Friday, December 18, 2009

Thomas Riley Is Here

Thomas Riley has officially and undeniably arrived. I'm kind of speechless right now, mostly because I now have a ton of work to do. If you could equate man hours into tons, well, I might have two tons.
Here's what the cargo ship parachuted in yesterday:

With that said, I want to thank all of my pre-order people for being so kind and patient. I know it was a long wait for some of you, but finally they have arrived and are on their way to you at this very moment.

Alright, if you haven't ordered a signed book, you can now have one shipped to you right away. Click here for instantly shipped signed copies. (Don't forget if you want them personalized please make a note of how you want it signed in Paypal.)
Click Here to get your signed copy.

And what's this I hear??? You have not enlisted as a Sky Pirate yet? The pirates have already gotten their first contest... so don't miss out.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

First Quarter Tour Dates


As you all know, I'm booking up 2010 with book related events. When I say I'm booking it, I'm literally booking every free moment I could possibly have. As of now I have one weekend off until March. So, if you are in any of these cities or events, come by and say hi. (Maybe we will have something special for you.) Especially if you happen to be wearing your Sky Pirate Flight Credentials.

So here it is... I need to name this don't I? If you have a suggestion on what I should name the 2010 US tour... drop me a line.

Also! I'm always looking for more dates, signings, events or whatever is out there. So if you have an idea, let me know. This list is ever evolving and I plan on filling my life with this stuff...

January 16
Huntsville, AL
Book Signing at The Bookstore 12PM-2PM

January 16 (Yes the same day.)
Atlanta, GA
The Mechanical Masquerade

January 22-24
Chattanooga, TN
(Speaking/Vending/Signing)Entire weekend.

January 30
Nashville, TN
Davis Kidd Booksellers
(Signing/local Launch) 2PM-6PM

February 12-15
San Diego, CA
Southern California Writers Conference
(Speaking/attending/hanging out)

February 20
Birmingham, AL
The Little Professor Book Center
(Signing) 12-2PM

February 26-28
Columbia SC
South Carolina Book Festival

March 5-7
Highpoint, NC
(Vending/Signing) All Weekend

March 12-14
Memphis, TN
(Vending/Signing) All Weekend

March 17-21
Charlottesville, VA
The Virginia Festival of the Book
(Speaking/Vending/Signing) All week

April 9-11
St. Louis, MO

Monday, December 14, 2009

Blog Post Burnout

So you need to know I've been avoiding blogs for the last bit because of a sickness called BPB, or Blog Posting Burnout. 32 Blogs, & 3 interviews in 30 days really put a damper on my need to give you a lot of new information recently. So, I apologise and with that, I'm officially back. If you have any desire to see my blog tour exploits, see the bottom of this post for the entire list with links.

The Books
Ok... I don't know what to say about the books. I realise that many of you have not gotten your copy and for that I can not apologise enough to you. I want to thank you for your patience and I promise the second I get my copies in I will have them signed and in the mail to you ASAP. Apparently there is a bit of a back up at the printing press and Thomas Riley is basically in limbo. The copies could arrive today (which would be ideal) or they may not arrive until... well, the information is cloudy. Either way, I know a lot of you have been asking and I promise I will get these to you as fast as humanly possible. Your continued patience is much appreciated.

The Schedule
Starting January 16, 2010 my life goes crazy. Crazy in a good way of course, but crazy none the less. As it stands now I have one weekend off between January 16 and March 31... I'll make another post about where I will be and I hope to see many of you on the road. So look out, Huntsville, Birmingham, Nashville, Columbia and San Diego, I'm coming back!

Star Wars
I need to take a "non-book moment" and say that I saw Star Wars in Concert last night. This was the London Symphony Orchestra playing Star Wars music with the (In person) Anthony Daniels hosting the event. There isn't much I can say than it was actually and literally amazing. (Isn't it nice to be able to use that word and actually mean it?) If you were lucky enough to catch this two and a half month tour across the US, well, you know what I'm talking about. Here's a picture from my seats. Thank you to everyone that was ever involved in Star Wars, you have made a truly epic picture.

More Thomas Riley
You can still order signed copies of Thomas Riley HERE
You can enlist as a Sky Pirate HERE You'll get some pretty nifty stuff in the mail if you do so.

Blog Tour
Here are the links to each blog tour stop I made. Enjoy!

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Today is Sunday

I feel like I need to write. I just wrote my 21st blog for the Sky Pirate Barrage World Blog Tour and I feel like I'm neglecting you... well at least my blog. I'm listening to a lot of sentimental music tonight, writing some more short stories and well, this blog.

On the music side, I've discovered Regina Spektor who in some cases is simply emotionally brilliant. It took me a while to warm up to her, but my god, some songs really rip me apart, which makes it good. Insert smiley winking face here. Just listen to "Blue Lips". This is where it's finally appropriate to use the word "Amazing". Also, I've downloaded the new Russian Circles... I can't say much than wow, really, wow. You probably don't know this band, but you should look them up. Unreal. And as much as I wanted to hate it, I like about 4 songs on the new Alice in Chains... A lot. True tributes to real friends usually results in amazing music. By the way did you know that Lane Staley's Fiancee died of a bacterial something or other? No wonder the guy was crazy distraught. So now I'm listening to "Dirt", which is either where he thought he would be shortly or how he felt. Such human sadness is a huge magnet to me. The real soul comes out when tragedy strikes. Other than that AFI "God Called in Sick Today" made the playlist.

On the writing side, I'm editing part 1 of The Young Alchemists... the second edits. And working on the second short story. Still waiting on my copies of the Thomas Riley. Not sure what exactly happened but there is a delay so anyone that pre-ordered a copy I as you with a humble heart, please be patient, I promise I will get your copy in the mail ASAP.

On the personal side. I've been sick. Last night I coughed more violently than I ever have in my entire life. Ok TMI right? Sorry, but this entire weekend I've been in such a blur. The only thing I can liken it to is having a concussion, which I've had 3, so I kind of know what's going on with all of that.

An the future side: This week holds many hockey games, editing, and work work work. Which is basically all I do in every fashion of the word. This illness I have right now has knocked me down and prevented progress for far too long as is, but hey I have to roll with the punches right? I'm off to listen to more Russian Circles.

Be a kind lady or gent and if you haven't pre-ordered Thomas Riley... do so and I'll love you forever.

Thursday, October 29, 2009

A word from Lana Richmond

Hey Everyone! Lana Richmond of Pixie Chick fame here. I'm still hijacking Regan's plans for her blog tour. Nick's cool enough to host us today and I just managed to get my email sent off before Regan. It's not like there was an option. Come on! Sky Pirates and Steampunk? It all sounds so much cooler than anything I've seen around my town lately.

My high school's got all the requisite classes - and by that I'm talking social, not academic. We've got band geeks, jocks, nerds, goths, and preps, but we're fresh out of Steampunk. I'm thinking of starting a trend though.

