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Small Press Saturday

I am going to forgo a weekly update on my NaNo work in favor of a little proposal. This week after the Thanksgiving holiday in the United States is the traditional beginning of the Christmas shopping season. For decades people have surged out into the cold dark morning of the Friday after Thanksgiving to attend Black Friday sales. With the advent of the internet-age Cyber Monday was instituted as a way for on-line businesses to focus people on the deals that could be acquired on-line.

In 2010 American Express decided to establish Small Business Saturday, the first Saturday after Thanksgiving as a way to encourage people to support the small and local businesses that employ the majority of people in the United States.

This year as Small Business Saturday approaches I was struck that a segment of the small business market was being under represented in the move to drive commerce to small businesses, The Small Press Publishers.

With more and more of the resources of the major publishing house being devoted to the latest celebrity book or big name bestseller it has been harder and harder for the beginning and unusual voices to be heard above the dim. So for those friends you have that would enjoy a book, consider something different from one of these independent presses.

A publisher of short story collections for some time, Rabid Transit Press has branched out into alternative speculative fiction novellas with their Electrum Novella Series. Changing the way people look at the possibilities of the novella.

If long form fiction is not what you are looking for, possibly cutting edge poetry is what you want, If that is the case then check out Write Bloody Publishing. Publisher of some of the leading voices in the slam poetry scene today.

 

Looking for alternative fiction and non-fiction works? Take a look at the books available from Hunt Press. An up and coming publisher of alternative speculative fiction with several novels available.

One of my personal recommendations for a small press book this year would be “Confessions of a Transylvanian” by Kevin Theis and Ron Fox from Berwick Court Publishing

 

I would be completely remiss if I ignored independent published books as well.

 

If you know someone who enjoys ‘Chick-Lit’ the incomparable Joanne Phillips has released in the last year both her gripping novel “Can’t Live Without” and a collection of short stories “A Life Unpredicted and other stories”

 

Finally there is “Bridges of Memories” by AJ Race an exciting tale of contemporary fantasy.

 

 

 
There are hundreds if not thousands of small and independent publishers out there waiting for your support. Why should you support them. I think it is best summed up by Angela Hunt of Hunt Press.

“To quote James Owen: We’re not IN publishing. We’re at war. And I don’t intend to lose. At war against whom? Against entropy. Against the long night. Against obscurity. We’ll all eventually fail against those titans. But while we last, while the battle rages, oh, yes, we will be glorious. Let it not be said that we did not at least *attempt* to leave our mark on the world.”

So please join us in Small Press Saturday and support a small press publisher and bring the joy of discovering a new author to someone you love.

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NaNo Update Week Three

So here we are just past the half way point of NaNo and I am 80% done with my Novel. I once again had a slow start of the week getting less than one thousand words written combined between Monday and Tuesday last week, but I put in a little extra effort later in the week and pulled out a good amount of words. I am now just past the 40k mark for words and I expect that I might very well be done the book before thanksgiving.

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What’s Going On?

So here we are less than one week remains before the start of NaNoWriMo. So I am going to do a quick wrap up on all of the other things that I have been working on that I will be putting aside for the month of November. Some projects I have been working on for quite a while and others I have just started out on.

Trilith Magazine – Still trying to figure out all of the technical issues so that I can make it as amazing as possible. I have posted several of the fiction pieces that I have been working on for it to the blog for the magazine. I also have several things posted to the Facebook page. If you are interested in seeing where this is going then feel free to follow either of those.

Fey Fyre – This is a series of short stories that I am writing for Trilith Magazine. I had written the first five and I have a lot of great ideas that will be following in December of this year. The first two parts are up already up on the Trilith Blog and the third will be up in the next couple of days.

The Hunt for Fiddlestix – A short story inspired by a friend of mine. It was originally written for submission to Fairy Magazine, but the photos were not large enough for publication in print. I plan to use it in the first issue of Trilith. If you are interested in reading it, I have it posted over at Trilith.

