You can thank me later.

Terry Pratchett was just diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease. If this news doesn’t mean anything to you, I’m going to assume you’ve never read one of his books. If that is the case, you are missing out.

I remember when I first caught wind of Harry Potter. One of the common praisers given to Rowling’s masterpiece concerned her off-the-wall imagination and sense of humor. If you’re one of those readers who couldn’t get enough of silly wizard terminology, hilarious creatures, and brilliant set pieces, then you owe it to yourself to read Terry Pratchett.

I’m going to do you a favor. Here are a few quick plot synopsis from several of Terry’s books. You’ve got over 30 book to choose from. You can thank me later.

Mort

Death comes to Mort with an offer he can’t refuse — especially since being, well,┬ádead isn’t compulsory.As Death’s apprentice, he’ll have free board and lodging, use of the company horse, and he won’t need time off for family funerals. The position is everything Mort thought he’d ever wanted, until he discovers that this perfect job can be a killer on his love life.

Soul Music

Death’s granddaughter picks up the scythe when the Grim Reaper takes a vacation. Trolls, dwarves, magicians and rock music music played with rocks figure in this amusing but overlong romp, which begins with the formation of a band by aspiring musician Imp y Celen (aka Buddy).

Reaper Man

They say there are only two things you can count on …

But that was before DEATH started pondering the existential. Of course, the last thing anyone needs is a squeamish Grim Reaper and soon his Discworld bosses have sent him off with best wishes and a well-earned gold watch. Now DEATH is having the time of his life, finding greener pastures where he can put his scythe to a whole new use.

But like every cutback in an important public service, DEATH’s demise soon leads to chaos and unrest — literally, for those whose time was supposed to be up.

Published in: on February 4, 2010 at 11:47 am  Leave a Comment  

A lunch of champions.

I have a problem. I need an intervention. For the last several months I have been eating very poorly. This is my lunch, the same lunch I’ve been consuming for about a week now. In fact, I’m eating and drinking it at this very moment.

It’s not that I don’t know what constitutes a proper meal. I’ve gone through the Body For Life and P90-X programs, twice each. I think it’s got something to do with the winter. I just can’t get motivated to eat properly and exercise.

But I love wintertime! I am a cold-blooded person. I can smell fall in the air in late August, and it gets me really excited. This year’s winter has been particularly brutal, and I’ve enjoyed it for the most part. Maybe my chosen diet is part of the reason why.

How about you, what are you having for lunch that you know you shouldn’t be?

Published in: on February 3, 2010 at 11:14 am  Leave a Comment  

Words to love and hate by.

Short post today, so please participate!

I’m going to guess that everyone has a list of words they loath and love to hear. I can think of a lot of words that I love. Here are a few that immediately come to mind:

  • vittles
  • skip
  • Worcestershire
  • supose

As far as words I hate, here are a few of those:

  • warsh (the improper enunciation of wash)
  • ambiance
  • biscotti
  • lolz

How about you?

Published in: on February 1, 2010 at 3:03 pm  Comments (3)  

Watch your mouth!

How do you feel about foul language in your books? I’ve heard it said, several times, that a writer should always be honest. If you’re writing about a family that doesn’t get along, there should be some arguing. If you’re writing about a ruthless and violent killer, his crime scenes should reflect it. If you’re writing about an old, crotchety sailor, he should have a foul mouth.

If you’re writing about a ninety year old vampire, he shouldn’t be attracted to a sixteen year old…oops, wrong tangent.

So how do you handle a book full of foul expletives? Does it bother you? Does it make you want to put the book down? Should the author withhold the ‘truth’ to keep the book clean? Can the story and characters have the same potency, are there other ways to do it?

I generally steer clear of books with loads of swearing. Not necessarily because I don’t like reading the F-bomb every other word, but because I generally don’t like reading about the kind of people who choose to speak that way. I do read a lot of Stephen King, and some of his stuff is full of it. I don’t mind a character or three in a story having an issue with their mouth, the world is that way sometimes. That’s my only beef with Mr. King. He claims his characters speak the way they do because that’s the way real people are. But if that’s true, then my dentist should be dropping cuss words left and right while I’m in the chair, and the officer who pulls me over should be literally cursing my name. That’s not realistic, at least not where I live.

What do you think?

Published in: on January 28, 2010 at 11:59 am  Comments (1)  

Digital publishing, yes or no?

This may or may not be the Apple’s new iSalte, but that’s a discussion for another post. I’ve been thinking a lot about the digital distribution of books. It may be far off as a means of main stream publication, but I think it’s inevitable. My question is: if this is the future of book publication, should I consider digitally publishing my novel, on Amazon.com or the like? I have some experience in internet and social marketing, and I think I could do a good job of getting the word out. However, doing so will likely mean death for my chances of getting the book published by traditional means? What do you think?

On the subject, the more we see books moving towards digital distribution, the more we’ll see pirates hoisting their colors and setting sale to loot and pillage. I think this could be a really big problem for publishers in the future. The music industry has taken a big hit in this regard. But digital distribution is not inherently bad. It can give unpublished writers like myself the chance to generate hype and build a fan base.

