Showing posts with label writing. Show all posts
Showing posts with label writing. Show all posts

Monday, August 26, 2013

Is It Time to Finally Quit this Crazy Business?

Hello, friends and Fire Enthusiasts. We’re going to get real today – not that I lie, cheat or steal here. I just mean that I thought I would spend this time talking about my reality, and perhaps yours, too.
I’ve sold a few books, but that’s really all. Not too many. The 30 total reviews or so I have received for my three novels have been pretty good. I certainly can’t be anything but pleased with those. Even the one or two bad reviews are helpful in the grant scheme of things. I read those and then quickly moved on, refusing to dwell on the negative.
So why am I telling you all of this? Well, it’s because I wonder who else is struggling in the same waters as me?
For the most part I try and put on a positive display. I don’t lie and make up glorious numbers or pretend to be a best seller when I am clearly not. I do think it’s important to appear to be an “I’ve got it all together” -looking author. I think readers need to know that you’re not quitting tomorrow. On the other hand, I want to be a help to others. If I step out and admit that things are moving at a snail’s pace, perhaps it helps someone else who is on the verge of giving up.
I really think it is more important for me to get someone to back away from the proverbial ledge than it is to continue this front.
Earlier I mentioned something about water. You see, I know I’m not a bad writer. Too many have said wonderful things about my work for that to be true. The trouble is – and I really believe this – there is a sea of books out there. Ultimately, it may prove to be too much competition for many of us. I don’t think it’s only me. Are we telling our stories because we want to get rich? Or are we doing it because we simply have stories to tell and it would be a shame not to?
For my third book, I moved away from horror and penned a paranormal with a strong dose of romance. I was (and am) very excited about it. I once again paid for the professional edit job, and lucked out by getting a wonderful friend, author and artist to design a beautiful cover. I started dropping the teasers well in advance. I built buzz for a cover reveal, followed by the event; I literally did everything right in the promotion of it. I’m sure there was more, but I put all my time, efforts and everything I’d learned into it.
Very little happened. *crickets play*
Perhaps we really do need to withhold judgment until book ten. I don’t know. Seemingly every day we read about someone hitting it big with a first effort. Perhaps it really is not in the cards for me. Or you. Only God knows.
I did not pen this to be a rant. Nor did I hope to eclipse some record amount of comments, hoping to have so many people run to my aid for fear of me finally stepping over that ledge.
Let me just thank you well in advance now. I’m fine, and I appreciate the well-wishes. I’m not quitting. I have too many stories to tell…and I hope those of you who are in that same boat as I have stories to tell as well. It’s a tough business. However, it still is a very exciting time to be alive and find ourselves equipped with the gift of storytelling. For better or worse, I’ve published three novels that a handful of people seem to have enjoyed. You’ve written some things that people have enjoyed, too, right? If nothing else, we need to remember that it really is tough for everyone, and that we are not alone in that boat. Let’s take an evening to hold hands, pass the bottle around, sing some songs and celebrate our gift!
And then let’s get back to work.
Let’s not quit. Regret is a terrible thing. We’ll stop when the fingers no longer work well enough to hit these keyboard keys, or perhaps when they pull the damned plug.
I had hoped to spend the rest of the year promoting/networking. Now it appears I’m shutting that down to simply begin the next project. If you don’t hear from me it’s because I’m in the writers’ cave, using my two hours a day to write instead of network - thanks to my 11 hour day job.
I’ll be back. I promise.
I hope you will be as well.

We’ll talk soon.     

Monday, May 27, 2013

One More Week...

