Monday, February 28, 2011

Arrogation Ebook Contest

***NOTE: THIS OFFER HAS EXPIRED, BUT FEEL FREE TO STILL SOLVE THE PUZZLE!***

Can you solve the puzzle below? If so, you can be a winner of a free copy of Arrogation from the Miscorrection series. The best part is that everyone can win! Just follow the clues below to figure out the answer to the puzzle and then follow the instructions to redeem your prize.

Abundance


Photo Courtesy of http://ma.tt


Begin transmission.


It was the cherries. Who would think that you could destroy your enemy with cherries? We had bioengineered many things, but we happened upon a way to attack our enemy and overtake them.

Sunday, February 27, 2011

Writing Wrap-Up II

It’s time for the weekly wrap-up. This is a good one. Doesn’t it look so yummy?

Saturday, February 26, 2011

Ebook Giveaway!!!



***NOTE: THIS OFFER HAS BEEN EXTENDED UNTIL MARCH 2, 2011***

Would you like a chance to read Miscorrection: Arrogation free? You can!

At midnight on March 1, 2011, I will post details on how you can win a coupon code to download Arrogation free from Smashwords. But I don’t want to just give away the code. Let’s make this fun!

Friday, February 25, 2011

Book Review: Shattered Wonders: Five Science Fiction Stories by Jeff Ambrose

Shattered Wonders: Five Science Fiction Stories by Jeff Ambrose is exactly what the title suggests. The book contains four short stories, The Senex, Butterfly Rose, Erasing God, and Alien Camp, and one novelette, Mission to Edia-Prime. Each story has what the author defines as a dark bent. Rather than describe each story here, which would no doubt spoil them since they are short, I’ll leave that for you to discover and enjoy on your own.

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Laying A Foundation

I have always liked the idea of telling stories. After I graduated from high school in the late ‘90s, I intended to be a writer, as a hobby only. There were many short stories that I wrote, which are now forever lost.

But regardless, I carried on my writing in a verbal form when I had children.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Weekly Poll I

I’ve decided it would be fun to post a weekly poll on my blog. The subject matter will vary depending on my mood, current events, and whatever pops into my head. As you can see above, I’ve also added a menu option to see all posted polls.

My goal is to post these polls once a week on Wednesday. I will also accompany the poll with a blog post that describes the question in detail. Remember, this is my goal, so there is a very real possibility that I won’t have one every week. But I will certainly try my best.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Creating a Traffic Jam

Since I started getting serious about my blog about a month and a half ago, I’ve seen some good results. The site is averaging around twenty-two hits a day. That doesn’t sound great, but remember, I was only averaging like ten a month before that. My efforts have been good. I use Twitter, Facebook, and other means to drive me to my blog. But I want more traffic!

Monday, February 21, 2011

Slowly Solving Problems Swiftly

When I write, I find myself having an interesting problem, especially if I’m writing a story. I take the time to figure out my story, thinking about it for many days or weeks before I even begin to put the thoughts into words. Finally, I sit down at my computer, put my fingers on the keys,and I begin typing.

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Writing Wrap-Up I

I’ve decided to start a weekly wrap-up (at least I hope I can keep it weekly) that summarizes my writing experiences. This will include a listing of all blog posts for the week and my experiences writing the Miscorrection series. Hopefully you like my picture pun that accompanies this post. And if you could care less about the wrap-up below, I hope each week's picture is enough to make you visit each Sunday. There's nothing like a good wrap!

Friday, February 18, 2011

Book Review: Disintegration by Scott Nicholson

Disintegration by Scott Nicholson is a tale of a husband and wife who experience a very tragic event. This event (which I won’t spoil here) is the catalyst for the entire story. Throughout the reading, you are pulled deeper and deeper into the world of Jacob, and to a lesser extent, his wife Renee. This is a story where not all is exactly as it seems for the two, and how everything unfolds at the end is quite surprising.

