Sunday, August 26, 2012

Singularly Crazy or Among the Masses of Insanity?

When i sat down to write 'Awake', I did it as a "bucket list" item. I mean who hasn't had thoughts of sitting around in a smoking jacket in their underwear with an expensive pipe dangling from their mouth; while they create the next masterpiece of literature (or at least the next fad that will pull money from every pocket on the planet)?

Something funny happened while I was writing the book. I fell in love. Not with a person but with getting out of my own way and letting something take over. I'd sat down with an idea of exactly where I wanted to start a story and where I would take every character emotionally on the way to the neat, nice, tidy ending I had in my head.

A little over halfway through the first draft of the manuscript, two of the characters in the book decided to embody the stubbornness I had envisioned for them when I created them. They both decided to turn around, look at me, and flip me the bird. They did what they wanted to. They quit cooperating with my superbly crafted (I can dream right?) plot direction and started doing their own thing. They decided to tell the story they wanted and eventually I quit fighting and let them do it. Best decision I've made. The characters decided to take the story to a "real" place. They took me on a ride and I still get chills when I read parts of the book, even after reading the story at least 200 times throughout the course of writing it.

Which brings me to now. I've sold about a hundred copies of the book in under a month. Don't laugh, that's a smashing success with the route (self-publishing) I chose to take. Two weeks, a hundred copies. I'm impressed. Blown away.

I've received emails cursing me with a bunch of smiley-faces and "lol's" about the ending (several people have told me they even teared up). I wanted to write a different story when I started a second book. The characters from 'Awake' have again decided to show their bull-headedness and invade my thoughts. Couple that fact with people wanting to know what happens next (It was supposed to be a standalone!), I'm going to write the second one and have started pulling thoughts together and discussing them with the team (ok, "team" is just two of my buddies).

The possibilities are endless with Lane, Coldon, and Mayson (congrats Nel, you are the runaway most loved character of my book). With the second book, i get to go to a darker place, and really explore who these people are now that we know them. To me, that's the most exciting part. Why do people make the decisions they do? How much does stress and the world around them influence them?

I fell in love with writing and creating something from my own thoughts. I can't wait to see where this book takes me and feel honored to have joined the group of people that entertain you with our thoughts. I look forward to wanting to throw my laptop across the room again, wanting to start smoking again (but refraining for Jai and Ali), and the dull pain in my neck from sitting in a certain position for hours.

I also look forward to the laughs, the tears, and the satisfaction and pride I get from someone telling me how much they enjoyed the story.


Saturday, August 18, 2012

The book is out!

After months of writing, revising, writing some more, and revising even more...

The book is out!

Right now, it's available on Smashwords and Amazon.

Check it out at the following links:



Give it a look-see and tell me what you think.

I'm currently about 15 chapters in to the second book and almost finished with the first draft of another novel.

Thinking about writing a few short stories concerning Mayson as he seems to have caught the attention of several readers.

Hope to hear from you.

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

A cheese grater, Arkansas, and getting out of the way: An Interview with Nelson Mays, author of A Prelude to Closure

I recently had the chance to interview Nelson Mays who published his first novel 'A Prelude to Closure' earlier this year. If you haven't gotten the chance to check it out, click the link and grab it! You can also follow Nelson on Goodreads

Nelson is a thoughtful guy with a lot of insight and I hope I picked his brain enough for you. Enjoy!

What inspired you to write your first book? 
Well to tell you the truth I really don’t know. I have always loved murder mysteries and horror and I was at a point last year that I really got into reading and I was reading a novel or two a week. I kept thinking to myself that that I can write a story that people would enjoy. So one day I pulled up my Microsoft word and started typing.

Do you have a specific writing style?
I don’t think I have a particular style per se. I wrote A Prelude to Closure, in first person because I wanted the reader to follow the life of my protagonist. I wanted the reader to see what happened and why he turned out the way he did. You know in most books and movies you get the back plot of the killer through the voices of the detectives and the people trying to catch the bad guy. Which is fine, but I wanted the reader to get to know the real person and see what possibly could have drove him to do the things he did.

How did you come up with the title?
I probably messed up on the title. It’s not very catchy. But if you read it, the reader will see why the title is the way it is. The word Prelude: by definition means- a preliminary to an action, event, condition, or work of broader scope and higher importance. When the reader is reading and going through this journey with “Mr. Naismith” they get to see what happens to him (I call that the condition or event) in his past. Then when he realizes what has happened and he so desperately needs his closure on the issue, the reader watches (reads) how “Mr. Naismith” goes about his events (work of broader scope and higher importance) that lead him to change into the person I believe he was made to be.

