Tuesday, April 29, 2014

The Silence Before Dawn released

Back in 2006, I dipped my toes into the murky waters we call independent publishing. So many things have changed since then, that the world seems like an entirely different place.

A few months later, I pulled the book out of print (yes, we did print back then), and moved on to fiction. I spent the next several years working on fiction and short stories, writing poetry only on a few rare occasions.
But the 'unfinished' project always remained on my mind, even if only as an infrequent thought. 

With all my fiction published last year, I decided to dust off the old files (yes, I still had paper files) and take a critical look at what I had written. There were some easy edits, some significant rewrites, a few poems replaced with different ones, and twenty new poems added.

At first, I was reluctant to release my poems as an ebook. The first edition had all those pesky little things that e-readers do not like: hanging lines, spacing, text shifts . . .

Nevertheless, I decided to give it a try, and I rewrote most of the poems so they would work with e-readers without sacrificing meaning. Fortunately, thanks to a wonderful person who undertook the daunting task of converting my poems for Kindle, it worked.

So, without further ado, The Silence Before Dawn is now officially available on Kindle (exclusive, for the time being).
You can preview, view, or borrow the book here: Amazon

The print edition should be available within the next couple of weeks.

Friday, April 25, 2014

Write a Novel that Spits in Hollywood's Face - guest post by Gregor Xane

Write a Novel that Spits in Hollywood's Face

Many writers dream of their books being turned into movies. It's nice to dream. However, a book being adapted to film is an exceedingly rare thing. The chance of it actually happening is only slightly better than the manuscript magically transforming into a suitcase stuffed full with a million dollars in unmarked bills. I understand, in part, why this dream is so appealing. No matter how crummy the film based on your book turns out to be, it's still an advertisement for your book that someone paid you to make. But what I don't quite get about the author's dream of having a book turned into a film is that so often it seems as if film adaptation is seen somehow as transcendent, like the green light given by a movie studio executive is akin to the touch of God.
Why is it that the novel yearns to be transformed into another art form? Why do novels need to be validated by becoming comic books, video games, TV shows, and movies? Is this a defeatist 'if you can't beat 'em, join 'em' mentality? Or, is it a desire to be accepted into the 'in' crowd?

Yes, I know money is a factor. I wouldn't turn down the options or the licensing payments, and I wouldn't expect any other author to do so. But I think this dream of adaptation truly is rooted in a deep-seated insecurity. I think many authors secretly feel that a novel is somehow a lesser form of entertainment, or, at the very least, a very uncool one. After all, the media tells us every day that no one reads anymore.  The consumer's attention is becoming increasingly fragmented. So many other noisy and colorful and attractive things are screaming for the potential reader's attention from their computer monitors, their television screens, and the smart phones singing and vibrating in their purses.
So, what should novelists be doing about all of this competition out there?
They should be writing novels. And they shouldn't be thinking of them as homely book caterpillars that might one day transform into beautiful feature film butterflies. They shouldn't write with one covetous eye turned to Hollywood.

Instead, they should dedicate themselves to writing novels that are un-filmable. They should focus their efforts on producing stories that must be read, stories that would be impossible to reproduce in any art form outside of the novel.

Science-fiction and fantasy authors should build set-pieces that would cost billions each to render even with today's uncanny CGI technology. They should create aliens and monsters conceptually impossible to reproduce on the silver screen. They should construct complex worlds and stories that are just too large even to fit in a long-running HBO series.

Mystery and thriller writers need to more fully embrace the legerdemain only available on the page, the type of misdirection that can't be achieved in the visual mediums.

The mainstream and literary fiction authors (all authors, really) should build characters that jump off the page, sentences that demand to be read and re-read, novels that fully exploit the unique advantage the written word has in its ability to engage the intellect in a much deeper way than can ever be achieved even with the greatest, most cerebral, two hours of cinema.

In short, novelists should focus on the novel's strengths. They should write books that make this conversation happen at the water cooler:

"Have you read [insert novel title here]?"
"No. I usually wait for the movie."
"Nobody could make this book into a movie, man. Trust me. It's just not possible."

Novelists should say, "Fuck you, Hollywood. What I've written here can never successfully be adapted to film. Feel free to try, but this bitch will bankrupt your studio."

Of course, by this point, many of the folks currently reading this are saying to themselves, "But all the best novels out there already do these things!"


We need more of them.

The above is an uncensored guest post by Mr. Gregor Xane whom I invited to share his thoughts with my readers.

Gregor Xane reads and writes in Ohio.

