Writers: Go To Conventions (a guest post by Matthew W. Quinn)


Yes it’s been a minute. Here is a guest post by my friend Matt. Listen up. He’s got good advice here. (JRT)

 

By Matthew W. Quinn

One lesson I’ve learned in the years I’ve been writing professionally is attending conventions is a really, really good idea. Since I live in Atlanta, I’ve been blessed to have conventions like DragonCon, AnachroCon, and JordanCon (although I’ve never been to that one) easily accessible.

Firstly, conventions are good places to do business. I didn’t even know the BattleTech science-fiction franchise even still existed, but I ran into the staff of Catalyst Game Labs — the current holder of the property — at the 2008 DragonCon. I spent the subsequent year writing a short story entitled “Skirmish at the Vale’s Edge” for the site BattleCorps based on something I read in an old Clan Wolf sourcebook and submitted it to them just before the 2009 convention. I let the staff know I’d done this and soon afterward they wrote me to tell me they’d purchased the story. It’s still up there, and it’s now the canonical account of the Battle of Jallington Vale.

At a later DragonCon (either 2011 or 2012), I met representatives of another small press and received permission to send them my secondary-world fantasy/steampunk novel Battle for the Wastelands. I submitted in March 2013 and after not hearing back for some time, queried the company’s representative at the 2013 convention. I eventually received a rejection that November — they said it had good writing, but wasn’t for them. Although this wasn’t an acceptance, it was still feedback and a contact made for future projects.

More recently, I volunteered at the 2015 World Horror Conference. There I met representatives of two small presses, one dedicated to science fiction, fantasy, and horror and the other “bizarro.” I got the go-ahead to submit my teen Lovecraftian horror novel The Thing in the Woods and a rather strange tale involving little people. I’ve already submitted the former; I’ll submit the latter once I finish it.

Secondly, one can learn a whole lot about the craft of writing from panels. I found panels at DragonCon 2013 so informative on topics like pulp writing and putting together anthologies and collections that I ended up blogging about them. At the 2011 DragonCon I attended a panel on characterization taught by none other than Michael Stackpole. Another panel, with S.M. Stirling, provided some valuable advice about short stories and the most profitable use of one’s time. DragonCon 2010 gave me enough material for multiple blog posts. AnachroCon, though much smaller, taught me some valuable information about Norse culture and the state of Lovecraftian media.

Finally, conventions are a good place to sell your wares. James and I have a mutual friend named J.H. Glaze who’s very, very good at moving his product at conventions. I’ve purchased books at the World Horror Conference and DragonCon. If you’ve got books to sell, try to get a table either by yourself or with other writers to share the load.

-Matthew W. Quinn is a freelance writer, editor, and soon to be holder of an M.A. in World History from Georgia State University. Check out his speculative fiction here and follow him on Twitter here.

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HOW FAR CAN I CARRY YOU? (or self-reliance)


There is a thing in this world that we are falling short of. It’s something that is vital to our health as a nation and as individuals.

It’s called SELF-RELIANCE.

The simple truth of life is that in this life you have to carry your own weight. It’s a complicated thing that you spend your childhood learning about and your teens figuring out how to do it. Once you become an adult you should have it worked out as to how you are going to take yourself through life.

Say you an me are going on a journey. The two of us are hitting the road and needing to go somewhere. We are walking. Now, I may not walk fast, but I can walk pretty far. The two of us could probably cover 10-20 miles before we had to stop. That’s a pretty fair piece.

I’m a big guy. 6’4 well over 300 lbs. I’m pretty strong. If you climb on my back I can probably carry you maybe a half mile before your weight would make me have to set you down.

Now pay attention to what happened in that example.

Both of us walking, carrying our own weight, we could go 20 miles.

Me carrying you, we could go 1/40th that distance. (and if I strapped up to your back we’d be lucky to make it 10 feet. (I am a heavy bastard)

Now this example carries over to your entire life. It applies to your work, to your marriage, to your friendships, to damn near everything you ever do. If we all carry our own weight we can go further. We can encourage each other on the road and inspire each other to reach destinations more distant than we would travel to on our own.

But we do it on our own two feet. Standing, walking, striding forward.

