves your books, or from sheer dumb luck.

It is not as if any of the many options available to writers is harming anyone. If one writer decides to self publish, it’s not as if they are damaging in any way readers or other writers. The same can be said for writers who continue along the more traditional path to publication.

Opinions are fine, but I often feel in our anxiousness to be heard and in our need to prove we are right, we lose ourselves and we lose our real voices. It’s also quite possible we could lose our readers, because most readers don’t care about all the little in-squabbling that goes on behind the scenes of the publishing world, and those who do pay attention from time to time are more likely to be turned off by what they see than to nod their heads and say, “Yes, that writer is correct about everything.”

Why can’t we all just do our own thing, have our opinions, but not be so vicious about it?

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Blog tour: Cover designs are important

Today ye old blog tour takes me over to Publetariat (thanks April!) where it talk about the importance of cover design for books and e-books and for writers and readers.

So enjoy!

After that, I'm taking a break from blog touring for a few days because I've been feeling a little under the weather in the stomach department, and I need a break. But I'll be back!

Books read in 2012: No. 16 - World Without End

by Ken Follett

Started: February 23
Finished: March 6

Notes: I'll probably be at this one for awhile as it's a massive tome of more than 1,000 pages and the type is quite small. This is a sequel of sorts to an earlier medieval novel, Pillars of the Earth, which I read and thoroughly enjoyed upon it's publication more than 20 years ago. World Without End takes place in the 1300s, about 200 years after the events of Pillars of the Earth.

Mini review: This one didn't take me as long to read as I expected. Why? Because it's a damn good novel that sucks you in! Truly some of the best historical fiction writing I've seen of recent years. The style is quite modern, full of intrigue and mostly fast-paced, but also included is enough history and education to please the scholars among us.

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Books read in 2012: No. 15 - Yesterday's Gone: Episode 2

by Sean Platt and David Wright

Started: February 22
Finished: February 23

Notes: I just finished the first e-book in this serialized fiction tale and liked it quite a bit, so I thought there was no time like the present to hop right into the next installment.

Mini review: This one didn't quite hold my fascination as much as the first episode in this series, but it was still pretty good. Each episode is supposed to end with a cliffhanger, and this one does as well, but it felt a little cheap to me in this case, almost forced upon the reader. But it was still a pretty good cliffhanger. I'll likely read more in the series, but there's just so much to read, so I'll be moving on for a while. But I think I'll be coming back.

Blog tour: Being an indie writer takes work

To be successful at anything takes two things: 1.) luck, and 2.) hard work. That's the point of my guest post today over at the site of Aaron Pogue named Unstressed Syllables. As can be expected, what I write about is the work it takes to be a successful indie author.

Aaron, thanks for hosting me today!

Books read in 2012: No. 14 - Yesterday's Gone: Episode 1

by Sean Platt and David Wright

Started: February 22
Finished: February 22

Notes: This e-book drew my interest because it seems to be an experiment in serial fiction, telling a longer story in episodes. Each month another 100 pages is released. It doesn't hurt that it's a sort of post-apocalyptic tale, and I've heard it reminds some folks of the TV show LOST, which I generally enjoyed.

Mini review: I must say, I was pleasantly surprised. Though this is not perfect, it's actually pretty solid writing with an interesting plot and intriguing characters. If Stephen King were writing The Stand today and mixed in elements of the LOST television show and The Walking Dead graphic novels, it would be something like this. I'll be reading more of this series.

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

The blog tour rolls on

Today the blog tour takes me to the online home of the prolific and busy Scott Nicholson. So thanks to Scott for hosting me. I chat about violence again, but this time from a less personal perspective and more about how writers should know their stuff. Enjoy!

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Four fantasy writers you need to read

On today's blog tour post, I don't talk about myself. Instead, I write about four fantasy writers I feel need to be read by more readers. Whenever someone asks me who they should be reading in fantasy, these are four names that spring to mind immediately, and the four cover a variety of sub-genres so I feel I'm always ready to name one of them for different kinds of readers.

Thanks to Jake for hosting me today at his Goblins, Swords Elves, Oh My! blog.

Saturday, February 18, 2012

Blog tour: Why do I write fantasy?

Why do I write mostly fantasy fiction? It's a good question. My answer? You'll have to follow along my blog tour and head over to the site Adventures Fantastic, online blog of writer Keith West.

Books read in 2012: No. 13 - Camille

by Alexandre Dumas

Started: February 18
Finished: February 22

Notes: Dumas the father is one of my favorite classic writers, if not my favorite of such authors, though I have never read anything by his son, who went by the same name. This novel is the first of the son's I will have read.

