Thursday, July 12, 2012

Last Call

The last day to sign-up for the Summer Shootout writing contest is Friday, 13 July 2012.  We'll kick things off the following day, and while we have a good crew already lined up, there are still some slots available for writers who wish to test their mettle and write for a shot at publication in my forthcoming anthology.

As many reasons as there are to join the competition, there are some big reasons that writers decide to forego the shootout experience.  I will list the top 10 here, for your consideration.

  1. Difficulty:  The shootout can be a grueling experience, and the thought of having to write a story in a single week and then review the work of fellow writers the following week (three times in a row) can be intimidating.  A lot of good writers aren't confident that they can pull it off.

  1. Lack of Confidence:  Some writers have the feeling that they're bound to lose anyway, so why waste your time on a longshot?

  1. Lack of Time:  We all have such busy lives these days, and many talented writers have day jobs or other commitments that take priority.

  1. Fear of Rejection:  This is something all writers deal with, but sometimes it's easer to get rejected by a "professional."  The thought of writing a story that your writing peers criticize can turn off quite a few writers.

  1. Fear of Rejecting:  Most people don't like to be negative, and many aspiring writers don't feel it's their place to criticize their fellow authors.  They don't want to run into stories of questionable quality and have to give a poor review.

  1. Arrogance:  There are a few writers who consider this sort of contest to be "beneath their dignity."

  1. Boring:  Yes, some writers actually don't like to read, or they only want to read specific stuff in their preferred medium, by their preferred authors.  They consider the idea of reading raw work by their contemporaries to be boring, and putting together reviews equally lusterless.

  1. Greedy: Some writers will only write or review something if there is a check attached to it.  "What do you mean you don't pay 5-8 cents per word for my shootout stories?"

  1. Insecure: It's possible that some writers don't want to expose their "unpolished" works to strangers, and there is something to be said for this.  I, myself had misgivings about showing others my work when I first started out, though it is a necessary part of the creative process.

  1.  Just Plain Don't Know:  There are a lot of talented writers out there who would love to participate in this sort of writing competition, especially with publication as the Grand Prize.  However, it's impossible to tell everyone, and with only word-of-mouth and a few internet postings, this event is generally unknown.

Well, there you have it, the top ten list.  Of course, not everyone who has chosen to forego this contest has done so for these reasons.  However, these are the main things that have come up when I've asked different people about their lack of participation, though some are purely speculation.  Hey, it's just a list.

Those writers who want to jump on board at the last minute, be sure to post in the sign-up thread before Friday night!

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

One Dollar Reviews

As we get closer to the release of The Curse of Selwood, sales of its predecessor, West of the Warlock, continue to rise.  I can say without any doubt that more people have read my first Fantasy Western novel than any of my other works, yet of all my published books it is the only one lacking Amazon reviews.  Out of all the people who have purchased it over the last year, nobody has taken the time to post one there.

It's no secret that reviews sell books, and I believe this book would sell even more copies if some people spread the good word about it.  Since appealing to people's good nature has thus far failed, I'll fall back on the old standby: money!

Now, I don't want fake reviews, and I'm not capable of forking over large sums of money for reviews.  However, anyone who has purchased West of the Warlock from Amazon and takes the time to post a review (thereby having a review of a "confirmed purchase") will receive $1 from me in gratuity.  That means anyone who buys the Kindle version from will get a 33% rebate for posting a review.  That isn't shabby, and you'll have the book to enjoy, as well.

This is a serious offer for those who read and enjoy my work enough to post a review.  However, 1-star & 2-star reviews will not qualify for the payment.  If you honestly hate West of the Warlock, venting your frustration should be payment enough.  For those of you who actually enjoy the book, the dollar is just a little thank you.

If you have already purchased West of the Warlock from Amazon, post your review there today, and if you haven't bought it yet, pick up a copy now.  Remember, The Curse of Selwood will be released momentarily, so read the first book in the series in preparation for the fantastic sequel!

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

The Tuesday Triple (6)

Here we are, on another Tuesday morning.  I'm feeling pretty tired right now, as my back has been aching much of the night.  It is being a real bother lately, but it's something I'll just have to live with for the time being.  It only hurts when I'm lying down for extended periods, anyway.

