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Monday, June 25, 2012

And Then Suddenly...Without a Publisher

Hello, Fire Enthusiasts. *sigh*

I guess I spoke too soon, huh? Last week we had all sorts of excitement about the future of my writing, things were suddenly moving right along again after being stagnant, it appeared that I would finally get that second book published...and now it's gone. This past Saturday afternoon I received an e-mail that my publishing house was closing, effective immediately. Now, I have all sorts of feelings about this, but I choose to look at the bright side... I just haven't found it yet.

Okay, that's not exactly true.

Some of you might be saying that this is a great opportunity for me to go out on my own. It is, but I am unsure whether I have the time to do that. You might recall the 11 hour day job. I know I can't forget it. It gets me up at 3 am. *grins sarcastically* What I mean is, I might have to shut down everything that I am currently doing in order to learn how to format, acquire artwork and contact all of the outlets in order to get set up with them as my own boss. If it is easy, I need all of you wonderful people to calm me down and point the way for me because it just seems so much easier with my schedule to find a publisher to do that for me.

My first thought was to hide this drama from you for a while as I attempted to figure things out in the coming weeks. Why did I change my mind and share it with you? The first answer is for catharsis. It feels good to write these thoughts down and to get over all of the frustration. Another reason is for some love from my peers. I can use all of the encouragement you've got right now as I pick up the pieces. You all have been nothing if not supportive, so I thank you in advance. A final reason is to share what is happening to me. It helps others to know what can happen, am I right? I did crawl into a bottle of White Zin Saturday night, but I'm okay now.

I'll be alright. I might back off blogging for a while as I research publishers, begin querying again or attempt to go it alone. I will refocus my energies on moving forward. What I will not be doing is quitting. I am a writer. I have one book published, the sequel ready for whoever might be the next editor and a stand alone third novel that I have been editing. This is only a bump in the road and I will emerge better for all of it. I'm sure of that. Absolutely sure of it! I just happen to stand at a fork in the road and need to choose my next path.

How are you guys doing on the path that you have chosen? I really don't ever want this forum to only be about me. I want to hear about you. How are things with you? As you bring encouragement to me, how can I encourage you right back?

Oh, before I forget; thanks for all of you who wished my wife and I well this past Friday on our wedding anniversary. It's been 22 years now. Actually, it's been 24 years because we got married on our 2 year anniversary of dating. I argued with a future sister in law, telling her that I was getting married on a Friday. Nobody gets married on a Friday, she told me. Do it Saturday. I am not getting married on my 2 years and 1 day anniversary, I told her. And I didn't. :)

Thanks so much for stopping by. *rubs hands together* I guess I have some work to do...

We'll talk soon.

P.S.: If you read Dance on Fire, feel like you have a great handle on the material and would like to be considered as a beta reader for its sequel, please let me know. While I decide what to do next, it occurs to me that I can now instantly send out Flash Point to anyone who might like to help perfect it. Let me know.

Monday, June 18, 2012

Have I Been Stalling?

Hello, Fire Enthusiasts... Wait! There are still Fire Enthusiasts out there, right? Hello?

Hello, my friends. This is precisely why I have come before you this week; to talk to you about my writing. You may have noticed that I have spent more time this year talking about the books that I have read more so than the books I have written. There's a story behind that; however, it isn't a very good story. Suffice it to say that there has been some drama behind the scenes which appears to have ironed itself out.

If you've been coming by periodically you know that there were some corrections that I wanted done to my first novel, Dance on Fire. Those are being done now. Both the e-book and the softcover will be corrected. The regulars may also realize that we've been stuck in the editing stage for quite a long time for the sequel, Flash Point. You would not be wrong, but that, too, is nearly complete. Those should be hitting my inbox in a matter of days and then I will pull a 24 hour shift and get those sent back out to my publisher. *Thinks again* Ok, perhaps not a 24, but as close as humanly possible.

In the meantime, I have begun editing the third novel that I have told you about entitled, Ghosts, and am very pleased with it. That book wrote itself very quickly this spring. I should be asking for beta readers at some point in July, if all goes well. I've never used betas before, but am looking forward to it. I have had a couple of wonderful people already offer to do that, and I love them for it. It has been a long time since my first release, and although I still don't exactly know when this second one is releasing, I do not want to wait as long for this third one to come out.

If you are unfamiliar with Dance on Fire, here's the blurb:

Each May, the Central California town of Kingsburg celebrates its Swedish heritage with the annual Swedish Festival: a weekend event where the town puts on its traditional dress, culminating with a dance around a Maypole on Friday, and a Swedish pancake breakfast and parade on Saturday. The town with a population of over 11,000 residents draws thousands more to the event. This year, two uninvited guests also converged upon the unsuspecting town.

