Holy Shnikes! A 99 Cent Book Sale!

Tomorrow is Indie Authors’ Day, and I am giving a presentation and workshop at a library upstate. To celebrate, I reduced the price of The Watchmage of Old New York to 99 cents! That’s 75% percent off! This is only for a few days, so if you like Historical Fantasy with complex characters, historical accuracy combined with a fantasy world woven into it, and a heavy dose of whimsy. You want this book.

Also, if you like my blog and want to support me, 99 cents is a good way to do so.

And if you’ve read it, please leave a review and tell your friends about it. Writers survive on your support alone.

Watchmage black

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FREE GIVEAWAY!!!

You heard me right. I’m diving into the Goodreads swamp and offering TWO, yes two, neither one nor three (five is right out), signed paperback copies of SONG OF SIMON. Since this is a book that sells for $23.50, it’s a pretty good deal. Not to mention that it’s a helluva read.

Here’s the link for it. Enter now. Tell your friends. The more entrants I get, the better.

songofsimon

In addition, I’m holding a giveaway on this very website. Not only am I giving away two copies here, but the winners will also receive copies of the anthology Twisted Love, filled with stories of romance gone horribly wrong. My short story “If You Leave Me,” is in there.

If you are interested in this giveaway, just comment below, or on the official giveaway page.

twisted love

You can enter both the Goodreads and my personal one. I suggest both, as it doubles your chances.

Feel free to reblog this. Again, the more entrants, the more likely that I will do this again.

excited space cat

Like my posts? Follow my website or “Like” my facebook fan page and/or follow me on Twitter. You can also purchase my debut novel, Song of Simon, at any online bookstore or a real one (they both exist). Song of Simon currently has a 4.7/5.0 rating on Amazon, so it’s pretty damn good. If you’re looking for something FREE, you can read my serial (soon to be an expanded series of novels) The Watchmage of Old New York. Though it ended in February, it remains one of the most popular serials on JukePop OF ALL TIME!

Better Writing Through D&D

Dungeons & Dragons turned 40 this year. Since its beginnings, over 20 million people have rolled a 20-sided die and failed their damn Saving Throw. I’m not sure if D&D was the first RPG, but it’s certainly the best known and most popular. It survived horrible mismanagement and many different editions (let’s never mention 4th Edition i.e. tabletop WoW), but it still remains my favorite hobby and the primary influence on my writing skills.

Do you find it weird that I credit D&D for helping me write well? Then you’ve never played.

Still Life With RPGs

It’s hard to remember exactly where I was first exposed to D&D. I suspect that it was the old cartoon, which holds up surprisingly well today. It might have been the board game Dungeon, which was so much fun. I wish I still had it.

I do remember the first time I played. It was 4th grade. I recently moved from the Bronx to Rockland County, a suburb of New York City. I was without friends and completely out of my element. I broke my collarbone just before school started, so while everyone else was at recess, I had to sit with the teachers. It was not a good way to make friends.

A kid named Marc was just as unpopular as me, but he has this really cool game. You got to make up a character and go on adventures and stuff. It was all in your imagination, and it was fun. I was instantly hooked.

And we need more Mountain Dew!!!

In high school, I found more gamers, and people got worried. I went to a special school for the “bad kids” and there were already rumors about how D&D made you worship the devil (assholes like Jack Chick didn’t help). I met a crazy bastard named Kevin there, and he got me back into the game. We used to play at lunch until the school banned the game. Fucking bullshit!

btw: Kevin is still a crazy bastard, but I love him like a brother. You better read this fucking article, man!

In college, I found the group that I still play with today. The game became less about smashing shit and more about character development. The world we play in, Aquerra, a creation of my (often referenced) friend Osvaldo, was rich in detail and complexity and like nothing I’ve experienced before. Even better, every character we created and adventure we went on added layers of detail to the already laden world. Aquerra is also where the term Watchmage comes from, though my version and Osvaldo’s have little in common.

Not only have these gamers become my closest friends, they are also very talented roleplayers and world builders. I consider them my mentors as I developed my own writing skills.

D&D: Writing Class With Mountain Dew

Every writer should play roleplaying games.  I don’t mean video games like WoW or Skyrim, I mean the good, uncut stuff: Dungeons & Dragons, World of Darkness, Champions…but mostly D&D.

I’m not the only writer that feels that way. Jon Favreau also credits D&D for honing his skills, and several creative types like George RR Martin, R.A. Salvatore, Stephen Colbert and Robin Williams were also players.

Role playing games teach you how to build a character the only true way: by becoming him. If you want to write a convincing character, you have to climb into his skin. Learn to think like him, act like him. Have him interact with other characters, before you actually start your story. You have to treat him like a real person. Only then will you know his heart.

DMing will make you a master world builder. For RPGs, you have to build a world for your PCs and NPCs to live in. If you can building a massive campaign setting for a game, you can build one for a story.

