Friday, September 30, 2011

Forgotten Stash Uncovered!

I've been doing some sorting in my office recently, and last night I came across a bag containing several signed and numbered copies of Prisoner of Time!  I knew I'd left them somewhere, but my office is like a treasure trove of antiquities.  I have a good accounting of what's here, but sometimes things get put aside for months or years at a time.

Now that I've gotten them out of storage, it's time these final numbered copies found a good home.  Therefore, I'm selling them on a first come, first serve basis.  If you haven't purchased a copy of Prisoner of Time yet, or would like to be immortalized on my Lucky Thirteen page, then tell me here, so I can reserve one for you.  They're only $10.00 delivered to anywhere in the USA.  Most people spend more than that on takeout food on a regular basis, and this won't end up in your toilet (at least, I certainly hope not).

All of my books (except West of the Warlock) are available from my AuthorStore, but be sure to reserve your copy of a "Numbered" edition of Prisoner of Time here in this blog post.  There are only a handful of these still available, and once they're gone, I'll be back to selling plain copies.  Yes, an ordinary copy is well worth the investment, but a numbered copy, that's just special!

Get one of these numbered copies today.  You won't regret it.

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Exploding Chocolate for Rosh Hashanah

Tonight it's Jewish New Year 5772, and it just so happens that I recently ran into something very fitting for the occasion.  Let me tell you about it.

I was shopping at Mardens the other day, and this unusual little chocolate bar leapt out at me.  It was "Milk Chocolate with Popping Candy."  I was intrigued, and looking at the package I discovered it was made in Israel.  Kosher chocolate with pop rocks?  Who could resist?!?  I snatched up several of these tasty beauties and I was not to be disappointed.

You'd be amazed at how delicious chocolate can be when it has little bits of popping candy mixed into it.  Really, you can't compare it to anything.  I encourage you to buy some of this stuff.  It's worth it!  The candy literally explodes in your mouth with fun and flavor.

You know this stuff has to be good.  It's manufactured under the supervision of the Nazareth-Illit Rabbinate.  That name just screams quality, doesn't it?  Buy a 12-pack today!

This chocolate gets 5 out of 5 stars!

Monday, September 26, 2011

Here Shall I Die Afloat (Minstrel Mondays)

I don't like to play the moody artist, but there are times I cannot deny my own bitter feelings.  While I can't say I am terribly unhappy, or that my life as it stands is awful, there are many times when I feel unfulfilled.  I don't know if I'll ever be satisfied with myself, short of becoming a millionaire writer, and that isn't because I have a huge lust for money.  It's because I feel that my purpose in life is to weave the stories that I do, and the point is lost if people aren't reading them.

Some may think that's romantic and others will consider it pathetic, but to be sure it is the way all great thinkers feel.  Those of us born with creative ambition have a need to excel, and influence the world with what we do.  If things had been a little different, and I'd chosen a different path, it might not be such a hard road to fulfillment, but this writer's life is all I've got.

The noose slips tightly
Around my waiting hand
Dangled in the sky from
A stray cirrus cloud
The release will kill me
If I ever seek to be free
Yet to remain in flight
The life slowly drains from
My body, as rope burns
Form around my wrist

As the blood flow weakens
The throbbing pain of ages
Reminds me I'm alive
But no satisfaction can be found
The strain of the line
Pulled taut by my aging bones
I know not what it means
To be light on my feet
They dangle down beneath
Where I'm afraid to tread

This world below, I see it all
Yet none of it sees me
And I know that forgotten dreams
Will never be out of reach
Even as the wrist noose
Keeps me from striving for the mark
Holds me in place to watch
The future drifting by
Leaving me to ponder when
The rope will break
And death awaits

When it comes to an end
Can we ever let go
Of our mortal shakes?

Sunday, September 25, 2011

A Fallen Hero

This coming Tuesday marks the 68th anniversary of the death of a first cousin twice removed, so it seems only fitting that I post this column ahead of that date, to honor his memory.