Nathaniel is a vampire. He wandered into town, bothering no one; feeding upon stray cats and other vermin, wanting nothing more than to have a place to rest his head. Vincent is a second vampire, and the one responsible for making Nathaniel. He has been searching for his long lost “son” for well over two centuries. Vincent’s goal is to take Nathaniel home or kill him. Nathaniel has often wished for death, wondering why God ever allowed this punishment: to walk the earth undead and unable to be redeemed. Does God remember the little boy from Romania who watched his parents die, was raised by the murdering vampire, only to become one himself? What does God think of Nathaniel and could there yet be redemption for one outside of heaven?

Ten days before the start of the Swedish Festival the most tumultuous week in the history of Kingsburg has begun with two vampires leaving death and destruction in their wake. Kingsburg Police Detectives Mark Jackson and Michael Lopez, Barbara and the entire Lopez family find themselves drawn into something that threatens to destroy them all or leave them scarred forever.

In a marriage of the classic horror story and the Christian themes of good conquering evil and redemption, Dance on Fire is the account of characters being drawn into the fire and the supernatural forces around them watching as they burn.

Here's the blurb for Flash Point:

Five years after the death of their only child Tiffany, Steve and Angie Rosen receive an unexpected guest to their Morro Bay, California home: their daughter. She comes with a tale of having suffered a terrible head wound in the fire that took their Kingsburg home, causing her loss of memory and migraine headaches that force her to hide from daylight in order to prevent. Tiffany's reemergence is treated like Manna from Heaven; however, her story is only half true. Tiffany is a vampire and their daughter in name only. She sleeps during the day and hunts for human blood during the night, and has come back to enact a twisted revenge upon those who ruined the plans of her master, the notorious vampire, Vincent. And she is not alone.

Five years after the terrible events that reshaped the Swedish Village, Kingsburg lies unsuspecting as five vampires descend upon her with a great evil in their black hearts.
Five years after old wounds have finally healed and the old fires were thought extinguished, Police Chief Michael Lopez and Officer Mark Jackson and their families find themselves surrounded when fires blaze anew. The good vampire, Nathaniel, has pledged his service to these people, but he is no longer among them. He lives high in the Oregon Mountains near the California border, seeking whether God might have a place in His kingdom yet for him.
When Nathaniel discovers that Tiffany has returned, will he be too late to stop her? And will his desire to protect his friends destroy what God has begun in him? It will all begin with a Flash Point.

If you have yet to grab a copy of Dance on Fire, give it a week or so until I announce those corrections. I'll be sure to let you know.

I apologize for all of the delays. The next few weeks should be very exciting. I hope to have specific announcements and reveals for you. I will also be conquering that last peak: The book has been everywhere else and now finally will be available everywhere. I thank you all for standing by me during this process and for always being good to extend me some encouragement. I hope I have done likewise.

We'll talk soon.

Monday, June 11, 2012

Getting the Chills

Hello, Fire Enthusiasts. It's so good to have you stop by. I do so love your visits and, no, this isn't some Hotel California kind of moment. You can check out and leave any time you'd like. Trust me.

Chilling Films:

I finally watched The Woman in Black Saturday night and loved it. It did everything for me that I wanted it to do, much like the promise of a good roller coaster. I love a good Haunted House/Ghost story, as I've reported in the past. I started the film at 9:00 pm and turned out most of the lights in the living room/kitchen area. My poor wife fled immediately. She was reading her Kindle, so she headed for the master bedroom. School is out for the teachers, too, don'tcha' know, so my teacher-wife will be doing as much reading as she can during the summer.

Now, many of you might be saying, "C'mon, the film wasn't scary at all!". Remember, I really don't watch that many horror films, due to my family not appreciating the genre, so I have to enjoy 'em while I can. Although, I should say that this might be changing. My oldest took his brother to see the big Prometheus film on Friday, along with a bunch of his buddies, and is hoping to take me today (Sunday afternoon). They all watched Alien before they went. For those of you just back from a half year vacation on another planet and unaware of the significance, Prometheus is an unofficial prequel. Director Ridley Scott will not confirm it, but it is. So, perhaps my boys shall soon join me on the dark side.

In any event, The Woman in Black gave me a solid 10-12 real chills, and I love that. Some were expected and I suppose some might say came with too much warning, but they were good. For you Potter fans, I thought it was a good step beyond the Harry Potter series for Mr. Radcliffe. I don't like it when actors get type casted, so hopefully the performance will allow him to have a career beyond the wand. And, no, I didn't once think he would whip it out in order to do battle with that dreadful woman in black.

Chilling Research:

For those of you who have been by recently, you are aware that I have just completed the first draft of a new project involving ghosts. I was able to write the thing without doing a boatload of research first; however, I did realize that I would need to do some, delving into some dark subject matter in order to get specific about some of the plot. I started doing this Saturday morning. I had to research black magic; Satanism; rituals; and ritual items such as black candles and singing bowls to name but a few. Usually, I have my lap top in plain sight of others; however, not this time. I was seated at the head of the dining room table with my back against a wall, in order to hide what I was viewing. Some of the visuals were unpleasant.

