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Monday, July 29, 2013

It's Almost Here!!

Guess what?! This Friday, August 2nd, is the official release day for Bark 2: Seven Days at the ULH. As I have mentioned before, it is free and will be made available on many formats. Unfortunately I cannot release it on Kindle as Amazon refuses to allow me to put free material on the Kindle.

As a celebration of the books release there will be an event Friday on Facebook. Since the book being released is free and more of a novella, I decided to make the event a general celebration of my books. I hope to reward my readers and possibly garner a few new ones. If you haven't joined up yet, I suggest you follow this link.
If you are going, then by all means invite your friends.




Now for some fun stuff. I would like to introduce you to a couple new characters in Bark 2.

Toshi Sensei: Toshi is an ancient Japanese teacher, or Sensei. She is a master martial artist that can even put fear into The General. A tome of wisdom, Toshi accepts very few students and only those invited by Toshi may train under her. From the first day she met Bark she knew he would be her newest student. Toshi adds an element of age and wisdom to the story, and she also adds a pseudo family for Bark as she fills in motherly/grandmotherly role. Toshi plays a significant role in this book and more in the next. Toshi was seen in the first book, by only in a small silent unnamed part. If you missed it, go back and read it again, I'll give you a hint: It was in the Mess hall.

Arx:  Arx is a superhero with an impenetrable body, Arx being Latin for Stronghold.  Colin was in the military serving just like everyone else. One day he threw himself on a bomb to save everyone and discovered that he survived, and without a scratch. A bodybuilder in his time off, Arx will only be spending a short time on the ULH spacestation. After the basic introduction lessons he will be sent off to the military extension of the ULH.  Arx is actually a cameo for a friend of mine. Colin Wayne is a professional model who has allowed me to use some of his photos to draw characters for my story. As a gift for him, I threw him in as a character in one scene.
Colin Wayne

Monday, July 22, 2013

Food

             One of the parts of my stories that I enjoy writing about is the food. When I started writing my Star Trek novels one of the things mentioned by my teachers and friends was how the food scenes made them hungry. So, I explored further how I might make those scenes stand out. It doesn't hurt that I enjoy cooking, always have. And, I am pretty good at it if I do say so myself. (I had better be good at it, I am the house cook.)
              Food is something that everyone can connect to, either in loving a dish or hating it. Either way you can really bring life and reality to any story by making the food stand out. It doesn't always have to be the primary focus of the scene, but I want it to feel real to the reader. In The Crystal Needle, the food scenes weren't constant, but they were present. From Elsabethes stew and cookies to the banana split shared on the first date. Each time you aren't overwhelmed by a lengthy and boring description of the food, but I wanted you to realize it was there and even, perhaps, want a taste of it.
            In the recent fantasy novel I wrote, the Rakki race love spicy foods. They put spice on everything and it has to be incredibly hot. To make it feel real I give at least one scene in which the main character, who isn't Rakki, eats some and experiences real spice for the first time in his life. Here is the excerpt:

Treb a Rakki
 Markus picked up his spoon and looked at the pot of soup, "Do you mind if I taste it first?"
Crystal was so eager for him to try it she didn't even say anything, just nodded.
He dipped his spoon in and scooped up a single piece of chicken along with a bit of the heavy broth. First he blew across it to cool it off, then he carefully put it in his mouth. The first flavor was the bright herbs and spices of the chicken. It was good. Then it hit him. The spice grew and grew, it felt like it was burning a hole through his tongue. His forehead began to sweat and there were tears forming in his eyes. The burning started on his tongue and then moved to every soft part of his mouth. In fact his teeth might just melt. His very first instinct was to spew, but he happened to glance up and see that earnest face on Crystal as she waited with that big smile, knowing he would love this soup as much as she did. He didn't want to offend her, and he really thought she was cute, so he didn't want to screw anything up by insulting their food. So, against every ounce of common sense and the fear in his stomach, he swallowed. The whole way down he felt that spice trying to eat holes in his body. He wasn't sure if he would survive this. Finally it was down and the burning was barely beginning to subside. Calmly and with the appearance of just having another drink he picked up his water glass and drank. It was supposed to be a sip, but he downed the whole glass in one single gulp.
"Do you like it? Isn't it wonderful? Treb makes the best soups." Crystal was so happy because Markus had gotten to try one of the best foods in all of Gallenor.
Being a teenage boy, he couldn't insult a pretty girl that showed any interest in him. So, he managed a smile, used his napkin to wipe the sweat from his brow and the tears in his eyes, and nodded. "Oh, it is certainly....good." he had done himself in. How was he supposed to eat without having another bowl of that soup? He was doomed.  

Monday, July 15, 2013

Bark 2

If you haven't already heard, the second Bark book is nearly ready to hit the ereaders. Coming at the end of July/ Early August, Bark 2: Seven Days at the ULH will be out, and just like the first book, it will be FREE!!

