Authorguy's Blog

Posts Tagged ‘Echelon Press

Yeah, I know, but I go to South Carolina for the Book Festival they have in Columbia, and I don’t go to Alabama at all.

Speaking of the Book Festival, I just got back from there on Monday after spending four marvelous days in weather that wasn’t rainy and was warm. This time around they decided to hold the festival in May instead of February, and I was lucky that my local festival, Duck Pond Day, wasn’t the same weekend. Actually it was my publisher who was lucky since I wouldn’t have traveled 800 miles for the privilege of losing money if an event literally down the hill from my house was waiting for me. Duck Pond Day is next Sunday, so life is good.

It was also the weekend my new book came out. Yes, St. Martin’s Moon is officially released, although at this moment it only appears on OmniLit.com and the sister site All Romance Ebooks.  I also got a fabulous Triple Espresso review.

At I-Con last month I got to use my new handmade wooden bookshelf on wheels. At SC I was able to use both of them, although I think I’ll have to get some new wheels, the big ones I have don’t fit right and the shelves tilt. We had no room for anything else, there were lots of other authors sharing the space and space was at a premium. Having a lot of shelves was very handy. I even sold a few electronic copies of some of my short stories, that’s never happened before.

The other authors were Sam Morton and Connie Hullander, both of whom apparently live in Columbia or thereabouts. Everyone else had to travel a bit, Sean Hayden and his son Connor came up from Florida, Kieryn Nicolas came down from PA, Marlis Day came out East again and Gale Borger traveled the furthest of all. Even better, almost every one of them had a new book out, and this festival was where it was going to debut (at least the paper version)! I picked just so many new titles to read! And I have to read them, of course, otherwise how could I promote them to all the lucky patrons of my other bookselling events?

One thing we had no room for was a place to sit. I spent every hour of both days on my feet and moving around. You can imagine how stiff I was when I finally got a chance to sit down. If you’re lucky you can’t.

The trip home was less fortunate, in several respects. I left SC on Sunday night after the event ended, making it about halfway through North Carolina before stopping at a motel. After getting lost twice. The motel, a Best Western, was a little pricier than I would have liked but I wasn’t really motivate to try the non-name brands down the road. At least they had a decent complimentary breakfast, and a busload of friendly tourists who were no doubt occupying all the cheaper rooms. And Julia, my daughter who was doing the event with me, got to use the pool. Yay. Well, at least she was happy.

The next day I was supposed to stop in at my publisher’s warehouse and pick up my books, every copy of A Warrior Made I could find. I’m pretty sure most of them were buried, I never saw so many boxes of books in my life! People, you gotta get out there and start buying Echelon books. I mean, seriously.

Anyway, for the last part of the trip I had a thousand pounds more weight than I was used to, and of course that was when a serious accident on the NJ Turnpike closed the road and forced us to make a detour onto Rte. 1, at rush hour. I don’t think we made much better time than the parking lot we left behind. When we finally got back to LI we had to deal with the crappy paving job that I felt every pothole and crack of, thanks to the aforementioned extra thousand pounds. And I was too late to catch the season finale of Chuck. Thank God for VCRs, except of course something went wrong. Thank God for Hulu.com!

Next month, Chicago!

See you there?

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Today I have the distinct pleasure of hosting my friend, Sean Hayden, as he travels the web telling all you lucky people about his upcoming release, a YA vampire story called Origins, Book 1 in his Demonkin series.

I was given the honor of being hosted by my friend, Marc Vun Kannon today. I’ve been looking forward to this particular post for a while. See, Marc and I share one trait when it comes to writing, and I figured I would expand on it for those who don’t quite understand it. The fine art of being a “Pantser”.

“What’s that,” you ask?

“Well it’s very simple really…” I settle down to explain.

“Do you write your stories without wearing any pants?”

“No that’s not it at all. See…”

“Do you wear a special pair of pants, like lucky writing pants?”

“Um, no. You see…”

“Do you wear two pairs of pants as sort of an inspiration?”

“I’m sorry, but if you would quit interrupting, I’ll explain.”

“OH, sorry. Go ahead, Sean…”

Thank you. You see, being a pantser is kind of like going into a debate without knowing the topic beforehand. I believe the best term to describe it is “Improv”. I’m sure any of my fellow authors who are reading this post just went, “Ug,” or “ick.”

Yup, being a pantser is often frowned upon. Most authors use what’s known as an (cover your children’s ears, I’m about to use a dirty word) “Outline”. I hate to admit it but a chill of fear just ran down my spine. As I type, I can feel its icy grip seizing my nervous system, causing cold sweat to ease its way through my pores, and tightening my chest making the very act of breathing difficult. Outlines scare me more than middle school cafeteria workers in hairnets. Outlines scare me more than ~looks around nervously~ , “Clowns.”

I take great pleasure in writing books and short stories. Before I started, I never had a clue how much I would enjoy it. Turning letters into words, turning words into sentences, sentences into paragraphs, and paragraphs into stories is as natural as breathing now. We write stories as we go along. From characters, plots, abilities, and even worlds flow from our fingers without the benefit of planning. That’s what makes it fun. That’s what makes us pantsers. WRITING FROM THE SEAT OF YOUR PANTS.

“Why would you do such a thing?”

I pause for a moment and try to think of a reason.

Because it’s completely natural. I couldn’t do it any other way, nor would I try. Have you ever been on vacation? Have you ever been on vacation with an “Itinerary Nazi”? Yeah. “We need to be at the museum by 9AM so we can see the early flight exhibition before it becomes too busy. We’ll have an early breakfast after that of granola and yogurt in the butterfly grotto before moving on to the science exhibit at 9:48. If all goes to plan, we should be able to wrap up the museum by 11:43, ride back to the hotel. Shower and change before heading to the planetarium by 12:38.”

