Thursday, December 27, 2012


Please excuse me while I do a little happy dance, because the first draft for my next novel, Sons of Sludge, is finally complete.

You may recall a little post I made back in May, in which I came to the depressing realization that the already 50,000+ words I had typed up had to be scrapped, in a favor of a more (I think) successful direction and restructuring. Well, put those 50,000+ words alongside the recently completely 95,000+ word rewritten first draft, and you can safely bet I've had my fill of young adult Hybrid Reanimate literature composition.

Don't get me wrong - I love the story, and I think you will too, but it just feels like I've been grinding away at it for too long. Like... like being stuck in a room... with a person, who's... who's just...

Damn it. I can't even come up with a good simile/metaphor. I'm too mentally exhausted to pull it off.

But rest assured, this novel will see the light of day. The decision to overhaul the story will pay off in the editing process, because I'll have better material to work with. A higher quality of clay for my potter's wheel (Metaphor: Nailed it!). The first proofreading go-around will take the longest, with some chapter restructuring, plothole seeking and destroying, and the usual spelling, grammar and punctuation corrections. But even then, it shouldn't take too long. The third and fourth drafts will come even faster.

After the proofreading comes the most dreaded task: searching for literary representation. The manufactured query emails, the tedious contact list scanning, the inevitable impersonal rejections (or more often than not, no reply at all). I hate it. Every author does.

I had no such luck finding an agent to represent Float, but perhaps the premise was a little too obscure, a little too unbankable for an unpublished author. Sons of Sludge definitely has more marketing potential, but I'm still not too optimistic. Like with Float, if I can't find any success with traditional publishing, I will undoubtedly lose my patience and put it up independently on Amazon. Books are meant to be read, not sitting in a desk or on a hard drive, waiting for a deal that will never come.

Also, I feel I must clear the air about something, as a handful of people have brought a certain upcoming film based off of a book to my attention. I knew they would before they even did, as I became aware of said creative work shortly after starting to write my own story. Let me clarify:

Warm Bodies has an undead main character who craves human flesh. So does my book. This protagonist develops feelings for a human girl. So does mine.

The similarities stop there.

Zombies have become so pervasive in our pop culture over the last ten years that a zombie protagonist grappling with the traces of his/her/its remaining humanity was inevitable. My novel isn't the first, and it won't be the last. I don't claim that any of my work - past, present or future - is completely one-of-a-kind, and I don't mind sharing with other authors who have vaguely similar concepts. We all work with the same culture and human experiences. Are we good? Good.

With that out of the way, it's now time for more shameless self-promotion. As Christmas has just passed, some of you may know friends or family members who have recently been gifted a new Kindle, iPad, smartphone, etc. In light of this I am starting another free download campaign on Amazon for Float, effective Saturday and Sunday (29th and 30th). Spread the word, make some reading eyes happy.

Have a Happy New Year, and await my next update on Sons of Sludge with bated breath.

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Spooky Blog Post From Beyond The Grave!!!

By "spooky" I mean "commonplace", and by "beyond the grave" I mean "the comfort of my office chair".

Happy Halloween! Tonight, through the magic of disguise, I will transform myself into Thor Odinson, donning a cheap blonde wig, a red blanket for a cape, and a $7 foam hammer intended for use by a toddler. For Asgard! Joining me will be my oldest son Teddy, dressed as the Incredible Hulk, my youngest Ozzy as Buzz Lightyear, and my lovely wife Jessica as sexy Pixar cowgirl Jessie. I'd say I can't wait to go trick-or-treating, but I've already dipped into the bag of chocolates a week ago - but that won't stop me from eating more tonight.

It's been one year since Clyde and his band competed in the Fright Night Band Fight, and 113 years away from the worst night of Zaul Jarreux's undead life.

I don't know why, but I must have a thing for putting Halloween events in my stories. I guess I'm fascinated by the holiday. When I was a very young child my family didn't celebrate Halloween, because the church we attended convinced us that the harmless, creative fantasy aspect of the holiday and its pagan origins were inseparable, and therefore the whole day was purely evil.

I remember turning off the light when any trick-or-treaters knocked on our door, pretending not to be home. I'm glad my parents' views changed and I was able to dress up and celebrate a few years later. One of my favorites is when my wife and I wore matching dresses, and me and my band played a show at my sister's house.

