Monthly Archives: February 2014

Guest Post: Eric Garrison

Standard

EricGarrisonTourBadge_450X300

“It Came to Me in a Dream!” The Birth of Sinking Down

Eric Garrison

When I was last a guest on this blog, I wrote about how I channeled grief to produce the supernatural urban fantasy novel, Four ’til Late. At the time, I didn’t know that it would turn into the Road Ghosts Trilogy, following the core group of characters’ further adventures and a spinoff series that’s in the works.

But it might have stayed a stand alone book, if it weren’t for a dream I had the summer after I finished Four ’til Late. I hadn’t even thought much about those characters in awhile, but one night, I dreamed about the characters in a new situation. It went something like this:

Brett and Liz were hunting for a chupacabra in a state forest, using a dead raccoon as bait. Instead they find a little girl ghoul, feral and rancid, who feasts on the roadkill. Liz wants to take her home to clean her up and take care of her. Brett objects, because she is a monster and smells bad. Liz insists, and they drive the Little Ghoul home, windows rolled down. When they arrive, he says, “And what are we going to feed her anyway? We don’t have a steady supply of rotting animal carcasses!” The dream ended on a scene behind a fast food restaurant, with the ghoul feasting on rotten hamburgers in the dumpster, Liz looking proud of herself while Brett shakes his head.

I woke up laughing, and jotted down hasty, almost unreadable notes. A month or so went by and I tried to write a short story based on the dream, but it just didn’t work right as a stand alone story the way I wrote it, so I set it aside. Then it came to me: If I tied the ghoul’s story more closely with Brett, Liz, and the other Road Ghosts characters, I could turn this into a sequel! The dream became the first chapter of Sinking Down.

The novel worked far better than my short story attempt. In many ways, it flowed much easier than Four ’til Late had. In the end, I knew I’d have to write a third book (Me and the Devil) to finish Brett’s story, and a side character, Skye, would go on to have her own trilogy of books, the Tipsy Fairy Tales: Blue Spirit and Restless Spirit have been written, Mean Spirit is planned.

So, my advice is to follow your dreams. You never know where they’ll take you.

About the Author: Eric Garrison is active in the writing community in Indianapolis, Indiana. He lives in the Circle City with his wife, step-daughter and four cats. He also enjoys gaming and homebrewing beer.

Seventh Star Press published the first of his Road Ghosts trilogy, Four ’til Late, in July of 2013. Sinking Down was released in December of 2013, with the final title to appear in 2014.

Eric’s novel, Reality Check, is a science fiction adventure released by Hydra Publications. This book reached #1 in Science Fiction on Amazon’s Kindle store during a promotion in July 2013.

Eric’s short story, “Drag Show” appeared in the Fall 2011 edition of Strange, Weird and Wonderful Magazine and Volume 2 of that magazine’s anthology series. His flash piece, “Dark Reflection”, appeared in the Indiana Horror 2011 anthology. He’s competed twice in the Iron Writer Challenge with two 500-word flash pieces, “Killer Cure” and “Moby Me”.

 

Book Synopsis Sinking Down: Poor Little Ghoul

Paranormal investigators Brett and Liz find themselves back in over their heads when a forest hunt for a roadkill-eating creature offers up a little surprise. Back home with their ghoulish house guest, it becomes clear there’s more to this investigation than either of them thought. Worse than that, Brett’s own fate is linked to the little ghoul’s.

So it’s back out on the road, with plenty of time for pit stops with a greedy ex, a convention of ghost hunters, partying with fake vampires, and even drinking and fighting alongside good ole Uncle Gonzo. But as the investigation goes deeper, and unseen connections come to light, Brett finds there’s much more at stake than getting through a rough patch with Liz.

A rescue mission. A race for a cure. New friends and old adversaries. Unbreakable bonds and supernatural danger. It’s going to be a wild ride. Can the friends save the nearly undead tween? Can she and Brett stop themselves from …Sinking Down?

Sinking Down is the 2nd Book in the Road Ghosts Trilogy!

 

Author Links:

Website: http://sillyhatbooks.com

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/EricGarrisonAuthor

Twitter: @erichris

Amazon Links for Sinking Down

Print Version

http://www.amazon.com/Sinking-Down-Eric-Garrison/dp/1937929418

Kindle Version

http://www.amazon.com/Sinking-Down-Road-Ghosts-Garrison-ebook/dp/B00HEVK0RQ/

Advertisements

Writer’s Hangout: Time

Standard

Jerry Benns… nail. head. hitting it. #amwriting

Trip Through My Mind

Time is on my side, yes it is

Time is on my side, yes it is

Now you always say

That you want to be free

But you’ll come running back (said you would baby)

“Time Is On My Side”…Rolling Stones

I am not sure what Jerry Ragovoy (under the pseudonym of Norman Meade) was thinking when he penned this song, made famous by The Rolling Stones in 1964. The hauntingly lyrical beginning lines are frequent taunts to me in my busy daily life.  With a career – which in itself could run around the clock, a very connected family, and the struggle to be a writer, I see time as the enemy of all things.

There is never enough time for what we want to do.
There is never enough time for what we want to do.

