Sunday, May 21, 2017
Sorry for the delay in posting this second section, but I’ve been having issues with the Kindle version of my first novel “The Bridge”. Amazon has been alerted to the problem and are working hard with me to get the problem resolved. I’ll be creating another post here sharing what happened and how we got things resolved shortly.
In the meantime, back to our discussion about working and juggling multiple stories…
So where was I? Oh yes, why finding that I could work on multiple stories was such a big deal for me. Anyone who is creative will tell you that when you have that creative mindset going it gives them a surge of satisfaction that’s like no other. Our minds love to be active and focused on something. But for artists, writers, musicians, anyone who’s got a creative mind, not having the brain working on something can be frustrating. You start to feel stale, or like you’re not doing your part somehow. This is a big part of why writer’s block of any kind, can be so frustrating. We get that adrenaline rush and excitement when we’re creating, so to find ourselves stuck can actually be devastating over time. The more you’re in a rut the angry you become with yourself. So in my case, having multiple stories to work on means I’ve always got something to keep the old noggin busy and have that adrenaline flowing.
Plus there’s a genuine excitement to coming up with a new idea/concept, new characters, and situations. Mind you, you can get too caught up with generating new ideas and scenes without getting anything down on paper or your computer. Even if you do manage to get the ideas down if you’re too busy just creating and generating, you may find you wound up doing nothing with all those fantastic ideas and have nothing to show for it in the end. So watch yourselves. Been there and done that, so I know of what I speak.
Furthermore, finishing a piece can be every bit as exciting as creating so don’t deny yourselves that pleasure. Even if it’s just a short story, completing one can really raise you spirits and keep the creative juices flowing.
Why do I keep harping on keeping those creative juices flowing? Because in my case, any victory is important. As someone who suffers from Fibromyalgia, I can tell you any victory, however small helps. It can be a daily battle to accomplish even the smallest tasks during a Flare-Up, and keeping your spirits up while fighting great pain is essential. So every victory, no matter how small, counts.
But just as important is the fact that we’re training our brains to think and operate a certain way. When I hit a roadblock on a piece, working on something else for a while actually gives one part of my brain time to rest. I’m not worrying about the story I’m stuck on, I’m problem-solving another one. Then when I go back to the piece I’d been stuck on I come at it with fresh eyes and a more open mind. I’ll look back to see where I got bogged down. And since my brain has been solving other problems, my mental muscles are up for the challenge and may come up with something totally new that blows the writer’s block away.
Does it always work? No. I may have to come back to a piece multiple times before finding the way forward, but it does happen.
Mind you, at this stage of my writing career, there is one drawback to working on multiple projects, it takes me a long time to get one completely finished. Yet, there is a bright side to this. You see, several of the works I’m currently involved with are over halfway done already. And since I don’t like to release more than one book at a time, this means I will soon have a number of finished works that I can parcel out over a period of 2-3 times a year. This of course satisfies the readers’ cravings for more...
While at the same time I get breathing space to build up more pieces for later release. For me, this is one of the biggest benefits of working multiple stories. In the short term it can seem a bit of a slow process, but when looked at in a bigger picture, it means you’re building a reserve for yourself that can help keep your audience happy and allow yourself some breathing room during those slow productive periods.
Well, that’s all I have to say for now. Until next time, take care and keep writing my friends.
Saturday, April 15, 2017
When I started out on this writing journey, I never saw myself as someone who could a whole bunch of writing projects going at the same time. That kind of thing was reserved for some of the great prolific authors like Isaac Asimov, who was notorious for working on multiple projects on a regular basis. The man insisted on having a portable typewriter or two wherever he went. And if he couldn't get his hands on a typewriter, he'd pull out a pad of paper and a bunch of pencils/pens and wrote the old fashion way, long hand.
But me, I could never picture myself even thinking about working on more than one story at a time. In fact, the very first novel I started working on was set in the early 1800's and I had gotten about 2/3's of the way through the tale when my wife pointed out that a historical piece would be harder to market. On hearing this, I gave it some thought and put the story aside and began a whole new piece which eventually turned into my first published novel "The Bridge".
After finishing that book, I thought about going back to the piece from the 1800's, but wound up moving forward with my current characters, one of which had connections to the family who were featured in my unfinished work. However, moving forward was still difficult. I was taking college classes which of course made excessive demands on my time. But that was only natural. School had to come first, however when we moved to Marina so Helen could attend CSU Monterey Bay, I took two years off from studies and focused more on my writing. Which in turn led to my finally finishing "The Ship" which I released back in 2014.