Aside from personal reflection, I'm also using this post to update goings-on with the above-mentioned Zaul and his adventures in my recent work in progress, Sons of Sludge. The first draft is roughly two thirds done, and the completion of this project couldn't come any sooner. I hope once I reread it, while editing for the first time, I can fall in love with the story and characters again, because I'm losing enthusiasm. I feel like I've been writing this forever. I'm planning to power through November and finish it by the end of the month, but who knows.

And once I complete a second or third draft, I'll start submitting it to literary agents. I think this story might have a better chance than Float at a traditional contract because it has a more mass appeal, what with zombies being all the rage with the youngsters nowadays. Then it's onto the Float sequel. I can't wait for everyone to read what I have coming for them!

Stay safe tonight - don't get tangled up with malicious musicians wielding magic instruments, and eat candy, not human flesh. Watch a scary movie or two.

Oh, and high-five to myself, for sneaking in an October post at the very end of the month. I almost didn't make it.

Thursday, September 6, 2012

Misadventures In Marketing

Warning: The following post contains a certain amount of self-pitying and boo-hooing.

So as many of you may know, a couple weeks ago I held a promotional period wherein I made Float available for free on Amazon, which was met with rather positive download numbers, gaining roughly 12 times the amount of readers from the preceding 3 months combined in just two days. It made it into a few top 100 Free lists on Amazon. When the weekend came to a close, I was ecstatic.

But then Monday came, and nothing else happened. I was hoping for a few straggler sales to trail, or at least a handful of positive (hell, even negative) reviews. But nothing. What went wrong? Whatever it was, I wasn't going to accept it. In my desperation, I turned to utilizing Facebook ads. At a low-risk cost, I was able to target Float to a specific audience, only paying when a user clicked on my ad, capping at a predetermined daily budget. Of the nearly 45,000 people my ad was shown to, only 39 people clicked on it. And none of them got themselves a copy, even when priced at the lowest possible rate of $0.99.

W. T. F.

Is it really that bad? Is the only positive feedback I've received just the manufactured product of obligated friends and family members? It may not be a masterpiece, but I know it is (both objectively and subjectively) better than some books I've read in print - even, dare I say, some best sellers. So what was the problem?

Then a little nugget of wisdom I gleaned from an author blog (probably JA Konrath's) came back to me: Only fans will read your stuff. No one is going to buy your material if they don't know you and your writing. When was the last time you read a book that wasn't suggested to you from a trusted source? Sure, there are a few people who actively seek unknown authors, but most of us (myself included) don't venture much past personal recommendations or national sensations.

Maybe, if I had the funds, I could saturate the market with self-paid ads for my book and grab the attention of .0001% who see it. Maybe I could hire a publicist to shove my face in front of people who don't care. But most likely, I'll need to go Tortoise and the Hare on this mother: Slow and Steady.

So, for the time being, I'm not going to focus on ads or fruitless self-promotion. I'm going to keep writing. I'm going to keep blogging. I plan on pumping out a few short stories between novels, hopefully to keep people interested. In time, with tenacity and integrity, I will build my audience one reader at a time, and see where it goes from there.

This concludes the self-pitying and boo-hooing.

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Free Literature? Well, I say...

Float for free. August 18th and 19th. Amazon.

I recently enrolled my debut e-book Float in the Kindle Direct Publishing Select program, which allows me to promote my novel for a few days every 3 months. The first promotion will take place this Saturday and Sunday in the Kindle store, where I hope millions upon billions of digital readers will flock to get their greedy fingers on a copy.

Well, maybe not that many.

Sales for my book have practically been non-existent recently, but revenue isn't what I'm concerned with at this stage. Right now I just want to get it in front of as many eyes as possible, and making it available for free is a great way to do so. If you're a long-time-reader, no-Float-purchaser, this is the perfect time to check it out. Or, as my dad would type, "Czech" it out.

Oh, and tell your friends, family members, co-workers, colleagues, neighbors, teachers, distant relatives, doctors, accountants, acquaintances, local grocers, enemies, random strangers you see on the street, and that creepy dude on the bus who won't stop looking at you. You can even tell me if you'd like. I'll act surprised.

Float. Free. Amazon. 18th. 19th. Make it so.

Friday, August 10, 2012

What happened to July?

