Tuesday, December 13, 2016

Christmas Recommendation - Tapasya by David Gilchrist

"Broken and close to death, Wist staggers into the walled city on Tapasya and collapses at the feet of a statue commemorating his likeness."

So begins the tale of the amnesiac Wist, and his return to his land and attempts to recover the memories which will help him save it. Compelling and different, with action and suspense, David Gilchrist constructs a world rich in intrigue. 

This Christmas, travel to Tapasya through his words and the mental imagery they provide. You will not be sorry. Available on Amazon Kindle for $2.99 or in paperback for $12.50.

#ChristmasRecommendation #KindleChristmas #fantasybgs

Get it here!

Tapasya (The Redemption of Wist Book 1) by [Gilchrist, David]

Monday, December 12, 2016

Christmas Recommendation - Holy War by Grant Leishman

Grant Leishman's Second Coming series culminates in Holy War: The Mission of Saving Humanity from the Brink. Grant has woven together the story of the end times with brilliant twists and a comedic flair which is refreshing and relatable.

"The final installment in The Second Coming Trilogy sees JC, his wife Maria and their loyal band of Disciples confront the forces of Evil, in an all-out battle for the minds, hearts and souls of a generation."

It is currently available for only $3.99 on Kindle and is a perfect read this holiday season. If you get an Amazon gift card this holiday season, and want a different take on the end times, you must read this series!

#ChristmasRecommendations #KindleChristmas #fantasybgs

Get it here!

Holy War (The Battle For Souls): The Mission Of Saving Humanity From The Brink (The Second Coming Book 3) by [Leishman, Grant]

Christmas Recommendation - Fire's Love: revised edition (Book 1 of the Elemental Series)

Alex E. Carey has written a great fantasy romance. "Fire's Love" is the first in the Elemental Series in which a "good demon bad boy falls in love." Like all good fantasy series, Alex has developed a concept which is compelling and engrossing. If Twilight tugged at your heart, Fire's Love is the new book for you!

Available in ebook format for only 99 cents, or you can get it in paperback for $15.99.

Get the ebook here!

#ChristmasRecommendations #KindleChristmas #fantasybgs

Fire's Love: Revised Edition - a second chance romance, good demon bad boy falls in love (Elemental Series Book 1) by [Carey, Alex E]

Christmas Recommendation - The Heretic's Child by Nyasia A. Maire

Nyasia A. Maire's "The Heretic's Child" is a page-turner, and a fascinating concept. A part of the description reads:

"Throughout humanity's history, a long-lived race known as Rememberers have existed alongside the human race. Created to collect the memories of dying humans and preserve them, Rememberers use the information to counsel the human race and help them avoid the mistakes of their past. "

This is a new idea and one definitely worth the read. Listed on Amazon Kindle for $3.03 and in paperback for $22.99, it is an excellent choice for either a gift, or gift yourself with a read over the holidays!

#ChristmasRecommendations #KindleChristmas #fantasybgs

Get the ebook here!

Checkout the author's Facebook page at Author Nyasia A. Maire

The Heretic's Child by [Nyasia A. Maire]

Christmas Recommendation - Phoenix by Daccari Buchelli

Hey, friends!

Sometimes, the holidays can be overwhelming. Between our work lives and how increasingly hectic our home lives can be, we can't find the time to decide on something as simple as what book we want to read over the winter. I also remember how wonderful it was as a kid when I received books as presents. This morning I am posting some recommendations (not my books, you know I always recommend those) for either presents, or as a Christmas read. Take a chance and enjoy the read:

Young Adult Fantasy: Phoenix by Daccari Buchelli
Peradon. A world comprised of four seasonal realms, each with a unique form of elemental magic.
When young Reiza has a disturbing vision, the Ruler of the Winter Realm demands the death of a child; the Flame Realm Princess, Violetta.
#ChristmasRecommendations #Fantasybgs 4.5 stars! $1.99 for Kindle or $10.34 for paperback. Get it now:

Tuesday, November 15, 2016

Cover art for Kelvin the Elven

Just got the cover art in and still tweaking the description. Check it out:

a white cover with no borders looks like random images in the middle of the page lol

Friday, October 28, 2016

Setting vs. Story

I know a good many fantasy fans who like to think of themselves as a writer. They will come up to me, in person or digitally, and tell me their "story ideas" to get a response, critique, or praise. I think we all do that to some extent. I always take it as a compliment that they would want to hear my input. But I am stuck with a dilemma in almost all circumstances. What people tend to tell me are settings, not stories.

As world creators, we are often taken away with the innovative ideas of how we make things work. What are the rules? What kind of context in which do our characters engage? Even, what kind of characters does the story have? Who are they and what do they do? All of this is necessary, but misses the main point of story-telling, namely, what is the story? I can tell you all about how Age of Mystics begins a saga of a post-technology apocalypse, where mystical powers supplant technology as the means of advancement. But, in so doing, I have told you nothing about the story. The story may seem to be about the apocalypse, but that is just the setting. The story is about family, community, and dealing with hardship. Fantasy writing is a great method for telling a common story, we just do it within a fantastic context. While the setting may be the element which sparks and interest in a reader, or prospective reader, it is the story with which we hook them. It is the commonality of first love, of parental protection, of the fight for cause, or the camaraderie of community. These are the elements to which we can all relate, and this is the story.

So, the next time one of you wants to tell me about the fantasy world which you have created, or the characters and their powers, please also tell me the story. I will start with my current working project, Kelvin the Elven. The setting is contemporary, but it is a coming of age story about a 14 year old boy discovering who he is and what life might have in store for him. How about you...what is your story?

Wednesday, August 31, 2016

Age of Mystics price is rising...

Hey, folks!

Sorry to have to raise the price on Age of Mystics, but after months of experimenting at $0.99, it didn't really add readers. After speaking with other authors, and a little back and forth with Amazon, I have realized I am actually hurting the books sales by making it too cheap. The honest truth is that I just want lots of people to read the story. I love it, and think other people will too. However, if people think it isn't a good book because it is priced so low, I am actually minimizing the opportunity for sales. As such, this will be the last weekend you can get Age of mystics for 99 cents (except for potential future limited-time discounts). So, if you don't have it yet, get it now!!

http://www.amazon.com/author/cwalters


Thursday, August 25, 2016

Book Three will be out next week!

Hey, all!

Book three is set to hit the shelves (digital shelves, that is) late next week. I am so excited for all of you to continue this journey with me!

Plague of Mystics:
Saga of Mystics Book Three

Kyle Ward has his hands full. As the new leader at Council Bluffs, a lot is expected of him. The war with the Faith is over and peace has brought prosperity, but grief over recent losses has not washed away. Before the Wards and Cravens can even deal with their grief, new threats arise.
The dead walk the earth. A small flu grows out of control. An old friend becomes a fierce enemy. Winged people appear in the sky over the eastern plains and wreak havoc. Maxine Craven has run off and will let no one near her. The dragon has found a lair, and terrifies the villagers nearby. How will the Council adjust to so many new problems? And what will happen when the flu gets to epidemic proportions?

