Sunday, September 30, 2012

I love October updates

October is here tomorrow and I couldn't be more excited. Not only is my love's birthday this month but October has all my favorite things. My favorite holiday, Halloween, my favorite beer, Octoberfest/Pumpkin Ale, and my favorite weather.


Thomas Riley and the Maelstrom
I just sent a "special edit" to my editor at Zova Books where we were making a bid turning point of Thomas Riley 2 smoother. I'm happy to get it to her as I've been held up the last few weeks with a massive amount of work. I'm so excited this is finally coming to fruition!

As you know, I'm slowly writing a horror novel. (The only big hint I can give you now is to take a look at my Pinterest.) But I can tell you that the amazing musician Ben Steed is already working with me step by step in composing a soundtrack to the book. This is such an honor for me as Ben is a total bad ass and can capture the feeling of the written word in his music. I heard the first rough piece he composed last night (called As Quick As Possible) and I couldn't be happier. It's chilling in every way and fits the first chapter perfectly. By the middle of the piece, I keep getting chills. Perhaps when I get the word from Ben, I'll share a bit of it here. My mind is going wild with the fun things we can do with a book and a soundtrack.

The 33 Days of Halloween Mostly Horror Movie Marathon
Lizzie and I are dedicating our movie watching starting yesterday to a full on barage of horror movies! We've started off with a bang already watching The Last Exorcism, The Hitcher, Cherry Falls, Lake Placid The last Chapter, and The Tall Man. We have tons of movies planned. I'm super stoked to re watch the classics. All 7 Hellraisers, Nightmare on Elmstreets, Friday the 13ths and Halloween movies! I'll do a full on blog in November about what we watch.

Saturday, September 29, 2012

Teresa Burrell's The Advocate's Dilemma out now!

For readers of my blog, you probably know I've been friends with San Diego based mystery/legal suspense author Teresa Burrell for quite some time now. Really, she was one of my first author friends ever and I have a lot to thank her for. She's ever inspiring, she taught me how to sell books and she's helped me in countless ways.

This little blog comes just in time for Teresa's new book, The Advocate's Dilemma which is the fourth book in her The Advocate mystery series. Not only is it amazing that Teresa has written four books since I met her (she's kicking my butt as usual) but she's also doing remarkably well in sales, hitting some impressive numbers on Amazon and Amazon Kindle.

Another cool thing about Teresa's advocate book series is that you don't have to read book one to read book four. While they are connected, they do not rely on past books for the reader to understand what is going on. So... this means you can pick up Teresa's latest book without the feeling that you may be lost without the others.

Check out the Goodreads blurb:
Attorney Sabre Brown's day is going well until she walks into her office and finds a dead man sprawled across her desk. When Bob, her best friend and colleague, is suspected of the murder and Sabre's minor client has information that might clear him, Sabre has a dilemma.

How does she help her best friend without betraying the confidence of the child she is sworn to protect?

Awesome, right? If your a fan of John Grisham, this is the book for you. Check out the links below and jump into a great book this weekend!

The Advocate's Delimma Goodreads Page

Buy The Advocate's Dilemma for your Kindle here!

Find Teresa on Facebook here.

Thursday, September 27, 2012

The Literary Underworld


The Literary Underworld is a group on authors and just plain awesome people that travel to cons selling books for awesome "underground" authors. Now, I may not be "awesome" but I am honored to be in with this wonderful group of people and this week, they're doing a massive blitz/blog tour. There were a few authors scheduled to be on my blog but life sent me a few waves this week and I fell behind. So to try to make up for my slack, I'm posting my own blog here for them in addition to my other posts.

It doesn't matter what you're interested in, The Literary Underworld has a book for you! I picked up Elizabeth Donald's "The Cold Ones" at MidSouthCon in Memphis TN and I have one word for you... AWESOME! It's a great horror/action story that's a wonderful quick read and leaves you wanting more and more. This is just a tiny sampling of what The Literary Underworld has to offer. Check out their store and fall in love with a new piece of literature today!

