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.