Behind the Scenes of THE FRACTURED STATE SERIES: PART ONE

With the release of FRACTURED STATE less than a month away, I thought I’d give readers and fans a look behind the scenes at the creation of the near future, dystopian world supporting the story. As most of you know, I spend a considerable amount of time envisioning and creating the worlds behind my fiction. The process is time consuming, and if left unchecked, can take on a life of its own. I know this from experience. When I started to create the world for my first novel, The Jakarta Pandemic, I reached a point, long into the early stages of development, where I asked myself: “When are you going to actually start writing the story?” I didn’t have an answer, which in itself was my answer. It was time to quit researching the world, describing characters on notepads, creating maps, developing timelines—AND TIME TO GET DOWN TO BUSINESS. I had spent months world building, when I could and should have been writing. With that lesson SORT OF learned—a few times, I’ve developed a rough world-building process that gets me started and keeps me on the right track. 1.) Creating a world to support a series requires me to create a ALTERNATE READ MORE

Diversification in the new Indie landscape

Without borrowing too many of the themes expertly highlighted by my esteemed colleague, Russell Blake, in his recent flurry of end of the year, must-read posts (The New Landscape and 2015 Predictions), I want to take a few moments to explore a critical strategy for navigating the new Indie publishing landscape. Diversification. There’s little doubt that the e-book landscape has changed. From the weakening impact of popular promotional services (if you can even get selected for one of the major services) to a softening of the traditional Indie pricing advantage, most Indies (big and small) have reported a decline in e-book sales and revenue. The launch of Kindle Unlimited remains a key suspect in 2nd half 2014 declines, ironically affecting authors that had taken steps to shield their book portfolios from Amazon by taking their books out of Kindle Select. This is the kind of irony that leaves nobody laughing. For ebooks, 2014 yielded a seismic shift in the Indie landscape, with after shocks that will be felt long into 2015.  What can an Indie author do to prepare for 2015? As I sit down to create my 2015 business goals, I look back at 2014, and wonder how I can READ MORE

Eight Tips for New Writers…of any age

This post is dedicated to a young gentleman named Noah (10 years old), who is writing a science fiction story about the future of mankind. His father, an avid reader and fan of my books, asked if I had any tips for his son. I decided to compile a short list of advice that might inspire and guide a young writer, realizing halfway through— that this is the same basic advice I would give to a new writer of any age. Good luck, Noah, and all of the new writers out there! 1. Eat lots of vegetables and don’t talk to strangers…sorry kids, a few parents paid me to put this here! By the way, this advice applies to adults more than children. 2. Keep a notebook for ideas and spontaneous writing.  If an idea or scenario strikes, starting writing—even if you have no idea where this story will go. If the story doesn’t progress beyond a page of notebook scribbles—no worries—it might be the seed of a great story later. As a writer, the junk drawer doesn’t exist.  3. Write every day. Just a little. OR a lot! If you don’t feel like writing “in a story,” create a character, or READ MORE

Working on Vacation…

In my dream office. It’s pretty hard to complain about bringing work along on vacation, when this is your early morning workspace. While everyone else snored away below deck, I sat here and typed away to the sound of distant lobster boats, seagulls and the occasional splash of a frolicking seal. I can’t begin to explain how productive this time was for me. 82K words into Black Flagged Apex. I can see the finish line. I just need about three more weeks out on Casco Bay to finish it. READ MORE

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: 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 READ MORE

Find a Niche, and Expand It

In today’s fiction market, you either need a sizable backlist, a ready-to-go fan base, or a traditional publishing deal to come out of the gate bursting with sales. Your Twitter following of 800 other authors doesn’t count as a launching pad, either. The most common problem for new authors, is the search for readership. Unless you’re writing to fill your own bookshelf, you share the same dilemma. I know…we all have an incredibly interesting, unique novel, ready to unleash upon the unsuspecting world…but so does every other writer reading this essay. And this is just the tip of the iceberg! The key term here, is “unsuspecting world.” I’m fairly confident the world will push onward in blissful ignorance of your book, if you don’t find a way to start a small fire. You need to find a niche, and expand it. I’ll be blunt with my story. I published The Jakarta Pandemic in October of 2010, and had no clue what to do with it. I was just glad to have finished it. Three years of disorganized part time writing, and now what? I had no marketing plan…or concept. I had started research into the traditional publishing world, but quickly READ MORE