Is there a message in your novel that you want readers to grasp? 
Sure. If you’re a bad guy doing bad things to people and you think you got away with it or getting away with it. You are wrong. They remember. Just will they act on it like “Mr. Naismith”?

If you had to choose, which writer would you consider a mentor?
I have a couple of favorite writers. Gregory Funaro, author of The Sculptor and The Impaler. Grant Jerkins, author of A Very Simple Crime and At the End of the Road. Dan Wells, author of, I am not a Serial Killer, Mr. Monster and I Don’t Want to Kill You. I would highly recommend all of those books.

What book are you reading now? 
I’m actually reading a paranormal book called Poltergeist by Kat Richardson. I picked it up one day in the bookstore and read the back cover and thought it would be interesting. So far I’m only on chapter 11, but I think it’s going to be a really good book. I just realized that it is the second book of the series, so I’ll have to go back and read the first.

Are there any new authors that have grasped your interest?
 The authors that I stated above: Gregory, Grant and Dan. I’m not exactly sure how old they are in the industry, but I do know for a fact that I will buy every book they publish. I just really like the way they write.

What are your current projects?
 If you’ve read A Prelude to Closure, then you know what happens at the end. I’ve had many text and calls from my friends asking me what happens. I just laugh and say “What do you think happens?”  I think they are demanding a follow up novel, so they can find their own closure. Lol. I have actually started writing the follow up and I kind of got stuck in a rut. I know what’s going to happen, but I want to get there in a realistic way and not just put something out there to put something out there.

  Who was your biggest supporter outside of family members?
  Mitchell Lane Cook, author of Z1N1: The Zombie Pandemic. I actually was trying to figure out the publishing side of everything and I was looking through the list of published books by the publisher that I went with and I found this book called Z1N1. I read about the author and come to find out he lived like 15 minutes from me in Bentonville. I contacted him through Goodreads and asked him if we could meet up and chat about the process and we have been friends ever since.

Do you see writing as a career? 
I would absolutely love for writing to be my career. I have a full time job now that takes most of my time and energy, but if I ever get a chance to have a following enough to write full time, you better believe I’ll take that chance.

If you had to do it all over again, would you change anything in your latest book?
No I don’t think so. I liked the way it turned out. I actually had a totally different plot when I sat down to start writing, but about half way through, I set back and let the character of “Mr. Naismith” take over and tell me what was going to happen. 

Do you recall how your interest in writing originated?  
You know I really don’t. I remember writing a couple of short stories in junior high, but then life gets in the way and the next thing you know your married and 35 years old. I guess you could say that last year I made a bucket list of the things I wanted to do before I got to old and writing a book was one of them.
Can you share a little of your current work with us? 
Lol, no. I’m just kidding. I’m doing the follow up to A Prelude to Closure, but I don’t want to give it any of it away. Let’s just say that his journey for “Mr. Naismith’s” closure is not over.

Is there anything you find particularly challenging in your writing? 
Just getting out of your own head and trying to make things work. Just sit back and write. I promise it will start to pour out.

Who designed the covers?
 I actually designed the cover. My sister Terra is a great photographer and she came over to my house one Saturday with my wife and Mitchell Cook and we made up some fake blood. I got all dresses up in the painters’ suit and gloves and grabbed the cheese grater out of our kitchen drawer. We went out to the garage were I had set up a white backdrop and they started throwing this blood all over me. Terra had me turning around a couple of times trying to find that perfect shot and the one I picked out was awesome. If you take a close look at the cover you can see actual blood droplets coming off the grater. I thought she caught that picture really well.
What was the hardest part of writing your book?
I just wanted to try and stay real as possible and not have any silly thing happen to where the reader would be like “that’s bull crap, that wouldn’t happen”
Did you learn anything from writing your book and what was it?
Be nice to people because you don’t know who you are really dealing with. Lol
Do you have any advice for other writers?
I can give you the same advice that I was given by Gregory Funaro. Just write. He told me to just write it down. Get the story on paper, and then go back and clean it up and make tweaks where needed.