There's no getting around it: Last month my blog was post-less. Dormant. Inactive. Taking a cyber-nap. I'm sure two or three of you were lying awake at night, wondering if I had fallen into my digital inkwell, or if I'd simply run out of words to type.

But I've been busy. Oh yes, rather busy indeed...

Well, sort of. From the end of June until this last Wednesday I've been laying down the first section of the Sons of Sludge rewrite. 8 chapters, 27,000 words - I have a good feeling about this. When I read it I get excited, finding myself wanting more of a story I have yet to finish writing. That's when I know my book has some potential.

The whole first section (basically Act I) follows Zaul's first day out in society, after six years of confinement in his caretaker's basement. It introduces most of the characters and shows you just how miserable his unholy existence is. A small glimmer of hope is discovered at the end of the long day, giving him the strength to continue with his life, and sets the scene for Acts II and III, where things spiral down into a fiery pit of complicated madness. There will be drugs, violence and the consuming of human flesh. Aren't you excited?

My current plan is to finish the first draft by November 1st, with an estimated 100,000 words totalled, which means I need to pump out a little over 6k a week. Then, I'll spend November editing, and hopefully have a finished product by the end of the year. Wish me luck.

In other news, I have discontinued the sale of Float on Barnes & Noble. The large majority of people were getting it from Amazon anyway, and there's an exclusive program I can use through them if I don't make my book available anywhere else. It allows Amazon Prime members to digitally borrow my book from the Kindle Owner's Lending Library, and the ability to offer Float for free for 5 days in each 90 day period. I'll let you know when the promotional days will be, so you can bug your friends and family to snag their copy for the low, low price of nothing at all. Stay tuned.

I hope I can squeeze out another post or two before this month ends, to make up for July. Right now I'm just checking in to let you know I'm not dead, and, more importantly, that I haven't given up on telling the world my stories. I have plenty more tales to spin. Until next time...

Friday, June 22, 2012

Sons of Sludge Overhaul

After 30 chapters, 54277 words and nearly 4 months of writing, I have come to a necessary yet depressing realization: I need to start over on this book.

My computer didn't get fried, a dog didn't eat my work in progress, and I didn't get writer's block. It wasn't like I found out this exact story has already been done (although that's always a possibility, says my paranoid self-consciousness). But what I did find was that I've been writing this book outside my usual genre, being young adult.

But how could I have a "usual" genre, since I've only completed one other book? The reason is sort of lame, yet simple: That's the only kind of writing I've done, and recently, the only kind of reading I've done. Hunger Games, Trylle, Divergent, Forest of Hands and Teeth - that's what I've been reading, and they're all teen series.

If young adult is all that I've put out, and all that's coming in, how can I suddenly expect to jump into horror for adults? Even while writing I've noticed teen novel-isms coming through, and they're usually out of place. It's just where I am in this life endeavor. But I do hope, in time, to grow as a writer. To branch out in the future. I don't plan on being in the young adult genre forever.

Unless, of course, it's a rather lucrative path to take.

Which brings me to another, perhaps seemingly lamer, reason why I'm switching the genre on this book: I think it will be more marketable. I think it will sell more easily. I think it will have a better chance at furthering my "career" (fingers still crossed).

If you don't like teen literature, or you're getting tired of it, I apologize. But I know that this shift will make the story better, have it flow out of me more easily, become more cohesive. It will increase chances that fans of the Float series will also be fans of the Sludge series.

Some things in the story are changing, some aren't. The setting's the same. A lot of the character's names and roles are the same, just needs a little tweaking. The protagonist, Zaul, will be starting a new school instead of a new job, and will be living with a sort of guardian instead of living alone. Mainly the tone, the narration, is what needs the most work.

And yes, Zaul will still crave human flesh.

All the work I've done, the time I've already spent writing Sons of Sludge, is unfortunately for the most part down the toilet. But in the end, I think it's a good thing. I think you'll get a better product, and a more powerful story. Wish me luck.

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

I Am A Spoiled Author

I haven't written much material in my newborn "career" (fingers crossed) as an author, so I can't say I've been around the literary block a few times, or have any keen insight into the industry. Hell, I don't even know any other authors, on a personal level. But one thing I have learned...

I am so damned spoiled. Spoiled rotten. If I were any more spoiled, I'd be throwing a fit at my 9th birthday party because last year I got 87 presents, but this year I only got 83. 