Walk beside. Don’t ride. You’ll get farther.

MORE THAN ALE WILL BE SPILLED TONIGHT! (a guest blog by Steven Shrewsbury)


Alright kiddos, gather round. Today we have Steven Shrewsberry stopping by to entertain you. Put on your raincoats in the first four rows, this might get messy.

Me, Steven Shrewsbury, John Hartness, and Brady Allen. Shrews is about to go on a rant.

I met Steven at Fandom Fest where I was privileged to not only lift a glass of moonshine with him (and Brady Allen and John Hartness) but to also sit and discuss the late, great Robert E. Howard with him and Brady Allen. It was a blast. Steven is a helluva guy. He writes some kick ass sword and sorcery as well as kick ass horror. I loved  HAWG, OVERKILL,  and THRALL and highly recommend them. Steven has promised me a story for THUNDER ON THE BATTLEFIELD, the sword and sorcery anthology I’m editing for Seventh Star Press for next year and, by Crom I plan to hold him to it!

What’s on the mind of Steven Shrewsbury?

So kick back and listen as he tells you about creating a new story.

A CREATION THING

As a guest blogger, I’ll try to behave and not wreck the place or wipe anything on the curtains as I go. Much. I’m author, Steven L. Shrewsbury, by the way, writer of sword & sorcery hardcore horror and a good dad, so I hear.

I’m enjoying going through the third draft of a novel. There seem to be so many folks doubting themselves or unsure of how they should approach things. Just do it, well, it cannot be that simple all the time, of course, but getting after it, yeah, do it. I like it. I feel good about it. I’m not filled with doubt, worry if I’ll offend anyone or any of that manure. It feels right. Now, that isn’t valid in every scenario in life, but this time, I feel the burn. It’s warm.

At times, I smile at things I write, stuff I forgot in the earlier drafts. There are times I have qualms that I wrote it at all. But that doesn’t scare me. Then there are the moments of passion, or outright Christmas morning glee when everything hooks up and the answers are revealed. Those are the times I feel it, I feel something, or someone in my mind. Maybe it’s my higher self, or my low-life, baser self, conducting an orchestra of the mad. Whatever the cheesy application, it’s damned good to listen to. It burns through the darkness and light splashes on the page. Does it smell like victory or just a mental napalm barbecue with legions of victims? Dunno.

All writers have a God complex. Some fess up to it but others whack off against the idea for eternity. It’s a creation thing, some are weirder or more obsessive than others. Some, their balls never drop and they work their jaws in discussion on a topic instead of working it out in a tale. Others, spread it out too much and the money shot gets old after a spell. Today, though, I looked at what I made. And it was good.

Why do writers write? That’s a complex one for a panel, but frankly, my answer has always been because I have to. Not out of financial need, but really that the tales must come out. I’ve been telling tales since I started re-fighting the battle of Jericho in my sandbox as a kid. Granted, Joshua didn’t have part off a Navarone play set and the will o’God behind him together, but I’ve always had the urge to relate a story. Many a tale is told easily and others have a terrible habit of torturing me for years. This novel I’m brushing up about a Confederate in his 90s facing a band of maniacs the Coen brothers would love is killer, at least to me, anyways, and it came out right. It isn’t S&S, and while parts are horrific, it is more survivalist/thriller, but I hate labels. Someday, I’ll share with the class.

Someday, someone will read this book and tell me it blows chunks. They may say they didn’t care for it, it wasn’t their kind of thing or, it fell short of what I must’ve had in mind. That’s okay as well. I told the story. It exists. It belongs to no one else. Those who cannot try can bite me. There are people that bitch to God about the weather, their taxes and why a platypus lays eggs. Today, I’m God. If only for a little while.

I’m sure He understands.

Steven Shrewsbury

Author of OVERKILL, THRALL, HELL BILLY, and HAWG

http://sshrewsbury.wordpress.com/

bigbearshrews@yahoo.com

HEAD DOWN, MAKE WORDS (or how JA Konrath and Barry Eisler convinced me to write more)


Hello, hello.

This is not a blog about Amazon, Konrath, or self-publishing.  That blog is coming, but it is not todays.

Today I here to contemplate productivity.