Thomas Riley (Nick's lead character) gave me a crash course in wardrobing and accessories. It could be Halloween all year round with Steampunk, because it can go subtle or all out. And none of it violates our school dress code. Besides, clothes are just another way to declare yourself and your interests. Who wouldn't want to declare themselves ready for any adventure?

Really, the goggles did it for me, although I'm liking the boots a lot. And the inventive gadgets...that's just fun and trouble waiting to happen. Since I don't sleep much, tinkering with gadgetry (no, Regan, not weaponry) might be a fine new hobby.

And who knows, the goggles might be the one thing I need to finally break through the Hobbitville portals.

My hometown is so boring, it's no wonder someone created a magic garden - they needed the fast ticket to somewhere interesting. But after poking around Nick's world of Steampunk, I'm going back to the library - maybe there are some alternatives hidden away in my town's history. If I find that we did have a few inventive types, maybe I can find a way to escape and explore without the Hobbitville magic after all.

Wish me luck!
Lana Richmond,
band geek, Pixie Chick, Hobbitville magic seeker, and potential Sky Pirate!

~Well, thank you Miss Richmond. I'm sure Regan will just be thrilled that you've done all of her tour stops for her. So now that you all have heard, Regan Black has a new short story on Echelon Shorts called The Shadow Stone. Want to know more? Yeah, I thought so. Here is the blurb about the new short:

Lana Richmond will not be the left behind when all her friends are using the magic of Hobbitville to escape their small Midwestern town for more exciting places. She's been trying–and failing–to use the garden's portals. The bruises haven't quite faded when Lana takes matters into her own hands and meets a stranger who promises to help her…on Halloween. Will Lana have the courage to follow her wanderlust, or will she settle for being the only Pixie Chick who can't work the Hobbitville magic?

I thought that would interest you. Ok, I guess I'm allowed to give you a little more. Here's an excerpt.

Lana is alone in Hobbitville the night before Halloween, determined to find what the kids call a touchstone - a garden statue that allows them to travel magically to other gardens around the world.

Lana's thoughts rambled back across the memories as she hovered over every stone of any artistic formation. It seemed memories didn't open portals either. She tried to amuse herself with philosophy as she moved from Brie's section on to the next portion of the
garden. "When something's lost, you always find it in the last place you look," she murmured to the cherub-faced cupid cloaked in shadows.
She reached out, more than a little conflicted. She definitely wanted to find her touchstone, but a cupid was so not her.
As expected, the cupid did nothing for her, but maybe that was because she expected nothing from it. Philosophy was an annoying companion tonight. She tried to rev up some enthusiasm and made a second attempt. Still nothing.
She moved on before she made herself crazy with circular arguments. "The lost thing's always in the last
place you look because you stop looking once you've found it."
"It is pretty silly to keep looking once something's
found," a deep voice rumbled out of the darkness.

Oh now you really want to read the whole thing. Gotcha. Try these:

Here's a link to all of Ms. Black's Kindle titles

Go here to purchase your own copy of Shadow Stone from Echelon (It's going to be the best $2.25 you've ever spent.)

I know... You want to know more about Regan Black. Click here to go to her blog.

Monday, October 26, 2009

Blog Tour Day 2 The Extras

So here we are… Officially day 2 of The Sky Pirate’s Barrage World Blog Tour. The tour came together with the help of a lot of people. Twenty seven to be exact. I realize that having someone come to your personal blog and basically say whatever they want can be a kind of space invading proposition, so I want to thank everyone that let me guest blog for a day. It really does mean a lot, not just the trust issue, but the fact that everyone has been so kind and helpful.

It’s so important to get the word out about the book and my aggressive plans for its promotion get more aggressive by the day. You have to think of it this way, there are 100,000 books released a year. That’s 274 books a day. Yeah, a day! What are your chances of anyone even seeing or hearing of it? Slim at best. So for the next month I will be all over the world (blog wise) promoting Thomas Riley. If I had the time, I would do 1000 blogs if I could.

If you know me, you know that I love everything DIY. I love to promote, to make things, to give things away and put personal touches on everything I do. If you’ve enlisted as a Sky Pirate, you’ve probably already received your enlistment papers, and flight credentials, so you know what I’m talking about when I say personal and DIY. It’s fun really. I enjoy those kinds of things. It’s what I would want from anyone that I ordered something from. If I ordered a book, piece of art or anything for that matter, how cool would it be to get an extra sketch from the artist or a secret stamp by the author? (Oops, did I just drop a spoiler?) If you’ve already spent money on something the extras can really mean a lot. What those extras say is “I care about you the consumer. I appreciate you spending your hard earned money on me, so I’m going to give you extra attention because you deserve it.”

That’s what we all want right? More for your money? In the spirit of asking you the reader a question. What is the coolest extra you’ve ever gotten? It can be from anything. An author, an artist, a fast food place… it doesn’t matter. What’s the best addition to a purchase you’ve ever gotten?

As you can see all over this blog, you can now purchase Thomas Riley at
As well as
If you want to enlist as a Sky Pirate or learn more about the book, take a gander at the web site:

Friday, October 23, 2009

Thomas Riley Out Today!

Today is the day!
My first published novel Thomas Riley comes out on Echelon Press. It feels like forever, although this entire process really didn't take so long in the literary world.

I'll be at The South Carolina Writers Workshop for the release, which is even more exciting. So if you happen to be in or around Myrtle Beach... well stop by. If not you can get the book at my website

Soon enough it will be everywhere, so if you want the specials that come with getting it now... they only last through today (Oct. 23rd)

From here I'm planning a grand Con tour for 2010 so look for massive dates as I'll be all around the country. Some stops include, San Diego, Atlanta, Highpoint NC, Chattanooga, Trenton NJ, St. Paul MN, Chicago, Los Angeles, and a bunch more.

Also, I wanted to recognize my huge influx of Swedish Sky Pirates! You all are awesome! If you want to be a Sky Pirate (It's free) go here: ENLIST ME NOW

Sunday, October 11, 2009

The Sky Pirate's Barrage World Blog Tour

In preparation for the book release, I'm embarking on a 30 day blog tour which I've aptly named "The Sky Pirate's Barrage World Blog Tour". If you don't know what a blog tour is, here's the short and sweet version. For 30 days I will "guest blog" on different blogs. Each one will be different and blog specific. So if I'm writing for an author's blog, I'll probably be writing well, about writing. If I'm on an art blog, I'll be saying something about art, cover art or design. If I'm on a Sky Pirate blog, I'll probably talk about wind resistance versus cannon velocity. You get the picture right?

I've gotten such a great response from everyone, I officially owe my first born to at least 30 people for being so generous with the private blogs. If you are hosting me for one of these days, I am truly in your debt. With that said, I'm always looking to add more dates to the tour and to do a second leg later on down the road. So If you have a blog you would like to share, please email me so that I may also be in your debt.