*cue audience laugh track*

This revelation mostly comes from comparing the writing process now to what it was several years ago. Let's start with word processing. Before its rise to prevalence on personal computers, the typewriter was King. Yes, many authors still use one - but I never have. Never needed to. The seduction of spell check, easy formatting, rapid editing, copy and paste - it seems too easy, but that's because it is. The thought of manually feeding paper into a machine, the frustration of seeing "teh" instead of "the", but not being able to fix it until you retype the whole page...

What a nightmare for lazy ol' me.

But perhaps the most significant contribution to my lethargy is the internet. In fact, just now, I was quite confident I used the word "lethargy" in the proper context, but just to be sure I ran over to to verify. No gigantic dictionaries or volumes of encyclopedias sitting around my desk. Everything I (think I) need is right at my fingertips, constantly updated, and free.

I try to think back to the olden days, when an author actually had to research and investigate a subject before putting pen to paper. What a pain. Need some info on ancient Greek customs? Drive to the library. Want to know the distance between two cities in your work in progress? Pull out a map, and calculate it your damn self. Don't have the right map? Go back to the library. And so on, and so on.

Maybe it's just the culture I grew up in, but I think a writing process like that would drive me insane. I might not even be writing, if I lived in such a world without the comforts that I have today. But perhaps authors from the 70's or 80's would say the same thing about writing before the advent of the typewriter. Or even earlier writers shuddering at the thought of publication before the invention of moveable type. 

*Gutenberg fist bump*

And, of course, the recent rise of e-books and self-publishing online have made it possible for me to make my content available without enduring the grueling publication process of landing a deal with a traditional publisher. But I guess the downside to all that is it makes it easier for everyone else, so I'm a smaller fish in a bigger pond.

I guess what I'm trying to say is... Thank you, to all the technological innovations that have made being a writer easier - and kudos, to all the authors who managed without tehm.


Tuesday, May 29, 2012

I'm Back! (but not with a Vengeance)

It's been almost 3 weeks since my last blog. Where have I been, you ask? Not in any location or situation that would impede the composing of a blog. I guess I've just been lazy.

I'm about 60% done with Sons of Sludge 1.0, wherein a zombie just proposed to a human girl (She said yes!). Still progressing a little slower than I'd like, but rolling along nonetheless. I've been resisting flirtations with other writing projects, like the second Float installment, or a concept for another paranormal teen novel that my wife and I toyed with a while back. I just need to suck it up and get this first draft done - I think it'll really shine once I start editing it.

Last week I went to go see Rammstein in Dallas, and it was phenomenal. Their live performances were my inspiration for the Shock Tooth concert in Float (if you've seen Rammstein, and have read the book, you'll know what I'm talking about). 

One of the most entertaining aspects of the show, however, were the security guards standing in front of the pit. I guess no one briefed them on the band's affinity for pyrotechnics, because every time flames shot out they would cringe and try to shield the back of their necks from the heat. And of course, for the closer, Till shot foam all over everyone, including the event staff. At least they were smiling and laughing about it - if you've been to a concert, you know the guards don't normally betray any emotion. Good times.

My sales for Float have slowed considerably, and I think the initial surge for it has come to a halt. I think it's time I start trying to advertise beyond just my friends and family, but I'm not sure how. I've read that no one will buy your book unless they know and like you as a writer, but how will they like your writing if they don't first buy your book to read it? It's a sort of a "Chicken or the Egg" scenario. Kinda like how you to have to get an agent before you can get published, but in order to get an agent you have to have something published first. Lame...

I guess it all boils down to having an audience. I've been playing with the idea of making a viral video, one that will get a lot of traffic, then somehow integrating my literary material into it. I know, it sounds a little sneaky, but what else must I do? I got kids to feed, dammit.

No, they're not starving, my family is actually quite blessed. I was just being dramatic.

If anyone has any ideas on generating a successful viral marketing campaign, give me a holla. Also, I'm still looking for takers on writing up a review for Float on Amazon. If you think that's something you'd like to do, then go right ahead. But please, be gentle - it's my first one.

You'll hear from me again in another 3 weeks, if you're lucky. Adios.