The Saga of Mystics is an epic tale of a post-apocalyptic world, where mystical powers have transplanted technology and society is attempting to rebuild. Beginning with Age of Mystics, Chris Walters introduced us to a world utterly changed by an Event of unknown origin. Plague of Mystics is the third book in the saga, and continues with the remaining survivors in the city of Colorado Springs.


Sunday, August 14, 2016

Free Days

To thank my followers on Twitter for getting me up above 1500 followers, Tomorrow through Friday (8/15-19), Age of Mystics and To Touch the Sky will be free on Kindle!  Additionally, if you have not yet read the second book of the Saga of mystics series, it will be available on Kindle Monday and Tuesday for $0.99 and Wednesday-Friday for $1.99!

Get your copies downloaded while you can gt them cheap or free, and read them when you want to. After September, I will no longer be offering my books on Kindle Unlimited for the foreseeable future, as I want to offer them on other platforms as well and that precludes offering them on Kindle Unlimited. Thanks so much for all of your support!

http://www.amazon.com/author/cwalters


Saturday, July 16, 2016

Why is that important?

Yesterday, I posted two chapters from the earliest writing I did on Age of Mystics. Eventually, these chapters did not make it into the book. So, one might ask, Why is that important? What do those chapters matter, they have very little to do with the story and do not illuminate the Event in any way. If you asked that, you understand why I removed them. I thought it was interesting background, but were not really a part of this story.

So, why post them now? While they aren't necessary to the story of Age of Mystics, or any other part of the saga, they were important to me. The scenes played out in these two chapters defined most of the characters for me as I wrote. Eric Fine was an overbearing leader with little concern for the lives of those under his command. Cal Ward would do anything to save his friend and family, and he was an inclusive leader who people liked to follow. Jordan Kane was inquisitive, young, and in awe of Cal. Anthony Johnson and Miles Damiano were two sides of the same coin, but when the Event happens, they go in opposite directions ethically. These were the characters who would play out their experiences in Age of Mystics and beyond. The story is important because it helps me know who they are. So, while it may just be interesting from a reader's point of view, it was imperative from an author's point of view to write this out and to keep it.

As for the timing? I just thought you might like reading it! I hope you did. Cheers!

Chris


Friday, July 15, 2016

The Cal and Eric backstory...


FIVE YEARS AGO
“We are soldiers, and we live to pay the price only we can pay…”
-excerpt from Military fight song








CHAPTER ONE
            Heat shimmer rises off of everything in the Middle-Eastern desert. The air here was so hot, it made every soldier feel like a potato mid bake. This was not the kind of hot a man from Arkansas was used to, also a heat that seeped into pores and drenched you in sweat, but rather the hot that made you feel like you were inside a volcano. People back home never believed the stories about the heat, but Private Jordan Kane now knew differently. He had been “in country” for only about a week and had only graduated Advanced Individual Training two weeks before that.  Hell, a couple of months ago, he had been in High School.  But now, he was in the sand, as the soldiers called it.  He had been deployed right out of training, which was fine with Kane.  He had joined the U.S. Army to fight for his country. But since he had been here, he had seen tire rubber melt in the heat, it was crazy.  Kane already hated the sand. He was growing accustomed to the daily patrols, and even felt somewhat safe being with his squad, but this heat was just unbearable.  It was ten in the morning and already one hundred and nineteen degrees.
            Kane wasn’t even sure what they were doing here.  They were in a building that the battalion picked this morning as a mobile Headquarters. Due to the presence of insurgents, and the prevalence of suicide attacks, the unit had to change its home position regularly.  First squad had been called back from patrol after their squad leader, Sergeant First Class Calvin Ward, had received a coded message over the radio.  No one heard the message but Ward, but the squad had moved out with haste. Arriving at the building, Ward had told them all to wait, and stormed into the command center set up in the next room. The squad lounged around the headquarters, grateful to be out of the heat for even a few moments. Flashes of angry conversation, even yelling, were bleeding through the walls and getting loud, but he couldn’t make out what was being said.
            Suddenly, the door to the hallway flew open and Ward stomped out.  Dripping with sweat, and an obvious anger welling up in his chest, he paused, looking around at his men. All of them (Kane included), began gathering their things. They knew the routine, Ward came out and they all double-timed it to wherever Sergeant Ward said to go.  This was a pretty standard situation, but something seemed different this time.
            “I only need a couple of you, everyone else at ease,” the squad leader began, “Johnson, grab the saw. Doc, full gear.  Rodriguez and Kane, light gear.” Kane grabbed only necessary gear to head out, pleased that he would be considered valuable enough to be chosen.
            The leader of Third Squad, Staff Sergeant Meyer, a man so inept at his job that he was an open joke in Jordan’s squad, stood in Ward’s way. With the rest of his team, Jordan turned to watch. Ward was a good leader and did not put up with the derision of a fellow NCO, so this was going to be interesting.
            “You heard the Major, Cal” the pudgy NCO asserted.  Kane never understood how a man kept overweight in the army, much less in this kind of heat, but Meyer managed it. He shoved his fat ass between Ward and the doorway, glowering at the better leader. “You aren’t going anywhere.”
            With a calm that belied his seeming urgency and anger, Calvin Ward stepped in.“Zane,” Kane’s squad leader replied, “I am only going to say this once. I outrank you, but more importantly, if you don’t get out of my way I will beat your ass.” There was a silence that followed the statement, an uncomfortable and still moment.
            Meyer blushed red, embarrassed by the watching eyes of lower rank. For just a moment, he stood his ground.  SFC Ward got right up in his face, standing toe-to-toe with the doughy bastard.  Kane contemplated the two men; they could not have been more different. Ward was three or four inches taller than Meyer and kept a meticulous military appearance.  He was known to shave twice a day and sheared his head nearly bald at least once a week.  He normally had a kindness and calm about him, sort of a trademark for SFC Ward. This was the first time Kane had ever seen him angry, and it was frightening.  Ward’s neck was a color that Kane thought could only be achieved in the bright sun.  His breathing was heavy, not from exertion, but from emotion. Meyer was disheveled; he had the growth on his face that they were allowed in the sand.  His sweat pooled in every crevasse of his uniform, which fit him as poorly as a hand-me-down suit from a big brother. After a short pause, he wilted under the taller man’s gaze and stepped aside.  Kane and the other three men grabbed what they were told and all left the building.  Once outside, Ward turned to them.
            “Okay, here is the deal.” Kane never ceased to be impressed with the way Ward spoke to them. He chose to explain himself to his team. This bred a level of loyalty others would never see. “I won’t lie to you, I am violating orders.  Anyone who wants to turn around may, but if you stay, we have to move fast.  Sergeant Craven’s squad is still on patrol, not responding to comms. We know where they are and the Major has declared that they were KIA by insurgents.  I will not allow a fellow soldier, much less my brother-in-law and friend, to be left behind.  The Major has called up airstrikes, we have very little time. I am going after them, I could use your help, but I am not going to order you to come.”
            The team stared at him in stoic silence, waiting for orders. It was clear that they would follow..
            “Okay, let’s roll, fast and quiet.  Just follow my lead.” Ward took off at a rapid pace, but not down the street.  He turned up an alley, and through a courtyard, moving so deftly and quickly, that Kane had to keep eyes on him not to get lost. Within a few minutes, they could hear the unmistakable sound of M-16 and AK-47 fire.  A battle was ahead.













