WWIV Book 1

FOUR WWIV Books are now available on Amazon.
Click here for more information.

Friday, June 26, 2015

New Book Blog Tour Announcement

Please share this with as many of your friends as you dare.

There will be special pricing on this book during the tour.

Thank you!

e a lake


Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Happy Birthday George!

Tomorrow, June 25, 2015, marks the 112th celebration of the birth of Eric Blair. Blair was a simple man who went on to become a famous author - known to the world as George Orwell.

Orwell wrote a number of pieces of literature. However, he is most famous for two - the satirical tale entitled Animal Farm, and one of the greatest Dystopian novels ever written - 1984.

Oh George, we hardly knew you

It should be noted up front that Orwell died in 1950, at the ripe old age of 46. Heck, 46? That was almost ten years ago in my age continuum. Suddenly I feel old, almost useless. But I'm sure that will pass.

Had he lived another ten years there is no telling of what he may have written next. Was he good for another two, maybe three books? If he would have lived to, say, 66 - what could he have accomplished with an additional 20 years?

Many of us read Orwell in School

One of my neighbors groaned when I told her I was writing a new novel; something similar to 1984 I mentioned. "Oh dear God," she moaned. "I had to read that one in high school." I could describe her face to you, recalling the novel from her younger days. But we all remember the expression of our classmates, assigned some obscure piece of literature our teachers assured us was Classic. "Yeah, right, we all answered. "Classically boring."

In my school, back in the mid-70s, it was Alexsandr Solzhenitsyn's The Gulag Archipelago. As a side note, some of us read 1984 for fun. I still recall starting Solzhenitsyn's dark classic. I was just sure I was going to hate every word of it. And at first, I did. But only because I told myself it was a terrible book.

And then something odd happened

I must be honest; seventeen-year-old me loved the dark dystopian (and very real) world of the mid to late 50s Soviet penal system. At least I loved the author's engrossing, gripping description of it - and his life inside the Gulag (Russian for prison). It takes a special talent to describe to a person a sunny day in a dull and oppressive gray world. While the novel ebbs and flows your spirits sink, knowing our protagonist is always in peril.

Orwell created a whole new world for 1984. Most of my reading friends marvel at how people like George RR Martin did this with Game of Thrones. Let me fill you in on a little secret, brother (or sister): authors, great authors, have been doing this for centuries.

Dickens, and Tolkien, and Lewis - oh my!

Many of us toil nowadays, attempting to create something as magnificent as 1984, Tale of Two Cities, The Hobbitt, or even The Lion, The Witch, and The Wardrobe. Most of us, almost a guaranteed 100% of us, will fall short. But that shouldn't stop us from trying.

Orwell (Blair) wrote under a pen name because he was sure no one would buy anything written by Eric Blair. Legend has it that the first title to his classic was 1980 - because he planned on finishing it in 1940. From there it changed to 1982, finally settling on 1984. None of this deterred the man from his goal of writing this new form of literature. And I thank God for that. To this day it is one of my all-time favorite reads.

So Happy Birthday - George Orwell. May your unique brand of writing live on for centuries to come. Always available to torture poor school children, those lucky kids.

Until next week, here is the link to the Amazon page for Animal Farm. Give it a try!

e a lake


Wednesday, June 17, 2015

Cover that Book?

Copyrights: Literature vs. Music

Okay, I got a bone to pick this week with the music industry. And I think I make a good case - perhaps a great case. Or, maybe, it will just come off as whining. Let's get to it.

You will recall that last week I told you about my great idea for rewriting Hemingway's Old Man and The Sea. I'm going to change a few names, move it from Cuba to Bayfield, Wisconsin and let it roll. Mine will be titled, The Old Fart and the Lake. If you didn't read that post, click here.

But wait, that makes me a thief (or at least a hack)

If I don't change it enough, I violate Copyright Laws. At best, people will yawn and laugh at me. And that's not the reputation I am seeking.

And this is where my problem begins...

First off - I LOVE music covers. I love song covers, I love cover groups - I just love it all. Hey, I stopped and listened to Neil Dynamite at the MN State Fair several years ago. He was actually pretty darn good.

And who among us doesn't love a good (or even bad) Elvis impersonator? "Honeymoon in Vegas" style.

Here's OneRepublic with their hit Counting Stars:

I really like the song. I like the music, the lyrics, and even the video. (Though can someone tell me what the crocodile represents...please?)

Now while you are on YouTube, go ahead and search for covers on Counting Stars. Go on, do it now; I'll wait for you right here.

Results? About 100,000+. And some are quite impressive.

Alex Goot, Kurt Schneider, and Chrissy Costanza - 39 million+ views
Cimorelli - 10 million+
Christina Grimmie - 8 million+
Gardiner Sisters - 2.5 million+
MattyB - 8 million+

And the list goes on

My point: None of these cover groups wrote this music, or the lyrics. Each puts their own small spin on it (Cimorelli cleans up the lyrics, and Gardiner Sisters slow it down), but none are overly original.


