Friday, December 20, 2013

Poor Man's Fight: Sequel In Progress!

Rich Man's War, the sequel to Poor Man's Fight, is now well underway! I don't want to give away too much or distract myself by talking about things I haven't written yet, but I feel like I could at least share some current stats on the rough draft:

Rich Man's War currently stands at 44,081 words. The story thus far includes five deadly stabbings, thirteen fatal shootings, five people killed by grenade, three counts of Death By Gunnery Sergeant Janeka, theft of military equipment, theft of starships, three Purple Hearts (pending review, of course), one premeditated defenestration, rampant breaking & entering, one broken jaw, two catastrophically mangled legs, a destroyed tank, multiple acts of espionage, power struggles, several celebrity photo-ops, Christ's name taken in vain on two different planets, computer hacking, an inappropriate crush, a false flag operation, a planetary invasion, orbital bombardment,  mistreatment of wounded soldiers, poker metaphors, gross vandalism, kidnapping, one "It's Not You, It's Me" speech, a nasty knee injury and the long-awaited vengeance for a lonely, bloody teddy bear.

Happy holidays, everyone!

Friday, November 8, 2013

Regarding "Fake Geek Girls"

You may or may not have heard about this whole "fake geek girls" thing, wherein women and girls who show up to sci-fi/gaming/fandom conventions and who play video games are often derided as being, well, fake. Because, you know, they clearly don't have any geek cred, because they're girls. And us manly nerd types have to staunchly defend our manly nerd space.

So. About that:

I went to see Thor 2 shortly after waking up this morning because my girlfriend decided we should just go, right now, first showing starts in like fifteen minutes and you already showered, right???

As we sat waiting for it to start in the theater, I listened to the conversation between three women sitting off to my right about cosplaying, their current roleplaying game plans, fanfic, Tolkein and various video games.

Currently, I am banished to my study because my I do not have the correct chromosomes to participate in the all-women game of Dungeon World underway in my living room. And one of the participants wrote a tie-in novel from a major fantasy MMORPG that is sitting on my desk.

So... yeah. Tooootally fake geek girls.

(Though to be fair, one of those women sitting near me during Thor 2 had a rrreeeaaalllyyy sketchy English accent. That part might've been fake.)

Thursday, October 24, 2013

Updates! Mostly Not About Me!

This past weekend in Seattle was Geek Girl Con. Sadly, I only got to attend Saturday and had to skip Sunday because of long-standing plans, but I still had a blast. I finally had a chance to shake the hand of Anita Sarkeesian of Feminist Frequency and to thank her for what she does. I also got to meet Kelly Sue DeConnick, the writer for the Captain Marvel comic, which is the first title I've gotten excited about in, oh... several years.

If it's not obvious yet, I can be a bit of a fanboy.

As for my own work, I'm close to finishing up work on the paperback version of Natural Consequences. The paperback for Poor Man's Fight will follow quickly after that (it's a shorter book, after all), and then it's full speed ahead on the sequel. The prologue is mostly written, but all I can tell you right now is that it features Alicia Wong, Gunny Janeka, lots of foreshadowing and a whole lot of stabbing!

It turns out I have something to share from another creator whom I've had the privilege to work with this year--Lee Moyer, who did the new covers for Good Intentions and Natural Consequences. His 2014 Literary Pin-Up Calendar is about ready for launch. This year's beneficiary is the Clarion Foundation, which supports workshops for fantasy and science fiction writers. To be blunt, it's a great calendar; I haven't seen anymore art than is currently on the webpage for the campaign, but what I've seen is pretty awesome.

Give it a look here and kick in a donation if you can, or just spread the word. You know you need a calendar for 2014, anyway. Why not make it an awesome one?

And so we close out this update with something I got from Geek Girl Con. I cruised through the artist's alley and met a great artist named Kiriska, and, well, after two minutes of looking through her work I couldn't resist her commission rates. We spoke very briefly, but ultimately she just said, "You had me at werewolves."

So here's Rachel and her weaponized monsters, because really, has she ever been anything but efficient?

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Art for Art's Sake, and a Paperback Update!

So I said to myself, "Self, you know what you need after putting out Natural Consequences? You need a picture of something from the book. You need a picture of Alex having his worst birthday party ever."

And so I went to DeviantArt, and I found an awesome artist called Isikol, and well...

On another note: the paperback version of Good Intentions is now properly linked up through! If you were waiting on that to pick it up, wait no longer.

Work on other paperbacks and the forthcoming sequel to Poor Man's Fight continues!

Thursday, October 3, 2013

Kickstarter Support for a Worthwhile Project!

Hi all,

Not a lot to tell on my own projects for now. Today begins the review of the physical proofs for Poor Man's Fight in paperback, and the proof for Natural Consequences is on its way to me now. However, I had something special I wanted to share with you regarding a project of a very different sort by a good friend. I don't plan on doing this often, but this particular project seems entirely worthy of a blog post in support.

If you've attended any of the Renaissance Faires in the Pacific Northwest in the last few years, you may have come across Princess Lolly. I've known her a long time, and in addition to being a creative soul, she's astoundingly good with children, and provides the sort of entertainment and engagement for little ones that many Faires lack. Lolly has put together her first children's book, and it's up on Kickstarter now. It could absolutely use your support.

Give her project a look by clicking here!

Thursday, September 26, 2013

Progress, Updates, and Goodies

The odd thing about maintaining a blog as an author is that I tend to think I should focus my writing on the production of actual stories rather than blog entries. However, in this day and age, maintaining a blog is part of the deal, and it's not like I hate blogging... but I prefer to wait until I have something to say.