Basically I have found myself, after book one of the Deacon Chalk series hit the bookstores, under the gun as far as deadline. Book 3 and e-novella 3 are due at the end of April.  I have been working diligently, making words, which is why we have had a few guests round these parts lately.  I have been plugging away.  I am now on track to finish in the allotted time which means that I will have written, and revised, roughly 100,000 words in about 2 months.

I have been able to accomplish this because I have a fairly clear idea where the story is going and coffee.

But this makes me realize that I need to be doing close to this level of production regularly. It’s not been a strain or a real struggle.

At close to that pace I could write 3+ novels a year.

Or have 5 novellas in 2 months.

I could build a nice sized catalog of stories in a short time.

Regardless of what I decide to do with pursuing publisher or indie publishing there is no question that the more material you have in the marketplace, the more money you make.

So I must write more because, by God I can. It’s not like I don’t have a list of story ideas as long as my gorilla style, freakishly long arm.

Maybe I will invest in Caf’e Bustello, the best damn coffee in the world….or at Walmart anyways.

WHEN SPIES GROW UP THEY STILL PLAY WITH THEIR TOYS (an interview with thriller author Chuck Barrett)


I had the absolute pleasure of meeting Chuck at the Dahlonega Literary Festival in 2011. I had a great time, met some great folks, hung out with folks I knew, and had a blast. Chuck was one of the guys I talked to several times that weekend and have kept in touch with. He’s a helluva nice guy and a fellow International Thriller Writers member with me!

He just put out the 2nd book in his Jake Pendleton series, called The Toymaker, and I thought it would be nice to sit down and chat with him a bit.

So here goes:

  1. Your second book just hit the shelves. Give us a sum up of what’s going on in Jake Pendleton’s life in book 2.

Jake Pendleton finds himself embroiled again in a battle to thwart a terrorist’s evil purpose as he is propelled through deserts, explosions, gun battles and boat chases. Tormented by an unseen nemesis and his own embattled psyche, Jake must accept the help of a little known ally to the US Government and learn painful, but liberating lessons from The Toymaker, a secretive developer of spy toys and advanced technology.

2) Tell me about the Toymaker. I heard he is a real guy and I want to know if he is working for us or for the highest bidder!

Indeed he is a real man. And real-life Toymaker is as characterized in the book. I met him by happenstance on vacation in Utah in 2010. As we got to know each other, I realized he was dropping some of those buzz words I was used to hearing after years of reading spy thrillers. So, finally I just asked him if he made toys for spies. That was when I really got to know the true nature of his business. He invited me to his U.S. Factory to see some of the things he makes and has made. It was pretty cool to say the least. As far as who he works for—the real Toymaker is a true patriot. He’s served this country since the 1950’s. Any foreign entities he’s supplied ‘toys’ to have been at the behest or under contract through our government. For instance, the copper tents and TEMPEST setup was sold to the Australian Secret Intelligence Service. He’s had dealings with Mossad, Great Britain, as well as a few others. He’s not a highest bidder kind of guy. He’s a man of strong ethics and values and patriotism.

3) What do you think about the high number of J names in the thriller genre? How did you come up with the name for your character?

I don’t guess I ever really thought about until I read this question…probably because the protagonists in the most of the book I read are names like Mitch, Scot, Cotton, Myron, Michelle, Sean, and Oliver. Well, there is Jack Reacher, I guess there’s a J. I have noticed after looking into it that there are a lot of “J” named protagonists. I figure it’s probably just a phase…not unlike how baby names grow in and out of popularity over the years. But my main character will be around for many more thrillers so I guess I’ll keep adding to it. I came up with the name Jake by nothing more than putting together names until I found one that sounded like I’d want him as a main character…much like Gregg Kaplan or Elmore Wiley, or Francesca Catanzaro. They have a place and the name bears some significance in the story…even it’s its subliminal. There are some names where the name itself tends to sound ‘good guy.’ Conversely, there are names that just ring ‘villain.’ The reader will almost instinctively know which is which just by the name.

4) How did you go about getting published and what is your one piece of advice to the budding thriller writer out there?