All right, let's see what pops up this morning.

It Came out of the SkyCredence Clearwater Revival:  This is quite a spirited song for the morning.  Good beat, rousing, and humorous.  This is one of their better tunes.  Yes, I'd say this is worth listening to.

Out of TouchDarryl Hall & John Oates:  Here's a typical mid-80s tune.  Not really a bad song, but first thing in the morning? 

Daytime Nighttime SufferingPaul McCartney & Wings:  One of McCartney's B-sides.  Not something I'd call a favorite, but it's better than most of the junk people put out these days.

Okay, this week we had one really good song and a couple of okay selections.  Enjoy the rest of the week!

Saturday, July 7, 2012

Edits, Forthcoming Releases, and There's Still Room

The Summer Shootout writing contest will be kicking off a week from today, and there is still room for those who want to join.  With publication on the line, any writer who has the time should really give it a shot.  The sign-up thread with all the details is here.

Well, it has been an interesting week, with the Independence Day parade, and all the little happenings in my life.  I've managed to get a bit of editing done on several things, though new writing has been limited.

The final edits for The Curse of Selwood were completed a few days ago, and soon we'll be seeing the first sample chapters appearing online, as we build up to the book's publication.  Unlike West of the Warlock, which had most of the story released for free, this second installment will not be given away.  Even with the large amount of unreleased material that still exists in the first book, there is a complete story told via the free episodes, so people are less inclined to purchase the remainder of it (though we are still selling quite a few).  With the Curse of Selwood, the plan is to release enough of it to give everyone a generous sample online (perhaps as many as 6 chapters), and the balance will be left for those who want to buy the published book and finish reading the tale.

I have also finished my last round of author edits for the 3rd book in the West of the Warlock series.  In addition to polishing it up to the best of my ability, I have given the book a new title, which I expect far surpasses it's previous moniker, "The Six-Gun Conjurer."  Henceforth, the book will be entitled, "The Man Who Shot Thomas Edison."  I know, that gives a little something away, but it also makes you wonder, doesn't it?  I expect the label alone will spur a number of sales for this exciting work, which I consider to be the best book in the series thus far.  We're still looking at an early 2013 release for this one, possibly around springtime.

With any luck, the editing process will help to spur my creative juices anew.  I'm going to tackle revisions on the largely unfinished Time Traveler's Illegal Harem this weekend, and see what can be done to bring it up to publishable status.  It's a very complicated tale, one that deserves to be told.  There aren't enough Time Travel stories out there, in my opinion.  Let's see if we can't remedy that.

4th of July Parade bonus picture:  Busta the Clown.
I'd pick him in a fistfight over Stephen King any day!

Thursday, July 5, 2012

Eastport's Gloomy 4th of July Parade, 2012

Every 4th of July, thousands of people descend upon the small island community of Eastport, Maine, to celebrate Independence Day.  This year, it was somewhat disappointing.  It was cool and gloomy most of the day, there wasn't much to buy at the junk stands, and the food made my stomach upset (yucky fried dough).  Other than the ice cream, it was a pretty drab experience.

At 2PM, the parade started, and here's a brief summary of events:

It started with an Eastport police car rolling down the street.  Watch out, you troublemakers.

It was followed by a long line of fire trucks and ambulances which made the typical honking and siren sounds to wake sleeping children.

Here we see a nervous Elmo being consoled before facing the Honor Guard firing squad.

There was a ship in port for the 4th again this year, so the Navy seamen kept coming once more.

Right behind the long parade of seamen, we had the Washington County Republicans.  Here we see our next Congressman, Kevin Raye, waving to the crowd.  Left, is his old boss and mentor, outgoing Senator Olympia Snowe.  Behind them, we see State Representative Joyce Maker wearing one of her own stylish shirts, and State Rep Beth Turner behind Kevin's right shoulder.

This nice old '52 Chevy belongs to Chris Gardner, Director of the Port of Eastport and Chairman of the Washington County Republican Committee.  Coincidentally enough, all the signs attached to it are Republican, too.

And here come the bagpipers!

There was only one Mountie at the parade this year.  He looked a little nervous.  Perhaps he's afraid of being deported, since he's over 30 and therefore doesn't qualify for President Obama's Executive Order Amnesty Program.

