News and Nonsense

003 Chattacon is almost here. This is the only convention (so far) that I do a dealer room table at. The picture is of my table last year, which was also my first year to do a table. I decided, since my books are pirate-themed, to use “golden” dollar coins to make change for cash purchases. (They can also be used for the parking garage next to the Choo Choo.) If you are in the Chattanooga, TN area January 30- February 1, please drop on by the historic Chattanooga Choo Choo and enjoy the convention. This year’s Chattacon promises to be the most exciting one in a few years, with plenty of programming all three days, good entertainment, room parties, and free food in the ConSuite. See http://chattacon.org for full details and membership cost.

Elder's Stone This necklace I bought from Back to Earth Creations at one of the conventions a few years ago is the closest I’ve come to finding a RL match for the “Elder’s Stone” talisman that my main character, Viktor, uses when having to deal the Sisters of Power and their magical interference. I wore it Friday while on errands. It afforded me an excuse to promote my books while at Walmart. The cashier asked what it signified, and I told her about the books and gave her my card. She also asked me about how I got my books published, since she is writing, as well. I told her persistence. I tried to find an agent, with no luck; I tried to find a traditional publisher of the variety that didn’t require authors to be agented, with no luck; I finally found my current publisher through Facebook, because a published friend of mine liked their page. From inception of the Waves of Darkness series until finally seeing the first book published as an ebook took four years. Not a bad length of time compared to some more well-known authors.

I also did a little self-promotion at the bank while getting the dollar coins for my change box.

I am on the final chapter of reading A Case of Spontaneous Combustion, book 5 of The Displaced Detective series by Stephanie Osborn. I started the book yesterday and would have finished it last night, if I hadn’t spent most of the morning making sure I had all of my convention table set-up ready to go. I highly recommend Ms. Osborn’s books, by the way. She is an exceptional author and scientist, and a genuinely nice person. I hope some day to attain her caliber in world and character building skills. Feel free to check out her website! http://stephanie-osborn.com

That was the news; now on to the nonsense.

The fearsome daystar has finally dispersed the overnight leavings of the frost bears. Pesky critters always come around this time of year and BREATHE on everything. They make the grass as sparkly as my “sparkle” rocks I find occasionally in the yard. (These are rocks with miniscule crystals throughout or layering them.)

One of these rocks looks to be a fragment of a small geode. Milky crystals have grown to meet up in it, and the overall effect is of jagged teeth in a tiny jaw. It looks like the rock wants to bite you.

I’m trying to decide whether to start on the next chapter of my current WIP or go ahead and start on the horror short story I was invited to contribute to an anthology from Iron Clad Press and Fantom Enterprises which is due for publication sometime next year. I had planned to start it during Chattacon. I’d figured to still be reading this week, but I have a tendency to devour a book, when I get in reading mode.

Rather than continuing to ramble, I think I’ll wrap this post up now.

 

Advertisements

A Real Eye-opener

truth about coffee

4.0 out of 5 stars A Real Eye-opener, January 19, 2015
This review is from: The Truth about Coffee (Paperback)
I received a free copy of this book from a promoter for review. This in no way influences my opinion of the book.
I found this book to be well written and researched. It was not an easy read for me. People don’t like to be told just how bad for them something they like is.
Ms. Kushner strikes me as a bit of a crusader, but she does acknowledge that many of the studies cited have been challenged or considered inconclusive by much of the medical profession. I personally think more attention needs to be given to researching the possible links between coffee and many of the medical ills we suffer. I doubt this will ever happen, mostly for economic reasons. Coffee production is big business.
My one complaint about the book was that she waited until chapter 4 to reveal what harmful chemicals can be found in coffee other than caffeine, although she hinted at them early on. I think this information should have been disseminated at least in the second chapter; then go on to explain the links between coffee and several maladies.
Will this book change my personal coffee consumption? Probably not, although I did think about it. I do not consume anywhere near the amounts described in some of the anecdotes, and what medical ills I have started well before I ever started drinking coffee.
I do, however think this book will be very informative to those who look to their diet for cause and effect on their overall health. I also like that the bibliography and appendices provide the information to cross examine the author’s arguments as well as provide support groups to contact.
Overall, even though I rarely read non-fiction except as research for the fiction I write, I liked this book and have no intention of discarding the copy I received.

Conventions

Chattacon is just around the corner; the first convention of the year that I regularly attend. This is the only one (so far) that I have a table in the dealer room at.

There are three local conventions that I attend, all based at the historic Chattanooga Choo Choo.

Chattacon  http://chattacon.org  

ConNooga http://connooga.com

LibertyCon http://libertycon.org

There may be a fourth added this year, if it continues this year: Steampunk Expo and Goth Convention http://steampunkexpo.org I’m still waiting for them to update their site.

I’ve taken inventory of the print copies of my books that I have on hand: 9 copies of Blood Curse, and 8 copies each of Demon Bayou and Silent Fathoms. I won’t have any copies of Black Venom yet, since it’s not due in print until next month. I hope to have copies of it by ConNooga.

I’m also working on having some character cards or bookmarks available for Chattacon.

Chattacon is the last weekend in January; January 30-February 1. If you’re in the Chattanooga area that weekend, please come by and say hi.

Dreamscape

[The following is a transcript of part of a dream I had early January 13, 2015.]

“Oh, look! He’s going for it!” one of a group of young men gathered near a wall says.

“Do you think he’ll eat it?” another asks.