With that being the case:

*Work has commenced on Rich Man's War, where Tanner Malone finds himself in exactly the kind of war that made him reluctant to enlist in the first place. In just the opening 2400 words, we have resolution to some unfinished business from Poor Man's Fight, the gathering clouds of a much larger conflict, stabbings, ass-whuppings and the triumphant return of Alicia Wong and Gunnery Sergeant Janeka. That prologue may change entirely before the book comes out--it's just the beginnings of a rough-draft phase--but it's good to work with familiar faces again.

*I am, as ever, extremely grateful for the reception that Natural Consequences has received, and I'm glad so many of my readers have enjoyed it. I am by no means done with Alex, Rachel or Lorelei!

*And now for the big news for today:  Good Intentions is now available in paperback! You can order it today via the CreateSpace estore (just click the link), and it should be available on Amazon sometime next week.

Paperback versions of both Natural Consequences and Poor Man's Fight are in the works!

As always, thank you for reading!

Thursday, August 8, 2013

NATURAL CONSEQUENCES is now available!

It's out! Natural Consequences, the exciting sequel to Good Intentions, is now available on both Amazon and on Smashwords for non-Kindle formats.

Alex Carlisle has enough to deal with even on quiet days. Living with an angel and a succubus is no easy feat. One has divine responsibilities she can’t explain, and the other tempts him toward a decadent lifestyle he’s not sure he can manage. Add to that the stresses of college and trying to hold down a job, and it’s lucky Alex can even keep his head on straight.

Yet the complications keep on coming. An amorous (and terrifying) werewolf won’t take no for an answer. Vampires from across the country want to know what happened to their allies in Seattle. To top it all off, events in the city have drawn the attention of Federal agents who know far too much about the supernatural, and they have no patience for the chaos that Alex and his friends leave in their wake.

WARNING: Natural Consequences contains explicit sex, explicit violence, explicit expletives, violent misuse of office equipment, nudity, perfidy, disruption of public transit services, polyamory, theft, arson, open relationships, trespassing, heterosexual foreplay, lesbian sex, depictions of beings of a divine and demonic nature bearing little resemblance to established religious or mythological canon, cell phone hacking, contempt of court, flagrant violations of civil rights, dangerous use of alcoholic drinks, infidelity, public sex, bras, panties, murder, attempted murder, blasphemy, atheist rationalizations, cannibalism, prostitution, decapitations, gossiping, defenestration, exsanguinations, tax evasion, oral sex, multiple threesomes, sexual harassment, ancient Babylonian marriage customs, horse-poisoning, stalking, selfies, bribery, assault under color of authority, fantasy depictions of sorcery and witchcraft, highly sexualized Halloween costumes, assault and battery, stabbings, excessive handcuff play, mayhem, explosions, existential discussions, controversial topics of sci-fi fandom, living room sex, home invasions, mind control, conspiracy, cohabitation outside of marriage, multiple references to British science fiction literature and television, bad study habits, government surveillance, donuts, discharge of firearms on Federal property, spousal abuse, interrogations, even more explicit sex, guys from Eugene, sexual harassment in the workplace, classroom misconduct, sexual misconduct, divine misconduct general misconduct, voyeurism, reckless driving, murder of Federal agents, poor firearms safety habits, misuse of a swimming pool for gladiatorial combat, insanity, immolations, public endangerment, sexual promiscuity, consistent contempt of vampires (screw ‘em, they suck), disorderly conduct, kidnapping of police officers, kidnapping of Federal agents, underage drinking, dismemberment, abuse of authority, still more explicit sex, electrocutions, destruction of private property, escape from Federal custody, barbering without a cosmetology license, World War I, betrayals, slavery, mild dom/sub play, cosplaying, a high school flashback, infidelity, reliable predictions of eternal damnation, destruction of a nice Zoot suit, nutshots, party fouls, littering, domestic violence, lengthy foreplay, abbreviated foreplay, disrespect for authority, falsification of records, prostitution, public indecency, impersonation of police officers, obstruction of justice, biting, clawing, hair-pulling, trash-talking and a general and willful disregard for traditional Western family values.

Technical Difficulties


It's ready to go, but I've hit the dumbest little wrinkle ever.

I loaded up Natural Consequences on Amazon about an hour ago, but I couldn't make the previewer work to double-check it... and so naturally that led me to uploading it and then discovering a small problem an hour later. It's not a huge issue, just a complete blank under the "About the Author" page, but I'd love to fix it before it goes live... and I don't know if I can. Oh, the glories of our global economy.

I can't really complain about Amazon. They made all this possible for me. But sometimes an "improvement" on their end isn't the most convenient thing in the world for me.

While working on that little wrinkle, I uploaded the book to Smashwords just to test it out, and immediately unpublished it (removing it from the site) within a minute... but some lucky bastard out there bought a copy in that tiny window of time!

At any rate, the book is really for reals coming very soon. Thank you all for your support and your patience!

UPDATE: As of 2:40pm PST, I have corrected and uploaded the book. There may still be a single line not quite centered on the copyright page, but I don't think anyone will care. Amazon says the book will be live within 12 hours. I will send out notices and I will upload it to Smashwords when I see it available.

Monday, July 29, 2013

Proof that I've been busy!

So I wanted to offer you an update and proof that I've been busy... along with a photo of the proof of my first physical book! (It's a 6"x9" book.)

This one will definitely need some adjusting -- the cover art isn't nearly as sharp as it should be, so I'll have to get in touch with the printer -- but that's why we do proofs. I am waiting on the physical proof for Poor Man's Fight, so that should be on the way here soon.

Natural Consequences is nearly ready for release! I give it about a week or so. I'm on my last run of edits and revisions, and I'd love to have it out as close to August 1st as possible, but I may miss that by a day or three depending on how many curveballs life throws me.

Thank you all for your interest and your support! Good things are coming!

