Saturday, April 30, 2016

Strangely Funny III The Print Version. The Publishers Sent Me a Copy

And it's now sitting on my bed.

The THIRD book out of FOUR Volumes (there was a .5 version in there somewhere)

This means that the print version of the book is now available through retailers and online via Amazon and through any retailer that you give the ISBN number to: it's ISBN-13 978-0996420969 and if you tell them that they can pull up the record for ordering.

I really hope people like my story - the follow-up to "I Must Be Your First" - titled "Minette Dances with the Golem of Albany" and that people who purchase copies of the anthology leave behind good reviews of it, Please and Thank You.

Thursday, April 28, 2016

Reminder: Barnes & Noble Local Author Event May 21st

Just noting that the Barnes & Noble Wesley Chapel bookstore has the official notice for their Local Authors event on Saturday May 21st from 2:00 PM to 4:00 PM. Link here for more info:

Here's a map to the location, it's north of Tampa just east of I-75 on State Rd 56 (it's the first exit past the Pasco County border if you're driving north on the interstate).
There's going to be about 25 other authors there to promote their works, and it would be real nice if we could get a lot of people showing up to support our writing and to support reading and books in general.

Thank ye! I hope to see you all there (yes even the Chinese Spammers I kept getting about 5-6 years ago, c'mon people it's only 3000 km away!)

Friday, April 22, 2016

NEW Published: A Serious Tank on a Clockwork World

You may notice an earlier post about teaching a class on self-publishing and e-publishing in particular. Part of the class was to demonstrate how to actually upload that book and make it available.

So I took a story I'd been fiddling with for years, cleaned it up as best I could, struggled over designing my own book cover, and tried the upload.

I messed up the file size of the book cover JPG, so the class got futzed in a hurry.

In the meantime, I'd discussed the whole issue of book covers online with fellow NaNoWriMo writers, and a ton of them all told me the same thing: my cover design skills suck. So a couple of them threw out their ideas, and writer Mary Crawford came up with a cover that just looked gorgeous so I begged to buy hers off at $100 to use for the story.
That looks beautiful, with the reflective blue glass, doesn't it?

The story itself... look, I got to admit, this wasn't a SERIOUS attempt to publish as it was a way to show how others how to do it. If you wanna know, it's a tale built off the Asimov's Laws of Robotics - with revisions - and it involves a future world where a planet full of androids have to cope with an unwanted destructive military tank.

It's not much, just an excuse to throw some ideas out there. I had bits and pieces of sentences and scenes that I liked, and needed to put in something somewhere. If you do read the story and notice how uneven it is, that's why: set pieces strung together with barely enough in common to make a coherent tale.

I wouldn't say it's "Very Bad Poetry, Captain" but it's not exactly Hugo-worthy either.

Still, it's out there, on the market, with a beautiful book cover to it, and I really need to get about 100 people buying it so I can recoup my purchase of the cover from Ms. Crawford. Have at it, kids!

Oh, you need links:

Kindle download version

Nook download version

Monday, April 18, 2016

If You EVER Have To Teach A Class on How To E-Publish Your Writings

Just remember to have the PROPER pixel size on your damn JPG file for your e-book cover BEFORE you teach the part of the class on how to actually upload everything to get published.


Next time, Bartow Library attendees, next time I'll have all my ducks in a row like I was trying to teach today. Sigh...

I'll finish uploading the e-story on my own and let you know what it is. Just a little disappointed with myself tonight for messing up that one little OBVIOUS thing I forget to check. DRY RUNS, damn you, do a test to make sure you got the steps right. /trout-slaps self

Saturday, April 16, 2016

In Which We Convince Writer Frank Sawielijew To Answer Questions Before The Swedish Inquisition Gets To Him

Because everyone's conditioned to expect the SPANISH Inquisition. I mean, really.

Anywho, as part of promoting Strangely Funny III on Kindle Amazon and soon to be in print, I've sent out questions to fellow writers contributing to that humor/horror anthology, and this time up we've got this guy up. If we can get my dad Earnest to add some comments, we can finally have a Frank and Earnest discussion about things (stop groaning, dad used that joke on me ages ago).

Anyway, to the questions!

Question 1: What inspired you to write stories with a humorous bent?

I honestly have no idea. The very first stories I wrote were filled with over-the-top silly humor. Even the comics I drew as a kid were funny (or at least supposed to be funny). In fact, I only started writing serious stories two years ago - everything I did before that had been humorous. I guess I just have a natural affinity for silliness, and writing funny stories is a better outlet for that than annoying my friends with horrible puns every day.

Question 2: Which is harder, writing a horror scene or writing a humor scene?

For me, it's the horror scene. I write a lot of humorous stuff, and there are so many ways to make something funny. Playing with the reader's expectations and breaking them with something absurd or even a complete non-sequitur, using puns and other forms of word-play, putting a humorous spin on popular tropes... writing a scene that manages to be at least mildly amusing is easy when you know the tools. Horror is harder to write effectively, as the tools you need to make it work are much more subtle. You need to create a creepy atmosphere and make sure the scary thing is actually scary. Tickling a reader's funny bone is easier than triggering his primal fears.

Question 3: So was Mad Max Fury Road robbed of Best Picture at the Oscars or what?!

