Authors Directory

Looking for some good Indie reads? Well, there’s an easy way to find them. Click over to the AuthorsdB and discover some new, in your favorite genres. While you’re there, stop by my or the other author’s profiles to see what we have to offer. Currently, 3 of my colleagues and myself are in the Top 4 in popularity. A few more clicks would be wonderful. 🙂

Gracias.

Dragon Love

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I wrote the first two books of The Stream in 2009 and published them in 2011, before I knew anything about marketing. I’ve been told what I’ve long known, that the titles are terrible and the marketing campaign wrong. At some point in the near future, after I’ve put the first draft of my current work-in-progress to bed, I will revisit and re-release the books.

I may even try to publish them through traditional channels, as I think the books are great fun for readers of fantasy fiction. They will certainly have new titles, and The Stream as the name of the series will disappear. I don’t know what I’ll call them, but I promise they will be more evocative of the richness of the dream-laden plot.  I still hate made-up place names, so I promise they won’t be called “Houvencraft” or some such nonsense, but it will be better.

I wrote The Stream series for three reasons: they were fun to write, I love dragons, and I was sick of people doing the same old stories in the same old way.

There is still no genre for these books. They are part dragon quest and lore (although I have changed dragon lore for the books). They are part dream walkers. They are part spiritual fiction. Overall, perhaps Visionary Fiction is closest, but half of the stories take place in the real world. Maybe Urban Contemporary Visionary Fantasy (UCVF) should be my new genre. (There’s a touch of sci-fi and historical fiction too, but we’ll ignore that.

So, for those of us who write in all genres (sci-fi, fantasy, horror, suspense, crime, literary, historical), here’s to hoping that not fitting in boxes will one day be a good thing. In the meantime, here’s a piece from Discovery, wherein Charlie Patterson encounters his very first dragon:

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As he watched, a small translucent cloud passed overhead, moving rapidly. It was thin enough that he could barely make out its movement against the sky. “There must be a storm coming for that cloud to be blowing like that,” he said, hoping he could find shelter in the barren terrain ahead. As he watched, the cloud suddenly reversed course then began a dizzying descent toward the hillside.

“What the?” Charlie murmured, sitting upright as he watched. “What kind of cloud does a nosedive?”

Some two hundred feet above the ground, a deafening screech sounded, as if a hundred eagles had all screamed at once. Charlie could see long limbs and taloned feet emerge from a huge body that was just now becoming visible as it neared the ground. At once, the air was filled with a chemical smell, a biting ammoniac odor that was mixed with the cloying perfume of rotting flowers.

Charlie gagged and held his sleeve to his mouth, instinctively crouching on hands and knees. Whatever was diving from the sky, it was no cloud. “Ohmigod, ohmigod, ohmigod,” he found himself muttering, at first wondering who was stupid enough to be talking with that thing out there. Once he realized it was himself, he clamped his sleeved arm tighter to his mouth, as protection against both the smell and his habitual muttering.

The air brightened in a brilliant horizontal flash, as if lightning had emerged from fifty feet above him and decided to travel in a line parallel to the ground. Charlie jumped at the light, falling backward and dropping his sword into the soft ground. From the sky came a broad, white stream of supercooled air from just below a huge pair of crystalline eyes that varied in the reflected light from pale yellow to a pinkish brown. It was a dragon, and it was on a hunt.

Charlie lay flat against the earth, happy that his clothing provided adequate camouflage. His eyes followed the stream of air to the top of a ridge half a mile away, where a small family of goats had scampered up the side of a nearby mountain. He could hear their panicked bleating, mixed with the sound of rushing air and the dragon’s screeches, now echoing from both sides of the valley. The supercooled air hit the animals in a blast. All of the goats stopped, frozen rigid where they stood. The dragon swooped in, now in full display, grabbed two goats in each of its forelimbs, and swooped back up toward the sky, barely slowing. Within fifteen seconds, it was gone, and the world had returned to silence.

Charlie exhaled, panting, only now realizing that he had forgotten to breathe during the attack. He looked at his sword, which was sticking hilt first into the muddy soil. Charlie grabbed the handle and pulled the sword out with a loud slurp. “I’m going to need a bigger sword,” Charlie said, frowning at his now far-less-impressive sword.

Dragon Love

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I still haven’t moved off of my desire to stop marketing my books and dealing with all of the crap that goes with publishing books. However, I did want to thank those of you who took the time to offer words of support, and especially to those who put up positive reviews on Amazon in the last few days. It really did lift my spirits quite a bit.

I haven’t stopped taking photographs. In fact, this is one of a set I took this weekend. Fittingly, these wings were found midway between The U.S. Capitol and the White House. I won’t speculate who is pulling the wings off angels; I’ll leave that to others to debate.

Neither have I stopped writing. I completed a novella, one I really like, and then proceeded to change the ending, adding a couple of thousand words in the process (not a good thing, actually). In any case, my focus is no longer on dealing with internet trolls, false reviews, indifference, and general discord towards indie publishers. As I dream of stories that interest me, I’ll write them. Maybe some will be published one day — who knows? For now, I’m tired of swimming upstream. It’s not easy to let go of a dream, especially for we of too much imagination. However, the reality is that I will likely never be considered “successful” as a writer. The question is, am I ready to continue being unsuccessful. I’m still not certain. When you are forced to spend a great deal of energy shouting that you are good at something, and then a discordant few shout that you are not — based on no information whatever — it quickly becomes tiresome.

