WWIV Book 1

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Wednesday, April 29, 2015

The Experienced Writer

Someone recently asked me:

"How much experience did you have, in writing, before you began?"

Great question. And this week I tackle the answer in video form.

So, there you have it. I hope you enjoyed the video. There are many more to come.

For the next two Wednesdays I will be giving my thoughts on AMC's "The Walking Dead." If you're a fan of the show, you'll want to tune in for my thoughts.

Until next week, keep reading!

e a lake


Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Lessons from Book Club

About a month ago, I was the star at my daughter's book club. Well, I was the star in my mind. The only reason for my presence was they had read my second novel, WWIV - Kids at War. My daughter thought it would be a good chance for me to hear honest views about my writing. Though I was a little nervous, I agreed to attend (it did include a meal after all).

I have to be honest with you, I've never been part of a book club before; much less a discussion at said club about one of my books. I didn't know what to expect; I had no idea of any lessons to be learned. But learn, I did.

1. Everyone was polite, and honest

Since I knew most of the women in attendance, the conversations flowed easily. Some of these gals I have known for 15+ years. The cutest comment I received went something like this: "I just couldn't get over the idea that you had written this. I mean the whole first two or three chapters I stopped several times and said 'Erika's Dad wrote this.' " (Erika being my daughter)

2. Everyone had opinions

I guess I was a little shocked by this. Most book clubs that I know of are more a Friday night wine party than an actual book reading club. But, it seemed to me, they had all read the book - the whole book. I was flattered.

Some liked Theresa. Others found Hunter an interesting character. One of my daughter's oldest friends really liked Sara. Most felt the nun was portrayed alright, but not 100% accurate. At least not in this post-apocalyptic setting. They all seemed to like the location I had chosen. Overall, the collective group rated it somewhere between three and four stars. I was happy with this result.

3. To a person, this was not their typical genre

I think I knew this going in, but it was still interesting to hear what their preferred genres were. Many, if not all, usually read standard literary fiction most of the time. None were big romance readers. One nice person, Julie, told me her boyfriend loved sci-fi and post-apocalyptic books. I was happy to provide her with paperback copies of both novels that are published at this point.

Though they didn't necessarily seek out this genre, most said it was a good book that held their attention to the end. That was important for me to hear. If I can write something that keeps readers interested, even though they wouldn't normally read this type of book, I figure I've written a decent piece of fiction. And that is extremely satisfying, my friends.

4. No one believed the title was all that bad

One of the things that my team and I have wrestled with since the day of publication has been the title of this book. Being honest, this one hasn't made the progress that book one has (WWIV - In The Beginning). We don't think the cover is bad - at least no one has told us that so far. So we've decided, unscientifically, that it must be the title. But when asked, the group as a whole shrugged and shook their heads.

Maybe it's because it's not their typical genre. Or perhaps the book blurb is decent. It could even be as simple as they didn't want to hurt my feelings. But trust me, I asked for their honest input. And they gave it; they honestly answered every question I asked. So maybe it's not the title. I'll keep fishing for an answer on this question.

All in all, this was a great experience for me!

I want to thank each of the ladies who participated and gave their honest views. Kari, Megan, Molly, Julie, Sarah, and Erika - thank you all. Your openness and honest input made the whole night worthwhile for me. I have taken to heart everything you mentioned. We had a great time - and they admitted at the end that they "never talk this much about the book they've read."Again, I am flattered and humbled by your participation.

If you are a budding author, I recommend you get your book in front of a local book club. The experience, if anywhere near mine, will be great for your career. And bring some paperbacks. People love freebies. And they might even ask you to sign them - as my group did. I wonder how long it will take me to get used to signing my creations? Perhaps someday it will become monotonous. I hope not though, I really like the thrill.

Want to win signed copies of my two current novels? Click here to enter a contest to do so. Next drawing is May 1st; there's still time to win.

Until next week, keep reading!

e a lake

My Books:


Wednesday, April 15, 2015

When Fantasy and Reality Clash

Let me set the scene for you: It's mid-day in mid-April. The skies are as clear as a baby's complexion, and a beautiful deep blue. The wind, what little there is, cools our skin; the temp is close to 70. The place - Costal Virginia. The event - a one-year-olds birthday party.

So, all you post-apocalyptic fans out there, look at the picture below. What AMC show title slaps you in the face when you peek at the pic? What music theme enters your brain? What do you expect to come out of the sparse woodlot?

If you answered anything but THE WALKING DEAD, you are incorrect.

Come on, don't you just expect zombies to come out of the head-height brush? Sneaking up (as best as zombies can) and claiming these folks as victims? If you are one of the people in the pic, what would you do if you heard the telltale moans coming from the woods? Run like hell, right? Just be sure to grab the baby on your dash back to the apartment.

It's not Georgia, but it's Close

Truth be told, almost all of THE WALKING DEAD has been filmed in Georgia. And almost all of it within a stone's throw of Atlanta. The above pic, again, is from Virginia. But much of the south - to a northerner like me - is similar. And it iss a great place for the series to be based.

