Thursday, December 30, 2010

The Fantasy Western Novel

A few months ago, I told you about "A Dwarf at High Noon," the short story I sold to Hall Brothers Entertainment for their "Villainy" anthology. The short story, which incorporated Fantasy elements into an Old West setting, was received well, and I now have some exciting follow-up news.

I am pleased to announce my next great writing endeavor: the Dwarf at High Noon novel project. Unlike my previous works, which were all written first and then shopped out to different publishers, this work has been contracted ahead of time by Hall Brothers Entertainment, first for display on their website, and then publication in book form. The book is currently planned to be displayed in 8 weekly episodes on the HBE website starting in August 2011, and the print edition will likely be released sometime in September/October.

So, what's this whole story going to be about?  I know you're dying to know, but I can't give away too much at this point. I can say it will follow several main characters, one being Boron "Ron" Grimes, a gunslinger Dwarf who's been deputized by a Nevada sheriff. We'll also see a bit of that sheriff, who happens to be a Warlock. There will be some arrogant, trouble-making Elves to contend with, and an arch villain who threatens all of creation. I hope that's enough to whet your appetites for this upcoming epic.

At present, I have a solid plotline running around in my head, along with the first "episode" drafted. I'll keep you all apprised of my progress, and hope you'll be around later this summer to read the Dwarf at High Noon saga.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010


After repeated requests from my wife, I finally broke down and bought a digital camera. Yes, I know, such an affordable piece of equipment is something I should have had a long time ago, though Christmas was a good excuse to pick one up. The one I purchased was a Panasonic Lumix (below), and I am quite pleased with it thus far. The image quality is pretty good (10.1 megapixels), and the price was nothing to complain about. Overall, this is a fine camera for everyday use.

I'm sure some of you would like to see some pictures I've taken, so I will not disappoint you.

Left, is a picture of my wife, Jenna, with our oldest daughter, Sylvia.  Right, we have a fresh picture of my wife with our most recent addition, Kathryn.

Here's a picture of my foot.  It was just too fun and wacky to exclude!

The Foot of Fear!

 Some more interesting pictures of the kids:

Wyatt in a more sedate mood than usual.

One happy LePage supporter!

Gene the cat, friend of the family.

 Here are some interesting wall pictures.  Left, we have the back wall of our kitchen.  It's some nice stonework my father did about 30 years ago.  Right, we have a view from the hallway leading into the kitchen, and some very nice pine board paneling.  That facing board is about 18" wide.

More nice paneling I recently stained and sealed.  The shelf is 16" clear pine, and I gave it a nice coat of clear poly to keep it tha way.  The boards underneath and to either side were done with Minwax Polyshades Olde Maple Satin.

Freshly sealed shelf beside hallway leading into kitchen.

Shelf with lamps added.

Another lovely feature of the camera is a "sepia" coloring, allowing for some interesting antique appearances.  Here's a good example:

Martin T. Ingham, Circa 1890

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Christmas Sweepstakes Winners!

I have drawn the names for my 2nd Annual Christmas Sweepstakes, and we have the following lucky winners:

Grand Prize: Sean Brezovsky

2nd Prizes:
Paul Weiss
J. J. Tirinato
Chris Redding

Congratulations to these winning participants, and a big thank you to everyone who joined in the fun.  I'll do another one of these next year, with a brand new book release (yes, there will be one, details forthcoming in the new year).

Monday, December 13, 2010

A Near Miss

A little while ago, I received an acceptance letter for one of my novels, "Frontier Jump." The book relates the tale of the far future, where people are grown en-masse in rearing facilities, and natural conception is outlawed. It is told from the perspective of a "Nature Born" teenager, who falls in love with a genetic reject (someone whose genome didn't meet manufacturer's specifications) and runs off with her aboard a ship of smugglers, hoping to escape to a distant frontier world, where they will not be persecuted for their genetic imperfections.

Now, before you break open the champagne to celebrate, I must inform you that I had to decline the acceptance.

Hilliard and Harris is the company that wanted to publish the book, but their contract was simply unacceptable. First, they wanted to purchase ALL RIGHTS to the work; not just publication rights, but everything (copyright, movie rights, etc...) for the duration of the contract (7 years). This is not standard procedure these days, as most publishers simply buy exclusive publishing rights.

Second, there was a clause stating that I had to purchase 100 copies of the book at a 50% discount. This is something I could not financially afford at the moment, and it is somewhat underhanded. If they want to be a subsidy publisher, they should be up front about it.

