Stalk me elsewhere

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, August 19, 2013

Author Greg Sisco Day

Hello, Fire Enthusiasts. Welcome to Author Greg Sisco Day here on the blog. Some of you may wish to run away now. I’d like you to stay, but I completely understand if you don’t.
What’s that? You don’t know who Sisco is? Ah, that is a shame. In that case, please stay…
Are there any Howard Stern fans out there? I used to be, but only liked him when someone was controlling him. When the reins were removed, and he was able to be as raunchy as he wanted, that’s when I moved on. Now, please do not take me for a saint. I’m sad to report that I am very far from it. I am well acquainted with every foul word ever invented by man, pulled from the circles of Dante’s Hell or wherever bad words come from. I wished I wasn’t, and I certainly don’t practice using them. Well, you know… Suffice it to say that I have stubbed a toe or mistakenly struck my thumb with a hammer now and again. Get what I’m sayin’? The reason I tell you this is because in order to get through this next book, you’re really going to have to be able to stomach each and every one of those words – and quite frequently!
“Why would anyone want to read something so potentially foul,” you may ask? I’ll tell you why. It’s because it’s written by author Greg Sisco. And after reading nearly everything he’s written, I can tell you that he doesn’t write a bad book. Believe it.

Here’s the synopsis of his most recent: Gunslinger, P.I.
His name is Garret Gallagher, but don't call him that or he'll shoot you in a particularly uncomfortable appendage. Every thug and criminal in Scud City knows him as Gunslinger. They say he traveled through time from the Old West. They say he drives a talking car. They say for five grand he can solve any murder in forty-eight hours.
As it happens, everything they say is true.
Gunslinger, P.I. follows five days in Gunslinger's life. Hired by an allegedly Irish gangster to investigate a particularly suspicious murder, Gunslinger navigates a rocky relationship with his talking car girlfriend, lusts over a foul-mouthed femme fatale, butts heads with a twenty-first century cowboy wannabe, plays Russian Roulette with an idiot, and seeks out revenge on anyone who lies to him -- which happens to be pretty much everybody.
A darkly comic murder mystery at its heart, Gunslinger, P.I. blends Western and noir with touches of fantasy, science fiction, and romance for a one-of-a-kind, mile-a-minute ride at the hands of a crass, madman antihero with no regard for the reader's comfort level.

When I first began undertaking the adventure that is Gunslinger, P.I., I found myself debating whether it might be too much. His works typically are R-rated, but this one – much like One Night Stan’s is in the very least rated NC-17. I don’t know why, but I kept going. Perhaps I have a trust factor with him. In fact, I know that’s why.

I am a devoted follower of his Blood Brothers Vampire series: I fawned over Thicker Than Water, and then raced over to grab The Wages of Sin. I am firmly on record as admitting that he blows away pretty much everything else that’s out there that’s vampire-related. That includes mine. With One Night Stan’s – a book that I arguably should not have read, due to its graphic content – I found that I just couldn’t help myself. If you haven’t yet figured it out, reading Sisco may very well be my guilty pleasure!

I’ve read some of Gunslinger’s reviews and can tell you that there a few upset people out there. They had no idea what they had begun to read and did not appreciate it at all. I can understand. It is definitely not for the faint of heart. However, having said that, I promise you that there are no words, sentences or turn of phrases used simply for shock value. Not one. Believe it or not, but each and every one of those are carefully and strategically placed.
“But wait!” I can hear you ask. “Don’t you go to church regularly, and pray, and everything? How could you not only read this, but seem to enjoy it immensely?” Yes, it’s true. As a Christian - especially after reading One Night Stan's - I find myself covering one eye when I see a new release from him and mutter the prayer: "Lord, what has he done now?" Lol! See, I told you he was my guilty pleasure.
Just know that if you could stomach the characters of Gunslinger, P.I. & the world they navigate, you’ll find that the book is perfect. The writing is wholly imaginative, the plot gripping and tight, and it’s loaded with the signature Sisco wit that will really pull you back for more.
Author Greg Sisco’s books
are sometimes rough stuff. Yet, every single time - no matter what the material - I find myself unable to put the book down and cheering at the end!

Monday, August 12, 2013

More Good Reads

Hello, Fire Enthusiasts. How is everybody? It’s good to see you. I thank you so much for stopping by. I realize everyone is so incredibly busy. Lord knows I am. I’ve been trying to visit everyone periodically. If you haven’t seen me for a while, please say hello and leave your link. I’ll be right over.

Lately, it seems that there has only been time for blogging and reading, so that’s what I continue to be up to. Soon, however, that will change as I transition over to writing once again. I haven’t written anything new since last year’s project which was Seeing Ghosts. More on that later…

I have a few more books to tell you about.

An Illusion of Trust by Linda Cassidy Lewis

In this sequel to The Brevity of Roses, Renee Vaziri discovers that even when your dreams come true your nightmares remain. When Renee Marshall locked the door on her dark past and married Jalal Vaziri, she hoped for a quiet life in a California coastal town. Now, with a sexy, adoring, wealthy husband, one beautiful child and another on the way, she dares to believe happily ever after could be her future. But doors don’t always stay locked. As the stress of living in Jalal’s high-society world increases, the traumas of Renee’s past begin to poison the present and threaten to destroy everything she treasures. Is it her imagination or is Jalal keeping a secret that will end their marriage and rip her children from her life? And could it involve Diane, the woman who reminds Renee too much of Jalal’s beloved first wife?