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Love Wins

So it turns out I have some political views. I don't write my books to preach, but I feel no need to hide what I believe.

DOMA is dead. Prop 8 is dead. The valiant fight against SB5 in Texas succeeded, at least for now.

I could stand to wake up to news like this more often.

Friday, June 7, 2013

Go Ahead. Judge This Book By It's Cover. I Don't Mind.

So as you can see, I have arranged new cover art by the amazing Lee Moyer!

A general update: Natural Consequences, the forthcoming sequel to Good Intentions, is moving right along. I've very recently (days ago) finished a rough draft, and it is my highest current priority. I have every reason to believe I'll have it out within the next month or two. Natural Consequences will also have cover art by Lee Moyer--and it's gorgeous!

I have also been working on print-on-demand versions of all my books through CreateSpace -- yes, for both Good Intentions and for Poor Man's Fight.

As part of that, I've given Good Intentions a bit of a final editorial polish. I'd say it's a "cleaner" version, except it's still rife with explicit, naughty fun times (I didn't cut any scenes so much as some unnecessary language).  If you're interested in getting this newer version, you don't have to re-purchase it from Amazon. Contact customer service, tell them there has been a revision and you want it, and they'll send it to you free of charge.

Now, back to work for me!

(PS: Check out Lee Moyer's other work at!)

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Heroism. With style.

Just thought I'd share this, 'cause damn, dude.

Thursday, April 25, 2013

Works In Progress

So as everyone has probably noticed, I haven't updated in a while.

The trouble with keeping a blog as a writer is that it feels like any time I spend writing on my blog would be better spent on... y'know... writing. But the blog is important. It keeps you current. It's outreach to readers. And stuff.

At any rate, I figured I should update and make it known that I am Working On Things.

Poor Man's Fight has done far better than I had ever hoped. I don't want to use this as a venue to brag or anything, but I do want to express my sincere gratitude once again. I am currently working up one final, make-it-as-perfect-as-I-can edit of the book in preparation for putting up a print-on-demand version. That will probably be available in a month or two, depending on how all that turns out. The print version will of necessity be more expensive than the ebook version. I have to price it to cover the print costs, of course. But if anyone out there is interested in having a physical copy, you are hereby notified that such an option is on the way.

Aside from that, I am working as diligently as I can on Natural Consequences. I never thought it would be so tough, but it turns out that when you write a sequel to something there is a real need to make sure it measures up to the original. There's also the simple fact that life has gotten in my way much more frequently and assertively on this project than it did when I wrote any of my previous stuff. I'm learning a lot about trying to manage my writing time.

I've also never, ever done so much revising on a project. I know I should just keep pushing through until the rough is finished, but my brain just hasn't been able to accept that this time around. I feel like the working title to this book should actually be "Conversations I Have Re-Written At Least Twelve Times."

As much as I hate to admit it, I may have been a bit too optimistic when I projected an early summer release. It may be more like "summer" than "early summer." Hopefully that doesn't disappoint anyone, but I think anyone would agree that a good product is better than a rushed product.

On that note of goodness, though: WOW did I find a great cover artist for this book! I spent some time at Emerald City ComiCon and a couple of other conventions looking for artists open to commissions, and I gotta say I have found someone of great talent. I feel like I shouldn't drop the name or any hints until I have something to show, but... well, I told him I wanted two covers--one for Natural Consequences and a new cover for Good Intentions so they'd have a consistent look. Within a week, he sent me "quick concept sketches." I gotta say, I've paid good money for published comic books that weren't as polished as his idea of a quick concept sketch.

Good Intentions and Natural Consequences just might have print-on-demand versions available before too long, too, if everything works out.

Sooner or later I'll have something more substantive to share. For now, I just wanted to say thank you again to all who have been interested in my writing and to let you know that more is on the way!

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Hooray for Modern Medicine and Supportive Girlfriends!

So I'm generally a pretty healthy person. I'm 38 and I need to work out more (just got a gym membership that I fully intend to use, for what that's worth.) I don't drink, I don't smoke, and I have been seriously anti-drugs since elementary school. I'd seen too much of what they do to people. Plus, I can't stand having woozy feelings in my head.

From about last Wednesday through Sunday, I've had bothersome but not distracting pain in my lower abdomen. On Monday, I opted to stay home from work for reasons totally unrelated to my health... and thank God I did, because by the end of the afternoon I was in serious pain.

My girlfriend drove me to an urgent care center around the block from our house, and the doctor there needed all of about five minutes to become absolutely sure she needed to send me to an emergency room. The whole waiting period in the ER just left me feeling more and more pain, but once I'd been admitted, everyone was awesome to me. They put me on a gurney with heated blankets and all that, did a CT scan and some blood work... and sure enough, I had appendicitis.

They removed my appendix yesterday morning. It's the only surgery I've ever had in my life (knock on wood), unless you want to count the removal of my wisdom teeth. I wasn't sure through much of the day following that operation if I'd be there another night or if I could go home, but once I conned them into letting me have some solid food I was largely back to my old self.

So today has been a day of nothing but Mass Effect 2. About the biggest accomplishments I've made today were showering & shaving. Hopefully I'll be back to writing in the morning.

Take care of yourselves, folks. And thank you for being here.  :)

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Good Intentions 2: Natural Consequences

So once upon a time in 2010, I wrote a little story that became Good Intentions.

As I’ve noted before on this blog, Good Intentions came up while I was writing Poor Man's Fight and got stumped on a minor bit of character development. I wanted to keep writing even though I was a bit stuck. I also wanted get unbiased critical feedback on my writing skills before I dove any further on Poor Man’s Fight, too, and, well… there was this website I’d been to many times called where people could post stories for free to a rather wide readership.