My books are independently published. After years of frustration with dealing with the traditional publishing brick wall and the total lack of respect for authors, I figured there had to be a better way. And there is another way. As you know, the options for publishing today are many and none of them should be ruled out. Regardless of how you’re published—traditional, self, vanity…whatever—the number one rule is write a good book. Bottom line is a good story, written well, will sell. If you know you have a good, well-written story then explore ALL your options and don’t rule out anything until you’ve weighed them against each other.

5) Give me a list of the last five books you read (not for research, for fun).

Rules of Betrayal by Christopher Reich
Echo Park by Michael Connelly
Supreme justice by Phillip Margolin (who also endorsed The Toymaker)
The Jefferson Key by Steve Berry (who also endorsed The Savannah Project)
Full Black by Brad Thor

And I’m currently reading The Sixth Man by David Baldacci. Adding to my enjoyment was Frozen Past by Richard C Hale, who is a friend and just independently published his second thriller. Richard is an author to keep an eye on.

6) Hollywood came calling they want to know who you cast in the movie of The Toymaker.

Not an easy question to answer…but I’ll try anyway.
Jake Pendleton: Chris Hemsworth (Clean shaven and lighter hair)
Gregg Kaplan: Karl Urban (always with a 5 o’clock shadow)
Elmore Wiley (The Toymaker): Very difficult—Maybe Donald Sutherland because of his ability to eloquently portray eccentric characters.
Kyli Wullenweber: This one would require more thought. What started out to be a small character role ended up being major. I wouldn’t want to get this one wrong!

7) What’s next in your plan for world domination?

The 3rd Jake Pendleton thriller is in the works and is scheduled to be out by year’s end. At that point I’m tentatively planning on the first of the Gregg Kaplan stories. The two series, Jake Pendleton and Gregg Kaplan, will be distinctly different in flavor. The Jake Pendleton series will lend more toward suspense and intrigue whereas the Gregg Kaplan series will be more of a true mystery. But, as with most plans, that might change as well.

Click the book covers to read more about them and to get a link to buy.

Go support Chuck, cause he kicks mucho ass!

EYEBALLS, NEEDLES, BURLESQUE GIRLS, AND INK (or an interview with Author/Tattoo Artist Julia Madeleine)


Loyals and True Believers HARK!

Today I bring you an awesome interview with a strange and unique person. She is one of the rare folks who are both a writer AND a tattoo artist like yours truly.

Julia Madeleine is Canadian and one helluva interesting Dame. Tune in and pay attention and at the end there will be FREE stuff.

Q&A with Julia Madeline

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Let’s start off with the good stuff, tell us about your newest book. It’s a prequel right?

There is a prequel called Scarlet Sins, which is a novella about a burlesque queen in the 1960s, her troubled marriage, and what she chooses to do to save it. Then there is my novel, The Truth About Scarlet Rose, about the subsequent murder of her husband and her grown daughter who has to help in the investigation.

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So why do you write such dark stuff? I mean you are a girl! Shouldn’t you be writing about love and stuff?

That’s funny James. Love is good. I write about love, but it’s usually love gone wrong, where someone is going to end up dead. Much more interesting that way, wouldn’t you say?

Now why did you choose to go the way of Amazon exclusivity? Would you recommend it to others?

I’m currently selling exclusively through Amazon because Kindle Direct Publishing allows for some great marketing tools like making your book free for a limited time which is a great way for new readers to find your work. I might eventually list my books with other eBook retailers like Kobo and Sony for example (never say never) but the market share for them is pretty small and they have a habit of discounting their books which affects the price on Amazon . The new king of the jungle is Amazon and they very author friendly.

 

What books or authors do you think influenced you as a writer? And what are you reading now?

I’ve read a lot of literary fiction since college and I think it influenced my writing considerably. Mary Gaitskill, Evelyn Lau, Joyce Carol Oates, Janet Fitch, Margaret Laurence. These days I’m pretty much reading just in the thriller genre. Currently I’m reading Hillary Davidson’s debut The Damage Done and Tumblin’ Dice by John McFetridge.

Okay, let’s switch gears to your other career. Like me, you are a professional tattoo artist. Your pinup work is super nice. Is that your favorite style?