When I was a younger man, not too terribly long ago, I would proclaim to anyone who would listen that sleep was…

View original post 946 more words

March is Spotlight On month again – for #ASOT2014

Standard

ASOTpile3

Beginning March 1st 2014 and running until I spotlight every author possible who has helped out with the Authors Supporting Our Troops 2014 event, I’ll be running short interviews each day… and some days it might be 3-5 of them if I get enough participation. 

I’ve run these Spotlight On interviews in month’s past, but for March I wanted to do something special…

So my goal is to get every author who has donated a book or books to the Authors Supporting Our Troops event and give them a showcase to push their latest release, give them props and get them sales!

I’m looking forward to March!

ASOTshirt3

PRESS RELEASE: Do You Want To Be In Dying Days 4?

Standard

Wanna kill zombies in my next book?

Rymfire Books

Recently in an article on author Armand Rosamilia’s website, he asked fans of the Dying Days series what they thought would be the best format for a contest in which fans would have the chance to be in Dying Days 4. Fans of the books cast their votes for one of three options. The fans have spoken and the results were close. Recently, he tallied up the results and announced a contest for readers to participate in. In order to keep it interesting, Rosamilia chose two methods for a chance to win a spot in the next book.

Sneak peek at Dying Days 4 cover art Sneak peek at Dying Days 4 cover art

Until April 1, 2014, readers can enter their names for a drawing. Once the contest ends, a name will be chosen and announced on Armand Rosamilia’s website and here on Rymfire Books. How do you get your name entered? Let’s take a look.

View original post 256 more words

Book Launch Party~Nexus of the Worlds

Standard

Chris Mentzer helping the #ASOT2014 event! Thank you!

Suffering from Writer's Blog

Book 1_Medium

I am happy to announce that I will be making my first public appearance in support of book 1 of The Askinar Towers trilogy.

On Saturday March 15th from 1pm to 3pm at Wal-mart #5428 located at
1710 S Greenfield Rd
Greenfield Gateway
Mesa, AZ 85206

caddy-161016_640
We’ll be set up in the books and magazines area at the front of the store.
Why a Wal-mart? First reason, I work at this one and the second reason, my boss suggested the party. Who am I to argue?
Since my novel is an e-book, I won’t have any copies available, but I will have the information as to where you can purchase it.
At the event, I’ll be revealing the cover art for book 2, due out in May; I’ll be doing a reading from book 1 and, possibly, book 2; and we’ll also be holding a raffle to give away color…

View original post 89 more words

JK Rowling Has Every Right to Enjoy Her Celebrity Status

Standard

Tim Baker wishes he were JK Rowling… and so do I

blindoggbooks

Recently a woman named Lynn Shepherd wrote an article for the Huffington Post entitled “If JK Rowling Cares About Writing She Should Stop Doing It.

JK Rowling

One might think, judging by the article’s title, that it is a shred fest on Ms. Rowling’s abilities as a writer, but it isn’t…at least not in the strict sense. I’m sure the title was carefully crafted for its potential to go viral more than anything else.

Be that as it may, Ms. Shepherd’s main point is more about JK’s “star power” than her writing ability. She (Shepherd) even admits to never having read any of Rowling’s books or seeing any of the films (she doesn’t say whether she’s been to The Wizarding World of Harry Potter at Universal Orlando or not).

potter

After her introductory paragraph, where she attempts to rationalize the title, and the second paragraph which is a confession of…

View original post 411 more words

Authors Supporting Our Troops – Know A Soldier? #ASOT2014

Standard

ASOTpile3

As we near 1,000 books collected and at least 6 more weeks to get books in, I’ve come across a slight problem… and one I wasn’t expecting, but I’m quite happy for it: with so many books coming in each day, I might need a couple more contacts to send books to.

Now, upfront a few things you need to know:

1. I am not interested in just sending books overseas to a USO or to a random unit or person. My goal is to get in touch with an actual soldier OVERSEAS in Kuwait, Afghanistan, or somewhere else where they don’t have immediate access to things we take for granted like laptops, cell phones, electricity, etc. These books will go to the troops who could really use a good book to pass the time and are unable to get one easily. 

2. I will not be shipping books to anyone currently in the United States or a European base where they have easy access to books, laptops, XBox, etc. This is not what the event is for. 

3. I will not be giving out the contact info for the troops I am dealing with. This event is only for author-signed books, not used copies, toothbrushes, etc. Many other people and businesses do all this. I am not. I won’t be sharing my contacts, so don’t ask. If you want to send other things to troops feel free. I’m unfortunately busy doing this one event to get involved in others right now. 

OK, now for the good part:

Do you know a soldier personally (family member, good friend, etc.) who is currently in a hostile area and will be there between, say, March 1st and June or July? Would they be interested in getting a box (or three) of selected books to share with their fellow soldiers? 

Please get in touch with me privately so we can work out the connection. With so many books coming in we’ll begin boxing some of them up in the next few weeks and sending them out so we can space the packages. I’d love for there to be quite a few soldiers overseas getting packages! e-mail me at  armandrosamilia @gmail.com for more information and to give me your information and the soldier’s information as well. Now I’ll stop saying information. 