It’s not exactly horror, is it? No, but you may recall me telling you before that I like to mix things up that way. Lewis is a dear friend of mine. We’re practically neighbors, too, and I can’t wait to sit down with her and chat about writing. In any event, it was not difficult at all to get me to grab my copy of this book. Lewis’ writing is top notch and I really enjoyed this book. I wanted to strangle Lewis’ character Renee a few times, but her struggles are integral to the story and make perfect sense once you’ve taken this continued journey with her. Lewis spins a fine tale and I hope she continues to pick up her mighty pen and blaze trails like this one. I fear Lewis is uncertain of the talent she has, but she shouldn’t. Her writing is as good as anything out there in the market place. If this sounds up your alley, I hope you’ll give it a try.

Immaterial Evidence by Milo James Fowler

The vault door never opened. The bank went into lock down in less than a minute. Yet the security footage was unmistakable: a hundred silver bars had simply vanished. Ever since the city’s most dangerous crime boss put a price on his head, private investigator Charlie Madison has lived as an exile in Little Tokyo. But now an old friend and police sergeant has lured Madison back into the city to hunt down an invisible criminal—if he can. As Madison makes his clandestine return, high-profile people start disappearing. And when federal agents swoop onto the scene to take matters into their own hands, they offer Madison a deal he can't refuse—as long as he agrees to work with them. With Japanese freedom fighters and refurbished killing machines threatening to take the world to the brink of nuclear holocaust, the United World government needs all the help it can get. Embroiled in an unimaginable mystery, one private eye must rely on his wits to solve a case where the evidence is immaterial, and the odds are stacked high against him at every turn.

I really liked this story. It was a bit of crossover fun; a cross between Mickey Spillane and iRobot. Fowler really painted the classic noir/gumshoe world well with the typical seedy areas of town – warehouses, dark alleys, cultural inner city sections – as well as the great dialogue and narration/detective’s inner voice. The science fiction part of the story was a new twist I had yet to see, but why not? Why does everything in this genre have to be Maltese Falcon-ish?

The story was fairly short which I’m curious about. All in all, I had no complaints. It was different, well-written and completed submerged me in Madison’s world. It wasn’t a world I was expecting, but that simply made it one of those pleasant reading discoveries which is why we pick up a book in the first place.    

Before I go I want to thank everyone for allowing me to spend a good chunk of the year promoting Seeing Ghosts. It’s been a long year from teasers to cover reveals to event day to book tour, and I appreciate you allowing me to do that. I will attempt to back off from that now and talk about other things. Of course I’m still trying to sell it. I just don’t want to inundate you with all of that ad nauseum! I thank those of you who have picked up a copy, those who’ve added it to their GoodReads TBR piles, those who’ve reviewed it, and even those among you who have not yet decided. Everything’s appreciated.

Take care and have a great week.

We’ll talk soon.

Monday, August 5, 2013

Scare Me

Hello, Fire Enthusiasts. Are you enjoying your summer? The part I like about it is its demise. *laughs* I like the part about my wife and kids being mostly home; however, it’s the heat I can do without. It seems like I just spend the time trying to avoid it, you know? As a horror writer it will not surprise you to hear that I can’t wait for Halloween. Actually, it’s the cooler temperatures that I can’t wait for. It really has little to do with things that go bump in the night.

There isn’t much going on over here. Work is still long and busy. For those of you who may recall me talking about exercise, I have finally managed to climb back upon my treadmill. I quit because I was struggling to find the time. I was spending an hour or so on the laptop in the morning, working 11 hours, getting home for dinner, spending another hour or so on the laptop and then going to bed. That was my day. Now that the July book blog tour is over, I’m quickly jumping on the treadmill as soon as I get home. I end up having to warm up my dinner, but at least I’m getting in the work.

On the writing front, I’m starting to feel the itch to write again. I’ve got some ideas in my head for the next project, but I am as of yet undecided. I’ve got a couple of novels that are jockeying for position in my head to be next. I also have a short story that seems to want to be resurrected from the dead. It was one of the first things I wrote. It seems to be begging me to be gutted and redone. I may pair it up with two other stories and offer it as a free read. If it’s going to be free forever, then I won’t want to spend much on the editing/packaging. Stay tuned.

Before I go, I’d like to share a book with you.

Scare Me by Richard Jay Parker
A year or so ago I read Parker’s Stop Me and loved it. I came away from the experience very impressed with his work. Little did I know what the man could do!
Here’s the synopsis:

“When did you last Google yourself?”
Wealthy businessman, Will Frost, gets woken in the middle of the night by an anonymous caller, asking him exactly this.
When Will goes online, he finds a website has been set up in his name, showing photographs of the inside of his home, along with photographs of six houses he’s never seen before.
In the first of these strange houses, a gruesome murder has already taken place.
Will is then told that his own family is in mortal danger.
The only way he can keep them safe is to visit each of the houses on the website in person – before the police discover what has happened there.
Seven houses.
Seven gruesome homicides.
Seven chances to save his daughter’s life…

Intrigued? You should be. I was truly blown away by this novel. It is his best work – by far! It was so gripping the way this man had to go from house to house, country to country in a mad dash to rescue his daughter. He even met the killer on occasion, and once when he knew exactly who is was that he was staring at – yet could do nothing about it. However, in a really good piece of suspenseful fiction, things are not as they seem. This story was full of twists and turns that you really will not see coming.
            Highest honors for Scare Me. I found the book to be in a class by itself. I really did.

            We'll talk soon.