Thursday, February 28, 2013

New Excerpt

Get a brief glimpse into what is happening to Dr. Mackland Luther and his friends as Jerrington tries to make them co-operate. Welcome to the world of Dark Luminance, due out in July, 2013!

Everyone in the room except for Jerrington and his guard moved as far away as possible from the dead woman shambling towards them. When Lily tried to jump up and escape, the guard dropped a large hand on her shoulder, pinning her to the seat. Jerrington waved a hand toward her, "Please use the plasitcuffs to restrain Ms. Decker to her chair." As the guard moved to comply, Jerrington turned to the others in the room. "Mr. Tao, if you would be so good, please escort our guests to the adjacent room so that we can continue our discussion."

Ming couldn't remain quiet any more. "Brad! What the hell is going on? We need to put that thing down now before it does any damage!"

Jerrington took several steps until he was directly in front of the dead woman. She appeared to have been an attractive brunette woman when she was still alive, and from what Mackland could see she hadn't been dead very long. She still had most of her hair, and aside from some cuts and bruises that would never heal properly now that she was dead, she didn't look that bad. But the blank, vacant stare of her dead eyes and the slack muscles throughout her face left no doubt just how far from human she was. Jerrington ignored all of that and turned his back on her to address Ming and the others. "She is no threat to anyone unless I determine she is. She is fully under my control, so please refrain from further emotional outbursts, and take our guests next door."

Ming persisted. "What about Lily?"

"Ms. Decker will be remaining in here for the time being until we conclude our discussion. If all goes well, she will be joining us shortly."

Mackland looked ready to explode and blurted out, "No way, you bastard! We aren't leaving her here with that thing!"

Grizzly advanced slowly towards the Jerrington with murder in his eyes. "Ya ain't gonna do nothin' but get smushed, unless you let us outta hear, ya uppity shit!"

Jerrington dipped his chin towards the zombie, who placed herself in Grizzly's path. "Enough. Either you three follow Mr. Tao into the other room in the next five seconds, or I will instruct my young lady to bite Ms. Decker a few times. I don't know for sure how much bodily fluid is required to transmit the drug in sufficient quantity to begin the transformation, but I would expect four or five would do it." He held up one hand and began counting down. "Five...four...three..."

Ming knew his former friend wasn't bluffing, so he put his hands out to corral the other three men and move them toward the door. "Ok, ok, we're going. Just keep that...thing away from her."

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

What's The Ratio?

Followers vs. Following is now the (not-so) age old question. As a novice to the twitterverse, I still have less than a hundred of either; but I routinely see Tweeters (I'm pretty sure the plural would be Twits, but I don't want to offend anyone unnecessarily) with thousands of both. I mentioned to my teenage daughters that I was now past fifty followers, which didn't impress them in the least, but did prompt my youngest to ask how many people I was following. Not sure what she was getting at, I told her it was around ninety, and she gave me one of those smug teenage looks indicating that I was about to receive a piece of invaluable knowledge. "Only people that are desperate follow a lot more people that are following them." A final eye-roll told me just how old I really was, and she was off.

But it made me think about Twitter in general, and more specifically, how I was trying to utilize it. I freely admit, as one of my earlier posts indicated, I didn't just jump onto Twitter (or this blog, for that matter) out of a desire to suddenly garner a few thousand new friends. I am going to be publishing a book in the summer, and my research led me to believe that social media was a vital component in that endeavor. So I'm blogging and tweeting more than the above-mentioned daughter with her One Direction obsession. (Don't get me started on the hidden evils of boy-bands!)

But now I'm on Twitter, and as I considered my daughter's words, I think she had a point, but not the way she meant it. I don't think it's so much a statement of desperation if your followers severely lag behind those you are following, because of the nature of conversation. Twitter is nothing more than a HUGE expansion of conversations between individuals. You can talk one on one, or you can jump into a conversation with literally hundreds of people. But in any conversation, someone has to initiate it, and that is what happens when you follow someone that hasn't followed you yet. You are reaching into the ether and inviting them to your conversations. And at least in my case, I only follow those that appear to have similar interests to mine. There really isn't much sense in me following someone that is a cheese connoisseur, when I can't tell a Cheddar from a Gouda.

However, the caveat is that if you follow someone, and they don't follow you back after a period of days, or a week, I think you should unfollow them at that point. They many not have followed you because they have so many followers already they have stopped automatically following back. They may be like me, and only follow those that seem to share their interests. But for whatever reason, that person has indicated they aren't really interested in a two-way conversation. It's not a fault or a problem, just the way conversations work, or don't work in this case.

So what's the ratio? Well, that's up to each person and what they're looking for from social media. In my case, I'll probably shoot for a one-to-one ratio in the interest of promoting actual dialogue. Call me old-fashioned that way.

Monday, February 25, 2013

Just Write

For the past few days, I've been lucky enough to have been really in the groove as far as writing goes. Every time I sat down to the keyboard, the words just seem to flow onto the screen as if I were nothing more than a middle-man in this literary transaction. Regardless, it has been a great feeling, but one that is not always that common.