The third (and most egregious) problem was a "non-competition" clause, which said I couldn't try to sell any literary work that is "similar" to the novel, or might "harm sales." The vagueness of the clause could be easily construed to say I couldn't publish any other books with any other publishers for the duration of the contract. That may not have been the intent, but it was far too dangerous a possibility!

I pointed out these problems with their standard contract in a polite and professional manner, and I requested that they be changed. Sadly, they were inflexible, and refused to budge in these areas, so I had to turn them down. I really had no choice. I wasn't going to give them all rights to my work, be forced to buy copies I couldn't afford, and be barred from publishing other novels for the next 7 years. It really is a pity, but truly unavoidable.

I haven't given up on "Frontier Jump," and this near miss has only steeled my resolve to get it into print. I already have it sent out to another publisher, and hope to receive another acceptance in the near future. It's a good book. All I have to do is find the right editor.

Saturday, December 4, 2010

Martin's Christmas Sweepstakes II

Win This Book!
Last year, I held my first annual "Christmas Sweepstakes," where I gave away a free copy of The Rogue Investigations.  This year, I'm doing it again, only this time I'm offering a free copy of The Guns of Mars to one lucky winner.

New Second Place Prizes!  For the 2nd Annual giveaway, I will also be giving away 3-second place prizes.  They will be all new "Guns of Mars" bookmarks, created by yours truly.  These will be a fine freebie for the three lucky entrants.

This contest is open worldwide.  I will ship this book anywhere, but it's up to each entrant to know the laws in their country. If you're not allowed to participate in this sort of giveaway, don't blame me.  Instead, start a bloody revolution, overthrow your government, and rewrite the laws so you can participate next year (just kidding).

Ready to enter?  There are 3 ways to do it.

1: Reply to this blog post, saying you wish to be entered into the contest.  Be sure to include an email address or some other form of contact information, so I can notify you if you win.

2: Join the Facebook Event for this giveaway.  Click "Attending" and you'll be entered.

3: Send an email to asking to enter the contest.

That's all there is to it.  The winners will be drawn at random on December 18, 2010.  Prizes will be mailed on December 20, or as soon as each winner gives me their mailing address.

Note: Only 1 entry per person.  Please don't try to fake it by applying under multiple aliases.

Okay, if you have any other questions, let me know.

Friday, December 3, 2010

Review: Odyssey 5

I know I mentioned doing a review for the 5th Series of Doctor Who, and that's in the pipeline, but I recently had the chance to view the DVD set for Odyssey 5, so I'd like to do this one first.

Odyssey 5 is a show that aired on Showtime in 2002.  The premise is interesting, involving 5 people who survive the end of the world and have their consciousnesses sent back in time 5 years, in order to change history (notice a whole lot of 5's running around this review.  It must be an alien plot).  You can read all the great promo material for this series at, so I won't waste time rewriting a synopsis, but get right to my views.

This series had a lot of potential, and if it had run for more than one season, it may have been truly great, but it was sadly cut short, leaving us with an unresolved cliffhanger and a whole lot of ideas.  With that said, there are a couple of stylistic flaws which aided the decline of this series before its time.  1:  The language was excessive.  Every other word was a curse word at times, and it got to the point where it distracted from the show.  2:  The brief scenes of full female nudity weren't really necessary, and they were often stuffed into episodes just because they could put them there.

I personally believe that this series would have lasted at least 2 seasons (or possibly even longer) if not for the adult content which lowered the viewing potential.  From an economical standpoint, this series would have had a lot more profitability if it had been done as a PG-13 format, for the syndication value would have increased.  There are a lot of networks that still don't show R-rated content.

In my estimation, if you liked the X-Files and don't mind a lot of swearing and a few minor scenes containing naked women, you'll enjoy Odyssey 5.  The DVD set is petty cheap, too, so I'd recommend it for the aforementioned folks.  However, I would most certainly not recommend it for anyone with strict morals, or for children.

Overall rating: 3 out of 5.

Monday, November 29, 2010

NaNoWriMo Victory!

Hello, it's me again!  I know, I've been conspicuously absent this past month, as I've focused all of my writing efforts on completing the NaNoWriMo challenge, all while working a pretty rigorous day job and managing 3 kids while at home.  It was no small task, but I pulled it off, and with a full day to spare!  I hit the 50k word count today, so I can be called a winner.  Even though the book still needs a lot of work, it's coming along nicely, so you'll be hearing more about "The Time Traveler's Illegal Harem" in the coming months.

