Posts Tagged ‘books’

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I am not much into ebooks (as I have blogged on here before). I know they are the wave of the future, and it is very cool to think of being able to carry around a virtual library with you wherever you go. I will not deny how neat that is nor resist this continuing change.

I also see a better future for writers with greater ease in publishing and greater ease for readers to access that output. It is not as costly to electronically publish, but it does still cost. Life still continues to cost, too. Authors gotta eat, yo!

This trend from the general public for artistic endeavors (writing, painting, photography, music, etc.) to be free or almost free needs to stop. This whole thing with ‘do it for the exposure’ is a load of crap.

Ebooks are not expensive. The vast majority of them are less than $10, many of those less than $5, some of those less than one dollar! Yet, there still seems some uproar about why they should be distributed freely. Please consider my earlier sentence about the costs of living and artists needing to eat. As lovely and rewarding as creating may be, it still doesn’t fill the belly.

I have ebooks in my collection I will likely never read. I just bought them to show support, because they are so affordable. Let’s all show support. That’s much more satisfying than complaining.

Thank you.

My Amazon Author Page

I love to leave references in my work, Easter eggs, as it were.  Some of them are much less obvious than others.  The name of one of my protagonists, Lilja Perhonen, is one, a big one.  I also leave clues that are sort of homages to writers that have had a large impact on me.

Take this excerpt from my second book, Sword of the Butterfly:

“Wilbraham?” came the inevitable summons, the professor moving his head around as though in search of whom this may be, though nearly all of the small body of the class had by now been announced.

“Here, sir,” he finally spoke, his voice an odd mixture of deep, gruff, but with a scratch of break, as though of pubescence or merely suffering from some chronic allergy.

“That is a good, old name from England,” Professor Edwards remarked with utmost sincerity, then consulting his list, looking back up, “Pothos? That’s your first name?”

Pothos nodded, slowly, almost laboriously.

“Your parents must also be students of mythology to give you a great name like that,” the instructor carried on, letting his dark, bushy eyebrows rise as though throwing a question mark onto the supposition.

That alludes to what becomes a huge Easter egg.  It also references an experience I had back in college, but I wouldn’t expect anyone to figure that out.  The layers do begin to get a little complicated, and sometimes I forget why I crafted things the way I did.  Still, I think it adds to the journey, and I hope there are those who discover these things and feel the same.

If you’ve read my work and think you have some guessed, please leave a comment.  If you have not, then grab a book and begin the hunt!

My Amazon Author Page

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Finding Books

Posted: December 4, 2017 in Blog
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Have you ever read a book just for the cover or title?  Have you ever just randomly grabbed a book and decided to read it?  I don’t usually do that.  I tend to over-research when I am looking for something new to buy.  If I don’t go that route, it is usually a recommendation from friends.

One time, though, I was in a large book store (I forget which, but it was a big one like Barnes & Noble), and none of the books on my to-buy list were there.  Rather than leave empty-handed, I decided to look over the spines and pick one that lured me.  I found Noir by K.W. Jeter.  Now, this may illustrate my own failings since before then, I did not even know about K.W. Jeter.  Allow me to apologize for this.  But I saw the title, the aesthetic of the cover, and I thought, ‘if it’s called Noir, it had better be good.’  I figured the author was pretty ballsy to use that title, so I felt it was worth the chance.

It did not disappoint.  I was blown away, and it has become one of my favorite novels.  Not only that, but it obviously led to my learning of Jeter, and I have since gotten more of his works.

I am somewhat cynical when it comes to covers, but I am less so regarding titles.  In my opinion, the titles and cover should be representative of the contents of the story; however, it’s an abstract.  The results of this will vary from person to person.  Some publishers also have control over the cover image, title, blurb, etc. so it may be a less sincere marketing effort.  Of course, we have to glean new readers somehow, right?  Titles and cover art work in that effort.

So, do you ever just randomly pick a book?  If so, how do you make your choice?


Books on Shelf

 

I had the pleasure of attending the Scares that Cares charity horror convention this past weekend.  It was my first time promoting myself as a writer or even attending such a gathering.  I can only imagine what all went into arranging, promoting, and conducting an event of this scale.  Kudos to those responsible.