 

Definitely. I love the classic pin-ups and I enjoy doing them in colour especially. They make for great tattoos. Gil Elvgren and George Petty are two of my favourite pin-up artists.

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Tell me how you got started in tattooing? Did you serve an apprenticeship or just sell your soul at the crossroads for the ability to tattoo?

 

I blackmailed my tattoo artist. Ha, ha. No, I just married him. When I lost my job as a match maker at a dating service, I started hanging around my husband’s shop answering the phones. I’ve always had an art background but never thought of doing anything professionally with it. Then I started to work on custom designs for clients and eventually that led to my husband teaching me to tattoo. He made that decision after the first time he had to cough up for my car payment. So basically tattooing found me, I wasn’t looking to be an artist at all.

How is the tattoo scene in your town? How is the author scene?

The tattoo scene is awesome. My husband Fabien, has had the shop, Malefic Tattoos, on the west side of Toronto for about 18 years so we’re well established and have worked at building a good reputation and a loyal clientele. I’ve been a tattooer myself for about 12 years. We’re in a big city, about 700,000 so no shortage of flesh. It’s cool to go through generations of families; the kids of parents we’ve been tattooing for years starting to come in now. Love seeing that. We’re doing the NIX tattoo show in Toronto this summer for the first time. So that’s going to be lots of fun.

The crime writing scene here is pretty good as well. We have an annual convention in Toronto called Bloody Words. It’s like a mini Thrillerfest. Lots of great Canadian writers.

Do you have any other creative outlets like painting or photography? Or do you stick with only the two of tattooing and writing?

I do but I’ve had to give them all up to feed my writing obsession. I used to paint and was into photography as well. I also used to design clothing and sew, garden, bake, make jewellery. All visual arts; I don’t sing, dance, or play music. But alas, writing is all consuming and in order to have the time for it, I’ve had to sacrifice all other creative mediums. Except for tattooing of course because that’s my career. It sucks sometimes because I still want to do all those other things, especially when I see things that inspire me. I really need to be more than one person.

 

Any advice to a person wanting to get into the writing gig?

Devour all the books on the craft of writing that you can get your hot little hands on. They will take your writing light years ahead. I’ve got Stein On Writing in audio book on my iphone and listen to it over and over. And I’ve got books with highlighted passages that I refer to regularly. You can never stop growing and learning, especially when it comes to writing. The same goes for tattooing. There’s always more to learn.

Thank you so much for coming by and sharing all your awesome with us!

Now, here’s the free stuff.

First, go check out Julia’s website.

http://www.juliamadeleine.com/

and then go pick up one of her books for FREE. Hell yes, you read that right, FREE on AMAZON but only March1-March3 2012. CLICK HERE TO GET IT..

STICK A NEEDLE IN MY EYE is a collection of 17 short stories of mayhem that are not for the faint of heart. These stories, one of which was nominated for a Derringer Award in 2011, have been featured in a number of crime fiction magazines. Buckets of blood are spilt between these pages, and some nice (and some not so nice) people die horrible deaths. Here you will meet a pedophile who picks the wrong little girl to try and molest; a clown who gets bullied by his wife one time too many, a serial killer who likes to take postmortem photographs of his victims, more than one angry wife/girlfriend seeking revenge on the other woman, and more than one escaped mental patient with murder in her heart.

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GOOD TIMES AND GOOD PEEPS (or a Con Nooga 2012 wrap-up)


So last weekend was Con Nooga held in Chattanooga Tn at the Chattanooga Choo Choo. It’s a nice, quiet convention. It’s not nearly as crazy as Dragoncon, (Big shout out to Derek Tatum for letting me crash at his place while I was there.) but was a ton of fun.

Now I stayed mostly in the Literary track, hanging with my own kind. lol. I met some really great folks over the weekend. Now Iam going to miss some folks and I will catch them on a follow up post, but I have been sick for almost 4 days so you will just have to forgive me.

These are in no certain order.

Dan Jolley- Dan is a helluva guy. Friendly, easy to talk to, and he has written some of my favorite comic book titles. I LOVE the JSA and he has written them. Now he spends most of his time  writing a little known game called Prototype 2. (That was total sarcasm. This game is supposed to be AWESOME!) He has stuff to read, go check it out.