For all its erotic content, I am to this day still unsure whether to consider Good Intentions a work of erotica in an urban fantasy setting, or if it’s an urban fantasy tale with lots of erotic content. I’d like to call it the latter. My need to make sure nobody’s shocked at the explicit content says I should probably stick with the former.

There’s no explicit sexual content in this blog post, btw. Hope that's not disappointing.

So. I hadn’t really written erotica before, but I figured, hell, I could do this. I would have to have a plot, though. It gets back to something I heard George Lucas say when I was a kid: “A special effect without a story is a pretty boring thing.”  (Yes, he actually said that. Look it up if you’re jaded and full of doubt.) I generally feel the same about sexual content in any medium. I don’t want there to just be two people going at it for no reason; I want some sort of context, because I feel like that makes the whole thing better, right?

I should also note that about the only erotica I had ever read was stuff on and a few other random bits and pieces. I did not exactly have much in the way of grounding in the genre.

The story changed dramatically from my initial plans, even over the first few chapters. I originally conceived of a much snottier, more aloof and not-remotely-fun Rachel. I envisioned a story with Alex striving to measure up to Lorelei’s standards while Lorelei, in turn, strung him along as cover while she rebuilt her personal power and mortal resource base. Lorelei would use Alex to her own ends without much care as to whether he lived or died at first, but as he survived and overcame every obstacle in spite of her expectations, she’d warm up to him. Lorelei would also use Alex as a temporary sex toy. I had no plans for a rich cast of supporting characters, or for a storyline about redemption, or for Alex to have a past even he didn’t understand (no spoilers in the comments, please!).

I had in mind a climax where the mystic bonds between Alex and Lorelei broke at some sort of prom-like thing just as Lorelei really began to feel genuine love for him, and then she’d fly off to answer the summons of her old arch-demon master with one last longing look at Alex. I saw Alex calling in his markers with Rachel to help him go rescue her.

But then I started writing chapters two and three, and I realized there was no real reason why Lorelei wouldn’t just eat his face and be done with him. That required a major course correction to make the whole thing work.

The more I thought about it, the more interesting it seemed to me that rather than being evil but susceptible to good, Lorelei was just… tired of being evil. Not looking for redemption, but knowing that her current path was empty and boring. And while I didn’t want a storyline about a bad girl changing her ways for the love of a good man—any story about one person “changing for love” makes me wince—I did like the idea that Alex represented opportunities and choices she could make to change herself.

And then Rachel went and grew a personality, too.

It also grated on me a bit that Alex, though not quite twenty years old yet, felt so much to me like an older sort whose compassion and forgiving nature came from a whole lot of mileage. He seemed to me like a guy who’d had his heart broken a lot, and sometimes deliberately and brutally… but no matter how vicious and real high school drama can be, that’s all still high school drama. I realized then that Alex had a past he didn’t understand.

I figured out, eventually, that these were three weary and lonely people with a lot of scars on the inside.

So if you’ve read this far, you are probably very interested in what happens in the sequel. I have tentatively titled it Natural Consequences. The prologue should be a big hint, of course. Aside from that, you will see:

*Alex in legitimate fear of losing his goddamn mind
*the origin of Lorelei
*the return of Diana the Werewolf
*Lorelei explains The Truth About Monsters
*a lot of very pissed off vampires
*much more of Molly and Onyx
*Alex and the guys having their shittiest Halloween ever
*Why Wade came home early from Afghanistan
*Jason trying to start a relationship that doesn’t kick off with a girl literally jumping in his lap--or, as gamers like him would call it, “playing on hard mode”
*the reason behind Alex’s long, long run of bad luck (hint: it wasn’t luck at all)
*plenty of explicit sex
*plenty of explicit violence
*and plenty of explicit Rachel (as if there’s any other way!)

So here you are: the prologue to Natural Consequences (until and unless I change the title).

“But there is no way you can perpetrate that amount of carnage and mayhem and not incur a considerable amount of paperwork.”  --Nicholas Angel, Hot Fuzz

Prologue below the cut!

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Support Other Independent Authors!

I've had a few people ask me why I self-publish, and whether or not I'm interested in getting published by a regular publishing house.

I would, of course, love to get into mainstream publishing, but thus far it hasn't been a major focus for me. I'd rather work on my craft first. The mainstream publishing efforts will happen sooner or later.

When I decided to make a book out of Good Intentions, the requirements for a first-time novel just plain didn't fit. The book doesn't fit easily into any genre (too much plot and action to be "erotica," too much erotic content to be straight-up "urban fantasy"), and it's over 205,000 words. First-time novelists usually get in at 120k-130k if they're lucky. I didn't like what I would have to do in order to cut the book down or break it into two parts. Plus, it had been online for a good while on Literotica, which can be somewhat damaging (not Literotica so much as the long run of "available for free").

With Poor Man's Fight... well, I gave it a shot on one single publishing house's open calls for sci-fi. They passed, but I had to wait three months to be sure of that. If I went with traditional publishing, and if I was insanely lucky beyond any reasonable expectation and the first publishing house that looked at it said they wanted the book, it would still take at least two years. And, y'know, having already put out one fairly successful self-pub, I just plain didn't want to wait that long.

Being an independent author and self-publisher is, quite frankly, a lot of fun. I have my own deadlines. I have my own standards to meet. Sure, it'd be great to work with a professional editor and to have someone help publicize and all that (hint, hint to my readers: feel free to plug my book(s) wherever you want!), but in the end I'm only answerable to myself. Freedom is a cool thing.