Authors Supporting Our Troops FB event

And to order a shirt and help with the shipping costs:

Black Shirt/White Lettering

White Shirt/Red Lettering

ASOTshirt3

Guest Post: Dina von Lowenkraft

Standard

200

On Writing and Music

 

I have a writing quirk that I didn’t realize was a quirk until I started discussing playlists with other authors. They all have playlists that give the mood of their manuscript or specific scenes (fight scenes, love scenes etc.), but I don’t. Instead, I find music for each character. I actually go out and search for CDs that each character would listen to, or in the case of my angel-like Elythia, that they would sing – and no, they don’t sound in any way angelic! If any of you know the group Tool, you’ll know what I mean.

And when I’ve been unsure, I’ve even gone into a music store and described a ‘friend’ I was buying music for. After one such session, I came out with a couple of Angels & Airwaves CDs that turned into Erling’s voice for me. Although Erling is a secondary character in Dragon Fire, he is one of the main characters in the prequel that I am currently working on.

My other quirk is that I don’t listen to music while I write. So what do I do with all those CDs I buy for my characters? I usually listen to them in the car when I am driving from one place to an other (I live in the country, and do a lot of driving). I really enjoy this time with my characters in the car. It helps me figure out who they are and what they are feeling in the scene I am writing.

As a side, but truly amazing story, when I went back to Tromso in Northern Norway where both Dragon Fire and its prequel are set, I went to the restaurant where I imagined Erling and June going to for their first date (an event that happens in the prequel). The CD that greeted me when I walked in was by Angels & Airwaves. In addition, the green Ninja motorcycle I had imagined for one of their friends was parked across the street. It was as if my world had come alive. Needless to say, I sat down, ordered June’s vegetarian burger and wrote the rest of the scene on a complete writer’s high.

The only character I never found any music for was Rakan, the main character of Dragon Fire. It took me several months of searching to realize that as a shapeshifting dragon who had grown up in an isolated part of Western Tibet, Rakan didn’t listen to music.

How do you use music when you write? Or is there something else that helps you get closer to your characters/the voice of your manuscript? I’d love to hear from you!

 250

Born in the US, Dina has lived on 4 continents, worked as a graphic artist for television and as a consultant in the fashion industry. Somewhere between New York and Paris she picked up an MBA and a black belt – and still thinks the two are connected. Dina is currently the Regional Advisor for SCBWI Belgium, where she lives with her husband, two children, three horses and a cat.

Dina loves to create intricate worlds filled with conflict and passion. She builds her own myths while exploring issues of belonging, racism and the search for truth… after all, how can you find true love if you don’t know who you are and what you believe in? Dina’s key to developing characters is to figure out what they would be willing to die for. And then pushing them to that limit.

Guest Post: James Glass

Standard

JimmyALaTina

James Glass

on Music as Muse, Horrifying Women, and Channeling the Voice of God

 

First and foremost I would like to take a moment to thank Armand Rosamilia for a lovely and lively night in The Castle (of Tampa/Ybor City nightclub fame). After we got released from jail as a result of public nudity and acts of a lewd nature, I expected he would never call me again, but here I am on his blog. Huzzah! But I digress….

It was during a bout with cold medicine that I discovered the thrills of writing to music. Specifically to NyQuil and Skinny Puppy. To this day the combination holds a special – albeit horrifying – place in my heart. Fast forward to adulthood and I discovered I had transitioned in a Pavlovian way to write when I heard music with no more need for cold medicine. How fortuitous, I thought. It was around this same time I created The Playlist. When I listen to that playlist now, I shrug and move on. Tastes change, people change, and my writing had grown up from shock factor sex and violence the likes of which have rarely seen daylight into a nuanced combination of words that coil around the mind and squeeze. Subtle as poetry on a dark and bitter night, it was, and I loved what I had become. My playlists vary now, setting the themes from ‘dark and stormy night’ to ‘idiot detective plodding along trying to get a clue while the denizens of heaven and hell sit back and laugh’. Sometimes the story is already there, waiting in the wings and I play a song for it to dance and sing along with, and sometimes the music inspires the scene. She is a fickle muse, music, and she must be seduced and romanced.

When writing much of The Murdered Metatron and The Dispossessed, I incorporated a playlist that ran the gamut from Bing Crosby and Duke Ellington to Combichrist and My Jerusalem. I make no apologies for lumping those musicians together on the same list because it was the discord shifts from one genre to the next that allowed the quirky combination of occult, mystery, thriller, and suspense to evolve upon the page. It allowed me to ‘channel’ the voices of the characters and to give Metatron and the other angels and demons a sense of humor, to ground them in a more solid reality.

In all of this process, the music playlist also allowed me to do one very (and perhaps most) important thing: it allowed me to be James Glass. You see, I am merely a figment of an imagination containing several compartments of which I happen to fall into ‘Noir mystery and occult’. For now I will sit comfortably in my box, but I am hoping to stretch my legs back into horror once more. Soon.