Hello, Fire Enthusiasts. Thanks for dropping by. Life continues to be crazy here. How about you? You know, we writers ought to be hospitalized for juggling as much as we do. Do you agree? We’re all doing the same things. We sleep little and spent time with our loved ones very infrequently. Instead, we’re married to our word processors or paper and pens, putting our stories down and editing them until they are just right.
I took that new position at work, and although I no longer have to get up at 3 am, I’m still working 11-12 hours, with some occasional Saturdays in there just to make it worse. Then I’ve got this new book coming out in a week, hoping that I’m doing enough to get it noticed in a giant sea of books that are equally as good if not better. It’s tough, isn’t it? Then of course I have to take the virtual broom and swat the part of my brain that doubts I’m any good at this, or that I am very good, but no one is going to notice. Do you spend any time doing that? Fighting off the demons in your head that try and get you to quit? I do. I know I’m doing it, too. Perhaps it’s our way of preparing ourselves for the negative possibilities. Either way, it isn’t useful.
So here I sit, spending an hour before work and maybe another hour afterwards, trying to get the word out, network or just visit my buddies out there in the world who are doing much the same things and in need of encouragement. I haven’t been on my treadmill in weeks, I’m barely getting any reading in and I’ve barely touched the house.
Yeah, we’re all crazy…but dedicated as hell! J I hope everyone out there is doing well. I thank you for stopping by, as always. I adore you for that. I’ve been visiting your places as I can. I mostly follow by e-mail however, so if you’re not using that feature, leave me a comment somewhere and I’ll come by for a visit.
Before I go, I’m going to leave you with another excerpt. I know many don’t like to read them. It’s only about 400+ words, and it’s a bit of high drama. I apologize for the language…

“Wake up!” a voice suddenly commanded. The owner of the voice must have kicked the bench, too, because I felt myself leap into the air. It was Patricia, leaning over me, wearing one of her patented scowls.
“What do you want?” I shouted at her, sitting up. God knew how little I had slept this time.
“It’s nothing to do with what I want! It’s what your aunt wants!”
“My aunt died, Patricia! I don’t give a shit what Casper the not-so-friendly ghost wants.” Even I was shocked at how convincing I sounded, but I figured it was best not to think about it. These few moments this week working off of pure adrenaline had been like good liquor buzzes. Indeed, they worked for me in many ways.
I stood. She took one step back, but that was all. “Just state your business.… In fact, I don’t even care why you’re here. Get the fuck off of my property before I have the police drag your ass off!”
“Nice try!” she shouted back. “I’ve every right to be here as you do.”
She was right. There wasn’t anything I could do about her being there.
Patricia straightened up as I stood before her, poised. She squinted at me while she measured my resolve. Finally, a weak smile appeared over her face.
“What?” I asked, crossing my arms over my chest.
“Flora wants you to prepare yourself. It’s time.” She turned on her boot heels and walked off the porch. “It’s good you’ve sent the others away.”
“Time for what, Patricia? Oh, and the others will be back. They’re with Thomas. No one is going anywhere.”
Patricia spun back to me. “Thomas? My, you are a trusting fool, aren’t you? Mister big shot. You don’t have the first fucking clue!”
“Go to Hell!”
“Yeah, maybe,” she said, nodding. “But I won’t be the only one! Your pastor will be there, too. Why don’t you tell him I said that and see whether he disagrees? Go ahead. I fucking dare you!”
Struck dumb, I simply watched her resume her march back to the guesthouse. Words floated inside my head, but I couldn’t make sense of them. A voice seemed to be asking me why I’d really felt it so important that Jason accompany his mother. I had no clue.
“Be ready!” Patricia yelled back before taking the last few steps and disappearing inside her house.
The longer I sat there the more I seemed to know something. Or suspect it. I glanced left and looked through the trees toward The Queen of Heaven Cemetery, as if being called by it.
“What is it?” I asked no one as I continued to stare at the cemetery. Eventually, I gave up on finding the answer and headed back inside.

The book is available now, if I have piqued your interest. If you want to wait until next Monday and help me make the biggest splash possible, that would be very lovely of you. On the other hand, if someone wants to buy my book, who am I to advise them when to do it? J Cheers, you guys! And hang in there.

We’ll talk soon.

Monday, December 17, 2012

A Future Without Twitter?

Hello, Fire Enthusiasts. How are you all doing? Are we in the Christmas spirit yet? I hope so. I am getting there, but some things have risen up to do their best to dampen them…

Things have gotten tough at the dreaded day job. Due to many factors, we had a lousy busy season and have been forced to work weekends. I got out of working a weekend ago and the subsequent Monday due to the fact that we already had plans to accompany our high school freshman and his choir to Disneyland and the Candlelight celebration. It was a very cool time, but now I’m on the clock for weekend work and worked this past Saturday. I typically take two weeks off during the holidays – you may recall my having been sick for them last year. In any event, even that is in jeopardy, and I may have to work during this time as well.

Not only are we really busy, but now I find myself really tired. It didn’t take long at all for the busy workload to wipe away that three-day weekend I just had. Christmas makes us all busy. I’m trying to get some writing in, but my three hour window is shaky now because some days I am far too tired to concentrate. Lately, I’ve hardly blogged at all. Many have continued to visit in spite of the fact that I have rarely reciprocated, which I adore you for, and hope to improve upon.

