Blog Archives

COMMUNION IS AVAILABLE TODAY!

My debut novel is now available!

Communion Ebook Cover - Copy (480x640)

“Lester Fuller knows isolation well. It has been his only friend since Jadarius Singleton humiliated him last year. But one night after Jadarius’s taunts go too far, Lester stumbles upon Gwynn’s body.  He’s sure she’s dead.  Until she bites him.

Vampires are extinct. There are only the dhampir.

Now something more than human, Lester struggles to determine where he fits in this new society. Just what secrets about the dhampir are his new friends keeping from him? And what will he do when a notorious figure from dhampir history sets her eyes on him?”

Feel free to click the image or HERE to purchase.

NOTE:  If you don’t have an actual Kindle, you can download the app for your smartphone, iPad, or PC.

Tomorrow is the big day

Tomorrow is the big day and I am STOKED.

I’ve spent the past week and a half on overdrive and I’ll finally get to see the fruits of my labor.

OR WILL I?

Tomorrow is the first day of MANY years that Communion will be available to the world.  That doesn’t necessarily mean that it’s going to be a stellar first day that proves to everyone I’m going to be a successful writer.  In fact, most people who buy Communion tomorrow will be you faithful readers of this blog and friends I’ve met since becoming more active on the internet.

More readers and fans won’t come until later, some of them much later than tomorrow.  Despite all my blogging and tweeting and commenting, the internet is a big place.  It’ll be a LONG time before even a fraction of the internet knows Communion even exists, let alone considers buying it.

TOMORROW IS THE FIRST STEP

At this point, I’m getting tired of first steps.  I thought planning the novel was it, then writing the first page, then revising it.  But no, all of that was just the warm-up.  Tomorrow, I cross the line from being unpublished to published.  I’m out there.  There’s a chance that strangers I’ve never met before will find me and come to know who I am (or what I say of in my ABOUT section).

But just like novel-writing is a marathon that took a great deal of time to complete, so is a successful writing career.  Regardless of how well or how terrible Communion does tomorrow or even this month, I have to keep pushing on.  I have many more books to write.  Maybe I’ll see a return on my time and money invested with this first book.  Maybe not until the third.  Either way, I have to keep writing.

SOMEONE IS GOING TO DISLIKE THIS BOOK

Actually, I can think of at least 3 people who told me Communion wasn’t their cup of tea.  All three were older (30+) women, which is completely outside of my target audience.  Two of these three said they liked my writing style and want to see more work for me, but Communion wasn’t it for them.

There are going to be others who aren’t so nice.  All of the greatest books I’ve ever read have 1-star reviews.  Sometimes I read those reviews and think, “there’s no way this guy read the same book I did.”  Regardless, it is what it is.  You can’t please everyone.

 

So, I’ve spent the past two weeks going over Communion in my head, scene by scene, trying to predict what people will dislike.  I’ve done calculations in my head to come up with how much I need to sale to become a full-time writer.

But enough is enough.  The world gets its first taste of my dhampir tomorrow.  I won’t sit back and wait.  Instead I begin a month of aggressive marketing (release day party, blog tour, tweets, etc.).  I’ve been watching the book market for over a year now, waiting for my chance to compete.  Tomorrow, I enter the fray.

COMMUNION Blog Tour Current Schedule

Communion Banner 851 x 315 - AUTHOR
There are still some openings for the Release Day Party.  But below is the Final(ish) schedule for my debut novel Communion’s Blog Tour.
There is a prize of a $30 Amazon gift card.  The more blogs you comment on, the more chances you have to win it!  Hope to see you there:

October 7 Guest blog- tour intro
Fang-tastic Books
www.fang-tasticbooks.blogspot.com

October 8 Spotlight
Jody’s Book Reviews, Giveaways & Tours
http://www.jodysbookreviews.com

October 9 Spotlight
Sapphyria’s Book Reviews
saphsbookblog.blogspot.com

October 10 Interview
The Seraphine Muse
http://kasonndraleigh.blogspot.com

October 11 Spotlight
Ramblings of a Book Lunatic
http://booklunaticramblings.blogspot.com

October 14 Spotlight
Rose & Beps Blog –
http://rosebeps.blogspot.it/

October 15 Spotlight and review
Wicca Witch 4 Book Blog
http://wiccawitch4.blogspot.ca/