What are your thoughts on the subject?

Published in: on January 26, 2010 at 11:09 am  Comments (1)  

Inkygirl.com

I can totally relate to Death in this comic. I’ve received my fair share of “no thank you” letters from publishers and agents, and darn it, sometimes it just pisses you off! Check out more at inkygirl.com

Published in: on January 25, 2010 at 10:37 am  Leave a Comment  

I like things weird.

Some of you might remember the late 70’s and 80’s. I would sacrifice a lot if I could travel back in time and visit. I really feel a connection with the creative minds of the 80’s, especially Jim Henson. His creations always had this dream like, even nightmarish, tilt to them. When I dream, these are the worlds I visit.

Take The Dark Crystal for example. What a brilliant yet strangely horrifying movie. If you haven’t seen it you MUST, even if it doesn’t interest you, you’ve got to at least experience it. This is a world full of giant turkey vultures and twelve foot tall mutant rabbits. When I look at those rabbits, I feel like I’m losing my mind. Here, you try it:

They just don’t make them like this anymore. Some of you are probably grateful. Why am I blogging about this? These are the kind of stories that I love to read and write. When people ask me what kind of books I write, I have a hard time articulating myself. I usually end up asking them a question. Have you ever seen The Never Ending Story, The Labyrinth, Time Bandits, or The Dark Crystal? Yeah, they’re kind of like that.

Published in: on January 22, 2010 at 3:06 pm  Comments (1)  

If there ain’t something swinging this here February…

I’ve been struggling with a decision for about a year now, whether or not to pursue an MFA in writing. I’ve been freelancing as a graphic artist and copywriter for a year. It’s been an up and down ride. There’s a lot that I enjoy about it and a lot that I could live without. I’ve made a few attempts to join the regular work force recently, but things aren’t happening.

In reality it’s not about whether or not I want an MFA in writing, I do. The question is, is it a worthy use of time at my age? Will it make me a better writer, or open any doors? I’d like to think so. My desire to become a published author is consuming. It’s a passion I feel like none other. I cannot run from it or ignore it. But do I continue to write as I do, on the side while working a ‘real’ job? Or, do I jump in head first and give myself completely to the craft? I love the idea of teaching while I pursue this dream, but I know it’s likely to be a meager living.

This is an inner struggle that I deal with daily. It’s time to make a decision so I think I’ll paraphrase Sinatra: If there ain’t something swinging this here February, I’m going to enroll in an MFA program.

Published in: on January 21, 2010 at 8:53 pm  Leave a Comment  

Blood, sweat, tears and imagination.

“All the breaks you need in life wait within your imagination. Imagination is the workshop of your mind, capable of turning mind energy into accomplishment and wealth.”

-Napoleon Hill

You’ve got to have tough skin in the writing business. If you want your work to get published you’re going to have to show it to people, and it’s only a matter of time before it gets criticized and rejected. Sometimes this criticism and rejection is easy to take, sometimes it’s crushing. Often a writer feels at the total mercy of the agent or publisher to whom they are submitting, like they have no control over acceptance or rejection. A writer might feel like they have the next Harry Potter on their hands, but if an agent is in the wrong mood the day they receive the query, it’s going to get rejected. These feelings are not exclusive to writers either. Anyone who sets a goal in their life is going to experience them.

Enter Napoleon Hill, author of Think and Grow Rich, an inspirational book I’ve been reading recently. I generally steer clear of books like this. I’m not interested in getting rich without any effort, or any advice that tries to convince me that I can. The title of this book is deceiving in that regard. Riches don’t always come in the form of money.

I love this quote, yet at the same time I find it very difficult to swallow. Human beings want tangible evidence that what they are doing is getting results. Thought, motivation, dreams, and faith don’t cut it. We want payoff and we want it now. Test the quote and you will discover its validity. I’m a writer and I’ve studied the lives of successful writers. Their success always starts with their imagination, literally. They never gave up and it has payed off. We see the end result, lots of money and notoriety. We aren’t there to watch them slave away in the corner of their trailer home, at a makeshift desk in between the washer and dryer.

Sometimes we feel like we’ve given all the blood, sweat and tears that we are able. If payoff hasn’t come by now it’s not going to. I know I feel that way sometimes. Study the lives of those who succeed and you’ll find that their greatest triumph happened shortly after their darkest defeat. Maybe it’s your turn.

Published in: on January 20, 2010 at 7:52 pm  Comments (1)  

Hot off the press!

In conjunction with the launch of my website and blog, I’ve designed and printed a truck full of cards to help promote my books. You may have already recieved one, if not here they are:

I’ll be passing these out wherever I can, and I appreciate all of you who visit and support my writing! Both images were created in Photoshop and InDesign. The first is a picture of Danny, the main character in The Dreamers’ Atlas, taking to the air from his wheelchair. The second image is of Salt Shaker Claw Man himself, along with a Crunch Bunny. It will be interesting to see if these cards generate any response. This is just one of several ideas to generate interest in the books, prior to making more submissions to agents and publishers.

What do you think?

Published in: on January 19, 2010 at 4:59 pm  Leave a Comment