CHAPTER TWO
            A wave of cool, air-conditioned air washed over the man as he walked into HQ. PFC Miles Damiano was an intolerable screw up. He knew that much himself, being in the sand did not change the fact that he did not fit in the Army.  He had more dings on his record than anyone, but Meyer valued him as a scrounge, and that saved him.  It was the only thing at which he had shown any ability in the three years he had been in the army.  Scrounges got things, anything one could need, and Damiano was an excellent scrounge. The only man better was Corporal Johnson from First Squad, a guy equally ill-suited for military service. Fifteen minutes ago, Miles had passed Johnson and other members of First Squad as they tore off through some alley.  He wanted to make a deal with Johnson, but had to wait in this stinking heat in the hopes of his return.  The heat was intolerable, as it was most days in the sand. Stepping inside the temporary HQ to relieve the heat, he wiped the beaded sweat from his forehead as he removed his cap, and walked right into a shit storm.
            “God Damn it, Meyer.  I told you to stop him.” The Major was yelling in the NCO’s face.  Major Eric Fine was a tall, muscled man with peppered hair and light-colored eyes.  This was not the first time Miles had seen him yell at someone, but he had always treated Miles with a good nature.  Meyer was getting a dress down of epic proportion.  From the tirade, Miles surmised that Meyer had not stopped First Squad from going to rescue Second Squad, who the Major was insisting had already been killed. Seeing Damiano walk in, the Major grabbed Meyer by the shirt and dragged him into the command center room, slamming the door behind and leaving Miles alone in the outer room with the remainder of First Squad who were busy pretending they had not just seen that.
            Miles went around checking on the needs of First Squad to see if he could make a little scratch while Johnson was away.  For the most part, he was treated with disdain.  He might make a sale or two, if Johnson ever shipped out. He was still working the room about twenty minutes later, when the door burst open and SFC Ward brought Staff Sergeant Craven in bleeding and cursing.  Close behind were the other four men he had seen run off down an alley, three of them helping some injured soldiers and Johnson covering the rear.  Johnson made eye contact with Miles and wandered close enough to whisper.

            “Hey, bitch.  Didn’t I tell you to stay away from my marks?”  They both laughed, which greatly eased the tension while the rest of Johnson’s team carried their respective injured men into the medical room. It wasn’t long before the door to the command center opened and the Major and Meyer stormed into the medical area.  What ensued over the next few months became a legend in the sand, as well as back at their duty station at Fort Carson, Colorado. It cost one man his position in the army, and another man any hope of advancement.

Friday, July 8, 2016

General Inspiration

Among the questions which come up regularly, the most common is, "What is your inspiration?" I have written on some specific inspiration previously, but I wanted to get into general inspiration today, and how that relates to my books.

In the mid-1970's, I read H.G. Wells' novel about genetic manipulation, The Island of Dr. Moreau. It is an amazing science-fiction book that illustrates what it means to be human. Like many of the books I enjoy, it illustrates truths about us by showing human beings in a fantastic context. For instance, JK Rowling's Harry Potter books are all about classism. There are many themes covered, but that theme is prevalent on practically every page.

So, what are my books about?  I would argue that is up to the reader to decide. But, for me, they are about family and community. They are about how people act under stress, and what power does to people. So, they are really about what people do when the rubber hits the road (either good or bad). One of the things I have always found fascinating about comic books is their ability to showcase the culture of the day. Books do the same in some ways, but often the longer narrative muddies the water. What is our culture about today? What are its most prevalent themes. I would argue discontent with authority is one. So, I wrote about what people do when there is no authority. What does society do when there is no society?

What themes do you see in our world today? What narrative seeps out of the ooze of our political discourse, and informs your story-telling?

Buy Fear of Mystics here!!


Monday, July 4, 2016

reviews are coming in

Well, I haven't received much feedback yet for Fear of Mystics, but Age of Mystics posted another 5 star review today. It is really nice that so many of you are enjoying the books. It makes my heart swell to have told a story that has kept you engaged, and hopefully given you a little entertainment in this year of fear and uncertainty.

As most of you probably already know, the price of Age of Mystics is now fixed at $0.99 on Kindle (or free if you are a Kindle Unlimited subscriber). There are no current plans to discount Fear of Mystics beyond its low price of $2.99, but I will post here first if some great promotional opportunity comes my way.

And promotional opportunities is the topic of the day. I have read, and heard from other authors, that for relatively new authors, there are milestones to hit to improve visibility. One of those is ten reviews. reviews are much harder to come by than one would think. It is far more difficult to get people to review my work than I had prepared for, and I get tired of begging people to review. As such, the reviews are going to come in as they will, I guess.  That weirdly goes for readers also. I have had nothing but good reviews (okay one just said "okay" but it wasn't bad). I had no idea how much time and effort would go into just getting folks to read the work, even when word of mouth is great, and the reviews are good. As many of you know, I am running for office this year. The effort to get someone to read is very similar as the amount of effort it takes to get someone to vote for you. It feels like each person has to be cajoled, and convinced into reading the work. That isn't a slam or complaint, it is the reality of the situation. If you want people to read your work, you have to convince them to do so.

There is a rumor, akin to the white whale or bigfoot, that certain authors have hit "critical mass" and their books start selling themselves. It is such an issue of luck, and any author who knows of what thy speak, would quickly concur. When authors believe their work is selling based only on its merit, they are delusional. One has luck, knowing the right people, having an existing large following, celebrity status, or a TV deal. These are the ways one's work is seen by masses of people. Other than that, you have to hope your story has legs. After years of hawking your work, you become an "overnight success."

If you want to be a working author, you have to be an expert at selling your work and yourself. I have always been good at marketing, but this is different. Self-published authors spend much more time trying to get readers than they do writing. So, don't try to convince yourself that you will sit down and pen the greatest manuscript and people will fall over themselves to read it. The world simply doesn't work that way. You write your wonderful manuscript. You make sure every part of it is great, hiring a proofreader and editor, if you can afford them. You hire someone to design a cover for you (your cover is your sign). When all is ready to go, you choose a POD and ebook publishing site and upload your book. You may invest in marketing. I invested recently in a social marketing campaign (if you follow me on twitter or FB, you may have seen some of these). I have had massive hits on this page, my FB page, and my twitter feed. As far as I can tell, all of those massive hits have translated into exactly zero book sales. I am getting the exposure, but not the readers. So, I have this to say: be patient, authors. Do everything you can, and if you are lucky, someone will read your book!