Edward Franklin Nelson, Jr. was born in West Orange, New Jersey, circa 1917.  My knowledge of him is fairly limited, but what I do know about him makes me wish I knew more.  He was a 2nd Lieutenant in the 8th Army Air Force, and he was killed in action on September 27, 1943, fighting the Axis powers during World War II.

Here is a photograph of “Ned” Nelson Jr., all decked out in his officer’s uniform.

The back reads:  “Ned Jr. Nelson, son of Ned Nelson, who was killed in battle second world war—he was a bomber.”

Little information is available online about his service, though he is on the West Orange website’s “lest we forget” memorial page, which lists all of the servicemen from that township who died during the war.

Based on the date of his death, I suspect Ned Jr. may have participated in the bombing of Emden, Germany.  The historic, first US radar-led bombing raid took place on September 27, 1943, during which seven B-17’s and one P-47 were lost.  It is possible my cousin was aboard one of those planes.  Perhaps time will tell if that was the case.

Friday, September 23, 2011

West of the Warlock Q&A

On the night of September 15th, the West of the Warlock book release chat party was held.  It was a fun experience, and I got to converse with some of my fans.  The week leading up to the chat, the Hall Brothers asked for questions that they’d spring on me during the chat, and we had some good ones.  For those of you who didn’t have the chance to attend, I’m going to repost a few of the more memorable questions, and my answers to each.  Note that both questions and answers are a bit paraphrased & edited, as I don’t have a transcript of the evening’s chat.

Q: What was harder to write, the Fantasy elements or the Western elements?
A:  While both were fun to write, the Western elements seemed to take a little more effort.  Mood was also a factor, as some days I felt more like writing fantasy, but others where I was in more of a western state of mind.

Q: Do you think cross-genre stories are a passing fad or a lasting trend?
A: I am of the opinion that we’re due to see a lot more cross-genre blending in the future.  Keep in mind, Sci-Fi was once a “fad,” as were all the other genres that have arisen.  It’s hard to keep literature boxed up nice and neat, and more people are looking to broaden their horizons with new, different material.  I know there are people who can’t stand straight Westerns who enjoyed West of the Warlock, as there are people who abhor Fantasy but still enjoy the Fantasy Western.

Q: Who would you get to play Sheriff Doliber in the movie version?
A: I haven’t given it all that much thought, so spur of the moment I went with Nathan Fillion.  Really, he’s a great actor, and would do the role justice, though by the time West of the Warlock hits Hollywood, I think he may be too old.  If by chance it happens sooner rather than later, he’s booked up with Castle, at any rate.

Q: Who’s your favorite Wyatt Earp?
A: Kevin Costner is my personal pick.  Though the movie wasn’t completely accurate with the history, it was a good attempt at showing the whole life of the famous lawman.

There were a lot more questions asked, but these were some of the more interesting ones.  It was a really great experience, and I hope to do this again in the future with my next book release.

So, have any questions of your own to ask?

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Writers Still Needed

There are still some empty slots in the "Fall into Autumn Shootout" writing contest.  I was hoping for a larger turnout, as previous competitions drew considerable interest.  This is the first one I'll personally be moderating, so I'd like it to go well, but I can't do that without enough willing participants.

I know some of you have other obligations, but surely you know other writers who might be interested.  So, do me a favor and share this link, and ask them if they'd like the chance to flex their creative muscles and have the chance to win cash and/or other prizes (to be announced).

These are really fun to do, and in the end each writer has a fistful of fresh stories to tout around the marketplace.  Spread the word, and let's get more people playing!

Fall into Autumn Shootout: sign-up here.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

You Do A Review

(Parental Advisory: Begging)

Now that West of the Warlock has officially been published in print and kindle formats, it is time to spread the word.  Part of doing that involves getting reviews posted on  A quick note from a reader, telling other potential readers about the book, helps to drive sales and get more people interested.  If nobody reviews a book, people automatically assume the book is no good and that it isn't worth reading.  However, when reviews start getting posted, people notice and are more inclined to give it a chance.

Please, if you've read the free episodes for West of the Warlock, go to here and post a review of it.  Yes, there is additional content in the book, but if you've read the freebies, you know enough about it to have an opinion on the overall product.  While you're at it, click a few of the tags for the book at Amazon, as well.  That'll help people with searches.