October 16 Interview
Pembroke Sinclair.
pembrokesinclair.blogspot.com

October 16 review
Booker Like a Hooker
http://bookerlikeahooker.blogspot.com/

October 17 Spotlight
Books and Tales:
http://www.booksandtales.blogspot.co.uk/

October 18 Spotlight and review
Mythical Books
http://mythicalbooks.blogspot.ro/

October 21 review
The Writerly Exploits of Mara Valderran
http://maravalderran.blogspot.com

October 22 Interview
Reading in Twilight
http://readingintwilight.blogspot.com/

October 23 Interview
Books, Books The Magical Fruit
http://booksbooksthemagicalfruit.blogspot.com

October 24 Interview
BookwormBridgette’s World
http://bookwormbridgette.blogspot.com/

October 25 Interview
Crazy Four Books
http://www.crazyfourbooks.blogspot.com

October 28 Interview and review
Once Upon a YA Book
http://onceuponayabook.blogspot.com

October 29 Guest blog
Simply Infatuated
http://www.simplyinfatuated.com/

October 29 Spotlight
Jodie Pierce’s Ink Slinger’s Blog
jodiepierceauthor.blogspot.com/

October 30 Spotlight
Share My Destiny
http://sharemydestiny.blogspot.com

October 31 Halloween Guest blog
The Write at Home Mom
www.creativelygreen.blogspot.com

October 31 review
trips down imagination road
http://a-reader-lives-a-thousand-lives.blogspot.co.uk

November 1 Guest blog and review
Dalene’s Book Reviews
http://dalenesbookreviews.blogspot.com/

November 4 Interview
Butterfly-o-Meter Books
http://butterfly-o-meter.com/

Also, before the tour starts, I’ll be making a special appearance on Mari Well’s blog  on October 2nd for Vampire Wednesdays.

I have to Give a Presentation :-(

Not sure if I’ve mentioned it on here before, but I’m a part of the local chapter of the Maryland Writer’s Association.

[Pause:  Let me go ahead and encourage any writer reading this to join up with writer organizations.  They’re great for gaining invaluable information and resources and for the one thing we NEVER get tired of, networking].

Anyway, as I wanted to increase my level of activity with them and give back to a group that’s given me so much, I was asked to give a presentation at our November meeting.  Definitely not what I had in mind, but I can deal.

My presentation will be on plot development.

I’ve read several books on plot, including Plot and Structure by James Scott Bell.  In fact, use of those readings are what made Communion a candidate for self-publishing while Lamia’s Dream (my Succubus story) is only available on Wattpad.

In addition to referring to what I’ve learned from those books, I was also asked to compare the plot structures of several books by the same author.  For example, I’ve heard that bestselling authors like Stephen King and James Patterson use the same plot structure in a lot of their books.

With that being said, I’d like to ask for your help.  Can you tell me 3-4 titles by Stephen King or James Patterson that use similar plot structures?  How about for a different author?

The point of this presentation is NOT to encourage writers to “steal” the formula used by another author, but to teach them such formulas exist and open their mind up to possibilities.

Thanks in advance for any help you can provide.

Administrative Announcement: Communion in Two Parts

For about a month now, I’ve been going back and forth on whether I want to release the full copy of my debut novel Communion in October or split it into two parts.  In the end, I’ve decided on two parts.

Several factors played into this decision:

1)  For the readers:  Communion is pretty long for a first novel.  The draft I sent to the editor is a little over 86K words.  Out of about 15 people I sent early drafts to for a beta-reading, only about half were able to get through it.  I’m worried people who I’ve never even met might find 86K slightly daunting for an unproven writer.  The first half will be about 45K.  I’m hoping will find this length a little more comfortable.

2) For the story:  While I feel strongly that the first half of Communion is ready to go, the second half needs a little more work.  There are certain minor details that need to be further refined.  Also, if I release Communion in two parts, I can beef up the second half by adding a few more scenes.

3)  For my writing career:  It’s recommended for an Independent Author to release a new book in six month increments at most.  I can release part 2 of Communion in April 2014.  And I’ve already begun planning out the novel for October 2014.

And, I’d much rather leave people with the feeling of “I want more” rather than “I’ve had enough.  Is this book over yet?”

In other news, Communion finally made its way to a professional editor earlier this week.  Her first read-through will be a beta-reading, so I’m looking forward to hearing what she says.

Also, I recently ordered a blog tour via Bewitching Book Tours.  I’ll be posting the banner (it looks AMAZING!) and other info in the next week or two.

So, that’s where my thoughts are.  Do you think this is a wise decision or am I setting myself up for failure?

Vampire Morality: Alternative Victims

Back to our main question:  How do authors get us to root for these malicious creatures of the night who feed on human blood?

Well, what if they don’t feed on human blood?

Below is a list of alternate food sources vampires have used in popular vampires book and television series.

Alternatives:
Human blood (but from a blood bank):  Damon in Vampire Diaries (the TV version) does this.
Animal blood:  In Twilight and in Vampire Diaries (book and TV series).  In Vampire Diaries, animal blood can sustain vampires but isn’t as gratifying or empowering as human blood.
Synthetic Blood: Bill Compton in True Blood.
Symbiotic feeding:  Shori in Fledgling by Octavia Butler.  This one in particular is rather interesting.  The “vampires” (called “Ina”) in this novel need human blood for nourishment.  However, humans feel an intense euphoric sensation when they are fed on.  Being bitten by a Moroi or Strigoi in Vampire Academy is similar, but in Fledgling the feedings heal human wounds and increase their lifespan.

No Alternatives in Communion

Sorry, but my dhampir don’t get to cop out.  In Communion, my dhampir are powered by something inside of them called vampiric essence.  They still eat regular food for the sake of the human part of them.  But their vampiric essence requires human blood.  Feeding on goats and rabbits won’t give them their superhuman abilities, which is what most of my characters are after.

Those are all my notes on Vampire Morality.  Let me know if there’s any other alternatives to human blood I left out or if there’s any other aspects of Vampire Morality I should explore.

Thanks for reading.

Also see:  Vampire Morality:  The Need to Feed

Vampire Morality: The Need to Feed

Very few people want to cheer for a villain.  And that’s how bloodsucking vampires are traditionally seen.

But somewhere in the literary evolution of the monster, vampires have become heroes.  But how can a creature who feeds on innocent people be seen as heroic?

It’s not so bad if they don’t feed on the innocent, right?

Lestat, the central character of Anne Rice’s novels, one day decides he’s only gonna feed on criminals.  In the readers mind, this isn’t so bad.  Why, it’s even heroic!  Good for Lestat for taking the law into his own hand and making those fiends suffer.  Ever see the show Dexter?  Dexter Morgan, the homicidal murderer with a sense of justice primarily kills other criminals, and we all love him.

I’ve mentioned before Anne Rice’s vampires even save the world in Queen of the Damned. But as soon as the threat is over, Lestat and the others return to murdering at least one human a night, reclaiming their status as the top predator of the human race.  These vampires even create an island for themselves filled with high art and luxury shopping centers to draw humans in.  But as long as their only feeding on criminals, who cares right?

One of the most consistent traits of a vampire, regardless of who is writing them is “the thirst.”  The penalty for disobeying this ranges from fatigue to psychotic episodes.  With an urge so powerful, it’s almost noble for a vampire to limit their diet to the people we don’t want in society.

What if the vampires don’t have a thirst?

In Communion, I play around with morality a lot.  For one, I remove the THIRST for human blood.  My Dhampir still require human blood to use their superhuman abilities.  But, rather than having a thirst that would constantly drives them to feed, each of my Dhampir makes a conscious choice rather or not they will feed on a human.

As I mentioned in the previous post, some authors escape this problem by having their vampires not feed on human blood at all.  In my next post, I look at other alternate food sources authors have used.

(P.S. In this post, I refer to criminals in a sarcastic, crass manner.  Let’s remember everybody, vampires aren’t real.  And, if they were, any lives they take (whether innocent or criminal) would be a problem.)

Different Kinds of Vampire Storylines

With Communion in the hands of Beta-readers and my most recent project Sparkle ready to be published on Wattpad later this week, I’m not sure what I should write next.  Although, it will likely involve vampires.

To give a little bit of background about myself, I always told myself I would NEVER write a vampire story.  Then I worked on a story called Lamia’s Dream, which uses succubi.  My succubi drain a person’s emotional energy, kind of like a psychic vampire.  While on break from that story, I wrote Communion, which centers around creatures called dhampir.

Now I can’t get enough of the blood suckers and I’m thirsty for another vampire story.  To figure out where I should go with vampires next, it’d be helpful to know what’s been done with the night time terrors before.

Here are some common vampire storylines:

Romance:  A female (usually human) and a male (usually vampire).  In Lamia’s Dream, I tried to switch it up by having a human male and female succubus pairing.

Love slave:  This falls under romance, except the human (usually female) is a slave to the vampire.

Revenge:  Vampires killed the protagonist’s family.  Now the protag is gonna make those fang faces pay!

Vamp/Human Hybrid:  Protag is has a vampire parent and human parent.  Is often a vampire hunter.

Rebellion:  The vampires are the reigning authority and someone has the stop them.

Horror:  In the spirit of Bram Stoker’s Dracula, the humans have no special abilities but have to fight a supernatural foe.

Comedy/Parody:  Some vamps just wanna stay out of trouble, but trouble has a way of finding them!

Coming of age:  This one also isn’t vampire specific.  But a younger vampire “grows up” (so to speak) to become a more mature vampire.

Fledgling:  This is like the coming of age story.  But it usually focuses on the human who was first turned into a vampire and they’re struggle to adapt.  Communion would fall under this category.

This list isn’t meant to be all-inconclusive.  In fact, I might be missing some.  Can you think of any other examples of the vampire storylines?

Cover Reveal for Communion

Thank you to all of those who voted.  Without further ado—

Here it is!!

Image

This cover was designed by the amazing Jason Alexander from Expert Designs.  Here’s the testimonial I wrote:

“I had a concept in mind that I thought was perfect for my book, but other artists I had previously worked with had problems bringing it to life. I checked out Expert Subjects based on a referral from a friend. I got to work with Jason who nailed the basic concept down on his first try.

After some minor tweeks to background and size, the book cover of my dreams was ready to go to the voting stage with two others Jason had come up with himself. Turns out the voters preferred both the images Jason came up with to my own idea by a landslide. When showing friends and family to get them to vote, I saw their eyes light up when they saw his covers. Can’t beat that!

It was truly a pleasure working with Jason. He was patient and responsive and clearly had the better idea.”

So, if you’re ever in need of a book cover, I recommend Jason from expert designs.  Check them out here:  http://www.expertsubjects.com/covers/

Thanks again for voting.

And look for Communion October 1, 2013

Brief Introduction

Not sure what everyone else uses for their first blog post, so I’ll take some time to introduce myself:

I’m 25.  I’m a graduate of North Carolina State University where I majored in Psychology and minored in Japanese.  I currently live in Southern Maryland.

I wrote a lot as a kid.  I began a new story (or 3 or 4) every school year but rarely completed them.  I finally finish one when I was 16.  It was about ninjas.  It was really bad.

Communion, my first completed novel worth self-publishing, will be released October 1st.  Writing it was a labor of love (sometimes more of a labor), but I’m eagerly looking forward to writing about Les and the other dhampir in the near future.

My values as a writer include:

Write High-Quality Books

Notice I didn’t phrase it as a “writing a good story.”  While this is paramount to having a good book, another aspect writers need to think about is the quality of the book.  A riveting story can easily be ruined by typos and poor editing.

Diversity

The Young Adult fiction is in desperate need of more stories from a male perspective.  Even more scarce are male protagonists of minority.  Communion and my other current project (which is still untitled) both center around African-American males in high school.  I use a cast from different racial and religious backgrounds, sexual orientation, and socio-economic status.

Integrity

What does this have to do with writing books?  The books that you write say a lot about you as a person.  I want my books to have a good message.  That doesn’t mean that I always use morally good characters or non-offensive content.  But even the worst of us have something to say that could benefit the rest.

Entertainment

If I didn’t have fun writing it, I doubt you’ll have fun reading it.

So that’s all for now.  I have a condensed version of this in the “About” section.  Let me know if there’s anything else you’d like to know or see added to that section.