Email this address:

So without further ado here are the dates and locations for

The Sky Pirate's Barrage World Blog Tour:

Friday October 23- Interview by Jaymee Goh for TOR
Monday October 26- Writing & Life
Tuesday October 27- Life Of A Publisher
Wednesday October 28- Mysteries & Chitchat
Thursday October 29- Four-Door Handbasket
Friday October 30- The Magical Buffet
Saturday October 31- Inert Nashville
Sunday November 1 - Thomas Riley
Monday November 2 - Cicero's Children
Tuesday November 3 - Candid Canine
Wednesday November 4 - Write or Wrong
Thursday November 5 - Ubiquitous Ghosts
Friday November 6 - Teen Seen
Saturday November 7 - Rivet Gallery
Sunday November 8 - Dave Gates Design
Monday November 9 - Another Writer's Life
Tuesday November 10- Making Stuff Up
Wednesday November 11- On the Edge of the Chair of Literature
Thursday November 12- East Nashville Blog
Friday November 13- My Overstuffed Bookshelf
Monday November 16- Book Blab
Tuesday November 17- Opinionated? Me?
Wednesday November 18- Emeraldfire's Bookmark
Thursday November 19- Razlover's Book Blog
Friday November 20- I Read...
Monday November 23- Revenge Of The Book Nerds!
Tuesday November 24- The Adventures of B. Freret
Wednesday November 25- Myskoteket
Thursday November 26- Straight Jacket Chillers
Friday November 27- For Writers

In the meantime, Thomas Riley is on pre-sale right now and I'm giving everyone that pre-orders FREE shipping and signed copies of the book. Get your copy today and save some money. ORDER HERE

And if you just want free steampunk stuff, offers, discounts and exclusive contests Enlist to be a Sky Pirate HERE.

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Pre-Orders Available Today!

I'm really excited. Sorry I've been a bit removed from the ole blog lately, but I've been concentrating on the book promotion and blog tour almost every waking hour. So, the moment has arrived. Thomas Riley is officially for sale via pre-sale on my website

Sure your book will not ship until after October 23rd, but by pre-ordering I'm offering you a really good deal. 1) Free shipping until October 23rd. Get your order in and you've saved $3-$4. (Not bad.) 2) Every pre-order book will be signed and stamped. (You'll see, it's very cool.)

So summon your inner sky pirate and order soon before the discounts disappear.

Now's the time. Order Here

Cut and paste if the above link doesn't work.

Friday, September 25, 2009

Blog Tour!

I know I've been talking a lot about the promotion of Thomas Riley. To be honest, it encompasses most if not all of my free time. I'm really hitting this hard, so please forgive my one track mind.

The newest plan is a 30 day blog tour. That's right 30 blogs in 30 days. So far I have 15 lined up starting on Monday October 26th. Well, what about the other 15 days Nick? That's where I need your help. Yep you who's reading this right now. (Thank you by the way.) I'm looking for anyone with a blog that wouldn't mind me guest blogging for 1 day on your site. Don't worry, I won't need access to your blog or anything weird like that. We will agree on a day, I'll write the content and I'll send it to you weeks in advance so you can program it on our day. Boom we're done. It's easy, free and fun.

Of course in return for your generosity, I will drive traffic to your blog as well as welcome you to guest blog here or I can just write something about you, your book or whatever it is you're doing.

If this sounds like fun to you, email me:

Also, don't forget to sign up to be a Sky Pirate HERE. This will get you in exclusive contests, random fun things and secret discounts. I must reiterate that your information will never be shared.

Also I'm proud to announce our first Canadian, Australian and Swedish pirates!

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

The State of The Union

Here's an update on how things are going with the book.

I'm prepping the launch of Thomas Riley with a ton of crazy and fun things. Contests, giveaways, and hopefully some pre-order goodness. Some of the things will include direct mailing, email blasts and my favorite pet project right now which is the "Sky Pirate Enlistment Program". You can sign up for free at my web site

Just send me your name, email, and your mailing address if you like and you will be enlisted in the Canvian Sky Pirates & Privateers group. As always, your information will never be shared, but you will receive an occasional email, fun stuff in the snail mail and exclusive offers and discounts for Sky Pirates only. Fun huh?
Sign up here:

I have so much in store for the promotion of this book that it's making my head spin, but hey it's all about getting the opportunity to work this hard isn't it? So sit back, relax, sign up to be a sky pirate and enjoy the good things coming your way.

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Thomas Riley has his own blog

So Thomas contacted me to day to alert me that he has started his own blog today. Of course he ad to choose worpress. (he says it's more sophisticated.) Anyway, Thom has had a harrowing journey and wants to keep you all up to date on he and Cynthia's life after his adventure. So take a gander and get an inside look into his weapons and chemical company, Mercury Craft Industries.

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Thomas Riley Promotion 1.0

So, I have hand done posters, postcards, business cards and that is just the beginning. I was talking to my friend about the new black and white dunny series and he suggested that I post some pictures of the promo stuff I'm doing for Thomas Riley. So here we go. A really bad picture with my phone (Yeah I couldn't find my real camera) of the TR postcard which is really cool in person. See it for the first time At Dragon Con in Atlanta this weekend. Hey if you're there come find me, I'll be at the Dunny party as well as the parade, the steampunk panel and who knows what else.

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Echelon Press Shorts

Echelon Press Shorts officially opens on September 1, 2009. So what can readers look forward to?

This month, they have new releases scheduled for the first AND the fifteenth. There is a wonderful list of authors whose stories they are excited about and who they know you will enjoy reading.

There are also authors waiting to meet you! Readers will enjoy new blog posts Monday through Friday by the most current authors. Read about their latest ventures, their characters, and get to know them. Both Echelon Press Shorts and the authors would love reader feedback, so feel free to leave comments.

During launch week, there will be new releases and posts from the authors of those stories. Readers will hear from Regan Black, Mark Vun Kannon, Mary Welk, and Michelle Sonnier. To celebrate, they are giving away *free* ebook downloads. Want to know how? Visit them on September 1 at

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Zamora's Ultimate Challenge

If you have kids, you simply must pick up a copy of Zamora's Ultimate Challenge by M.K. Scott.(Quake)

Two boys, Carter and Mason Clover are put in charge of their baby sister Isabella while their parents are away. The boy's find themselves transported into their favorite video game and into a fantasy land that's no longer just a fantasy. Their sister has been kidnapped by the evil queen in the game and the boys have to navigate through the different levels to save her.

Mason and Carter know this land well... at least they think they do. It's much easier to play a game when your life isn't on the line right? The sometimes bickering brothers quickly realize that they have to rely on each other to get through the real life game. They also have to accept some valuable life lessons on the way.