Yes, I'll go so far as to beg for your participation.  Please, if you never do anything else for me, do this little thing and let other people know about this book!  One review could make all the difference.  I wrote the book for you; you do the review for me.  Pleeeeezzzzzeeee!!!

Monday, September 19, 2011

There Will Be A-Shootin' (Minstrel Mondays)

Work on the sequel to West of the Warlock continues apace, and I’m pleased to give it a new name.  Henceforth, the sequel formerly known as Mystic Selwood shall be called “The Curse of Selwood.”  The source of this name-change will be apparent in the second chapter of the work, where the curse will be explained.

To celebrate the new title, here’s a little poem with hidden messages to tantalize and confound my fans!

The hangman stood
Ready at the switch
An angry mob
Cheering him on
Eager to see a thing stretch
No proof, no trial
It wasn’t deemed human
The accusation was murder
So death was the remedy

Protests ignored
The righteous woman cries
But none care to listen
Then the riders come
The valiant heroes
Back off the trail
Lawmen and outlaws
A myriad assorted crew
The sheriff stands tall
Tells them to desist
No matter what the Marshall
Or some drunken judge says
They’ll not let the innocent hang

Cutting the noose, the sheriff shouts
A bullet in his back
Treachery beyond belief
Claims him in broad daylight
The deputy shouts and unleashes lead
At the feet of the fleeing crowd.

Blood stains the gallows
As the greatest lawman
Leaks his vital fluids
He urges calm, says he’ll survive
Or so he wants to believe
Take him to the Doctor
To find a final verdict

And as the sheriff bleeds
The villain laughs
At the folly of fools
Who sought to slay him
They assured they never would

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Name That Nelson

Here’s a family photo-postcard that’s right around 100 years old.  It comes from the Nelson branch of my mother’s side of the family, and it is either of Ned Nelson Sr., or Ira Nelson, Jr.  I suspect it is Ned because of comparative facial features in another photo I have of him (when he was 8), but brothers tend to look alike and there is no positive identification on this particular picture.

On the back of the picture, the following message is inscribed to his mother, Ada Belle Nelson:

Mary said “don’t send it that way.  That isn’t in an envelope, you don’t want your physiognomy going through the mail!” so I decided not to address it.

He did start to address it, as “Mrs. Ira R. Nelson, 1150” is written in the address slot, but struck out with 2 pen lines.  He obviously stuck it in an envelope and explained why when sending it back to his mother.  I suspect the "Mary" he quotes is his sister, Mary Alice Nelson (my great-grandmother).

I’d like to get confirmation on this one, so if anyone has a known photograph of Ned Nelson Sr. taken sometime between 1910 and 1920, I would love to see it.  Or a picture of Ira R. Nelson, Jr. from about the same time period could clear things up, as well.

Friday, September 16, 2011

West of the Warlock –Published!

West of the Warlock was officially released earlier today, so you can now purchase the complete Fantasy Western with extras!  There is a very affordable Kindle version already out there, and you can always purchase traditional, print copies from Hall Brothers Entertainment.

Work continues on the sequel, Mystic Selwood (which is due for a title change).  Even though several thousand words of the story are currently trapped on my disabled main computer, I have pressed on with the story, writing subsequent parts while waiting for the electrician (or someone like him)—odds are, I’m the only person under 40 who’ll get that reference.

So, take a minute and buy a copy of West of the Warlock.  The funds will go to a good cause (the “Save Martin’s Computer Fund,” to be precise).  Don’t be too stingy.  The Kindle Price is hardly half a gallon of gas, and the print edition costs less than your average takeout dinner.  I need to eat, too.  Please, buy it now!

Motherboard Down

My computer died Wednesday.  It was sudden and unexpected, as the thing hasn’t been giving me any trouble.  However, when I came home that afternoon, I flicked it on and it wouldn’t start.  The fans revved at full speed, and the hard drive did its initial turn, but otherwise the system was unresponsive.  After some troubleshooting, I discerned that the problem is most likely the cpu, though the motherboard is still a possibility.

