Update Update Update…Update

If you couldn’t tell from the title, this is an update. A bunch of cool writing stuff happened in the past few days.

My short story “Skully” is now in the anthology Twisted Tales: 15 Literary Lies and Epic Yarns, published by Readers Circle of Avenue Park I’m in very talented and established company here, and I’m tickled magenta…which is even more tickled than pink.

You can buy it on Amazon for $2.99, or you can get it for FREE by joining their mailing list here

.twisted tales

Continue reading

Learning WordPress, the hard way

As I mentioned before, I’m trying to upgrade and add more content to my site. It’s great to blog about geeky stuff and such, but I want to add additional resources for my books. They’re great big worlds that overflow the books.

I want to create wiki-like pages for Song of Simon and for Watchmage, something where readers can click on a table of contents and it’ll bring them to the right topic. Unfortunately, I don’t know how to do tabs. If I can’t figure it out, I suppose I can do each article as a blog post, and then link to the page. It won’t be as elegant, but I’m not an elegant guy

I’m also designing some SoS and Watchmage ads for Twitter. I have absolutely no skill with this. I feel like a teenage boy fumbling to get off a bra…I still have trouble with that, but that’s another story.

Damn you bras!!!!

I’m trying to make something like this (below) but better. I’m really impressed at the skill some of these people have with their ads. Maybe with practice I won’t look like a tool too.

SoS Practice Ad 1

I don’t know why it came out so small. Canva said that it would be bigger…phrasing

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, 2014, it remains one of the most popular serials on JukePop OF ALL TIME!

Under Deconstruction

With The Watchmage of Old New York (the novel, not the serial) coming out soon, it looks like I have to do another revamp of my webpage. I would like to add additional source material for my novels. The hard part is motivating myself to do it.

ba8b3-dog-meme-no-idea

Because both novels are fantasy, there’s so much to add. So far I’ve been doing it obliquely with my articles on Music History and NYC History. That’s great, but it’s not enough.

So what would you like to see as far as source history goes? For Watchmage, I can do stuff about the Dweller races and magic in general, but a lot of it also crosses into my NYC History articles. Do I get more specific about some things? I know that my piece on mid-century slang is a must.

For Song of Simon, I should probably do a character appendix. It’s an expansive book, and sometimes it’s hard for the reader to remember all the characters. I can also do stuff about specific regions, the gods, and the elemental races (Grugach, Ghillie Dhu, etc).

But for today, I’ll blog and rearrange some stuff. Maybe I’ll put up a new Music History article…maybe.

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, 2014, it remains one of the most popular serials on JukePop OF ALL TIME!

FREE BOOKS! Goodreads Giveaway

Craig with book and dog head

Hey everyone, my Goodreads Giveaway is almost over. Hurry and enter, you can win a signed copy of my dark fantasy novel SONG OF SIMON (Damnation Books 2013). It’s a great read, and any fan of high or classic fantasy will love it. Trust me, would I lie about the quality of my own book?–I mean…enter anyway.

Seriously, it’s a good book.
You’d like it.
I mean it.
Yes, you.
You too.
Yep.
Ye.

songofsimon
doge in space card redux

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!

Why I’m Choosing to Self Publish

After months of contemplation, I decided to self-publish my historical-fantasy series, The Watchmage of Old New York. This is a huge sea change for me. My first novel, Song of Simon, was published by Damnation Books. It’s always been my dream to be a published novelist, and I’ve been very resistant to self publishing. But a wise man isn’t afraid to rethink his views, and I’ve come around. I’ll explain more below.

Some of you know Watchmage from JukePop Serials, where it was and is one of the most popular serials on the site. This is completely different…well, not completely, but not the same.

What I am planning is to take each story arc from the serial (there are three) and expand each one into it’s own novel, complete with added subplots and new characters. The first story arc in the serial was 90 pages. The novelized version is 275 pages. So it’s not the same old story, rather a retelling and expansion.

I’m almost done with the first draft of the second novel, and I’m aiming for an April or May launch for the first one.

But there’s so much shiny…

Why I Switched to Self-Publishing

I’m not a “do it yourself” kind of guy. The idea of having to create (or hire people to do) every aspect of a novel is intimidating. I only know two things: writing, and teaching writing.

So why am I switching? Creative Control. I realized that there’s nothing a publisher can do (outside of the Big Six) that I can’t do on my own. I can hire an editor, layout artist, cover artist, etc. It’s a big financial investment, but it allows me to be master of my own destiny. Damnation Books has been good to me (don’t believe the negative hype. It’s not a favorable contract, but they aren’t scam artists, and they produce excellent fiction), but I’m not willing to sign a long term contract for a series. Since Watchmage isn’t appropriate for DB anyway, I’d have to find a new publisher.

Traditional publishing and self publishing are both headaches. The traditional route offers free editing, layout, and cover art. Great, but you lose control over those aspects, along with pricing. You also have to wait a long time, as many publishers don’t accept simultaneous submissions. The submission process kills me. I’m tired of waiting.

