Monday, December 22, 2014

Free Excerpt on Wattpad, Whole Thing for a Buck!

I just posted the first four chapters of Hungry Gods on Wattpad (just click this line).

And I've just updated the preorder price on the ebook.  Now through January 31st, you can preorder this superheroes vs zombie novel for only $0.99!  Find your preferred retailer below!

Now go forth and read!  (And make a superhero costume.  And prepare for zombies.)

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Summer Movie Fantasy

Since my sword and sorcery novel Tarnish is making its last discount round on Amazon this week, I thought I'd repost this fan-casting I did for the eventual Hollywood blockbuster that will be made from the book...

* * *

Let's plan a blockbuster movie for summer of 2015, shall we? This is a "fan cast," which is where people who day dream about a movie being made from their favorite book, TV show, comic book, etc, come up with who they'd like to see play the roles of the characters involved. I haven't gotten the call from Hollywood quite yet for Tarnish (hint-hint, Hollywood), but I thought it would be fun to do a casting call to fill the roles of the main characters of this fantasy novel.

My thinking is not restricted by time and space, and I'm not even limiting this casting by talent -- one of these guys isn't even an actor! But here's my thinking...

Billy Cole/Wil Thunderstrike - 1st choice: I don't know any teenage actors - in fact, I generally don't care for teenage actors. They fill teenaged roles and probably get to thinking they are hot shit even though they can barely shave or drive. So I'm thinking a good actor for Wil would be a 16 to 18 year old Henry Cavill from Man of Steel and Immortals (I didn't even realize he was in Immortals till I started doing this blog post). Tall, strong, dark hair, intense. I think a younger Cavill would fit the bill nicely for our hero. (Though I think he told Jay Leno that he was a chubby loser when he was young -- hey, weren't we all?) In this pictures he's even wielding a spear -- perfect!

Billy Cole/Wil Thunderstrike - 2nd choice: Well, I suppose I should try to pick a teen actor too, barring time travel and fountains of youth. Browsing the internet for candidates... I kinda like Shia LeBeouf as an actor but i don't think he's got the physique to be Wil Thunderstrike, son of Ian the Black. So I picked this dude named Robbie Amell based solely on this picture from some fan-chick's website. But to be honest... I don't like his attitude.

Leon Shimmerskin - 1st choice: We need a guy who can pull off powerful and arrogant and nigh unstoppable. I think Mickey Rourke's big comeback in recent years with The Wrestler, Ironman 2, and Immortals shows he can be that big, muscular badass. He might be a shy bit older for the part now, but since we're not limited by the barriers of time, let's shade him back a few years but keep all the power and intimidating glare.

Leon Shimmerskin - 2nd choice: I suppose Chris Hemsworth does have some experience as a charming yet powerful, blond-haired fantasy superhero...

Ian Cole - 1st choice:  I have rewritten this a year after its original post.  In a flash of wisdom, I realized that Liam Neeson would make an awesome Ian Cole.  Though his talents might largely go to waste, since Ian isn't very talkative.

Ian Cole - 2nd choice:  This close up of writer Alan Moore, who penned the graphic novels  Watchmen and V For Vendetta, looks pretty dead on for Ian Cole.  And while in real life I think he is very tall, he's also very thin, so he might need a body double.

Trevor LeRouge: The aging and balding bard whose whit was as fast as his blade -- Paul Giamatti seems a perfect fit! A real actor who looks like a real person. (That's a compliment.)

Jade: Cunning yet cute, Jade is a thief and Wil's love interest. Again, I don't know any raven-haired teenaged actresses I would trust with playing my characters. Fortunately the internet is full of folks who do, so... Let's see here... Okay, one young lady who is now twenty and I have actually heard of is Nickelodeon actress Victoria Justice. She's got the look for sure, so let's give her a shot. Get her agent on the phone...

Mum Picklebriar: Mysterious stranger in the black hat, a storyteller with a gravelly voice and grit. I can see Russell Crowe in this role. In this pic he even comes with his own black hat.

Morlock: Even though Morlock the archer is about the closest of Shimmerskin's trio to Wil, I had a terrible time trying to envision an actor to play his part. Then someone struck me as perfect: David Wenham, who's cool scratchy voice was Dilios (the narator) in 300 and played the ranger Faramir in the Lord of the Rings movies (so he's got some bow experience too).

Crow: As I was writing I envisioned a thinner version of Danny Trejo with a long ponytail, covered in tattoos, and swinging a huge mallet around. Machete is more than qualified to be Crow!

Lockheed: General scumbag and scruffy waste of space: Lockheed. Let me take you back to Heat with Al Pacino, Robert De Niro, and Val Kilmer. There was one lesser character who made an impact as a villainous creep that the audience really wanted to see dead. I'm talking about Waingro, played by Kevin Gage. "The grim reaper is visiting with you."