With that being stated, have you had to do any research that made you uncomfortable? Anything unsavory? It doesn't have to be in the darkness either. Do you recall the Aaron Sorkin television series Sports Night that he did before The West Wing? Do you remember the episode where the reporter had to accompany a group of hunters on a deer trip? He was so upset because he thought hunting wasn't a sport, but just plain mean. Your research could have been like that. Have you had to research subjects that made you uncomfortable that way?

I'm just curious. You see, I would much rather talk to you than get back to my research... ;)

By the way, the boys and I did see Prometheus Sunday afternoon. I wrote this post earlier and have just gotten home after the film. I liked it. It was gripping, pretty well done and did everything that it needed to in order to be a fitting origin story. I only wished that I had sat with those high schoolers and watched Alien again on Friday. It might have helped my memory. That and, of course, it would have gotten me out of work at my day job.

We'll talk soon. 

Monday, June 4, 2012

A Blurb and the Blur

Hello, Fire Enthusiasts. It's me. What? It's me, Jimmy! What do you mean you don't remember? You haven't heard from me? *sigh* Well, I guess that's my fault, isn't it? Allow me to explain.

First, allow me to thank many of you who have wished us well with our two graduates this graduation season. Our oldest graduates high school next Thursday. Our other son just graduated from Junior High last week. Yesterday (I'm writing this post Sunday morning), we celebrated by throwing a party for both of them. With all of that going on, I have had to ignore my trusty laptop. I think there were two days where I didn't even turn it on. I peeked in on my trusty iPhone, but that was all. In fact, my laptop is barely speaking to me at this point. *laughs* So that's where I've been hiding.

On the publishing front, we're still mired in the editing process for Dance on Fire: Flash Point. No, that doesn't mean the book is bad or anything negative like that. Instead, it's more reflective of life getting in the way on both sides of the ocean (my publisher is in England, don'tcha' know?). In any event, we should have news on that front very soon as well as some kind of schedule of events with regard to the cover release, release date and promotion.

On top of that, you haven't heard anything from me with regard to my debut, Dance on Fire, because I have asked for some changes since the discovery of some issues that I told you about back in March. Once those are completed, I will resume promoting it as much as isn't nauseating for everyone around me. Sadly, we all can name a few of the those author friends who only seem to promote themselves and to do so incessantly. Am I right? I'm not trying to be mean. Lord knows, most of us are learning as we go, making twice as many mistakes for every brilliant idea; me most of all.

While I have been awaiting my edits for Flash Point, I started writing again. I believe I mentioned something about this recently. I backed away from the vampires with this one. I have always wanted to write a haunted house story, but refused to begin one until I thought I had an idea which presented itself as being fresh and one that would not fall flat in the end, as many films and books have done, in my opinion. This is not to say that my idea will be the next big thing (I'm hoping it is, I'm just not saying it. *laughs*). I'm really only saying that until I was excited about the project, I wasn't going to start writing it.

With that in mind, this past new year, I began sitting down and writing again. Please remember, I had only been doing promoting and networking, and hadn't written anything new since Flash Point, which was written over two years ago. I started out only writing on weekends, but recently abandoned my reading schedule and began writing nearly every day. In only about 4.5 months I knocked out the first draft of a 70k word novel that is currently entitled Ghosts.

The day after I finished, I spent a few minutes penning a blurb for it. I will leave you with it. The ink is still fresh and I have yet to whip out the fine toothed comb, but here it is:

            Paul Herrera hasn’t worked, left town or done much of anything since the untimely death of his wife two years before. He suddenly finds himself bequeathed a mysterious old house near the California central coast by a deceased aunt that he never knew. The woman who showed it to him and handed him the keys is the spitting image of his dead wife, taken from him two years before in a senseless car accident which also took from him his unborn son. While he deals with the ghosts of a past that he cannot let go, there are new ghosts as dead Aunt Flora is not content with eternal sleep, but continues her unholy quest to be rejoined with her dead husband on this side of the grave.

Flora isn’t the only ghost that Paul must deal with, alone for the week in the expansive two-storey house that he will soon discover holds many secrets. Eventually, he will see that he is surrounded by ghosts, both the ethereal and those that only haunt his memories, as he struggles to hold onto the only thing that he has left in this world: his sanity.
           Ghosts is the 72,000 word novel that mixes Paranormal, Horror and Romance to come up with a story that should appeal to everyone who likes their dark genres paired with reality that we can all relate to such as the feelings of terrible heart-wrenching loss and our search for a love that might outlive us.

We'll talk soon.