Oh, and if you haven't bought it, click HERE to get an ebook of Age of Mystics for $0.99


Wednesday, June 29, 2016

My first interview as an author

Booksgosocial.com interviewed me about the release of Fear of Mystics. The interview can be found here . If anyone else wants to interview me, by all means let me know!! I love talking about my books, other people's books and the process of being a writer. Heck, I will talk about the weather with you, if you ask!


Tuesday, June 28, 2016

A little self-loathing...

I, like most artists, am hopelessly insecure. Many people do not see that. My wife, who does see it, says it is like my care and compassion for others. It is hidden behind a natural skepticism and general confidence that belies the truth of my fragile soul. It  is often true of artists that they are sensitive individuals looking for validation and acceptance. This is very true of me.

I woke today, a day when the second novel of my series is released, in a near panic and anxiety over the thought that "no one will buy my book." I want people to read it. I want that far more than I want to make money on the book, though that would also be nice. When I was a professional actor, I used to write poems. These were poems meant only for me, and they talked about the feeling of being on stage, the feeling when one hears the applause, the laughter, or the crying (if you are really good). I am addicted to appreciation. There is literally nothing I like better than hearing that people like my work. It fills me up to the top with joy and happiness. The problem is that cup which holds the joy and happiness is full of leaks, and I constantly need to refill the cup.

So, all day I have been freaking out. In the early afternoon, I went to apologize to my wife for my weird behavior. She looked at me, smiled, and told me, "That's okay. You did this every time you release a story."

I was, naturally, flabbergasted. I asked, "I do? With each story?" She nodded and I questioned, "What is wrong with me?"

She smiled again, and said, "You are an artist. I know exactly how it feels. And, I know it is coming. I began preparing for your freak-out yesterday."

My wife is a brilliant visual artist. She works in paint, photo, digital design, and she teaches art-journaling. Having her affirm my artistry was really nice. But, realizing I am this transparent is worrisome. My choices were to find a way to hide this part of myself or own it. So, here I am, owning it. I am putting this out there, so my readers can know a little bit more about me. Also, so they can know that the simplest phrase can mean the world to me. "I liked it" is all it takes. If you can scrape together $2.99 to read Fear of Mystics, or $0.99 to read Age of Mystics (or either of the short stories), please drop a line to let me know what you think. It will calm this ravenous beast in my chest, and help me immensely. Thanks a ton!

Find my work here!




Monday, June 27, 2016

Fear of Mystics available on Kindle tomorrow!

Hey all!

Fear of Mystics, the second novel in the Saga of Mystics series, will be available bright and early tomorrow!

Follow the stories of the Cravens, the Wards, Eric Fine, and the Hermit as they continue to adapt to a world without technology, and a world suddenly alive with mystical powers.

It is $2.99 on Kindle. Get your copy today!

Click Here to go to the Amazon page!



Thursday, June 23, 2016

Exciting News!!

Fear of Mystics will be released on Tuesday!! Pre-orders will start today for those of you with delayed gratification issues like myself.  However, in addition to this, the price on Age of Mystics ebook has been reduced to $0.99 permanently. So head over to amazon, get your Fear of Mystics Pre-order and your Age of Mystics copy for a grand total of only $3.98! And keep up to date on future releases by following my Amazon Author Page at www.amazon.com/author/cwalters



Wednesday, June 8, 2016

Amazon's reviewing rules

Trust me. I understand the rules that Amazon has put in place to control reviews. It is make sure that no one games the system, and thereby tricks potential readers into buying a crappy book. It is a good idea. But, it is flawed for the reasons I will describe.

In my genre alone, there are over 2 million books available at any given time. I hover around #130,000 at the moment with Age of Mystics. This is a constantly changing number based on Amazon's algorithms. At one point in April, I made it into the top 25. That was a good day, but the numbers drop off as initial readers are replaced by secondary readers. As of today, a reader with no connection, or information about my books, would have to go through the other 130,000 books to get to mine. The best way to combat this within the system is reviews.

Amazon's algorithm takes views, clicks, purchases and reviews into account. The heavy emphasis is on reviews. They don't have to be good reviews, just reviews. Actually, Amazon has stated that a breadth of ratings is better for their algorithm than all five star reviews. So, every author wants to have reviews. There are special promotional things which happen when one gets 50 reviews for one product. It is easy to see why one might want to manipulate their reviews for personal gain. This is strictly forbidden by both Amazon and the Federal Trade Commission.

So, what is an author to do to get noticed? I started out asking everyone I know to read the book and review it. It should be noted, I have never asked any of you for only good reviews, I want your honest opinion. I mean, sure, I might think you are a dick if you give it an unfair review. But at this point, an unfair review still helps other people find my book. But, here is the problem, anyone "I know" is expressly prohibited from reviewing my book, as are other authors in my genre and anyone who has any contact with me. Essentially, anyone who would read my book is not allowed to review it. Once someone has read my book, and liked this or my Facebook page, they are not allowed to review. That is just stupid, and I refuse to comply. Nothing bad happens, you get a notice that says you can't review that item.

This leaves me with what I am actually requesting of those who have read my book. It is simple. Write a review that will help another reader decide whether or not to read my books. Write what you actually thought, don't pitch it. If you liked it, say you liked it. If you didn't like it, say you didn't like it. If you thought it was okay, say that. As a writer, this isn't about making money to me (though that would be nice). This is about getting more readers. I love my stories, and I want more people to read them. If you don't like something, tell me so I can work on that. If you like it, tell others, especially people who don't know me, or have contact with me, or write contemporary fiction. And tell them to write a review after reading it.

By the way, this is the full wrap cover for the physical copy of Age of Mystics. Isn't it cool?  I have two copies on my bookshelf. They make me so happy.


Monday, June 6, 2016

Begging for reviews

'
Leave reviews. Don't overthink it. You don't have to get wordy, don't let the blank review scare you! Be a pal, leave a review!

Monday, May 30, 2016

To Touch The Sky

I am loving the short story I will be releasing later in the week. I hope you all do too. The cover art below is designed by Cathy Walters, as is all of my cover art.

This is the story of a group of teens stranded at the top of Pike's Peak when the Event happens (the cause of change in the Saga of Mystics).


Sunday, May 29, 2016

Fear of Mystics to be released June 28!!

I am pleased to announce the release date of the second book in the Saga of Mystics epic. On Tuesday, June 28th, you can follow the characters from Age of Mystics on their continuing pursuit of survival and understanding in this new existence.


Thursday, May 26, 2016

A peek at new style for covers

So, my beautiful artist wife got me the new cover early. I will post others as I have them, but at some point, I will update the Age of Mystics cover with this beautiful work of art. She is amazing!!


Wednesday, May 25, 2016

Cover Art

I just got to see some mock-ups for cover art, and I am so excited! I will post some soon, but it is so awesome, that she made a new cover for Age of Mystics too! So, will show that cover art, and the cover art for Faith of Mystics this weekend, and will be announcing release dates for Faith of Mystics and the newest Saga of Mystics short story: To Touch the Sky. Very exciting stuff!