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Channelling The Sludge

I'm starting to feel like the Sons of Sludge is getting on track. I've recently broken the plot down into a more detailed outline, chapter by chapter, whereas before I only had Point A (beginning) and Point Z (ending) with a few vague events to occur in between. 

There will be about forty chapters of zombie-urge suppressing action/drama, starring Phase II Hybrid Reanimate Positive, Zaul Jarreux. What is a "Phase II Hybrid Reanimate Positive", you ask? You'll just have to wait until you read it, hopefully at the end of this year, or at the beginning of next year.

Or never. Maybe I'll scrap the whole project just weeks before its release - I haven't yet decided if I'm going to be a spoiled, finicky rock star about my "art" or not.

I'm on chapter 19, so I guess I'm about half way through the first draft. The longest draft. I'm shooting to finish this rough copy by the end of summer, take a couple months to edit it two or three times, and it should be good to go. Although I do feel the narrative is a little skimpy now, might need to take a little longer beefing up the paragraphs.

Whatever the case, the "Sons" are on their way.

In the news of currently available literature, Float has received a handful of hits on Amazon, and so far the readers have been pleased. What's that? You haven't ordered your copy yet?? You'd better hurry, there's only an infinite amount of digital copies left, so get it while supplies last!

What I really need, however, is some kick-ass customer reviews on Amazon for it. I've thought of composing some myself, under such clever anonymities as "Reginald Vuntermunz", "Luella Pottingtonhouserford," or "Osiah Jupton". But I guess some would consider that "unethical". Pff, whatever.

If you've read and enjoyed Float, are good at making sharp reviews, and don't mind spending a moment to help a noob author out, let me know. It would be much appreciated.

Osiah Jupton, signing off...

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Getting To Know Your "Float" Characters, Pt. V


Name: Malcolm Martin
DOB: 07/07/1939
Occupation: Martin's Music Owner/Operator
Favorite Band/Artist: Jimi Hendrix

Take a hippie rocker from the Psychedelic Sixties, fast forward 45 years, and you get Malcolm. Long past his days of playing guitar, he now devotes his time to running Martin's Music, Philburn's local musical instrument emporium. With no colleagues or family, the only friendly face in his life is young guitarist and former employee, Clyde Smitherson.

And because Malcolm seems lost and spacey at times, Clyde is especially surprised when he finds out what his mentor has really been up to - constructing a paranormal electric guitar that allows the player to float and walk on walls.

Once Clyde is gifted this musical anomaly he can't help but wonder how Malcolm made it, and more importantly, what he's supposed to do with it. All the old man asks is that Clyde keep it a secret, and under no circumstances bring it anywhere near Soundstone Records, much less use it in the company's upcoming battle-of-the-bands. But Clyde just can't help himself.

Not heeding Malcolm's warnings will prove unwise, and Clyde will learn just how ruthless Soundstone can be. After all, their company practices ruined Malcolm's life...

Quote from the book: "You didn't trust me before, when I told you to stay away from Soundstone. Now you're in over your head, and you want me to clean up your mess?"

Monday, May 7, 2012

Float Is Upon Us!

As of this morning, my very first novel "Float" became available as an e-book in the Amazon Kindle store and the Barnes & Noble Nook store. Which means you can read it.


And if you don't have a Kindle or a Nook, each website has reading app downloads for free, if you are one of the many who own an iPhone, iPad, iPod, Android, Windows Phone, Mac or PC.

But now, dare I call myself... an author? *gasp* Maybe my book isn't in print, maybe it's not through one of the so-called "Big Six" publishing companies, maybe I don't have endorsements from J.K. Rowling or J.D. Salinger or R.L. Stine or LL Cool J...

But my book - a composition of thoughts and words from my mind - is available for the world to read, whether they choose to read it or not. I guess I could call myself an author. Won't you make me the happiest author on Earth, and be my reader?

I wish I had more to say on the subject, but this post is of the "HURRAY!" variety. Also, I updated some of this blog's settings, so that you don't have to be a member on Blogger/Blogspot to post comments. I look forward to some feedback.

Why are you still reading this? Clyde and his friends are waiting...