Running adventures teaches you about plot, pacing, and when to increase or decrease tension (an article from me about pacing is coming next week). With experience you learn when to ratchet up the drama, and when to ease up. You learn plot points, and if you really analyze it, you learn the Hero’s Journey.

Embrace Your Inner (and Outer) Geek

When I was young, playing D&D made you an outcast. I already had serious issues with bullies (ironic since I was so much bigger than everyone), so I hid my hobby. I played in basements with other outcasts like me. We were united in our game, and united in our persecution. But god forbid someone found out.

We’re in a geek renaissance right now, and it’s a beautiful thing. People love comics and scifi/fantasy. You don’t have to be embarrassed of your Star Wars toy collection anymore. Yet for some reason, D&D still gets mocked.

The horror…the horror…

Enough of this! OUT OF THE BASEMENTS AND INTO THE STREETS!

Ok, maybe I shouldn’t equate this to the gay rights movement, but until D&D is as accepted as other geek hobbies, no geek is free.

I think we need a sponsor…maybe Mountain Dew.

Like my posts? Follow my website or “Like” my facebook fan page and/or follow me on Twitter. You can also purchase my debut novel, Song of Simon, at any online bookstore or a real one (they both exist). Song of Simon currently has a 4.8/5.0 rating on Amazon, so it’s pretty damn good. If you’re looking for something FREE, you can read my serial (soon to be an expanded series of novels) The Watchmage of Old New York. Though it ended in February, it remains one of the most popular serials on JukePop OF ALL TIME!

5 Myths About The Writing Business

Here is a great article by Chuck Sambuchino titled “5 Mistakes Writers Make (and How To Avoid Them).” The title is a bit of a “bait and switch,” as it’s about the business instead of the craft. Still, it’s something that all writers–indie or traditional–should read.

Its main thrust: YOU GOTTA HUSTLE

It took me a while before I realized this. With the help of my publisher, Damnation Books, we were able to craft an extraordinary novel in Song of Simon. The support I received from them has been excellent. I foolishly believed that the book would sell by itself. That’s far from the truth.

The problem is that there are millions of books out there, and unless you do something to stand out, you’ll disappear. I’ve tried a bunch of promo techniques in the past. What I’ve realized is that if you write about stuff you love, people that love the same will join you (that’s you guys). I love writing about geeky stuff. I assume that you love reading about geeky stuff. I hope that some of you read my fiction, but I don’t get shameless about it.

If I’m going to do this, I’m going to have fun doing this. I’ll even get out my 20-sided dice.

Ooooh a dual Star Wars/D&D meme. Critical Hit!!!

Anyway, I’ll leave you to read the article (if you’d like). If you’d rather geek out with me, you can always contact me.

That reminds me: I have a blog about Dungeons and Dragons coming up sometime this week. D & D is my truest, sexiest love. Ok, not that sexy (it’s more anti-sexy), but I still love it.

Like my posts? Follow my website or “Like” my facebook fan page and/or follow me on Twitter. You can also purchase my debut novel, Song of Simon, at any online bookstore or a real one (they both exist).

Doesn’t Marketing and Promotion Suck?

The answer: It does.

I’ve been trying to improve SEO (search engine optimization) for the site. I added a few links to other writers, and they did the same for me. It’s made a huge difference so far in search engine clicks.

I hate promotions and marketing. I just want to write and let everything else take care of itself. That’s the main reason why I submitted to publishing houses instead of self published. I don’t have the inclination (or the money) to do all the little things a self-published book needs.

Despite the promotion that I get from Damnation Books (my publisher), I still have to do a lot on my own. I’m not good at it, but I found that exchanging links with other bloggers is very time-effective.

For no reason, here’s a cat meme.

I like how his tie matches his eyes. Snappy dresser.

So if you are a writer, contact me if you’d like a link on my site. I can’t promise that I’ll add everyone (i’d prefer speculative or literary fiction, check out the writers I’ve already linked to). The only thing I ask is that if I link you, link me back. Together, we can float above all the crap in this pond.

Also, if you don’t have a website, you should start one.

Go Team Writers.

Like my website? Join my Facebook fan page for more awesomeness (and silly memes). If you like dark fantasy, check out my debut novel Song of Simon. It has no memes, but lots of music references and dick jokes. According to the reviews, Simon is pretty cool. There’s also my FREE webserial, The Watchmage of Old New York, which is at JukePopSerials. You can also find me on Twitter, where I tweet about whatever I feel like (but mostly geeky stuff).

New Thor, New Captain America, and a Sinister Six Movie: Marvel and “Worthiness”

I’m a bit late to the party when it comes to the new Thor and Cap, but I have something to say about it. Both are about worthiness, and I think it’s something that needs to be explored. The Sinister Six movie, is about worthiness as well, but it a different manner. The idea of “worthiness” intrigues me, and it’s a theme I explore in Song of Simon, as well as other blog posts.

Thtop Being Thor About Thor

I’m sorry, I can’t stop using that Thor joke. It comes from a joke in Neil Gaiman’s Sandman, and I’m a big dumb animal that repeats everything he hears.