You can find out more about him by visiting
his  blog
his  Amazon page
or his GoodReads profile

Thursday, April 17, 2014

The Silence Before Dawn cover

Without much fanfare, the cover for the new edition of The Silence Before Dawn is done.

This time around, the decision to go simple was welcomed by those involved in the process, and the cover was received well by the select few who got a sneak peek.

So, without further ado:

This brings me one step closer to the new, yet undetermined release date. There are still a few conversion bugs to fix,  but it is going to happen soon.

Friday, April 11, 2014

The Absurd Demise of Poulnabrone by Liam Howley - a review

The Absurd Demise of PoulnabroneThe Absurd Demise of Poulnabrone by Liam Howley

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

It is not often that I read independent authors, but I'm running out of dead authors to read, so I decided to reach for a book by a contemporary author instead, and broaden my literary horizons. Other than knowing that The Absurd Demise of Poulnabrone is Liam Howley's debut novel, I did not know what to expect.

The Absurd Demise of Poulnabrone opens with an introduction to Cornelius Solitude Conlon, an aging man who, I assumed, was the primary protagonist. In fact, my assumption continued throughout a good portion of the novel, even though the narrative shifted to various other characters as I read along. Nevertheless, as the story progressed, Cornelius became but one piece in the game board that is Poulnabrone.

It is, in fact, Poulnabrone that is the centerpiece of this story. Primary and secondary characters appear on the scene, make an impact, and leave. Some return later on, some never appear again, yet others remain present to weave the fabric of the tale as it is spun along, carrying with them the thread of continuity without overshadowing the main premise.

And what is the premise? As with any good work of literature, it is open to interpretation, and I believe that no two readers will walk away from this story feeling the same exact way as to its meaning. For me, nevertheless, the premise is the state of humanity. Poulnabrone may be the game board; Cornelius, Lily, Tara, the Tully's, Malachy, and all the others nothing but game pieces. Howley moves them around to advance the story, but not a single one of them carries the story on his shoulders. Together, however, they present a full picture of our modern society as it thrashes around in the wake of its deeds.

As I said, the novel opens with Cornelius. A beautifully developed character, who may appear crazy, yet may be the sanest person in the entire town. Cornelius is obsessive, devoted, indifferent, involved, hoping for a miracle while preaching doom. He is contradictory, and therefore utterly human.

The novel starts slowly, without any tension building up for quite a few pages. This, nevertheless, did not put me off. Howley builds on the scenery and characters' interactions to set the scene, to establish Poulnabrone's history, and to provide background for the main narrators. Later on, he capitalizes on this by moving the story along at a faster pace without having to resort to info dumps. And yes, a story like this one does not work without background information.

Genre readers accustomed to formulaic writing will probably struggle with Howley's writing style, but those accustomed to reading the classics, and literary works, will be right at home. The Absurd Demise reads more like Dostoyevsky's The Idiot than a contemporary novel. There is the poetic language of literary fiction and the rawness of psychological realism, stitched together by an interesting cast of fully developed characters weaving in and out of the narrative as the absurdity of our 'civilization' appears in the mirror Howley positions, but not forces, in front of us.

View all my reviews

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Guest post at coffee2words

I recently wrote a guest post at coffee2words concerning my decision to self-publish. The post went live today.

As this is one of the questions I get asked most frequently, I hope it provides some answers not only to readers, but to fellow authors who are considering self-publishing as well.

Monday, April 7, 2014

UBR reviews Escaping Barcelona

I've been following Underground Book Reviews for a while now, never even considering to submit a review query.

You can imagine my surprise when I received an email from them, informing me that they were going to review EB, and that they actually purchased their own copy.

Now knowing what to expect, I had to wait until today to find out what the reviewer thought of my work. Well, the review went live earlier today, and I must admit that I have a smile on my face as I type this.


Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Poetry almost completed

Over the past few weeks I've been organizing my older poems in hopes of re-releasing The Silence Before Dawn. While the first edition was received quite well, I decided to make some changes to a few poems, remove some poems I felt no longer fit with the theme, and added a handful of new ones.

As it stands now, I have the interior PDF pretty much ready. 

One of the changes was to streamline the text and eliminate almost all hanging lines, indented lines, et cetera. While this alters the presentation a bit, it makes the possibility of an ebook more feasible. I'm not really sure whether I want to release it as an ebook, but should I go that way, a streamlined text is easier to convert.

I remember some of you asking me to let you know when the new edition becomes available. At this point, I do not have any set date in mind, as there is still work to be done, which may, or may not take a while. Nevertheless, if you are interested in an interior ARC pdf file, please contact me and I'll send you a copy.