I'm not sure what your picturing, but this isn't Pong or Missile Command that the brothers are trapped in, this is a huge other world filled with acid pooping Pterodactyl's, murderous pirates, a fire breathing dragon and even a lava monster! I didn't even mention the mechanical shark and my favorite part, appearances by the world's masters of literature and art.

Besides the ultra fun adventure, I really liked that I could read a mother's love in Zamora's Ultimate Challenge. I could actually see the life lessons M.K. Scott put on paper. She wants her readers to see the value in trust, love, and perseverance. From this view, it's a heartwarming read even if you're not a young adult. The story places the boys in situations where they have to apply trust, the golden rule, bravery, family love and logical thinking to continue on their quest to save their sister. This is truly a story with a moral. Actually a lot of morals. The way the boys interact with each other makes me think all young adult readers would get a lot out of this... and that's just a side effect of the nonstop action and adventure.

Zamora's Ultimate Challenge is a must for all young adult readers. It's fun, it's exciting and it's filled with themes that every young adult should read. Pick up your copy here.

Monday, August 24, 2009

Goodbye Stacy

Eighteen years ago my band, Staring at the Sun, was invited to play a show in Lawrenceberg Tennessee by this guy in a band called Melvin's Headtrip. We showed up and much to my delight this place was huge... and within a few hours was packed. I'll never forget that night because that was the night that I met Stacy Fleeman. While this is incriminating, he wouldn't care that I shared it with you. We were backstage and he had a joint in his hand. He offered it to me and I said "no thank you." He grimaced and said, "What, are you straightedge or something?" I had never hear the word straightedge before, but I instantly knew what it meant.

After this hugely successful show, we kept in touch and not too long after he moved to Nashville where we continued to swap shows, hang out and generally just have fun no matter what we did.

Within this time, we, me, whatever band I was in at the moment seemed to bond with Stacy and his band which had changed names to Dharmakaya. I can't tell you how many times I played with this band, but I can tell you that I have never seen a band play as much as I've seen Dharmakaya. As the years went by I got closer to Stacy, planning our musical futures together and even singing on two songs with his band. (Now called "Into the Pink" and "Synthetic Lies".)

He started Spat! Records with AJ Schafer and as I did my damnedest to support his record store located in the back of The Muse, we spent hours just hanging out and talking about everything and anything that came up. Spat! Records signed my band Fall With Me even though we were a raucous inconsiderate, brutish bunch bent on insulting the rising hardcore/metal scene. Still, Stacey and AJ stood behind us. Giving us most if not all of our accolades as a band. We hit #12 on the college metal charts because of them, our second record "Rise Phoenix Rise" was completely put out by them including studio time, record pressing and expensive cover art and distribution that we could have never achieved on our own.Dare I say that FWM was the first band ever out of Nashville to chart that high on the Metal rankings? Did I mention that they hooked us up with shows with every band we wanted to play with? This is just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to what these guys did for us, but the most important thing they did was believe in us, and what we did. And for that, none of us should ever forget what they did for us under the penalty of barbed lashings.

After the first incarnation of Fall With Me, did Stacey and AJ forget about us? Did they let us go on bad behavior? No. In fact they continued to support the new Fall With Me. Records, shows, preferential treatment... the list could go for pages.

The point is, that Stacey and I and my bandmates were friends. Good friends at that. Friends that supported each other in the best and worst times, personally and musically.

Stacey Fleeman died last night, August 23rd, 2009. My friend is gone forever with a mere 12,296 days of life under his belt, it's a rip off if you ask me. I've been thinking to myself, "Why didn't I say something to him?" "Why didn't I tell him to chill on the drugs?" "Why didn't I pay for him to got to the doctor or get him nourishing food?" "Why didn't I ask him what he really wanted out of life?" You know why? Because he would have said, "Dude, I'm doing exactly what I want to do, and I'm having the time of my life doing it." And that's the truth of it.

Stacey, I'll never forget you. You gave me hope when I had little, you gave me fun and good times when I needed them most. But most of all, you were a great friend that is a model for all other friends in my life. I won't forget, the house show in the basement, the Halloween show in your house, or the other thousands of amazing times we had together. Rest in peace my brother, I swear we are going to give you a sending off party that you will be proud of. I'll miss you and already do. Please enjoy this picture of Mr. Fleeman acting like he has his hand up my bum... or is he acting? Stacy, we'll always love you and life will not be as fun without you man.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Thomas Riley Cover Art

It's official! The cover art for Thomas Riley is in. (Now I'm stoked to see what the whole thing looks like.) Anyway, enjoy!

The ebook will be available before the print version comes out on October 23rd on Echelon Press, but I'm not sure exactly when. Trust me, I'll let you know as soon as I do. I know I've blogged about this before, but the illustration was done by the magnificent Will Routon.

Go on... click it... I dare ya.

Monday, August 10, 2009

Taking the Mystery Out of EBooks

I'm honored to have Pam Ripling as the super star of my blog today. I have to say that Pam's views are shared by me as well and not only is there value and quality in her thoughts, but there is also invaluable experience that should not be ignored by writers and readers alike. So, enjoy... Pam's expert views will shed new light on the subjects of Ebooks.

This just might be a timely topic for some. For me, not so much. My first electronic book was released in 1998. Yawn.

For many people, likely the larger part of the U.S. population, digital content is brand new and maybe suspect. Their confusion is understandable, their fears many. After all, as a society, we’ve been turning paper pages for centuries. Baby boomers and older, in particular, are a paper-dependent populace. We’ve already had to endure the vinyl-to-tape-to-disc-to-digital journey in the music industry. We’ve suffered the Beta vs. VHS, the rabbit ears, the cable, the satellite dish wars.
It’s a small wonder, then, that people can be seen virtually hugging their heavy, hardcover copy of THE DEFECTOR to their chest and screaming, “You can’t take books away from me! My real books!”

Calm down. Paper books are not going away, not anytime soon or ever, so please exhale now. Ebooks, however, are also here to stay, so it might not be a bad idea to become familiar with how they work, just in case. Like, someone might give you a Kindle for your birthday, and then where would you be? Feeling a bit uneasy. Uninformed. Behind the times.

So as much as I’d like to extol the virtues and benefits of ebooks, I will, instead, endeavor to explain how they work, via a brief FAQ made up from queries/comments I’ve received from my readers.

1. I can’t sit in front of my computer long enough to read a book. Good news! You don’t have to. There are a myriad of devices now available, and several under development for release in the coming year. Readers with some smartphones can already read ebooks and probably don’t know it! Even Nintendo’s DS can be outfitted with software that will read books.

2. I’m a zip when it comes to downloading stuff from the computer. Too many cables, too many programs. More good news. You can go completely wireless with a device like Amazon’s Kindle, which doesn’t require a computer at all. The upcoming offering from Plastic Logic will utilize a wireless connection from a cellular carrier. More will follow.

