Saturday, March 28, 2015

A Special Note from Shane Berryhill

Hello, everyone. I hope you're all doing well.

Recently CHANCE FORTUNE OUT OF TIME, the last(?) volume in 'The Adventures of Chance Fortune' trilogy was published digitally at long last (with the paperback and audio editions to soon follow).

Here's the back cover description:

Time-travelers, steampunk robots, dinosaurs, Martian invaders, superheroes, and adventures beyond imagining await you in CHANCE FORTUNE OUT OF TIME, the latest volume in a series praised by Publishers Weekly, VOYA, Young Adult Books Central, and many others. The secret is out: alleged superhuman Chance Fortune is only a normal boy named Josh Blevins. Will his friends and teammates, the Outlaws, band together and accept Josh for who he is so that the future may be saved? Or will old prejudices divide and conquer, robbing Josh, the Outlaws, and the world at large of a chance for a better tomorrow? Find out in CHANCE FORTUNE OUT OF TIME, the long-awaited sequel to CHANCE FORTUNE AND THE OUTLAWS and CHANCE FORTUNE IN THE SHADOW ZONE.

As you can guess, Chance Fortune is a series for both the young of age and the young at heart.

You can order the book at Amazon  or at B&N.

If you happen to know any librarians and teachers, please tell them they can go through Follet School Resources or Crossroad Press directly to take advantage of deals and discounts regarding CHANCE FORTUNE OUT OF TIME.

Thanks in advance for your time, consideration, and help.

All for one! One for all!

Shane Berryhill

Friday, March 27, 2015

[Link] Quick Book Marketing Tips for Fiction and Nonfiction Authors


by Joel Friedlander

When we talk about book marketing, fiction authors are always asking, “Will this work for me too?

And I don’t blame them. Nonfiction authors may just have it easier, at least at the beginning. On the other hand, nonfiction sales don’t always reach the stratospheric levels of popular novels.

This whole topic came up recently while preparing for a presentation on how to navigate the varied and confusing publishing paths now available for authors.

I thought about the many authors I’ve talked to recently, and what’s happened for them once they finished the publishing process and got their books into the market.

Looking back, it’s often easier to see where you could have done something different, something that might have made a difference. Yes, we all have “20/20 hindsight.”

To “cook down” the advice I put together for these authors, I separated it into separate lists, and here they are.

Read the full article: http://www.thebookdesigner.com/2015/03/quick-book-marketing-tips-for-fiction-and-nonfiction-authors/

Thursday, March 26, 2015

When the Sh*t Hits the Fan: Ramping Up Toward the Conclusion

We've thrown soft lobs for the past few weeks for the roundtables, so it's high time we get back into some practical, useful advice for writers from our shared experience.

Obviously, there will be some difference between writers, and between writing styles (pantsers vs. plotters, etc.), but the end result is the same -- there comes a time in your story when it's time to shift into the higher gears and work some emotion and action and intensity toward your conclusion.


When you're either writing as a pantser or plotting as a plotter, how do you know when that moment has come, when it's time to ramp up the story and begin that third act in earnest?

Jim D. Gillentine: I'm a pantster. So I guess I'll start. I try to do a slow build up from about the middle of the story. I make it more and more intense by each chapter. My editor told me I achieved this with my latest book, Crossroads, the sequel to The Beast Within. As each chapter played out, she told me she was getting more and more drawn into the story. Feeling anger at what was happening to my two main characters that had been captured by the big bads in my little tale. Until, BOOM! They fought back to regain their freedom. She said it was a perfect build up of tension that reached a point where as reader she cheered when the shit started to go down.

I.A. Watson: That point comes when all the pieces are on the board and now its time to crash them all together. It's very rare that there's a "new element" in the third act. It all has to have been Chekhov Gunned by them. When all the dominoes are finally in a row -- push!

Frank Fradella: I think almost strictly in terms of character, tension and event. Your main character should have a desire, a motivation. They want something. That's obvious, right? Your story arises when someone or something has a conflicting motivation, preventing your character from getting what they want. If you look at the second character exactly the same way you would your main character — that is to say, not a prop who exists solely to provide an obstacle to your hero, but the hero of their own story — then you drive them forward toward their goal with the same zeal you do your protagonist. There's your tension. There's your conflict. Introduce events to bring them together, drive them apart, up the stakes, but the driving force should always be the conflict between these two uncompromising drives.

My favorite example from comics is Magneto and Professor Xavier. Magneto is a compelling character in his own right. He's not a cardboard stand-up waiting for some random X-man to knock him down. He's a purpose-driven protagonist in his own story, dedicated to the preservation of his people by any means necessary. Then some bald idiot in a wheelchair wants to get everyone in a group hug and sing kumbaya. Jerk.

Selah Janel: I fall in between the two categories -- I have very specific moments I want to hit, but I also leave a lot of room for characters to develop and guide the plot, as well. For me, that moment where things really turn a corner and bear down is always a pretty natural escalation. I usually know that's the moment I'm building toward, and make it a point to guide the plot and energy to it. Now, I may go back after the first draft and hone things to make it more of a specific build, but I usually have at least one moment that things are being guided to.

Ric Martens: For me its kind of an organic thing... when the story is at a point it can't handle the pressure.. then I know its time to ramp up the end.

Corrina Lawson: I usually know that moment when I start and write to it. If I don't or have an inexact idea, I write down several, discard what I've done or seen done before and instead pick the more original idea.

Walter Bosley: It's time to ramp up and begin the third act when I've finished the second act. I don't mean to be flippant, but even though I know what my ending will be, I pretty much go with the intuition and appropriate degree of faith in format and structure as to when I've reached the end of the second act. For me, in my stuff, it's clear when I've reached that point and then I simply ramp it up because I'm "officially" in the third act.

Stephanie Osborn: Well, to be honest, since I don't write sequentially anyhow, it's not unusual for the climax to be one of, if not THE, first thing I write. Usually what winds up happening for me is that I have all the major plot points written, and then it becomes a matter of connecting the dots. Rarely I will realize that the climax is going to be so intense that I will put off writing it until the end -- usually the VERY end.

Bill Craig: My stuff is all very character driven and as the tension begins to built toward the home stretch things start to happen and the clock starts to tick for them and they find things moving fast around them and their reactions ramp it up even more.

It is all about the character's reactions. Sometimes they know it is SHTF time before I do. How they react and talk pushes the action forward.