I wanted to use my blog here to plug a couple of other independent authors who have put out some very cool stuff in different genres:

*Phillip Winberry has a 1940s noir-ish murder mystery called Reno Splits. I picked it up on a recommendation from a friend and found that I really dug it.What I found here was an interesting protagonist and a spotlight on a little-known practice in how divorce was handled back in the '40s, when it wasn't so common or so easy as it is today. Reno Splits shows off a great deal of historical research--something I admire greatly--and a good deal of basic humanity that I simply don't see in a lot of mystery films and novels. Give it a look!

*Never by Jason Vanhee just plain kicks ass. More authors need to be this thoughtful in what they write. I have to say, this is the sort of thing that inspired me to try my hand at self-publishing, because it shows off the sort of freedom and imagination one can exercise when you think outside the box of what fits into neat little categories on bookshelves at a retail store.  Mr. Vanhee has other works to his name, but... well, at least one other I can think of has been picked up by a mainstream publisher. Dreams do come true.

*Jason Andrew has, quite simply, a big bucket of stuff out there that I think a lot of my readers would enjoy. Give his Amazon page a look. Much of his work is in various anthologies, but he has works all his own to offer as well. Full disclosure: I know Jason personally, and I can't think of a single author I know who puts more effort and energy into encouraging others to pick up the craft.

That's it for today. I know I said I'd have a prologue piece for the sequel to Good Intentions up on my blog by now. It's on the way; I just have to make sure all the plot hints still work with what I've written before I put it out for public consumption.

As always, thank you all so much for your interest and support.

Monday, February 18, 2013

Progress, Diligence, Word Counts and Angels with Tourrette's

I try to make sure I write every day. At a minimum, I try to make sure I crank out 1000 words every day during the week (I have a day job, after all), and on a day off (during the week) I feel that 3000 words is a responsible goal.

There are limitations to this, of course. I don't often hold myself to the 3000 word goal on my weekends unless I've got nothing at all going on. Sometimes my work day sucks and I know my mind is blown and I haven't the energy to write. I live with my girlfriend and our cat, and both housemates need varying amounts of attention, time and energy from day to day. They deserve as much as I have to give, of course, so when one of them is in need, the writing comes secondary.

I've got a relatively busy social life, too. I'm an adult gamer geek, as are the vast majority of our friends. I should note: nobody lives in their mom's basement, nobody has comically low social skills, they've pretty much all got real jobs (or understandable short-term unemployment; turns out the economy still kinda sucks). The gamer stereotypes so cherished by ignorant television executives simply don't really apply anymore. Anyway, all that means I have plenty to do besides write.

But I need to write. I want to write. The stories, they kinda have to get out.

I have found that my measurable productivity has slowed over time. I'm pretty sure that's because I'm more thoughtful about my work. I want to make sure I'm happy to put my name to something now that I have a few successes under my belt.

So, yeah, a thousand words a day/evening is a good goal.

But I gotta say, for all you Good Intentions fans: the moment Rachel steps into a scene, the word count just kinda explodes. And it's not even all expletives.

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Playlists -- Audience Participation Welcome!

I have no idea how I got to #1 on Kindle’s Military Sci-Fi list. Or how I’ve been so lucky as to bounce around on Amazon’s top ten in sci-fi for over a week. Or how I’ve seen Good Intentions jump back into the top 100 for erotica… but thank you. So much. I hate to lead off a blog post for the second time with a big “thank you,” but it certainly seems appropriate.

On to another topic:

This probably won’t come as a shock to anyone, but music plays a big component of getting into the mood and mindset for what I write. I’ve got playlists for things I write. Hell, I sometimes have playlists for specific characters.

I can’t have the music on very loud when I write. It messes with my head and disrupts the flow of actual words until all I get are repeating images that I can’t type out. I’ve also found that music without lyrics is much easier to write with… but I’m simply not into much classical (and basically no jazz), so my selections in that regard are a little thin.

I wanted to share what I’ve used as playlists for my two novels. I would absolutely be interested in hearing if anyone has music they have tended to listen to while reading my stories! Comment below!

Poor Man’s Fight has on an iTunes playlist I have quite literally labeled “Iiiin Spaaaace!”

1.       Tomorrow Never Knows as performed by Carla Azar & Alison Mosshart
2.       Second Chance by Shinedown
3.       Storming New Caprica off the Battlestar Galactica soundtrack (Season 3)
4.       Indestructible by Disturbed
5.       Walk by Foo Fighters
6.       Sing by My Chemical Romance
7.       Hold On by Sarah MacLachlan
8.       Fumbling Towards Ecstasy by Sarah MacLachlan
9.       Diamond Eyes by Shinedown
10.  The Farthest Star by VNV Nation
11.  Legion by VNV Nation
12.  A Good Lighter off the BSG soundtrack (Season 1)

The first two songs off this list completely captured the mood of the story for me. Each time I heard them, I felt like it was time to go write… and so I played them over and over again when I felt like I should be writing. As an aside, “Storming New Caprica” went on repeat for me during the pirate raid on Qal’at Khalil. Merciless, pounding drums, right?

Good Intentions… well, that one has some songs for specific characters:

Joan Jett -- Do You Wanna Touch
My Darkest Days -- Porn Star Dancing
Theory of a Dead Man -- Bad Girlfriend
Bette Davis Eyes – Kim Carnes
Substitute for Love -- Madonna

Orianthi – According to You
Lady Gaga – Born This Way
P!nk -- Trouble
P!nk -- Raise Your Glass

AC/DC -- Highway to Hell
Jimmy Eat World -- In the Middle
Rev Theory -- Hell Yeah
Michelle Branch -- All You Wanted
Nelly -- Just a Dream (flashbacks)

Social Distortion -- Bad Luck
Katy Perry -- Teenage Dream
Jason Derulo -- In My Head
Delhi 2 Dublin -- Dil Nachide (This is, by the way, the greatest band you've never heard of.)
Asia -- Don't Cry
Lady Gaga – The Edge of Glory
Sympathy for the Devil – Guns ‘n’ Roses cover

That's it for tonight. However, I want to give notice: the next blog post (or perhaps the one after it) will likely feature the prologue to my next book, the sequel to Good Intentions. I'm currently working with the title of "Natural Consequences," 'cause, well... you just can't wreak that much havoc without it coming back to haunt you one way or another.  :)

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Tall Enough for This Ride

First thing I should say: I am completely stunned at the level of interest and support I’ve had for Poor Man’s Fight. My book has succeeded way beyond my expectations. The most that I had really hoped for was that it would do about as well as Good Intentions… but in just 17 days, I’ve probably sold as many copies of PMF as I sold of GI all last year. I cannot express what a difference this makes in my life and in my writing ambitions.