3. I’ve heard ebooks are expensive. Not true. They average a much lower retail price than their paper cousins.

4. I like to give away my books after I’ve finished reading them. How can I give away an ebook? As a royalty-earning author, this is a touchy subject for me. Sadly, your generosity eats into my income. However, you cannot give away an ebook unless you no longer keep a copy of it on your device(s). That would be akin to making a copy of a paperback book and giving it away. A big no-no.

5. I read lots of books. I can’t afford a Kindle or any other ebook device I’ve seen. Make a quick list of the last fifteen or so book purchases you’ve made, the prices you paid. Then compare the prices of the same books in electronic formats. Over time, the savings will pay for the reader, while at the same time you are going green, big time! Consider TWILIGHT by Stephanie Meyer, at Amazon: Hardcover: $12.73, Kindle edition: $6.59. Savings=$6.14 plus shipping!

6. I don’t want to add another device to my ever-growing pile of technology-I already have an iPhone, a Palm Pilot and a netbook! You are in luck. You can read ebooks on any one of these devices—no new hardware required!

7. What about all those formats? I’m lost in a sea of alphabet soup! Yep – PDF, HTML, LIT, DRM, Mobi, Palm, etc. Unfortunately, the variety of formats doesn’t help the cause. Once you are interested in a specific device, find out if it supports the more popular formats before you buy.

8. I really love and need the smell and feel of paper when I’m reading a book. Can’t help you here. Am thinking about marketing an aerosol spray called, “That New Book Smell.” What do you think?

If you’re serious about adding ebooks to your virtual shelf, see if you can get your hands on an ebook reader to try out in a store. When I had a chance to play around with Sony’s Reader Digital Book at the L.A. Times Festival of Books, I was sold. You might be, too. Don’t be afraid to explore the new electronic book frontier!

Additional resource:

Pam Ripling, who also writes as Anne Carter, is the author of paranormal romantic mystery, POINT SURRENDER, from Echelon Press, Amazon, and for your Kindle, iPhone or other e-formats, Fictionwise. Visit Anne at

Monday, July 20, 2009

Post Editing Decompression

I spent three weeks including eight hour days on the weekends making the first edits to Thomas Riley. It was crazy. It's astounding how much I need to learn and grow as an author and I can't tell you how grateful I am for Rochelle Bailey and Karen Syed for their contributions to this book. I've learned more in that three weeks than I can can ever remember learning in a semester of college. I'm being totally serious. So I sacrificed everything. Going out with friends, concerts, time with my wife and family. I just bore down and plowed through the edits as best I could.

When I finished the edits I felt a bit odd. The self doubt is endless. Had I done a good job? Was it going to be up to snuff for Echelon Press? Did I do anything wrong? I surely missed a bunch of little things. Was it too descriptive? How were the action scenes? I'm still plagued with these questions, but I'm confident that this is part of the learning process.

Being trapped in the house for three weeks makes one a bit weird. Well, it made me a bit weird. When you send your finished round one of edits in, there isn't much to do other than plan and execute some marketing and promotion ideas. So I ordered some postcards, planned out some jolly rogers (later to be used for buttons/postcards/custom flags/banners etc...) and I've gathered some info on all types of fun marketing and promotion materials which will be focused on the steampunk-esque Dragon*Con in Atlanta GA in September. I received over a thousand postcards which I'll be taking to the San Diego Comic Con this week!

With some degree of freedom at night, I needed to get out. What better way of blowing of steam than attending some crazy shows and having some good times with friends? First order of business was off to my favorite sushi place with my dad the night I sent the edits in.

Next up was a trivia night at a local pub with some friends where no crap, we got 2nd place only because we were two numbers off in a tie breaker question. Wow.

From there Stacey, (my wife) and I made a spontaneous choice to go see some friends of ours play at a local dive bar. Besides hanging with our friends in the band we were treated to a surprisingly talented band from Austin Texas called Bankrupt And The Borrowers. These guys blew me away. They were kind of a mix between blues and post hardcore. So... Screamy, singy, dirty south rock and roll. Awesome. If you get the chance, check them out and check out the song "I Love You Baby".

A few nights later we made some pretty big plans. We were off to see a legendary band called The Jesus Lizard (Touch and Go Records) perform their first show in the US in 10 years. These guys are known for being one of noise rock's pioneers not only musically, but in their insane stage antics. So we get there and within five seconds of the music starting the singer, David Yow is on top of the crowd with his shirt off somehow doing his vocal parts perfectly as he gets passed around the the top of the crowd. It's difficult to sum up what this was like. Picture guys in or close to their fifties absolutely going wild. This wasn't a bunch of old dudes trying to reclaim their youth, in fact it was a comeback like the world of underground music had never seen before. Keep in mind everything went at this show... and I mean everything.

(Thanks to Brian Batey for the photo)

After our sweaty no holds barred concert Stacey and I were off and going to watch Harry Potter and The Half Blood Prince for a midnight showing on opening day. We were pooped, but wow was it worth it. There's nothing quite like being in a movie like Harry Potter or Star Wars when the tension in the room builds so much that the crowd explodes with cheers when the Warner Bros logo appears before the movie. The setting is electric and rare. I have to say, it was awesome. For those that are into Harry Potter, you can't miss this. It really is one of the best movies out of the series. Moody, dark, and funny, this film (yes I used the word film) is simply great. Two big thumbs up.

So I anxiously await round 2 of my edits and in the mean time, I'm off to San Diego on Wednesday morning for the ultimate mayhem that is the San Diego Comic Con. This wonderful year I plan on seeing Clive Barker, Kevin Smith, Neil Gaiman, Mythbusters, Lost, Hayao Miyazaki, and I even get to attend a benefit show by one of my favorite musicians in the world, Amanda Palmer. Wow. So off I go, surely to return to some hardcore time back in front of the ole computer to hopefully re-edit Thomas Riley in time for it's October release.

Monday, July 6, 2009

Interview With Author Teresa Burrell

I had the pleasure of meeting Teresa Burrell through Karen Syed in San Diego last February. Teresa handed me her card with her upcoming book, The Advocate on the front. Since then, I read The Advocate and let me tell you it's a wonderful read, full of action, suspense and mystery. I reviewed the book, (see my previous post) and I was dying to get some more information, not only about the book, but about Teresa the author. Enjoy the interview!

What was your original inspiration to write The Advocate? Was there a certain moment that this popped in your head or have you always wanted to write a legal suspense novel with your background?

My inspiration for The Advocate came from a case I worked on in juvenile court. I can’t really explain anything about the case without giving away too much of the storyline, but I can tell you I represented many children with similar backgrounds of abuse.

From start to finish, how long did it take you to write the original manuscript?

It only took me about six months to write this novel…and then approximately twelve rewrites.

Tell us about your writing environment. What environment do you most like to write in?

I’m fortunate to live alone so I have plenty of peace and quiet. I generally write in my office in San Diego, but occasionally I would go to Coffee Bean or to the bay and sit and write.