So, now that the deadline is met, and I have a more flexible work schedule, I'll be back to posting regularly on this blog.  Get ready for more news and views in December, along with some reviews.  I'm working on a brief post about the new Doctor Who Series 5 DVD set, which I'll share in a few days, and we'll see where it goes from there.

Writing never ends for me, and now that the contest comes to a close, I'm actually speeding up my word count.  It seems the pressure may have actually slowed me down.

I'll be back!  You can count on it.

Monday, November 1, 2010

The Novel in One Month

Today was the first day of National Novel Writing Month, and things are coming together nicely for me.  I sat down for about an hour this morning and threw together the first page of my novel, "The Time Traveler's Illegal Harem," and I spent another hour this evening, ending up with 1,920 words in total.  It's not the biggest showing (in fact, it's downright weak compared to the last book I wrote, when 3,000 was a slow day).  Still, If I can keep this pace, I'll win handily.

As the title implies, this is a time travel novel.  It tells the tale of a rogue time agent who has the habit of kidnapping women from different time periods, and the Time Agency which is determined to stop him.  There'll be a lot more to it than that, and I can't say too much right now, because I'm still working to weave the complex threads into a coherent storyline.

I have a pretty busy work day tomorrow, so I don't know how far I'll get, but I will let you know!

Keep track of my progress here!

Sunday, October 31, 2010

NaNoWriMo 2010

For those in the know, each November is "National Novel Writing Month."  Writers spend the month throwing together a book of 50,000 or more words.  This is a contest I have never officially entered, but this year I have decided to bite the bullet and actually try it.

I am no stranger to self-imposed deadlines.  Last December, I produced an 80,000 word novel in approximately 3 weeks, but that was when I had nothing else to do.  I was able to sit down and do nothing but write for that time.  At present, I am still working some physically draining and time consuming jobs, which will hamper my writing.  I do not know if I'll be able to pull off an entire novel this November, but I will do my best.

If I should fail to achieve this laudable goal, I will still be a step ahead, with a good hunk of another novel ready to be finished, and it'll all be good fun.

Enough with this pesky blog post.  I have to prepare for the big event!

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Vote for Paul LePage

The following is an appeal to my fellow Mainers:

The race for Maine's Governor has never been as crucial as it will be this November.  With the economy in shambles, and a multi-billion dollar deficit looming, it is important that we pick the right candidate to keep our state solvent, while also preserving our traditional values and way of life.

When people say Libby Mitchell is the person for the job, I have to laugh.  She's been in the legislature in one form or another for over 30 years!  She's one of the crooks responsible for the mess we're in. She's already had her chance to fix things, and she has done the opposite, voting for higher taxes on everyone, imposing onerous regulations on our businesses, and wasting valuable time pushing social issues like same-sex marriage.  If you like what Baldacci has been doing for the last eight years, she's your choice, but if you want a genuine change, and to actually get this state back on track, you must look elsewhere.

Some folks are saying Eliot Cutler is a good alternative to the traditional party politicians, but if you examine Cutler's positions on the issues, and his planned "solutions," you'll see he is virtually a carbon copy of Mitchell.  He's playing on his "Independent" status, even though he was a life-long Democrat before choosing to run for governor.  His work with Jimmy Carter helped spawn the hyper-inflation of the late 1970's, and his prospective plan is to create more government bureaucracy to further regulate the way we live.  It's more of the same.

When it comes down to it, Paul LePage is only really independent choice for Maine voters.  He's proven that he knows how to fix the economy, because he's done it as the Mayor of Waterville and as the General Manager of Mardens.  He believes in standing up for our traditional rights, and cutting the red tape and high taxes that block small business from expanding in our state.  Best of all, when you ask him a question, he gives you a straight answer, which is something you rarely get from any of the other candidates.

If you want lower taxes and accountability from Augusta, vote for LePage.  It's that simple.  If you want to know more about him, visit

Wednesday, October 27, 2010


I am pleased to announce that another one of my short stories has been accepted for publication.  "A Dwarf at High Noon" has been chosen to appear in Hall Brothers Entertainment's "Villainy" anthology, which will be coming out early next year.

This story was something I'd thought about writing for quite a while, and I finally put it together last August, as part of a writing competition.  It takes some traditional fantasy elements and transposes them into the Wild West, to create something of a "Tolkien Western."  I don't want to give away too much at this point, but I'll keep you updated on the publication progression.