WWW.DANJOLLEY.COM

Sean Taylor- This guy read some snippets from his SHOW ME A HERO anthology and made me extremely jealous. It was really, really, good. Another really nice guy and he has a great blog you should check out daily. Go click on his website and you will find the link.

WWW.TAYLORVERSE.COM

Stephen Zimmer- This man is a helluva professional. He has a ton of great looking books out and he really knows his stuff. Making books or making movies I suggest you go look at his stuff. Plus he is probably coming to a convention near you soon, he travels like a crazy person!

WWW.STEPHENZIMMER.COM

Andy Deane- Frontman for the band Bella Morte who I did not get to see perform in concert, but after listening to their stuff at home I wish I had. Andy was funny as hell, always bringing a laugh with him, even at 10AM.  He’s got flair, you gotta admit that and his books show the same. Buy a book, get a cd, wear the t-shirt and Andy will come to your house and make you coffee.

WWW.ANDYDEANE.NET

D. A. Adams- Alex was pretty soft-spoken but when he did pipe up it was always with some quality stuff. He does like to use the $15 dollar words. lol. He has a great series following the Brotherhood of the Dwarves. Highly recommended if you like dwarvish mayhem and hey, who doesn’t?

WWW.DAADAMS.COM

Venessa Giunta- No I did not misspell her name. This wonderful lady was so freaking helpful. She is a consummate professional and really knows her stuff. If you ever find yourself at a convention where she is teaching one of her classes then go take it. When she talks to you about your work, you should listen.  She makes with the words of the wisdom.

WWW.VENESSAGIUNTA.COM

Kerlak Publishing- Wow, this publisher had a ton of folks representing at Con Nooga and all of them were wonderful. Their product looked super nice and they were on time with their professionalism. I highly recommend you check them out. If you are a reader, pick up a book. If you are a writer I can only imagine they would treat you well.

WWW.KERLAKPUBLISHING.COM

And there you go. I met many more awesome folks, including some wonderful fans. Next year the convention moves to a larger, more consolidated location so it should be even better!

DON’T DO THE CRIME IF YOU CAN’T DO THE TIME (writing crime fiction)


Most everybody knows I have two great loves in reading. I may dally around in other places, chatting up other genres, dabbling here and there with my reader eye wandering, but at the end of the day I come back to two kinds of books.

Urban Fantasy and Crime.

Now, my love for urban fantasy is well known. It’s open and unabashed. I write an urban fantasy series. (Deacon Chalk, badass Occult Bounty Hunter) I have plans to write him for 20 books or so and have a ton of story ideas just waiting to be written.

My next book, hopefully will be a crime book. I have one that is gestating, building into a nice little crime fetus.  So here are the things I have in my head:

A young man hits the road in his dead daddy’s sweet ’69 Chevelle. He is out to find himself. All he has is the car, his memories of his dad, a little money in his pocket from a recent score, and time on his hands.

A young girl on the run from a screw up of a dad and the mess he has put her in. All she has is a need to stay safe, a desire to try and get her daddy straightened out, and a duffel bag full of trouble.

 

 

 

 

They cross paths on a Long Hard Road Outta Town and wind up running for their lives from a cold-blooded sonnuva bitch named Dude Ray. He wants his stuff back and someone has to pay.

Sometimes it takes walking through the fire to find out who you really are.

 

 

It’s shaping up to be a fun little book. A chase novel that’s a bit of a cross between Justified and No Country For Old Men with a boss hotrod and more guns. Lots of small town, Southern wackiness. Plus there’s a lot of subtext with Cowboy’s search for manhood. My good friend Faith Hunter made an introduction to a very good agent who specializes in mysteries, so I am getting this project together for a proposal to him. Fingers crossed y’all.

Speaking of crime, how damn good is Justified? Seriously, if you are not watching this show then shame on you.

Start now. Go buy season 1 and 2 on dvd and get rolling.

I am burning through the 4th Reacher book by Lee Childs.

It is really good.

Tom Piccirilli has a new one coming out that looks awesome as always.

And I began Drama City by George Pelecanos, so far I am really enjoying it.

Plus there is a Marcus Sakey book on my shelf calling my name.

