Saturday, July 26, 2014

William, Where Are You and What Have You Been Doing?


It has been a little while since I posted on this site, so I felt I better let you all know what it is I've been up to during my absence.  For the most part, the answer is writing and working that second job thingy I took earlier this year to help fund my desire to buy a house in the near future, one that may be a bit longer in arriving than I had hoped due to a decision to pay off all my credit card debt first, followed by a surprise letter form the IRS that says I didn't pay enough in taxes on my book royalties in 2012.  I may have also screwed up the taxes 2013, which is why next year I'm totally going to hire a professional to do them for me.  This is the one downside to making a livable income from my books on Amazon.  None of my monthly royalty checks have taxes taken out and apparently, despite following all the instruction that Turbo Tax gave me, I did something wrong when filling in the sections for those royalties.  So, now, I have an unexpected payment that needs to be made, one that followed on the heels of throwing several thousand dollars at my credit cards to wipe out the entire debt on one of them, which, needless to say came at a very VERY bad time.  Oh, I also may need to buy a new car since the emissions place is unable to read the emissions from my car due to the computer within being broken, one that will be really hard to replace given that I drive a Saturn.

. . . sigh . . .  

Anyway! As some of you may know, I've been working on a novel titled BLIND EYE (formally mentioned as FORBIDDEN FRUIT), that I had originally thought would be completed earlier this spring.  Instead, things took an unexpected turn in complexity, which has resulted in the novel reaching the 700 page mark this week with probably 100 - 150 pages still to go.  I also got blocked a bit while writing this one, which is rare for me, and made it so I spent about four weeks without really getting anywhere.  What can I say, it happens to the best of us, right?  Now, thankfully, the novel is moving along nicely, and, barring any unforeseen issues, should be finished by next weekend.  Of course, then, the real work begins as the editing phase is entered.  Once that is completed I plan on hiring a professional to format both the ebook and print versions of the novel this time around since I feel my skills in working with the code for ebooks, and laying out things for the print editions, are not quite where they need to be.  Depending on the results and how happy I am with the service I plan to use, I will then have them tackle my back list.  This isn't to say my books look bad, I just feel that they are a bit plain when compared to the titles I see my fellow authors releasing, and would like it if mine were on par with the style I see within theirs.

Now, one area that I do feel I have improved quite a bit with when it comes to book presentation is in designing covers for my work -- so much so that I will actually be using my own for the next several releases rather than the artists I typically use.  Below are three covers I did this month that I think are going to work nicely.  The first one I created is for the upcoming BLIND EYE, the second for STRANDED, which is a short novel I wrote while in college (will need a bit of work before being released, especially in updating the technology people use when storm chasing), and the third is for THE PAIN GAME, which is a novel I began in 2009, but hit a wall that I could not break through around the three hundred page mark.  While writing BLIND EYE, I realized what it was that had made THE PAIN GAME impossible to finish, that being the need for the Stacy Collins character.  So, once I finish BLIND EYE, I will be able to finish THE PAIN GAME.  After that, though I haven't started creating a cover for it since I'm unsure of what the title will actually be, is a novel that I've been tentatively calling THE MISSING KEY.
  

In addition to the above work, I've been toying with the idea of polishing up some of the screenplays I found at my parents house that I wrote as a high school student, ones that Hollywood showed interest in back in 2001, but ultimately passed on buying.  Now, with a few tweaks and a little more insight in how the movie world works, I think I could certainly find a home for those screenplays.  First things first, however, I want to get the novels I've been working on out there so that my readers can finally have something new to sink their teeth in to.

I'm also looking forward to seeing the German edition of JIMMY, which I should the rights for last year, which should be released in the near future.  More to come on that.   


Sunday, May 25, 2014

That Was Unexpected - Totally Creeped Out While Reading THE INVASION OF THE BODY SNATCHERS by Jack Finney


It doesn't happen often, but when it does it always catches me off guard and leaves me a bit shaken -- not in a bad 'I never want to experience that again' way, but still, shaken nonetheless.  Last night was a perfect example of this.  I was upstairs in the family room, alone, drinking tea, my cat Toby on my lap, reading the first 100 pages of THE INVASION OF THE BODY SNATCHERS when, without warning, a serious chill slithered down my spine and into my bowels.  The chill was produced by the initial discovery of one of bodies that had grown from the seed pods, a moment, while expected given my familiarity with the story, still managed to produced an element of fear within me.  The pen wielding skill of Jack Finney was a large part of this, the way he portrayed the moment through the eyes of Dr. Miles Bennell, as well as the subsequent discoveries of other seed pod bodies that had been planted within his own home for their group.  The other part was the sudden onset of memories from watching the 1978 remake followed by the original film adaptions.  Boy, did those movies freak me out when I was a kid; so much so that I have yet to watch them since.  Reading the book . . . well . . . many of those memories and terror emotions flooded back, and, when mixed with the writing ability of Jack Finney, totally did a number upon my mind and body, one that I would love to experience again.  Being terrified while in a safe setting . . . nothing can match the experience.  It is fantastic, and, hopefully, will happen again this evening as I finish the second half of the book, and then, if not too tired, pop in the DVD of the 1978 remake.      