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

The Fiction of Being Real

Part of the fun in writing the Miscorrection series is creating a believable universe. In the beginning of my writing the series, it was in its infancy. But now I find myself writing the fourth novelette, and the universe has become very much alive.

As the writer, I have thought out this universe. I’ve created characters, locations, organizations, and more. And this is crucial to any story. It doesn’t need to be science fiction. All fiction requires that the worlds the characters live in are real and believable. This is why movies and books like Star Wars, Star Trek, Lost, Foundation, and more have found success. The creators of a story develop the story so well that the audience believes it is real. Not only that, many times they imagine they are a part of it.

This was a difficult task to accomplish with Miscorrection, and I feel it is going well. After release of the first three stories, readers should be getting a clear understanding of the universe I’ve made, the characters and their roles, and even the things that need to change in that universe. My hope is that they believe it, that they envision themselves being a part of it, and that they want to dive deeper into the world I’ve made.

For me it has become very real. This morning, as I was writing the fourth novelette, the main character of the story had a revelation. The character understood something more clearly and had an “A-ha” moment. At the same time the character had that experience, I felt like I experienced it with the character. I felt the same exhilaration the character would have felt. It was a moment that made me realize fully that I believe it the world about which I am writing. It showed that I believe that this is more than just words on paper (or words on a screen). It’s real.

I hope as you read and continue reading the Miscorrection series, you feel the same way about the world. And, of course, I appreciate any feedback from readers of the series. While I wouldn’t change the story, your feedback can help me improve my approach to telling it and making it more real for you.

It's never too late for you to start reading the series, and don't forget that the first novelette is free. Just go to the Miscorrection Ebooks page to get your free ebook!

Sunday, February 13, 2011

PubIt! - Self-Publishing for the Nook

What is your ereader of preference? The Kindle? The Nook? Something else? Most people who have an ereader love it, defend, and swear by it. And that’s great! Everyone should have their opinion of the best product and to tell others how they feel about it.

For a self-published writer however, bias in where they release their written works is not an option. My works had been available exclusively on the Kindle, but now, thanks to Barnes & Noble starting their own self-publishing format for Nook, you can purchase the Miscorrection series on your Nook.

The name of the service is PubIt! This is a clever title, even if you could make jokes about it sounding very similar to something more offensive. Regardless of the name, this is another way for indie authors to get their books out there. And I am very glad this is the case.

It’s very important for an indie author to take advantage of whatever options they can to get there books in front of people. If you stick all your eggs in one basket, you are limiting your audience and exposure. The more places your book is for sale, the more likely you are to have sales. So do not let your preference in an ereader cause you to sell your books exclusively for one format.

The PubIt! system is much like the Kindle Direct Publishing (KDP) format. After signing up, you simply fill in all the information for each book you have such as the title, author, cover image, and the digital file for the book. This is then converted to the EPUB format, which is the format the Nook and most ereaders use for viewing books. An added benefit on PubIt!, when compared to KDP, is that you can add editorial review excepts to your books description. This is a great feature for those who have had web sites review their book.

Since I already had the first three books in the Miscorrection series formatted and ready for use on the Kindle, getting them onto PubIt! was a breeze. I had finished uploading and entering information Saturday morning, and by Saturday night all three of the stories when available to purchase.

It’s an easy system, and great for us indie authors. I appreciate that Barnes & Noble opened up to self-publishing on the Nook. I hope to expand even further onto other ebook stores in the future! And don't forget, you can get the first novelette in the Miscorrection series for free at the Miscorrection Ebooks button above.

Saturday, February 12, 2011

Book Review: A Journey to the Centre of the Earth by Jules Verne

It’s an oldie but a goodie. That’s what I like to say about books that are written so long ago and yet they still remain relevant and entertaining. A Journey to the Centre of the Earth is no exception. While the original publication goes back to 1864, it is a fun romp nonetheless. It should be noted that, over the years, different translations of the book have been made. The version I read was purchased from Amazon for the low, low cost of free. One notable difference between this translation and the original is that the name of one of the main characters is changed. But these things are trivial, as the story of a professor, his nephew, and a loyal guide is entertaining the whole way through.