Thank you. Seriously. I don’t know what else to say but thank you.

Something about the book itself:

I’ve been meaning to write Poor Man’s Fight for at least 15 years. Maybe more.

All through childhood, I had no doubt that I would enlist in the military. I loved all things military. The G.I. Joe comic did more to teach me to read than any of my (very dedicated and capable) elementary teachers could. I had a lot of veterans in my family (Mom was Air Force and proud of it), and while none of them ever once put any expectation on me to do my time, my interests and world-view certainly did set that expectation.

It was the early ‘90s. I wanted to get involved in drug interdiction. The Coast Guard quickly became the obvious choice. I signed up. Boot camp was hard.

My first ship was much, much harder.

One of those constant themes I derived from all that reading of military history and military fiction as a kid was camaraderie. I didn’t go in looking for new friends, but I did naively take for granted that I would find new friendships easily. I’m a personable guy. I had a great many friends in high school. One might have even called me “popular,” but I hadn’t a clue until the day of graduation because I didn’t run with what I presumed was the “popular crowd.” So, yeah, I figured I’d probably be able to get along with most if not all of my shipmates, just like all the guys in all the TV shows I’d ever seen about war and all the movies I’d seen and…

…and, yeah, not so much.

I was a scrawny, nerdy nineteen-year-old kid from the “land of fruits and nuts” who had voted for Bill Clinton, for God’s sake. I got put on a 110’ patrol cutter out of Key West, Florida with fifteen older guys who had nothing in common with me except the uniform. I got seasick—a lot. I had been on boats before enlisting, and I had thought it was fine, but then I discovered what real water was like. I have never liked drinking, and these guys were largely enthusiastic drinkers in a party town. My roommate was a good ol’ boy from Alabama with racial attitudes that horrified me and my multicultural Los Angeleno sensibilities. I was plainly not man enough for my supervisor, or his supervisor, or the captain. And it’s very hard to stand up for yourself when there’s a formal, legal rank structure with you at the bottom.

It was the hardest, loneliest year of my life. It’s not fair to say that they were all dicks, or that they were jerks all the time, or that there was never any reason that they might be justifiably annoyed with me… but overall, it was miserable. By comparison, boot camp had been a blast.

Tanner’s story isn’t mine. Tanner isn’t me. We’ve got some significant commonalities, as many protagonists will have with their authors, but I made a point of making sure he diverged from me in a lot of ways. Tanner doesn’t want a uniform. I wanted to be a successful serviceman so badly it hurt.

But my experience on that first ship—I was only there for a year, and then I transferred out and things got better—really influenced me. It also inspired a good portion of Poor Man’s Fight, at least thematically. Like I said, I had always drawn the notion from books and film and TV that comrades were supposed to be, y’know, comrades. Friends. Or at least not constantly shitty to each other.

I wanted to do a book where none of that camaraderie happened, because I had never read that book before. It’s probably out there somewhere and I just haven’t discovered it, but just the same, I wanted to write that book.

There are a lot of stories from my ship I wish I could’ve somehow worked into Poor Man’s Fight. We rescued people and we caught drug smugglers and I was part of the “Haitian Vacation” of 1994. I saw no combat, but I nearly died so many other ways it’s kind of funny looking back on it now (unless you’re my mom). There was the point where we went into drydock for six weeks, and I kind of snapped and started pulling pranks and throwing out insults right back at everyone.

There was also the night I realized I could hack it after all, no matter how awful all the circumstances were. Luckily, that happened only one or two months into my time on the ship.

The day I arrived in Key West was the first day of a massive influx of refugees from Cuba. They came on anything that could float. I’ve seen a family of four on a raft no bigger than my dining room table. We picked them up by the dozen, and eventually offloaded them to a larger ship. This usually involved our Rigid Hull Inflatable Boat, kind of a Zodiac boat stowed on the back of the ship and launched through use of a big crane.

So one night, with maybe a hundred refugees on our deck and the seas getting nasty and rain falling, someone decided it was time to offload onto a larger ship. I went out into the rainy night along with the rest of the deck department to launch the RHIB.

The motion of the ocean, as they say, got uglier with every moment. We had hundreds of pounds of RHIB swinging over us. I was on one of the stabilizing lines, with water constantly spraying all over my face and my glasses. I got worried about my ability to do my job, and figured I should warn my boss.

“Jim!” I yelled. “I gotta tell you, man, my glasses are full of seawater. I can’t see what I’m doing too well!”

Jim was in his thirties and balding and running the controls on the crane, and admittedly wasn’t a complete jerk to me all the time. He just kept his bespectacled—and water-covered—eyes on what he was doing and said, “That’s okay, Elliott, I can’t see a damn thing, either.”

And right then, I stopped worrying about whether or not I could handle all this. All that hype about precision and professionalism from the recruiters and the advertising? Bullshit. It’s just people stumbling along as best they can, just like the rest of the real world. They make mistakes and screw up and pick up and move on anyway, ‘cause the job still has to be done. And dumber, jerkier people than me could do this job. Other people had lived through this. There was no reason I couldn’t, too.

