Monday, September 27, 2010

Thanks everybody... you made my month!

What started out as a very slow month of sales for my book of short stories, IN DECLINE, has now turned into one of my best months.  As of today, I have sold 8 copies this month--and one of them was a UK sale!

I think I might be at around 17 copies, in total since the book went live in July.

I know the number may sound small, but you have to understand that this is huge for a short story collection by an uknown author.  I've been told many times that it's hard to sell short story collections.  Unless you're Hemingway or Vonnegut, people tend to stay away from them.

I got a big boost in sales thanks to some great people over at the Amazon forums.  You guys rock!

Overall, I just want to thank everybody for all of the support.  You have no idea what it means to me.  I'm always trying to grow as a writer and I know that my writing is not for everybody, but I really do appreciate all of the support.  Thanks everybody!

P.S.  I did finally get around to getting a Black Bear hamster.  Her name is Gir and she's adorable.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Are we having fun?

There is a simple rule I have when I’m writing a piece.  While writing it, I must be having fun.

To me, writing is fun.  Sure, it’s a lot of hard work and there are times where it can seem a bit stressful, but overall writing is fun.  I love to create characters, places and worlds.  Even the depressing stories I write sometimes, I was always having fun at some point.  This is important to me, because this is how I know what I’m writing is working.

I had a professor at Columbia who taught Suspense/Thriller.  While I don’t really plan on writing too many of those, it was great to learn about the craft.  But the thing that made me sad about taking the course was that the professor treated writing like a business.  I didn’t get any sense that she actually enjoyed herself while writing books.  It was a paycheck to her.  While I can understand that people have to make a living off of their works, it makes me sad to think that any writer is not enjoying him or herself during the process.

Over my many years of writing, I have written a lot of stories.  The older ones that I look at now were really awful.  But you know what?  I can hold them up proudly and say, “Yes, my writing’s a hell of a lot better now than way back when… but I had fun writing it, dammit!”

And that’s what it should always be about.  Having fun.  The day I stop writing for good is the day that I no longer find it fun.  Because if I end up writing a story when I’m not enjoying myself, I know it’s going to be a shitty story.

Monday, September 20, 2010

33 A.D. : A Review

Well, seeing that my review for David McAfee's 33 A.D. hasn't shown up on Amazon yet, I figured I would post it on here.  I think because I said "Jesus" in it a few times, it might've sent some red flags.  Those who are familiar with reviewing on Amazon, your reviews usually show up instantly unless there are some "trigger" words.  That doesn't mean the review won't show up.  It just means that most likely somebody at Amazon has to look through it to make sure there's nothing bad in it.

So, here's my review.  I gave the book 5 stars:

“33 A.D.” by David McAfee is one of the most original and inventive novels I’ve read in a long time.  While I’m not big on vampires, I’ve been known to enjoy the occasional vampire flick.  I was really interested with the premise of “33 A.D.” and when I began reading it, I knew there was no turning back.  Within only a short amount of time, I was already invested with the story and the characters.

The story takes place in Jerusalem.  The vampire race is fearful when they learn that a rabbi by the name of Jesus knows of their existence.  This has come to be because one of their own has betrayed them and told Jesus and possibly even his followers their secrets.  It’s unavoidable.  Jesus will have to be dealt with.  An assassin vampire, Theron, is sent to deal with the problem but when he’s forced to improvise, he comes up with a brilliant scheme on how to turn the people against the rabbi.  If the man is seen as a traitor or a false prophet, he will most definitely be executed.  Theron believes that once the rabbi is dead, the people’s faith in the rabbi will diminish and the vampire race will once again be safe.  After all, how valuable can Jesus be after he’s dead?

After reading only the first few pages, I knew that I was in the hands of a very talented a gifted writer.  McAfee knows his craft well, and while others might be more inclined to have the book be an action-packed bloodbath, McAfee takes a great deal of time and care with the story and his characters.  There are some stunning moments of action, but you’re never overwhelmed by it.  The book is about something a lot more interesting than a simple vampire tale.  It goes to show how easy it is to be deceived and manipulated by anger and fear, as you will learn when you read it.

Writing anything about Jesus these days is always a risk.  Some might be put off by the idea and think it’s already sacrilegious before even reading word one in the book.  I found it to be nothing of the sort.  Jesus is handled with great care and the story is meant to be presented as an alternate history.  One of the most stunning pieces of writing in this book is the scene where Theron talks to Jesus for the first time.  It’s one of the best scenes in fiction I have read in a long time.

“33 A.D.” is a triumph for McAfee.  It’s a great thriller that also takes time to establish its characters.  Even the bad guys don’t come off as flat in this.  Everybody in this book, vampire or not, believes that they are doing what is right.  While it is a very bloody and violent story, the violence is never gratuitous or there only for shock purposes.  Even if you’re not big into vampires, I still say give this wonderful read a chance.  It’s a dark and unforgiving journey that you will never forget.  Conspiracies and vampires, oh my!  Grade A material all the way!

You can purchase your copy of David McAfee's 33 A.D. by clicking here

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Figured out my new pet, and writing shenanigans

Yikes, haven't written a post on here for a while.  Better not make that a habit.  Well, it was another sad weekend because I had to put my other hamster down.  As sad as it was, I was relieved that I was able to catch this one on time and get her in before she was suffering too much.  You will be missed, Bitey!  Miss both of you girls.

Now, for the good news.  2 bits of good news.  1:  My girlfriend and I got a new kitten.  We named him Bubbles, after a character we love from THE WIRE.  He's adorable.  He's a Highland Lynx (if that's how you spell it).