Thursday, May 3, 2012

Getting To Know Your "Float" Characters, Pt. IV


Name: Priscilla "Pistol" Tolski
DOB: 11/30/1994
Instrument: Antique "Sirena" Classical Guitar, vocals
Languages: English, Spanish
Favorite Band/Artist: Radiohead

Pistol is a foxy little junior from Philburn High, who is accustomed to getting what she wants. She uses her small stature to appear unassuming, and a mixture of sharp wit and flagrant flirtation to get a rise out of people. But the true secret to her success lies in an ancient construction of wood and nylon string: Her Supernatural Spanish Guitar of Desire.

With it, she can control the wants and needs of all who listen.

Not only does she have her sights set on winning Soundstone Records' paranormally-charged battle-of-the-bands, she's got her eye on something else - Clyde Smitherson. And while Clyde's heart belongs to Apollonia, part of him feels drawn to Pistol. Is a sensual private performance with her guitar to blame, or something else?

Quote from the book: "...the only people who call me Priscilla are my mother, and courtroom authorities."

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

This Tuesday... (on or about)

On Tuesday May 8th, 2012 my debut novel Float will be available as an e-book through and For just $2.99. And...

It might even appear sooner.

The average turnaround times for e-books to appear on Amazon and Barnes & Noble after they are published are 24 hours and 48 hours, respectively. To make sure it will be ready on time, I will publish it at noon on Sunday for Barnes & Noble and noon on Monday for Amazon, which means it could show up anywhere within that time frame. So get your champagne ready.

And unless you've accidentally stumbled upon this blog, you're probably already a future fan, and are planning on reading Float anyway. In advance, THANK YOU!!!

But, it can't stop there. I need your help. This e-book is being self-published, so I don't have the luxury of a professional marketing team or high-powered publicist. But you know what works better than all of that?

YOU. You will be my marketing team, you will be my publicist. I'm relying on the power of word-of-mouth. Your mouth. If you read this book and enjoy it, if you connect with the characters, if you think it is worthy of widespread attention, then tell a friend. And tell them to tell their friends.

I know it is an eternal cliché, but it's true: The fans are what make it all possible. By myself, this book won't extend past my friends and family. I think it has greater potential than that. I hope you'll agree.

Once again, THANK YOU!!!

Sunday, April 29, 2012

Getting To Know Your "Float" Characters, Pt. III


Name: Nathaniel Shaw
DOB: 09/22/1994
Instrument: Vocals
Beverage of Choice: Sweet Iced Tea
Favorite Band/Artist: Himself

Nathan is everything you'd expect from a rock lead singer: Talented, driven, stylish - and narcissistic. Fronting Skull Puppetry since shortly after its inception, he deemed founding guitarist Clyde unsuitable for the band, and dismissed him arbitrarily. But the position didn't stay open for long...

Almost overnight Nathan filled the slot with an axe-shredding brute named Lee, and now Skull Puppetry is on the road to local band stardom. The key to their success? A custom guitar that Nathan stripped of Clyde, a black Ibanez RG Prestige with inexplicable capabilities.

Soon Clyde will realize that his removal from Skull Puppetry wasn't as random as he thought, and the actions of mastermind Nathan will fuel a bitter rivalry between them. And in the world of Paranormal Music, a simple struggle between two high school bands can prove deadlier than anticipated.

Quote from the book: "We have a problem, Clyde. Skull Puppetry is going to win this competition, but you and your friends insist on getting in our way."

Float Is Coming Soon!

For everyone who doesn't care, I have just submitted my first novel Float to an eBook formatting service, and should be ready in a week or so. And once it is, it will only be a short matter of time before you can get your greedy little hands on a digital copy of Clyde's adventures in Paranormal Music. Is anyone else as excited as I am? The journey has taken a little over a year, and it's been a real "Non-Stop Action Thrill Ride!!!" (Roger Ebert, 2011) (not really)

I hope I can reach enough readers to make it a success. It has only been read by a handful of friends and family, but so far the reviews have been positive. Then again, if it sucked would anyone have the brass Huevos Rancheros to tell me? If my writing leaves an unsavory aftertaste on your literary palate, please tell me. It's the only way to save the world from all the horrible books I plan to write.

But for those who will enjoy it, get your Kindles, Nooks, tablets or smartphones warmed up for the downloading of Float. And while you do, simultaneously bring up your phone's address book, for all the friends you will be raving to about this.

Ready Thyselves!!!