Give us a rundown of a day in the life of Teresa Burrell.

I’m an early riser, usually around five-thirty, but I make up for it by getting to bed late. Fortunately, I don’t need much sleep. I try to write every morning if I can for a couple of hours. Some days I’ll just keep writing all day without stopping for much of anything. But generally it’s a few hours, then I try to respond to my emails, do my social networking, go for a walk/run on the bay, run errands, and somewhere in all that I manage to eat, read whatever novel I’m engrossed in, and take a few phone calls. If I need a break, I go to a movie and shut off the phones and the rest of the world.

What are you reading now? What authors current or past inspire you?

Right now I’m reading Michael Palmer’s “The Fifth Vial,” a medical suspense novel. I really enjoy John Grisham’s novels. As a child I read all the Nancy Drew series, Laura Ingalls Wilder’s books, and anything else I could get my hands on. I loved “Gone With the Wind” and “Wuthering Heights” in my teen years.

There are many cases mentioned in casual conversation between Sabre and her friend Bob. Just the slight mention case details sent shivers down my spine. In your career as an attorney, was there ever a case that you wanted to refuse?

There were many cases I worked on that were just horrible, cases where my clients were outright disgusting, but I never refused a case. I truly believe in the system. That’s not to say it works all the time, but generally it does, and it works better when there are advocates for both sides who care enough to do their job. I didn’t have to like my client or even believe my client to protect his or her rights which ultimately protects all of our rights. It’s actually a lot easier to represent someone who is guilty than someone who is innocent because if you have a guilty person, you do your best and if you lose…it’s his/her fault. But if you represent someone who is innocent and you lose…it’s your fault. Of course, I preferred representing the children, because then you always have the innocent/good party. But that can be very hard as well, because I often had to make very difficult decisions in the best interest of the child and many times it wasn’t what the child wanted.

Being a nerd, I like to visit places featured in the books I love. Is the Clara’s Kitchen a real place in San Diego? If not, what place inspired Sabre and Bob’s favorite breakfast spot?

Clara’s Kitchen is totally fictitious. If Bob and Sabre were to go to breakfast it would probably be IHOP.

What inspired the “red bat” in the novel?

I have no idea where that came from…just a creative moment, I guess.

In reading The Advocate, I realized that attorneys can make a lot of enemies. Have you ever had odd things happen to you as they do Sabre in the book?

Yes, I had a stalker in a domestic case, and I received my share of threats from angry parents who blamed me for keeping their kids from them. I also had a woman come at me in the court hallway because I spoke to her husband (her psych eval spoke of her “deathly insane jealousy”…of course I didn’t know that at the time). The court marshals were quickly at my side, protecting me.

Was there an actual specific case that inspired the twisty Murdock case in The Advocate? Tell us how your life as an attorney shaped the plot.

There was an actual case that gave me the idea, but the novel came from lots of different cases, experiences, and just plain “what ifs?”

I tried to give my readers a good idea what life in juvenile court was really like. I see it much like the “M.A.S.H.” unit…there was a lot of humor to offset the horrible events that were taking place. I hope my readers get a glimpse of that world and perhaps become aware of what goes on in the lives of our innocent children. It might even inspire some to become a volunteer in places like CASA.

Sabre keeps a little red notebook in which she writes her goals and dreams down. I find this fascinating because she’s really good at accomplishing her goals. What’s in your personal little red notebook?

To meet Jeffrey Dean Morgan...that’s all I’m saying.

Who do you see playing Sabre, Bob, Alexis, Joe Carriage when this book is made into a movie?

Sabre: Sandra Bullock (unless it takes too long and she gets too old, then it would have to be Jennifer Garner).

Bob: Bill Pullman (it has to be someone that would do justice to Bob’s sense of humor)

Alexis: Probably some unknown. I can’t think of any stars young enough…Dakota Fanning could have done it, but she’s too old now.

Joe Carriage: David Boreanaz

Dr. Steele:
Josh Duhamel (I know you didn’t ask…but there you go)

I know you’re working on a sequel to The Advocate. Can you give us some clues, teasers or juicy tidbits as to where the story of Sabre Brown will go? Do you have a working title?

I do not have a working title yet, so I just refer to it as “Another SOB Story.”
I can tell you Sabre has a romantic involvement in the next book, one hot, handsome guy named Luke. JP has a much larger role in this novel, and Bob is still working closely with Sabre. The rest of the characters are new.

Please let the readers know where they can pick up a copy of The Advocate, your blog and your website.

The Advocate will be available in bookstores August 1, 2009. It is available on Amazon, directly from my publisher, in paperback or eBook, or you can order an autographed copy on my website . I would love to have any or all of you follow my blog at

Thank you for taking the time to do this Tee!
Thank you, Nick. It’s always a pleasure.

Friday, June 26, 2009

The Advocate

The Advocate by Teresa Burrell

It’s no wonder Terresa Burrell can sell 87 books at a book fair without having a single hard copy on hand. Her legal suspense novel, The Advocate is a wonderful twisty novel with a surprise around every corner. This isn’t your normal court room story, The Advocate is packed full of real human emotion from an author that has been there and done it all when it comes to the juvenile court system. It actually gives me shivers that some of the cases mentioned in the book are probably real.

As you know, legal suspense can sometimes be a bit dry and drawn out. The reader is taken through each objection, overruling and cross examination with excruciating clinical detail. The Advocate gives the reader just the opposite. Burrell has crafted a story packed full of action and excitement with identifiable characters that will have you turning the pages so quickly your fingers will ache with paper cuts.

Fans of the courtroom scenes don’t fret, there’s plenty of quality legal goodness that actually helped me better understand what it’s like to be an attorney in the juvenile court system. I never realized how much compassion goes into that job.

I quickly found myself falling in love with the characters, from heroine Sabre Brown, to her chain smoking best friend Bob and even the powerful Murdock family. (Who Sabre is representing.) The Advocate constantly builds tension and mystery with an ending that will leave your jaw wide open. Go on, I dare you to try to figure it out. You won’t be disappointed.

Definately buy the book here.
Check out Teresa's website here.

Friday, June 19, 2009

Dream Reachers


Honestly this was kind of a shock to me. I did an interview a while back for the Student Operated Press with a fine gentleman, Chase Von, Author of "Your Chance to Hear The Last Panther Speak". Chase has been behind me since day one and I have a lot of respect and love for the guy.

The interview was done on November 28th, 2007 so this was way before I was writing Thomas Riley. The interview focuses on Fallon and the horror series that I've been constantly working on. The best part is that my interview is now in a book called "Dream Reachers" - Only those that stretch to reach their dreams find themselves living them. (By Chase Von and Betty Dravis)

I would have never thought that my interview would be in the same book with the likes of Clint Eastwood, Ted Kennedy, Tanya Tucker, and a host of other well known celebrities. Really, I'm blown away. (My interview is on page 354.) So definitely add this to my list of upcoming reviews.