Then this past Wednesday morning during a work coffee-break I attempted to do my #WriterWednesday shout-outs on Twitter, only to discover that the Follow Friday App had been permanently shut down. This left me with no real way of doing that work – which is more of a labor of love for me, to be honest. I just don’t have the time to check Facebook or Twitter feeds, so doing my #WW and #FF work from my trusty iPhone was my only dedicated method of continuing that interaction. I was left more than a bit disappointed by the fact that I only heard from a handful of friends last week when I usually hear from so many more.

Out of sight is out of mind, so I suppose what really bothered me was the very real possibility that I might be quickly forgotten in a community where we literally “know” hundreds and thousands of people. One might have thought that less Twitter interaction might actually be better, giving me more time to write, read or blog, but I don’t see it that way. To me, it’s a big loss.

So, my friends, does anyone have any suggestions? Is there another App that can help me do the same thing? I’m not interested in mass following and unfollowing people which seems to me to be what these bigger and better mousetraps are for now. How do you Twitter-loving folks keep up and reach out? I just want to be able to interact with my friends, even if it is only at 140 characters.
We’ll talk soon… I hope.

Monday, October 15, 2012

Can You Believe I'm Vlogging Again?

Good Lord! It's never easy, is it? Hello, Fire Enthusiasts. I was lazy this weekend and thought I would just do another vlog. Can you believe it? You know it's really bad if I decided to do this again. Right? *laughs* If you've seen my previous attempts at this, you know how nervous I can get. Would you look at that expression! Everything went great, but this is the shot that You Tube chose to feature. *sigh*

Trust me, my friends. This is the low point of the entire thing. The video actually came out rather well, considering I did it on one take. Anyway, check it out and either beg me to do more or offer to send money if I'll never do another. ;)

We'll talk soon.

Monday, October 1, 2012

The Next Big Thing

Hello, Fire Enthusiasts. With my second novel set to drop any week now, you'd think that I might be coming to you to promote it; however, instead, I am here to discuss the novel after that. I guess I'm weird that way!

Not really. Well, yes, I am, but that's not what I mean. You see, one of my sweetest pals on the planet happened to tag me with something they call The Next Big Thing. I do have a book coming out this October, the sequel to my debut vampire series, Dance on Fire. The sequel is called Dance on Fire: Flash Point, but you probably already knew that. Unfortunately, I am not allowed to speak of that one. I'm supposed to speak of the next one...

1)  What is the working title of your book?

The book is currently entitled Ghosts. It deals with both the literal as well as the figurative kind that can haunt us.

2)  Where did the idea come from for your book?

I love a good ghost story and have always wanted to write one. You may have read previously from me that I only take on one writing project every year or so, due to my schedule. Call it my muse, the gears in my head or an idea I caught out of the air - which is where I usually tell people my ideas come from - but I finally have something worth proceeding with.

3)  What genre does your book fall under?

I write horror, but one of my true loves is the Romantic Comedy. Therefore, you will find that I am leaving vampires momentarily to enter the paranormal romance arena. The book will be loaded with frights, but will delve into the sad suffering heart of our protagonist and see whether he might be able to love again.

4)  Which actors would you choose to play your characters in a movie rendition?

My friends, I'm skipping this one. I don't want to get in trouble for using photos, nor do I have the time to dig some up. Perhaps when I get closer to publication this might be something worth doing, but for now, we're moving on...

5)  What is the one-sentence synopsis of your book?

Alone for a week in an old mysterious house he just inherited, widower Paul Herrera finds himself surround by ghosts, both ethereal and those that haunt his memory, as he struggles to hold onto the only thing that he has left in this world: his sanity.

6)  Will your book be self-published or represented by an agent?

Now that I am on my own, I will continue to press forward as an independent.

7)  How long did it take you to write the first draft of your manuscript?

I wrote the first draft of the novel in about three months or so. It currently sits at about 72,000 words. My two vampire novels came in at the 110,000 word mark, so it didn't take that long.

8)  What other books would you compare this story to within your genre?