The computer is a Dell Vostro 400, and it’s 4 years old to the month.  In that time, I’ve had to replace a small fan on the video card, but nothing else.  Wear and tear eventually claims the lives of these affordable machines.  $600 isn’t a bad investment considering the use I’ve gotten out of it, and a little tinkering might bring it back to life.

The horror of this situation is that I’ve gotten a bit lazy with my backups.  There are a few days of writing that I did not save to a disc, so nearly 10,000 words of “Mystic Selwood” are currently inaccessible.  Thankfully, the hard drive seems to be in working order, so I’m hoping to get another Vostro 400 and simply swap drives.  I should be able to buy a used system for a nominal sum, but if not I can purchase a replacement cpu for around $50, and if that doesn't work a brand new motherboard is about $100.

In the meantime, I have my old Dell Dimension 8250 that I stashed when I bought the Vostro.  The software is all 4 years out of date, but it still works, so I am now back online, more or less.  This thing isn’t as efficient as the Vostro, but it’ll serve in the interim.  I hope to have my other system up and running again soon, though I’ll be in the market for a new computer in the near future.  This year has just been too hard on my budget.

Thursday, September 15, 2011

West of the Warlock: Week 8 (+Chat Tonight)

We're here at last.  Today, the final online episode of "West of the Warlock" comes out, and tomorrow the book will be released with all sorts of extras!  In celebration of the release, we have a chat party tonight, starting at 8PM Eastern.  If you're around from 8-9 tonight, drop by and say hello.  You'll have the opportunity to order a copy of the book, as well as talk to me.  It's bound to be a lot of fun.

~The Chatroom is Here~

In our thrilling finale for West of the Warlock, the final conflict is resolved.  See the collective forces of good battling the evil madman, Blythe the Bastard!  Failure means the death of an entire world, but how can our heroes outwit someone with such ultimate power?

Check out all 8 online episodes here!

Monday, September 12, 2011

Forest of the Fall (Minstrel Mondays)

I've been busy this past week, so it's time to bring out a hunk of poetry from the grooveyard of forgotten favorites!

Trimble Mountain Summit (Left)
As viewed from my front yard
October 1997

Here's something I wrote ten years ago, reminiscing about the walks I used to take into the woods behind my home.  Trimble Mountain used to be covered with farms back in the 1800's, but it's now an unpopulated forest, with some cellar holes and a few relics of civilization around.  Some recent logging activity and 4-wheelers have changed the landscape up there since those days when I adventured into the wilderness, so the wilderness of my childhood memories has been lost to me.  Oh, well; everything changes.

For many an afternoon in my young life
I spent time away from all others.
Seeking solitude among a great forest,
old trees overshadowing ancient roads,
long overgrown with grass and molds.

A century had passed before my birth
since human life had flourished
in this fallow soil.
And I know as I walk these forgotten roads
that once proud farmers plowed these fields
and toiled honestly for their meals.

An amber leaf of an autumn maple
falls upon my hand
as I walk this row which once housed homes.
The abandoned homesteads
of this forgotten wilderness,
lifetimes ago, they bustled with life,
agricultural might,
but now they are lost,
forever silent,
only cellar holes remain.

The hillside I climb to reach the relics
of a forgotten farmer's pride.
The phantom image of once plowed fields
flashes over my eyes.
Yet those ghosts of the hills
are replaced by truthful chills,
that fields are gone forever,
consumed by the forest of the fall.

Friday, September 9, 2011

ABNA: Give Sci-Fi & Fantasy A Chance

The 2012 Amazon Breakthrough Novel Award contest will be coming up soon, and as we hit year 5 of this exciting writing competition, I continue my plea that those of us who write outside the mainstream be given a real shot at the prize.

On average, you can group mystery, romance, thriller, suspense, and other various sub-genres in with what they call "mainstream" these days, but Science Fiction & Fantasy works are still considered outside the norm.  They lurk in a category all by themselves, and are still shunned by certain segments of the publishing community for being "escapist garbage."  As such, it is really unfeasible to expect these fantastic tales to compete with more traditional literary stories.

