All I had to do was say yes immediately and then wake up at 3:45 in the morning and drive down to the library with all my books. Of course I said yes. And here is a clip of my experience.
I hadn't planned on posting another article about the Tempe Library Comicon, but sometimes things happen that you just have to tell everyone about. When I returned home from my weekly meeting with my critique group I had a message waiting for me. Channel 12, the local NBC affiliate, was doing a promo for the event on their morning show and the library wanted me to represent the local authors.
All I had to do was say yes immediately and then wake up at 3:45 in the morning and drive down to the library with all my books. Of course I said yes. And here is a clip of my experience.
How many of you have heard the term Comicon and wondered what all the excitement was about? You probably have seen pictures of people dressed up in all sorts of strange and outlandish costumes as part of the media coverage of such events. And every passing year this encroachment of Nerdom into the lives of ordinary citizens gets harder to ignore.
Well, here's your chance to stop ignoring it and see a Comicon for yourself. The Tempe library is holding their annual version of Comicon and it is open to the public. There is no cost associated with the event which removes the only real barrier anyone should have from attending. (Unless you are one of those silly people who think you can get Nerd Cooties by associating with costume clad celebrants.
What do you do at a Comicon? If you're brave enough you can dress up as your favorite character from comics, television, movies, or books. However, for those of you who aren't ready to take the big step into cosplay (costume play) then there is still plenty to do. You can have your picture taken with the wacky people in costume, you can visit with local artists and authors, you can attend panels on a variety of subjects in the realms of fantasy and science fiction, and there will be activities for the children. Here's your chance to find a kindred spirit who shares your love for Thundarr the Barbarian - or is that just me?
Did I mention that you can meet local artists and authors at the event? I'll be there with several of my fellow Typeractive authors to sign books and talk with fans. That includes Brock Booher (Healing Stone and The Charity Chip), Laura L. Walker (Pierced By Love and The Matchup), Marilee Jackson (Midnight Runner), and the wonderful Janette Rallison/C. J. Hill (Slayers, My Fairly Dangerous Godmother, and many, many more).
You can find out all about it at this link http://www.tempe.gov/city-hall/community-services/tempe-public-library/library-comicon.
Hope to see you there.
My author friend Laura Walker has her second book coming out this month. Being as she is such an awesome person I wanted to help get out the word about its release. Laura writes LDS romances (which is code for clean romances).
Laura grew up in Southern Arizona. She met her husband, Rob, at Northern Arizona University where she earned her bachelor degree in Elementary Education. She considers raising their six children together to be the best full-time job she'll ever have. At the end of a busy day of running them around to their various practices and events, Laura likes to curl up with a good book or write one of her own. You can find out more about Laura on her website http://www.lauralwalker.com/.
This is what The Matchup is all about:
The last thing Valerie wants or needs is to work for her childhood tormentor, Gage. But Valerie’s husband walked out on her and her children. Now she needs a job. Gage, on the other hand, has just taken custody of his four-year-old son and is swamped trying to balance his career, be a daddy, and fix past mistakes. Together they discover that when it comes to the Church and each other, it’s all about second chances. This sweet romance will renew your faith in love and redemption.
And if that wasn't enough to convince all of you romance fans to pickup a copy of The Matchup, then here's an excerpt from the story.
The grim line of Gage's mouth told her all she needed to know about to about how he felt about missions. He obviously hasn't come back into the Church, she
thought sadly. He was one against the world, a feeling she was very familiar with lately. For some strange reason, the thought made Valerie want to wrap her
arms around him.
Which, of course, she would never do.
"What's wrong, Gage?"
He shrugged as if whatever was bothering him was of no consequence, but Valerie recognized the signs of someone in distress--the averted gaze and loud
swallowing. The jawline that was tight enough to crack his teeth.
And although he was obviously trying for a light tone, Valerie didn't miss the strain in his voice. "I'm just trying to figure a few things out. Mainly, I've decided that I
need to file for custody of my four-year-old son, but the logistics of that change will be difficult to work around, especially where my job is concerned."
She hadn't known that he'd gotten married. No sooner had that thought come when another followed, which formed a sick feeling in her stomach. What if Gage
hadn't married her?
You can pick up your copy of The Matchup at Amazon and Barnes & Noble. Just click on either of the links and they will take your right to the spot.
