Sunday, March 24, 2013
Tuesday, March 19, 2013
Dan O'Brien is with us today. He has a blog called TheDanO'BrienProject that I really enjoy reading. He has been kind enough to feature me on there and I am now excited to feature him!
Please welcome author and editor Dan O'Brien as he talks about the future of independent publishing.
The Future of Independent Publishing
The digital craze that has grasped the minds of potential writers the world over appears to be something more nuanced, more original than at any other point in publishing history. That much is not in dispute. What is fascinating about such an idea, and all ideas that center on what publishing is going to do next, is something more foundational.
What do we mean when we say publishing?
Is there an entity to which we pay homage like the idols of the past (or present)? Or do we mean what is the normative trend in how writers publish their works at this given time? If it is the former, I hope that you can see through my thinly veiled sarcasm and see that it was meant as a jape. I imagine, if I am to correctly collect the collective consciousness of writers united, that we mean to work out the trend that currently afflicts how we seek out the publication of our stories––the great labors of love into which hours, day, weeks, and years are poured.
I see the future of our great collected endeavor doing what it has done since the inception of thought to print: it will continue. There is but a single constant in this vast universe and that is change. Independent publishing will change; hark, it has already changed from the black mark of POD and vanity publishing to something more promising––a participatory jungle of would-be writers swinging about on vines like Burroughs’ brilliant character before Disney turned him into a grunting hippie.
Writers in this climate must examine themselves first: understand what it is about them as individuals that make them worth listening to. When we have overcome the suffocating fear of introspection, the deeper examination of what skills we might deploy to achieve our goals become forefront in our mind. There is much more, but that is the stuff of another book that a business colleague and I are writing.
To sum it up: success comes from within mediated by sound and calculated choices executed toward a clear end. The fine proprietor of this blog was kind enough to allow to rant from a spell, and I have done so, albeit briefly. Here are some tidbits that this writer would like to see you help with:
I have launched a Kickstarter that at this moment is a far cry from being funded. A science fiction and fantasy epic with proper illustrations from a frustrated and brilliant artist is what awaits you, were you of course to extend the most meager of donations.
With that, I bid you adieu.
If you wish to learn more about me and my ramblings, search no more.
About the author: A psychologist, author, philosopher, freelance editor, and skeptic, Dan O’Brien has published several novels and currently has many in print, including: The End of the World Playlist, Bitten, The Journey, The Ocean and the Hourglass, The Portent, The Path of the Fallen, Book of Seth, and Cerulean Dreams. Follow him on Twitter (@AuthorDanOBrien) or visit his blog at http://thedanobrienproject.blogspot.com.
He has recently started a literary and publishing consulting business to help writers navigate the digital jungle. Find out more about Amalgam: http://www.amalgamconsulting.com/
Thanks, Dan. I appreciate you taking time to guest post on my blog!
Tuesday, March 12, 2013
Our grandchild by love, Gideon, recently turned 18 months old. What changes I have seen over the last six months! Walking, running, spinning. Teeth, loss of baby fat, talking!
I will forever remember the day he walked down the hall, at about fourteen months until he got to the end, by the closed bathroom door. I was watching from "afar" and he was "all by himself". I watched from the back as he stopped and stood facing that door, planning. What was he going to do? All of a sudden, he started walking backwards. It was the first time. He didn't get very far before he stumbled and fell.
Getting back up, one would think he would continue from where he was. Not so. He calmly walked back to the beginning, gathered his dignity and tried it again. Over and over about a half dozen times, each time getting further down the hall backwards. Each time going back to the beginning. It wasn't long after that before he was not only walking backwards but spinning " 'round and 'round" as he calls it, making himself dizzy. He is so FAST now when he takes off running!