Thursday, January 31, 2013

About That Oft-Rumored "Original" Version...

So it's a little more than a week since I released Poor Man's Fight, and as of this writing it's at #3 in Kindle Military Sci-Fi and #15 in Sci-Fi Adventure Books on Amazon! I'm genuinely blown away by the interest it has gotten. The reviews and the emails I've received have been much welcome--so thank you so much for all who provided such support!

There's a matter I need to address, though, for anyone who is a fan of my other novel, Good Intentions. It has to do with the question of an "original version." One part of this "original" stuff is shared below. For some fans, I could cut right to the chase... but given how Poor Man's is working out for me, I quite likely have some readers now who didn't start out with me as a result of Good Intentions. So, here we go:

As I noted in an earlier blog post, I started out writing what became Good Intentions while I had hit a small snag in writing Poor Man's Fight. Good Intentions was originally a series posted on under the title of "Angels, Demons and Alex." It was the first erotic anything that I had ever written, barring some racy letters between myself and a gal in high school who... um... well, that was twenty years ago. Anyway...

"ADA" was posted, in the beginning, in a serialized format. I posted each chapter as I wrote it. I did a few things there that were simply a matter of shameless pandering to my (underinformed) perceptions of the Literotica audience. For one thing, I felt like I had to make sure there was sex in every chapter, or at least ALMOST every chapter. (The first had none, and there was no prologue originally.) When I put the series together as the novel of Good Intentions, I had to consider the whole work as one big story... and that meant some stuff, like a couple of sex scenes and a couple of plot threads that went nowhere, had to go.

There are a couple of cut pieces I'm happy to share here on my blog. My favorite of them comes after the cut below. I'll post another at some later date.

I need to make something clear: the notion of there being an "original" version of "ADA" is really something of a murky topic. You see, the story evolved as I wrote it--a topic for another blog post--and thus I went back and changed stuff in the earlier chapters even while I was finishing the later stuff.

So, to be blunt: I don't have an "original copy" to send to anyone. I have an old computer tower in my closet that may have some of the material you miss, but that would depend on what material you're hoping to find. Some of it I genuinely wish I had never written, and have no intention of sharing with anyone ever again. They were my growing pains as a writer of erotica, guys. This is not a "Han Shot First" issue so much as it's like remembering the pilot of a TV series as being awesome until you dig it up on VHS and watch it and realize it was terrible TV. I am very sorry if this disappoints anyone. I know we all have varying tastes. I stand by my decisions and Good Intentions as a complete work.

Now, all that said: I promised you a "deleted scene." I didn't delete this one so much as I replaced it, because it's a tiny bit of what is more or less fanfic included in an otherwise completely original work. I didn't want any issues of copyright or to look like I was somehow making money off of someone else's creative IP.

I was, however, quite proud of this piece. I kinda wish I had kept it in the book and called it a "parody," but, alas, it was a risk I wasn't willing to take in my first work.  Ladies and gentlemen, I give you: 

Alex Carlisle's Totally Not Safe For Work Marty Stu Wet Dream

Saturday, January 26, 2013

Science, Research and Space Pirates

If I were one of those (very cool) authors who do a whole ton of research for a novel, I would have bibliographies at the end. Instead, I'm the type to rely on only a few sources for inspiration and/or fact-checking. Google and Wikipedia have certainly been good friends of mine for this purpose.

For Poor Man's Fight, I talked with a high school physics teacher (don't laugh, the dude's brilliant) to double-check myself on some of my zero-gravity stuff. I frequently went online to fact check things I remembered from my astronomy classes in college (well, really just "intro" and the accompanying lab). Very little drives me more nuts when it comes to sci-fi than the way Hollywood can't understand the difference between "interstellar" and "intergalactic;" these words actually mean something, dammit.

(I also crowd-sourced a few small details with friends via my personal Facebook page. The debate over whether a particular can of whup-ass should be opened with A) a knife to the face, B) a crowbar, C) a blowtorch or D) surprise strangulation turned out to be a great way to liven up a Thursday night.)

Ultimately, I wouldn't call my novel "hard" sci-fi. I tried hard to create a setting and rules that make sense, but it's not like I did a whole lot of math and I didn't plumb the depths of current theory about space travel and technology. I have a lot of admiration for authors who do that, but in the end I knew the focus of my story would be elsewhere.

There's one thing I really wanted to get right, though: space pirates.

I hold a bachelor's in history, and I'm a genuine nerd. I care about these things.

While I wanted to retain the freedom to innovate and adjust, I wanted my space pirates to work like real, historical pirates. I've always been fascinated by the subject. Since the first book I read about pirates as a kid in elementary school, I had known that Hollywood tended to get pirates all wrong. The "Pirates of the Caribbean," as it were (the archetype, not just that specific film series) did not fall under the iron-fisted leadership of a single uber-pirate. They ran as democracies, and by and large they hardly cared about what anyone's race was.

I figured in the wake of putting out my novel, I should plug my favorite book on the subject. Empire of Blue Water by Stephan Talty is a fascinating book about Henry Morgan and the pirates of Port Royal--which, incidentally, was pretty much the polar opposite of what Disney presents in its films. It's a history book, but it largely reads like a novel; there's not much in the way of dialogue, mind you, but Talty knows how to pace and knows how to keep his readers immersed. If you enjoyed the pirates of my novel, I highly recommend checking it out.

There were, of course, other works I looked at over the years regarding pirates, but nothing so much that I felt any need to cite it in my novel like an academic work. Still, I definitely wanted to give Talty a shout-out when my book was finished. Give it a look. You won't regret it.