Here we are at the beginning of a brand new year. Overall, 2015 was a good year with the publication of my second novel, Call to Arms: Nations Fall. But that’s the past and I want to talk about the future. What is scheduled in 2016 for the StoryMan?
Land of the Battlementals is still in the hands of my publisher and waiting for their decision as to whether they want to publish it. I have an exciting marketing plan all laid-out for it when it finally is published. That includes a website where I plan to post a weekly comic based on a few of the wacky creatures you can find in the book, a test to see which of the elements a person is most closely associated with, and plenty of school and Comic Con visits. Hopefully, I’ll have good news on that front—soon.
Red Mountain library has signed me up for a series of workshops in 2016. Starting in March, I will be helping authors in the pursuit of their writing dream with the first of four workshops, Heroic Journeys. Based on the storytelling elements established by Joseph Campbell the workshop explores the age-old pattern found in most stories. With Starting on the Publishing Trail, I share my experiences in getting published in the hopes of helping new writers to do the same. Jumpstart Your Creative Juices is my most popular workshop and in it we work together to develop new story ideas. And finally, Heroes, Know Thyself is designed to help authors create fully-realized characters. Check my Author Events page for the dates and if you are in the greater Phoenix area I encourage you to come on out and have fun.
Tempe Library Comic Con is happening January 23rd at the Tempe library. Dress up as your favorite fictional character and stop by my table to visit with me and several of the Arizona authors who also published with Cedar Fort. Pssst . . . I’ll be in costume.
Red Mountain Library will be having its annual Author Fair on February 27th. Last year, more than 50 local authors attended the event. This is your chance to meet the East Valley author community face-to-face and ask questions about your favorite book or just see what the writer really looks like.
LDStoryMakers Conference is May 6th -7th in Provo, Utah. I will be attending. This year I actually have an official capacity with the conference. (I’m not sure if I’m allowed to tell everyone what it is though.) I look forward to visiting with any of you who are also attending the event.
ANWA Writing Conference is September 15th – 17th in Mesa. I hope to be officially involved with the event, but will be attending even if I’m not. This is a good opportunity for Arizona writers to network and improve their craft.
Ready – Set – Write was a success in 2015 so we are doing it again. More details as we get closer to the event, but you can mark your calendars for October 22nd and expect a full day of writing tips intended to prepare you for the NaNoWriMo challenge in November.
Did I hear someone ask about the third book in the Gathering series? Well, even if I didn’t I have news on that front as well. I plan to be finished with the first draft by June and think this will be even better than book two. Robert, John, Sarah, and Calvin will all be returning as viewpoint characters along with Sierra.
Nine Months With Angels is a musical that I wrote in 2014. Since then I have obtained the music for the play. I plan to move forward and have the play produced in 2016. And for those of you who don’t know what the play is about here is the elevator pitch for it:
Four angels keep their friend Alicia company while she is in the womb, waiting to be born. They aren’t just passing time, the five of them are on a journey of self-discovery.
Trick Racy is a middle-grade novel I am co-authoring with a talented lady. I plan to resume work on that project and seek a publisher for it by the end of the year.
Whew, that’s it—for now at least. The great thing about life is you never can tell what is waiting for you around the corner. New possibilities, new projects, new friends. I hope your year promises to be every bit as exciting as I hope mine will.
Before I present today's writing prompt, I wanted to share a couple of pictures from Saturday's Ready - Set - Write conference. It was such a success that we have already scheduled the event for next year. So, mark your calendars for October 22nd and plan to hang out with the rest of us as we get ready for the NaNoWriMo challenge.
If you have any suggestions for classes that you would like repeated or new topics that you would like us to cover please send me an e-mail or post a comment.
The first picture was taken during my presentation while I was helping eager writers with their elevator pitches. The second picture is of my wife and daughter as they manned the book store.
The Ready - Set - Write conference on Saturday was a success. It looked like everyone had fun and most claimed to have learned something about writing. I had a blast visiting with everyone who attended. We will be doing this again next year.