A lot of what I hear from the haters is that Thor can’t be a woman because he’s a man. The truth is that he’s not a man, he’s a god. Donald Blake (the traditional Thor) is merely a vessel that the god inhabits. When Blake touched Mjolnir, the hammer deemed him worthy and the essence of the god inhabited him. This is not to say that Blake is completely repressed, a la a D & D Magic Jar spell. Blake’s humanity tempers Thor’s arrogance and impulsiveness.

The Joker agrees.

It’s this counterweight that means that the vessel has to be worthy. It doesn’t have to be a man. It doesn’t have to be a human. It only has to be a moral mortal. There is no reason that a woman can’t be the vessel for Thor.

It makes me a little sad that people were more accepting of a frog Thor than a woman Thor. Verily.

The Falcon as the New Captain America

Right now, Steve Rogers (Cap) had the super serum sucked out of him. He aged 60 years in a few moments. Obviously, he’s not fit to fight in that manner, and someone else has to take up the shield.

I know a few people that might be worthy of it. Hawkeye comes to mind. He was trained by Rogers, and as an Avenger, understands the responsibility of the costume and shield. The cons are that he has his own series, and that he doesn’t have the moral stance to stand up to Iron Man’s and Thor’s crushing egos, not to mention an unhinged Hulk.

They could give it back to Bucky, but Bucky’s involved in some shady stuff right now.

They could give it to Spider-Man, but Spidey has a dozen of his own imprints.

When it comes down to it, there’s no better choice than Sam Wilson, The Falcon. Sam also trained under Rogers and is one of Rogers’ true confidantes and partners. He’s been Cap in the past for a short while. He has the moral background to be the counterpoint to Iron Man and Thor. He currently has no imprint, so he’s free from a writer’s standpoint.

Get ready for “Falcon Shield Punch” memes

Plus, how cool will a flying Captain America be?

It makes no difference that he’s black, enough that I almost forgot to put that in. He’s a symbol of the best America has to offer. That’s the only requirement to be Captain America.

Unfortunately, there’s a lot of racists (and sexists regarding Thor) that’ll flip out the way that they did when Peter Parker died and was replaced with Miles Morales. Their opinion doesn’t, and shouldn’t matter. Comics are about good and evil, and if you think that gender or race renders you ineligible, you don’t get comics or America.

The Sinister Six Movie: Redemption and Worthiness

Marvel just announced a Sinister Six movie. It’s due in November of 2016, and is supposed to be a redemption story of a sort. There’s no news beyond that, but I expect it to star guys like Doc Ock, Vulture, Rhino, and Mysterio. I’d rather not see Green Goblin in it, as there’s no redemption for him. Some other options are The Scorpion, Shocker, Kraven, and Sandman.

There are always villains that can be redeemed. Doc Ock has already been Spider-Man in the comics. Rhino is just a thug. Mysterio could easily turn his skills to do good. Vulture’s powers are kinda creepy, so I don’t know how they’d change him. Kraven lives for the hunt, which could make him a great hero.

Sinister, for now.

Spidey’s villains almost always have some sort of humanity within them. They aren’t a lost cause. I don’t mean that they’d be worthy of Mjolnir or Cap’s Shield, but not everyone can be a paladin.

I’m looking forward to these moves by Marvel. I think it’ll be an interesting few years ahead.

Motion + Lotion = Self Promotion?

I don’t enjoy promoting my work. I find it very embarrassing, and I fear that I annoy my friends with the constant Facebook posts and Tweets.  I don’t think that I am very good at it.  I am good at writing, and to be honest, that is all that I am good at (that, and cunnilingus…ask your mom).

So when I ask people to check out my serial “The Watchmage of Old New York” for free at Jukepop Serials, I am embarassed.  I am not a bold person and this is a problem, because if I can’t promote myself as a writer, I am bound to fail.  I don’t have anything else to fall back on, I have no useful skills.  If I fail, I am pretty much fucked.

I have the motion, but I don’t have the lotion.  I am not smooth.  I am ashamed.  I blush and I shake as I type when I ask people to VOTE for “Watchmage” (you can vote once for each chapter) and to share “Watchmage” with your friends through Twitter and Facebook posts.  When I brag that “Watchmage” is on the Editor’s Picks list, I only do so because it means that the story is one of the top serial on a website that only takes top serials.  I am proud, because I wrote a good story and I want people to enjoy it.

It’s only going to get harder when my novel comes out, and even harder than that when my second novel is done (1st draft should be done by April).

Fellow writers, I would love to hear how you got over the embarassment of self promotion.  Also, what techniques do you use to promote.  I think that I’ve gotten as much out of Facebook and Twitter as possible.  I started using TuesdaySerial, but I don’t know how much it has helped.

Readers, i would love to hear you opinions on self promotion. does it have a negative effect?  What can I do to improve my technique?  I want your feedback.  I want to not offend.