I'm hoping for more good news in the near future regarding some other story submissions.  Keep your fingers crossed!

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Silence Is Death

Reviews are where it's at, as they say in the advertising biz.  Whether it's movies, music, or books, successful marketing hinges largely on word-of-mouth, and the best form of publicity is customer reviews.  If enough people speak up and post reviews, a song can soar to the top of the charts, a movie can become a blockbuster, and a book may hit the bestseller list.  On the flipside, if people keep their mouths shut, that popular piece of media will fall into obscurity, regardless of how good or bad it is.

As a writer, I've found that reviews are the hardest thing to get.  I am very grateful for those of you who have taken the time to post reviews of my books, and you've shown a true desire to spread the word about my work.  You're the best!

Reviews sell books.  It's that simple.  Even books that have mixed reviews are liable to sell more copies, as one person's negative could be another person's positive, and other readers grow curious to see what the reviewers saw.  However, when a book doesn't get reviewed, prospective readers take it as a sign that the work isn't worth their time.  The silence speaks volumes, and often no reviews are worse than bad reviews.

This is why I need your help today.  Please, if you've read any of my books, put together a review.  I'm not asking for an in-depth analysis; just a brief note, saying what you liked (or didn't like) about whatever you've read.  Tell the world what you love about my books, or tell them why they weren't for you.  It will spur interest, for certain, and help buyers make a more educated decision.

You are the true power behind my writing.  Success or failure hinges on each and every person who reads my books.  If enough of you speak up, others will take notice, and if those others then speak up, things could really snowball.  I know, it's a lot of pressure, but I'm sure you can handle it.  Now, get out there and throw together a review for, or some other site (and let me know about it when you do).

Don't stab me, bro!

Saturday, October 16, 2010

October Book Bomb!

For the entire month of October, I'm running a special sale at my AuthorStore.

Buy 2 or more copies of a single title, and get the books for my actual cost.  This is a cost-neutral self-promotion tactic which I hope will get more people reading my work.  For full details about this special, and details on how to order, visit the AuthorStore today!

This notice has been brought to you by The Worlds of Martin T. Ingham.  Visit today for great Sci-Fi & Fantasy!

Friday, October 15, 2010

Guns and Reloading

I'm trying to keep controversy out of this blog, but there are some aspects of my life that simply must be known.  If this alienates anyone, or costs me readers, so be it, but I won't deny who I am.  Let it be known that I am a gun owner, and I believe in the right of individual Americans to keep and bear arms.

In the past, I have written extensively about my love and respect for firearms, and touched on various aspects of their existence.  In past columns and letters, I've discussed the rights and responsibilities of gun owners, and I have argued against many restrictions on the individual which have become prevalent in recent years.

Today, I'd like to elaborate on something I mentioned in my last blog: Reloading Supplies."

The price of ammunition has always been a concern for gun owners, particularly those of us who don't have large sums of money.  Recently, the cost has gone through the roof, so the only economical way to shoot is to load your own ammo.  It's really a very fun process, and it isn't dangerous (unless you're an illiterate half-wit, as John Rage would say).

With me, reloading is a necessity.  Many of my guns are chambered in old, obsolete calibers, and it's impossible to get factory ammunition for them.  It is equally enjoyable to reload as it is to shoot.  From casting the bullets to working out the proper powder charge, it is a time consuming, yet satisfying process.

So, if I ever mention reloading supplies again, everyone will know what I'm talking about, in a general sense.  Now that that's out of the way, let's move on...
An example of Remington's Model 8 Autoloading Rifle,
of which Martin is particularly enamored.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Random Update

It's been a week since I posted on the blog, so I'd better throw something on here.

I've been pretty busy since last we spoke.  I spent the weekend going over "Virtual Domination," the sequel to "The Guns of Mars."  I wanted to give it a good proofing before sending it out to market.  It was written back in February-March 2009, therefore it has had time to season.  I hope to get it into print before too long, so keep your fingers crossed.

I'm a little pissed off right now.  I placed an order with MidwayUSA for some reloading supplies, and they haven't arrived.  I had them shipped via UPS, which is usually a very good service, but for some reason the morons dumped my package at the Baileyville post office on Tuesday, rather than bring it to my house like they've always done before.  According to their online tracking, the package was "delivered" on Tuesday morning, but it sure as hell didn't get to me.  I don't know if the USPS is going to forward it along to me eventually, or whether somebody stole the damn thing.  Either way, I am angry, and I will be until I have my valuable goods in hand.  Who do I have to call to get some satisfaction around here?