For sure! Fury Road is the best action flick I've seen in years, and I love how it's one of the very few modern remakes/sequels that actually respect the source material. The car chases were almost as glorious as those in Mad Max 2. They actually used REAL CARS instead of rendering everything in soulless CGI. Fury Road would've deserved to win ALL the Oscars for being a highly entertaining movie that feels like it could've been made during the golden age of action movies.

Question 4: If you had a choice between classic monsters - the vampire, the golem, the werewolf, the ghost, the gill-man - which one would you throw a coconut custard pie with whipped cream at?

The vampire. I'm assuming this is a situation where I'm in a fight and the pie is my only weapon, and I can choose who I'm fighting against. The golem is made of stone, so throwing a pie at it would do nothing. The werewolf would just open his large, toothy wolf-mouth and eat the pie. The ghost is incorporeal, and the pie would just pass through it and hit the wall. The gill-man is basically just an overgrown fish that lives in the water and pies are even less effective weapons underwater than they are on land.

Question 5: and why did that pie end up hitting Humphrey Bogart instead?

The vampire is played by Sir Christopher Lee who, as a WW2 veteran with combat experience, expertly dodges the pie. The pie misses and hits the vampire hunter van Helsing, played by Humphrey Bogart, who now looks much less stylish than he usually does. With Bogart having lost his greatest advantage - looking stylish - and me having wasted my only weapon, I am now left defenseless before an angry vampire Chrisopher Lee.
I'm screwed.

NOTE: Of course you're screwed, Frank. In MY universe, Christopher Lee isn't a vampire, he just teams up with one during The War as an MI6 spy and fight the Nazis. So, five demerits for House Ravenclaw...

About the author:
We don't have much on Frank Sawielijew. Only that he has a Facebook page promoting his works, that he's written a fantasy work in German titled Die Kleine Gelbe Krote, that he's constantly under attack by lobsters.

Wednesday, April 13, 2016

In Which We Annoy Author Nathan Cromwell - We Think - With Five Questions Until He Gives Us Ice Cream

Once again, with many thanks to fellow writers who submitted stories to the upcoming Strangely Funny III humor/horror anthology coming soon to print and currently for purchase with Amazon Kindle, I have questions to pose, answers in need, and craving for... for... PEPPERMINT!




...I've been told it's April and I should stick to my diet.

Oh, right. The interview with writer Nathan Cromwell. Kind of goes like this:

Question 1: What inspired you to write stories with a humorous bent?

In high school I read “The Idol’s Eye” by S. J. Perelman in a humor anthology and hunted up a book of his writing. I was so taken by the joy of language and sense of play that I wanted to do that, too.

Question 2: Which is harder, writing a horror scene or writing a humor scene?

About equal, but if I see the characters clearly the scenes come together faster. Both shoot for an emotional response from a subjective audience. You can overcome the ‘I don’t like that kind of humor’/‘that doesn’t scare me’ hurdles by making sure the reader understands and cares about your character. If you set it up right, they will hold their collective breaths as the banshee creeps up on the ingenue, and laugh when it gets a face full of expertly thrown coconut creme pie.

Question 3: So was Mad Max Fury Road robbed of Best Picture at the Oscars or what?!

Splunge! (I’m not being indecisive.)

MEDIOCRE! (covers mouth with Wilton 710 Silver Mist Food Spray)

Question 4: If you had a choice between classic monsters - the vampire, the golem, the werewolf, the ghost, the gill-man - which one would you throw a coconut custard pie with whipped cream at?

Ghost—because when it passes through and hits the person you really wanted to paste, you can look all innocent and say, ‘I was aiming for the ghost, dude’.

Question 5: and why did that pie end up hitting Humphrey Bogart instead?

Because Bogart is a ghost, trapped to incorporeally repeat actions from when he was alive and be seen by people sitting in dark rooms, and, as I’ve noted above, I love throwing me some pies at ghosties.

About the author:

Nathan Cromwell does not exist except as Ken Hueler, who will tell you to go looking for Nathan Cromwell because he can point you to Ken Hueler who has information on Nathan Cromwell, which he secured during an intense interrogation scene with Ken Hueler who admits seeing Nathan Cromwell on that very night in question.

His recipe for greasy grimy gopher rice cake can be found at and whatever you do DON'T CLICK on that 3-Dimensional Icon of Bill Cipher in the third-left-hand-corner of the UNIVERSE!
You clicked it, didn't you?
/universe ends

Tuesday, April 12, 2016

A Century of Beverly Cleary

Author Beverly Cleary turns 100 years young today.

I grew up reading the Henry Huggins books, and because of that also the Ramona books. I still don't get the idea that books at a certain age are "gender-specific": the Ramona books were still about growing up as kids, regardless of being a boy or a girl.

I didn't learn until years later that Beverly Cleary worked as a librarian in Yakima, Washington. Which for me as a librarian is a cool thing.

There's still a story in my head I have the title for - "Maybe Auburndale, Maybe Yakima" - that I have the urge to write. I have a reason for choosing Auburndale, FL (it'll be part of the story's theme) and when I found out where Beverly Cleary worked I added Yakima to finish off the title (and fits into the theme) so now you know where the title will come from.

I just want to say that it would be a bright and wonderful and perfectly appropriate thing if Beverly Cleary wins the Nobel Prize for Literature for her contributions to the children's literature and readership. If there's anyone on the committee I can talk to about this, please pass along their e-mail. Thank ye.