Monday, January 21, 2013

Just Did It: The Origin Story for Good Intentions, Poor Man's Fight, and Everything Else

It's a corporate slogan, and it's frustratingly simplistic, and often it even seems patronizing as hell, but it's also absolutely right. You have to "Just Do It."

I have two books out now because I Just Did It. I've been nervous and self-sabotaging about starting a blog, too, and even as I type this I tell myself that this is NOT the way to lead off a blog, but fuck it. I need to Just Do This, too.

I've wanted to be a writer since I was in my teens. Before that, I wanted to be a comic book artist, but somewhere on the tail end of elementary school I realized that wasn't where my talents lay. Many teachers would say that I was a writer even back then, because that's what you tell kids when you want them to write more... but I didn't feel like it then. I wrote a lot in high school, but I didn't feel like I was a writer. I felt like it was a hobby.

Some time while I was in the Coast Guard almost two decades ago, I came up with the very basic premise for Poor Man's Fight, but I never really started writing it. I tried my hand at short stories about its main character, set some time five or ten years after the story I wanted to write... hand-written on notebook paper, because I didn't have a computer, naturally. When I transferred from station to station, I didn't think twice about tossing those stories.

Writing remained just another hobby. I wrote stuff about the roleplaying games I played over the years, some of it short and some of it long. I also, tentatively and nervously and secretly, poked at writing some erotica that I never shared and frequently deleted from my computer and never, ever told my girlfriend about. (Girlfriends, plural, over the years, actually.) It was good practice, but it didn't make me feel like a writer. People enjoyed the gaming stories, but they were for an inherently limited audience. A couple of years ago, I wrote what amounted to two novels for the games I played. At that point, I realized it was time to get to work on my writing, For Reals, Yo.

In the summer of 2010, I finally started writing Poor Man's Fight. I got hung up on a small issue in chapter four. I was also, naturally, worried about how my writing would be received by strangers. Friends always loved my stuff, but I knew that audience, and they knew me and were naturally predisposed to be supportive, right? I needed to write for strangers. I needed to test myself.

I had, at that point, the first two chapters of what became Good Intentions. I was also an infrequent reader at Longtime listener, first-time caller, as they say. I polished it up, got so excited about posting something that I slapped a terrible, terrible title on it ("Angels, Demons and Alex?" Seriously? That was the best I could think of?)... and actually got pleasant, encouraging feedback from strangers.

No, really. Strangers on the goddamn Internet liked something I wrote and wanted more. Yes, the Internet, that place where everyone goes to tell everyone else in the world how much "everyone" (because everyone assumes they speak for everyone) just wants you to shut up.

So I wrote more. Alex and Lorelei and Rachel developed stronger personalities, and then they teamed up and ate my brain for the next three months. I will talk--in a different post--about how that story grew. It's nothing like my original concept. But again, that's for another post. Point is, they ate my brain, and somehow I wrote that story in just over three months.

And then, I figured, yeah. I can write. I didn't say to myself, "I'm a writer!" but I had a readership of four digits or more, right? So I polished it up, I put it together as a novel, and I self-published it. And then it paid the rent for a month. I wasn't about to quit my day job, but it paid the rent.

And that's when a real, honest-to-God professional author friend said to me, "You are now tall enough to ride this ride."

I spent the next year writing and finishing Poor Man's Fight. I wrote other stuff for Literotica, too, for lots of practical reasons and because I simply enjoy it. I finished Poor Man's Fight in the spring of 2012, sat on it for a few months, sent it to a single publisher during an open call... and decided that yes, I really do like self-publishing, and I wanted to put it book out.

So, yeah. Two books out. The sequel to Good Intentions is more than half done. I haven't quit my day job... but at this point, I can't not call myself a writer.

But mostly? You have to Just Do It. You have to stop making excuses. You have to be OKAY with either starting with an outline or maybe not doing an outline at all, or however it works for you. I highly recommend starting with the lamest, most conventional and cliche opening you can think of and just going from there, because it's easier to continue a paragraph or a page or a chapter than it is to stare at a blank page. If you really want to show your writing to other people, you'll inevitably go back and fix it later.

You can start with fanfic. You can start with smut. You can start with a blog that's all about your life and what you had for dinner. There's absolutely nothing wrong with that. You're genuinely better off starting in your comfort zone and moving out from there; leaping into unfriendly territory right from the start isn't a way to do yourself any favors. If you really want to write, you will grow from there, because you will want to challenge yourself.

And then you can fret for a while about whether or not to start a blog that's about writing and what you write... because you'll learn that ultimately, you need to Just Do It.

Also, screw you guys at Nike for making me feel cheesy for typing that with capital letters.

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

A Warning to All

I write this off the top of my head, mostly to get my blog rolling and to experiment with blogspot. Regardless, if this warning remains, all should pay heed.

All should read this in their heads in the most melodramatic tones possible. I recommend imagining Brian Blessed. Ahem:

Not all that I post on this blog will be fit for all readers.

Much of what passes here will be, as they say in the series of tubes that makes up the internet, Not Safe for Work. It will not be suitable for minors. It may even offend adults.

I cannot, however, promise that ALL will be so naughty. In fact, I can promise that by the standards of many, some of what is shared on this blog may seem quite tame.

Sometimes there will be tales of violence. Sometimes there will be not a single face punched.

Sometimes there will be erotica. Sometimes there will be straight-up smut. I leave it to the reader to decide which is which, as we've all got our standards.

Sometimes what is discussed here will have nothing to do with erotica at all.

Sometimes my writing will be comedic. Sometimes it will not. Sometimes I will think I'm funny when I'm not, and vice versa, and those times are always tragic.

So Be Warned, good reader: here lies a writer with diverse interests, who cannot promise to hold to any one specific genre or level of propriety... and I hope you keep reading.