Sadly, you've caught me on this one. I don't really read this genre, so I'm afraid I have committed the sin of not knowing the competition as well as I might otherwise. However, having told you that, I know the names of the authors out there and the books they write, and I think I'm pretty safe. Although I am struggling to find the audience for my vampire series, I am very excited to get this novel out into the marketplace.

9)  Who or what inspired you to write this book?

Once again, my heart loves to be engaged with a book or film as long as the subject doesn't come off as sappy or melodramatic. Since I like to be scared and have my heart-strings tugged on, it seemed like the perfect pairing to me. There was no one person or event that inspired the book. It is simply something that I would like to read, so I'm writing it.

10)  What else about your book might pique the reader's interest?

If you know how I write, you know I like the elements of horror that put an audience on the edge of its seat. What I don't appreciate is blood, gore or torture for the shock value. I also do not need to be in the bedroom with the characters. I've been in my bedroom and have fathered a couple of children, so I understand how it works. *laughs* With Ghosts you can expect to be scared, feel great sadness and hope that love will ultimately have its way.

Thanks for stopping by, everyone. If you feel like playing this particular game, then consider yourself tagged. I also need to thank Adriana Noir. She's a great friend, exceptional writer herself, invaluable ally and a lovely human being in every sense of the word. Hugs to you, Adri, as always. You can visit her at her website and really should.

Oh, before I go, you may have already noticed that I am changing things up a bit. I don't know about you but I'm sick of the same old "author" photo. I've been flying with it since early 2010. I can't stand it when the shampoo bottle changes seemingly three times a year; however, I haven't sported that beard in two years thanks to staring at the photo for so long. Lol! What do you think about this one? My wife took it, as you can well imagine. I think it's more faithful to the person I really am than the serious leather-jacketed one I've been using. I hope it works for you.

We'll talk soon.

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 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.

Monday, May 28, 2012

A Long Weekend, A Short Week & Two Graduates

Hello, Fire Enthusiasts. How is everyone? I am good. Monday is Memorial Day here in the States, so I will not be at work, but home. For those of you who are also on holiday, I hope you are enjoying it. For those of you in places where the holiday is not celebrated, or in a position where you have to work it, I hope the week is treating you well. It is in that spirit that I have come to you with very little more than just a thank you for stopping by.

You see, I have been doing more writing these days, and at the time of this writing (Sunday night), I am very close to completing the first draft of my new novel. I haven't read much lately as I have really enjoyed writing down the scenes which have been playing rapidly, one after the other inside my head. With any luck, I may finish by the time you are reading this post sometime Monday...

...On the other hand, I have both of my sons graduating this year and we have much to do to be prepared for the party that we are throwing next weekend, and only so many days to get it done. Now, I say "we", but in all actuality it is my saint of a wife who is doing much of the work. I merely assist and do some of the heavy clean-up/prep work. If I don't get this first draft of the novel finished just yet, it will be because I have a high school and junior high school graduates that I need to attend to.

If you have a graduate this year, high five them for me and offer them my congratulations for a job well done.

Let's also take a moment to remember those who have served to protect the peace, especially if they have had to pick up arms to protect it with force.

We'll talk soon.

Monday, April 9, 2012

Balancing Life with The Writer Stuff

Hello, Fire Enthusiasts. I trust you had a fine Easter holiday. My teacher wife and two teenagers were off from school. My oldest actually went on a trip to New York City for a choir performance with his high school jazz choir. We did not travel with the group this time as we did last year for the Wind Ensemble trip to Carnegie Hall. We could have gone, but decided to stay home and worry instead. *laughs* Actually, we have college to begin paying for this year, so that was chiefly the reason.

We did take a few days and travel down to Anaheim, California. No, we didn't go to Disneyland... Yes, I know. There's a special place in Hell for people who get that close to the Magic Kingdom, but don't go in! We only live 3 hours away, so we go quite frequently. This time was for an Angel's baseball game and some really good food and shopping in either the Garden Walk mall or the Downtown Disney section between the parks.

How are all of you doing these days? I battled the blues a bit recently. You know the drill: Why am I killing myself with all of this work, effectively working two jobs? What’s the point? Few are reading my book, so I need to promote it more… However, the more I promote, the less I actually write another…

I’m okay now. We all go through those feelings, don’t we? Having said all of that, I do think I need to re-evaluate once again. I’ve done a much better job with networking of late – many of you no doubt have noticed me lurking about your blogs. I see many more still, but sometimes do not have time to leave comments. I know that I have more followers now and I need to check those out and see if I have yet to follow back, etc. One could easily network all day long, am I right?