Sound like fun?

Yeah, me neither. But that is exactly what writing with an outline would feel like to me. Beat me with a 2×4. Tell me I have to move to Nome, Alaska. Sprinkle me with colored sugar and call me “Cookie.” But never, never, never ask me to write with an outline, plan a story, or ask me what comes next. It Ain’t gonna happen.

Sean Hayden (that’s this guy here)

Born in the suburbs of Chicago, he moved to the frigid arctic climes of south east Florida as a small child.  The son of a fireman and a proofreader (that’s what they had before spellcheck) he fell in love with reading at a young age.  When he hit the age of 35 he wrote his first novel, an urban fantasy about vampires and demons entitled Origins. Unsatisfied with one novel, he penned the sequel Deceptions and both titles of the Demonkin Series will be available from Echelon Press soon.

Today is Thanksgiving Day, and so, in the spirit of writers everywhere, as they ponder all the myriad blessings of their lives this past year, I am not going to do a Thanksgiving post.

Anyone can do a Thanksgiving post. True originality comes from not doing a Thanksgiving post.

So instead of reflecting on the deep gratitude I owe to my publisher, Echelon Press, for taking yet more chances on me and my work (6 this year, I think, one novel and five short stories), I’m going to watch the next episode of Witchblade.  Or maybe re-watch the last episode of Chuck, with Sarah conquering half of Thailand single-handed, or whine in frustrated impatience for the next episode, the Thanksgiving episo–No, no Thanksgiving.

We’re talking about, um, all my friends, on Twitter and Facebook and WordPress.  The people who read my tweets and blogs, who visit my website and hopefully buy my books, even if only to fill in their Christmas shopping list with a book they can rest assured no one has ever heard of before.  It’s not easy being a new author, even if I have been at it for over a decade.  Let me tell you, though, if you tell me what you’re recipient likes, I can tell you which Echelon book to get for him her that person.  I’ve read them all.  Go on, tough guy, push me. I dare you.  Don’t expect me to ramble on and on about the joy and happiness your friendship brings me considering I’ve only been active on the social networking thing for a few months, because I’m not going to.

My wife, of course, knew better than to push me to displays of saccharine sentiment, instead challenging me to come up with a blog post filled with holiday buzz words that didn’t actually talk about any of them. Just look at that tag cloud!  Was there ever a more perfect spouse?

Fortunately, the pies my wonderful children made last night are out of my direct view, and the turkey in the oven, with its real handmade sage stuffing, has not yet begun to perfume the air with the aroma of its baking, which leaves me free to think about my next story, Ghostkiller, or maybe my last story, Steampunk Santa, and how I hope it will receive an audience when it comes out pre-Christmas.  There, you see how I didn’t even mention Thanksgi–

Ha! Better luck next year!

The book that started it all!

When my first book first arrived in the world, ready for all the eager book-buyers to pounce upon it, I discovered something horrifying.  Did you know that bookstores don’t stock all books, just because they exist?  I actually had to go out there and try to get them to pick it up and put it on their shelves, with a notable lack of success, I might add.

Bear in mind that I didn’t set out to be an author.  Well, I did set out to write the book, because the book told me to, but I didn’t think about being published. I wrote the book for my enjoyment.  Only afterward did I even think about publication, so I started asking around, in my usual ham-handed fashion.  With a notable lack of success, I might add.  I had no idea of how to write a query letter (and still don’t) and could very well be unpublished to this day were it not for the direct intercession of the gods themselves, who brought me and Echelon Press together.  But that’s another story.

So I walked into this whole enterprise blind and ignorant.  I resolved my dilemma in the  most direct fashion:  Since the bookstores wouldn’t put my books on their shelves, I created my own bookstore and put my books on my own shelves.  Thus was Author Guy the bookseller created.  It suited me, to a great extent.  As a bookseller, I have a role to play which allows me to interact with total strangers and urge them to buy my books.  In my daily life, I have to engage those same strangers in conversation and hope that somehow I can slip a mention of my books in edgewise, without making it sound like that’s the only reason I started talking to them in the first place.  It’s not hard to do if you’re paying attention, and when that isn’t the only reason you started talking to them in the first place.

Click here to get yours NOW!

But there was a fatal flaw to my plan, to wit, that I had no incentive to send my customers to a different bookstore to buy the damn books!  I had a sunk cost to recoup.

Marketing was the solution, but marketing was also the problem.  A lot of people don’t get this, especially when they find out I’m a philosophy major and a software engineer, but I don’t deal well with abstractions.  Truth and logic and right and wrong are all real enough, but schedules and reports and budgets and money and populations are beyond my scope.  I can sell a book in my hand to a man standing in front of me, but I can’t produce a marketing plan.  Scheduled mailings and results tracked across regions and time…uh-uh.  The whole subject gives me a headache.  Literally. 

In addition to my novels, I’ve got a few short stories in e-book form, and I’m about to have several more.  So now I have to figure out how to get all of you lovely, strongly imagined and therefore not abstract readers of this post to go to my book site and check out my books.  And not just my books, but all of Echelon’s books, as well as the Quake books for YA readers.

To quote the pithy wisdom of Lord Mark Vorkosigan, when presented with a problem completely beyond his abilities:  “Help.”

Reality TV...without the reality!What's an Author to do?


Unbinding the Stone

A Warrior Made

A Warrior Made

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St. Martin’s Moon

St. Martin's Moon

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Ghostkiller

Chasing His Own Tale

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Struck By Inspiration

Struck By Inspiration

Click here to Buy Now!

Steampunk Santa

Click here to Buy Now!

Bite Deep

Christmas among the vampires!

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Click here to buy NOW!

Cyber-pirates. Sort of.

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Off the Map

Reality TV...without the Reality!

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