Monday, April 23, 2012

Getting To Know Your "Float" Characters, Pt. II


Name: Apollonia Papadopolous
DOB: 02/19/1995
Hometown: Sitia, Crete, Greece
Instrument: Piano
Favorite Band/Artist: Dream Theater

Apollonia is the newest foreign exchange student to arrive at Philburn High. Sent at the request of her father, she plans to live in Texas with her aunt until her high school education is complete. Once graduated, her goal is to move to New York and attend one of the world's most prestigious music schools, the Juilliard Performance Arts Conservatory.

But on the first day of school, she meets a fellow student who will change the course of her life forever: Clyde Smitherson.

Clyde instantly finds Apollonia very attractive, but her beauty and his ignorance of Greek culture make getting to know her an intimidating task. All he needs to do, however, is talk to her, and he'll realize just how much she likes him in return. Finding a common ground in their love for metal music, Clyde gets the courage to invite Apollonia to a show from one of her favorite bands, Shock Tooth.

What she doesn't know is that both Clyde and Shock Tooth have a secret: The ability to achieve impossible feats through the power of Paranormal Music. Less than a month later, she will find herself at the mercy of Clyde's enemies. Not only could she lose her ability to play piano, but her very life as well.

Quote from the book: "I'm not going anywhere. My father will have to physically drag me away before I leave you behind, leave you thinking that you ruined my life. Your life and my life are now the same. And if you're not in it then I will be ruined."

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Why I Write

Some authors say they write simply because they can't see themselves doing anything else. This was not the case for me.

But let me get something straight: I do love writing. I may not be "A#1, The Bomb" at it - in fact, I'm sure there will be some who say I downright blow at wordsmithery. And that's okay. I suppose it's all subjective. There's a handful of best-sellers less readable (to me) than a second-grader's "WOT I DED 4 SUMMR" essay. Or, a particular variety of teenage Facebook posts...

"Y gurls NoT liek my ituns plylst??? LOL"

When I write, it feels natural. As if it's what I'm meant to do. Rewind a year and a half ago, I'd never believe I would actually, seriously, aspire to literary composition. I didn't have the stereotypical beard, glasses, pipe, turtle neck or receding hairline for the job. Hmm, maybe I'm confusing "author" with "professor"...

December 2010: I had just finished a part-time semester at TCC NE, a North Texas community college, trying to get some pre-requisites out of the way for the Physical Therapist Assistant program. I aced my two classes (a large improvement from my last semester, two years prior) and was feeling pretty good. But then I did some research, and made a shocking discovery: This community college program was insanely competitive. Even if I did everything perfectly, there was no guarantee I would get in. And it's not like Physical Therapist Assistant was my dream job as a child, I just needed a good career to support my family.

The summer before that, I played with the idea of working for the fire department. Before that, a couple years waiting for a call from the FAA to join the Air Traffic Controller cadet program (which never came, despite my test score deeming me "Well Qualified").

Fast forward to January 2011, I haven't a clue what I should pursue. But then comes The Wife with the assist: She suggests I do something creative. I'd never thought that was a feasible option, or at least not for a career. She lists off a few odd jobs I might succeed in, such as guitar lessons, puppet show for kids' parties, writing a book...

In a few weeks, I pieced together the story for Float in my mind. When I actually began putting words to screen, they flowed out quite easily. Then, other ideas for other novels came to mind. And the best part was, I enjoyed every minute of it. And I still do.

For me, writing feeds a desire I have always had: The desire to create. Whether it was music, puppetry, film, video games, professional wrestling (you can laugh, it's okay) - I grew up fantasizing about creating things for people to enjoy. And maybe at first I didn't think writing was glamorous enough, but now I'm so glad I tested the waters. I think it's the right fit for me.

Can I make it a sustainable career? Will I even turn a profit? Will I gain an audience, outside of my (gracious enough to support me) friends and family? I guess time will only tell.

But one thing I've learned: In order to feel content in life, I must create something. I hope everyone reading out there will be glad I did.

Sunday, April 15, 2012

Getting To Know Your "Float" Characters, Pt. I


Name: Clyde Smitherson
DOB: 01/18/1995
Height: 6'3"
Instrument: Malcolm Martin "Zero-G" Electric Guitar
Favorite Band/Artist: Metallica

Clyde is the former guitarist for Skull Puppetry, the high school band he was kicked out of just days before his junior year began. When he's not coasting through class (or avoiding Skull Puppetry vocalist Nathan Shaw), he enjoys rocking out to his favorite bands and visiting his local guitar shop, Martin's Music.