The question remains: am I a blogger or a writer? Ultimately, I’m a writer. I know this. You know this. And you know this about yourselves, too.

I was taking my writing to work with me there for a while until it dawned on me that bringing a virus to work on my USB might not be the best idea that I have ever had, so I have since discontinued this risky endeavor. Since that only leaves a few hours after work with which to get writing in, I haven’t been able to do so, instead spending all my free time networking. I considered buying an iPad. I could then take my writing to work with me without penalty (I’m a supervisor at my day job, so I have some down opportunities amongst the 11 hours spent there). On the other hand, aren’t I paying enough for Internet? Good Lord! Between the High Speed at home and the 2 iPhones, we don’t need another bill. In the meantime, I am only writing on Saturday mornings. It is usually a very productive time, but not nearly enough.

What I am trying to do is read through the blog posts that I want to visit from my iPhone while at work, and then quickly commenting en mass when I get home. I hate attempting to comment from my trusty iPhone because it's too frustrating on such a small device. I have only been trying this procedure for a couple of weeks. This week, I hope to begin writing for an hour each day. Hopefully, I will be able to do this, as well as visit a few blogs. If not, I might have to drastically cut down on the amount of blogs I visit throughout the week. I hope it doesn't come to that.

We’ll see what happens. It is all a constant re-evaluation. I have one book released. I have another which is to be released sometime this summer. I'm very pleased with the development on my third novel, but finding that time to write has proven elusive. Beyond that, I can think of two other projects that I would love to begin.

I just don’t have the time...

My sons are getting older, too, and I spend very little time with them. I’m talking about real time, not just saying hello and bumping into them in the hallway or at the dinner table.

Everything just continues to be a constant re-evaluation. I'll continue shaking things up as needed with regard to what I refer to as: The Writer Stuff. What I absolutely refuse to do is let our friendships die because I just disappeared to write more.

It's that dreaded and mythical word: Balance. How are you dealing with it right now? Are you winning that battle or not? I'd love to hear your tricks as well as your steadfast rules or stance on juggling The Writer Stuff.

So, to that end, we’ll talk soon.

Monday, August 29, 2011

Monday Morning Musings

Hello, Fire Enthusiasts. How was your week? Mine was busy, as always, but also quite rewarding, as you'll see.

Many thanks to my buddy, Ellie Garratt. She hosted the Star Trek Blogfest last week. It was very cool, reading through each list and meeting new people. It was also educational for me, because I never paid much attention to any of the other Star Trek series or films. My allegiance was always to the original cast. It wasn't intentional. It's just how it all worked out. Anyway, I gained a bunch of new followers out of the blogfest who I look forward to getting to know better. *waves to new friends* If I missed any of your blog posts last week it was because it took me three days to get through the Star Trek posts. I believe it was nearly fifty.

On Friday morning, I happened to come across a Facebook Page entitled, Novel Publicity. They were doing a chain where you posted the link on your page, along with a simple sentence which alerted participants that you knew the rules of the game and intended to play along. Next, we posted on the Novel Publicity post and then headed off into cyberspace to meet new people. It took quite awhile getting through the list and saying hello to everyone participating; however, by the time it was all said and done, my author's page on Facebook had jumped nearly 100. Out of that number I did manage to find a few familiar faces that I already knew. Although only a few appear to share my darker genre, I think there are many that we'll find share some things in common, and will end up being friends out of the deal. I plan to join again next week if I'm able. Perhaps I'll see you there.
On the reading front, I have been reading Drood by Dan Simmons. It is a huge book that I picked up at Borders when we were in Monterey, California last month. It is the story of real-life Charles Dicken’s supposed infatuation with a mysterious character that ends up consuming the last years of his life. Unfortunately, I only have about a half hour each night to read, and although the novel is very interesting and intriguing, I can’t find any other time to read. No matter how good the novel is, I read in bed before going to sleep, since it helps to tire me out. When do some of you writers find the time to read?

Speaking of writing, by the time that you read this post, I should be doing an edit/rewrite on my second novel, the sequel to Dance on Fire. It is currently entitled, Dance on Fire: Flashpoint. Before I do that, however, I need to get going on my next article for Kings River Life Magazine. I’m writing about a very talented gentleman that composes, performs and leads choirs. His music has been played all over the world. He teaches and actually leads worship in our church. It should be interesting.