And the words! More and more come each day. He surprised me the other day. We watched a new video he had never seen. He named most of the items in it right away. How cool. He also says the last word to each phrase in "Twinkle Twinkle" and "Camptown Races" when I sing it. The other day, for some reason, he decided the "bay" had ran enough horse races. When I sang "Somebody bet on the - " he gave me a big smile and substituted doctor. Then he laughed and laughed.
Every week he learns so many new things! No wonder they sleep 15 hours. All of the physical and mental growth must be exhausting. For the first time ever, he noticed art on the wall. It was my latest painting. (She Burns For Him.) He looked up and his whole face lit up. He raised both hands in the air, like he was worshipping and went on and on in baby talk, saying who knows what about it. Whatever it was, it was complimentary because he looked dazzled. I'm glad he likes the painting. The next day, he walked by an abstract of my African Grey parrot that has always hung there, done by me. Called "Beautiful Girl" many adults don't know it's a bird. Gideon calmly looked up and said, "Bird", smiled, and kept walking.
We like to take turns making funny faces at each other. His belly laugh is one of the sweetest sounds I have ever heard. The sweetest sound, beside my husband's voice? Well, it's Gideon, saying, "Love you. Love you." He knows what it means, too, which makes it all the sweeter. I was supposed to by Gamma. Maternal gramdma was to be Grandma, Paternal would be Nana. He started trying to say Gamma, but pretty soon called me Caddy. Now he says "Mamma" (Not Mama, Mamma) or "Gramamma" for Gamma. That just fine. Especially when it's preceded with "Love you"!
Wednesday, March 6, 2013
Last week Andrew Ashling tagged me in his “The Next Big Thing” interview. He is the author of “Dark Tales of Randamor the Recluse”, which is comprised of a trilogy called “The Invisible Chains” and another trilogy (the 3rd book in progress) called “The Invisible Hands”. I strongly suggest you give his books a try. He is a fabulous storyteller.
Now the baton is passed to me, and I get to answer the interview questions. Thank you, Andrew!
Here we go:
The one I am currently working on is called “Gastien: Circle of Destiny. It is the fifth (and final) book in “The Gastien Series”.
Where did the idea for the novel come from?
Since it’s a continuation of a series, the idea flowed naturally from the previous book. As a family saga, it now follows the grandson of Gastien (who is also named Gastien). Young Gastien has the same artistic talent as his grandfather and completes the circle of destiny that was started all those years ago in Paris. He is like his grandfather in some ways, yet very different in others. Gastien will find that the present is very much tied in with the past. He finds career success very early, but has many other conflicts and obstacles to overcome.
What is the genre of the novel?
It’s a mixed bag, really. The Gastien Series is first and foremost drama. It is also a family saga. Because it is steeped in history, it ended up also falling into the historical fiction genre.
I am going to answer this in regard to the main character of the series, even though he isn’t the main character for the book I’m working on. I think that’s only fair, as the whole story really revolves around Gastien, the decisions he made, and the repercussions of those decisions.
As far as what actor should play Gastien, I would definitely want an unknown. Why? Because I don’t want people seeing the person who played Gastien walking down the street and thinking “Johnny Depp” or some such other name. I want people to see that actor walking down the street and think “Gastien Beauchamp”. I would want the same for his grandson in this fifth novel.
As for Gastien’s wife, Sophie (the second book), I would pick a very young Michelle Pfeiffer. She had a perfect, innocent face that held a very fragile beauty.
Michel (Mic) would be played by a younger Robert Redford, with some red in his hair. His laughing blue eyes would be perfect for Mic. As Michel ages in different books an older Redford would play him. It’s the eyes. Mic’s eyes are very vivid in my brain and Redford has them.
Will the novel be self-published, published by a publisher, or represented by an agency?
I always self-publish. The majority of my life I have been self-employed. I don’t like other people calling the shots for me. Win or lose, it is important to me to have control of my own destiny in financial matters.