The Strange Adventures of Hugo North – Earlier this month my wife challenged me to write a story about a young boy dragged off by a kite. I am working on page three and I still have not gotten to the meat of the story. I have some ideas that I am really happy about. Not sure what I am going to be doing with this story, but it has been fun to write.

Scéal Casia – I have finished most of the second draft of the first book. I am also working on the second chapter of the second book. I am still planning on having the first book released sometime in 2013, but I don’t have a set date at the moment.

NoWhere Man – This has morphed from a series of short stories into a series of short films. I have a local film maker who I am working on figuring things out with now in regards to how to get this done.

Non-Fiction – I will be bloging both here and at the Trilith Blog, and I will be doing a guest post on a another blog sometime in the month of November, I will post more about that when I have the exact date it will be running.

But as I said before I am putting all of that aside for the month of November. What am I going to be working on is my Novel for NaNoWriMo.

Adventures of Eunice – I have not done a lot of planning for this, I don’t want to hamper the flow of the writing. I want to be able to toss in any silly idea that comes to mind. I picture this as a cross between Terry Pratchett and Douglas Adams. Eunice is the son of a goat herder that stumbles onto a huge adventure which he is neither prepared for or able to deal with.

So here I am prepared to take the plunge over the edge into the abyss that is NaNoWriMo. Once you are over the edge the only option is to fly. For the next several weeks I will be posting about my progress and my feeling about how the process is going. It could be a frustrated post, a happy one, or just loose rambling but I suspect that it will be interesting.

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What a long strange trip it’s been (part8)

I talked last about the least productive time in my life as a writer.  Then all of a sudden after three years of poor to no production as a writer I was presented with my biggest inspiration of all time.  My muse.  I met my wife.

She inspired my to get back to my writing, to take those things from the past that had not worked, to take them apart and rework them to get the characters to do things that I never thought was possible before.

It started one night.  We were laying in bed trying to get some sleep.  She is an insomniac and was trying to get a good nights sleep for once.  As she laid in bed she said to me “Tell me a story.”  I blanked, I could not think of anything.  And then it struck me, A story that I had written almost seven years earlier while on a trip to Philadelphia.  A story that had been rewritten several times as I became a better and better writer.  Something which I considered one of my best work.  I told her the story, and something amazing happened.  As I slept that night the story got inside her head.  Unfortunately she didn’t get any sleep that night.  She sat down and did a re-write on the story.  When you have someone who inspires you and who you inspire it becomes a form of magic.  As I read her interpretation of my characters and dialogue It inspired things in me things that I had not known that I had missed.  It was that moment that I started getting back into writing.  I had decided years earlier that until I felt that I was a better writer I would not be ready to try to write a full length novel again.  Now I saw that it was possible to do that with the help of my wife in order to improve my skills at writing dialogue.

This is when I finally rededicated myself to working on a novel.  Now all I needed to do find the idea that would spark it.

As a sample of my wife and I’s work next week I will post the story that I referenced here.  I am not sure if the copy I have is a second draft or the original one that she typed out that very morning, but it still takes my breath away.

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What has happened to this world

Okay I know that I made an extra post this week in order to vent about something that has been bothering me.  And if you want my opinion of the responsibility of self-publishers when it come to their work read here.  I had planned out a lot of things that I wanted to do with this blog before I started.  None of my ideas included venting my frustrations.  However in this case my frustration connects directly with what this blog is about.  Books.