Black Flagged Character Teasers

Enjoy this sneak peek at the key characters in my upcoming release, BLACK FLAGGED…available in mid-October. The final back cover blurb is also ready. Thanks for the input, everyone. FINAL BLURB You can always check out a sample of Black Flagged here: Prologue Chapter One Chapter Three of Black Flagged CAST OF CHARACTERS Daniel Petrovich Who is Daniel Petrovich? Very few people know the real truth behind this question, and Daniel likely says a little prayer every night wishing each and every one of them a fatal heart attack. In Black Flagged, the reader will meet Daniel behind a sleek, brushed metal desk, buried in MBA level work at Zenith Semiconductor. He’s been hiding here for a few years, trying to forget the past, and build a new life with the woman he loves. Unfortunately for Daniel, some secrets carry a debt that can never be repaid, and certain acquired skills will always hold their value, even in a down economy. Daniel Petrovich will be asked to perform one last mission by his former mentor, General Terrence Sanderson. It’s an easy job for a highly trained operative like Petrovich…a simple killing, right across town, and all in the name of READ MORE

“Your’re gonna need a bigger boat”

And I’m not talking about trading in my Sabre 28′ for a Pearson 34’…though an  extra six feet would make all of the difference on our two-week trip up the Maine coast. Always a thought I suppose. No, I’m talking about one of the greatest lines in movie history, delivered flawlessly by a terrified Roy Scheider. Oh, it’s such an awesome scene! Take a few seconds to refresh your memory. It’s a classic, from a timeless film: “You’re gonna need a bigger boat.” Timeless, because every year we try to sit down and watch this movie as a family, and every year we get about twenty minutes in before pulling the plug on the idea. It has become a family tradition during Shark Week…to almost watch Jaws. We usually pass on St. Patty’s Day, forget Cinco De Mayo, lazily throw out plastic eggs at the last-minute for Easter, and this year as you know, we bagged on the Fourth of July fireworks. But we never miss Shark Week! I can’t remember how old I was when I first saw Jaws, but I can confidently say that it scared the shit out of me. The movie did, but the whole fear READ MORE

What a character would do…

Or rather be caught dead than doing. Character development is a complicated aspect of writing. Like in our own lives, a glaring inconsistency draws a ton of attention, especially on paper (or e-ink). This post was long overdue, and a minor criticism at my last writers group meeting motivated me to tackle the subject. What was the criticism? My protagonist, male…a former deep-cover operative, pulled a bottle of Riesling out of the refrigerator to share with his wife. Apparently, men don’t drink Riesling. Not even in 2005. And I thought it would go nicely with the Thai food they were eating. I was a little defensive, maybe a little hurt…I like Riesling (not a first or second choice, but it does pair well with spicy food). Alas, everyone agreed that a beer was more appropriate. This is a character compromise I am more than happy to make…if only this was their only suggestion about my new story, Black Flagged. PREVIEW. This is a pretty minor criticism compared to some of the critique I have received over the months regarding the protagonist of my first book, The Jakarta Pandemic. Alex Fletcher, decorated war veteran, and former Marine Corps officer, grates on READ MORE

More Excuses…two of them

I have become really proficient at coming up with excuses not to write…don’t worry, I’m “running” out of them. So here is my dilemma and a possible solution: I used to write in the evening, after everyone “sallied forth” to bed (including my beloved), however, I recently started to run in the morning…and if I stay up past 10:00, I will not get up in time to run, fix breakfast for two fully competent kid (get it…they can make their own breakfast), pack lunches/snacks (another thing they can do) and watch a few minutes of tragedy or “men behaving badly” on the Today Show. Of course, “the crew” does not retire for the evening until 8:45, and my spirited daughter can be heard running back and forth, or bouncing on her bed until well after 9. She stays up later than my wife on most occasions. It doesn’t leave me with a lot of time. Running in the morning, which at first seemed to be another hindrance, may turn out to be my savior. I run every other day, but still wake up rather early on non-run days (especially during the summer months). I think this will have to be READ MORE