The forest rangers brought out their very nice Dodge Power Wagon.

And Smokey the Bear made a showing, as well.

Go Navy... in a Mustang!

They had quite a few beauty queens from different age groups.  Here's Miss 4th of July, Amber Stevens.

Here's a really nice '57 Chevy Belair.

And right behind it is a Model A.

Here's a float from the First Light Farm Equine Shelter.  They rescue abused and neglected horses and nurse them back to health.

The first wave of Shriners appears out of the mist, riding their mighty mopeds.  Right behind them was a handful of mini sportscars.

Once the Shriners buzzed by, we saw this 1935 Ford Truck.  I'm pretty sure it made an appearance last year.

Right behind is an early 60's MG.  This sucker really jumps when given a little gas.

Here's a really nice Model-T.  The car that made the modern age!

Moose Island Trolley Tours: I'm sure they do a booming business.

The Coast Guard brought their boat along for the day.

Here comes the Border Patrol to get that Mountie!

After the Shead High School class of '73 rolled by on their tree-laden float, we had an appearance by Tigger.  My father says that is an offensive name, and we should use the more socially-acceptable Teegro.  Somebody should warn Disney!

Atlantic Clarion Steel Band makes their annual appearance.

The Democrats had a pretty mediocre showing this year.  Other than a handful of candidates and this truck, there was nothing from their side.  "Independent" Angus King had a bigger contingent, and he's just a crooked ex-Governor running for US Senate.

We had a few more floats that really weren't much to look at, and then we had this beauty from "Dave's Garage."

The British occupied Eastport during the War of 1812, and in 1814 they built a Powder House (for their gun powder, not makeup), which is apparently in disrepair.  Hey, it's historical, we should save it.

The Wreaths Across America crowd were out, handing out pins to Veterans.  Very nice of them.

The Shriner Lobster Boats roll on down the highway.

The next time you want to exercise your "rights", thank a Veteran for preserving them!

Following another troupe of Shriners, we have a Canadian marching band.  It started to rain about this time, so we had hundred of people fleeing up the street, which made photography more challenging.

Here we have the four branches of Maine's armed forces:  Navy, Air Force, Coast Guard, & Lobster Force!

St. Stephen, New Brunswick, Canada hosts Chocolate-Fest every summer, since they have the Ganong's Chocolates factory there.

The Pirate Festival hits Eastport in September, and they had a pretty large contingent this year in the parade.

The Shriner Go-Karts rolled along, but they didn't have their usual truck ramp for some reason.  Instead of going up and over the truck, they just buzzed around behind it.

Closing out the rear of the parade we had the boat school truck followed by the Old Man of the Sea.  Can I get me a trident here?

Thus concludes the parade overview.  Run for your lives, it's raining!  Aaaaaahhhhhh!

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

The Tuesday Triple (5)

I didn't sleep well last night.  The heat of summer months tends to disrupt my rest, and my back has been bothering me as well lately.  I'm sure I'll be fine, but in the meantime I'll have to muddle through everything feeling a bit tired.

So, on to this week's three random songs...

My Generation –The Who.  A true classic!  It's the song that really kicked off their career.  Before this song, they were relatively unknown.  It's a bit dated now, but isn't a bad song.

Holy Cow –Lee Dorsey.  Here's another one out of that 1965 hits collection.  Nothing really exciting here, though it isn't offensive or annoying.  It's okay for background ambience, but not anything that would cause me to stop and really listen.

Thing –Matthew Sweet.  A rarity in his repertoire, this was one of his B-sides.  It appeared on the CD single of Time Capsule, and it really is a great little song, far underrated.  Personally I feel this one had real potential, but it was never utilized.  It could have even been a single, itself.   This catchy tune about dysfunctional romance really deserves to be played more.

Three more brief commentaries, quick and easy.  I wish every American a happy Independence Day tomorrow, and encourage everyone to read a copy of the Declaration of Independence.  How can you celebrate something you don't know?  Read the document that started it all, and enjoy the festivities with clarity of sight.  In fact, here's a copy, so you don't have to waste time hunting for it.  God Bless America!