The Good: There were a few things I really liked about this book. First, the adventure. The excursion into the unknown was fascinating. Nevermind that what happens in the book could never actually be real; when you are reading the story you imagine that it is. You feel the danger and suspense as the three explorers go deeper into the earth and discover many fascinating things. Also, I found it interesting that the story is written as if it is an actual, educational account. Throughout the entirety of the book, the narrative explains the meaning of certain scientific terms and past discoveries that are relatable to what the explorers see and experience. It certainly is a fun journey to follow them as they make their way to the center of the earth!

The Bad: One problem with a book that is so old is the terminology and phrasing. There are many words and phrases used that we just don’t use today. At times, I had some trouble understanding exactly what was being described or talked about. For instance, on more than one occasion it mentions how the explorers stopped to have “repast”. This isn’t a term most would use today, and it simply means they stopped to eat or have a meal. Also, the pacing in the beginning is a little slow, and the real fun of the adventure does not begin until about a third of the way through the book.

The Ugly: This one is not really a fault of the book, after all, I have to take the time period it was written in into account. This book has seen a few adaptations in the film industry. The result is that I was expecting some of the things I have seen in the movies. Despite all the wonderful things seen on their journey, all of what they see is plausible for the time period written. Instead of finding areas with lack of gravity or floating rocks, the explorers happen upon a world stuck in the far past, thousands of years before their journey. All of it, in a sense, was real at one point. Many of the movies today depict things that have never happened in the earth’s history, and fantastical things that it will probably never see either. If you are expecting an account following what has been shown in film, you may be disappointed.

Overall, I really liked A Journey to the Centre of the Earth. It was fun to see into the past in more way than one and appreciate the perspective of a science fiction writer from a century and a half ago. I highly recommend you read this, if you haven’t already. This is classic science fiction. Like I said at the beginning, it’s an oldie but a goodie.

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Blog Stats I

I have decided that it would be fun to post some statistics from my blog. While this post is getting closer to the middle of the month, future Blog Stats posts will be posted the first of each month and will show the last thirty days of activity. Posts will include hits on posts, links, and search queries that led to a post.  In order not to make the Blog Stats annoying to read, I will only be posting the top five in each category. Enjoy!

LAST 30 DAY BLOG POSTS HITS

  1. "Lost" Series Finale Explained 367 hits

  2. Home page 89 hits

  3. Get Miscorrection: Sunrise for Free!!! 78 hits

  4. Felix Culpa Cover Art 46 hits

  5. Starting Book Reviews 40 hits


LAST 30 DAYS MOST CLICKED LINKS (Please note that some links may no longer be active.)

  1. cid-f48244167a38bf3b.office.live.com/self.aspx/Free eBooks/Sunrise ^5Miscorrection^6.prc 16 clicks

  2. amzn.to/NtyFL 13 clicks

  3. public.blu.livefilestore.com/y1pqPgY46kUs1HrdWwO6LLj8bYH3jABIIFyBsJ3_um4gkqQQpMunvhASoJNUfecI29oCHNS1NHLC6E9DmFqevvbjg/Sunrise (Miscorrection).prc?download&psid=1 9 clicks

  4. bit.ly/dPiGP 6 clicks

  5. amazon.com/gp/product/B003VD1HTQ?ie=UTF8&tag=younginfo-20&linkCode=as2&camp=1789&creative=9325&creativeASIN=B003VD1HTQ 3 clicks


LAST 30 DAYS SEARCH QUERIES

  1. my son is a pilot

  2. www.kindledirectpublishing format

  3. wordpress publishing to kindle

  4. save kindle books on my timecapsule

  5. amazon kindle updates

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Twitter for Kindle

Amazon announced today a forthcoming update for the latest generation of the Kindle. To me, the most exciting thing about this announcement is what you can do after you read a book.

So what is it? Well, you will now be able to seamlessly rate the book, share your thoughts about it on your social network, see recommendations, and view other books by the author.