From there I began work on a third book with those characters, which is still underway at this point and time. What happened? I was having difficulties in building the story, things were getting too complicated. Too many characters, too many ideas, it was turning into something too unwieldy. Yet I still wanted to be writing, so I wound up putting it aside and started up "The Vampyre Blogs - Coming Home".
With that book I had a more clear idea of where I wanted things to go, who the characters were, and how it would end. Plus, I had a co-author, namely my wife Helen who had been my consultant on the first two books. Mind you it still took another 2 years before this book was ready to for release, however I didn't mind it so much. Why? Because I had started up another blog, called The Vampyre Blogs - Private Edition, http://thevampyreblogs.blogspot.com/ where I was regularly writing short stories involving different characters who were to appear in the novel. The idea behind this was to build an audience for the book before it was released and create a loyal following. Yet by doing this, something wonderful happened.
I wound up training my brain to think about more than one story at a time. Writing all those shorts, was a great exercise and now I find myself thinking about multiple storylines on a regular basis. Now why is this such a big deal to me? I'll tell you in my next entry.
I know, I know, I'm cutting things off just when things are getting even more interesting, but this post is getting pretty long and I still have much to say. So please be patient and I WILL have the 2nd installment up in a week. Until then, take care and keep writing my friends.
Saturday, April 8, 2017
First I'd like to thank everyone who took advantage of my "Hobbit Birthday" party. Over 30 copies of "The Vampyre Blogs - Coming Home" were snatched up. While I would've loved to have seen triple digits, I'm not going to complain. The book got into more readers hands and that is always a good thing in my opinion. Hopefully, this will lead to some more reviews. Sadly, Nathan and company have been stuck in the single digits as far as reviews go on Amazon, with absolutely none on Barnes and Noble, Kobo, and Smashwords.
So I'm going to offer everyone who is interested the opportunity to get a free copy of the book (Kindle, Nook, Kobo, PDF, even paperback) in exchange for a fair and honest review. Reviews are important to bringing a book to a wider audience. We all know that whenever we think about purchasing a book or almost anything these days, we check online to see what kind of rating the item has.
Naturally, I'd love to see a lot of 4 and 5 star reviews, but I leave that up to the reviewers. I ask for honest and I mean it. If you found the book wasn't to your taste and you don't wish to leave a review, just let me know so I'm not left in limbo wondering what happened. The only thing I ask is that the reading and the review be done within 2 months of you getting the book. If by chance you volunteer and life gets in the way, again just let me know. Life happens to all of us including yours truly, so no worries. Just stay in touch is all I ask.
So if anyone wishes to be a reviewer, please e-mail me at:
Please include your name, e-mail address, and what book format you want and I'll be in touch with you shortly.
On another note...
I'm happy to announce that there will be an anthology involving my vampyre and friends, which will be released this December. This volume will contain 'select' short stories from my other blog "The Vampyre Blogs - Private Edition" (link: http://thevampyreblogs.blogspot.com/). The reason for this is that I've been told by a number of people that they find it hard scrolling through a bunch of old blog entries to find the short stories, even though they really want to read them. And since that blog is over two and a half years old, I know there's a lot of stuff to wade through.
However, the anthology will not just contain stories from here, we are including 4-5 brand new stories just for the collection, which will NOT be reproduced here. They will only be found within the pages of the anthology itself. The total number of tales to appear in this first anthology has yet to be decided so stay tuned for more details.
In other news:
Book 2 of the Vampyre Blogs is now officially under way.
At this time "The Vampyre Blogs - Family Ties" release date should be early October 2018 (which is why I'm releasing the anthology in the meantime, so as not to leave you all high and dry without anything new). The story will take place two weeks after the conclusion of the first novel and will open with Nathan's return, along with new trouble brewing.
The presence of Isabella will raise new questions and concerns for all who dwell under his roof, while an unscrupulous developer tries to influence the upcoming town council elections so he can get his hands on 1000+ acres of land Nathan's home stands on. Then there's Marisa's father. Are the cancer treatments he's receiving really helping or will Nathan have to undergo a procedure that could leave him more vulnerable than ever to an attack from an old foe he believed had been vanquished?