I flew into Virginia (my first time there.  This entire very short and fun stint was peppered with ‘firsts’), and I took the brief drive from Newport News to Williamsburg.  It did not take long to settle in, freshen up, then get over to the con.  The parking lot of the hotel gave very unsubtle hints as to what to expect inside.  I was lucky to find a space quite a distance from the entrance, and I saw pockets of obvious con-goers before I even made it inside.  Most looked to be dressed in a sort of dark, spooky flair.  Right up my alley.

The con began with a large, open room full of various horror movie memorabilia slated to be auctioned off (or so I gathered; the entire thing was quite a whirlwind, so please forgive my errors.)  I needed to find the second floor, room thirteen.  Rather apropos, don’t you think?  As I walked down the end of the hall, I noticed a sign a bit further on than I needed to go – “The Trials of Dagon: Innsmouths’ Revenge”.  I felt a pull.  I wanted to go past room 13 and into that one.  I smelled a hinting scent of salt water, and was that a minuscule spasm at the sides of my neck, as of gills trying to form?  Surely not!  I somehow managed to avoid the pull.

I had found the Optimus Maximus table and in short order met Ricky Fleet, Maura, Marc, and of course, Christina.  The amount of work put into all of this by Christina is simply amazing.  Thank you.  I met many other wonderful people, too, and the sheer volume of sugar and alcohol consumed was no less than … but let’s not digress too much.

Over the course of the weekend, I saw a great many interesting offerings, costumes, and people.  It really was a buffet of dark produce, and I loved it.  I saw (but did not meet) Julian Sands and Jeffrey Combs.  I am not one to geek out over celebrities, but I did feel a bit of a thrill at the site of Jeffrey Combs.  I’d love to have coffee with the guy and just talk about his various experiences and that weird tentacle thing growing out of his pineal gland.

The days went by in a blur, though it did begin to feel a bit isolated in our remote corner of the second floor.  Most of the traffic seemed to stay below.  I did catch the end of a kaiju fight at one point.  Thankfully the collateral damage was contained.  I also saw Pyramid Head and the Creeper.  They must not have seen me.  You know, since I am still alive.  Whew!

All in all, it was a wonderful weekend, and I am very glad I attended and met so many people.  I look forward to the next time, and I hope to see and meet more of you there!

 

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A Seductive Coax

This tale is an interesting take on a possible origin of a notable Urban Legend regarding Bloody Mary. It spans hundreds of years, examining the characters and the impact of the lineage in many ways. At the start of the 15th Century, we begin to learn of the Cambelle family and their dark secret, but things take a decided turn rather quickly.  It was very intriguing seeing how the situation developed, this early point in history showing its own layering within a well-developed lore that is slowly revealed to us. Within this tapestry, we are treated to the lives of many characters as they experience the consequences of the family’s heritage, not the least of which is the eponymous Mary, for whom a grave tragedy awaits.  Before this fully manifests, we are treated to some titillating erotic scenes.  The book is noted as being for 18+ readers, and it pulls no punches when it comes to sex and gore.  This may serve to lure the reader, sometimes like a seductive coax, other times akin to a deep shock.  This book is not for the squeamish.

The narrative spans many years and generations, jumping ahead so we may experience the haunting legacy of those seeds as we visit the 19th and 21st Centuries to fully realize the horrible consequences that have resulted in this legend.  This presents many interesting viewpoints as without this context, it might be easy to merely view Mary as a monster.

The ending felt quite sudden, even a touch anticlimactic; however, it left me wanting more. If anything, it seemed it could have been another beginning, even a cliffhanger. I’d like to know more of Mary, the curse, and the descendants of the family and what may further befall them.

Be sure to buy, read, and review this book!

The Curse of Mary: All Legends Begin in Truth by NicolaJayne Taylor (Amazon Link)

I was in elementary school when Reagan and Carter were running for President.  I recall an interesting assignment where we were asked for volunteers to act as the respective candidates and then engage in a mock debate based on one of the actual debates.  In retrospect, that seems like pretty heavy stuff for elementary school kids, but I thought it was great.  I volunteered, of course, and I got Reagan.  I spent that evening watching the debate, having little clue and even less context as to what all of this was, but I took notes, furiously.

The next day was a blowout.  The poor girl who was standing in for Carter had not really taken the assignment seriously.  This, of course, did not prove to be a reasonable representation of the debate (though some may argue otherwise), and I won because of my preparedness.  I do not recall the reason for the exercise, but the way it was conducted does provide a good lesson.  Had we both come prepared, it would have been much more exciting.