The ABNA contest has proven itself over the past years to be a venue that favors human interest stories formatted in pretty traditional literary styles.  With the exception of Fresh Kills (ABNA's 1st winner), all the winners have been pretty dry.  I don't buy that that's caused by a lack of qualified submissions in the non-literary genres, and the obvious explanation lies with the personal tastes of the judges picking the finalists.  They clearly prefer stuff geared toward Oprah's Book Club, rather than finding the next Heinlein or Asimov.

Sci-Fi & Fantasy are two categories that could probably be dropped from the ABNA completely, though that would upset a lot of writers, and paint those running the contest as exclusionary.  Instead, they settle for a weak compromise, where they "accept" entries in those genres, but weed them out before the finals.  Some headway has been made in the "Young Adult" category, but there is no viability for serious, adult Sci-Fi & Fantasy in the contest.

What I suggest as a perfect solution is for Amazon to add a third category for the ABNA, which would give those who write Sci-Fi & Fantasy the chance to truly compete.  It would run en-tandem with the Mainstream and Young Adult categories, and it would give those of us who write "speculative fiction" a real shot at winning.  I know, people writing Romance or Mystery might want their own award as well, but like I said, they're able to fit in with the literary stuff to some degree.  They're "normal," unlike us weirdos who write about space travel or warlocks.

There is a financial payout to be had from this.  Sci-Fi & Fantasy may be the furthest from the mainstream of any genre, but it also has one of the largest fan-bases of any genre.  It only makes sense for Amazon and their publishing partner(s) to attempt to cash in on this subset of the population.  They have an untapped market, just waiting to buy the first book to win the Amazon Breakthrough Novel Award for Speculative Fiction!

Thursday, September 8, 2011

West of the Warlock: Week 7 (+Ask the Author)

Next week we'll be wrapping up the online episodes for West of the Warlock, and to celebrate that and the forthcoming book release, we'll be having a chat party.  As we prepare for the chat, the Hall Brothers have set up a venue for people to submit questions for yours truly.  These questions will be sprung on me during the chat, so if you'd like some answers, and to see how I think on the run, be sure to submit a question today, and then drop by the chat on September 15th!  You can submit questions to the Hall Brothers here.

Week 7 brings us a bunch of startling revelations for our heroes.  Who is the mysterious Sage, and what are his true origins?  Who are the Fergusons, and what are they doing with futuristic technology?  Learn the shocking answers in The Bastard Revealed!

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Wanted: A Few Good Writers

Do you have "the write stuff?"  Sorry, I just couldn't resist.

Next month, I'll be moderating a writing contest/exercise at the Pill Hill Press forum.  They call these things "shootouts," though it's more of a write-off (not to be confused with a tax loophole).  A group of writers are given a single prompt/theme, and have to write a short story in one week.  The following week, they read some of their competitors' stories and give brief reviews and a point scores (1-10).  This will be a 4-round contest I'm running, so it'll take the better part of 2 months to complete.

These contests are really fun for writers, and they end up producing some interesting stories.  If you are a writer worth your keyboard, you should consider signing up for this one.  Details and more are here, at the Pill Hill Press Forum.

There will be added incentives to compete in this contest.  Cash, free books, or something else of that nature will be awarded to the eventual winner of this shootout.  The prize will be announced later on, as we get closer to the start date of the competition.

If you have what it takes, and can fit it into your schedule, sign up today!  Slots are limited, so don't hesitate too long.

Monday, September 5, 2011

This is Labor Day (Minstrel Mondays)

We live in interesting times, as always.  Many people decry the "end of day," as they have since the beginning of time, and others think it'll never come.  I can't say I'm a big fan of the Armageddon Now theory, as I don't think mankind has even begun to scratch the surface of its potential.  Our true purpose in this mortal existence has yet to be realized, and we won't get there in chains.

There are those who think we need to be sheep or slaves for the greater good, our own protection, or "for the children."  There are profiteers, elitists, and assorted crazies who want to undermine and destroy western civilization in the name of their own brand of philosophy (interpret that in as many ways as you desire), and I personally find myself wondering who will win out?  Most people haven't even picked a side in the growing conflict, or are afraid to declare one for fear of being judged in some way.