To celebrate there will be a big release event. I have a friend who is doing a lot of the work on the release day and I couldn't be more thankful for her help. The event will be on Facebook and it will not only celebrate the new release of Bark 2, but it will also showcase my other works. Many people have donated many great prizes and I am offering several items myself of course. So, watch your Facebook alerts, if you are connected to me or The Crystal Needle fanpage, you are going to be getting the announcement of exact time/date soon.

A word to the wise: Some contests might involve reviews of my other works. So, if you have read my Crystal Needle books, or the first Bark book, get that review posted asap.

Now, onto pressing matters. Book covers. I need a good bookcover for Bark 2, but I want to see what you think. Here are a few ideas I have been tossing around. Let me know what you think: I have to admit my favorite is #3, but I honestly want to know what you think. (Be constructive please.)


1


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3

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Monday, July 8, 2013

Encouragement

I know that the majority of my readers here are authors, but for those who aren't, I want to make something clear. Authors are always on the warpath for reviews. The question is....why? Well, there are several answers. But, to me, the most important is encouragement.

Reviews may help sell a book, and they do boost ego, but they also encourage writers. They tell me that what I did actually entertained someone. And, it makes me want to write more.

Over a year ago I posted about some of my art and talked a little about my work. A person who had read the brief Bark biography I wrote for Clash left this comment.


His first comment "Very Cool" was about the art and blog post. But then he added that second part that was off the subject of the post but to the point of what he liked/wanted.

If you didn't know. In the Clash game they had a small "vault" of information about each card/character. Mini-bios along with art that is used on the card. I have always wanted to create a card for a game and thought I might give it a try. So, I drew a picture, the one that is to the right of this post -------------------------->
then I wrote a short story/bio of him. I never expected it to go anywhere. There was a slight, very very slight, chance that I would get the card made. End of story. Or so I thought. It wasn't too long after I posted this in their "suggestions" page of the Clash forum that Mr. David left the above comment. It not only intrigued me, it started my creative juices cooking.

Now, to my non-Author readers, when a writer's creative juices begin to simmer and bubble, there is no stopping it. You simply HAVE to write down the story. Even if you never intend on letting someone read it, it will come out of you one way or another. And, instead of sitting in a padded room mumbling about the voices in my head, I write them down and give them a home on paper. It's a heck of a lot safer and cheaper than meds.

From this one little comment, this one little line of encouragement, I wrote the first Bark story. That story is now a book available to read. It wasn't long after that that a second book was written, which will be published in the near future....I hope. And after that came a third book, this one three times as long as the first two. And last, but not final, came a Bark Christmas story. It was like I couldn't keep it inside me once I knew that at least one solitary soul in this universe wanted more.

 I hope you understand that a review has a powerful impact on the life and writing of an author. It isn't just stroking an ego, it is giving that person a reason to do what he or she loves to do. Thank you David, you have given me reason to craft a character that I now love and want to bring to life again and again.

 Last: You might be saying to yourself "But, that wasn't a review at all." Oh yes it was. It was the best kind of review. It was a reader who wanted to read more of the story. He went out of his way to say this to me. No, he didn't critique it, or go into detail, he didn't have to. All he needed to say was, "I want more"

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Follow up

Okay, it's final. I have a new bookcover and it is active on my ebook. Soon, it will also be the cover for the print book as well but that takes a bit longer. I asked for thoughts and opinions and boy did I get them. Of course that was fortunate for me as it allowed me to know what truly made the book look that much better.

So, when all was said and done here it is:

The Crystal Needle

Monday, July 1, 2013

I've done it again.

Well, I've done it again. Yes, that's right, I have created yet another bookcover for The Crystal Needle. You might be asking yourself questions like, "Why?" "Doesn't he already have like 5?" "What the heck is The Crystal Needle and why should I care?" All good questions, I'm glad you asked.

I haven't been too satisfied with my cover art for the book. What I wanted from the start was something that would showcase the story better. Until recently I haven't really been able to do that. Each cover I have done hasn't looked bad or anything, I just didn't feel they captured the story well enough. The current bookcover  is nice and I believe captures some of the elements of the story, but the comment that stuck in my mind came from my brother. He said, "It looks like a horror novel" and I really couldn't get that out of my head. But, I simply didn't have the ability or money to really make what I wanted. Now I do (ability that is, I am still poor). I discovered how to use a more advanced photo editing program and got my hands on some good pics and put together something that I feel will help sell the book. That is the main reason behind all these changes. The cover is the first thing people see of a book and they WILL judge it by the cover.

Here it is, at least here is what I am considering for the bookcover. I really would like your input. Do you like it? Do you think it will sell the book? Let me know.


Oh, and to answer the last question: http://www.amazon.com/dp/B0069DS694