Flash forward to another debate I had.  This time, it was in High School, and it was a legitimate debate in Speech class.  This was the time when Texas was finally giving in and raising the drinking age from nineteen to twenty-one.  We decided to have a debate on it, and I was on the team that was against the raise.

Being the type to like to be prepared, I did a lot of research.  I will admit, I even found some “evidence” that I knew was a bit manipulative, but I planned to pitch it a certain way so as to advance my team’s agenda.  If pushed, I even had spins and escape plans.  (Maybe I should have gone into politics, but I digress).

It was another blowout.  I did most of the talking, as my teammates lacked the confidence and preparedness to step up.  The other team fumbled and kept getting backed into corners.  When it was all done, the judges (our teacher and two other students) gave their verdicts … and we lost.

The teacher voted for us, but the two students voted for the other team.  The teacher got up and talked it all out, basically saying that our team had destroyed the other.  When pressed, both kids said they voted as they did because they supported raising the drinking age.  My teacher managed to not facepalm and explained that the judges were to vote purely based on the evidence presented, which she had instructed prior to the whole thing starting.

Still, another lesson.  You can be prepared and present all the evidence you want, and sometimes opinion and belief will outweigh anything else, no matter what.  With humans, dogma sometimes has more value than verified facts.

Personally, I believe dogma ‘won’ both of those debates.

As always, thank you for visiting and reading.  Please feel free to weigh in with any comments you have.  My second novel was recently released, so if you enjoy my writings, please consider buying, reading, and leaving a review.  It would be much appreciated.  Thank you!

Sword of the Butterfly – print edition
Sword of the Butterfly – Kindle edition

Oops!  I missed posting yesterday for the third week of #authorlifemonth.  I better catch up.

Pub Sib’s Book
So many to choose from, but I will just put this one here since I am about to dive into it. The Haunter of the Moor by Jeffrey Kosh.  Give it a read.

Dream Writers’ Retreat
I honestly have never put that much thought into this, but since my book largely takes place in Central Europe, it would be nice to visit the cities I drew from for inspiration – Vienna, Prague, and Budapest.

Betas
This has fluctuated, but one person who has read my books from the beginning and seen them go through many changes, offering feedback throughout, is my dear friend Jericho.  If you have read my book, then you may recognize a character with that name.

Research
I did quite a bit of research for my book.  As I mentioned above, its locale is inspired by several major Central European cities.  I did some digging into these to give little hints as to the location (since I never outright state in which it takes place).  I also did research into a lot of other things, like how to mitigate the sound of a motorcycle, firearms, martial arts, self-defense, and the list goes on.  Even little things like which vehicles are popular in various places and smoking laws.  I feel it all helps to add that touch of realism to the overall fantasy tale.

Bookish Bucket List
I am not sure what to put on here, but I would like to visit Tangier. This originated because of its infamy as a place where William Burroughs went to do a lot of drugs and ostensibly write,  but as I learned more of its history and cultural melting pot, I became even more interested.

A Dream Achieved
Well, this one is easy.  I achieved a near lifelong dream when my novel was published.  How apropos that the initial inspiration was from a dream.

A non-Author Photo
None of my photos are professional or intended to have been official “author” photos, so really, any of them qualify.

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And there it is.  Thank you, as always for stopping by and reading.

~Scott

Continuing Author Life Month (#authorlifemonth), it is time for another post.

Awesome Moment
Well, I suppose there are many awesome moments, but the one that stands out to me was when I first held the print version of my debut novel in my hands.  That was amazing.

Killed Darlings
Now come on, I can’t say that.  Read my series to find out who this happens to … I mean if it even happens at all.  I’d never kill off a beloved character.  Nope.  I have never experienced a decisive moment when I almost talked myself out of a bold move, because I didn’t want to kill off a character.  Never.

Reviewer Love
I will throw love at all those who have taken the time to review my book.  I love hearing feedback, and I thank all of those of you who have provided it.  Thank you, thank you, thank you.

Swag
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Here is some swag.  A nice draw-string bag with the name of my publisher, along with some post cards, magnets, and a neat journal.  I use the journal for writing music.

Character Inspiration
Well, the characters in Dance of the Butterfly are somewhat obviously based on people I know, including myself.  As I discuss in the post Seeds, it all began innocently enough as my son and I had a fun discussions of how easy it would be to dress up for a con if there were characters based on us.  Though this began as something silly and off the cuff, the seeds were planted.

