The Great War

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It’s been in the back of my mind for nearly a year now. So don’t be surprised if you see a World War 2 book coming in 2015. It’s always been an obsession of mine. When I look at the picture above, I see a lot of folks and a lot of stories. As a child, it was all about the cool chests that you could order by mail. They were filled with floor maps, toy soldiers and military equipment. As I grew older, my interest shifted to the details of such a large-scale war. Why it happened in the first place? How could so many countries be involved to the point of war?

As most of you already know, I’ve been writing science fiction since 2011. I plan to continue that as well, though this last week has been eye-opening for me. As I’ve rested with a serious case of the flu, I’ve thought about World War 2 a lot. Enough to make me want to invest time into it. I feel like I have to. So tonight I’ll celebrate the birth of 2015. Tomorrow morning, I’ll wake up in 1939 and begin working on a set of characters that may just be the greatest I’ve ever written.

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Farewell 2014.

As I sit here battling the flu, my thoughts are on the year of 2014 and what I will accomplish in 2015. Other folks call them resolutions – I call them dedications.

Fitness is something most folks strive for and luckily, I got a jump on this back in the summer. I began eating healthier and lifting weights(which I hadn’t done in a while), and my plan is to continue both. They seem to be helping a lot. The flu may have me down a bit, but I’m kicking its ass as the end result. Without going to see a doctor, mind you.

My dedication for 2015 deals with time management. In case you missed it, I dropped from the grid for several months in 2014. We completely dropped the internet and simplified a lot of things. I found it to be very helpful, while very annoying when it came to work. Publishing writing is a pain in the ass without the internet, just so you know. We ultimately picked it back up and I need to find that cozy grey area between having my face stuck in a computer screen 24/7 and going caveman. In other words, happy trails to everything but Twitter and WordPress. Yes Facebook, I’m looking at you. We haven’t been in love for a very long time and there’s no sense in dragging it out any further. We’re over. I’m dedicating myself more to writing and less to anything that sucks my time away. Except family, of course. They are always my priority.

Finally, as I look back at 2014 I have mixed reviews. Lost City and Zombie Cowboys were two books that I had very high hopes for. And, to be completely blunt – they bombed. Lost City(Atlantis) did show signs of life for a bit, but a sequel is just not in the cards. Let’s not even talk about Zombie Cowboys. Meanwhile, The Fleet and Gunship: The Afterworlds are both sailing high. The Afterworlds is likely the best work I’ve written to date. There are certainly more books coming for both series in 2015.

As a whole, I realize that’s what  writing is all about. Chance. Every single time I sit down to write, it could become the next great thing in science fiction. Or, sadly, it could become the next Zombie Cowboys(tears up). That’s why I love writing. That’s what I find exciting about the profession as a whole. It’s a blank canvas in which I can throw down my ideas, sail them over to my awesome editor and then publish the story. Entering it into the casino game of published writing.

2015 will certainly bring more writing. I’m not sure what the stories will be, just yet, but I will approach them the same way I always have. By putting the reader first. Because at the end of the day, there’s nothing more rewarding than seeing a perfect stranger enjoy your story.

I’m that guy.

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We all know the type. The guy(or gal) who just has a problem following the traditional mold. You hand me a yearbook and I fill the entire page with a guy drinking beer. You tell me flu shots are important, and I tell you I haven’t had the flu since quitting the shots nine years ago. Stubborn, hard-headed or original. You be the judge.

Anyway, I’ve come to realize this translates to writing as well. There are a handful of local authors burning up the trail when it comes to book signings, conventions and author groups at the local library. Again, no can do. If I have to hang up a sign explaining who I am to folks, then I’m just an average guy. That’s why I don’t currently do book signings. Have I had offers? Of course. I’ve had the opportunity to set up in my local Barnes & Noble, turned down an invitation to a local writer’s group and blown off several local newspaper chances. The honest to God reason for all of the above is pretty simple. I don’t write books for recognition. If I ever make it to the platform Stephen King stands on, then yes, I may actually do a book signing or two. Until then, I just don’t see the point. If I’m in a bookstore, I want to read books. Not tell folks why they should be buying mine.

I don’t understand what authors gain from book signings, aside from sitting behind a table and appearing to be fancy? Networking? No, I can network with more potential readers in the span of 30 minutes on social media. Sales? Most authors sell a handful of copies at best. I can sell that while eating ice cream in my underwear. I just love to write. For the longest time I thought it was a hidden persona of mine, but now I know different. Now I understand that I’m a very quiet and secluded author who sometimes has to put on a public face to visit the grocery store. Do I want to be there? No. I’d rather be writing. My characters are my soul and my readers are very important to me. Even by reading this blog, you’re sharing a part of me that remains private to most.