Kathryn is in great shape.  She's growing fast, and is perfectly healthy, so that is always a relief.  My wife and I are truly blessed with wonderful children.

Other than that, nothing much is going on at the moment.  Work is pretty steady, and I expect to stay fed this winter, so that's always a good thing.  It would be nice to see some more book sales, though.  People can blow $10 going to McDonalds, but they won't spend a few dollars on one of my books?  What is this world coming to?  But I digress...

Have a great week, everyone.

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Road Kill Candy Bar

Let me tell you little story 'bout the Snickers I found.
Completely wrapped, but squished on the ground.
Plain as day sittin' right on the tar.
Long and flat 'cause it squished by a car.

Hi, y'all.  Let me tell you this here story now.

I went up to the Walmart today, looking to buy me some cat food.  As any of you feline owning folks out there know, them furry critters eats a lot, even when they be catching plenty o' mice in the field.  So, I went up there, and what did I find when I comes out of the store but a completely wrapped Snickers candy bar (not to be confused with candy bear, which y'all pronounce the same).

Actual Snickers bar discovered
at the Walmart parking lot
in Calais, Maine.
This here candy bar was flat, like somebody done drove over it, but there weren't no holes in it, so I scooped it up and brought it home.  Later on, when I got me a hankerin' for some of that sweet, sweet candy, I done whipped it out and gnawed on it.  It was the sweetest road kill I ever done ate, I tell you what, and no rabies, woo-hoo!

And that was my story 'bout the Snickers bar.

Friday, October 1, 2010

The Star Slavers Online

As many of my loyal fans know, I've been releasing one of my old novels via my website since last December.  "The Star Slavers," is something I wrote shortly after "Virtual Wiles," and it never caught an editor's eye.  I can't say it is my best work, though it's hardly rubbish, so I decided to share it with the world.  Each week, I add another piece of the book on my site, which is free to read by all.

This book began as a short story entitled Nester.  The first 3 segments online comprise the original story I composed even as I was still finishing work on Virtual Wiles back in 2001.  That initial story had an almost traditional "first contact" feel to it, albeit from a more alien perspective.  After writing that initial tale, a larger story unfolded before my eyes, and eventually became an 80,000 word novel called The World So Desired.  That lackluster title was replaced when the first segment of The Star Slavers was posted.

There are many different themes in this curious piece of literature.  We focus a lot on the fledgling Lesher society, as it struggles to advance into an industrial age, even as the citizens hold fast to archaic beliefs.  We also see quite a bit of the Nissites, the Centaur-like aliens who have come from outer space to claim dominance over this primitive world.  All the while, we have a couple of human beings caught in the middle.

There's something for everyone in this tale.  Action, adventure, sociology, philosophy; even a bit of romance, though it's kept strictly PG.  I'm not one for erotica.

The online installments have only taken us halfway through the book thus far, which means there's plenty more to see, but also a decent backlog for you to sample.  Start from the beginning, or jump right in with our latest piece.  Either way, be sure to read it every week.  Hey, you can't beat the price!

Monday, September 27, 2010

An Amazing Find

Yesterday, I uncovered a piece of my family history.

A friend of mine is moving, so he asked me if I'd like to have a few boxes of old books he wanted to give away.  I'm never one to pass up the opportunity to add to my library, so I drove up to his place on Sunday afternoon and was greeted by several unexpected surprises.

It turned out, he not only had some books to give away, but a whole bunch of old mason jars for canning.  I've been meaning to increase my supply for some time, and hope to have a large garden next year, so this was really a Godsend.  I had the cab of my ranger packed full before I was ready to leave.

Before driving off, I took a look at one of the boxes of books, and one caught my eye.  It was "New Russia's Primer" by M. Ilin, and it just so happens that the man who translated the book into english was none other than my great-grandfather, George S. Counts!  What an unexpected discovery.  Mind you, the book itself is about how great the Soviet Socialist 5-Year Plan was, but it's still interesting to have some little piece of my ancestral heritage.

Counts wrote an short introduction to the book, and it's the only thing by him that I've ever had the chance to read.  Out of the dozens of books he penned during his career as an educator, I don't have any.  No doubt, some members of my father's family have copies tucked away somewhere, but I'm not sure who, or whether they'd be willing and able to send them to me.  All of his books have been out of print for years, and most are hard to find.