James Glass can be found on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/JamesRGlassII

The James Glass Amazon Author Page: http://www.amazon.com/James-Glass/e/B009K6RSG4/ref=ntt_athr_dp_pel_pop_1

 The-Dispossessed-cover-artSL

Radio Show: Author Earnings Report and self-inflicted burns

Standard

Robert Chazz Chute mentions me in another post. And a bunch of other interesting things you need to know.

C h a z z W r i t e s . c o m

Sure, it’s Valentine’s Day, so naturally you’ll want to…oh, right, we’re 21st century writers. There’s no time for that. So cuddle up with your honey and listen to Friday Night Writes with Tim Baker tonight on Surf 1700 AM Flagler Beach Radio, 8 PM EST. (Use the TuneIn Radio App if, like me, you aren’t in Florida). And if you don’t have a honey, Tim will be a fine substitute, I’m sure.

Tonight’s topic (possibly among other things): The Author Earnings Report

Co-host Armand Rosamilia is off tonight because he actually respects his love life. Without Armand, Tim will have to talk doubly loud as he discusses what’s on everyone’s mind, Hugh Howey’s Author Earnings Report. As detailed in my last post, definitely read the report, please.

Also, make time to read Hugh’s latest blog post, Luck and the Lottery, on some well-meaning alarm about self-publishing’s allure. You can…

View original post 277 more words

“Extreme Undead Collection” Updated and with New Cover! #dyingdays

Standard

I’ve been looking at me sales of books in the last few months, and they have been increasing each week, which I am thankful for. Yet another reason I’m glad I dropped out of retail management and took on the life of a full-time author. 

I also took a hard look at some of my titles and decided to do something about it. Not too long ago I changed the cover of Darlene Bobich: Zombie Killer to better imagine what she looks like, and I’m at it again… 

But this time for a slightly different reason. The original cover for the Extreme Undead Collection was quite the eye-catcher, created by the very talented Nic Burgess. Here is is:

EUCcover

Unfortunately, Amazon took one look at the cover and decided it was erotica and subsequently buried it without me realizing what they’d done. I had a total of 4 sales in the last year on this four-novella collection, while the Dying Days Collection has sold steady and increasing in sales each and every month. Two of the novellas are shared in both releases, too, so I knew it wasn’t the content being the problem. 

So, I’ve updated the book a bit: brand new cover, courtesy of longtime Dying Days cover artist Ash Arceneaux, and I moved the novellas themselves around a bit so it reads better. Here’s the new cover:

extrememunded

Extreme Undead Collection

Four zombie novellas in one release! 

Features: 

“Zombie Tea Party” – zombie short story collection… 

“Highway To Hell” – Randy just wanted to survive, run away from the zombies, and hide… until he met a mysterious and sexy girl… 

“Darlene Bobich: Zombie Killer” – the collected short stories of Darlene Bobich leading up to “Dying Days”… 

“Dying Days” – Darlene Bobich, Florida sun and zombies… what better combination?… 

nearly 100,000 words in all… 

warning: extreme situations, extreme violence… extreme undead…

Only $4.99 on

Kindle

Nook

SmashWords

Kobo

Apple

Where Are My Priorities?

Standard

snoopy

I’ve often stated about a career in writing it is 25% actual writing and 75% promoting/social media/business, etc. 

But does it have to be? Um… yes. And no.

I used to have a pretty killer routine each day. I’ve been blessed with having writing as my full-time job, and I used to spend about 4 hours a day writing and up to 12 promoting, etc. There was my 25% thing, nice and easy to follow. 

But lately I’m finding myself getting up later than normal. I used to be up by 8 am, with coffee in hand, knocking out some words. Then it became 9 am, waiting for the coffee to brew while I went through an overnight’s worth of 500-700 e-mails (most of them spam crap or having nothing to do with my goals or me). 

Today I got up after 9 am and didn’t make coffee until almost 11 am, while I chatted with six different people, read some blog posts and cut down my e-mails to under 300 to go through. As I write this it is 2 pm and I haven’t eaten lunch yet or had my third cup of coffee to fully wake up. 

In theory, I could stop writing this post and get off of Facebook, and just write until Special Gal gets home from work after 5 pm. I have 3 hours to crank out 2,000 words. That should be pretty damn easy for me. 

Except I’m busy with other things as well, like doing the laundry and dishes. I have an entertainment center to put together and chicken to thaw for dinner (ok, it does thaw itself, but I like to stare at it), and a hundred other important things like staring out the window waiting for the mailman to drive up with more boxes for Authors Supporting Our Troops. I also keep watch for the feral cats wandering around the property, because they distract me from doing actual work. 

There are many writers who moan about working a full-time job (a couple of them I know personally) and never having time to write. I say you are also using excuses to not write every day. When I worked a ‘real’ job of 50-70 hours a week, I still managed 500-1,000 words a day. Every day. Why? Because I was hungry and I wanted a better life for myself. Maybe it didn’t happen quite the way I thought it was going to, but I’m here in the now and I’m doing this for a living. And making a good living with it, to boot. 

But I think I’ve lost my focus, at least temporarily. I’ve been getting contracts with insane deadlines (15 days to write 30,000 words and have an editor over my back while I’m writing it) but with a great upfront payout. When I’m between these jobs (like I find myself today) I find it hard to do anything more than look out the window and read inane Facebook posts. 