What, if anything, changes about the way you either write (technique) or approach writing (such as workspace, music, etc.) when you ramp up the intensity?

Stephanie Osborn: I will procrastinate for a few days. This is actually necessary, as I am gathering up the energy to write the thing. (I find that it takes a LOT of energy to create a story. My writing mentor, Travis Taylor, likens it to running a mental marathon. When I finally finish a manuscript, I plan to take a few days off to recover, just like you would an athletic competition.)

Then I get everything organized that I might need while I am writing: full water bottle, tissues, good snacks, the phone, whatever. And I position them in easy reach. Depending on my mood and the scene, and how available it is, I may turn on some soft instrumental music to help me "flow."

Then I will read over the material leading up to, and do any editing I feel is needed, whether copy edits, or reworking parts of the material.

This allows me to simply continue writing at the end of the lead-in material. I will then usually write straight through until it's done, however long it takes, because if I stop I may lose the momentum.

Once it's done, I save it down, shut down the computer, and do something completely different to relax and unwind.

I.A. Watson: I try to write the first draft finale in one go, however long it takes. That way I can use the urgency in my imagination on the page too. Also there is caffeine.

Bill Craig: Sometimes I have to step back and take a breath because I am every bit as involved as they are, but I still can't shake the tension.

Walter Bosley: More coffee. And a desire to see the work finished. But the way I work does not change otherwise.

Selah Janel: Technique wise, once the intensity is ramped up, I know I'm going to be hunkered down devoting whatever time is necessary until that bit is finished. For me it's the equivalent of a roller coaster - the worst thing is to have to stop midway through, so I usually ignore everything else until those moments are written and tend to be totally oblivious to everything else. I also either get insanely critical of myself trying to get certain bits right or I'm so deep in the moment that I can let all that go until that section is written - it's usually one extreme or the other.

Frank Fradella: I don't generally outline when I'm writing novels, but I do know the major beats of my story, and I know what the "final battle" between these two forces is; where it happens, why, and how. Nearly all of the pages prior to this are me driving to this destination. That may sound single-minded, and it is. Other authors have their subplots and B-stories and pages of exposition about the shrubbery or curtains. I'm just not that guy. I tend to strip away anything that isn't my reason for telling the story in the first place.

Ric Martens: I tend to get uber focused at this point, not sure I change anything, more just get lost in the world.

Corrina Lawson: I have the opposite problem -- I have to work more on quiet scenes.

What is the difference between ramping up the action, ramping up the emotion, and ramping up the intensity of the story? Or is there no difference?

Selah Janel: I think both an increase of action and increase of emotional tension contribute to the intensity and forward-momentum of the story. You have to raise the stakes, and that will make the characters react in equally amped up ways (hopefully). I love playing with emotional intensity with my characters, probably more than writing action, but a lot of times (especially in genre fiction), that visual element is so important. Still, for me personally, how characters react and how those experiences either build or break them is always the most fascinating and visceral part. I know if I'm on target or not as soon as I write their reactions, and that can either really propel a sequence along or derail me into reworking other parts of the build up. The action may propel the visual and "plot" elements, but the emotion is going to help a reader connect with a character and ramp up the visceral connections. Plus, it all has to be its own complete journey. As a reader, I want a book to feel like listening to a complete song, or going on a theme park ride - you want that full experience, and you want it to feel like a constant build of energy -- a crescendo and decrescendo of sorts. Whether that's action or emotion based really depends on the type of story, but you need that momentum and resolution for the story to feel like a complete unit.

Bill Craig: The ramping up comes on all levels, but it comes in different ways, but it all comes from the characters. for example in this excerpt from my forthcoming Caribe spy novel this new character is introduced but the tension builds quickly as he knows something is about to happen but he doesn't know what.

Erin Banacek looked up when he heard the sound of helicopters. The Ares Oil man frowned. While they had excavated a lot of jungle on the site, he had gotten no word of equipment arriving. From the sound of the rotor blades, these were the heavier Sikorsky choppers that carried heavy machinery and equipment. “Bloody Hell!” he snarled as he stood and headed outside into the compound. “Davies, what the hell is going on?”

“No clue Sir. Who are these guys?”

“I wish I knew.”

“Get security armed and ready. I don’t like the smell of this.”

“Right Boss!”

Banacek headed back into his tent. He wanted his gun handy when he met the choppers. He grabbed his satellite phone too. He wondered if he should call Ms. Connelly about this, then decided that could wait. If this was something she had put in motion, it wouldn’t due to question it. Better to wait and see what was going down and then complain about it later. He put the sat phone in one of the cargo pockets of his pants as he buckled on the pistol belt that held his Colt Government Model 1911-A1 and six spare magazines. He pulled up the flap and drew the pistol, racking back the slide to chamber a round. He stuck it back in the holster and stepped outside, leaving the flap unsecured.

The scene is set and you get an immediate sense of tension and danger.

Walter Bosley: I'd have to analyze that a bit more. I guess I simply have more 'action' and am less verbose in description. My protagonists get less patient with BS, my victims get more desperate, and the villains do more nasty things, I suppose.

I.A. Watson: Ramping up the action often requires heightened stakes, greater urgency, and sometimes a big set-piece event (or countdown to one). That calls for very clear descriptive storytelling, cause and effect stuff. Often it needs short, sharp sentences. For effect.

Ramping up emotion requires revelation, reaction, and usually at least one powerful point of view. Letting the characters loose to say their pieces involves as much plotting and set-up as a big action finale, but the techniques differ. Longer, more elaborate sentences offering insight to inner thoughts and feelings allow for a better reader journey through the characters' torments.

Ramping up intensity is all about how desperate the reader needs to be to turn the page. Either action or emotion can achieve that, as can horror or mystery or wonder or other visceral devices. The key to intensity is pace, and gradually magnifying it. That may mean the pace quickens, as in action scenes, or that each story beat hits harder and heavier, punch after punch. And often, when the spring is wound so tight that its about to snap, there's a roller-roaster release that pays off after.

Ric Martens: There is no difference for me.

Corrina Lawson: They're all entwined. If no emotions are invested, why would we care about a fight? However, I usually try to make the climax big, bigger than any previous action. All at stake, larger action-lime the end of Winter Soldier when everything is in play.