Do you have anything specific that you want to say to your readers? 
I hope that you give my book a shot. I don’t think you will be disappointed. Also, as of June 1st, 2012 through December 31st, 2012 I am giving 50% of all royalties of the Kindle, Nook and e-Book version of A Prelude to Closure to the Make it Right Foundation.

What were the challenges (research, literary, psychological, and logistical) in bringing it to life?
I did do a little research on the psychology serial killers for the book, but not too much because I still wanted to make it real. I wanted the reader to feel like they were watching a movie play out in their head. As if they were a fly on the wall of Dr. Cochran’s room when “Mr. Naismith” was in session. The logistics side of going through Northwest Arkansas and the Fort Smith area, I didn’t have to do research for that. I grew up there driving those streets for 19 years. I could just see the streets in my head and the buildings that were around. Now I didn’t go back and see if those building were still there or not. It really didn’t matter. I knew they were they at one time.

That wrapped up the interview with Nelson. Great local author with a debut novel that is doing really well. Be sure to check the links for the other authors as well. Nelson is currently working on his second book and "getting out of the way". I agree with him completely. A moment comes when you're writing where you have a decision to make. Do you fit your story in the nice tidy box you designed it with or do you sit back and let your characters tell the story they want to tell? I found it much more fun to let Lane, Mayson, and Coldon run roughshod over things than trying to make them do what i wanted them to do. 

I hope you readers like the, ahem, wisdom Nelson spread to all of us. 

Now go and read more books!

Book cover design

Working on the cover for the book. Everything is done, except for this bad boy. As this blog is for the ups and downs of the "process"; I'll say this:

This part of the whole thing is about to drive me bats**t crazy. I'm not the most creative person in the work and my buddy Jared Belt is crazy good at this type of thing. Hopefully we can have it done this weekend and out to the masses!

Saturday, August 11, 2012

Back cover Blurb is done.

Let me know what you think!

A love older than mankind.
A brotherhood devastated by greed.
A man who stands to lose it all.

Michael and Luc were created as brothers; the perfect team, complementing each other in every way. A need for power turned them into eternal enemies, both of their lives destroyed. Broken by what he felt compelled to do, Michael left the bliss and warmth of the Heavens; and the only love he’d ever known to keep Luc bound. He walks the earth over and over, in constant torment to keep his secret.

Until now.

Lane is a college senior with a bright future after a troubled start in life. Popular in school, lethal in the boxing ring, two best friends who are more like brothers, and a girlfriend madly in love with him; he seems to have the perfect life. Dreams, flashing symbols, and an attack on his 21st birthday unleash a chain of events sending Lane and his friends racing across the country looking for answers. Along the way, revelations are made and history is revealed.

Armed with newly recovered memories and a resolve to see unfinished business to a conclusion, Lane is forced to lead the group down a path that could forever alter the fate of humanity.

New interview coming soon!

Wednesday, August 14  of this week, I'll have an interview up with fellow new author Nelson Mays, author of the book 'A Prelude to Closure'.

If you haven't read it, click his name above and give it a look. It's getting great reviews on Good Reads and Amazon.

There's twisted and there's Nelson Mays; this crazy bastard will take you up and down, keeping the pages your fingers turning page after page.

Be sure to come back and find out where Nelson got his inspiration for the book and his process while writing it.

The first of many...

Welcome to the inside of my skewed and somewhat sporadic mind.

I'm new to this whole experience but it was time to jump into the shark-infested waters and test my merit. Hopefully this blog will help others in their quest to become published and to give updates on where I'm at and how the process is going in my quest to become a published author.

As most know from my constant Facebook updates, I had an idea (like thousands of others) and I'm working to make that idea into a reality. I've finished the first FIVE drafts of my first novel and have it setup, locked and loaded for release by mid-August. The release will be announced here as well as on Facebook and Twitter.

It's a cool, little story that i think people will dig. I based it in Christian mythology but moved away from that setting rather quickly. I don't want to be pegged as a religious fanatic. I definitely noticed that it became a different book than i started out to write.

I think that is one of the big lessons i learned. There comes a point during the process, no matter how well outlined a story is, where a writer needs to get the hell out of the way and let the characters tell the story. Once it happens, the magic comes through. 

I'll try to keep this blog updated with what's going on with my writing and maybe offer snippets to see what the readers think of my nonsensical ramblings.

Keep pounding on the keyboards and chasing those dreams!