If you're a fan of THE WALKING DEAD you'll be happy to know that I have two posts coming up next month about the show. I'll give you my take on the good and puzzling of the series (now ready for season six next fall). I already said I'm a fan, but there are still things that make me wonder. I bet some of you have the same thoughts.

What would YOU change?

If we are honest, there are always things you would change in what you watch and read. Some characters are portrayed incorrectly, perhaps: Daryl should have shorter hair? Lori should still be alive? Why are they circling Atalanta for so long? So many questions; so much opportunity for interpretation.

Look for those posts in the next three or four weeks. Even if you are fan #1 of the show, I promise I have some thoughts that you might not have come up with yet.

Want to win signed copies of my two current novels? Click here to enter a contest to do so. Next drawing is May 1st; there's still time to win.

Until next time, thanks for following.

e a lake

My Books:


Wednesday, April 8, 2015

Show, Don't Tell (A famous quote most authors understand)

I was mad, really mad. I hurriedly walked into the room. I needed to find my wife and take my frustration out on her.

Okay, before you get too upset, the above sentence is an example of something that any author may write. It is not what was going on right before I began writing today. All-in-all, the above mess gets the point across to the reader. Someone was mad, they hurried into the room, and looked for his wife. We can do better though.

I ran into the living room, my fists clenched, ears ringing. Scouring the area, I noticed my wife missing. "Where the hell are you, Carolyn?" I screamed. "You owe my a huge explanation."

So what's the difference you ask? Simply put, I told you everything in the first sentences; in the second, I showed you what was happening.

One of the most difficult concepts for new authors to get a handle on is the Show vs. Tell idea. Didn't I mention he walked "hurriedly" in the first one? I told you he was "mad". The reader should get the idea, right?

The answer is: maybe

I'm going to try and keep this short and sweet, without going into boring detail. But to me, it's all about the verbs.

Let's start with walked vs. ran. The first problem with the verb walked is that I used an adverb (a -ly word) to modify the first word. "Walked hurriedly" gets the point across, but what we really need to do is search for a better, stronger verb to make our sentence really shine.

That's why I used ran. You can see that action clearly in your mind. The same goes with mad (more of an adjective, yet can be a verb). Don't just tell your readers someone is mad - show them mad/angry.

Another example

The woods was beautiful today. Karen looked at the new green leaves, moving wildly in the strong breeze. She smiled, remembering the woods of her youth.

That's okay, but I basically told you about the scene. I showed you very little.

The breeze caused the spring foliage to flutter as if they were being shook by a giant. A musty odor reached Karen's nose, the smell of decay. She remembered as a child playing in piles of brown and orange as her father raked the backyard. The corners of her mouth curled upward; how long has it been since I thought of Dad? she wondered.

First off, I used a metaphor with the giant. These are great tools, just don't overuse them. Next, I killed the verb, adverb in the first (moving wildly) and replaced them with a stronger verb (flutter) - followed by the metaphor.

I also tell you Karen smiled and remembered her childhood without using those exact words. I gave you the specific memory (dad and/or) raking of leaves. And what is a smile if not the "corners of her mouth curl(ing) upward?"

Writers, good writers, learn how to show their readers almost everything. Rarely will they use words like mad, or happy, or beautiful. No, they show you what mad looks like, what happy might sound like, just how beautiful as rose really is.

 I'm not there yet, though I'm trying. It's hard to get the hang of this when you first start writing. But, as with anything, practice makes you better. Thus, I'll keep practicing.

(And remember to sign up for the free drawing to both of my novels in paperback form. Click here for details.)

Until next week,

e a lake

My Books:


Wednesday, April 1, 2015

April Promo - Paperback Giveaway (Signed)


I'd like you to enter a giveaway. No big catches, nothing to buy, you don't have to promise to be my friend. All you need to enter is an email address - and I assume if you are on-line reading this, you have one.

What am I giving away? Great Question.

At this time I have two books in print: WWIV - In The Beginning, and, WWIV - Kids at War. By summer I will have two additional books ready for reading. I will be giving away two copies of each (in The Beginning, and Kids at War). One set on April 15th (Tax Day in the US), and another set on May 1st (May Day - all around the world, I believe). All will be signed and personalized for each of the winners.

Here's how you enter:

That's it, sign up and you are entered. I will announce, on my blog - this blog, the winners on April 15 and May 1. I will contact the winners at those times for their shipping information.

And there are no losers in this deal. Just providing me with your email address will keep you informed for future giveaways. I'm already planning a huge 4th of July promo; you will want to be part of my list for that (details in June).

As always, thank you for following this blog. Also, for those who have purchased and read my novels - Thank You, as well. I would be lost in this journey if not for you.

Have a great week, and enter for free paperbacks. Please feel free to enter once a week (if you would like to increase your odds of winning).

e a lake

My Books: