BLACK FLAGGED REDUX

I think everyone knows what this means by now. I’ve finished Black Flagged Redux. Some of you might remember seeing this board in an earlier post…EMPTY. If you don’t believe this was ever blank, you’re not alone. I can barely believe that I finished the second novel of the series, in little over three months. To top it off, the novel is about 20K words longer. Here is the blank chart as proof: I’ll release some  sneak peeks over the next week or so, as the finishing touches are put in place. For now, you can check out some of the extras I have added to Black Flagged Redux: 1.) Weapons and equipment primer 2.) Updated Sample For now, take a look at the Geography of Black Flagged Redux. I think you’ll quickly see that I have upped the ante with my second book. Each red box represents key locations to the story. Right now, I’ll leave it up to your imagination to guess which of these locations will need to hire another coroner to handle the influx of bodies.

Standby…Standby…BLACK FLAGGED is a GO!

UPDATED  11/13/2011: Thank you for a great launch week! So far, the total raised for the campaign is $253.50. Simply fantastic. I am extending the matching donation campaign one more week. All proceeds from sales for this next week will go to the Disabled American Veterans organization, and once again, I will match them. Spread the word! Early holiday gift?  Purchase from all sources here: http://www.blackflaggedseries.com After some masterful stalling on my part, Black Flagged is now available and ready for public consumption. Only one year after my first novel, The Jakarta Pandemic…not bad for a part-time writer? Now that I have settled into a regular writing routine, the next one will come quicker. What’s new about Black Flagged? This time I did it right from the start. My first novel was a learning experience across the board. A good story from the beginning…but I had to relaunch the book at the start of the summer, with professional editing and a real cover (by a real artist). My sincere thanks goes out to everyone that somehow overlooked the editing issues and enjoyed the story…or just didn’t say anything. At this point, with 101 reviews on Amazon, and countless reader emails…my

The Culprit

Not sure how this will look on my blog…this is my first mobile posting. The vessel in the picture is the reason I have written a grand total of two pages in two weeks. Painting, waxing, buffing, varnishing, washing…more waxing. Leaving town for Memorial Day weekend didn’t help either. Vessel Name: Dolci (Italian for candy or sweet). She certainly is a sweet boat, and well worth the distraction. Thanks to April showers, she’s almost three weeks late reaching the water. Today is the big day. One more excuse for a low word count…but can you really blame me?

Six months into self-publishing, and what have I learned?

Everything…from the ground up. Uhhh. I’d like to sit here and tell everyone that I’m always a “do it yourself” kind of guy. I framed our attic for its eventual transformation into a beautiful 800 square foot home for my son’s Xbox 360 (that’s about sums up its purpose now). I even did all of the trim work, built shelving and helped paint (I hate painting). But I didn’t mow my own lawn last year. Why? Because I’m not obstinate when it comes to the do-it-yourself mentality…and when a good price comes along, I’ll let someone else breath noxious fumes and spend two hours on a lawn that’s going to brown up in August anyways (no matter how much water or fertilizer I pour onto it! Even The Lawn Dawg couldn’t prevent that). It doesn’t look like I’m going to win the noxious fume argument this year. My wife wants to direct this money elsewhere, which is fine…I really don’t mind mowing the lawn. So, what am I talking about at this point? Self-publishing. I get a lot of inquiries about my experience, from other aspiring writers and curious friends. The question I get from everyone is: “Did I choose

Some changes afoot…

Artist Jeroen ten Berge created an incredible cover design for The Jakarta Pandemic. Check out his write-up of my novel…along with more of his influential design work.  Jeroen ten Berge

Eagerly awaiting my 40th…

book review. I turned 40 at the end of February, and the event was anti-climactic. I didn’t feel the decay of old bones, or slight degradation in my eyesight. One more candle, and a wonderful family birthday party. I was spared the surprise, “this is your life” event that I’ve seen unfold for other quadragenarians. My book turned 30 last week, which kicked off an exciting flurry of review activity. I had high hopes for the 30th review…looking for a reason to celebrate. The title of the review? “Wow…this book.” And not in a good way. A one-star 30th birthday review for The Jakarta Pandemic. The review was quite lengthy for Amazon, and had nothing good to say. The only positive? I could tell that the reviewer hadn’t read the entire book, probably not more than 30 pages. Needless to say, I was a little irritated. I wrote a nice response and let it go. Not everyone is going to like this book…or any book. Little did I realize that this would be the first of nine reviews written in four days. Thick skin? I would have felt better suited up in Kevlar. Every time I checked Amazon, I cringed.

Expand your reading list…

And I don’t mean add more books to it. Consider reading a different genre. I learned a cool lesson the other night. I recently joined a local writing group…let me correct myself. I was finally invited to join by a friend. I was concerned about presenting the opening scene of my new novel to the group…because it’s violent. Not overly so, for me…but I needed a better gauge of the group. I asked the host to describe the types of writing involved at the meetings, and he gave me a list. Person matched with genre. Crime fiction- That was my friend’s work. I had already read a few chapters. Excellent. Memoir-Huh? OK, I just read a book written by a Navy Seal…definitely memoir. Not the best book, but memoir. I know what memoir is…just being dramatic More memoir-Oh boy. And both memoir writers are women. I’m still not too worried. Poetic Memoir-Now I’m worried. I think I’ll definitely keep my book’s prologue on my own computer. Eight people are shot to death in the span of thirty seconds. Not very poetic. I have other chapters to share. Literary Fiction – I was an English major. No worries here. Young Adult

Realistic dialogue…

in 19th Century London…what a mess. My wife is reading a very thick, fiction novel set in 19th century London, and she occasionally draws my attention to passages from the book. Yes, she interrupts whatever I’m reading to do this, and since I love both historical fiction and my wife, I’m usually game to take a look. I’m always amazed by the richness of detail in these novels, which can at times almost appear obsessive. From the era appropriate napkin folds at table settings, to intimate descriptions of every article of clothing that adorns a character…and not just the main character, but everyone in the scene. This is one of the main draws to period or historical fiction. The details of another time. It’s an amazing feat, which must involve painstaking research, travel and imagination. As a part time writer, I’m thankful for Google and an active, roaming imagination. The other night, she pointed out another feature of this tome she’s lugged around for a few weeks. The dialogue. I couldn’t believe it, but the author had taken pains to mimic the speech of the 19th century London too. I can barely understand some of the thicker British accents even

Updates!

I have a few exciting updates to announce: 1.)    My book has been professionally edited, so the typos and grammar errors that most of you have been so kind not to mention, should be mostly eradicated. When I get unsolicited emails from readers, complimenting the story, then volunteering to edit my next book…I know it’s time to put this in the hands of a professional. Still, I took a few readers up on the offer to sweep The Jakarta Pandemic, and they turned up enough errors (I’m embarrassed to say how many), that my editor didn’t consider re-negotiating terms in the middle of the project. Thank you guys and ladies for taking the time. You know who you are. And thank you, Noah Mullett-Gillman, for taking on the editing project. You should check out his book, Luminous and Ominous, another recently released Post Apocalyptic tale. 2.)    Noah also recently hosted Post Apocapalooza II, a series of interviews with new/indie Post Apocalyptic writers…and I was included in this group. The term apocalyptic fiction wasn’t in my vernacular until a few months ago, and I’m not kidding. I’ve read plenty of PA fiction…The Stand, The Road, World War Z…and I love

Don’t characterize my characters…just yet.

Good plot. Immersing detail. Popular genre.  Quick tempo. All the trappings of a worthy read…right? While these qualities in a book might draw you in, and keep you there for a spell, nothing, in my humble view, detaches the reader quicker than hollow characters. I’ve read the reviews (not on mine thankfully…yet). “Cardboard, one-dimensional, flat, undeveloped, unrealistic…” The list goes on. Unrealistic?   Now this description captures my attention the most, because it reminds me of something Stephen King said about writing good stories. I am paraphrasing at my worst, but he said something to the effect that an interesting story pits normal people against extraordinary circumstances, not extraordinary people against normal situations. Realism defined? I don’t know, but I like reading stories about characters that have to struggle to overcome an extraordinary problem. Is James Bond one of these characters? At first you’d probably say “no way!” I might agree, but I’d argue that he is an extraordinary person pitted against insanely extraordinary circumstances. It’s the same formula, just presented in a higher octane fashion, which is why it works…more so in the recent Bond films. Ever read a book where the protagonist is an unstoppable, unbeatable hero? Mentally