How are your stress levels, my friends? I’m not going to repeat myself here; most of you are aware of my day and little time I have to do anything. A week ago, I took most of Saturday and Sunday to clean my house–I had neglected it that much. Now, with the work that remains on my novel, plus the itch inside me to begin writing book three, I am really beginning to need to clear my desk, as it were. It may be time yet again to reevaluate what takes up my time.

How about you guys? Kids are back in school, so do we have more time to write or less?

Anyway, I hope you all have a great week. I hope our paths cross more than once, whether it be the blogs, Twitter, Facebook or any of the other social networks. Are any of you on Google + yet? I'm not, but would like to be. Do we still need to be invited? If anyone knows the scoop on that, I'd love to hear it.

We'll talk soon.

Monday, August 15, 2011

Writing & Reviews

Hello, Fire Enthusiasts. It strikes me that I rarely discuss any writing on these hallowed pages. There’s a good reason for that. You see, I haven’t done any.

Well, I shouldn’t say that. I usually write one to two new things a week; however, those are blog posts like this one or the articles that I write for Kings River Life Magazine. Unfortunately, I am in the middle of projects, so I haven’t really begun my third WIP. As soon as the edits are completed for Dance on Fire: FlashPoint, then I shall begin writing book three.

Many of you are writing all the time. Many are working on several projects at once. Many are engaging in 30 day marathons like NaNo where you write that novel in one month. Many are writing flash pieces each and every week.

I envy you guys. Kind of sounds like Kevin Spacey’s character in Seven, doesn’t it? I assure you that it is only coincidental. *grins*

Perhaps this will change, my not writing more regularly. At the moment, I spend much of my time networking, leaving precious little time for anything else. It is hard enough trying to get readers to find my crossover vampire novel without that. It’s very good, too, I’m told. It seems to get great reviews all over the place. I just have to keep getting the word out.

With that in mind, I thought I would share some of the reviews that I have been getting...

"I love what Garcia has done with Dance on Fire. ...The characters are drawn with depth and substance. Garcia has a gift for dialogue that “shows” more than “tells” the reader about the characters. I was also struck by the imaginative storyline which builds tension to the dramatic, bittersweet climax. Garcia mixes a horror thriller with deep suggestions about the nature of grace and providence and leaves you thinking about these concepts long after the book is finished." --Pastor Ed Ezaki

"I particularly love the start, you do not need to be told that this guy is bad news. From there on it never lets up and keeps you wanting to read right up the ending. Well thought out and well crafted." --Author Mathew Bridle

"I thoroughly enjoyed Dance On Fire... The plot was skillfully developed and strung together with such grace, I wasn't really sure what was going to happen in the end until the conclusion. Garcia teases the reader in a variety of directions, and, like any good mystery, although you search for clues, nothing is revealed until the end. I liked the treatment of the vampire as both light and dark, and this book dealt with both sides believably." --Author Angela Love

"The plot is superbly written, I loved how it also took the form of a mystery while you follow the detectives trying to solve the bizarre murders. You won’t be disappointed in the growing tension which builds up to a dramatic climax. Don’t let the genre titles of horror or Christian put you off, if you love vampire stories, you’ll enjoy this book!" --Author Jennifer Wylie

"...Let me commend author James Garcia, because in his adept hands he has made this thoroughly engrossing novel an exceptional read. I loved it!" --Author Carole Gill

"Garcia uses strong verbal details; there is no stone left unturned in this novel. He takes his time developing his characters, weaving them together in a written structure that is multicolored, and part of a plot that is spiritual, sensual, intriguing, and stimulating. There are subtle twists and turns that keep one turning the page, whether a paranormal aficionado or not." --Michelle Cabezut, Fresno Magazine

"I thought using the time of day instead of chapters really added to the pacing. The final battles at the homes and police station were exciting and well detailed, putting me in the action along with the characters. I'll have to admit what I found extremely compelling were the flashbacks to Romania and the Poienari Fortress. The crumbling fortress, the cold, the master vampire - all these things tugged at my particular kind of horror. A really good novel, and a thrilling read." --Author Timothy Hobbs.

Many thanks to those reviewers as well as to all of the others who have taken the time to read my little book. I really appreciate you more than you know.

I hope to reward that allegiance that you have offered me with each new work.

We'll talk soon.