Check out their website here:

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Return of The Stencils

Once upon a time I used to make stencils. I was inspired by Banksy. In Nashville, I had many of them in art shows and I actually sold about a dozen of them. I like doing art and crafty stuff. It keeps me calm and grounded and lets my mind go off to that happy blank place where I can totally focus on what I'm doing instead of letting life's million complexities get to me.

At one point I had a website dedicated my stencils (Valentino Empire) but I let that lapse when I started writing. As I traveled, I found less and less time to actually make the stencils and after a while the books and writing totally took over, well, everything.

Recently, I was inspired to make more when my ever so cute 4 year old step-daughter drew some pictures that I thought would make rad stencils. So I took her pictures and converted them so they could be spray painted. The kids love to do the art projects as well so it works for everyone to get involved.

While these are primitive in design, it's a beginning, well, a restarting let's say. I have to get my chops, and my colors and canvas and spray adhesive etc back. So I start again and I'm really enjoying it. I figure it'll be a rewarding decompression from life and writing from time to time. Don't get me wrong, my life is awesome, just crazy. Don't believe me? Here's my Step Son shooting me with a toy hair dryer as I type this:

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

August Blog Stats and Updates

Last month the sexy Elizabeth Valentino took first place on my blog followed by the very talented Ben Steed and his amazing music! Last place was my post on Pinterest. (Finally, the blog stat post wasn't last place.... by only one point.) So it looks like this is  going to be a good and big blog month as I seem to be getting on the ball with all my writing. So stay tuned for lots of fun.

Here's the stats for you geeks like me.
TR3 is coming along nicely! I'm waiting on round three of the TR2 edits but I should have them soon. I think Zova Books is hard at work re-editing Thomas Riley (1). So that is crazy exciting! I'm pretty darned stoked to see the next printing.

Tribes is going pretty well too! I've got my character sheets up and I'm really excited to write it when I have some off time or need a little break from steampunk. I almost have the first two chapters written. So one day, you'll get a totally different book from me.

That's it for now. More soon! Like tomorrow. :)

Monday, September 3, 2012

The Writing Process

My current office character sheets.

Yesterday Matt from ZOVA Books asked about my writing process. You know, how the books come together, where the ideas come from, how I'm "organized". I thought this was an awesome question, especially since I've never really written about it before.

Inspiration and the first steps of writing
The first thing is inspiration. It comes from an idea usually out of nowhere. I can be talking to someone and, poof, I'll think, "Hey that sounds like a fun idea for a book." From there I start thinking about basic world settings, is it real world, fantasy, real world steampunk... it could be anything depending on the story idea. At  this point I'll also start writing down notes in composition notebooks. This is a fun part because my mind is pretty energized and I'm excited to be getting into something new. I usually take my time here, I like to think about the story and what will happen in the first few chapters. At this point I like to figure out if the story will be linier (told from one perspective or bi fractal told from a good guy one chapter/bad guy next chapter sort of thing.) I'm a big fan of villains so I kind of like the two way story better.
Some original notes for Thomas Riley
Some original notes for Tribes.

How I begin a book
Next I'll start the first chapter. I like to start with a bang. (Thanks Southern California Writers Conference!! You changed my writing in a good way forever.) So I like to start with action or something nice and grim from the villain) Spoiler alert: That's how Thomas Riley and the Maelstrom starts. ;) The first chapter of Thomas Riley 3 will also start by answering a stunning question. And in my new horror story I'm toying with (Tribes) you get a gnarly beginning as well.

Character sheets
From there, I'll make character sheets. I'll usually pick an actor that I think looks like the character or someone who I well. I absolutely write like a movie. I see it all in my head and I see it like a film. I tape the actor's picture next to a sometimes short bio on the character. These are a paragraph or two of background info and personality traits for everyone. I add way more information than I'll ever use. I find that having a bunch of information on someone will come out in cool ways in the books. Many of the character sheets will have middle names, schooling, fears, shortcomings, life accomplishments, personality traits, even favorite foods. the information in the book but often little things come up that give the characters extra life and dimension. I have my lovely wife, Elizabeth Valentino and Science Fiction author Linnea Sinclair for their inspiration with this. I cut out the sheets and put them on the wall in front of my computer. This is a big step because it gives me constant inspiration as well as handy information reminders on each character. (I even do them for characters that appear in only one scene.)