Until next time.

Stay gold Ponyboy. Stay gold.

SPIDERS, GUNS, AND FIRE OH, HELLS YES! (or new cover art reveal)


Loyals and True Believers,

Let me talk to you about covers. Now when an author gets signed and a book is going live it needs a cover. Cover art is very important. It is the first thing a reader sees and it is the thing, oftentimes, that determines whether someone even buys the book in the first place.  It should hook the reader, informing them about the nuances of the story inside. A picture is worth a thousand words? Hell, put that picture on a cover and it becomes worth 80,000 words.

An authors get no say in the cover at all.

Generally, the author will see the cover before you, but we don’t get to speak to it at all or to make any changes.  I got lucky. I was sent model pictures for Deacon to choose from and was allowed to give a description of what I might like for cover one. Then the absolutely kick ass Gene Mollica (click here to see his site!) went and crafted the awesome cover to BLOOD AND BULLETS. I was real happy.

Then came the cover for e-novella 1 THAT THING AT THE ZOO. This one was put together by Lou Malcangi and the art department at Kensington.  I REALLY like the cover tot he e-novella and think it is super stellar considering there is ZERO budget on e-novella covers.

It came time to do the cover for SPIDER’S LULLABY (e-novella 2 out July 2012) and Lou and the boys delivered again! Here is the cover in all it’s glory.

C’mon, admit it. You are a bit creeped out right now. lol.

This story follows Deacon, Tiff, and Charlotte in a battle to save something held precious by Charlotte from the hands of an ex-yakuza assassin with a demon on his back. Mayhem, gunplay, and Were-spiders!

So now fast forward. I was given the chance to pop over another cover description/idea sheet and became friends through social media with Gene himself. We chatted and he began work on the cover for BLOOD AND SILVER (book 2 out in August of 2012). A while later Gene dropped me a line and told me he had finished the cover and was really happy with it. I contacted John and he was going to send it over for me to see.

Then the mail came.

In it was a package of cover flats for book 2. The Missus opened it and called me. She described it and I got excited. Then I came home and saw it for myself.

HOLY SHIZNACKIE BATMAN!

I love this cover. I cannot stop staring at it. I mean damn, I love cover one, but this one really resonates with me.  So enough with the yapping, here it is:

See? It. Is. AWESOME!

And Gene said I could use it however I want to promo so you will be seeing wallpapers for your computer and other items. I’m going to hang it on my wall.

 

WE BOUGHT A HOUSE OF ILL-REPUTE (or a guest blog by Anthony Elmore)


Alright Loyals and True Believers one of the new things I am doing around here is to invite some of my writerly friends over to guest. You get a bit of fresh meat for the marketplace and a possibility to find a new writer you like.

This time around is Anthony Elmore, author of FARTING IN CHURCH. A collection of humorous anecdotes. (There is a buy link below) Anthony is a member of my writing group. Enjoy his visit.

Many thanks to James Tuck for letting me borrow his stage for a sec. As a former Hollywood screenwriter living in Roswell, I have created over 108 screenplays, 13 teleplays and a five-part miniseries based on the life of Zachary Taylor called Curdled Destiny. Below is a treatment I wrote a year before a We Bought a Zoo debuted, starring Matt Damon, basking in his kids n’ critters chapter of his career, to be followed by cameos on WB sitcoms.

“We Bought a House of Ill Repute”

An Original Screenplay Concept by Anthony Ray Elmore

Logline: When life hands you lemons, open a lemonade stand. When life hands you 10 grizzled, middle aged “professional women”, open your heart.

Recently divorced, remarried, and subsequently widowed father, NORMAN SMITH is mourning the loss of his estranged wife who died during a colonic mishap. He has indulged his three children, 16 year old rebellious teenager LEAH, his 10 year old science geek STEVE and three year old in a 20 year old body NICK. Steve gets in trouble with Homeland Security when he hacks into top-secret military drones and makes them buzz the White House.

