"No matter how terrified you may be, own your fear and take that leap anyway because whether you land on your feet or on your butt, the journey is well worth it."
-- Laurie Laliberte
"If your dreams do not scare you, they are not big enough."
-- Ellen Johnson Sirleaf
"Life shrinks or expands in proportion to one's courage."
-- Anais Nin

Sunday, March 24, 2013

Announcing Gateway to Reality

I figured I'd throw one more guest blogger at you before we head into National Poetry Month next week. Becca and I have known each other via twitter for about a year. When she asked me to edit her latest novel, Gateway to Reality, how could I resist?  This project was a treat for a number of reasons. First, it's a terrific book (no, I'm not obligated to say that just because I was its editor); second, Becca and I got to have dinner together and discuss the edits face to face. It's amazing what one-on-one time can do to get me to really enjoy a project. You see, most of my interaction with clients is via email, so I've only met two of them in person. I hope you enjoy meeting my favorite, purple-haired author, Becca J. Campbell.

Gateway to Reality: A Mind-Bending Urban Fantasy Tale by Becca J. Campbell

I’m thrilled to announce the publication of my second novel, Gateway to Reality, now available at Amazon US and Amazon UK. Keep reading for a chance to win one of three prize packs!

Gateway to Reality

Here’s a little more about the story:
Talented artists shouldn’t be waiting tables, scraping by, and living mediocre lives. But that’s exactly what art school graduate Wes Teague is doing.

Then he wakes from a bizarre dream, haunted by the sense that his life isn't real. A harrowing truth presents itself—the real world lies in his dreams, not when he's wide awake.

The dream world he enters each night is rich and vibrant. Chicago appears the same on the surface, but chaos runs rampant as gravity, physics, and other laws of nature become fluid, changing unexpectedly. There, Wes's parents, brother, and sister are strangers. His girlfriend Emily doesn’t recognize him. Wes longs to return, to unlearn the truth about his dual reality.

Wes would sacrifice almost anything to get back to blissful ignorance in a false world.

But now he has feelings for the real Emily.

The Matrix Meets Inception

This book explores ideas similar to two of my favorite movies, though it wasn’t directly inspired by either. Dreams are key in the story, as is the idea of two worlds—one that’s real and one that isn’t. Gateway to Reality merges the two concepts and fuses them together with good dose of romance in a way that is fresh and vibrant.
Genre-wise, Gateway to Reality is a New Adult novel that walks the line between Urban Fantasy and Science Fiction. It is a topsy-turvy, reality-bending, relationship-driven tale that explores the relationship between truth and fantasy.


I’m giving away several prizes to celebrate the book’s release. (Go here to have a look at the prizes.) The Grand Prize is a Chicago-theme prize pack and it will include:
·         An autographed paperback of Gateway to Reality
·         A journal with an artistic representation of Chicago on the cover
·         A Cloud Gate button
·         A Gateway to Reality button
·         Three postcards: Gateway to Reality, Cloud Gate, and Crown Fountain
The Second Prize is:
·         An autographed paperback of Gateway to Reality
·         Gateway to Reality postcard
The Third Prize is the full Becca J. Campbell ebook library (your choice of Kindle or ePub version):
·         Gateway to Reality ebook
·         Foreign Identity ebook
·         Not the Norm (Sub-Normal #1) ebook
·         Unmasked Alloy (Sub-Normal #2) ebook

Where to find Becca

Gateway to Reality is already available and it's one heck of a read!
Just a side note: Next week's post will be on Monday, April 1 to kick off the beginning of National Poetry Month.

Happy Easter, y'all!

Sunday, March 17, 2013

That's How Winning Is Done

It's no secret that my guest blogger is one of my most published clients as well as one of my favorite authors, one of my dearest friends, and my biggest fan. So it shouldn't surprise anyone that the moment I found out he was starting a promotion for his most successful series to date, I offered up a spot on my blog for him. But I'll let my buddy, Bernard Schaffer, tell you more. 

As independent publishing becomes less of a novelty and more of a viable option as a full-time career, you're going to see two things happen:

1. More and more people will pursue it.  There are a lot of frustrated, would-be, exasperatingly enthusiastic authors out there just dying to get their Great American Novel in front of an Oh-My-God-I've-Been-Waiting-For-This-Book-My-Entire-Life readership.

2. A lot of those people are gonna self-destruct.

Artists, by nature, are a curious lot. Hell, if they were social butterflies with robust and all-consuming personal lives there wouldn't be much time to set pen to page, now would there? Not to say all famous authors are geeks and shut-ins, but pull up the picture of any world class best-seller and take a good long look at it. Now imagine that person working at your local insurance agency. They dating any supermodels?