As for the foes of freedom, for the most part, they know not what they do.

Okay, doom and gloom aside, let's get to today's medley.  It's a little piece I call "This is Labor Day."

Recognize the follies of a million men
Where to begin, oh Lord
Where to begin
See them resting in the streets today
Who can we get on board?
Who will be brave?
For the world is turning fast
To a suicidal pact
Of enslavement and destruction
Make everybody bleed
To serve the greater need
Of a philosophical connection

So this is Labor Day
Same as yesterday
Only now we have the time to wonder why
Will it all break down
Because we sit around
And wait for someone else to fight for us
Where to begin?

They're planning our defeat
While kneeling at our feet
And swearing that we're all they care for
It'll be for our own good
When they nail us to the wood
And take away our freedoms for protection
But there has to be a way
To reach the glorious day
When men are once more free to promise

Another Labor Day
And all the children say
It's a good excuse to stay home and play
But at the heart of things
Will they ever understand
The reason we all have to kneel and pray
On judgment day

What will we say
When they've taken it all away
And we're left with nothing but
Ashes on our graves?
Will it buy them absolvence
That it was all done
In the name of benevolence
When they all lied
For their greater good?

On this Labor Day
I heard the people say
That you've gotta give it up for yesterday
But we will surely stay
Whatever game they play
The only answer left for us to make
Is if we'll break
Give in to the terror
Kneel before the fraud
Or will we stand tall
Fight against the fall
And stay true to all we believe
For tomorrow's another day
That we can say
We are free

Sunday, September 4, 2011

Another Face on the Tree

A couple of weeks ago, I discovered a picture I didn't know I had.  Rather, I made a vital connection that positively identified it.  The photo in question is one of my Great-Great Grandmother, Caroline Elizabeth Horner.

Caroline married Newton Kirton on July 21, 1896 in Hamilton County, Ohio. Their son, Julius Kirton, was my Great-Grandfather.  However, Newton died of a stroke in 1918, and Caroline remarried.  Her second husband was a man named Thomas Jefferson Butcher, something I've known for quite a while, but something I hadn't known when I first came across the following picture:

The back of the photograph says "Mrs. Butcher, Matron of Eastern Star."  I'd say this picture was taken sometime in the 1920s.  It was in amongst a bunch of photos of my mother's father's side of the family (the Kirton/Nelson line), but for a while I wasn't sure who this was, as I hadn't discovered the Butcher connection.  Now we all have the answer.

Saturday, September 3, 2011

New Blogger Interface and Google Chrome

I made a mistake yesterday.  After uploading my latest blog post, I saw a little "offer" at the top of my dashboard, asking me to try the "updated blogger interface."  Feeling more adventurous than usual, I dared to click it.  Little did I expect the first thing to pop up would be a warning, saying that the new interface "no longer supports my browser."  After some checking, I could not even access my dashboard page with IE7, and without access I couldn't switch back to the old dashboard interface.  I was locked out!

There was only one thing I could do.  I had to download the "Google Chrome" browser.  Now, that might be a simple thing for those of you with super duper highspeed, but it took me over 3 hours to get it with my dial-up connection.  I made sure to not set it as my default browser, because I still like IE7, and it works for everything else I access besides Google sites.  I wanted to try the new browser out before making such a drastic decision, and I'm glad I did.

Google Chrome did the trick for accessing the new dashboard interface, so I could switch back to the old one.  I will say that the new blogger interface needs a lot of work, and I personally like the current one.  Why do they have to screw around trying to fix something that isn't broken?  Who do they think they are, the Federal Government?

After fixing the dashboard problem, I tried out the browser some more.  One thing that is nice about the Google Chrome browser is it allows me to actually see my followers again.  For months, I haven't been able to see the Followers block on any Google blogs, which has been detrimental to certain social activities.  Score one point for the new browser.

However, moving around on some non-Google sites, I found the Google Chrome browser to be extremely slow.  We're talking a slug's pace here.  It doesn't come anywhere near the speed I had with IE7, so for my non-Google activities I'm sticking with Microsoft's old standby.  It does the job in less than half the time, and it has more features.