Monday, May 23, 2016

Chapter 1 of Faith of Mystics - a little teaser for you

CHAPTER ONE
            A loud shout of “Kiai!” broke the early morning quiet as the former cadets formed a line to meet their foes. An especially foggy and cold morning had met their wakening hours, and the four men and two women who now patrolled the loose barrier on the west side of town had heard the attackers approach.  There was no doubt who the attackers were.  They would, of course, be Bandits.  Eric Fine’s men had taken to Manitou Springs and, for the past year and a half, harassed any person who came within their grasp.  This was especially true of those who represented Red Rock Bluffs, or Council Bluffs, as most people called it.
            “Form up!” called out the squad leader, Monty German. “Staff and long knife out, neutral stance!” he directed.
            Without word, each member of his squad pulled the required weapon and stood calmly.  These were among the warriors of the Bluffs, those who had both training and ability in martial arts.  Martial arts no longer meant only foot and fist, nor did it limit itself to weapons.  Now, martial arts included the power of the mind and spirit. 
Out of the mists before the warriors charged four men, walking quickly. Monty looked behind them for more.  The Bandits always traveled in groups of five. It was a good thing that Monty noticed, or he may not have paid any mind to the sound of foot on gravel behind him.  As it was, he swirled his staff in an arc behind him.
“Circle formation.” He shouted coarsely, and his group formed a circle with their backs to one another. Monty’s staff whirled through the air and a loud snap rent the air, as it was blocked by a bat from the attacker behind him.  He heard the clash of steel on steel to his left and knew the battle was on.
The thick fog hid nothing from sight any longer, as the close combat grew intense. Monty was used to close combat, even when he had been a cadet at the Air Force Academy. But since the Event, combat was different.  Not only was one compelled to physically protect themselves by any means necessary, but one also had to prepare their mind to defend from psychic and mental attacks that whirled around at the same speed.
Natalee Ward had taught him well, and as he parried with his blade and swung with his staff, Monty reached out with his mind in a focused burst at the man’s head.  The psychic attacks had the desired effect, and the man blinked.  It was just enough for him to miss the block on the high arc of the staff.  Within milliseconds, the staff cracked across the attacker’s left ear and he fell to the ground.  Monty whirled his staff high, and cracked the man once more for good measure across the back of his head. 
With his foe clearly unconscious, Monty turned to see one of his squad-mates defenseless on the ground and a man raising an axe high over her head to finish her off.  Gathering all his mental prowess, he combined a skilled knife throw with a mental guiding push. The knife was too heavy for true effectiveness, but it was enough.  The blade struck the man in his upstretched arm, slicing a deep red line before passing by into the ground beyond him.  Monty leaped to run after the man, but the wound had caused him to momentarily drop the axe.
As Monty neared, the man let out a loud whistle and his friends retreated quickly into the fog. The warriors stood quietly, their breath gulped in and loudly exhaled. Monty helped his cohort up from her place on the ground.
“Thanks,” she offered. Monty just winked at her.
Turning to look for the one he had incapacitated, he caught a glimpse as the man ran off to the east.  Apparently he had not been as unconscious as Monty had hoped. After a short pause, they dusted themselves off.
“Third one this week,” one of his mates mumbled.
Monty nodded. “Yeah, we better head to checkpoint for our relief.  The council will want to know about the increased sorties.”

Gathering their small amount of equipment, the group marched back north.

Friday, May 20, 2016

Finished First Draft!

The first draft of Faith of Mystics: Book Two in Saga of Mystics is complete! Artwork, polishing, formatting and another short story in the saga are in the near future. Keep an eye out on my Amazon Author page and on this page for more details.

Monday, May 16, 2016

Description for Faith of Mystics!

Faith of Mystics:
Saga of Mystics Book Two

Charred pyres with burned bodies litter the east side. Strange creatures have begun to appear across the landscape. Survivors’ camps and markets have begun to form together as some semblance of society tries to take shape. It has been a year and half since the Event, and the Council tries to make its way amidst the increasing death and devastation of a world gone mad. As rumors build of a new power in the east, with the ability to take away the powers of others, the Council must ally themselves with old foes to defeat a growing menace. But will their efforts be futile?
The Hermit roams the landscape, always showing up at the right time. Maxine Craven’s pack has grown to an immense size. Adam and Erica Cross lead a training outpost for healers, while the people of the Bluffs are beset with emotional turmoil and violent outbursts.  Follow the characters from Age of Mystics as they return in Faith of Mystics, the ongoing saga of a post-apocalyptic world.


Scheduled for release in late June - early July 2016!

Will be available on Amazon in paperback and in the Kindle Store!

Friday, May 13, 2016

Writing for, and about, women

As anyone looking at my Amazon author page can see, I am either a man or the ugliest woman ever born. This presents me with somewhat of a dilemma of which most male authors seem to be unaware. That dilemma is all wrapped up in a single fact, a stat if you will. The stat is that 54% of all human beings are female. One could  safely assume that the stat carries over to readers, and therefor 54% of all readers are female. There is nothing shocking in this stat, other than the fact that for generations, both authors and publishers (and for that matter, filmmakers and television executives) seem to have overlooked this fact.

Although it is changing somewhat is recent years, the truth is that many (if not most) fiction is written from a male perspective. It seems even more prevalent in my genre, fantasy fiction. This kind of bugs the shit out of me, if I am being honest. If a majority of readers are female, then the feminine perspective should be more prevalent, not less so. I believe in this, and I believe in showing women in the manner in which I see them every day. That means that I need to have the perspectives of a plethora of women, not a generalization of the perspective of a woman. And herein lies my dilemma: my perspective is inherently male. How do I write compelling female characters that are not generalized?

The answer is a simple one, though I will also admit to sometimes having blinders on which prevent my seeing the mistake. I am surrounded by strong, compelling women. My wife, my mother, my mother-in-law, my daughter and my many friends are inspiration for the women in my books. But, I will sometimes lean toward a male perspective, because it is easier for me to identify with a male character. I found myself being lazy in that approach in writing the second book in the Saga of Mystics series, Faith of Mystics. It just made me mad, because it wasn't by design, it was a lazy approach to my writing. Another author, who I learn from, says something I find very true. I am paraphrasing, but basically he says that we must create value for our readers. It is not a big deal if the story follows more male, or more female characters in one of the books. I really don't think about it. But I need to. I need to create value for all of my readers, and that means having compelling characters of all genders, all races (that make sense within the story), and all walks of life.

I will continue to put every effort into doing this, but I also want to encourage any female readers I have in one thing. Your voice is important. Don't leave it to a man to try to write from your perspective. Put yourself out there, because the world needs to hear you. The world needs your story, your perspective. For myself, I want to hear your story. Not just the story of your life, but the hidden fiction in your heart, from your point of view. That is what creates value for me.

