Sunday, June 2, 2013

Publishing Contract

It seems so counterintuitive that I should have taken time off from this blog, especially with all the good news I had to share.  However, the good news - strangely - is what is consuming most of my time.

A few months ago, I was sent information on a Young Adult writing competition hosted by Clean Teen Publishing.  If you've read any of my work before, you know I'm traditionally a violent military science fiction author.  What the hell do I know about the YA genre?

One thing I've come to realize, however, is that these writing competitions force me to flex my author muscles.  I'm forced to write genres and book lengths (yes, it's hard to write a short story when you normally plot out 450-page novels) that are outside my comfort zone.  And, to date, that's really paid off.

So I entered a novella (about 150 pages) into the competition and I won!  Believe me, I was stunned.  Not because I didn't think the story was good, I really did think it was.  I was surprised because I wrote the 150 pages in 5 days!  I didn't find out about the competition until the week before my submission was due and had to scramble to enter.  Common sense would have said that I just waited and submitted later, but for some reason I was dead set on competing.

Not only did my novella WIND WARRIOR win the competition, but I was then asked by Clean Teen Publishing to expand the novella to a full-length novel.  I expanded it to nearly 250 pages (still short of my norm) and then was offered a publishing contract through CTP!

I've never been saddened by my choice to be an independent, self-published author.  Despite the huge amount of new books being published through Amazon and B&N these days, I'm incredibly proud of the work I've done on my previous novels and the sales have never been terrible.  People still buy my books every day and I have some legitimately wonderful fans.

But to say that I haven't wanted a publishing contract - that I've been completely content being self-published - would be lying to you.  It's not the contract itself, it's the fact that I have a team that's committed to making my work successful.  There's an incredible cover artist who is doing remarkable work not just for the first book, but for the entire trilogy (it WILL be a trilogy, by the way).  I have a pair of ladies who are working on the marketing plan.  I have someone to format the book for publication (something I absolutely HATE doing myself).  It feels incredible to know that there are professionals dedicated to helping my book hit the streets!

I was perfectly content being an self-published author and after this trilogy if I have to go back to that, I'm still fine with it.  I started writing because I love telling stories and sharing them with others.  But so long as I can ride this high, believe me, I will!

Check out the incredible team at Clean Teen Publishing!  And be ready for WIND WARRIOR's release on 14 June 2013!

Sunday, April 28, 2013

The Evil of Bob Ross and the Ice Cream Truck

I don’t hate a lot of people.  A Soldier that worked for me once said it best: “I’ve disliked a lot of people, but never enough to kill them.  Some are close, but not quite.  But someday I’m going to meet the one person that I will kill.  At that point, I’m going to pull out my list because if I’m going to jail for murder, I might as well go away for mass murder.”

However, I do have a pair of nemesises… nemesi… nemesisees? 

Bob Ross and the Ice Cream Truck.  I hate them both.  Legitimately hate them.

The Ice Cream Truck story is fairly straightforward.  They play only one song, which they play at decibels roughly equivalent to the take off of a jet engine.  Over and over and over and over.  That same damn carnival clown song over and over.  When we lived in Tennessee, our neighborhood had seven roads that all ran parallel to one another.  In the summer when people kept their windows open – and, ironically, when people wanted ice cream – the truck would drive up and down the streets blaring its song for hours on end.  I was actually forbidden from running outside and setting in on fire.

Bob Ross.  There’s not much to tell about that puffy-haired bastard.  You can’t paint a mountain and “happy” river with only using a 3-inch brush and two different shades of black!  You cocky son of a bitch!  He makes it look so damn easy!  And.  It’s.  Not!  I made the mistake of picking up one of his painting instruction books at Hobby Lobby one day.  Each painting was a two-page spread.  The left side was a photo of his painting with his fucking happy trees and river.  The right side was squares of instruction.  The instructions were: “Then take your brush and paint a mountain”.  Just like that?  Pick up my brush and magically create a freaking mountain?  It wasn’t a painting instruction guide.  It was a suicide aid for those who weren’t sure if life was worth living.  Because after reading his “instruction guide”, I wanted to slit my own wrists!

I still haven’t found that person I’m willing to kill, but if I do watch your back Bob Ross and the Ice Cream man!

EDITOR’S NOTE: I realize Bob Ross is dead.  I’m sure he’s painting happy trees in hell right now.