Finally, "The Door" which has been plagued by numerous starts and stops has been growing and is coming along very nicely. This book continues the saga of Alex, Veronica, Julie and Cassandra and will wrap up several lingering story fragments including who the mysterious white-haired man is that has been stalking Cassandra for the last year. It will also reveal why the ghostly Brandon has watched over the heiress all these years, as well as introduce some new characters who will play a pivotal role in the entire Para-Earth Series in the future.
So as you can see there's a lot going on in the writing department for me and I hope the results will please and intrigue you all.
Until next time, stay tuned to this blog and keep writing.
Thursday, March 30, 2017
Sunday, March 19, 2017
For those of you not familiar with a Hobbit Birthday Party it goes like this...
My birthday is coming up on March 30th, but instead of asking for presents I'm giving one away to anyone who wants it. The present in this case is a FREE Kindle copy of "The Vampyre Blogs - Coming Home"! The catch... none.
I simply want to get the newest installment of the Para-Earth Series into the hands of as many readers as possible, because word-of-mouth is THE best promotion tool out there.
So stay tuned and start spreading the word. It all begins on March 30th and will last until midnight April 3rd. That's a whole five days to grab a copy and meet the newest vampyre in town. What is he like?
For starts, he does NOT sparkle. He's much more your traditional style of vampyre: drinks blood, sleeps in dirt, shape-shifts (animals, mist, etc.). Best of all but he's a hundred and fifty years of fun with life experience both here and in other versions of Earth. Want to learn more?
You can check out some of the free short stories over at his Blog site:
Or take a sneak peek into the novel itself at:
So start spreading the word and marking your calendar to take advantage of this opportunity. You'll be glad you did...
Friday, March 10, 2017
Saturday, February 25, 2017
Isaac Asimov is well known for his extremely numerous writing contributions to science and science fiction. But not everyone knows he was also a mystery author and regular contributor to Ellery Queen Magazine, as well as a few others. His most famous crime sleuths never actually went to a crime scene, nor did they go into police headquarters and announce they had cracked an important case.
No, these amateur sleuths, who call themselves the Black Widowers because once a month they come together for a dinner of just themselves and one invited guest, a man. Women are not allowed to attend this function, hence their nickname. For one night a month they can enjoy just the company of each other without female company, not that they object to women. It's simply their own little club. The members of this little club are based on friends from the author's own life and are listed here:
- Geoffrey Avalon, a patent attorney (based on L. Sprague de Camp)
- Emmanuel Rubin, a mystery novelist and acquaintance of Isaac Asimov (based on Lester del Rey)
- James Drake, a chemist (based on Dr. John D. Clark)
- Thomas Trumbull, an expert in cryptography for the United States government (based on Gilbert Cant)
- Mario Gonzalo, an artist, who usually draws a portrait of the evening's guest (based on Lin Carter)
- Roger Halsted, a high school mathematics teacher, fond of jokes and limericks (based on Don Bensen)
- Henry Jackson, the club's waiter, was not based on an actual person, but according to Asimov was inspired by PG Wodehouses character Jeeves.
At each meeting a guest is brought by one of the members and after being served an excellent meal, are then 'grilled' by the group, usually by being asked "How do you justify your existence...?" What happens in the first story sets the stage for the rest of the tales within the pages of this excellent work.
A puzzle is presented to the Black Widowers who systematically try to help find the answer to their guest's dilemma. In the end, it is the esteemable Henry who provides the final solution to each of the twelve tales you will find here. Each story is presented fairly and the reader is supplied all the hints that the Black Widowers are given. Although Henry supplies the answer, he always credits the club members for having helped eliminate all the other options, allowing him to discover the final solution.
My personal favorite in this collection is "The Acquisitive Chuckle" which is also the 1st story. In it we learn a great deal about our hosts and even more importantly we gain keen insight into their wondrous butler Henry, a scrupulously honest man, but who is not above delivering a little payback to an old partner.
There is one puzzle that involves a death of one of the club member's sister, which is touching and bittersweet, but handled very well.
As for the rest of the tales, each has its own flavor and unique outcome. I can safely say that they are wonderful puzzles that will keep you guessing and wondering. But at the same time it is the interplay between the characters will also keep you smiling and laughing.
There are 5 books in this series and I will tell you right now, each one is a 5-Star read. I intend to review each of them as in the near future.