Monday, May 9, 2016

Let's Talk About Tempo

I would love to tell you what the consensus is about tempo among authors. But I have no idea what that consensus is, or whether there even is one. Instead, I will tell you my thoughts.

I once had a friend who was an amazing film editor, and she told me that the difference between a great film and a crappy film was not writing, it was tempo. I always thought the editor's job was to set up the shots in the right order and fix any problems. Well, they do all of that, but their real job is to set the tempo in a film. It seems that narrative is all about timing.

Ever since that friend educated me about this, I have realized that my editing also needs to be about tempo. It is probably hard for people to see, but I see a lot of my writing as composing a musical movement. Its tempo, its crescendo, its diminuendo, are all planned to flow like a musical composition. I do not always achieve this, but I always try.

Many people have described Age of Mystics as fast-paced, but the truth is that it is sometimes fast-paced, some times staccato, sometimes drawn out. I firmly believe that monotony of timing in a narrative comes out sounding wrong, it just doesn't read right. So, I take the comment about it being fast-paced as meaning that I correctly edited the manuscript to keep the reader engaged. That is the purpose of tempo, to get you to engage with the story, and to want to continue that engagement. It goes back to the connection that I have written about in other posts.

I owe you a good story. I have an obligation to provide a story which transports you to another place, another time, or another reality. A monotonous story does not do that...well, that is another form of art anyway. I want you to enjoy the stories I put out there. In order to do that, tempo must be well considered, and well executed. Tell me if you can feel the tempo when you read it.

Age of Mystics
And the Rain Fell

Friday, May 6, 2016

The current schedule

I wanted to give you all an update on future project, where they stand and a rough idea of release dates. I am currently working on four projects: The second book in Saga of Mystics: Faith of Mystics; another Short Story about the travels of our friends Mickey, Theo, and Brandon (untitled); the revisions on a completed manuscript in Young Adult Contemporary Fantasy called Outcast Days; and, the beginning of a new series (untitled) about live music and angels, the first titled: Gabriel.

I have a lot of stories in my head, and I find I can only work on one for a few hours, before I need to get away from the story and let it recharge. This has me thinking about many different options, and many different narratives. They each have their own style, and voice. Writing them at the same time is a challenge, but one I relish. Stretching myself in this way has been a really great catharsis, and I am thrilled that I am not dry on the story front.

What I generally do is jot down ideas in a creative journal I keep. As plots, scenes and stories evolve, those notes become an outline. When the outline has a certain structure, I begin to write the stories. When I am done, I have three choices: Publish it, Revise it, or Trash it. I have trashed many more stories than I will ever publish. Revising is by far the hardest for me, because when I am done with a story, too much revision makes it a different story. I am having that problem with Outcast Days. The entire structure and background of that narrative has changed, even though the basic framework is the same.

As for release dates, it is hard to say, but loosely the following should hold true:

End of May - Another Short Story for Saga of Mystics
Mid-July (may be earlier, work is going well) - Faith of Mystics (book two in Saga of Mystics)
Early August - Outcast Days
October-ish (very loose, I haven't even fully outlined) - Gabriel
December-February - Book 3 in Saga of Mystics (Still in notes phase)

If that sounds like a lot, it is. but, I have to admit that I love writing. The opportunity to get these stories out, and have you read them, is just a true joy. I hope you enjoy them!

Monday, May 2, 2016

The Blank Page and Writer's Block

I finally got around to setting up my Goodreads author page. Do you like how I made it sound like it was just one in a long list of things I haven't got around to yet? Well, it is part of a long list, but it is a list of things I didn't even know authors were supposed to create. This self-publishing thing is such a huge, uphill, learning curve. But, I digress. One of the questions that it asked (I assume of all authors) was "How do you deal with writer's block?" I figured I would wait until I was in the throes of such a block, and then respond. This is what it looks like.

"What is writer's block?" one might ask. It is described by some as the fear of the blank page, but I don't agree with that. I would describe it more as the dread of the blank page. Fear or foreboding might be accurate for some, but I see the blank page as a mire that I will have to trudge through more than a hidden trap, full of danger. Writer's block to me is not the lack of an idea, but the feeling that the ideas in my head are too mundane, too undeveloped, and not at all compelling. This dread took me down for almost three months in the middle of writing "Age of Mystics".

So, what do I do about it? It is often true that the answers to life's questions are the most simple responses. It sounds stupid, but the way that you get through writer's block is ... you write. Some use free-writing. Some work on something else. But, sitting at the computer and hammering out a story, an outline for a new book, or even a blog post, can drag me out of the muck of my own creative malaise. It is that simple, you find something to write, and you write. It doesn't have to be good. No one need ever see it. You just write.

I have many friends, who after hearing me talk or post about being an author, tell me that they have these ideas they have wanted to write for years. I would suggest to every one of you who feel that way, sit down and write it. The world needs your ideas, your creations, and your stories. Just write. There are not too many authors already, that is mere bullshit. Just write. It may be near to impossible to get readers, trust me, but it doesn't matter. Just write.

Finish that novel. Publish that book of short stories, or poems, or recipes for pot brownies. Who cares? Just write. And when you do, drop me a line and I will read it and review it for you. The greatest task of an author, in the current age of self-publishing, is not producing material. It is getting someone to read and review your work, So, if I can help. Please let me know.

I am going to try to review some books soon, and set up a regular schedule of releases here on the blog. I am not a professional reviewer, but I won't review something I don't like (most of the time). For instance, I picked up three free Kindle reads a little over a week ago. I began all three. One of them kept me interested, and was a pretty good read. It was enjoyable. The other two were, I am sure, fine books. They weren't for me. I only reviewed the first one,  I want to be giving, and help other authors, but I also want to be honest and not punk my readers. My non-reviews can't be assumed to be a bad review, but my good reviews will mean I actually like it. That is the best I can do for others. But while we are at it, please take a moment to pick up a copy of either Age of Mystics (2.99 on Kindle store), or And the Rain Fell (short for 99c), and throw a review on it for me in Amazon, Goodreads, or your own blog. Whatever works.

Age of Mystics:
http://www.amazon.com/Age-Mystics-Saga-Book-ebook/dp/B01DHNO7J6/ref=asap_bc?ie=UTF8

And the Rain Fell (Short):
http://www.amazon.com/Rain-Fell-Mystics-Short-short-ebook/dp/B01EVPXO9S/ref=asap_bc?ie=UTF8

Saturday, April 30, 2016

Be a fan!

I have long considered the state of our culture of critique, and its impact on our collective soul. When I was young, I considered my opinion to be the epitome of my offering to the world. With intellect, and wit, I would offer my criticism of the art and opinions of the day. But, you know what? I was just an asshole.

I see this a lot in the way our culture takes in various forms of art. Whether it is movies, TV, books, paintings, poetry, or any other form, derision is the call of the day. Telling someone else they suck isn't about them. It is about you! I say this not having yet had to deal with a terrible review. Once enough people read my writings, it will come. Someone will just hate it, and they will feel the need to let me (and everyone else) know. The thing is...art is subjective. I expect some people not to like my writing. I got into writing plays in my mid-teens because I loved the work of Neil Simon. Some people just hate Neil Simon for the same reason I love his work. His dialogue driven, light wit tells stories that are deeper, but enjoyable. It is intelligent without being boorish, and it is fun.