This was an amazing find.  It just goes to show that you never know when something interesting will be dumped in your lap.

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Another Stellar Interview

This week, I had the honor of being interviewed by Noah K. Mullette-Gillman about "The Guns of Mars."  I'm pleased to say it went well, and he is doing an excellent job of aiding undiscovered writers in their quest for fame and fortune.  Check it out, and learn something new (and maybe think about buying one of my books.  I do have 3 kids to feed now).

Saturday, September 25, 2010

My Writing Credentials

It is said that you don't need to have credentials to become a successful fiction writer... but it sure helps.  In the vast quagmire of slush that circulates in this modern era of easy information, it is increasingly hard to get noticed by the commercial presses.  Being able to tout yourself as a doctor or professor no doubt helps catch the attention of certain editors, and saying you're a graduate of xyz writing workshop might help push your head above water.

Sadly, I have no such notoriety.  I never went to college, and I haven't spent hours in workshops to craft my writing talent.  But that does not mean I am ignorant and have not honed my skills.  I have simply done so by other means.

Dean Ingham (Martin's Father)

I come from a long line of writers.  My great-grandfather, George Sylvester Counts, was an accomplished writer of non-fiction.  His son-in law (my father's father) tried his hand at fiction, though had limited success.  My father tried extensively to sell fiction in his youth, and came very close to getting published.  You could say writing is in my blood, though that's only a start.

When I was six years old, I came to the realization that I wanted to be a writer.  Seeking to help along the way, my father began to cultivate my writing talent, working with me as a child to draft fantastic stories.  It was from him that I learned the basics at an early age.

Following up with that initial training, I had the assistance of my mother's brother, Doctor Stephen K. Alexander, who taught me the finer points of editing during my teen years.  We spent hours together, going over my fanciful stories, weeding out typos and rewriting paragraphs to clarify narration and dialog.  After his tutelage, I was able to craft professional manuscripts.

Last known photo of Dr. Stephen K. Alexander (left),
taken shortly before his death in September 1998.

Beyond my schooling and familial training, I grew up surrounded by books.  I had access to great knowledge in my father's private library, and I supplemented that with tomes from the Calais Free Library.  I can't recount all the books I read growing up, and it wasn't all fiction.  When I was 11, I went on a collecting spree and bought as many copies of The National Geographic Magazine as I could find, and I read virtually every issue from 1960 to 1990, and some even earlier.  I can't recall every single article off the top of my head, but all that knowledge is still in there, rolling around my subconscious, fueling my fictional creations.

In recent years, I have continued to advance my knowledge base, reading as much as time permits.  I hone my talents by bouncing ideas off of educated colleagues, assuring that my stories are as polished as humanly possible.  This is, of course, what every serious writer must do.

These are my writing credentials.  They may not elicit the kind of attention that a PhD or a workshop certificate would, but I have equivalent knowledge and skill.  Perhaps, someday, enough people will recognize the truth, and I shall gain the attention necessary to achieve commercial success with my literature.  Until that day, and beyond, I'll keep striving for the ever elusive mark.

Monday, September 20, 2010

To Preface or Not to Preface

I've received a few comments recently regarding the Preface to The Guns of Mars.  It's not a long bit of writing, by any stretch, and when I first wrote it I believe it was a clever way to summarize the first two novels that featured Morgan Asher.  However, several readers seem to have a different opinion.  They said they felt the Preface didn't mesh with the rest of the book.  One reviewer actually said he was going to pass on interviewing me about the book after reading the Preface, and it was only after he gave the book a second try, and read further into the text, that he realized my work was interesting.

The comments have been too numerous to ignore, so I must ask myself if I blundered by writing the Preface.  How many readers have checked out the free preview and gone no further than the opening couple of pages, deciding The Guns of Mars wasn't their taste, all because of a short start which isn't representative of the rest of the novel?

I'd like all of you to do me a favor.  Read the free preview of The Guns of Mars, and tell me what you think of it.  Tell me your thoughts on the entire thing, the Preface and the first two chapters.  Call it morbid curiosity, or marketing analysis, but I'd like to get some feedback.  Is the Preface a dud, or a misunderstood gem?  You decide.