Stephanie Osborn: There are differences, but they are subtle. Usually ramping up action ramps up the other two to some degree. Ramping up emotion tends to ramp up story intensity. Given I write science fiction mysteries for the most part, often the emotion has already ramped up, and the action taken for the climax is like a dam breaking -- it releases the emotion and things run rampant. (At least if I've done it right.)

Do you find that your involvement with the story grows more tense or more relaxed when you're in that "home stretch" of the tale? Why?

Ric Martens: I get way more tense and focused.. I think because I know I am nearing the end and its kind of intense and scary all at once.

Corrina Lawson: More intense. Because if it doesn't work, the whole story falls apart. Plus, I like writing endings whereas middles aren't so fun.

Stephanie Osborn: More tense, much more tense. Because I'm feeling what my protagonists are feeling, and I always have to be a few steps ahead, if not already at the resolution, even if my protag is Sherlock Holmes. Which is really hard to do. Takes a lot of effort. And 99% of the time I am completely caught up in the events. If my husband were to walk up to me without warning me of his presence, he'd have to peel me off the ceiling fan blades, because I'm not "here," I'm "there."

Jim D. Gillentine: As a writer, that is my main goal when I write. I want my readers to be feeling the pain and anger my characters are going through, and if I achieve that going by the seat of my pants, then I did my job to entertain you.

Frank Fradella: As far as tension goes? I think that ramps up naturally, if you're dealing with character first. Most people don't jump to a nuclear option right away. They try the easiest path to their goal first, and only escalate their efforts when they find that blocked.

Walter Bosley: I have to keep myself in check that I maintain whatever "quality" I've metered out through the story to that point, rather than rush through it and crank out a weak third act. I suppose then I must relax as I write it regardless how intense the story gets. I don't see my action as the strength in my stuff. My strengths are the attitudes and dialogue and where I'm willing to go with subject matter.

I.A. Watson: It depends on the kind of story. I generally prefer to get my explanations and motivations clear before the climax, so readers know the stakes and understand the issues (with all due respect to Dumbledore's 25-page justifications and footnotes in the infirmary after each time Harry has saved the day). Making sure that every point is clear and that each character gets a pay-off is quite a cerebral task and can be the hardest part of the writing. But then sometimes there's a wonderful sleigh-ride back to base, where all the hard work getting there just makes the last stretch a joy.

Selah Janel: It depends -- I either want to get everything right or I completely surrender to the story. It really depends on what it is and what my state of mind is at the current moment. I usually want to just let it pour out of me, and that's when I feel I'm at my best, when I can just be a conduit for all the action and emotion and let it happen, leaving the polishing and fine details for later. Even if I re-work that section, I usually have some of my best dialogue or emotional moments come from that initial outpouring. There's something to be said for letting yourself get immersed and letting the story work through you. At the end of the day, if you've done your homework and if your characters are well developed enough, the story knows what it's doing. 

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Nugget #44 -- Profound Pride

I write because I am vain enough to believe that not 
only do my words and my stories have meaning and 
importance and value now, but also will have meaning 
and importance and value to future generations. 
Writing is not just an act of creative indulgence 
but an act of profound pride.


Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Bobby Nash: Coming Out the Other Side Stronger

If you've followed this blog for any time at all,the name of Bobby Nash will not be unfamiliar to you. Bobby's not only a prolific and gifted writer but also a good friend. As we hadn't really focused on him and his latest work, it only seemed right and proper to do so now. 
Tell us a bit about your latest work. 

My latest prose release is Gary Phillips’ Hollis P.I., a hard-boiled detective anthology from Pro Se Productions featuring Gary’s Nate Hollis character. Nate first saw print at DC’s Vertigo in the Angeltown mini series. My story in this collection is called “Naomi” and has Nate trying to find out who murdered a young woman and why. His search takes him into some dark places.

You can find Gary Phillips’ Hollis P.I. at Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Smashwords, and more.
Pro Se’s website: http://prose-press.com/

Links: 

My latest comic book release is the Operation: Silver Moon graphic novel published by BEN Books. Written by me, with art by the amazing Rick Johnson, Operation: Silver Moon is the story of secret agent Tom Lupis (not his real name) who happens to be a werewolf. Agent Lupis goes behind enemy lines during World War II teaming up with a vampire lord to stop a power mad Nazi general from unleashing hell on Earth with a recently discovered ancient weapon. Rick and I have plans to do more stories with these characters.

You can find Operation: Silver Moon at Amazon, Barnes and Noble.

Links: 

What are the themes and subjects you tend to revisit in your work? 

I like to see characters overcome obstacles and come out the other side stronger. I also like to write about family, whether it’s the one you’re born into or the one you create around yourself. I like to play with interpersonal relations. I also like to blow things up and kill people, in literary realms only, of course.

I also like a good mystery thriller so that always seems to mix into whatever genre I’m writing. There’s almost always a hit of a thriller in there.

What would be your dream project? 

I want to write The Fantastic Four comic book for Marvel one day.

If you have any former project to do over to make it better, which one would it be, and what would you do? 

Tough question. I don’t have a good answer. Every project has at least one thing I wish I could change, but I prefer to look forward and not back. Once the story is done and published, I don’t want to look back and wonder if I could re-do it better. I’d rather look to the next project and see if I can tell that story better.

What inspires you to write? 

Stories continue to pop into my head. If I didn’t write them down, they would keep coming. At least this way I can share them and hopefully entertain others with them. Having a reader tell me he or she enjoyed something I wrote is an amazing thing. It makes the long hours I put into writing worth it.

What writers have influenced your style and technique? 

I want to be Sean Taylor when I grow up. 

In all seriousness (first time for everything), I am influenced by a little bit of everything. It can be an overheard conversation, people I see at a restaurant, even a bill waiting for me in the mailbox. All of these things help kickstart the part of my brain where creativity begins.

I’m also certainly influenced by other writers. I learn so much from seeing how others craft their tales, the decisions they make in storytelling, they way they market their work, even the way they interact with their fans and readers. I’ve learned so much from watching others. Just not… you know… in a stalker-ish kind of way.

Where would you rank writing on the "Is it an art or it is a science continuum?" Why? 

While there is a science to writing, I think the storytelling aspect definitely springs from the art side. I don’t use a formula for creating stories. They sometimes come to me in fragments, other times fully formed, and sometimes I don’t realize until later that separate ideas are actually part of the same story. That’s not very scientific, in my mind.