Brother Fabien: The "Boy Preacher," a young man who is both doubtful and a leader of the community. He's actually a more complex character than may be let on in this first novel. To fill his holy shoes I'm picking Jay Baruchel, who voiced the hero of How To Train Your Dragon. Young Mr. Baruchel would bring Fabien a great awkward dorkiness (no offense), a young guy who would like to break certain social barriers and "get the girl" but can't. Actually, thinking of him in this role gives greater depth to Fabien for me, which is amazing!

Jenna Knox: The musical heart of Redfield, and a lovely brunette, I can't think of anyone better suited to play the part and draw a crowd than Katy Perry herself.

Mad Dog McCray: This one image struck me as great for the weathered and wild face under the dog cowl of Mad Dog McCray: William Fichtner as bad guy Butch Cavendish in this summer's Lone Ranger. Fichtner is a fantastic actor, almost always playing smaller strong character parts, and it'd be awesome to have him as part of a Tarnish movie. Pull him right out of this picture, slap a dead dog on his head, and we're ready to shoot!

The Swamp Man: The mysterious cloaked master of Blood Marsh. The first thing that actually comes to mind is the Crypt Keeper, but we're not going for comedy here. And though it's not quite right either, I always liked the cloaked and cow-skulled creatures from Time Bandits too. So somewhere in between there...

Gromlins: Maybe we can borrow the Gremlins and spray paint them in appropriate colors for the film.

Redfield, Hobb's Turn, and Fellwater are all towns chocked full of characters, but the above castings cover all the biggest parts for sure. There's also a lot of actors I really like who don't appear here -- you can't just stuff all your favorites into one movie if they aren't right for the part, right?

Just another $100,000,000 and maybe we can convince some producer to go with this! I hope everyone will come out and see it -- and bring your 3D glasses!

If anyone else has any ideas on actors for these characters, I'd love to hear them!

Sunday, December 14, 2014

Holiday Sales and Giveaways: Fantasy and Superheroes

This week only I have four different books enjoying a Christmas season sales bananza!

Today marks the beginning of the end of discount deals on the coming-of-age fantasy novel Tarnish.  Sunday to Sunday (December 14 - 21), Tarnish will benefit from a Kindle Countdown Deal.  It'll start out at just $0.99 for the first half of the week, then roll up to $2.99 for the second half, which is still half price!  At the end of the week it'll return to $5.99 where it's likely to stay forever.  (I've got too many new books to write to keep messing with this one, so get it cheap while you can!)

Monday through Friday, the 15th through the 19th, the superheroic short story "Puppet Theatre" will be free to download on Amazon.  Yes, free, so why not??!  It also includes a sneak peek (first chapter) of my new novel Hungry Gods.

And as I've already posted, my newest novel Hungry Gods (superheroes vs zombies, but probably not in quite the way you'd expect) is up for pre-order now through January 31st.  During this pre-order period it'll be at $0.99 instead of $5.99.  You can find the ebook for pre-sale on these sites:

And the fourth book on this sales roster is the GoodReads Giveaway for the paperback of my contest finalist novelette The Thorne Legacy.  Click below to put your name in the hat to win one of ten signed copies.  Ends tomorrow, December 15th!   

Finally, these fun Santa images were lifted from this article, which has artists and source links, as well as 28 more images of cool Christmas Santa mayhem.

Sunday, December 7, 2014

My KDP Countdown Marketing Strategy

In a couple weeks I'm going to have two books go sale via the Amazon KDP Select.  Of course, this doesn't do much good if no one knows it's about to happen, so it pays to advertise.  It's easy to go overboard on that stuff, though, so I deliberately took a nice, moderate approach.  And I am by no means an expert.  I am not writing this to say "these are the site you should use to become a best seller."  I don't now any golden secrets there.  I'm just writing this because I'm proud of my simplistic, organized approach.  That's what I'm sharing here.

The reason for my launching this campaign at all: my newest book, Hungry Gods, which is now up for preorder.  To help that along, I am also putting a related short story, Puppet Theatre, on for free and my other novel, Tarnish, on a countdown (both the week of December 14, btw.)  By launching countdown deals on these two works, I hope to draw more attention to the third.

The initial, guiding principles I wanted to use were:
   1. Budgeting.  I didn't want to spend more than one day's worth of time or more than $100 on this.  (Because I believe that, despite a lot of talk about this subject, marketing for us little-known writers just starting out is going to have a very limited effect.  Therefore, I also employed:
   2. 80/20.  How can I get 80% of the effect from 20% of the effort?