For many of us who were writing long before the advent of eBooks, rejection was the name of the game. Agents, publishers, magazines, zines, newsletters and websites were all good for one thing: letting you know you sucked.

It's been that way since the dawn of time. If you look back through history, somewhere there is a caveman showing off his hard-wrought pictograph story on a rock wall and a few irritated New York snobs standing behind him saying, "We won't look at this unless you're represented by someone we already know."

Anybody who faced all that rejection and still kept at it knows what an opportunity eBooks and digital distribution presents.

It's the rest of you whom I'm suspicious of.

Successful writing in this new era means a few things. It means consistency and quality. It means engaging the fans on a more personal level by way of all this social media floating around. Perhaps most importantly, it means being professional.

And that's where the self-destruction part comes in.

Like I already said, historically, writers aren't the super disco party starters. They're sensitive and cerebral and express themselves through the written word. In other words, perfect targets for trolls. You see, being so accessible to the world at large in an effort to engage your readership also means people can attack you in much more personal ways.

Some people just can't take it. I've seen Twitter rants, Facebook rants, forum rants, and responses to reviews on Amazon that would make you gag. Another poor schmuck suckered into looking overly emotional and unstable by an anonymous review. It's kind of like that old saying: Don't argue with an idiot, because from a distance … well, you know the rest.

Being a successful author in this day and age means that you are willing to stand naked in public. There are people who are going to laugh. There are people who are going to be cruel. It's just the way it is, and if you can't accept that, you're in for some serious heartache.

But not everyone will laugh.

Some will become devoted readers and allow you to share the worlds and characters you create with them, and pay you to do it. How many of them allow it and how many of them pay you is, ultimately, a reflection of how hard you work in the face of a few catcalls and anonymous snickering.

My mantra is, and always has been: Write hard, read hard. My writing was born deep in the fires of my being back when the only hope of anyone reading it meant finishing an entire novel, sending out dozens of perfectly-formed query letters, and praying for a response from some faceless demigod deep in the machine. It thrives now by way of a sheer miracle that lets me sell hundreds of books every month.

On Tuesday, March 19th, my entire Superbia series will be free on Amazon. The first book, the second book, and the non-fiction guide Way of the Warrior, all free. Anyone who knows my backstory knows the personal price I paid in order to publish these books. It was a lot. I still live with the consequences. But when I think back on that eager young man, pounding away on his typewriter, dreaming of the day someone might finally read his work, I don't regret it a bit.

If you are truly an author, you'll endure all of this. You'll pass through the fire and emerge a little less kind, a little less wide-eyed, and a little less naïve, but stronger than you ever imagined. All storytellers should know that any endeavor is a journey, filled with peril and adventure and mystery and no guarantees of success. Be brave. Work hard. Stay focused. Everything else is just mud along the road.

As my favorite fictional Philadelphian would say, "That's how winning is done."
B didn't say it, so I will. If you've already read his Superbia series, and you want more of Vic and Frank, you MUST check out his latest, Bad Day at Khor-Wa, the first in his new Grendel Unit series. (I LOVE Vic and Frank!) 
Happy Reading!

Sunday, March 10, 2013

#amediting #amwriting #amforgetful

Wow. The past few weeks have been a flurry of activity. Even more than usual.

I moved...again...into what I hoped would be a more permanent location. Wrong. (I'll be moving once more pretty soon.)

I've been editing like a demon with my butt on fire. I think I've published five books in the past three weeks as I also try to work on another project that is so sorely behind I think the author is going to skewer me.

I'm looking at ghost writing three novels/novellas myself this year. Yeah, about that: I've never wanted the spotlight, so finding an opportunity to ghost write under an already-established pen name allows me to flex my writing muscles without having to claim credit. Perfect!

I'm also exploring the possibility of doing more developmental editing work. That would mean I'd be much more involved in the plotting and planning of the book. You see, I personally lack that discipline that a really great novel requires of its writer, but the quality of my writing (IMHO) is top notch. So I can bring to the table a voice, while a writing partner can bring the story and flow.

So when I come to you with my tail between my legs and humbly beg your forgiveness for forgetting to write a post, please remember this one and follow this link so you may see what I've been up to. It will take you to Amazon where you can see a (partial) list of my projects, both as a writer and as an editor.

Happy Reading!

Please remember that Carnival of Cryptids is live.
All proceeds will be donated to the National Center for  Missing and Exploited Children.

Friday, March 8, 2013

How to Find an Editor

Hey all! I got so busy last weekend that I completely forgot to put up a post for Sunday. How about you all check out this guest post I did for Unstressed Syllables instead?