With that said, take a look and pick up your copy at

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Lend Me Your Light

I need to explain that I scheduled this trip a little over a month a ago when I wasn't sure how long the contract and info from Echelon Press was going to take. I figured that I would keep writing while things progressed on the publisher's side of things. The important thing was I didn't want to let anything get stale... writing wise. Well, after booking the trip I got the contract from Echelon and was assigned an editor. While this will put the Fallon series on hold, I figured I needed to go anyway and get one of my trips wrapped up. (You all should know I wanted to visit Stull for a while.)

My primary objective was to make it to Stull Kansas, where two major scenes happen in book one and book three of my horror trilogy. As you've seen me talk about before, Stull is a tiny town with nothing in it other than a few houses, a new church and an old graveyard. Despite the legal troubles of walking around there, it was on my list and I had to see it.

Kansas City
I flew into Kansas City where I rented a car and drove around to some pre-researched locations. The Savoy Hotel, the Elmwood Cemetery and as unglamorous as it is... the Greyhound bus station. I needed to see it in all of it's glory to get a good description. I spent about three hours in Elmwood, where I at first just wandered around in the hot sun looking at the graves, dates, and names. For some reason I like this. There is wonderful feeling of history walking through these places. I had a short list of graves that I wanted to find and I thought it may be best to knock on the door of the office. A nice man came and let me in where we talked about the names. He was helpful but suspicious. He asked me about the book and I told him... well, part of it. He was a little paranoid about the whole thing and I got the feeling that he was itching to kick me out. Let me say that the office was so hot, I thought I was going to pass out. Really, it was like an oven. The room had to be at least a hundred degrees. Sweat poured from the sides of my face and this guy didn't have a bead of perspiration! Yeah... I don't get it either. I'm sure that the sweat looked like I was nervous. Truth be told, I wasn't there to wreck these people's good names, and I wasn't there to "ghost hunt". I was just there to collect feelings, stories and share in the odd almost muffling feeling that cemeteries tend to have. After explaining "steampunk" to the caretaker, he eased up a little and helped me locate the graves I was looking for on a map. He ended up being very helpful in the end. While Elmwood Cemetery probably won't make an appearance in the book, some character stories might share a common thread with some of the people I visited.

The first night I conveniently ended up at the KC branch of the Flying Saucer. (One of my favorite haunts here in Nashville) I ended up watching game 7 of the Stanley Cup Finals with a Penguins fan. That pretty much ruled by the way.

A guy was unvieling his plate that night for drinking 400 beers... Not all at once of course... But his plate had a great saying. "Did you just order a Bud light? We need to talk."

The next morning I headed off for the hour drive to nowhere-land, also known as Stull Kansas. The drive wasn't so bad even though the place is so small, I couldn't find an address to put in the GPS. I google mapped the directions. Being that the site is most likely pure urban legend, I am still captivated by the sheer oddness of the stories that come from this tiny graveyard and once upon a time church that stood on the hill above it. Per my last post, you know that word on the web says that if you are caught trespassing the cops are immediately called and you risk spending the night in the Mayberry...errr, county jail. Of course the rental car I got was a bright red Cobalt complete with a spoiler. (Thanks Budget...)So I was going to be pretty obvious about the whole thing. My heart raced as I drove past the graveyard, partially because I had actually made it and partially because of the strange coincidence of the music that was playing just as I saw the fence. I parked the "HEY LOOK AT ME" car behind the new church, slapped on my backpack and started walking. The street in front of the cemetery is actually pretty busy, so it was hard to tell if locals or travelers were passing by. So... I crossed the street and right in front of me was a wonderful gap in the corner of the fence. I slipped through and marched right up the hill through the cemetery snapping pictures as quickly as I could. I could see the ruins of the old church and I made a B-line for it.
Below is a picture as I entered. The barley visible pile of brown is the church.

Here is a place of urban legend, apparently started in the 1970s but has odd roots that go back to the 1800s. Rumor has it that the church stood on top of on of the "gateways to Hell", that it has an endless staircase under it, and that all types of odd things happen there. The church itself was literally a big pile of rubble. The amount of rock showed that the walls were actually pretty tall considering that it was a one room building. I climbed the rock and snapped more pictures. All of a sudden I heard a car pull in the driveway across the street. I thought I was in trouble. This was the guy that apparently loves to call the cops on people wandering around the graveyard. The guy got out of his truck and started cutting his grass!! So there I was, trapped behind the rubble of the fabled "gate to Hell" and the guy that wants to call the cops is slowly cutting his grass. I took the time to haunch down behind the rubble and take more notes and pictures, while cautiously peeking over the rocks not to be seen. Then a break! The lawnmower stopped and the guy disappeared. I collected my stuff and noticing that the guy was nowhere to be seen, I walked right down the middle of the cemetery getting some better pictures. I escaped without incident. Note that the break in the mowing came because he simply went to start up his riding lawnmower. Shweeew!
This is what's left of the church. It looks tiny from this view but the debris field is actually quite large. So here I am trapped in the middle of the rubble of "the gates to Hell" Muhahahaha! The truck below is who I was hiding from.

Rumor has it that they used to hang "witches" from this tree... The attention promted the owners of the property to cut the branches off...

That night I wanted to go on a ghost tour to see if there were any other fun stories that I could play with, but I missed it due to a horrible GPS malfunction that put me 30 minutes out of town and in the middle of a trailer park... I was pretty miffed about that. I ended up at a hopping (no beer pun intended) little micro-brewery and took notes while the locals watched the Royals on TV. Gordon Biersch is really good stuff.

The trip was a good one on many different fronts. KC was a cool place. (a lot like Nashville really.) And most importantly I have now been to Stull. As you can tell, not the hotspot of Kansas, but creepy in it's own right. I enjoy my research trips. They are lonely and weird, yet inspiring. I encourage all authors to do this. Get out, see what you are writing about, (if it's not in your home town of course) you will be a better writer for it.

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Missing In Action

Sorry I haven't posted in a while, things have gotten really crazy. So crazy that I figured I'd write down a bit of it and fill you in. Here is my life for the last few weeks:

Where is my mind?
All over the place! I'm so not kidding. Every night I have been working on the new house. It is absolutely unreal the nasty and foul things you can get into when buying a house that needs a little work. Toilets, AC, bugs, chemical sprays, acetone cleaners, gutters to be cleaned... This list is endless. I haven't even had time to blog much, which is annoying as hell. Really... I work all day, I run home, change clothes and bust it over to the new place for more work work work. So... I am just going to make it happen until Friday, which I have dubbed "The Day Of Inspiration". This is the day that I fly out to Kansas City for my research trip!