In the early 1990's, I would rail against People Magazine's movie reviews. They seemed to only report on movies they hated. Everything they reviewed was just a heap of shit. I used to hate that they did that, and I stopped reading their reviews. But, I did the same thing to a much smaller audience. My casual dismissal of music or films that other people liked was a People Magazine film review on a smaller scale. Once I realized this, I was disturbed enough to change.

I am married to an amazing woman, who has taught me many things about how to live life. But, probably the greatest lesson I learned from her was to see the good first. She looks for the good in a movie, a TV show, and in people themselves. You know what? She finds it. We find that for which we look. So search for the good. Look at what is right with something, or someone, before you notice the bad. Trust me, if there is bad, you won't be able to avoid it. But concentrate on the good. Be a fan, without hesitance, and without reservation. When you love something, tell everyone. When you don't, keep it to yourself. Because in the end, the shit is not in the work, it is in our view.

Wednesday, April 27, 2016

And the Rain Fell

Short story will be hitting Kindle exclusively later today for $0.99. Get your copy today!


Tuesday, April 26, 2016

Creating Canon

A lot of science fiction and fantasy films created from books, have nerds like me bitching about "canon". Canon is quite simply the rules of the universe in which the story is set. If the story plays by the rules of our world, it doesn't need canon in the same manner, but some would argue that even character decisions create canon. So, it is not without reason that an author of this genre must be very concerned with creating canon.

Nothing will lose a reader like something that breaks canon. The nerdosphere will lose its collective mind if something does not make sense with what has been written before. Comic books get around this by literally calling it a completely different universe. The most recent set of Star Trek films have done the same. It doesn't always calm the raging beast of nerd-dom to tell them it is a different universe. We have moved beyond such simple manipulation. We need better manipulation, but I digress.

I tell you all of this because as a fantasy author, I must be concerned with creating canon. In the first story int eh universe, there is so much freedom to change the rules. But, as you get into more and more stories, the rules matter. There are a few ways to get around them. For instance, in the case of the Saga of Mystics, it is still new enough to argue that everyone was just wrong about how something works. I can report that I intentionally did this with certain aspects, so the reveal would be better later.

Understanding canon is simply an exercise in understanding the question, "IS Jon Snow dead and will he stay that way?" for Game of Thrones fans. Within the rich canon that George R.R. Martin created, there are at least four answers that would reasonably be "no." (even though we all saw him stabbed to death)

Creating that kind of canon, where there are different possible answers to a question is both a challenge and a true joy as an author. The more work you have, the more of a chance to give those readers who are really in tune with the story's universe, to figure things out. I find it do fun as a fan, that I want it for those who read my books. Unlike some authors, I feel that the work belongs to both writer and reader. So, if I have made rules, they must be adhered to by all stories within the narrative universe.

As such, I have just finished the first step in creating canon for Saga of Mystics. I finished a short story to explain the unexpected weather in the beginning of Age of Mystics. It sets rules for how things work. It came from a reader asking why the weather changed, and giving possible reasons she thought it might. It was such a great exercise, that I want to do more. So, if you see something that you want answered, or a character you would like to know more about (and their story is not already in the outlines for other books in the series), let me know and I will see if I can answer the question. And keep an eye out later this week for "And the Rain Fell: a Saga of Mystics Short" in the Kindle store.

Friday, April 22, 2016

Inspiration

There are artists who come along from time to time that change the way we understand art and culture. These icons are not driven by what is in front of them, but by that kernel of greatness that makes them step out in new ways and reveal beauty to those of us living in the gray. Elvis Aaron Presley was one of those. While his music was not particularly new, his expression of that music stepped boldly on to the stage and flashed across our culture in an entirely unique way. Centuries ago it was Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart. One century ago, it was Robert Johnson and the Blues. For my Generation, it was Prince Rogers Nelson.

Prince was the kind of artist it was hard to discount. His music got under your skin, both in style and in substance. Listening to a greatest hits this morning still made the hair stand on end on my arms. He was what it is to be a great artist. He was often derided for his overly-sexualized lyrics. But it was in those lyrics, and the perfectly matched music, that he reached into your soul and connected with your heart. We all crave the attention of others, and we all have a sexual aspect of our beings. Prince and David Bowie were the two great artists for my generation that were willing to listen to their own soul and connect with mine. We have lost them both.

I am thrilled that the music doesn't die, and that I can continue to be swept up by the works of these men. I know that while the music lives on, these great artists are immortal. They are forever in our ears, reminding us of the depth of our emotions an the greatness possible for each one of us. But, it doesn't take away the vacuum of knowing that I will never hear new music from them. For that, I am sad. I don't know if you believe in Heaven, or not. But, I choose to believe that there is one hell of a jam session going on somewhere. I look forward to the day when I get to sit before that stage and listen to the sound of greatness in person.

Tuesday, April 19, 2016

The cost of free publishing

There is a saying, "there is no such thing as a free lunch." I think most of us have heard it, and most of us know the truth of the idea. Nothing in life is free, even those things that are sold to us as free. One of the touted benefits of self-publishing is that it is free. Let me dissuade you from falling for this. As we have already covered, nothing is free. Self-publishing an ebook is no different.

That is not to say that it is not inexpensive. When one considers the prohibitive cost of publishing in the pre-tech era, it would be silly to complain, and I am not complaining. But, I do want anyone who is considering a run at getting their story out to know the costs involved. If all you really want is to make your story available to friends and family, in the least expensive manner possible for them, self-publishing an ebook is the way to go. Basically, if you don't care about the income, you can slap a plain cover on a page, upload your words, choose a price of $0.99 and get everyone you know to read your story.

However, once you get beyond your friends, family and the acquaintances who are willing to throw less than a buck at Amazon to read your story, your book would head to the ebook graveyard. It would be available in perpetuity for anyone you meet to read your story until the internet shuts down. Actually building an audience is expensive in two ways. The first is actual money. Expensive is a relative term, it isn't too bad. But it isn't free. You need a cover. You need formatting. You need proofreading. You need promotion. All of these things cost money, unless one or more of them is covered by a gifted relative (thank you for the cover work, my lovely wife). Depending on your level of finances and commitment, you could spend anywhere from $2000-$25,000 to really get your book moving.

But, that is not the real kicker. Because the second cost to self-publishing is time and hard work. I mentioned before that I have to do everything within my power to attract each and every reader I can. From the research I have done, and the personal experience I am gaining, I would argue you have to be ready to spend the rest of your life in self-promotion. I look at it a little differently, as I feel like I am pitching the story, not myself. But the effect is the same. Wake up every day and come up with a new way, preferably one that does not annoy every person you know, to mention your book ad hope that someone buys it. Some days it is one book, some days it is a hundred. The work doesn't change. If you want more days that are one hundred, you have to work all that much more. The less money you spend, the harder the work will be. trust me.