The second bit of good news is I've decided I wanted another hamster.  This time, I'll be getting a Black Bear hamster.  I was doing some research online and I found out that they are the most friendly.  We went to the pet store yesterday just to make sure, and yep, they are!  They let you hold them for the most part and they don't bite.  They may give you a little nibble, but that's nothing compared to what Bitey would do to you.  Yeah... she would actually draw blood.  As cute as dwarf hamsters are, they don't like to be held.  So, that's why I think a Black Bear hamster is for me.

On the writing front, still going strong with GOODMAN'S BAD DAY.  I've found the emotional core of it.  Even though I always had an idea when I started this years ago, I only touched on it a little.  Now, the story has become something more.  While it is a very goofy story, it now has a bit of seriousness to it.  It no longer feels like it is only an absurd and goofy tale.  I'm really excited about the progress I'm making.

Other news, IN DECLINE is now only $1.75.  Sales are slow, so I'm hoping a bit of a price change will fix that.

That's all for now.  My family and I are going to WI this weekend.  Looking forward to it.  That's the only reason why I didn't pick up the hamster yet!  When I get back, I will have a new furry friend.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Why I Write

This is a question that’s always asked of writers: Why do you write?

When I was little, I was a lover of movies (still am) and I always thought that I would make movies when I grew up. Then, I read my first chapter book in grade school and when I realized it was like a movie playing in my head, I realized that’s what I wanted to do. What I loved about movies so much were the stories. The characters. The conflicts. And so on.

I’ve been writing ever since I was little. I love to tell stories. I love creating characters and places. I like to present problems and see how my characters react to them. It doesn’t matter how ordinary that problem may be, every character reacts differently to them. It’s exciting, especially when a character or a story points me to a different direction than I was expecting.

Writing for me is a creative outlet, too. I don’t know where I would be if I didn’t have writing. And quite honestly, I don’t even want to think about it. Writing has been there for me during very dark times. It was my way to vent and deal with life at times. If something really angered me, I’d write about it. Same goes for if something made me sad.

I feel bad for those who aren’t as lucky to have an outlet like that. It really can be a lifesaver. And I know I am a writer, regardless of how many books or stories I may have out there or how much money I make from it.

I am a writer because even if nobody read my works, I’d still write. Because I love it, and I always will.

Sunday, September 5, 2010

I blame Darkwing Duck and Chip 'N Dale Rescue Rangers...

...for not getting any writing done today.  That's right, I did nothing but watch Darkwing Duck and Chip 'N Dale Rescue Rangers all day long.  Oh well, what can you do?  It is Labor Day weekend, after all.  Even us writers need breaks every now and then!

Good news... Showdown at SunnyView Playground (a short-short) has over 40 views/downloads since yesterday.  Pretty impressive!  Hope people like it.  It's much more different from what I usually write, but that's a good thing.  You're supposed to try new things out as a writer.  Very happy with the exposure my stories are getting at Smashwords.  Glad I found out about them!

Happy Labor Day, everybody!  For once, you don't have to fear Monday...

Saturday, September 4, 2010

The showdown has begun...

I'm happy to report that my new short-short, Showdown at SunnyView Playground is finally published on  I hope you all enjoy the story.  It's different from what I usually write, but it was a lot of fun.  I like trying to see if I can come up with a full story with a limited amount of words.

Check it out and enjoy!
Showdown at SunnyView Playground (on Smashwords)

Friday, September 3, 2010


Okay, I could've been a little more mature with the title of this blog, but screw it!  I'm very happy to report that when I came home today, I found out that I made my very first sale in the UK.  That's right.  Somebody from the UK has purchased their own copy of IN DECLINE.

It's such a great feeling... to have somebody in another country read your work.  No matter what they may think of the book in the end, this is happy news!  I've gone international.  Who would've thunk it?

Independent publishing does work.  Somebody in the UK is now reading my book (hopefully!).  This wouldn't have happened had I continued to play the waiting game.

IN DECLINE (on Amazon UK)

Showdown at SunnyView Playground: Yeah, it's about to go down!

I've decided to publish my short-short, Showdown at SunnyView Playground on Smashwords sometime this weekend.  I already have the cover picked out and just have to work on it when I get home.  Makes me happy that I have another story I can put up for free to hopefully get the word out on my writing.  I'm very happy with the responses my other two stories have gotten on there, so I figure why not?

This is a story that I originally wanted to be included with IN DECLINE, but felt it didn't belong.  It's much more on the lighter side.  Not that everything in that short story collection has to be gloom and doom (even though I joke about it like that), but the story didn't feel like it went well with the others.

How this story came about was there was a contest for some magazine where you write a short-short, and it had to start with the phrase, “There are three ways I can win this fight.”  Sadly, mine didn't win, but it was a fun experience and I feel that I was able to pull off a pretty fun story because of it.

I'm proud of this story because I feel that short-shorts are extremely difficult to pull off.  If you're able to tell a successful story with using only so many words, you should be proud!

Expect the story sometime this weekend, if not sooner.  Not sure how people will react to it, but that's never stopped me in the past.  I already accepted long ago that my writing is not for everybody.  There will be people who won't like it... but I also believe there will be some who do.

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Catch-Up at Work

Sadly, since I took a few days off of work last week, I had to play catch-up all week long.  This means that I haven't had time to focus on my writing.  I like to write during my breaks at work because I feel like that's when I'm at my most productive.  It's very hard to keep focus when I'm at home.  Too many distractions.  I'm sure you can relate.  So, this hasn't been the best week of writing for me.

But I still remain positive about my writing.  My novel that I'm working on is going along smoothly, and I also have a short story that I have write a second draft for.  Busy, busy, busy!

It sucks knowing that I haven't done much with my writing this week, but we have a three day weekend coming up.  I will have to devote some of my time to writing, even if I'm home.