Any other upcoming projects you would like to plug?

Well, if you insist. 2015 is already off to a good start. I don’t have specific dates for these yet, but here are some books to be on the look out for in 2015: 

Prose: Snow Storm, Alexandra Holzer’s Ghost Gal: A Haunting We Will Go…, V-Wars vol. 5, The Big Bad II: Another Anthology of Evil, The Ruby Files Vol. 2, Evil Intent, Deadly Deals! (maybe 2016), Blood Shot, Pro Se Signature Series - Freelancer: The Traveler Sanction, an as yet untitled Nightscape novel (I believe some guy named Taylor is also involved with this one), and a few others I’m sure I’ve forgotten or simply can’t talk about yet.

Comics: the graphic novel adaptation of Edgar Rice Burroughs’ At The Earth’s Core (art by Jamie Chase) is slated for September, I believe. Domino Lady Threesome (a new team-up series I’m co-writing with Nancy Holder with art by Marco Santiago and others) begins in 2015. Strong Will (co-written with Mike Gordon with art by Wendell Cavalcanti and Rob Jones), All-Star Pulp Comics #3 (a Lance Star: Sky Ranger story with art by Rock Baker and Jeff Austin), and a few others are in the works.

Film: Camp Massacre (the movie formerly known as Fat Chance) will be out on DVD March 2015.

Yeah. Looks like a busy year ahead of me.

You can keep up with the progress and release dates for all of these projects and more at www.bobbynash.com

Monday, March 23, 2015

The Writer Will Take Your Questions Now #318 -- Upcoming Books for 2015

What new books do you have coming out this 
year readers should be looking forward to?

Oh yeah. There are lots of collections and novellas coming out this year, in addition some major comic book work that I hope to be able to reveal soon. Among all the upcoming published projects are:

Reel Dark: Twisted Fantasies Projected on the Flickering Page, "As So She Asked Again," Blackwyrm Publishing, 2015

"Spy Candy: The Dead Man Wore Stockings," Pro Se Productions Single Shot/Signature Series, 2015

Capes and Clockwork II, "No So These City Beasts," Dark Oak Press, 2015

The Ruby Files Volume 2, "A Tree Falls in a Forest," Airship 27 Productions, 2015

The New Deal: Masks and Mutants, "Gatsby," Pro Se Productions, 2015

Asian Pulp, "The Face of the Yuan Gui," Pro Se Productions, 2015

Black Pulp II, "The Hubris of Gods," Pro Se Productions, 2015

Hookerpunk, "The Truth Shall Set You Free," Dark Oak Press, 2015

The Danger People, "Daughter of Isis," New Babel Books, 2015

Armless O'Neill: Cognac Is My Mistress, Pulp Obscura (Pro Se Productions), 2015

Senorita Scorpion: When Weeps the Wailing Woman, Pulp Obscura (Pro Se Productions), 2015

Swingin' Superheroes, "The Robot Roundtable," Mechanoid Press, 2015

The Many Worlds of Ulysses King Vol. 2, "Trial and Tribulations," Pro Se Productions 2015

And a few more I can't announce yet...

Sunday, March 22, 2015

RETURN TO RAVENCROFT SPRINGS FOR ‘THE FEAST OF ‘69’


FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

RETURN TO RAVENCROFT SPRINGS FOR ‘THE FEAST OF ‘69’- NEW DIGITAL PRO SE SINGLE SHOT FROM AUTHOR LOGAN L. MASTERSON DEBUTS

From Logan L. Masterson, author of Ravencroft Springs, comes a tale of lost souls and dark discovery, set in Masterson's strange Appalachian locale, Pro Se Productions presents as a Pro Se Single Shot Masterson's Ravencroft Springs: The Feast of '69.

“Ravencroft Springs,” says Tommy Hancock, Editor in Chief of Pro Se Productions, “is not only one of the best tales of chills and terror that Genre Fiction has seen in a while, it’s also a mythology all its own. Rich with secrets and stories untold, this world is one that leaves readers wanting more, desperate for the mysteries to unfold. Logan definitely delivers on that with The Feast of ’69. Similar, yet different from the digest novel, this tale of Ravencroft Springs handles horror in a different, yet satisfying way. We honestly can’t wait for more trips to this little damned burg with Mr. Masterson.”

No one believed the summer of love could last forever, not really. Hippies danced in the streets, slept in the parks, hit the road on a whim, but when two star-crossed lovers find themselves in the forgotten hill country town known as Ravencroft Springs, winter has come. What fate awaits the American folk band Feast of Love? Come on down the foggy, forgotten road and learn for yourself in Ravencroft Springs: The Feast of ‘69, a Pro Se Single Shot by Logan L. Masterson.

With a wonderfully atmospheric cover by the author and Julie Holt, Single Shot logo design by Jeff Hayes, and digital formatting by Russ Anderson, Ravencroft Springs: The Feast of ’69 is available for only 99 cents for the Kindle at Amazon and for most formats.

For more information on this title, contact Morgan McKay, Pro Se’s Director of Corporate Operations, at directorofcorporateoperations@prose-press.com.
To learn more about Pro Se Productions, go to www.prose-press.com. Like Pro Se on Facebook at www.facebook.com/ProSeProductions.

Saturday, March 21, 2015

[Link] 5 Real Reasons Coffee Shops Are The Best Places To Get Work Done

by Radha Kistler

I’m obsessed with coffee shops. Ask pretty much anyone I know, and they will tell you. Part of me romanticizes them in some way. It has to do partially with growing up in small towns with the only real sanctuary for me feeling like it was in a coffee shop. Now every place I live in has to have at least a few good ones, where I do a pretty regular rotation. And there’s a magical feeling I have when I discover a new one. Here are my top five reasons why you should try working in a coffee shop, if you don’t already. So pull up a chair, grab a coffee (or a tea) and get to work.

Continue reading: http://thoughtcatalog.com/radha-kistler/2015/03/5-real-reasons-coffee-shops-are-the-best-places-to-get-work-done/

Friday, March 20, 2015

THE SNAKE STRIKES!

Airship 27 Productions is proud to present the latest pulp thriller by Oklahoma based, award winning writer, Michael Vance: SNAKE : NEST OF VIPERS!