Still, if you hand me a yearbook – expect a picture of a guy drinking beer.

Charming

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Lucas Charming was once Cleveland’s top police officer. Divorce changed all of that. Years later, he finds himself a broken man who’s taking up the work of a private detective. Lucas’ life is about to change, however, as his ex-wife shows up and begins talking about a mysterious box she’s uncovered. But it’s not until her disappearance that Lucas begins to investigate the box in question – forever altering life as he knows it.

Charming is a story set in a parallel world in which things are much, much different. Queens rule the lands – not government as we know it. There is no digital technology and Lucas quickly finds himself adapting as best he can, while relying on the wits of his extensive police background. Will he search for his ex-wife and try to bring her back home – or will he search for the same woman in a parallel world and hope for a second chance at his first marriage?

Charming: Book One (Summer 2015)

Photo copyright – Vladimir Petkovic

Why I don’t do NaNoWriMo.

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I’m still hearing a lot of chatter about NaNoWriMo on Twitter. I’ve even had some lengthy chats on there with folks who are firm believers in the movement. For those of you who don’t know, NaNoWriMo stands for National Novel Writing Month. Or so I’m told. It’s a movement that is used in the world of writing to motivate folks to write.

Today I don’t want to write. Honestly, I don’t. I stayed up late playing Destiny for the Xbox and even watched a few episodes of The Office. I love that show! This morning I woke to to a beautiful wife and two very energetic children. My backside is dragging. Still, as a full-time author, I know it’s time to write. That’s why I don’t really understand the NaNoWriMo movement? If you have been a part of it in the past and successfully written a book within a single month’s time – why are you not writing professionally?

To me, NaNoWriMo is kind of gimmicky. People need something to be a part of I suppose, I don’t know? I started my own version of NaNoWriMo a while back. It’s called #IfIDontWriteIDontEat and it motivates the hell out of me. If you need a gimmick to keep you motivated when it comes to writing, don’t ever expect to do it for a living. That’s today’s lesson. Because I understand that every single day, brand new authors are arriving by the thousands and in order to continue doing what I love to do, I have to outwork them. Writing professionally is a marathon that never ends. You either continue running or folks who are a bit hungrier will pass you by.

Let that motivate you.

Star Wars – The Force Awakens

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The force is strong with Disney, and I don’t like it. Yes, I’m about to play Mr. Bad Guy, so strap on your boots. The other night while at Hell Mart(otherwise known as Wal-Mart), the wife comments that she wished something would come along and do away with all of the Frozen items. Yogurt, toys, clothes, bubble gum, nail polish, Christmas cards. You get the idea. Frozen has, in a sense, knocked Duck Dynasty from its high horse and replaced the show’s merchandise. For better or worse, I’ll not offer an opinion on that.

Sadly, Frozen isn’t likely to be knocked from its high horse until the new Star Wars movie releases. I use the term sadly, as we are guaranteed to be blitzed with so much Star Wars merchandise that the sight of it will likely make a vast majority hate the franchise. You will always have the loyal Star Wars fans, yes, but at some point you’re not the coolest guy on the block anymore. Especially when three year old kids are collecting the same hot items you are. Right?

I’ve been vocal about the fact that Star Wars is seriously overrated. Battlestar Galactica, Firefly, Doctor Who, Stargate and Jeremiah. All shows with much better writing and very serious staying power, in my opinion. And that required no thought as the names just popped up – meaning there are likely plenty more. But Star Wars has the financial backing of the good old mouse. Like it or not, Star Wars isn’t going anywhere. It’s likely not to include Jar Jar Binks, but does it really matter? The fans of the original three are now the smaller target group and when it comes to making money, Disney is all over it. The movie, its merchandise and overall experience will be tailored to a younger demographic. That’s just how it is. Translation? Plenty of CGI and characters with little to no depth. The same things hardcore fans bitched about with the second trilogy.

So prepare your closets and clear those toy bins. The overpowering shower of child-targeted merchandise is coming soon. Most science fiction fans will be there opening night, helping to fuel the fires of Disney. I will not be. It takes more than the original theme song and a glimpse of Han’s nifty ship to get me in the mood. The eve of children wearing Star Wars pajamas in droves is upon us. Candy, potato chips, soda cans and so many more items targeted to the young demographic are coming. They have been here since day one, but with Disney at the controls – you haven’t seen anything yet.

You’ve been warned young Jedi. And I do mean young. Unless, of course, you’re one of the older guys holding on to the thread-like dream of recapturing the glory days. If that’s the case, I have two words for you.

Battlestar Galactia.