Let me publically say thanks to Stephanie Foster, with the Red Mountain library, did a tremendous amount of working setting up tables, placing the event on the Mesa event calendars, and buying lunch for everyone. The presenters: Brock Booher on plotting, Connie Flynn on characterization, Angela Morrison on world building, and the team of Laura L. Walker and Marilee Jackson on putting some romance into your stories. The representatives from NaNoWriMO, Shari Mickle and Matt Mesnard, who explained the NaNoWriMo contest and offered suggestions on finding time to write. Also my wife LuAnn who ran the bookstore and my daughter Lucy who helped run the registration desk.
During my presentation, Jumpstart Your Creative Juices, I had several requests to post the writing prompts I mentioned. I have decided to post them here for everyone to see. I will do one each weekday until all of them have been posted. And here is the first one.
PROMPT – TITLES
I generated the idea for my first novel from a Title prompt. As a beginning author I worried about running out of ideas for stories—silly me. Just to see how hard it would be to generate more story ideas I scanned through a list of movie titles. Whenever one caught my attention I wrote it down. Once I reached a goodly number of interesting titles I took a closer look at the list. Death Race 2000 was on the list and started me thinking about what a race would be like for dead people and from that I wrote Hellathon.
My example is based on movie titles, but any sort of title works. Movies, novels, short-stories, songs, and even band names can all be used to generate ideas. The trick is to let your mind wonder what kind of story you could write with that title. Look at it figuratively. Look at it literally. Look at it with whimsical eyes. Use it as a starting point for your creativity.
Here are the ten titles. I hope you have fun with it.
1. They Might Be Giants
2. The Long Goodbye
3. They Were Expendable
4. Thunder Road
5. Angels Die Hard
6. You Only Live Twice
7. Keeper of the Flame
8. A Song Is Born
9. A New Life
10. Walk, Don’t Run
Based on the list above, I generated the following elevator pitches.
Based on “They Might Be Giants” is a pitch for a children’s book: Jared and Sally have been asked by their father to take a pair of shoes to a customer in the next town. They are the most enormous shoes either of them have ever scene. Could it be that the people living there are giants? And if so, what will happen to the children when they arrive?
Based on “The Long Goodbye” is a pitch for romantic screenplay: Rob and Sarah have one last weekend together before he ships off to war.
October has turned out to be an eventful month for me as an author. Rather than spending any time throwing out witty comments to entertain you I’ll just get right to the news.
I’m a member of an author group in Arizona called the Typeractive which include Janette Rallison, Brock Booher, Laura L. Walker, Marilee Jackson, Stephen J. Stirling, R. C. Hancock, and myself. We meet every month to discuss our creative works and see what we can do as a group to market our books. One of our ideas was to put together an anthology of clean fiction written by us and then offer it to the public for free.
Typeractive Tales contains 12 short stories in a variety of genres so readers are bound to find something to their liking. And best of all it gives anyone willing to download the free anthology a chance to sample the work of seven published authors. Who knows, the readers just might find themselves a new favorite author.
Brock Booher contributed three general fiction stories to the collection: Delivery, Time Flies, and Milk Run. R. C. Hancock shows off his diverse talent with the humorous Brains and then following it up with the suspenseful Match and Mirror. Marilee Jackson takes us into the realm of the supernatural with Fur, Fangs, and French Class. Randy Lindsay (hey, that’s me) flexes his science-fiction muscles with a trio of stories: Judgment, Perchance to Slumber, and Time Enough to Die. Janette Rallison reminds us why she is the queen of romantic comedy with Crush. Stephen J. Stirling gives us a story right in time for the holidays The Christmas Warrior. And Laura L. Walker wraps up this diverse collection of fiction with a romantic tale, Dreamers and Schemers.
Enough describing the book here’s the link where you can get Typeractive Tales.
The second big event for the Typeractive authors is the Ready . . . Set . . . Write conference on October 24th. Originally envisioned as a mini-conference to support the release of R. C. Hancock’s book, An Uncommon Blue, it eventually evolved into a one-day conference to prepare authors for National Novel Writing Month and specifically the NaNoWriMo challenge of writing 50,000 words on a new novel.
Bring a pencil, a note pad, and a willingness to put your creative muscles to work and we will do our best to make sure you walk out of the conference with a story that’s ready to be written. Then on November 1 you can unleash the kraken . . . if that happens to be what you call your story-telling skills.