In the last few years of World War II, a group of brave Germans who opposed Hitler and his Third Reich orchestrated an underground movement that worked from within to defeat the Nazis.  These brave men and women were constantly at risk being hunted by the ruthless Gestapo.  Their fate, if captured, was agonizing torture and death.  Still they struggled on.

Six years later, in the back alleys of New York’s Bowery district, a mysterious masked avenger calling herself the Snake appears.  She recruits denizens of the street to be her agents and begins a ruthless campaign against organized crime.  Who is she and what is her connection to the events in Berlin prior to the collapse of the Third Reich?

“Michael Vance is one of the finest genre writers working today,” says Airship 27 Productions Managing Editor, Ron Fortier.  “His Weird Horror Tales trilogy received critical acclaim and last year we published his YOUNG NEMO & THE BLACK KNIGHTS, a novelization of his own comicbook series.  This time he has uncovered a lost comic book nugget and what he has done with it is going to excite a whole lot of people.”

Based on a six-page synopsis by legendary comics writer, Richard Hughes, author Michael Vance has woven a thrilling, fast paced adventure that will keep readers guessing and on the edge of their seats from start to finish.  You've never met a character like the Snake.  She’s sexy.  She maybe crazy.  But she is most of all, deadly!

SNAKE : NEST OF VIPERS features a stunning cover by comicbook and pin-up star, Ted Hammond with interior illustrations by newcomer Greg Keyzer with book design by Rob Davis.

AIRSHIP 27 PRODUCTIONS – PULP FICTION FOR A NEW GENERATION!

Available now at Amazon and soon on Kindle.

Thursday, March 19, 2015

Fans Say the Craziest Things

What's the most interesting thing a fan/reader ever told you about your work?

Bobby Nash: When Evil Ways first came out, I came in to work one morning at the day job. My phone rang and when I answered it, one of my co-workers said, "You bastard. I didn't get any sleep last night because I couldn't stop reading your damn book." I took that as a great compliment. Another friend read Evil Ways and later commented that after reading it, "I was a little creepy to her now."  I also took that one as a great compliment.

A couple weeks back at ConNooga, I was on a panel about characters and there was a question from the audience that mentioned reading a book called Snow Falls that had great supporting characters. It took a few seconds for the light bulb to go off over my head and realize that she was talking about a book I wrote. I was, surprisingly, flabbergasted for a moment. It was a great moment for me. 

Thomas Deja: I had a fan tell me that the story I wrote for The Ultimate Hulk helped him get through a very rough time when his mother fell seriously ill.

Ron Fortier: That I would rot in hell for what I did to Popeye.

Rob Davis: That for them, as a fan, my work "was Star Trek" when I was drawing it. I floated for days on that one.

Ralph Angelo Jr.: That’s an easy one, a friends wife loves my books; she recently finished ‘My Enemy, Myself’ and the next time I saw her she said that the epilogue was “the most romantic thing I ever read.” Which was a real surprise to me, I’m not a really romantic guy. I’m kind of gruff and to the point with a lot of things. But that scene where Crystalon magically crafts a diamond ring out of a piece of coal and puts it on Amanda’s finger really struck a chord with her. Funny fact #2 about that scene. I added it on after I finished the book. I went back to it before I sent it out for editing, something like a week or two after I finished it and added that scene.  She liked it, a lot. That surprised me, a lot.

Van Allen Plexico: I'm sure I'm forgetting lots of good ones, but maybe the many people who, after reading the Sentinels, have said they wished I was writing Marvel's Avengers. That always makes me happy to hear! 

Lee Houston Jr.: Besides the fact that they liked my work? Which is something I never heard until I attended my first convention as a writer. Then I would have to say it was when a fan said where they thought  Project Alpha actually took place, but I will neither confirm or deny the guess until Alpha, Book 2: Wayward Son is released.

Bill Cunningham: I had a joyful fan who kept emailing me, posting on Facebook and replying to Twitter as to when I was going to finish The New Adventures of Frankenstein Collection in print.

He was contacting me every day, and no reply I gave him was good enough or soon enough.  The fact that my Mother was undergoing chemotherapy at the time, and my father had broken his ankle didn't deter him from contacting me.  Some days he was posting in Facebook, and on Twitter, and via email.  I blocked all three areas, and would see my spam and trash filters pile up with his Russian novel sized rants.

It got to the point where I was waking up the morning, and he was the first thing I was thinking of...

It was a bad year.

Gordon Dymowski: Reading one of my many Amazon reviews, finding out that a story that I had written was a "futuristic dystopia".....when I had written it to take place in the 1950s.

Erwin K. Roberts: Actually an editor, in editing one of my stories, provided a good one. The hero had to take a draft physical. He's ordered to report at 5:30a.m.

I got an email saying something like, "Was that a typo? Or do they really start that early?"

As Ron, or just about any vet, will tell you, yes, they do start early. I mentioned this to my barber, a Viet Nam vet, he said he reported at 5:20.

Stephanie Osborn: That he was surprised I was female. He didn't think females could adequately write believable internal dialogue for guys... unless you want me to also mention the guy who decided to tell me all about his alien abduction, because I wrote a book with aliens in it...

Armand Rosamilia: A reader thought I was female for writing Darlene Bobich as a lead in my Dying Days series and then 'accused' me of having a female ghostwrite her parts. I took it as a compliment, I guess...

R.J. Sullivan: "You're a dude, but you got us girls all figured out." To which I replied, "Tell my wife."

Elizabeth Donald: I could go with all the times people found meaning in my work that I didn't intend, the allegories I didn't see but were perfectly valid interpretations. I could mention the debate over the tensile strength of the aliens' exoskeletons vs. the approximate power of the soldiers' ammunition - true story, man - or this totally undeserved reputation I seem to have developed for killing off my characters at a rapid pace. But I think I'll have to go with the reader in an online forum who accused me of being Harlan Ellison writing under a heretofore unknown pseudonym. That's the best compliment I could ever receive.

Allan Gilbreath: If interesting can be scary - the number of women that really want to meet Galen (a vampire that thinks you are a snack). They truly want to know where the real Galen is and that I should get him in touch with them. I explain that he is fictional and I get the nod and wink that "sure he is" and they still give me a number on the back of a business card that he should call.

Jim D. Gillentine: That they slept with a copy of my book under their pillow. True story...

Frank Fradella: Someone once called me the illegitimate love child of Robert B. Parker, F. Scott Fitzgerald, Shakespeare and Alan Moore. I dedicated my next book to that crazy bastard.