Earlier this week a friend had mentioned online that his new book will be out at the end of the month.  It is the sixth book in a series and I have only had the chance to read the first three.  I decided since I needed to get out of the house I would go over to the nearest bookstore and pick up a copy of the forth book.  Now to clarify this is an author who is being published by one of the major publishing houses.  In the past I have had no trouble locating his books in bookstores, although sometimes they don’t have the one I am looking to pick up available.  I stopped off at the local Barnes & Nobles, and immediately went to the section the book should have been in.  Scanning to his name in the alphabet I could not locate any of his books.  So I checked an other section that it might have been in.  No sign of any of his books.  I went to Customer Service and checked.  They did not have a copy of the book I was looking for in stock at that or any other of their stores in the area.  The nice young lady that helped me offered to order it for me.  I declined and told her I would check elsewhere and if I could not find it would let her know.  Up until this point I was not bothered or annoyed

I headed out and tried to think of where the nearest other bookstore was located.  I was not sure so I decided to just head over to the nearest mall and see if the bookstore there carrier what I wanted.  I made my way over and found a good parking space, went inside and located a directory of the mall.  Bookstores were listed in the section with gifts & accessories.    Brookstones, Spencer’s, and two different tobacco shops, but no bookstore.

Anyone who knew my brother and I growing up will understand  We were always stopping off at the local bookstore.  Whether it was the one downtown or at the local mall.  I remember days spent after high school sitting on the floor in the back of the
store reading the first chapter of a book before I purchased it.  To this day I can tell you the exact location of the bookstore in three different malls that I have not been in for twenty years.  Of course they probably aren’t there any more.  What will surprise more people probably is that I am writing this at all.  I am the one who for years has screamed the virtue of ebooks.  I have owned a kindle since before most people knew what they were, and yes I did end up buying the book on my kindle.

This is not a rant about the loss of books to ebook, and it is not about the lack of competition in bookstores.  The market has not changed enough that it has caused what I am talking about.  A mall is the first place that many people in this country go to shop.
I lament the fact that it is not a higher priority for a mall to have a bookstore to service it’s customers.  Their are several different Movie theaters in most towns in this country.  Hollywood puts out enough movies to have dozens of screens per cinema, but the people are not clamoring to have more bookstores.  I makes me doubt the times we are living in.

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A little bit of Nuts and Bolts

So a lot of what I have been writing for this blog has been regarding the inspiration, and not with the process that I am going through in order to get my books published.

This week I want go over a consideration regarding getting the book ready for printing.  I need to look at getting ISBN so that Monolith can list each of the books for purchase by bookstores and libraries.

For those that do not know the ISBN stands for International Standard Book Number, it signifies what country the book is published in, who the publisher is, and which version of the book it is.  Because each version of the book would have a distinct ISBN, then for PDF, ePUB, MOBI, Hard Cover & Soft Cover I would need five differant ISBN just for one book.  With a series of five books we are looking a minimum of twenty-five ISBN.  So at this point I have to consider if I will be better of buying three blocks of ten as I need them or investing in a block of one hundred in advance to publishing any books.

I won’t go through the exact math involved but just let you know it would be two hundred and fifty dollars per each ten block and for a full one hundred it would be five hundred and seventy-five dollars.  If you assume that I do print all five books in five differant version and no other books.  With three blocks of ten I can buy each of the ten as needed, so that up front cost before the first book is published is redused and allows me to move some of the expense from the begining when I haven’t sold any books to later when I have sold books to pay for expense for later books, but the per version cost will drop from thirty dollars with three blocks of ten to twenty-three dollars if I buy one hundred.  Since I want to minimize the up front cost before I release the ebook versions of the first book, I will be purchasing the ISBN in three different blocks of ten as they are needed.

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Inspirations & Mentors

One of the things that I have always thought that was seriously lacking in the modern world was mentors and apprenticeships.  Being able to work for a master of a trade and learn your craft from them.  the passing down of skills that could make you a success in the world.

I have learned as I have grown older that Mentors and Apprentices don’t always take on the forms that we recognize.  For those that do not know me I am many things two of which are a practicing Pagan (Druid) and a Meade Maker.  The crafts for both of which I learned my earliest lessons in from an ex-girlfriend of many years ago named Sara.  At the time I would not have called her a mentor and their are many things that I have learn in both areas since my break up with her, but in the purest sense she was truly a mentor to me.