This may seem like it is not too big of a deal. But, once you go to the Kindle Social Page, you can begin to see why this is going to be very nice. They haven’t dubbed it that name, but for all intents and purposes, that’s what I am calling it.

Here they have taken the concept of Twitter and Facebook and merged it into a social network for books. What makes this so great is that it is seamless. Now, I don’t have to go through a manual process like on Shelfari or Goodreads that requires me to enter in all the books I am reading, have read, or plan to read.

Do you have Kindle books on your Amazon wishlist? Have you purchased books for Kindle through Amazon? No problem. They will automatically show up on your Kindle Social Page. And you will still have your privacy. If you decide not to let others see specific books you have read or plan to read, you can hide them. But why would you? Don’t you want the world to know what you have enjoyed reading?

Also, any reviews you have written on the Amazon page for the book are automatically pulled into your account. Again, a seamless transition that prevents you from having to manually enter a review you have written. Along with this, you can share any highlights you have made in a book, and the comments you made, too.

But it doesn’t have to end there. Do you have a favorite author? Do you like to know what your friends are reading? Of course you do. Now you can follow your friends and favorite authors through this site. You’ll be able to see what they enjoy reading, allowing you to broaden your horizons of books to read.

All this seamless integration with the Kindle is exciting. This is just another evolution in the Kindle that makes it such a great device.

If you would like to follow me on your Kindle, just go to my profile page and click “Follow”. I look forward to hearing from you and seeing what books you are reading!

Monday, February 7, 2011

Why Science Fiction?

It might be asked why I choose to read and write science fiction. After all, I enjoy other genres. But all of my life, I have found I most enjoy science fiction. This is the case whether it is a book, movie, or television show.

My interest in science fiction stems from the amazing possibilities that are before us. When I watch the Enterprise on Star Trek flying through space, a lightsaber being wielded in Star Wars, or a DeLorean time traveling once hitting a speed of 88 m.p.h., I imagine what it would be like to experience those things. It’s the idea of those possibilities being a reality that makes science fiction so much fun!

Think about it. Today we do many things that people twenty years ago would have considered science fiction. Talking via video chat is a great example. We are experiencing what the creators of The Jetsons envisioned. And this isn’t just done within the confines of our home. We are able to do this on the go, while using our phones.

So when I write or when I am entertained by science fiction, it is not only fantastic, out of this world stories that intrigue me, but also ideas in that story that may one day be a reality. These ideas allow for a lot of creativity in new concepts and storytelling that you cannot get in a real world setting.

The great thing is that science fiction can be bold and in your face with its ideas, or more subtle. A great example of subtlety is the television series Lost. That show started as some people trapped on an island, with some mystery monster roaming it. By the time the series ended, who would have thought there would be so many science fiction ideas in there, not to mention a few from the fantasy genre.

Science fiction is fun and I will never stop enjoying it. The possibilities of stories that can be told in this genre are endless and only limited by the imagination of the writers telling them. When it comes to science fiction, the future certainly is bright!

 

Sunday, February 6, 2011

Book Review: Homecoming by Sue Ann Bowling

Homecoming follows the story of several characters of different origins. Some of these characters are slaves, some prominent leaders. The book follows the stories of these characters, the choices they make, and the fears they face. All of this takes place many thousands of years after our current time, when an alien race, the R’il’nians, the R’il’noids, and Humans coexist. Intelligent life has spread throughout the galaxy, spanning many planets. The fate of the Confederation, a coalition of many of the planets, is uncertain, as it needs a proper heir for leadership. The current heir is corrupt, unloving, and unkind, and Lai, the father of this heir comes to understand this and the need for a better solution. The R'il'nians and the R'il'noids also have a few special powers that I won't spoil here, but they add a good element to the story.