Having a few angels out there has made a big difference in how I’m handling this. I thank you for that.

Free

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It isn’t something smart business people do often. In fact, some of us downright hate the idea. Yet, again, I find myself giving away books to people who may or may not read them. It is marketing, they say, and necessary. The people who encourage me tell me that it takes a while to build an audience.

Yes, well, I’ve been “building” one for two years, without much success. In point of fact, I’d go so far as to say I’ve failed at it. That’s not an easy admission, as short of a marriage (or two) I’ve not failed at many things in my life. I won’t call myself a failed writer, however. That would imply my work has no value or is at best, mediocre. I’ve never been accused of being mediocre and I won’t put that label on myself. In truth, if I were to add up all of the reviews of my 5 published works (only 4 of which have been reviewed) the average comes somewhere north of 4.3 out of 5. Not bad.

Still, no one’s tearing my door down to purchase my work.

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I can look at a photo, like the one above that I digitally enhanced, and easily envision an interesting world of interesting people. I can write sharp, witty dialogue. I can weave plots with twisting subplots and heartbreaking surprises. And still, at the end, it will be a party with few guests. I’m not the only one, not by a long shot. In fact, of the books published, even via traditional publishers, only 10% will cover their costs.

My latest book, Hard as Roxx, had at least half a dozen early readers. I’ve had sales and given copies away. After almost a month on sale, I’ve received 2 reviews. At least one of those two people almost certainly didn’t read the whole book before reviewing. It’s tiresome.

So, I toy with the idea of being free. I will never just give all my books away, however. I’ve been a businessman for too long to make dumb business decisions. Therefore, what I must make free is myself. I must free myself from the burden of trying to convince people to read my work. I’ve started along that path, as I’ve finished my 1st mystery, which I like more than my previous books. I’m not feeling at all compelled to seek publication, however. Likewise, I’ve begun work on a 2nd short story collection. There’s no rush to publication, since few have discovered the first collection. I am free to write. I’m free to price my work as I please. I’m free to ignore what editors, agents, publishers, or critics think of my work or themes. I’m free to cross genres, merge genres, and invent my own. I’m free to enjoy the process of writing, without worrying about the end result.

With no (writing) support system except my online friends and God, I have 1 of 2 choices. I can give up writing, or give up my faulty support system. I choose the latter. All those people who think I’m their friend, but who have made no attempt to read my work, to quote the Anita Baker song, “Just because I love you, it don’t mean I won’t disappear.” I am free now. Free to find friends who understand this is the career I care about, the work I value, the thing that expresses who I am. As an artist, if you do not care about my art, you cannot care about me. That is because, simply, you have never met me. Therefore, with much ambivalence love, I bid you all, fuck off adieu.

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My choice was hammered home by meeting someone new, a neighbor. Within minutes of finding out I was a writer, she said, “I’d like to read some of your books. I’m a reader.” Ah, so there is such a thing. I met another neighbor, who walks the 2-mile circuit around my neighborhood, reading her Kindle.  This week, I’ve been surprised by a few people who’ve told me they’ve read a few of my books.

The moral of this story is, if the people you love don’t support who you are, love the people who do.

Maybe there is still time to build an audience before I die. If not, perhaps my grandchildren will discover my books and be able to do something with them. Until then, I shall attempt to remain … free.

Help Me Pick a Title

Okay, I’ve decided Skip Tracer sucks as a title. Actually, I decided that long ago; I just never did anything about it. What finally convinced me is the fact that there’s been a TV movie (2008) and Canadian theatrical release (1977) of the same name.

Now, I’m not worried about confusing people. It’s that when I Googled the title, and got two hits, I immediately assumed they both suck, just from the title. Hmm, that can’t be good, right?

So, I need a title that isn’t boring. Which is difficult, as I feel quite boring lately. I guess I am boring. But the book is not. It’s a detective story, starring Eddie Daley, a US Army vet turned private investigator. He built a nice living tracking down people who don’t want to be found. It’s boring, but it puts six figures in his pocket, so Eddie doesn’t mind.

But then, he meets Mina Good Crow, and his life flips. He finds himself Brooklyn bound, wrapped up in the mysterious circumstances surrounding the death of Mina’s brother-in-law and young nephew. If, that is, they are, in fact, dead. Complicating matters is the fact that he is equally attracted to Mina’s sister, Kari. And why shouldn’t he be? They are twins, after all.

I’ve become obsessed with old film noir detective stories lately (Sam Spade, Mark McPherson, Mike Hammer, Philip Marlowe). Not because I want Eddie to be like them, but because he’s obsessed with these old flicks. I can’t “be” Eddie unless I “am” Eddie. You know?

Now, Eddie’s not as smooth as these guys, not yet anyway. Still, he tries hard and he’s better looking than these clowns. So, his debut Book Noir needs a fitting title — something that says Noir Detective.

Whattya say? Can you help out a southern shamus whose down on his luck?

Title Suggestions are most welcome. If you pick a winner, you’ll totally get credit for it in the book’s acknowledgments. I’m thinking something like “The Fixer” (which you’ll get if you read the book), or “Twin Trouble in Brooklyn,” or “A Murder of Crows” (which fits, but has been used already for a movie).