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...