If you have dial-up, Google Chrome isn't going to be your best bet for browsing the internet.  As for the new dashboard interface, that's a personal preference, but I for one think it sucks.  I'd advise everyone to stick with the current dashboard.  Change for the sake of change is meaningless (and often detrimental to society).

Had any tech problems lately?

Friday, September 2, 2011

Looking Back

Today, I received a semi-annual royalty check for sales of my first published novel, Virtual Wiles.  I'm pleased to see that the number of books sold during this period is up, higher than they've been in years!  That's good news.

When I first wrote Virtual Wiles back in 2001, I remember having a lot of faith and pride in this work.  I felt it was the best thing I'd ever written, and at the time it may have been.  It was my fourth completed novel, and in retrospect it was the first one that truly met publication standards.  Don't get me wrong, the first couple of books I wrote had promise, and still might be polishable, though in their original forms they weren't really saleable.

Of course, over the last four and a half years since Virtual Wiles was accepted for publication, I've written bigger and better things.  While I still believe this first volume of the "Virtual Saga" to be a decent book, it was merely a stepping stone, and if I had it all to do over again there are a few things I might change in the text.  There are a few scenes in the book I'd like to expand, and some I might trim down.  This isn't the case with my subsequent publications, as I've gotten better at the writing craft.

With Virtual Wiles' sequel, Prisoner of Time, I don't have any regrets about the content (though I did write it in 2007, six years after Virtual Wiles).  The same could be said of The Guns of Mars (though there is one "deleted" scene I might like to release someday).  I've gotten to the point where I know what I'm doing with my writing.  I understand my audience for the most part and can draft something everyone can enjoy.  I hope that is evident with West of the Warlock.

I encourage anyone who has read my subsequent works to pick up a copy of Virtual Wiles, to compare my past writing to my present material.  It's all relevant.  If you want to save money, get your copies from my AuthorStore!

Everyone changes as they grow older.  Whether a writer's stories get better or worse often depends on personal tastes.  My greatest hope is that my work becomes popular enough to support me someday, but not so popular that I begin to write boring junk just for the money.  I remember Mickey Spillane once joked that he was going to publish a book containing 200 blank pages, and he'd still sell a million copies the first week.  Yes, that sort of name recognition would be amazing, but it can also change the way you write.

When you can publish anything, no matter the quality or worth, it is the writer's duty to keep their work relevant.  The true character of a writer is therefore judged not only during his struggling years, but after his stardom is struck.  How we handle success is equally as important as how we handle our failures.

I promise, no matter how popular I become, I will not sell out and publish unentertaining tripe.  I'm committed to producing entertaining stories above all else, no matter the money involved.  Therefore, I will forever write escapist garbage!

Thursday, September 1, 2011

West of the Warlock: Week 6 (+Numbered Editions)

Last week, I received a large package in the mail.  I'd been expecting it, and ripping it open I found the first copies of West of the Warlock inside!  It was a real thrill to see these first editions in all their splendorific beauty.

With everything unpacked, I set aside the two copies that were mine, and proceeded to sign the other 13.  Each one was numbered as it was signed, to continue my special "Lucky Thirteen" feature.  It's something I have done with every book I've had published, and hope to continue doing in perpetuity.  The first 13 copies I sign get numbered, and the first person to receive each numbered copy gets listed on my website.  It is a rare thing to land one of these beauties.

As per our contractual agreement, I mailed the 13 signed and numbered editions back to Hall Brothers Entertainment, so they can have the honor of selling them.  If you'd like to buy one of the first 13, it'll be through them.  Stay tuned for details.

Okay, Episode 6 of West of the Warlock will be out today, so mosey on over to the HBE webpage to check it out.  This week, Sheriff Doliber finally catches up with his nemesis, the mysterious warlock in black!  A mystical battle royale ensues, and we get to see who really has the power!  Also, new mysteries arise as the villain's would-be victims call upon the sheriff for further help.  All this, and Ron Grimes finds himself a fancy new rifle.  Don't miss The Villain Emergent!