Beginning tomorrow, I will rise at 8 am again with the coffee ready to brew. I shall work on as many e-mails and Facebook messages as I can until 10 am, at which time I am shutting the internet down. Not a peep from me. At noon I will stop and get some lunch after knocking off my 2,000 word goal. Around 1 pm I might check some e-mails and do some promoting, but only if I have my 2,000 words in. I’ll mess around with writing and promoting until about 5:30, when Special Gal comes home so we can have a nice evening without me worrying. 

THAT is my priority from now on… getting back into focus, getting my writing AND promoting in without one killing the other. 

The rest of today will be spent watching for the mailman.

Armand

mailman

Guest Post: Ella James

Standard

Purchase on Amazon Purchase on B&N

Marchant Radcliffe, owner of the exclusive Love Inc. brothel outside Vegas, is no stranger to darkness. He lost his sister in childhood and his parents in college. Since his best friend helped him finance the Love Inc. ranch almost ten years ago, Marchant has drowned himself in business—and he’s thrived, despite the heavy secret that has plagued him since his parents’ deaths.

Then, after ten years of good fortune, Marchant’s skeletons start to peek out of the closet, tossing him down a trail of ruin that begins with arson and could end with murder. Because he’s kept his struggles private, he has no one to pull him back from the brink.

Except for Suri Dalton.

After a breakup with her longtime fiancé, Suri, the daughter of one of Silicon Valley’s tech tycoons, has nowhere to go except her BFF’s new penthouse in Las Vegas. The last thing Suri is looking for is a man, but after drowning her woes in wine on the flight over, she stumbles into a torrid make out session with a beautiful stranger—who just so happens to be Marchant Radcliffe, a playboy and a literal pimp.

Despite an immediate attraction, Suri writes Marchant off as exactly the sort of guy she should avoid. Until Love Inc. goes up in flames, Marchant winds up at the bottom of a swimming pool, and Suri is the only one around to pull him out.

What happens when what you see isn’t what you get? What do you do when destiny is too alluring to resist and too dangerous to survive?

About Ella James

Ella James is a Colorado author who writes teen and adult romance. She is happily married to a man who knows how to wield a red pen, and together they are raising a feisty two-year-old who will probably grow up believing everyone’s parents go to war over the placement of a comma.

Ella’s books have been listed on numerous Amazon bestseller lists, including the Movers & Shakers list and the Amazon Top 100; two were listed among Amazon’s Top 100 Young Adult Ebooks of 2012.

To find out more about Ella’s projects and get dates on upcoming releases, find her on Facebook at facebook.com/ellajamesauthorpage and follow her blog, http://www.ellajamesbooks.com. Questions or comments? Tweet her at author_ellaj or e-mail her at ella_f_james@ymail.com.

Links

Website

Facebook

Twitter

Writer’s Hangout: When in Doubt…

Standard
Writer’s Hangout: When in Doubt…

Jerry Benns with what we all have as writers… sometimes self-doubt and questioning our abilities and drive…

Trip Through My Mind

the thought processWriting has been a passion for me since I was a child. My first typewriter (yes, those archaic machines of yesterday) was an old blue plastic Brother that would only type capital letters. When I was nine years old, hours were spent working on my first story, which like many to follow in the years to come, was never completed. Later, I would fill notebooks with ideas for stories in my illegible handwriting. I dreamt of writing a story that would capture the love of readers. I challenged myself to connect with others through storytelling just as I had been touched by the authors of the books which piled high in my small workspace. As time progressed, the dream ebbed and waned but was never far from my thoughts.

Today, I write. I have traded my old typewriter in for a high-tech laptop. My skills with the keyboard have improved…

View original post 1,372 more words

TeleRead Post About Authors Supporting Our Troops #ASOT2014

Standard

Another great supportive post about what we’re doing for the troops overseas! Get involved as an author and send signed books! As a non-author, donate and/or buy a cool $12 shirt!

http://www.teleread.com/books/authors-supporting-our-troops-book-drive-for-soldiers/

ASOTshirt2

Guest Post: Ronald E. Yates

Standard

Ronald E Yates

Finding Billy Battles

Tell us about your research process for the book

 

Researching Finding Billy Battles began with my own memories. I grew up in rural Kansas and I grew up listening to the way my great-grandparents, my grandparents and my parents spoke. Everybody in my family grew up in Kansas, so it is no stretch to say that I was immersed in “Kansas-speak” from an early age.

Nevertheless, even though I grew up in regions mentioned in the book, I did not know what those places looked like between 1878 and 1894–the period in which most of the first book in the trilogy takes place. Luckily, I was able to do a lot of research online. I spent a lot time mining the website of the Kansas Historical Society, the FordCounty and Douglas County Historical Societies. There were many other places I found useful information of the period, including the Atchison, Topeka and Santa Fe Railroad.

I am a relentless researcher. That comes from my 27 years as a journalist with the Chicago Tribune. As I said in a previous guest post:

 “Working as a journalist taught me some basic skills regarding reporting, which is the journalist’s word for research. Journalism is an empirical discipline. That means, like science, it is a search for truth and you use trial and error, observation and analysis to find that truth. For the scientist or scholar or historian, empiricism means arriving at a truth via observation and experimentation.  For the journalist the empirical tools are: Observation and Interviewing. I believe any successful journalist, author or scholar must master both of those skills–along with the ability to respect the language and write compellingly.”