Ole KC
I am rolling out in the morning and much to my surprise, this seemed to come at a crazy time when the house needs tons of work. I'll be honest with you... I really need this break from the house work. I have had my hands in places I never thought they would be in the last few weeks and I am ready to get away from everything, by myself and get inspired to write. There is nothing quite like being lonley as hell in a new city with nothing to do but explore weird places and study your surroundings. So, I plan on running around to some "haunted" places (and a bus station) by day and hitting up a few micro-breweries at night where I will sit like a goon and write notes, thoughts and ideas I gathered throughout the day.

Nocturnal Pulse
I am nervously excited about heading to Stull. I know pretty much what it's going to be... Nothing. Seriously, I read they have about 20 people that live in the tiny town. So that brings up a little oddness... here is this guy (me with a backpack, a notepad and a laptop strolling through their graveyard that is right next to the highway. Really I would like to spend a few hours there, but I'm a little afraid I'm going to get into trouble since it's on private property. You know what though? Who cares! Yeah that's a statement, not a question. They can arrest me if they like. I'm just there writing. If I go to jail, I'll give you all the fun details. If they shoot me because I'm trespassing... well, that sucks and if you never see me on here again, please feel free to spread their murderous actions all over the Internet and bring as much attention to Stull Kansas as you can. (Apparently the residents HATE the attention their demonic graveyard brings)

In other really cool news
Echelon Press assigned me an editor. Rochelle Bailey. I'm super stoked about this! So things are rolling along nicely. Oh, I forgot to tell you, Thomas Riley has his own myspace page. This will be the precursor to his personal blog, where he will do all of the talking as he does on his myspace page. Oh the fun you can have with social networking. Take a look:

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Jack Spencer

I sat in a restaurant last night looking at the art on the walls. My wife had pointed out the three ghostly images of ballerinas hanging on the far wall. It was like Degas but in ghost form. Ladies in bright but wispy colored dresses fading into the shadows, only revealing enough of their tutus to give away that they were in fact dancing. We asked the waiter who told us that all of the pieces on the walls were by Jack Spencer. A guy that lives in my new neighborhood and worked with Bob Dylan in the past.

After taking a look at his website, I have to admit, I am in love with his work. It's like if Peter Milton collaborated with Degas himself and there is something about his compositions that remind me of Marc Chagall. Yes all of these are photographs.

I don't really know what to say other than I am generally very picky when it comes to art. I like goofy cartoony things or I like ultra serious art with a otherworldly flare. I guess the best thing, it is judge for yourself. Here are just tiny samples of his work. Amazing if you ask me.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Research Trips

I am a big proponent of research trips for books. There is nothing like immersing yourself in a city where your book takes place. You see new things and get exact descriptions of the places your characters visit. It is a wonderful process. I try not to be too "Nashville-centric". I know it is convenient for authors to place their stories in their home towns. They know all the streets, buildings, etc, but I like to get out of my comfort zone. For some reason with this trilogy, I have focused on small to medium sized towns that are particularly run down. (I just think they seem like a great places to plot evil deeds.) Muhahahaha!

The Adversary
Last year I ventured out on my own to go on a research trip to Evansville Indiana for the second book in my horror series "The Adversary". At first I was kind of nervous driving by myself and wandering around a town that I was only sort of familiar with. I made a plan of places I wanted to go and include in the book and started with a with a haunted library. It was awesome. From there, I strolled around the city, marking addresses and taking notes on buildings and places where scenes would happen. I would end the nights hanging out in a microbrewery completely energized and inspired. (they must have thought I was a weirdo taking hand written notes at the bar)

Here is a shot of the Williard Library, apparently haunted by "The Grey Lady"

And here is a shot of the old Evansville Tuberculosis Clinic. Fallon encounters odd things at these buildings when she comes to America.

The Triumvirate
Not too long ago I started writing the third book in the trilogy, tentatively called "The Triumvirate". Sometimes I feel like I have too many "The's" in my titles... So I have been mulling over other titles. I digress. So in writing the Triumvirate, I hit a wall where Fallon, (The main character in the series) ends up making a trek to Stull Kansas and in her trip she has to pass through Kansas City. After Stull she has to stop in Adam's Tennessee, then on to Nashville. (Yeah I had to get it in there someplace right?) If you know anything about Stull Kansas or Adams Tennessee, you will get a hint of where I am going with this. (Adams is a frighteningly odd place) So I booked a trip on June 12th to fly into Kansas City where I will spend a few days skulking around with my laptop and notebook paper. I am renting a car and driving an hour out to Stull on Saturday. (Wish me luck as the place I am going is on private property)To wrap this up, I am sure I will give you a more detailed account when I go, so consider this a preview.

So what about you? Have you ever been on a research trip for your stories? If so, where have you been? What was it like? What inspired you not only about the trip, but what inspired you about the places you write about? Has anyone been to Kansas City? Let me know your experiences.

Thursday, May 7, 2009

Street Art 101

Today I am going to switch to another one of my favorite subjects... Pop art. More specifically, today we are going to talk about street art. (Props goes to by bud, David Gates for inspiration on writing this.) Like music, I am very picky when it comes to my pop art. I want attitude, mixed with talent, whit and creativity. Even though I dislike graffiti in general, I love what real graffiti artists can bring to the table.

Two years ago, I went to London and Paris where I spent two days walking the streets in search of some of the more famous and popular "street artists" work. I was not disappointed. I saw dozens of Banksy (The graffiti artist Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie pay 100K for), I saw D-Face, Faile, and a bunch of other names you probably don't recognize. (Don't worry, I will give you some examples in a minute)

The essence of street art is not those ugly unreadable scribbled names on street signs or on the side of some reputable business. Real street art is done with respect to the community, (at least location wise) but sometimes does carry heavy political messages. The people that mark up a car, street sign, business, etc... are pretty much scumbags. Real street artists will pick an abandoned building, construction site, or a place that actually encourages them to put something on their walls. (In London several places, one that was a Pub and music venue encouraged artists to do work and they had some amazing things on their walls.)

Ok, to show you what I am talking about, because I fear that you are still thinking of that bad vandalism that we see so much of in America, here are some examples of really good artists that are making actual art and not just trashing the world.




Miss Van


Tuesday, May 5, 2009

The A List

This again is another re-blog from way back when... (Probably a year or so ago on LJ.)But I have to give props and credit to Martin Bartloff and Ophelia Julien for making a similar post today. Every writer has it in their head what actors they would like to play the characters in their books. I for one love actors that value quality of roles over big payoff movies. (If they are good enough to portray a really great roll, then they should reap the benefits right?)

My A List
So I sat down and thought of an entire list of Characters for my Horror novel Fallon. Most of the actors are not your Toby McGuire or Angelina Jolie types. I like those sultry actors that have something to prove. I thought long and hard about this because I really considered what roles these people have played in the past, what their voice sounds like, and how they have moved me with performances in the past. Even though few to none of you have read Fallon, here is a fun cast list that I thought you might enjoy... as well as peak your interest.

Et Vous?
So what would your cast look like? If you write, who would play your characters?