Tony Acree: A reader told me my book disturbed her so much after reading it before bed, she could only read the rest of the book during the daytime, in full sunlight.

Bill Craig: I had a fan tell me I wrote pulp fiction as well as Lester Dent, aka Kenneth Robeson.

Derrick Ferguson: There was this guy who somehow managed to read my stuff for years, including my Marvel/DC fan fiction without realizing I'm black. I've certainly never made a secret of it Anyway, he sees my picture on the back of Dillon And The Voice of Odin and sends me a long email saying that he didn't appreciate me "tricking" him all these years. He advised me to "stop trying to write like a white man" and further suggested I "write about subject matters and situations appropriate to your race."

Percival Constantine: One reader pointed out that when he typed the title of one of my books on Amazon to write a review, the results included "a most intriguing sex toy."

Barry Reese: I had a reader tell me, to my face, that I must be an "#%%hole" because of what I did to one of the characters in Rabbit Heart. I was extremely pleased that I'd upset them that much.

Rebekah McAuliffe: One of my readers told me while she was reading Gears of Golgotha, she cried and wanted to throw the book about four times (she had a Kindle or Nook, can't remember which, so she couldn't throw it).

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Nugget #43 -- Bad Things

What's the worst thing that can happen to my 
characters? As a writer it's my job, my responsibility, 
my obligation to take them there and back again.



Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Grinding the Gears with Rebekah McAuliffe

I met Rebekah McAuliffe at Imaginarium last year. She had perhaps more enthusiasm and energy for writing than any of the rest of us ol' has beens in the room. And that is why you need to meet her.

Tell us a bit about your latest work.

My latest work is Gears of Golgotha, a steampunk/dystopian novel.  In the far future, Earth is united under a one world government, New Pangaea, and society is divided into two strict class systems: Chemists (scientists) and Mages (those who practice magic).  The work of New Pangaea revolves around the Gears, which are large machines that orbit the Earth, powering and protecting the planet.  However, when Erin meets Dr. Makswell Sharpe, the lead Chemist in charge of the Gears (or its government codename: the Golgotha Project), her entire world changes forever. There's romance, intrigue, action, and mystery.

What are the themes and subjects you tend to revisit in your work?

I discussed this during the Writer's Roundtable on theme, so I'll be brief.  I tend to write a lot about those who are oppressed, and sticking up for them, no matter the cost.  As someone who has had first-hand experience (and second-hand, as well) with this topic, it is an issue that is very close to my heart.

What would be your dream project? 

Honestly?

I'd love to one day write a screenplay for my upcoming novel, ALPHA, and see it turned into a movie starring Chris Hemsworth as the protagonist, Howard Turner.

If you have any former project to do over to make it better, which one would it be, and what would you do?

When I was younger, I had written a young adult novella called Runaway Fate, about two warrior princesses who must overthrow an evil prince.  The story was very dark, as I wrote the novel back in sixth or seventh grade, to the point where it almost frightened me how dark it was.  To kind of, shall we say, tone down the darkness, I gave Runaway Fate a cop-out ending, in which a warlock grants their wish that none of the events of the story had ever happened.  I'd love to give it a new ending, one that isn't afraid of the darkness of the story.  Alas, I had written the novella on an old Windows 95 desktop which has since broken, so if I ever wanted to work on it again, I would have to start from the beginning.  Luckily, I have a vague outline of how the story goes still in my head, so it shouldn't be as hard.

What inspires you to write?

I write about what I see around me.  I live in the heart of the Bible Belt, but having opposite views as my neighbors can be tough at times.  I want my stories to be a voice for those who don't have one.  Whenever I write, whether it be poetry or novels, it almost always ends up being a statement about what happens around me, whether it be the poverty of the more rural areas of Kentucky, or the oppression of minority groups.

What writers have influenced your style and technique?

Most of the books I have read throughout my lifetime were classics.  The darkness of my stories was heavily influenced by the Bronte sisters, but the style and technique of the writing itself is much more modern, mostly inspired by authors such as J.K. Rowling, John LeCarre (especially in ALPHA) and George Orwell.  To be quite honest, I've never really thought about this question before; I just mostly write whatever comes to mind.  It's like my fingers do the writing, and my brain just kind of follows behind, reading along as the words come up.  For example, whenever I wrote my first death scene ever, I was thinking, "Okay, okay, this is good... wait, wait, what are you doing?... NO, NO STOP THIS IS NOT OKAY..."

Where would you rank writing on the "Is it an art or it is a science continuum?" Why?

I believe that writing as a whole is an art, but the individual parts of the story, such as sentence structure, grammar, spelling, etc., is part of a science.  In a way, the science comes together to create art.  Think about celestial bodies.  The individual parts are all part of science: the formation and life cycles of stars, the collision of galaxies... but when you look at them through a telescope, all of those parts come together to create a beautiful work of art.

Any other upcoming projects you would like to plug?

Well, obviously I want to "plug" Gears of Golgotha. You can find it here.

I also want to bring up ALPHA, which is my newest novel coming soon from Hydra Publications.  Think the Bourne saga meets Manchurian Candidate.  A soldier named Howard Turner comes home from Afghanistan, and is recruited into the notorious MK ULTRA.  Fans of conspiracy theories and spy and political thrillers will thoroughly enjoy it.

Monday, March 16, 2015

The Writer Will Take Your Questions Now #317 -- Readin' & Writin' (But No 'Rithematic)

Time for me to drink my own Kool-Aid and respond to the same question I asked my "roundtablers."

What is your favorite genre to read? To write? If they're not the same, why is that?

My favorite genre to read changes each year. In my twenties, I loved to read the classics, probably because I was getting my B.A. degree then in English. I haven't lost my love for the classic American literature, but in my thirties I started to seek out all the stuff I felt I had missed during my religious seclusion years of my youth. That's when I went back and read the Thomas Covenant books and quite a bit of sci-fi and fantasy "classics" like Dune, etc. In my forties, though, I've been on a kick of reading all the stuff I missed by being born to late to really value it in my childhood -- the books that have influenced most of the writers who influence me. I'm talking about stuff like A Princess of Mars, She, The Maltese Falcon, and The Lensmen series. Or a fun sci-fi satire like Heinlein or Vonnegut.