Self publishing gives you more power, but with great power comes great responsibility. If you mess up, you have no one to blame. And there are plenty of places to mess up. With such a heavy financial investment, there’s a lot on the line. There’s also a lack of gravitas with self publishing, though this is starting to fade.

I will never disagree with Neil Gaiman

I suppose the real reason I resisted is because of my own ego. I started writing professionally about 15 years ago. There was no self publishing beyond Xerox copies stapled together. There was barely an Internet. The dream was to sign on with a publisher, and that’s the dream I stuck with. I achieved that dream, but it wasn’t as sweet as I expected. There’s no marketing from small publishers beyond the first few months, and even the Big Six only market the books that people show interest in. Either way, the author has to do most of the promotion. If I have to do the heavy lifting, I’m gonna keep all the control.

Yeah, I’m terrified. This is a huge endeavor, and it would be so much easier to just lay back and let a publisher do all the work. It’s still very tempting, and if Tor or Del Rey sent me a letter right now that they wanted to look at a draft, I’d send it out right away. But that’s not going to happen.

I’m already a published author, so my fragile ego and desperate need for approval is intact. Times change and dreams change. So can I.

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).

Real Life Alignment: A Pointless Voyage Into Good and Evil

I decided to take some time off of my shameless plugging in order to discuss something that is often, if not always, on my mind.

I am a nice person. I am always polite to people. I hold doors open. I compliment people for no other reason than to make them feel good. But am I a good person? There’s a difference, and being nice does not necessarily equate to being good.

I’m not saying that I am a bad person. I don’t think that there are many truly bad people in the world. There’s a current book out whose name I can’t remember. It says that one out of twenty people, 5% of the population, are sociopathic. They have no ability to feel empathy, or to act in any way other than for their own benefit. We all know at least one sociopath (I happen to know several). Not all of them are criminals or even noticeable in their sociopathy, but all of them are incurably selfish.

We are all selfish at one time or another, but that doesn’t make the person “bad.” Being selfish all of the time–being unable to be anything but selfish–that’s bad. Of course, there are other kinds of evil too. There are many normal people out there that have explosive tempers, or purposefully hurt someone to fill a need inside of them. I think these are learned traits, though, and different from sociopathic behavior. They’re just assholes.

I play a lot of roleplaying games. In D & D, they have something called “Alignment.” This is where you decide your character’s world view on an ethical (law vs chaos) and moral (good vs evil) scale. When I was younger, I used to argue with my DM that people were inherently good, and it was ethics that were variable. He countered that most people are neutral: they care about family and friends, maybe even the greater world around them, but they do little to help anyone outside their immediate circle.

I was an idealist. I am not anymore. I think that my DM is right. You can be a nice person, but unless you are taking an active stance towards improving the world, you are neutral. “Good” is reserved for heroism in RPGs, and in a lesser sense, in real life.

Because I’m a writer, and especially because I write speculative fiction, I am constantly grappling with the nature of good and evil. Song of Simon, for example. Simon begins as a “nice guy,” but an ordinary guy. He has fears, he has moments of selfishness. He makes bad decisions that come back to haunt him. Yet the novel is about him growing from a “nice person” into a “good person,” a person that will take a stand to defend what is right.

There are other characters in Song of Simon that are not quite so heroic. And there are those that appear heroic, but have done (and do) horrible things. I tried to show the variability of what is good and what is evil. Good and evil isn’t black and white. It isn’t even shades of gray. Good and evil is every color in the rainbow and every shade therein. It’s alizarin crimson and yellow ochre. It’s midnight blue and aquamarine. There are no simple answers to be found.

As for me, I’m going to make a change. I’m tired of just being a nice person. I want to be a good person. I want to help, and I’m gonna find some way to do it.

Interview for examiner.com and a short excerpt

I’m a starting what the hep, hep, people call a “blog tour” to promote Song of Simon. My first interview was with Casey Harvell, the NY Books examiner for Examiner.com. You’ll have to forgive the formatting (examiner can be weird to format sometimes, I know from experience). Here is an excerpt:

Please welcome author Craig Sanders! C.A.Sanders is a writer of both fiction and non-fiction. His short fiction has been published in many magazines–both electronic and print–over the past 10 years. His stories span genres from literary and humor to fantasy/sci and horror. His first novel,Song of Simon, is set for release on Sept. 1st, 2013. His serial, The Watchmage of Old New York, is currently available with FREE registration at jukepopserials.com

Tell us a little bit about yourself:

That’s a tough question, I know so much stuff about myself, but not necessarily stuff I want other people to know. I’m thirty-six, a former special ed teacher, now writing full time. While I did like working special ed, it’s a very stressful, physically demanding, and occasionally messy, job. I grew up in the Bronx and then Rockland County, NY, and non-New York accents hurt my ears.

This is not something that I usually confess, but I have Bi-polar Syndrome. I take my medicine and have it under control, but it’s such a large aspect of my life that I feel it is important to share. I think that being set apart from “normal” people by this disease helps me to write from a more objective perspective. It’s up to the reader to judge if this is a good thing.

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I go on to discuss SoS and Watchmage, along with favorites, motivation, and some of the little quirks that make me the crazy bastard that I am.