Close up of Cynthia's character sheet.

The character sheets will grow. I'll add more information as new books are written. For instance, the characters sheets in Thomas Riley 2 doubled if they made it through the first book and Holy cow, there are a bunch of new characters for the second book, so my wall is totally covered. This enables me to keep up with everyone and need info on them, it's right in front of me. I can;t tell you how many hours I've wasted looking up something silly about a character. Like what was the name of the island they were from...

The Body of the book
First, I find some music that I can blast while writing that fits the mood. My current faves are Ben Steed, Cradle of Filth and Hans Zimmer. I like to write in bursts of three to four chapters. I don't really like to have a full map of the story until I am getting close to the middle/end of the story. I do this because if I made a map, it would change drastically. The characters literally change the story as I write. In TR2 Cynthia did something quite rash that I wasn't expecting until it happened. Thomas does something quite rash at the end as well... They would have never done these story twisting actions if I was abiding by a hard and fast map. In my opinion, it gives them life and lets them make heroic and bad decisions like any real person would.

Toward the end, I make a map, which is a page or five with arrows and boxes and stars that makes a sort of timeline or treasure map of the book. Think of it as a sloppily drawn index with a few words that I can follow the story with.

That's kind of the nuts and bolts of how I write and what my process is like. If you have any questions or comments, I'd be happy to answer them.

Sunday, September 2, 2012


Imagicopter is an awesome organization of authors and artists that is totally free to join. They book group book signing events, they organize anthologies, make magazines, send out opportunities of all kinds and they have an amazing group of authors that are some of the hardest working and nicest people in the business!

Here is their "What is Imagicopter" description:
In 2009, a group of writers got together and decided to work toward promoting their own publications while lending a hand to other writers and artists. From that came Imagicopter. "Imagicopter" is the umbrella name for the tour currently supported by authors whose works have appeared in Kerlak Publishing, Literary Underground, Meadowhawk Press, Seventh Star Press, Twilight Times Books, Third Axe Media and Sam's Dot Publishing and by Word Catchers of Memphis. With the cooperation of several small press publishers, local authors, artists, and booksellers, the project soon took off.
This is a voluntary organization. Participation on the site, at the events, and at the conventions we attend is also voluntary.

Elizabeth and I are also part of Imagicopter and honestly I can't say enough nice things about them. Sadly, we can't participate in a lot of their activities because we live in Washington but Im a big fan of what they do and the sheer kindness of group. They're top notch all the way and you'll get a chance to be a part of a group that will promote you while you promote them. Authors helping authors.

If you're an author or know of a talented writer that would like to be a part of a free and voluntary group, check out Imagicopter's website!

Also, check out their facebook page here!

Saturday, September 1, 2012

Steamed Up by Elizabeth Darvill

Today is the day that Elizabeth Darvill's steampunk erotica book, Steamed Up, comes out from Harlequin Spice Briefs! It's part two of a the Lust in a Time of Steam series featuring her first book, Steam Heat which came out a year ago. What a great day all around. One year ago today I also asked her to marry me on the steps of The Parthenon in Nashville, TN. I'm a happy boy.

You can get Elizabeth's book on Amazon for your Kindle and guess what? You can get it in audio form as well!! How cool is that? Personally, I'm dying to hear it. I'm super curious about who is reading it an what it sounds like... Pretty naughty stuff to hear. :)

So go forth, buy the digital version for a mere $2.99 and the audio version is only $2.58!

Here's the blurb:
In a world of steam runners, demons and soul stealers, seduction is her greatest weapon….

Half-succubus Angel has found her perfect match with Ian, the man with the other half of her soul. He gives her love and the erotic pleasure she needs to survive, though they also enjoy ménages with her frequent paramour, Jezebel.

But when her friend betrays them, Angel may lose everything she holds dear. She'll do anything—and anyone—to save Ian, including join forces with a dangerous former lover….

Buy Steamed Up for your Kindle here.

Buy the Steamed Up audio version here.

Buy Steamed Up for your Nook here.

Also, be sure to keep an eye on Elizabeth's Facebook page as she will be doing some really cool contests for reviews and such. Like her page here.