I believe authors who write historical fiction owe it to their readers to be accurate about the time and place they have put their characters in. That means you MUST do good research. You cannot rely on watching a movie about Bleeding Kansas in the 1850s and 1860s and then write a book based on how that film depicted the time, the places and the events.

You can do a lot of that research on line, but NOT all of it. Libraries are still the best places to find the kind of books that will tell you what a place looked and sounded like in the 1890s. Luckily for me, I have amassed a large library of books during the past couple of decades on 19th Century America, Asia and Latin America–the main locales for my characters in the Finding Billy Battles trilogy. I have old maps of countries, cities and territories that have proved invaluable in creating accurate settings in the book.

I cannot emphasize enough how important accuracy is in developing the historical novel. Readers need to trust you when you describe a place, a city, an event. They almost want you to have been there so you can present them with an accurate picture of the place and time. For me, recreating 19th Century Lawrence, Denver, Chicago, New Mexico, etc. was part of the fun of writing. I want my readers to “see” what I am seeing and what my characters are seeing.

As I’ve said previously, I like to call my writing “Faction.” It is a blend of the journalist’s ability to gather accurate information and the fiction writer’s ability to imagine and create compelling characters and stories.

 Finding Billy Battles

Excerpt from Finding Billy Battles by Ronald E. Yates:

 

Kansas City, 1948

 

My full name is William Fitzroy Raglan Battles, but most folks call me Billy Battles. My good friends call me Billy “Rags” Battles. More on that later.

Let me begin by owning up to some pretty terrible things I did during my life. That way, you can make up your mind right now if you want to read further.

I have killed people. And I am sad to say the first person I killed was a woman. It was entirely unintentional, and to this day, the incident haunts me. The next person I killed was that woman’s grown son, and that was intentional. If you decide to read on, you will learn more about these two people and how they came to die at my hands.

You will also learn about other things I did—some of which I am not proud of, some of which I am. In the course of my life, I got into a lot of brawls where I had to defend myself and others in a variety of ways. I did so without regret, because in each case, someone was trying to do me or someone else harm.

Now I know the Christian Bible says it is a sin to kill, and in some of these imbroglios, I probably could have walked away and avoided the ensuing violence. I chose not to because I learned early in my life that walking away from a scrap is too often seen as a sign of weakness or cowardice and simply incites bullies and thugs to molest you later on. There were a few individuals who tried their damndest to put an end to me, but fortunately, I was able to dispatch or incapacitate those malefactors before they could apply the coup de grâce.

So there you have it—a forewarning about me and my sometimes-turbulent life. As the Romans used to say, “Caveat emptor,” if you decide to continue reading.

I don’t know if anybody will ever read what I am putting to paper here, but I figure I should do it anyway. A few folks have told me my experiences are fascinating because they show what it was like in Kansas and a lot of other places in the last century, when life could turn violent and capricious without warning.

As I am writing this, I am eighty-eight years old, and the year is 1948. I am not sure how much longer I will be on this earth, so I figure I had better write pretty fast before I join the Great Majority. I have been fortunate in that my memory still serves me quite well, but I must admit that for much of my life, I kept several journals, and it’s those journals that have kept my mind on the trail when it was inclined to wander off into the brush.

It’s also those journals that helped me make sense, now that I am an old man, of some of the things I saw and did during my life. It’s a funny thing, but as you grow older and you have time to look back on your life, things begin to make more sense to you. I guess that’s what they call wisdom—not that I’m necessarily a wise man. I’m just somebody who had the good fortune to see and do a lot of things—some pretty awful, some pretty wonderful—and the good Lord has blessed me, or cursed me, with the capacity to remember most of them.

There are some things I wish I could forget—things other people did and things that I did. But I cannot. Consequently, I have lived for decades with many ghosts—not the kind that appear as apparitions in the night, but the kind that grab hold of your mind and force you to remember even when you don’t want to.

I know what it is like to be a hunter of men, and I know what it is like to be hunted. I can tell you, I much prefer the former over the latter. I have known and caused terrible fear. I have experienced and inflicted dreadful pain. I have loved and been loved, and I have been, without doubt, hated by some.

But I have always tried to live my life as my mother taught me—with uprightness, reliability, and consequence. I wasn’t always successful. Sometimes my disposition turned dark, and I did things I truly regret today. I am, after all, one of God’s wretched creatures—a simple mortal with all the imperfections and deficiencies of that species.

Armand Rosamilia Interview on Booked about #ASOT2014

Standard

I had an awesome time being interviewed by Liv and Robb on their amazing podcast. Special thanks to Frank Edler for hooking me up with these guys so I could promote Authors Supporting Our Troops 2014!

http://www.bookedpodcast.com/2014/02/10/193-three-authors/

ASOTshirt2

 

“Dying Days 4” Contest – Be In The Book!