Friday, May 23, 2014

Next Up On My Reading List - THE INVASION OF THE BODY SNATCHERS by Jack Finney


Many years ago, back when I was a young lad in grade school, my grandmother gave me a copy of one of her all time favorite movies: THE INVASION OF THE BODY SNATCHERS.  Little did she know, she had accidentally given me the 1978 remake rather than the 1956 version.  Watching the remake, I was completely terrified by what was unfolding and then, as the ending drew near, shocked by the frontal nudity as one of the female pod people walked around without any clothes on.  Later, once my grandmother found out about her mistake, she found me a copy of the black and white original, which also scared the shit out of me, though not to the extent that the 1978 version did.  In fact, the 1978 version startled me so much that I haven't watched it since, though I do aim too at some point in the near future.  First things first, however, I want to read the book, the passage of time between my viewings of the two movies having been long enough that, even if incredibly similar in terms of story, it should present quite a few surprises.  Plus, I always love reading books that have become movie hits, especially if the movies have reached the point of overshadowing the books.  Sometimes, there is good reason for this overshadowing because the books are kind of meh (JAWS and DIE HARD come to mind), but other times they are just as good, if not better, than the movies (THE EXORCIST being the best example of this in my mind).

Anyone else out there read THE INVASION OF THE BODY SNATCHERS or any Jack Finney titles?  If so, did you enjoy them?        

Sunday, May 18, 2014

The TEXT MESSAGE Movie Poster - Help Make the Movie a Reality


Ever since its release two years ago, readers have been telling me that my novel TEXT MESSAGE would make a fantastic movie.  In fact, many sent emails asking why I didn't make it a movie myself.  The reason for this is simple, authors don't really make novels into movies; instead, they sell the movie rights to interested parties who then take the necessary steps into making it into a movie.  Hearing this, many asked me why I hadn't sold the rights.  Another simple answer; though there has been inquiries on the movie rights, no one has ever gone as far as to make an offer, and, without an official offer, I can't really make a sale.  With that explanation, I often encouraged my readers to spread the word on how much they would enjoy seeing this as a movie, something which might help in getting such an offer for the movie rights sent my way.  After all, if a studio knows there is interest, they are more likely to green-light a project.

Last March, thinking it might help in spreading word of their interest, I commissioned an artist to make a movie poster for TEXT MESSAGE, a draft of which was sent to me during the final week of March.  Seeing that, and realizing I didn't have any ideas on what that year's April Fool's Joke would be, I asked the artist to quickly make a version with the In Theaters - April 2015 line, so that I could post the image on Facebook and my website as a joke.  Little did I know, nearly two months later, I would still be getting emails from readers expressing joy and excitement that a movie was coming out, one that they were really REALLY looking forward too.  Because of this, I do feel bad about the joke, yet also am encouraged by the sheer volume of interest from readers that has been shown in the possibility of TEXT MESSAGE being a movie; interest that I do feel could be channeled into helping make the movie a reality if enough people help spread the word.  To do this, I shamelessly suggest readers share the above movie poster with a statement encouraging their friends to do the same.  Let everyone know you would really like to see TEXT MESSAGE turned into a movie.  Such sharing, if done correctly, would be the quickest way in making the TEXT MESSAGE movie a reality.          

Saturday, May 17, 2014

Anyone Else Out There Still Renting Videos From Video Stores?


I am.  Every weekend from President Video.  It is a fantastic rental store, one that seems to carry just about every DVD ever produced.  Okay, that's a stretch, but it really does have an amazing selection, one that puts the old giant chain stores like Blockbuster to shame.  In fact, it was the lack of a selection with the old chain stores that ended my weekly trips to such places all those years ago.  Sure, they always had new releases (conveniently priced at about what it would cost to buy the DVD), yet never had anything good in the genre sections.  It was ridiculous, and, in my opinion, one of the biggest factors that led to the company's downfall.  The same was true with the giant chain bookstores like Borders.  They never stocked much.  Walking through the horror section would give the impression that only five to six authors were producing such work, which, eventually, led horror fans like me to seek out our reading material elsewhere.

Fortunately, the demise of the giant chain stores seems to have provided an opportunity for independent stores like President Video, which, as noted above, I visit every weekend, often with my brother who comes over for a movie night.  Adding to the fun, there are two different pizza places on either side of President Video, so, depending on what type of pizza we want, we will walk over to one, place an order for pickup, walk over to the video store, select our rental, and then, when ready, go grab our pizza and head home.  It's great.  Best of all, we never know what we are going to get, and often leave the store with a movie we know very little about.  Occasionally, this produces a dud; more often than not, we really enjoy what we have selected, the previously unknown title making us realize that there is a huge volume of movies we have yet to see, ones that we would never have found in the previous chain stores given that they only wanted to stock crummy remakes and torture porn in their horror sections.  Finding such previously unknown titles online was also unlikely, not because they weren't available, but because it is difficult to browse for something online when you don't have a title (or partial title) in mind.  Scrolling through the site selections is nothing like walking along a well stocked shelf.  Why this is so, I don't know, but after doing it for several years, it just isn't.  Going to a video store is my preference.

So, do any of you have a local video store that you visit, and, if so, do they provide you with a great selection that puts to shame the old chain stores that used to dominant the land?  I'd love to hear about it if you do so please, don't be shy.  

Thursday, May 15, 2014

Dear Spammers . . .



My filters work really well.  Not a single one of these comments made it onto my page this morning.  Feel free to keep trying, though, honestly, it is a wasted effort.  After all, the links are never enticing to me, even the ones that claim to have a book by then next Stephen King, and if one does get through, I will simply delete if before it can temp my readers, so . . .