This all starts with the local NaNoWriMo representatives explaining the National Novel Writing Month event and giving a few tips on how to defeat writer’s block. Then I will present a workshop on generating story ideas which participants of the conference can use the rest of the day to flesh out the basics of an actual novel. Bock Booher will present a class on plotting. We’ll stop for lunch and then Connie Flynn will enlighten you with her keen insights to characterization. Angel Morrison will follow with a presentation on world building. And the last class of the day will be taught by Laura L. Walker and Marilee Jackson on putting some romance into your story. You know what they say, “What the world needs now is love, sweet love.”
We will wrap-up the conference with an author panel, giving everyone a chance to ask whatever questions they have about writing and publishing. The best part of the conference is that it’s FREE. And I think I heard rumors of a few door prizes as well.
All of this takes place at:
Red Mountain library
635 N. Power Rd.
Mesa, AZ 85202
The conference starts at 10:30 so I suggest you arrive a little bit early.
(I have more news, but it can wait until my next post.)
During my recent blog tour for Call to Arms: Nations Fall, I was interviewed several times. I wanted to repost those interviews for anyone who missed their chance to read them.
Q1: What was the inspiration for your latest book (i.e. the one you are currently promoting)?
A1: This story deals with the events leading up to the end of the world (the Second Coming) from an LDS perspective. I wanted to write a realistic story that would give people warning of what they could expect and also to give them hope in an increasingly chaotic world.
Q2: How much of yourself is reflected in this book, and how?
A2: Virtually none. Anything pulled from my life that shows up in the book is by subconscious accident. The characters in my book are true heroes while I’m pretty average.
Q3: The first thing that draws me to a book is its cover. Can you tell us about your cover - why you chose that concept and who the artist is.
A3: The cover artist is Michelle May. She does wonderful work. Part of the book takes place in Trenton, Italy. I found some pictures of Trenton while I was writing and used them to help me with the descriptions of the city and to give me a feel for the environment. One of the pictures is of the Fountain of Neptune. The cover for Call to Arms: Nations Fall is an apocalyptic version of the picture I used during my writing.
Q4: Why should we read this book (or series) and what sets you apart from the rest? / What makes your book/series unique?
A4: I think readers will see similar events to what I’ve written happening in the world today. The reason they should read it is to open their eyes to the crumbling world society and use that as inspiration to prepare themselves for upcoming events. My stories on this topic are meant to be as realistic as possible. The characters, for the most part, are people like you and me trying to get through life as best they can.
Q5: Can you tell us something quirky about this book , its story and characters? (for example, were the characters named after something or someone in particular)
A5: All of the main characters are named after people in my family tree. Calvin McCord, for instance, is my great-great-great-uncle.
Q6: Who would you recommend this book to and what should readers be aware of (any warnings or disclaimers)?
A6: I would recommend it to fans of apocalyptic fiction, religious fiction, and to a lesser extent military fiction. We see the beginning of World War III in this story. As far as warnings, usually my readers comment about how they couldn’t put the story down so you might want to wait for the weekend to start on the book. However, even though I write clean fiction there are a couple of scenes that are rather intense and some military action scenes. In movie terms I would give it a PG rating.
Q7: If you could / wished to turn this book/series into a movie, who would be your dream team? (e.g. director, actors, locations, etc. - dead, alive or mythical!)
A7: I do have a few actors picked out for some of the roles.
Robert Williams would be a young Richard Thomas (John-Boy Walton)
John Williams would be Karl Urban
Sarah Williams would be Emma Stone
Calvin McCord would be Brian Cox
Nelson Boggs would be Sean Penn
Sierra Weintraub would be Alexandria Daddario
Q8: What do you like to write about? Do you stick to a particular genre or do you like to explore different ones? Is this / Are these the genre(s) that you also like to read about?
A8: Most of what I write is Fantasy/Sci-Fi. What I find myself wanting to write about the most is the conflict between angels and devils-with humans firmly stuck in the middle. My favorite reading genre is post-apocalyptic sci-fi.
Q9: What is your writing process?
A9: I have a moment when I’m excited about an idea for a story. I spend a couple of weeks plotting the story. Then I spend the next six months writing the story from the outline.
Q10: What is in store next? (please tell us about your future plans; if book is part of a series, can you give us any hints on future developments)
A10: There is a follow-up novel planned. Actually, I have 3 more stories in the series planned. I have to tell you that I really feel bad for Robert. He has a long and painful road ahead of him. And poor Calvin, despite his excellent leadership the government he hopes to save is doomed. Frankly, I’m not sure what I’m going to do with him.