Sunday, September 19, 2010

A Letter to Kathryn

It was raining the day you were born.  Your mother and I ventured out into the dark shortly after 5AM, and drove the dozen miles through the cold gloom of pre-dawn, to reach the hospital.  We checked in, and it didn't take long for you to arrive.  At 9:05, you emerged with blue complexion, screaming the most ear-piercing scream.  It seemed you wanted the world to know you were alive.  You calmed down eventually.

It was a Friday, and I had a job to finish that day, but I put it off for you, going out on Saturday instead.  It was important that I be there for you and your mother, and the bricks could wait.  I had the luxury of flexibility with my job, which so many other people don't.  I stayed with you until noontime, and returned later that afternoon, all to keep an eye on you, and be there with you during your first hours.

Your mother was tired and sore after giving birth, for your size was larger than our previous babies.  You weighed in at an impressive seven pounds and seven ounces, with a length of twenty-one and a quarter inches.  Mom needed a few sutures after pushing you out, but that didn't bother her.  She had you in her life now, and that was worth any discomfort.

You never need to feel you were unwanted or unloved.

I often wonder what you'll become as time goes by, what great sights you'll see and what accomplishments you'll achieve.  I don't profess to know what's to come, but I know you'll make us proud.  There is greatness in you, I feel, though for what purpose I am not certain.  Whatever happens, your mother and I will always be there for you, in spirit if not in body, and your older brother and sister should be supportive of you as well.

I thank God that you are with us.  Don't forget to do the same, dear Kathryn, and you'll be fine.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

When Last We Saw Our Hero...

As the waning days of summer shine their last rays, I find myself contemplating many things.  This has been an interesting year for me, on a personal level.  There have been many ups and downs, and I know things are going to keep rolling along this rollercoaster course for a good while to come.

So, want to know what I've been doing lately?  No?  Well, fine then.  I don't want to know what you've been doing, either.  No, don't tell me.  It'll only give me nightmares to hear about your amazing adventures, and personal exploits.  What?  Stop it!  Oh, no!  Hideous imagery burning into my brain.  Blood shooting out of my eyes.  Ahhhhh!

 But, seriously, life has been dragging along at its own hectic pace, and I'd like you all to know that I'm still alive, if not wealthy.  Work is tiring, but it's there, and within the next few weeks I'll have a new baby daughter to occupy my time.  I'm not complaining; children are the future.  Offspring=power!  Soon, my genetic legion shall spread across the face of the Earth, conquering all they see, and finally, when I am installed as emperor of the solar system... oops, sorry.  Please disregard the last few sentences.  You didn't hear that from me.  There must have been a crossed cell-phone signal, or something.

By now, you must be questioning my sanity, and with good cause.  Though, it's all in good fun.  Besides, all writers have to be a little crazy.  Why else would we try to make a living in a market that's so crowded and devoid of profit for 99% of participants?  Yes, all writers are nutjobs (especially the rich, successful ones).  Remember, you heard it here first!

On that note, it's time for a commercial interlude.  Over the last few weeks, I've taken the time to release both Prisoner of Time and The Rogue Investigations on Amazon Kindle, so people can buy cheaper, digital versions of these books.  The Guns of Mars was released on Kindle by Pill Hill Press months ago.  If you have a Kindle, get all of these books asap.  Print versions are of course still available.  Don't be cheap like Howie Carr.  Buy my books today!

Now, back to our program...

As I said, my daughter's birth is imminent.  She could come at any day, though her estimated time of arrival is September 20th (Doctors like to throw out dates to make you think they know what they're talking about—zing!)  After long discussion and perilous negotiations, Jenna and I have decided to name her Kathryn Zoe Ingham.  Please note the spelling: K-A-T-H-R-Y-N.  It's not Catherine, Katherine, or Cathy (and it's not Moira, either, but that's another story).  Rest assured, she will spend half her life correcting people on the proper spelling of her first name, and the other half correcting people on the spelling of her last (at least, until she gets married, and even then...)  And to think, we're trying to NOT give our kids strange names!  Common ones are enough trouble as it is.

By now, you may wonder if I've been drinking, but no.  I am 100% sober (that's 99% more sober than your average congressman!).  It's important to make light of things now and again, because everything is so darn serious these days.  It's cheaper to write like a drunk than to actually imbibe poisonous beverages, so here I am, acting like a bad stand-up comedian.  Or is that stand-up Canadian?  Bah, same difference.

Now, if you'll excuse me, I must get back to work, which may or may not include killing ants, battling midget ninjas, and eating pie.  Have a bang-up week, Govnah!