I always scratch my head when some publisher blathers on and on about how very few actually “make it” in self-publishing. Yes, that’s true. What they fail to mention is that it’s just as true for traditionally published authors. Most of the new authors end up with their books in the bargain bin and a contract not renewed. If I’m going to take a one in a million shot, I want the 70% royalties on e-books, not the 14% or so.
Also, I’m not in my twenties. I don’t have years to wait while publishers sift through manuscripts, possibly getting to mine in a few years…and then taking a few years more for the book to see the light of day.
Would I sign with a publisher? I don’t know. They would have to offer me a great deal and I would insist on keeping control of my e-book rights.
It took me two months to write the first draft of the current book. I had the basics of where the series was going in my head. I’m a seat of the pants writer. The only “storyboards” I use are a few sheets of scrap paper with one or two words written to remind me of things. “Ring”. “Azure”. Those remind me that there are threads that need to stay connected in the family. I treat major events the same way. I usually don’t know those until the characters decide for me.
The best is when my characters introduce me to a brand new character I had no idea was going to exist. Those have turned out to be some of my favorites because they surprise me so!
What other novels would you compare this story to within your genre?
Man, that’s tough. I mean, naming books that people will easily know makes me sound like I think I’m the greatest novelist ever. I don’t write to win literary awards. I write to make people think and feel. I may not be a literary genius, but I do think I write a damn good read.
I will say my favorite author of all time is John Steinbeck. Of Mice and Men, East of Eden, those are the types of dramas that I would say Gastien could be compared to in regard to the scope of the story. It is epic and sweeping, and also engages every emotion a human being can feel. You won’t always like what the characters do, but you will be engaged with them.
Who or what inspired you to write this novel?
I used to not tell people this because it sounds either like I’m way “out there” or trying to make things up for publicity. I used to say because I am a painter I wanted to write a novel about a painter in the bohemian art era of nineteenth century Paris. While that certainly appeals to me as a painter, that isn’t the reason Gastien happened.
I had breast cancer and had just finished up with several weeks of radiation. I had read “Journey of Souls” by Michael Newton, Ph.D. and decided to seek out someone who does life between lives regression therapy. I had done some past life regression previously. I did my homework, found a qualified professional, and went.
That’s where I “met” Gastien for the first time. Now, I’m not saying it was a past life or it wasn’t. That’s another subject entirely. What I do know is that my creative juices started flowing. I committed an hour a day, five days a week to write.
I sat down, placed my fingers on the keyboard, and Gastien told the story. Afterward I would research to make sure it was written in the way it would be in the nineteenth century. I wanted everything to be historically correct. The research was the hard part. The story came so fast my fingers couldn’t always keep up. One thousand pages later I had the first two books in the series written, first draft. By the time I published the second, I knew there would be a third. Before the third was done, I knew there would be five.
What else about your book might pique a reader’s interest?
The first book in the series starts out in nineteenth century France, during one of the most wild, decadent times in history. The bohemian artists of Montmartre were definitely free spirits! I’m surprised more novels don’t take place during that time. During this period, so many artists that would become famous resided there. Boy, did they enjoy life!
I also have a lot of strong characters. Some are straight, some are gay or lesbian. Four of the books are written male POV, one is written female. All of them are driven, highly sexual, and find that success does not come without a cost. I also like to show the good in villains and the bad in protagonists. Aren’t we all part saint and part assholian? Some, of course, are more one than the other.
The sex is graphic, some scenes are brutal. I will make you laugh at times, but I will also break your heart. Readers say they have never felt as much emotion from a book that they can recall. They also say the characters stay alive in their minds for weeks after finishing the books. I’m glad to know that Gastien and his family are very real to my readers.
Thank you for reading this! Please browse the other blog posts. There are several written about those wild bohemian artists. You can also check out my paintings by clicking on the pages “Makin’ Love to the Color” at the top. Find out more about “The Gastien Series” and order for Kindle or paperback here. You can also find them for Nook at Barnes&Noble.com or kobo by typing in “The Gastien Series”.