Oh, and defying gravity.

Armed with a paranormal guitar that allows him to become weightless and walk on walls, Clyde recruits his brother and two friends to form a new band, with the kind of stage presence the world has never seen. Now all he has to do is beat the competition: Four other bands with  paranormal instruments, including the very band he was booted from in the first place. The payoff? Inking a contract with the world's only record company specializing in Paranormal Entertainment, and impressing his girlfriend, the impossibly beautiful Apollonia.

Let's just hope she doesn't freak when she finally discovers what his guitar can do.

Quote from the book: "This guitar, it does things, strange things. And you need to know that this is not witchcraft or devilry, or even magic, in the traditional sense. I'm not a demon or a wizard or mutant or anything like that. I'm just a normal kid, who was given an abnormal instrument."

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Progress... and love for AMC.

Yesterday I was able to pen 2,200 words for the Sons. Yay, me.

A lot of the inspiration for this book is thanks to AMC, for their original series Breaking Bad and The Walking Dead.

The Walking Dead... well, that's obvious - it's about zombies, and Sons of Sludge is a zombie book. One of my friends in the novel, Gordon, reminds me a little of TWD's Dale Horvath, the character played by Jeffrey DeMunn. Both are middle-aged, bearded, a bit portly. Both have wives who have died of cancer. When I picture Gordon, I often see Dale.

And then there's Breaking Bad. I love that show. One of my novel's characters is Caesar Ortega, who is very similar to Tuco Salamanca from seasons 1 & 2, portrayed by Raymond Cruz. If that show wasn't on TV, if Mr. Cruz wasn't an actor, then Caesar would cease to exist. In fact, if Sons of Sludge were ever adapted into a film, I could picture no one else to play the role.

I wonder what other characters I've conjured are just replicas of pre-existing people, real or fictional? What songs have I written, just a few notes different from my favorite Rammstein or Metallica songs?

Maybe I've never had a truly original idea. Maybe it's all just a rearrangement of the stimuli that has crept in through my eyes and ears during my short life. Hopefully, I at least do some creative rearranging.

I just hope someone else is creative enough to come up with something, something that will fill the Breaking Bad shaped hole in my heart when season 5 is over.

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

I Have Written Nothing Today

On Thursday, Friday and Saturday morning I go to work. I spend Sunday at church and with the family, and Monday morning I watch my two boys, Teddy and Ozzy, solo.

Tuesday and Wednesday morning/afternoon is my time to get writing done, thanks in much part to my mother and mother-in-law alternately watching the boys while I do.

But today I have written nothing.

I'm currently 15,000 words into Sons of Sludge, my zombie novel. I love the story, but I only seem to write at half the rate I did Float. Mostly today I've been setting up this blog. I also seem to be getting this done rather slowly.

I feel like that a lot of times - it takes me much longer to do things than most people. Am I lazy, or incompetent? I remember putting together a cheap BBQ one time and it seemed like it took way longer than it should have. I want to say I take my time to ensure quality, double and triple and quadruple checking everything I do. I hope that's the case. I hope that pays off in my writing, in my blogging.

Maybe tonight I can make up for some lost time and do a little novel-sculpting. And kudos to my wife's patience, for all the things I do that take way longer than they should.


Guten Tag.
Xin Chào.

Hello. This is the first post of the first blog of the first Josiah Upton. EVER. 

I'm pretty sure I don't know what I'm doing, so please forgive any cyber-faux pas that I might commit.

Why am I blogging? Shameless self-promotion. I've written a book (pending publication), and I'm trying to create a little buzz before it becomes available, in physical form or otherwise. 

It's called Float, a young adult novel. It's about a high school junior who stumbles into the secret society of Paranormal Music, where musicians use special instruments to seduce, electrify, set things on fire, read minds, move at super human speeds. And, of course, Float.

I hope I'm diligent enough to make regular posts, I have a propensity to let things fall by the wayside. Check back here often for updates about my adventures in writing and publication, and when a copy of Float can be yours for a certain amount of human moneys. 

And, taking into account my ultra-noob status in the "Blogosphere", I welcome any tips or tricks to aid me in this new undertakings.

Until next time...