But, I want to give you some good news. It is kind of fun! Also, you get instant gratification, since you can find out your sales daily.  I spend more days saying, "Hey, I got twelve new readers today. I hope they will connect with me and let me know what they think." And that is the biggest reward an artist of any kind can hope for, to connect with those who respond to the art. For that connection, the traditional publishing model simply can't compete. They can't even come close.  One person I know contacted me and told me they read the book in five hours. They couldn't put it down. I loved talking to them about the story, because I feel it was as much theirs as it was mine. Once you are hooked in, you are a part of that art. I really feel that way about readers.

So, if you read my book, leave a note here. Or, leave a note on my author page on Amazon www.amazon.com/author/cwalters , connect with me and discuss the story not only with me, but with other readers. That connection is a lot of what I seek in this pursuit.

Sunday, April 17, 2016

Challenges

Technology has influenced not only how we live our lives, but the opportunities available to so many people. When I was young, I wrote plays on a yellow legal pad. Part of this was because I heard Neil Simon did so, and I thought it made me like him. But the main reason was that I didn't own a typewriter. It is now rare for an American to not have the ability to type, even if it is only in notes on your phone.

There are so many positive qualities and aspects to the technological revolution. Without it, I would not be able to self-publish. Nor would the other millions of people who self-publish. In the myriad of creative jobs in which I once was employed, I was a DJ. At the time, DJ's were generally determined by their access to equipment.  DJ equipment at the time was prohibitively expensive. Now, anyone with two speakers and a Macbook can be a DJ. The same is true for many other types of artists. Anyone can be a DJ. Anyone can mix music in their room. Anyone can take photos that are of decent quality. The technology makes these things easier. So, it isn't only that it takes less capital. It takes less skill.

And, this brings us to self-publishing. There is an extremely low barrier of entry into self-publishing. Traditional publishers still keep the barriers too high in my opinion, but self-publishing is by its nature, too easy. The fact that I have published my own novel says absolutely nothing about its value or quality. This fact brings down the reputation of self-published authors, and makes it harder to get people to read your books. As an unknown author, it is one of the biggest challenges I have ever had. There are pros and cons to this.

The con is, of course, that I must talk every single person into buying and reading the book.  I absolutely must beg, borrow, and steal to get reviews. Reviews matter because people don't know what to read, and with the barrier of entry so low, how could they? The pro is that I must talk every single person into buying and reading the book. It is just another side of the same coin. You determine whether or not a book is good, and that is a wonderful thing. While it is very true that many good, well-written books flounder in the sea of mediocrity that is out there never to see the success they deserve.  It is also true that it is much more difficult for a mediocre book to do well in self-publishing. One can (and sometimes must) buy reviews, and pay for marketing. But, in the end, the word will get out and a poorly written story will not succeed.

I want you to read.  I actually want you to judge my book, my characters, my setting and my narrative style. I believe in the story, and my ability to convey that story in a compelling manner. If the book succeeds, I will know I have done my job.  If it does not, it means very little.  So, if you like a book (especially mine), champion it. Write reviews wherever you can.Tell your friends about it. Take the challenge of promoting the things you like. because for that book, you are the difference between success and failure.

Oh, and lest I forget: Look for Age of Mystics on Kindle and soon in paperback!!


Wednesday, April 13, 2016

Settings, or where the hell does this take place?

A question came in from a reader who asked how I decided on the setting. Assuming she meant where in the world this book takes place, I can say it is really simple. I live in Colorado Springs, and the book is set in Colorado Springs. Someone once said to write what you know. I know where I live, so it was the easiest place to put myself when writing about this situation.

I was talking with my wife today about writing some stand alone fiction, set in this world, under these rules, that takes place in other areas. While this particular series is really about this one group of people form this one place in the world, it is interesting to me to think how people in other parts of the world might respond to these challenges. For instance, on a Pacific or Caribbean Island, in a major Metropolitan area, or in the Wilds of the Yukon or Siberia.  How would those settings change what happens to society and individuals.

Where would you like to see a story set?

While you are thinking about that, tell your friends to pick up a copy of the book at the Kindle store for $2.99, and take a gander at the review below.


Monday, April 4, 2016


Hey, all! In case you missed the other post, Age of Mystics is FREE this week on the Kindle store.  Pick up your copy today!

How the Walking Dead got it Wrong!

Far be it from me, a man with only one novel to his credit, to criticize the brilliant writers of the Walking Dead.  But that is what I am going to do today.  Last night’s cliffhanger was nothing short of manipulative bullshit.  I don’t feel that they needed to do that in this story, and it does not achieve anything for the series.

First off, they have already left us with cliffhangers twice this season (at least).  The mid-season finale that seemed to show Glenn’s death was actually right on the verge of manipulative in my opinion.  Glenn is a favored character who dies around this time in the comics (we will get to this later), so there was some genuine consternation around his death. His ability to survive that moment was a stretch of my suspension of disbelief, but possible. I try not to judge other writers’ choices and accept the conflict they have created, and I was able to do so with the Glenn mid-season story.  Additionally, in the penultimate episode, we saw Daryl get shot and were left to wonder if he was okay. It seemed like a clear shoulder wound, so I wasn’t too worried, but it was also the normal use of a cliffhanger to increase anticipation of the next episode.  In my opinion, this was a good use of the construct.

Last night, trying to decompress, I did what I always do.  I watched the most excellent “The Talking Dead”.  On the show, the guests included Robert Kirkman (creator) and Scott Gimple (show runner).  The reasoning they had for the cliffhanger was clearly a rehearsed answer, because they both said the same thing word for word. “This season’s story was not about who got killed, that is next season’s story”. (Okay, that is not word for word, but what they said was, I just shortened it) Kirkman also talked about how one does something like this in comic books to make sure people buy the next issue.  But, let’s face it folks, we were all going to watch next season anyway.  No one who likes that show was about to say, “Well, I think I have seen enough of the Walking Dead.” So, I call bullshit.


So, let’s take a moment to talk about cliffhangers in general. Contrary to some of what I have read from fans this morning, they are not always about making money.  Honestly, I don’t think that was the case in this one (regardless of Kirkman’s comments). Cliffhangers are a narrative construct between the writer and the audience that builds tension and crescendo into the story line, which draws the audience in and makes them care more than ever about the story.  It causes the audience to have what are now known as “fan theories”, which engages the audience ever more.  And, this is where I think they went wrong. With all of the Hub-bub about John Snow this year (I am not buying your bullshit either, Kit Harrington, I am confident RT+LS = JS; you will be back), I think the writers of the Walking Dead wanted some of that John Snow love. I think they will find, however, that the conversations over the next six months will not be as much about who got killed as they will be about how the fans feel manipulated by the show.  I am disappointed by their choice on this one.

Surprise drop!

I am an impatient person. It is just something I have had to learn to live with. As such, keeping this a secret has been so damn hard! I am ...