Today I came across a story in a blog by the Author Mark Evanier where he related the story of the first meeting of Author Ray Bradbury and EC Comics & MAD Magazine Editor Al Fledstien, who adapted many of Bradbury’s short stories into comics.  The meeting occurred at the 2002 San Diego Comic Con during a panel Mark hosted with Ray and DC Comics editor Julius Schwartz.  Mark had planned to have the two meet for the first time but needed to steer the conversation toward comics.  When asked about his history with Comic-Con and it’s growth Ray decided to talk about his personal history with comics.
RAY BRADBURY: When I was nine years old, Buck Rogers came into the world. October, 1929. I was immediately in love with that comic strip and I started to collect it every day of my life for three months. I stopped collecting that because the kids in the fifth grade made fun of me. That was 1929, the beginning of the Depression. I listened to these kids and I tore up the comic strips. It’s the worst thing I ever did because three days later I broke into tears and I said to myself, why I am crying? Who died? And the answer was me. I killed myself. I’d torn up the future. I listened to these stupid people. So I said, how do I cure this? I went back and collected Buck Rogers strips for the next seven years, every day, and never listened to one more stupid sonofabitch after that. And that’s why I’m here. I collected Prince Valiant and all the various comic strips, and Tarzan drawn by Harold Foster in 1932. Incredible work. And when I published my first book in 1947, I sent a copy of the book to Harold Foster with a note saying, “You’re one of the greatest artists of the 20th century, and I love your work and I love you.”

Now to most people this would be a sweet story about the inspiration of one of the greatest American writers of all time, but several weeks ago I read a story in a book called ‘The Barbizon Diaries’ by James A Owens.
I’d agreed to do a signing at Comicon for one of my favorite galleries, Every Picture Tells A Story.  About an hour into the signing, the owner, Lee, came over to where I was sitting with the other authors and told me someone wanted to buy my book.   I responded with a puzzled look (be cause that was, after all, why I was sitting in his booth), and he smiled and pointed to the other end of their floorspace.   “It’s Ray Bradbury.”   I jumped out of my chair and flew over to him.   “Ray!” I said. “It’s
James Owen!”   He took my hand (with his left) and shook it.   “James! But you do comics! This is a book.” (I’ve sent him copies of StarChild for years — to which he always responded with a counter-gift of his latest book.)   “Now I’m doing books, too!” I told him.   “It’s a beautiful book!” Ray told me. “I want to buy it ! Right now!”   “I have one for you,” I said, and hopped back to my chair where I had a copy with a dragon drawing already done. I signed it to “Uncle Ray ”, and handed it to him.    “It’s such a beautiful book,” he said again. “Your drawings are wonderful! I can’t wait to read it!”    “I hope you like it,” I told him. “You’re one of the reasons it exists. Thank you for the inspiration.”

Once again I can hear my reader saying this is a great story, but what does that have to do with anything.  That is going to require the telling of one more story.  This one of a much more personal nature.  In the fall of 1993 I was visiting my family in central New Hampshire.  My older brother and I drove over to the mall in North Conway because they were having a small comic book show.  Dealers from around the area had set up in the food court to sell comics.  My brother had just graduated from Massachusetts College of Art.  His interest in comics was based on the art and he found a book that had some of the greatest art that either of us had ever seen.  It was called Starchild #0, it talked of myths and legends and stories as great things that change the fabric of the world.  And it changed the way I looked at Stories.  I have had the amazing joy of corresponding with James A. Owen several times in the last year or so and even though we have never met face to face, I consider him a great inspiration on my work and life.

And now I see I am part of a great tapestry of inspiration that stretches from James Owen, to Ray Bradbury and to Harold Foster, and I would suspect back to Edgar Rice Burroughs and from him I suppose Rudyard Kipling.  I have to wonder if somewhere there is a battered copy of The All-Story magazine from Oct 1912 with a hand written note saying  Rudyard, You’re one of the reasons it exists. Thank you for the inspiration.  Edgar.

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