Standard

 

Dying Days 4 Cover

I talked about doing a contest for readers to be a part of Dying Days 4 and become a character in the book itself Here. The poll is now closed and we have a winning idea, but it wasn’t a landslide. In fact, all 3 ideas on the poll were pretty close… 

So there will be TWO different ways for you to be picked to star in Dying Days 4…

1. Send me a cool pic of you holding any (or all) of the Dying Days books. It could be either Dying Days, Dying Days 2, Dying Days 3, Highway To Hell, Darlene Bobich: Zombie Killer, Still Dying, Still Dying 2, Dying Days: Origins, Dying Days: The Siege of European Village, Dying Days: Siege 2… You’ll automatically be entered in for a chance to star in it. AND… for every book in the picture I’ll give you another chance, as well as bonus entries for originality! Note: I will use the pictures as promotional items on my blog, Facebook page, etc. 

2. Reviewing any of the above-mentioned Dying Days books will also get you a shot at being in the book. It doesn’t matter what your rating is, as long as it is on Amazon (and bonus chances for every other place like B&N and Goodreads you post it as well), and you’ll also get your name added for each and every review, so if you review all 10 books listed above and post them to Amazon, B&N and Goodreads, it gives you 30 chances to win! And I’ll be really happy, too…

Any questions? Too bad. it’s simple enough! Send pictures to me at  armandrosamilia@gmail.com and I’ll be collecting them until April 1st, when I’ll make a decision or two… 

Armand

934952_10201318415342496_2071367933_n

Radio Show Reminder: What Not to Say to a Writer

Standard

Shout Out for Friday Night Writes from Robert Chazz Chute!

C h a z z W r i t e s . c o m

You know that radio show I recommended in the last post?

Friday Night Writes is on tonight (Friday February 7, 2014) and every Friday night at 8 p.m. EST. The topic is “Stupid Things People Say to Writers.” There’s a deep, rich well.

The show is on Surf 1700 Flagler Beach Radio (FlaglerBeachRadio.com.) I listen in on the TuneIn Radio app. It’s not a podcast so you can’t listen to it later. 

What’s my favorite Stupid Thing recently?

I have several to choose from, but I bristled when someone said, “I can’t imagine doing all that by oneself.” The implication of the tone and context was it couldn’t be done or be any good.

Answer: I don’t do it alone. I have a lot of help.

Unlike most podcasts, this is live radio with an active forum so you can comment and ask questions in real time. In that way, it’s…

View original post 42 more words

Guest Post: Michael Bray

Standard

MBray

The Long & The Short Of It

Michael Bray

Although it may not seem so on the surface, there is a definite difference between approaching writing long fiction, such as novels etc., and shorter stories like the ones that appear in Funhouse. Both need to be approached in a different way, and I advise any author to get into the habit of practising both writing styles regularly.

For novel length works, you have to take into account a lot of things. The pacing of the plot needs to unravel at a slower pace, often you will also need to include several self-contained sub-plots to keep the reader engaged. Characters need to slowly develop, gradually revealing more and more about themselves as the story goes on. For an author used to writing shorter works, this can prove a challenge, and authors will often worry that their works will fall in that limbo where it is too long to be a short story, but not long enough to be a novel. There is nothing wrong with this of course, and I have published a story like this called MEAT. The story was initially intended as a short story for my debut collection, Dark Corners, but as it progressed, and this cast of characters started to develop, I quickly realised that this was going to be a standalone. The 5,000 word short story that I had envisioned, ended up being a near on 50,000 word story. I was really happy with how it turned out, and consider it one of my favourite stories.

The flip side of the coin, is that those who write exclusively long fiction might struggle to be able to write short enough works for submissions for anthologies and such. As with writing novels, there are certain guidelines to follow which should help to trim those big story ideas to smaller, bite sized chunks.

First of these is to get straight into the story. The beauty of the short is that the reader wants to know what is going on right away. Dive straight in at the crux of the story. Pull the reader in from the first page. As for cast of characters, keep them minimal. Just the important players with minimal distractions. Forget sub-plots and dragging out the story. Give us the goods without delay. If you do find that you have gone a little bit longer than intended, edit mercilessly. Look at every single line in the story and ask yourself what it contributes to the flow of the story. If it doesn’t tell you the information that you need to get to the resolution, then get rid of it.

Writing both types of story is a really good discipline for authors to practice. There are good lessons to be learned from regularly doing both, and it will really help to develop your skills.

I hope this has been of some interest, and given some insight into the differences between both styles of writing.

 MBray2

About Michael Bray

Michael Bray is a Horror author based in Leeds, England. Influenced from an early age by the suspense horror of authors such as Stephen King, and the trashy pulp TV shows like Tales From The Crypt & The Twilight Zone, he started to work on his own fiction, and spent many years developing his style. In May 2012, he signed a deal with the highly reputable Dark Hall Press to print and distribute his collection of interlinked short stories titled Dark Corners, which was released in September 2012. His second release was a Novella titled MEAT which was initially self-published before being picked up by J. Ellington Ashton Press. His first full length novel, a supernatural horror titled Whisper was initially self-published, and following great critical acclaim, sold to Horrific Tales publishing where it went on to reach as high as #3 in the amazon paid best sellers list.