Mini review: I must admit, quite the beautiful, but tragic, love story. However, it does grow a bit tiresome in a few places. The author is a good writer, but I have to say, the father is better.

Friday, February 17, 2012

Violence in my fiction writing

Today my blog tour takes me over to Chiron Training, the blog site for Rory Miller, a writer, speaker, security analyst and ... geez, Rory does so many things, it would be difficult to place one title or hat upon him. Much of his current professional life has to do with self defense and teaching, and I've been following his blog for a good while now because I appreciate what he has to say concerning violence and self defense. Rory makes me a better writer.

So, though we had never even so much as chatted online, a e-mailed Rory a while back and asked if he would be willing to host me for a day of my 2012 blog tour. I was surprised he said "sure. I guess I got lucky and caught him at the right time. I was surprised mostly because he didn't know me at all, we had never had correspondence before, and because my own blog deals with fictional matters while his is much more about real life.

But not only did Rory accept me as a guest poster, he also challenged me as a writer. You can see the results here.

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Books read in 2012: No. 12 - Behold the Man

by Michael Moorcock

Started: February 16
Finished: February 18

Notes: I was attracted to this short novel for three reasons. First, it only cost me a buck because I discovered it at a used book store. Second, it's Michael Moorcock, and while I've read a fair amount of this author's work, most of that reading has been of his Elric character, and Moorcock has written so much more. Third, the premise interested me: A time traveler goes back to the past to look for Jesus. Now, I've read the first few pages, and if the story goes in the direction I think it's going then I will be quite disappointed, feeling the tale will turn into one giant cliche. But in all fairness, when this novel was originally published in the mid-1960s, it probably was not a cliche then.

Mini review: Yes, the story pretty much went to where I thought it would concerning the plot, and the ending was much more existentialist than I currently appreciate (though as a younger man I probably would have thought it near genius ... now I just found it tiresome). However, the use of flashback scenes I found quite intriguing, reminding me somewhat of the writings of James Joyce

Writers and their health

Today the blog tour takes me over to the site of writer David L. Shutter where I talk about writers needing to pay attention to their physical health.

And don't act like that's all boring and stuff. Go over there and read it. If you sit on your butt all day writing, you need to read my little post.

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

E-books, readers and real numbers: What does it mean?

A month or so ago, Verso Advertising released the results of its 2011 Survey of Book-Buying Behavior. You writers, you really need to take a look at this survey’s results. I think you’ll be surprised by a few things.

I’m not going to go into everything revealed in the survey, but there are a few items I would like to point out.

First, according to several different questions asked in the survey, it seems approximately 50 percent of regular book readers are adamant about not purchasing, owning or using an e-book reader in the next year.

Think about that. For writers, that is half our potential readership.

What does this mean? For independent writers, it means our works need to be in print as well as in digital formats. If you are focusing solely upon digital publication, then you are missing out on a lot of readers, a lot of potential sales.

There will likely be those who scoff at this survey’s results, and I freely admit a survey, even one as extensive as this one, can not possibly cover all possibilities. For instance, will that 50 percent remain steady, or will it change in coming years? I predict change as readers become more and more familiar with reading digital books, and as older readers are replaced by younger readers. I base that on no facts, but common sense. I might be wrong. We’ll know more in a decade or so.

The second thing I would like to point out is that according to the survey, avid readers (those who read 10 or more books per year) buy just as many print books as they do e-books. Again, this means we need to pay attention to the print markets, and our works need to be available in print.

The last thing I would like to mention is that more readers seem to be willing to pay higher prices for e-books than seems to be the general consensus out there in the blogosphere. So many independent writers are focusing upon free and cheap e-books to draw in readers, and I won’t argue that this can not be effective, but are we underestimating our readership and our potential readership? As crazy as it might sound, should we be charging more? Will charging more at the least give an impression of higher quality? I can’t answer those questions, so sorry, but I do believe the questions are worth asking. Each independent writer has to answer those questions for him- or herself, and decide what they think is the best route to publication and, hopefully, success.

What do you think?

Monday, February 13, 2012

Blog touring before Valentine's Day

Tomorrow is Valentine's Day, so my latest blog tour post over at fantasy author Greg Hamerton's blog talks a little about love and fantasy writing. Enjoy!

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Blog tour: Dungeons & Dragons and fiction writing

Today the blog tour takes me over the DNDKids: the online spot for Uri Kurlianchik. Not only is Uri a fiction and gaming writer, but he for his day job he also gets to teach kids how to play Dungeons and Dragons. Now is that a cool job or what? Uri and I met online as members of the Monumental Works Group.

So without further ado, here is a little bit of my history involving role-playing games and fiction writing.