So then I set my plan:
   1. Marketing plan.  Meaning, which services am I going to use?
   2. Author central messages.  I went to Author Central and added a line to my books pointing them all toward the 50% preorder deal on my newest book.
   3. Set my KDP dates.  After checking the availability of my chosen services, I set the countdown and freebie periods and made them official.
   4. Buy the plans.  For those marketing outlets that I'd selected (now that I had my official dates), I went ahead and bought the services.

Easy, right?  Again, I'm not trying to blow anyone's mind here, I'm showing how I simplified the process for myself to keep it organized, easy, and cheap (on time and money, both of which I need to be frugal with).

So which sites did I choose?  I decided to not go with some of the tweeting services I've seen.  I just don't know how reliable a medium that is.  It seems to me that a lot of those thousands of followers could be (1) fake and (2) largely authors like myself who have signed up with intent to advertise, not necessarily buy.  So I skipped the tweeters.

I found a service at that allowed me to submit my freebie listing to 30+ different services by filling out just one form.  Talk about 80/20!  Definitely worth it to me for the $15 fee.  Similarly, I picked just two email services that seemed to me to be relatively big fish with nice presentation rather than ones that didn't look quite as professional.  I went with ($20 for the higher tier service) and BargainBooksy ($40 for SF).  You can judge for yourselves whether these were good choices.

The obvious question is, "What about Bookbub?"  I did submit there multiple times but never made the cut.  (I suspect it has to do, at least partially, with not having enough reviews yet.)  There were a couple other services I was looking at too, but in order to stay within my budgets I decided that that was it.  Good enough.  All I really needed was for potential readers to be directed to any one of my books, which are all wearing arrows pointing toward the new novel.  That's the ultimate goal here for me anyway.

So there you go.  No revelations, just sharing what I've done.  Will it work?  Don't know yet, but I sure hope so!

Any indie authors with tips, suggestions, or questions, please do comment!

Friday, December 5, 2014

Superheroes vs Zombies for Preorder on Amazon

I almost feel this post is a bit premature but... The book is up, so I guess it's right on time, right?  Plus I wanted to show off this awesome cover that Trevor Smith has just completed for me.

So Hungry Gods it's up for preorder on Amazon now, (click those words there to go there right now) and will shortly be up on B&N, Kobo, and Apple iBooks.  Preorder will run through January 31st and during that time the ebook will be $0.99 now, becoming $5.99 when the book releases.  So get in there early!

What's the book about, you ask?  Here's the blurb folks:

Superheroes. Undead. ‘Nuff said. 

The country’s premier superhero team is missing. So when a mutant monstrosity goes on the rampage, it’s Spitball to the rescue! He’s a third-string hero today, determined to be first-string tomorrow. And the Army may be giving him just the chance he needs. Spitball’s been invited to undertake a secret mission into America’s heartland. What he’s about to discover, however, is not a chance at stardom but a horror movie come to life... 

Hungry Gods is a fast-paced adventure of costumed superheroes, government conspiracy theories, and flesh-eating zombies. 

'Nuff said.

Monday, December 1, 2014

Embarrassing Cover Issue

I was all excited to receive my box of 25 copies of The Thorne Legacy paperback today… until I opened the box.  I'm sorry to say that there's a resolution issue with the printing.  I thought it was a problem with the printer at first, but it may have been on my end after all.  So I think I may have messed up the first batch.  Poop.

However, I was also excited to see that the paperback has been selling!  I hope those who receive it and say, "Gee, this cover looks kinda pixelated and crappy" will come to this blog to launch a complaint and find that I'm aware of the issue and fixing it.  It's too late for those who have already ordered, and for those who will eventually get the copies I have now ('cuz it's too late to get new ones before the Goodreads giveaway ends), but please know, Dear Readers, that I'm working hard to maintain a high level of professionalism here.  Mistakes happen and I'm hoping to make most of my errors now so I can learn from them early on.  I get better with each miff I make. ;)

By the way, there's still two weeks to get your own copy for free in the afore mentioned giveaway.  Just click here to see the book's Goodreads page...

All in all, the story itself is still the same high quality, action-packed, tear-jerking, contest finalist material on the inside, no matter what the cover looks like outside.  But I am embarrassed to have put out a fuzzy looking cover in the first place.  (It looked great on the digital proof, I swear!)

Working to correct the error.  Please enjoy the story inside despite the fuzziness outside.

UPDATE:  Actually, looking at it the next day, it isn't that bad.  Still a bit fuzzy and disappointing, but not terrible.  Fix is still in-process.

FURTHER UPDATE:  Seems the art is just too detailed to look good blown up and thrown on a paperback cover.  And that's a problem for me...  I love this image but, unfortunately, I may need to replace it with something simpler and more viable.