Dedication Page
No one gave me more inspiration, desire, and discipline than Jane.  Had I not met her, I don’t think the books would have ever been written.  Thank you.

My “To-Write” List
I have many of these.  I am working on the third (and likely final) book in my urban fantasy series.  I have another novel that is about 95% finished and yet another that is about 5% done.  And yes, still another that is fairly well along.  These are all fantasy-related, some dealing with vampires, some with other dimensions, some with wizards, maybe some dragons.  My hope is they will all pull from standard tropes but come forth in a non-standard way.

And there we go.  I do hope you have enjoyed this further glimpse into my life.  As always, please feel free to like, share, or comment.  Thank you all.

~Scott

So, there is this Author Life Month (#authorlifemonth) thing happening on Instagram.  I don’t have an Instagram account, but I won’t let that stop me.  Instead of making a post a day, though, I think I will do them weekly and just lump everything together.

My Books
I have one book published, the second in the series is coming very soon, and a short story in a just released anthology.  My series is in the urban fantasy genre, but it is grounded in quasi-realism.  It is very much a mystery and slow burn to the reveal, though things will be much more open in the second installment.  You can see (and buy) all three from my Amazon Author Page.

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Here is a photo of me.

Fan Art
I have had the pleasure of some art being done of characters and events in my book.  You can view these in the Artwork category here.

WIP
My current work in progress (well, officially, as I am working on several things) is the third book in my urban fantasy series.  Allow me to share a little teaser –

One is of a woman, wearing a dark gray, nondescript dress that covers from wrists to ankle, but her face hides behind a mid-twentieth century gas mask.  Close examination shows the mask to actually be part of her face, giving forth a meld that is quite out of the ordinary.  Her hair is stringy in some places but others seem of ridged rubber.  The combination is so well done as to somewhat trick the eye.

“Look at her fingernails,” Zoe mentions, giving further personification to the statue.

Lilja notes the cracks and chips, the detail again as she had seen it in the smaller works.

“It’s like she tried to get free.”

Where I Write
I have a little media room, I call it, in my house.  It is not fully enclosed, which makes it wonderful for me.  It is where my desk and computer reside along with another desk on which I have set up my keyboard and amplifier.  I do most all of my creating in this space.  I have used an old typewriter and even done handwritten manuscripts, but I prefer using a word processor.

Writing Music
I do not often have music playing when I write.  I can find it distracting.  If I do listen to music, it is instrumental.  Music with lyrics is far too distracting for me to work to.  Some music I have listened to when writing my series has been the soundtracks to The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo and Hannibal, the television series.

Cover Inspiration
I always had an idea for the cover of Dance of the Butterfly.  I am not sure what inspired me, but the basic aesthetic always seemed to be there, lingering in my mind.  I want to thank Tomi Rautanen for the sketch of my idea which eventually became the visual basis for the cover.

That is the first week.  I do hope you have enjoyed these insights.  Feel free to leave any comments or questions.  Thank you.

 

There are things out there we don’t understand.  There are things in the darkness that hiss and whisper and gnaw at us.  We have our doubts and our fears.  There are behaviors we don’t understand.  Why are some people so horrible to others?  Why are some people convinced of living by hate and greed?  Mysteries abound within this existence.  We’d be arrogant to think we know everything.

There are those who have experienced things, and through the frailty of their own imperfect interpretation, they have attempted to relate these things.  There are books of strange knowledge, and there are those who would search through these for what kernel of truth may lie within.  There are those who protect such treasures, for even if they are not fully aware of the contents, they shall not let them be abused by others.

Three such rare and valuable books of power are out there.  Two have been found, but one still eludes.  There are two powerful families, one ruled by arrogance, the other tempered by responsibility.  Both could be very wrong in everything they do, and we might be headed to disaster no matter the efforts.  We might be headed to disaster if one or both succeed.

How does one stop the demons of men, even when those demons threaten to take on a life of their own?

Find out in my book, Dance of the Butterfly, the first in a series.

“This story has, action, romance and sex, …, intrigue, crime, and the occult, literally something for everyone. Give it a read. You’ll find it well worth the time.”

“The characters are rich and fully developed and the story reads like a great mystery film. Each piece of information is a puzzle piece – all leading down a dark road that the reader must travel to get to the revealing end.”

Click to buy the print version.
Click to buy the digital version.

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