The Good: One thing about the universe of Homecoming that I really enjoyed was the universe. The author thought it out well and made it very real. The R’il’nians were an alien race who were overcome by a plague called Kharfun. This almost completely obliterated the race. Through crossbreeding with humans, they were able to sustain their race. However, the relationships formed with the two races also led to the acceptance by many of slavery. As I read the book and understood the well-realized universe envisioned by the author, I was impressed. This aspect of the book is what captured my interest the most.

The Bad: The author clearly defines the characters within the book. There is no doubt as to their personality traits, as described by the narrative. So what makes this bad? Despite the good descriptions of the characters, the dialogue between them lacked the same differentiating impact. When every character speaks, I couldn’t help but feel like they all spoke in the same manner. Yes, they are different characters, but the demeanor and personality shown in the dialogue made it feel like everyone was the same. If not for the narrative explaining the characters so well, I would have had a very hard time reading this book, because everyone would have seemed like the same person.

The Ugly: All fictional books need a good story. While Homecoming’s story has a lot of potential, it fails to deliver. The whole time I read the book, I kept trying to figure out its focus. What was the story the author was trying to tell? Throughout the book, the focus seems to shift. And just when I felt that I understood where it was going, the focus changes. I didn’t even understand who the main character in the story was until the very end. And even then, the ending leaves nothing conclusive to help you feel as if this was where everything was leading. It’s unfortunate, because with such a well-realized universe, the potential for a very interesting story is there. Instead, a bunch of things happen, and you walk away from the book not completely sure why they mattered.

Overall, I did like reading the book and understanding the universe. Was it a page-turner? No. Was I motivated to finish the book? Yes. But not for the reason I should have been motivated. My interest in the story didn’t move me to complete it, but rather my wanting to move on to a new story did.

Friday, February 4, 2011

Starting Book Reviews

After much deliberation, well maybe not much, I’ve decided that I will begin posting reviews of books that I read. At first, I was going to limit this only to books written by independent authors. But I decided that I really shouldn’t limit what I review. After all, I’m of the opinion that anyone can write if they put their mind to it. Why should I differentiate with authors? Also, the genre of the book will vary, but only slightly. I tend to lean towards science fiction for my reading. But here and there, I will read other genres.

As for my review layout, it will go something like this:

  1. I will have an intro paragraph that briefly states the basic story.

  2. I will then break down the review into three sections: The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly. (Somewhat cliché, but I felt I could cover everything in the book this way.)

  3. My overall feeling on the book.


I do not intend to have any star ratings or point systems. My thought was I should be able to convey my opinion on the book and give you a good idea of my feelings without limiting it to a rating.

The reviews will begin now, with the current book I am reading. I will not go back to books I have read in the past. So the first review will be Sue Ann Bowling’s book, Homecoming. I am in the process of finishing this book. So, you can expect to see the review in the next week or so. Until then, Happy Reading!

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Writing is Solitary

The Bing dictionary defines solitary as ‘done without the company of other people’. As I thought about this, I realized that is exactly what someone experiences when he or she writes.

Writing is a lonely hobby. For me, the story bounces around in my head. I formulate the story's plot points and characters just by being alone and thinking. Sometimes I do this while I’m driving to work. Other times, I do it as I’m falling asleep. Sometimes I’m making an outline of specifics of the story on paper or the computer. But never am I conversing about what I want to write, unless I’m in the editing stages, and I’m getting suggestions for improvement from a third party. So overall, I write my stories in solitary.

This aspect of writing is intriguing to say the least. Because through the loneliness of writing, I find myself enjoying the company of the characters and story I am writing. They start to become very real. Writing can be a lonely hobby or career, but your mind keeps you occupied nonetheless.

This made me think of another wonderful thing for writers. As we get older, we may start to go crazy. As we have trained our minds to think on their own and create stories and characters, we’ll never run out of things to think about, characters to talk to, or places to go because in our mind, we’ll be able to go their.

They say solitary can drive a person insane, and maybe writing can do that. And if it does, a writer can be glad that he’s trained his brain to enjoy the insanity he experiences.

If you like this post, please be sure to click the Google +1 and/or the Facebook Like button below.