There have been many times over the past months where I sat and twisted my brain trying to make a line of dialogue fit, or sought the right tone of voice for one of my characters, to no avail. And the frustration would build up over the course of a few days and nights. I'm a new author, I couldn't possibly have writer's block yet! I haven't even begun to tap the storehouse of ideas contained within my head!

It wasn't until a few months ago that I came up with the solution to these temporary roadblocks, while reading one of the multitude of writer's blogs I frequent for advice. That blog had said one of the most important things when writing was to schedule a consistent time, and set a reasonable goal for writing each day, which is not necessarily bad advice. But as I sat and thought about that nugget of knowledge, I realized it was still too specific for me. So many writers have full-time jobs, families, and other commitments that preclude them from assigning things like times and quotas; and that is where I was at. Which is when I realized that the ONLY criteria that mattered, for me at least, was to JUST WRITE.

It doesn't matter how much you write, or when you write. That's the beauty of it! You write what works for you; nothing more, nothing less. If things are flowing well, and you are feeling it, write more, even if you keep going until you fall asleep at the keyboard. If things are stuck, and you only get a few paragraphs of stilted dialogue between two characters that even you can't stand to read, then pack it in early, and start fresh tomorrow. If you are really at an impasse with yourself, then just start a new project, or write a new blog entry. Just make sure you write something.

Because the truth of the matter is that we all have days in which writing is a struggle;  adding schedules and quotas only provides more obstacles when you need them the least. In the military, we had the KISS methodology. Keep It Simple, Stupid. And that applies to writing as much as any other endeavour.

So when you are stuck, keep it simple. Just write.

Friday, February 22, 2013

Writer Empty Nest Syndrome

So as a new author, I can't help but wonder if my current state-of-mind is normal or not. Maybe some of you can comment, and possibly save my sanity.

 I have just finished first editing of my current manuscript, and will be sending it off to the editor shortly. The great sense of accomplishment is being overwhelmed by what I can only describe as Writer Empty Nest Syndrome (I will be copyrighting WENS in the near future). For the past seven months, this manuscript has been my primary focus beyond work and family. Now it is at a point where it needs to head off to editorial college to become a better, more mature product, and I am feeling rudderless and adrift.

Which is strange, because it isn't like I don't have anything to do, or projects lined up in my head. But it is rather that I don't know where to best spend my time. Every time I sit down to start a project, I question if that is what I should be doing. For example, do I:
  • Start a short story idea I have been kicking around, in the hopes of getting it published and building some name recognition before publishing my first novel?
  • Significantly increase my time building social media networking in preparation for publishing my first novel?
  • Skip the short story and go right to work on the sequel to the first novel?
  • Start working on a completely different novel?
  • Drink more scotch in preparation for publishing my first novel?
Now you start to see the dilemma? I am personally leaning towards (D.) All of the above, starting with the scotch, and seeing where it goes from there. (Everything good starts with scotch, preferably single malt, old, and expensive)
So tell me, my fellow authors, comment below and tell me; is this normal, or am I doomed to a life of literary chaos and insanity?

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Into The daylight

A word to the wise: If you plan on being any kind of an author, do NOT plan on remaining a recluse!

Seven months ago I decided to do something I had kicked around since creative writing classes in high school, and write a book. Not just any book, either; my first novel! Flush with the possibilities before me, and with creative juices overflowing, I set upon my path to becoming an honest-to-god author. Along the way, as with anything I get myself into, I did mountains of research: how to write, what to write, when to write, where to write, how to edit, what get the idea.

The internet can be a researcher's best friend and worst enemy, and over the past seven months, I have learned more about the craft than I would have thought possible. And the one recurring theme that kept popping up was that you needed to grow and develop your social network, so that you can share ideas, discuss problems, find necessary resources, and generally become part of the writing community.

That could be a problem for me. You see, its not that I'm anti-social (although my kids claim otherwise), its just that I don't usually look to spend the emotional capital required to go out of my way to develop relationships. (What was the definition of anti-social?) I do have friends, and I do social things occasionally; hell, I even have a Facebook page! But I don't spend a lot of time trying to build and expand my social circles.

So when I see so many blogs and articles in writing circles claiming that you need expand your "social media presence" and get as many "followers" as I can, I get somewhat leery.(Doesn't "followers" sound kind of creepy? But I guess "stalkers" would have been worse.)

But apparently its what I have to do if I want people to know about my upcoming book, so here you go, my future (hopefully) readers and -gulp- digital acquaintances. I guess I'm in it for the long haul. I am blogger, hear me roar.

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Readers Wanted!

I know, I know...I haven't been keeping up the blog like I should. To be honest, even though I am an IT guy, I haven't gone out of my way to embrace the social media world like I should. But I am fast realizing that if I want to have a chance of getting my book in front of enough people to matter, I am going to have to use the Interwebs!
So in that spirit, I am going to reach out to any of you that read this and ask that you contact me if you or someone you know REALLY likes to read science fiction and would be willing to be a beta reader for Dark Luminance.
I am looking for individuals that read a good bit of SciFi, so that they know what both good and bad examples of the genre look like, and can help me make sure mine becomes the former!
Just email me at and I will get back to you with more details.