With both me and the music industry. Fine with me because I love covers. Fine for the industry because OneRepublic gets more exposure (and is monetized from YouTube). By the way, the original version of the song by the group has more than 829 million views on YouTube.

Cimorelli, for instance, has more than 3 million subscribers on their YouTube channel - built almost exclusively on covers. They have a number of original songs now, they do tour North America and Europe, but their original popularity comes from covering other hit songs. Written and recorded by someone else first. 

And just to be clear - I have NO problem with that.

Let's return to the world of the written word

Old Fart and the Lake will most likely never see the light of day (and that's a good thing in soooooo many ways). Primarily, I will never get permission to "cover" the classic tale in the way I'd like to. Honestly I don't even know where to start. Maybe I'll look up Hemingway in the local phone book and see if anyone is related.

Let's say, in a different vein, that I want to do a knock off of Hugh Howey's smash Wool. Now, there is some fan-fiction already out there in this series, and some of it is even fairly decent. But that's not what I want to do as an author. I want to be original.

In music, one can use covers to get their name out to the public. It's worked many times for many people (Christina Grimmie springs to mind). 

The same does not hold true when it comes to literature. Here, the Copyright Laws are more strictly enforced. Plus, there's no YouTube for writers. 

If you want to make it big in the writing business (and please feel free to define "big" however you would like) you need to be original. Even if there are only seven plot lines running around out there, as some claim.

Others will tell you, "It's all already been written. Anything you do from this point forward is merely cheap imitations." BullCrap! Double BullCrap!!

Get out there, write something. Dream of something wild and crazy to create. You can, as the saying goes, JUST DO IT!

As for me, I am almost finished with a new manuscript entitled 2085. If you can't see the parallel yet, it's okay: (Hint - I am a Dystopian author). I'll have more to say about it in the coming months. Look for it sometime either later this year or early 2016.

Until next week, beat the summer heat with a great read!

e a lake


Wednesday, June 10, 2015

The Old Fart and the Lake

I've just come across a brilliant book idea. I'm dying to share it with you.

It involves and old man - more of an old fart really - who lives as a fisherman. He fishes daily on, let's say, Lake Superior. His only friend is a young boy, no change that, a young girl. The old fart is hapless, thus the young girl watches after him. Let's call the old man San Diego, and the young girl Marolin. 

One day San Diego goes out fishing and catches a large...fish. Some kind of fish you find in the Great Lakes. Perhaps a salmon or a lake trout. The fish drags him around for days in Superior. And in doing so the old fart discovers the true meaning of his life - perhaps all life.

The other fish, of course, chomp away at his catch after he hauls its corpse to the side of his boat. By the time he gets back to his home port, most of the fish is gone. Marolin finds the remnants of the fish - skeletal mostly - attached to the port side of his small boat, and goes in search of the old man. She finds him at his small dingy home, asleep. Sitting near him, she smiles and allows his slumber to continue unabated.

I tell you: This is going to be a HIT, a true CLASSIC!

Copyright Offender, Plagiarist, or Hack

You decide. Which one am I. No doubt you recognize my story, a whale of a tale of fishing adventure. All due regards to Mr. Hemingway, mine might be better. But - and this is important - it's not mine, literally or figuratively.

Old Man and the Sea was written by Hemingway in 1951. According to the Copyright Laws of that time, his work is protected for 95 years from publication date. As such, I am in violation of the law for publishing something he wrote under my name. 

But, if I'm clever and adapt it enough I'm not really republishing his creation; I'm enhancing it, making it better - Right?

To be a plagiarist, according to the Dictionary, I would have to do the following:

  • to steal and pass off (the ideas or words of another) as one's own
  • to use (another's production) without crediting the source
  • to commit literary theft
  • to present as new and original an idea or product derived from an existing source
Okay, maybe that's what I'll be - a plagiarist. But can you really steal an idea? I mean hundreds, thousands have written cheesy romance novels throughout the years. And most of them revolve around two or three different plots. Are they, everyone but the originals, plagiarists?

A Hack
Most likely this is the one that all people would default to - a least their opinions would center around this fact. I'd be called unoriginal, dull, dimwitted. And for the most part they would be correct. I mean am I that lazy that I can't think up a decent plot on my own? 

If it was my first novel, it would no doubt be my last (at least under that pen name). Even if it was my fifteenth novel, who would dare purchase anything from me again? I'd be finished in the writing world.

A However
But there are those who take classics and give them new twists. To do this they painstakingly rewrite the base plot and insert their own ideas. Seth Grahame-Smith has done a wonderful job with this. Consider some of his works: Pride and Prejudice and Zombies, Sense and Sensibility and Sea Monsters. Seth has created a whole new genre almost, combining the classics (which we've all read - right?) and some current popular ideas.

So it can be done. All throughout the art (creation) world it can work. Maybe...

Next week I'll do a little contrasting and comparing with other areas of art: Movies, Paintings, and my personal favorite - Song covers.

Until next time, perhaps give one of Seth's many titles a try...you might enjoy it.

e a lake