After being released from Guantanamo, Norman is at the end of his rope with his children’s behavior. On his way to his architecture firm, Norman spots a rundown Victorian home with a “For Sale” sign in the yard. He enters the home and finds a mysterious Norman Friedman like Real Estate agent who says the home is for sale at a bargain price, but it is “as is.” The home has red velvet walls and antique furniture, and a lingering scent of L’Air du Temps and petroleum jelly. Norman signs the papers but before the ink is dry, the Real Estate Agent has disappeared. Norman hears a ghostly voice saying, “As Is.”

Norman believes having his kids work on the fixer upper will build character and help the family heal. He packs his reluctant children into his perfectly restored 1987 Ford Taurus and drives them to their new home. He is surprised to see ten scantily clad women, smoking, retching and lounging around the parlor. “We have a customer,” MAXINE, the madam, says. I dawns on Norman that he has bought a brothel.

Norman quits his job and has to make a living, so he runs the brothel while trying to hide the fact that his children are living amongst fallen women. He makes Maxine and the nine other girls to agree to keep the business, noise and body fluids on the down low. His cover story to his children is that women run a chiropractor clinic and the shouts of ecstasy are men having their adjustments. Nick observes that the men look very relaxed and wants a treatment himself. Norman sends him to bet at 5pm and we don’t see him till the finale.

Nosey DETECTIVE RIVERS comes knocking and suspects that a brothel exists on the property. Norman explains that this was a chiropractor clinic and Rivers asks for a neck adjustment. Norman asks MARY, whose specialty is ‘discipline,’ to work him over. Later, Norman says he feels much better and has worked through some of his aggression issues and his estrangement from his father.

Leah comes home late, even by brothel standards, and NORMAN confronts her. He has Maxine have a girl-to-girl talk with Leah about the dangers of boys and premarital sex, which is like having Ted Nugent speak at a Quaker Pacifist rally. Leah apologizes for her behavior and Norman asks Maxine what she said to her. Maxine told her she was a dirty skank and girls who put out before 18 end up prostitutes.

Steve is having trouble with jocks at school and confides in WILMA, the tough as a denim prophylactic African American prostitute. Steve teaches him how to make a shiv out of the pointy end of the protractor. Instead, Steve, who has figured out he’s living in a brothel, make a hepatitis culture out of disused condom and spikes the football team’s water cooler. In a hilarious scene, the entire defensive line’s skin turns yellow and suffers renal failure. Bully problem solved.

A tax collector comes knocking at the brothel and says Norman owes $56,949.35 in back taxes. If he doesn’t pay, the house will be auctioned and the girls would be forced onto the streets to service truckers and church decons. To save the house, he assembles the family and the eight remaining girls (NICOLE tragically dies while performing the dangerous Fresno Ferris Wheel with a client) to have the biggest “Whore-down” ever.

In a montage scene, set to the music of eclectic Christian Techno Power Pop band Machines of Loving Praise, the family cleans the house while the children hand out flyers to all homely, morbidly obese men in town. That evening, men pour in and the girls are working hard, turning tricks like Chris Angel during a mascara drought. Suddenly, Detective Rivers shows up, so Norman warns the girls and they pretend they’re doing physical therapy. Rivers walks in on DANNI with a client. Norman makes up story that the client was bit by a wolf spider in the groin area and Danni was trying to extract the poison. Rivers believes them, and drinks.

Norman travels with the girls to the tax office, but the taxman says he owes extra late charges. Norman is $350 short. Norman offers one of the girl’s services, but the taxman asks for one of the most dangerous acts of all – The Belgian Bismarck. The only woman limber and experienced enough to do it is Maxine. Maxine has lost faith in herself, so Norman gives an inspiration speech, citing material from Teddy Roosevelt, Gandhi and a couple of Amy Grant songs. Everybody slow claps as Maxine goes into the taxman’s office. Moments later, the taxman’s cries of ecstasy shatters his office window. Maxine exits the office, snaps her dislocated femur into place followed by the exultant taxman. The taxman ‘looses’ the tax bill and Norman and the girls can keep the money.

Norman and his family learn the value of believing in themselves and that love is important and some other fluffy shit families love.

And there you have it! Thanks for swinging by Anthony. See you next meeting.

To pick up FARTING IN CHURCH go here: GO HERE TO BUY!

Anthony Elmore

The book.

And check out Anthony’s blog if you like what he had to say!

The blog is HERE!