When I write, I prefer to write pulp-influenced, action stories with a sort of literary leaning when it comes to characters and their interactions. I'm a sucker for a story nugget that triggers a good noir or pulp mystery, and a rollicking planetary romance, or a creepy horror story that plays with tone and atmosphere more so than "scares" or gore. That's just what I'm drawn to, I guess. Even when I write something outside the adventure mold, I still tend to focus on keeping the story moving, and I have a lot of character-driven dialog because that's what I like to read. I love to get to know my characters whether I'm writing them or just reading them.

Sunday, March 15, 2015

MYSTERY AND JAZZ RETURN IN CHARLES BOECKMAN PRESENTS JOHNNY NICKLE IN TROUBLE FOLLOWS BY WHIT HOWLAND

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Known for bringing classic Pulp characters back to life with a modern relevance and vibrance, Pro Se Productions announces the debut of the latest volume in its Charles Boeckman Presents imprint. Charles Boeckman Presents Johnny Nickle in Trouble Follows by Whit Howland is also the first appearance of Mister Boeckman’s jazz musician with a knack for mystery in his very own digest novel from Pro Se Productions.

Charles Boeckman, now 93 years old, was a writer of many stories back in the heyday of Pulp and beyond, mostly suspense/mystery and western tales. Due to his publishing of a collection of his mystery stories, Pro Se Productions became aware of his work and pursued the opportunity to bring many of his characters from what had been one shot stories back to life in new tales by today’s best Genre Fiction writers. This opportunity grew into Charles Boeckman Presents, with this latest digest novel featuring Johnny Nickle being the third printed volume in the imprint.

“Johnny Nickle,” says Tommy Hancock, Pro Se Productions Editor in Chief and Partner, “is back and blowing his trumpet for action like never before. And Whit Howland brings a punch all his own to the character. Trouble Follows moves with an electric charge that grabs the reader and doesn’t let go. This character was so rich in Mister Boeckman’s original story, he had so many levels and shades to him that more stories just had to be told.”

In a return engagement, Charles Boeckman Presents Johnny Nickle! A classic Pulp character created by Boeckman in the golden age of Pulp Fiction, Nickle returns to the stage to perform his wild new single -- Trouble Follows by Whit Howland!

Boeckman's Johnny Nickle returns to a familiar groove in a new adventure involving maidens, mobsters, and music in a situation that could lead to a permanent premature curtain call for our hero with the horn! Because, if there's one thing you should know by now, wherever Johnny Nickle goes…Trouble Follows!

Charles Boeckman Presents Johnny Nickle in Trouble Follows features stylish artwork by Adam Shaw and jazzy logo design by Sean Ali. The print version formatted by Ali is now available for $9.00 via Amazon and at Pro Se’s own store. This jam session of action is also available as an eBook formatted by Russ Anderson for the Kindle and for most formats at Smashwords for only $2.99.

For more information on this title, interviews with the author, or digital copies for review, contact Morgan McKay, Pro Se’s Director of Corporate Operations, at directorofcorporateoperations@prose-press.com.

For more information on Pro Se Productions, go to www.prose-press.com. Like Pro Se on Facebook at www.facebook.com/ProSeProductions.

Saturday, March 14, 2015

[Link] 20 Beautiful Private and Personal Libraries

By Emily Temple

The private library of George Lucas. Are you jealous? I am.
 See the rest of the pretty pictures by clicking here.

Friday, March 13, 2015

GENRE FICTION PUBLISHER DEBUTS GENRE FICTION COLLECTION BY YOUNG AUTHORS- DESTINIES DARKLY DREAMED NOW AVAILABLE!

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Known as an innovative publisher of Genre Fiction, Pro Se Productions announces the debut of one of its most inventive collections, one giving a particular type of writer the spotlight, shining a focus on young writers. Destinies Darkly Dreamed features stories written by high school students tackling action, adventure, passion, and betrayal in their own voices.

“Being a writer,” says Tommy Hancock, Partner in and Editor in Chief of Pro Se Productions, “is a wonderful experience. Combine that with being a publisher, and the paths you go down become winding vistas of discovery and surprise, the places you frequent, both real and imagined, are suddenly ripe with possibility, and the people you meet…well, the people you come across may start out as faces in a crowd and then suddenly end up as authors on a page. One such opportunity presented itself at the end of 2013 when a faculty/staff member, the ever excited and passionate Donna Woolf Smith, at Lake Hamilton High School in Hot Springs, Arkansas attended a presentation I was doing to a writers’ group and decided she’d like some of the students at Lake Hamilton to hear what I had to say. I wound up face to face one November morning with about twenty or so high school students. Students of every type and facet. That’s where the day started. And very quickly, it went down one of those winding paths of discovery because, to my surprise, I had found something else, something more than a mixed bag of teenagers all wanting to miss a day of class. What I had before me were twenty or so authors, all with their own voices, and here I was, educating them, or at the very least trying to sell them on the benefits of writing Genre Fiction. And now, Pro Se Productions has published Destinies Darkly Dreamed, a book with stories from fourteen of those authors from that seminar.”

Pro Se Productions brings daring new tales from new and young writers of Genre Fiction. Action. Intrigue. Passion. And More. A collection of High School students sharing… Destinies Darkly Dreamed. There’s a reason for the title. Some of the tales go into some very dark places and several of them deal with situations and choices and actions that many don’t believe that high school students think about or deal with. There is violence, there are relationships, there are questions of identity within this book that even society today may not be completely comfortable with confronting, but all of those and more affect these kids every single day. Not just the authors of this book, but high school students everywhere. The days of the gilded age of being a high school kid may not be gone, but they’ve definitely changed. And these stories are reflections of that and expressions of the way authors in this work deal with those issues- by writing, by creating. Destinies Darkly Dreamed from Pro Se Productions.

“Although,” says Hancock, “the seminar was held by a high school, a high school I’ve visited since then and worked on various projects with, the stories you’ll find here were contracted for with the students and their parents. This is a work like any other book published by Pro Se Productions, an arrangement between the publisher and individual authors. I say that so you know that what you read are the expressions, thoughts, and ideas of the authors who wrote them and theirs alone.

Destinies Darkly Dreamed: Genre Fiction by Young Authors features evocative artwork and logo design by Jeffrey Hayes. The print version formatted by Percival Constantine is now available for $12.00 via Amazon and at Pro Se’s own store. This exciting collection is also available as an eBook formatted by Russ Anderson for the Kindle and for most formats at Smashwords for only $2.99.