“I don’t know.”

We watch as a strange snake stalks a small lizard. The snake is striped lengthwise in brown, yellow, white, and orange, with a hint of green. Its body is about the length of my arm and about as thick. Oddly, it does not slither, almost as if its body is stiff. The lizard is gecko-like with a white underside and a large black irregular blotch along its back outlined in yellow. The snake opens its mouth to take in the lizard. The snake’s entire head takes on a “C” shape that reminds me of a gripper tool like those used to reach jars on high shelves.

“Yes, he’s going to eat it,” I say.

The snake’s head returns to a normal shape, like that of a pit viper. I wonder if it is poisonous. It’s overall shape would indicate that it is, but I’m not sure.

“Yes, there are the teeth now,” I say.

The snake is now green. Sharp teeth begin to extend from its jaws, but they are green, as well. I suddenly realize they aren’t teeth at all, but tiny tentacles. They trap the lizard.

The scene shifts.

I see my cat, Wally, but he is about the size of a young “teenage” kitten rather than the 7 year old cat he is. He has his feet tucked up under himself. I tell him he needs to run away, that the snake is as big as he is. He doesn’t move.

I turn and see the snake approaching between a woman’s feet. I know it will eat Wally if it reaches him. I say, “Excuse me,” to the woman and grab a flip-flip. I don’t want to kill the snake. It’s just hungry; but I have to protect my cat. I hit the snake repeatedly in the head until it is flattened. I know once I start beating it that I have to kill it, or it may attack me. Finally, the snake’s eyes close; its head is flattened out; it has turned a brownish red, and smoke wafts up from its mouth and eyelids. I know it is dead.

The dream shifts to something I no longer remember.

Busy Busy Busy

Sorry for being a day late with this post. Last week was my first week back to work after the winter break, and it just had to be night shift with lots of overtime. Thus, I had to cram all my errands into a much shorter period of time, plus try to catch up on all the blogs I follow.

On top of that, I have started reading a non-fiction book to review in exchange for exposure of my latest book to around 3000 potential readers. Took me forever to figure out how to get the download onto the ePub app required to read it. I’m a little over halfway through it now and will post the review on Amazon, as was requested. I will also post a copy here, in case anyone might find the subject interesting. Keep an eye open.

Writing on my current WIP has been going slow. I do most of my first draft writing during breaks at work, and it has taken a while to get my concentration back enough to shut out the background noise.

For the moment, typing of the MS for my next book due out is on hold. I have several months to complete THAT task.

After I finish with the book review, I want to read the latest in Stephanie Osborn’s Displaced Detective series; A Case of Spontaneous Combustion. Writing will go on hold for this event. I’d like to finish reading the book before Chattacon 40 which is the last weekend of this month. I have a table in the dealer’s room, and I know Stephanie will be in attendance. She’s promised to sign the book for me. (For those who are curious, her series is science fiction/mystery and has brought Sherlock Holmes into our reality.)

That’s all I have for now.

Back to Work and a Writing Update

Tonight I go back to work, starting the work year off on night shift. Ugh. The Winter shutdown is over, and it is time to build more cars.

I am hoping that this year I won’t have to spend any of my unplanned paid time off on winter weather. The past two or three years have had days in January that had weather conditions that made getting out of  my driveway safely impossible. (Steep concrete driveway covered in ice. To try to go down and lose control would have me flying across the road and into either a tree or my neighbor’s house. They are downhill from the road.)

My current progress on typing up the manuscript for Hell’s Dodo has me with 18 chapters done plus the foreword and prologue. That is just over 33k words. Only 28 more chapters to type. Good thing the book isn’t due for release until October.

That is all.

Making Revisions, not Resolutions

Busy, busy, busy… and yet, I’ve still been more lax on my author work plans during my year end time off from the job-that-pays-the-bills than I intended to be this week. There have been a couple of days that I did not type any on the MS for my next book, Hell’s Dodo.

Just today, however, I found myself doing a minor rewrite on chapter 12. It seems I’d forgotten that the character in this chapter already knew about a certain subject when I wrote the first draft. Thankfully, it was an easy fix without having to scrap the entire scene and start over.

During the typing up from the handwritten draft is when I do my first round of editing/revising. By the time I reach this stage, the MS has been sitting for a few months at least, and I can attack it with a fresh mind that isn’t as likely to miss mistakes like the one mentioned above.

Once I’ve finished typing the MS into a Word98 document (a requirement by my publisher which would take longer to explain than I wish to spend on it; but it has a sound reason), I will let it sit for a month or two, at least. The second round of revisions will be spent on tightening the storyline, adding elements to the early chapters about who and what my main character is and the driving force behind his quest, and checking spelling, punctuation, and capitalization. It will also involve fighting with Word’s less-than-extensive grammar guide and word recognition. I’ve lost track of how often I’ve had to refer to my handy copy of Webster’s Ninth New Collegiate Dictionary to confirm correct spelling/usage of a word that MSWord insists does not exist.

My goal is to make each book in the series stand on its own as a story yet encourage any new readers who stumble upon it out of reading order to seek out the other books in the series.

Right now, I’m sure I suck at this; but I should improve with practice.

I hope all of you have had a wonderful holiday season, and I wish you all a Happy, Prosperous, and Productive New Year!

Happy New Year Taken - 1 (PS: Liam was the original template for Viktor when I started writing Waves of Darkness eight years ago.)