Guest Post: Jean Erhardt

Standard

150

Years ago, I took a fiction writing class with author/teacher, Joyce Thompson at Lewis and Clark College here in Portland, Oregon.  On the first day of class, the twelve of us settled around a big table, eager to begin.  Joyce introduced herself, then proceeded to take a deck of cards from her briefcase.  She passed a card to each of us.  They were Tarot cards.  She said, “Take a good look at your card, see what the image brings up for you, then write something.  You’ve got twenty minutes.”  Most of us sat there looking dumbfounded.  Write something?  About what?

At the end of allotted our twenty minutes, a few of us had managed to write a page, others a paragraph or sentence or two.  We took turns reading aloud what we had come up with.

The following week, Joyce began the class by saying, “I’m going to give you three words.  They are:  Ring.  Unhappy.  Winter.  Write something using these words.  You have fifteen minutes.”

On the third week, we gathered again at the table.  She said, “Today, I will give nothing.  No Tarot card, no words, no prompts.  You have ten minutes.  Write something.”

Again, we went at it.  At the end of this exercise, she explained that the purpose of these assignments was simple.  They were designed to get us to the point of being able to sit down at anytime, anywhere and write something without waiting for inspiration, the right mood, or the Muse to drop by.  “You must learn to write spontaneously, without preconceived ideas, without hesitation.  When you have mastered the ability to do this, you will become a writer.”

While many years have gone by, I have never forgotten this experience. She was right.  To be able to sit down, pull up a chair and start writing is the ticket.

 200

I was raised in the small rural town of Amelia, Ohio, about twenty five miles out of Cincinnati. My younger brother and sister and I had a pony, a horse, many great dogs and a couple of motorcycles. We raised a lot of hell. My father served in The Big One at 17 and, after riding a motorcycle around Europe, became a lawyer and later a judge. My mother worked as a homemaker and nurse, a skill she had to use a lot with all of the injuries my siblings and I subjected ourselves and one another to.

 

I wrote my first mystery story when I was in fourth grade. It was about a kid a lot like me who heard strange noises coming from the attic and became convinced that the attic was haunted. Eventually, the mystery was solved when she investigated and found a squirrel eating nuts in a dark corner. It wasn’t a terribly exciting conclusion, but my teacher gave me an A anyway.

 

As a teenager I worked at a lot of different jobs. I worked at a gift shop in Gatlinburg, Tennessee, which is a frequent locale in my books. I was a swimming instructor and a lifeguard where my primary goal was to never get wet. I did a stint in a stuffed animal gift shop at the Kings Island amusement park where I actually sort of met the Partridge Family when they shot an episode there. After graduating from high school, I went on to attend Maryville College in Maryville, Tennessee, a stone’s throw from the Great Smoky Mountains. There was some more hell raising at college and I made some very good friends and occasionally we have our own private reunions.

 

In high school and college I played basketball and I graduated from Maryville College with a degree in Phys Ed. I went on to teach at Amelia Junior High, the same junior high that I had attended. There was something a little weird about passing by my old school locker every day when I walked down the hall as a teacher. Plus, some of the teachers I’d had back when I was in junior high were still working when I started to teach. Some of them had been none too fond of me as a student and I don’t think they were much fonder of me as a teacher! I coached the girls’ basketball and volleyball teams which was the best part of my job.

 

In my late 20’s I moved to the West Coast to get a broader perspective on life or something like that. I ended up working in retail security, or loss prevention, as it is now known, at an upscale Northwest retailer. I kept getting promoted and with each promotion, the job became less and less fun. It was a lot more fun catching shoplifters than sitting in endless meetings and crunching budgets. After ten years of that, I quit to try my hand at some serious writing. I wrote two books of fiction (not mysteries), Benny’s World and Kippo’s World, as well as a book of not-especially-reverent poetry called A Girl’s Guide to God and numerous short stories, articles and poems which have appeared in The Sonora Review, The Quarterly, Word of Mouth, Blue Stocking and 8-Track Mind.After that, it was time to go back to work. I got my private investigator’s license and hung out my shingle. At first, I took a lot of the cheaters cases. It seemed to me that if a guy thought his woman was cheating, he was usually wrong. On the other hand, if a woman thought her guy was cheating, she was almost always right. Eventually, I moved on to take mostly criminal defense investigation work which often involved trying to figure out what the client did and didn’t do and then minimize the damage of what they usually did do.

Review Week: Writer’s Hangout

Standard

Jerry Benns runs a site with author’s in mind!

Trip Through My Mind

As TTMM takes a little break this week, we have been looking back to explore some of the memorable moments as well as review the recently added features. Today, I would like to explore the recently added feature, “Writer’s Hangout”. Do not let the name fool you, this feature is for readers and writers alike. What started for me, as a way to review a few books and interview some of my favorite authors, has turned into something more.

Though “Writer’s Hangout” was a feature started recently I realized many of the articles over the years have followed the same theme of writing, whether in the form of ideas, tips, or complaining. These articles have also featured interviews with authors or reviews of books as well as the recent pieces about the writing community. Today, I would like to share some of my favorite articles. I hope you enjoy the…

View original post 413 more words