Friday, February 10, 2012

Blog tour: Social messages in fiction

Another blog tour post! Yep, three in one day! This one is over at the site of thriller author James Grenton. I talk about social messages in fiction. James specifically writes novels with a strong social message, though I myself try to blend any such in the backgrounds of my tales. Either take can be interesting. Find out more at the blog!

Blog tour: Two guest posts in one day

Yep, it's a special treat today for those who are following my blog tour this month.

First, I appear over at Adventures in ePublishing, the home blog of indie author Derek J. Canyon, where I talk about how today's writers need to be prepared for change in the business world of writing.

Second, if you've not had enough of me yet, step on over to the Indie Writers Zone for a Q&A with me where I provide wisdom that would have made ole Socrates jealous.

Thursday, February 09, 2012

Blog tour: I interview Kron Darkbow

Yes, I finally got around to a short, silly interview with my Kron Darkbow character. Want to read it? Then head over to the blog of writer Carson Craig.

Books read in 2012: No. 11 - Just After Sunset

by Stephen King

Started: February 9
Finished: February 16

Notes: Been a while since I've read some King, so I thought I'd pop back into his writing for a nibble. I've always had a fondness for his short stories, thus I picked up this collection. I haven't read any of his shorts in a long while, probably a couple of decades, so I'm looking forward to this one.

Mini review: As might be expected, some pretty good stories here. Maybe even one or two that are great stories. Glad I read it. It was nice to delve into some King once more.

Wednesday, February 08, 2012

Blog tour: The wonderful world of Zoe Winters

That's right, the February 2012 blog tour takes me to the Weblog of Zoe Winters where I talk about the minimalism lifestyle and books. If you think you can't live without physical books in your life, then read this.

First foreign review of City of Rogues

My epic fantasy novel City of Rogues has been reviewed in Spanish over at Joshua Dresden's FantaSciFreaks. And as far as I can tell from my limited Spanish (3 years of classes more than 2 decades ago) and a little help from Google Translate, Joshua loves the novel.

Which, of course, I'm glad to hear.

Joshua, thank you so, so much for the review. It is appreciated.

Blog tour: Great big secret revealed

Today the blog tour takes me over to fellow Monumental Works Group member Darrin Drader's spot on the Web. You'll really want to read this post, because I reveal a big, crazy secret.

Tuesday, February 07, 2012

Books read in 2012: No. 10 - Ghosts

by Ed McBain

Started: February 7
Finished: February 9

Notes: Of the 50-plus 87th Precinct novels, this is supposed to be the only one to have any kind of speculative element. The police use a spiritual medium to help them work on a couple of murder cases.

Mini review: This. Was. Awesome. It might be my favorite 87th Precinct novel yet, and it's definitely better than the last few I've read. It mixes an almost hardboiled-style of story telling with a speculative element that sneaks up on you, then in one big scene grabs you by the neck and shakes you. Truthfully, there is a scene in this novel that is one of the most spooky I have every read, as good as anything Shirley Jackson ever wrote. I might have to read this one again someday.

Monday, February 06, 2012

Blog tour at Insane Angel Studios

Scott Fitzgerald Gray was kind enough to host me today over at his blog for my February tour. Better yet, he actually interviewed me through a Q&A. I found the questions quite interesting, and more in depth than most such interviews I've seen with writers.

So head over there to find out more about me!

Sunday, February 05, 2012

Blog tour: How to 'make it' as a fiction writer

Revealed! All the secrets in the universe about how you, yes, you, can become rich and famous writing fiction for a living!

Okay, maybe not, but on today's blog tour over at author Ben Dobson's site, I offer some little advice on how I feel beginning fiction writers should approach their writing as a business.

Thanks, Ben!

Saturday, February 04, 2012

Blog tour continues at 'Journal of a New Guy'

Today the blog tour takes me over to Journal of a New Guy, the blog of Dave Fortier. I write a little about my latest e-book novel. Thanks Dave!

Friday, February 03, 2012

Blog tour 2012: Writers make role-playing games great

Today for my blog tour 2012, I tackle writing for role-playing games, both tabletop RPGs and those in the video game arena. Thanks to writer and game designer (and fellow Monumental Works Group member) Colin McComb for hosting me today.

Thursday, February 02, 2012

Blog tour: Confessions of a fantasy writer

Today, on the second day of my blog tour, I make some confessions. Want to know what they are? Then head on over to the ResAliens blog, the blog for ResAliens Press.

Wednesday, February 01, 2012

February 2012 blog tour kicks off

Yes, my latest blog tour kicks off today at the same site as did my November tour. Which is at the Indie book blog, where today I chat about my recent stay in the hospital and some of the book- and writerly-related events that occurred while I was there. Enjoy!