For more information on this title, interviews with the author, or digital copies for review, contact Morgan McKay, Pro Se’s Director of Corporate Operations, at directorofcorporateoperations@prose-press.com.

For more information on Pro Se Productions, go to www.prose-press.com. Like Pro Se on Facebook at www.facebook.com/ProSeProductions.

Thursday, March 12, 2015

Check out this new interview with Sean Taylor!

Instead of interviewing others today, I go under the knife (so to speak) with Lisa Matthews Collins, and have to face the questions myself.

Read the interview here: https://lisacollins.wordpress.com/2015/03/12/sean-taylor/

Taking the day off

If you're looking for the regularly scheduled Roundtable article at the blog today, you won't find it. We're taking the day off today to go exercise the musical part of my brain instead, i.e. doing some songwriting with a friend.



But while you're in a reading mood, why not check out a few of these recent gems from the site you might have missed:

Workspace -- A Visual Roundtable Experience
http://seanhtaylor.blogspot.com/2015/03/workspace-visual-roundtable-experience.html

Do Your Read & Write Faves Connect?
http://seanhtaylor.blogspot.com/2015/02/do-your-read-write-faves-connect.html

Finding and Working with Beta Readers
http://seanhtaylor.blogspot.com/2015/02/finding-and-working-with-beta-readers.html

Writing through Nostalgia-Colored Glasses
http://seanhtaylor.blogspot.com/2015/02/writing-through-nostalgia-colored.html

Pow! Right in the Viscera! -- Writing Prose with a Gut Punch
http://seanhtaylor.blogspot.com/2015/02/pow-right-in-viscera-writing-prose-with.html

My View, Your View, Their View, and Our View -- Writers on POV
http://seanhtaylor.blogspot.com/2015/01/my-view-your-view-their-view-and-our.html

Something to Say -- Writers on Theme
http://seanhtaylor.blogspot.com/2015/01/something-to-say-writers-on-theme.html

Wednesday, March 11, 2015

Nugget #42 -- Re-Writing

Without re-writing, I'd never be published. 
Not only that, I'd probably be black-listed, 
de-friended, and relegated to Myspace only.


Tuesday, March 10, 2015

Getting Carried Away with (and by) Ray Dean

Ray Dean's newest book, Carried Away, is hot off the presses (well, digitally speaking), and it seemed like a perfect time to interview this wonderful author.

Tell us a bit about your latest work.

Inspired by the Suffrajitsu (http://suffrajitsu.com) trilogy, Carried Away features several principal characters from the graphic novels, including Persephone Wright and Flossie Le Mar, as well as introducing a new protagonist, Tressa Boniface. Tressa's journey from timid maid to confident suffragette is marked by sometimes violent class and gender conflicts, new friendships and cases of mistaken identity, weaving in and out of the world of haute couture fashion circa 1913.

I am extremely proud to be a part of our group, adding stories into the this 'world.' We're not only continuing the stories of the characters from the graphic novels, but adding in some of our own as well. There are so many interesting events in the history of suffrage, the possibilities are endless.

What are the themes and subjects you tend to revisit in your work?

I like to think about what goes 'wrong' and how things change because of those challenges. If one avenue is blocked, what happens to the characters because of it? What choices do they have to make? If something goes wrong, can the character overcome the problem?

Otherwise, I think I cover a little bit of everything across the board. Either I have a muse with multiple personalities, or I have a crazy little group of them in my head. I'm not sure which idea is more appealing... or frightening.

What would be your dream project?

Anything and everything? I love a challenge... I'd like to work with some of my friends on different projects. The collaboration of ideas and good friends would be my idea of a lot of fun.

If you have any former project to do over to make it better, which one would it be, and what would you do?

Throughout most of my college years I was working on a series of novels in the Fantasy genre. I had paper after paper of handwritten notes. I had some files in my Brother Word Processor (yes, I had one of those things with only two lines visible on the screen). And when I shared a desktop with my husband, I typed all of the notes into a file on that computer. And then he reformatted it while I was at work one day. I hadn't backed it up to anything and I didn't have the paper notes anymore. All that work... gone. So if I could 'do it better' it would mean that I'd actually have those pages back.

What inspires you to write?

To get the voices in my head to shush enough to let me sleep. Not joking. It's a pain sometimes, but what would be worse is silence. So, I'll suffer through it and hope the voice's will take a number and wait their turn.

What writers have influenced your style and technique?

Always a tough question. I know so many wonderful authors that influence me in many ways. Some challenge me to be better by questioning excuses I may come up with. Some influence my creativity by helping me to brainstorm. But, if I go back into my memories. I'd say that Laura Ingalls Wilder had aninfluence on me. I felt like the words in her books were like a conversation with a friend. The kind of conversation that friends have curled up on a sofa at a sleep over. I felt 'home' in her stories. Just like Louisa May Alcott. Little Women was the first book I stayed up all night to read. I could not say goodbye to them until the last page was read. While more modern authors have taught me lessons, I believe that those early experiences had the biggest influences on me.

Where would you rank writing on the "Is it an art or it is a science continuum?" Why?

More art than science for me. Art is subjective. Go into an art museum or see an art installation and asking a group what they 'see' what they 'feel.' You'll get a bunch of different answers. Science is driven by measurable results. You're not going to get that in writing. You can put in the same effort into two stories... cover the same 'topics,' map out the plot the same way... but you cannot guarantee a result or reaction. And I think that's part of the fun! And part of the anxiety and fear of it as well.

Any other upcoming projects you would like to plug?

I have several stories coming up in various anthologies.

“The Sound of Her Fury” will appear in a Steampunk Anthology, ‘Gears, Gadgets, and Steam: Tinkered Tales Vol 1′ with Harren Press “Jerry Rigg: In Need of a Fix” will appear in Capes & Clockwork II with Dark Oak Press. “Washed Pure, Washed Clean” will appear in Book One of The City Anthology with MV Media. “By Its Cover” will appear in the Romance Anthology for Witty Bard Publishing.

And, I'm working on my next story for the world of "Suffrajitsu."

Looking for more of Ray Dean on the 'net?
http://www.raydean.net
https://www.facebook.com/RayDeanAuthor
http://www.amazon.com/Foreworld-Saga-Carried-Novella-Suffrajitsu-ebook/dp/B00UB7VQNM/