Bonus Question: And as a final quirky thing, to get to know you a little bit better... do you have a pet or something that is special to you (this could be absolutely anything!)? Could you please provide us with a picture of you with them / it?
Bonus Answer: No pets. I have a daughter who loves to be with me. She attends most of my author events and really helps me out. Here is a picture of my daughter, Lucy, with one of my fans at a book signing.
I’m about halfway through plotting the next book in The Gathering series. This is the point where I start assigning names to all the new characters I’ll be introducing. And that gives me an opportunity to ask all of you—do you want to be famous?
I tried using the names of people I know in my last book and I think it worked pretty well. One of my wife’s coworkers jumped at the chance to be truly evil. A friend in my neighborhood read the first story and readily agreed to lend me her name as long as I didn’t kill her, maim her, or turn her into a jerk. (Where’s the fun in that?)
A couple of important characters are going to be introduced into book three and at least one of them will appear throughout the rest of the series. Without a doubt, I’ll find a way to kill off several people that have a few lines of dialogue before they meet their untimely demise. And I expect to go through a reasonably large number of names for cast members who are less than nice. All of these people need names.
If you are interested in possibly having your name used for a character in my next book post a comment or send me an e-mail through the contact page. Let me know if you are willing to accept a fate as a villainous cad, an eventual cadaver, or if your name can only be associated with the cream of humanity. But I have to warn you that I don’t have a lot of room for nice people in my story.
So, do ya wanna be famous?
A friend once told me that less than 1% of hopeful authors succeed in having one of their books picked up by a publisher. And I know from my experiences since I’ve been published that many first time authors do not go on to have a second book published. But thanks to all of you I have beaten the odds and my second book, Call to Arms: Nations Fall, is on the bookstore shelves.
Does the publishing experience feel different the second time around?
Yes it does. The thrill of seeing a story I created in the book store is still there as is the giddy hope that people will enjoy the story and even possibly have it enrich their lives in some way. Gone is the confusion of what I need to do next. I have established contacts and know the routine all that remains is to go out and meet the public as I market the book. And I know from my marketing efforts over the last 18 months that marketing is the fun part of the process.
One thing that has gained a new level of complication is how to answer the question, “What’s going on with your book?” That question now needs clarification. Do they mean my first book? Do they mean the book that’s about to come out? Do they mean the book I submitted to several publishers and now wait for acceptance? Or do they mean one of the three books for which I am currently writing chapters?
In case you’re interested, here are the answers:
Book One, The Gathering: End’s Beginning, is still selling a few copies. I’m still getting people in my neighborhood coming up to me and telling me how much they enjoyed reading it. They are still leaving reviews on Amazon. This is a new experience for me and one that I rather like. My work lives on. Granted, this will be more impressive if the book had already been out for twenty years, but you have to take the pleasures in life as they come along.
Book Two, Call to Arms: Nations Fall, was released on August 11 and I am in the middle of the blog tour for the novel. Hooray. This is the busy time. I have the official book launch party on Friday and then the first of a series of book signings on Saturday. It is still too early in the process to have a feel for how people are enjoying Call to Arms, but I’m anxious to find out. What parts of the story did they like best? What part did they not like? Did I manage to hook them into wanting to read the next story in the series? Only time will tell.
The middle-grade fantasy I finished a couple of months ago has been sent to a publisher and I am waiting to hear whether they want it or will reject it. This is easily the most difficult part of the authoring process. It contains an equal mixture of excitement and dread. Will the story take me to the next level as an author? Or will all of the publishers reject it, forcing me to self-publish what I feel to be a wonderful story.
The next book in the series, a middle-grade story about a boy and his dog, and YA dystopian story are the three novels I am currently working on—simultaneously. Did I hear you say that’s insane to work on three books at once? Why, yes it is. And I certainly don’t advise anyone else to join in the insanity. I’m in the early stages on all three of the novels and still excited about writing them.
Anyway, thank you everyone who has taken the time to read The Gathering: End’s Beginning. Please, consider picking up Call to Arms: Nations Fall. I think you’ll be glad you did.
You and Me
Let's make this about you and me. I'll go ahead and write some articles and then you jump right in and share your thoughts on the matter. How does that sound?