Thursday, February 16, 2012

Not Quite Heaven

Here's a quick poem I scratch out this morning:

We met when we were six, your family had moved in.
It was June, and when we met, a friendship did begin.
In the summer we had fun. We played and rode our bikes.
Little did we know, we'd both made friends for life.
You'd wonder why on Saturday nights out late I could not stay.
I had to get up early for church on the mornings of Sunday.
As we grew up together, you were almost like my brother.
But in college we lost touch, I went to one, and you another.
Then when I was an adult, divorced and in much pain.
On Facebook, if figured what the heck, I searched upon your name.
As luck would have it, the first result, my old friend I had found.
And better yet, you lived so close, one mile outside my town!
We got together that night for drinks at my favorite local bar.
We talked, we laughed, we reminisced, in life, we'd both gone far.
Your wife had divorce you also, and left you in a fog.
You also were living alone, except for Max your dog.
For the next few years, we'd get together several times a week.
We'd talk about anything in the world, just of one subject, we did not speak.
We'd have some beer and talk politics, we'd solve the problems of the nation.
Then one night, I'd drank too much, and I asked you about your salvation.
You laughed and told me you didn't believe, but you respected how I feel,
But alas, you said, when it comes to God, all that stuff isn't real.
And look at you, you said with a smile, you hypocritical punk!
Your church says drinking is evil, yet you sit before me drunk.
I explained that the bible taught that moderate drinking was fine.
After all, Christ was called a drunkard, and he changed water into wine!
Never again did we speak of it, for I didn't want to offend.
And we'd get together, laugh and drink, the fun would never end.
Alcohol, that double edged sword, the source of fun and strife,
How ironic, with how much closer it brought us, that it would take you from my life.
It happened a cool November eve, you were taking your dog Max for a walk.
You had texted me that when you were done, we would get together and talk.
But a driver who had too much to drink thought he'd try his luck
to make it home okay, but instead it was you, my friend, who his car had struck.
I got there as soon as I heard, Max whimpered by your side.
The paramedics tried their best, but alas, my friend, you died.
The funeral was large, since you were taken far too soon.
All I could think about was the time we met in that youthful month of June.
Your wake was nice, fun but sad, of our antics I would boast.
My friend, you will be missed, I said in the closing toast.
I took in Max, your faithful hound. He lived his life all through.
But I was never his master. That honor belonged to you.
He died years later, sad and content, peaceful in his sleep.
And now at the rainbow bridge, and eternal vigil will he keep.
I also lived my full days, but it was never quite the same.
And I was truly ready on that night the reaper came.
I was in my eighties, when I felt the icy touch of death,
But things weren't quite as I expected the other side of that last breath.
I stood before a throne of judgement on atop what seemed a cloud,
Every sin that I'd committed in full was read aloud.
I braced myself for final judgment when a lamb who had been slain,
Spoke "this one belongs to me, for my book contains his name."
I asked him about you, my friend, about your final lot.
The lamb looked sad, "I'm sorry, my child. For your friend, I knew him not."
Heaven, more glorious than I could ever know.
There was no death, no sickness, no pain, not even rain or snow.
I am always so comfortable, I neither sweat nor shiver.
I eat the fruit from the trees of life, and drink from the crystal river.
Other wonders and amazing beauties are beyond my words to tell,
But every now and then, I'm sad, because my best friend burns in hell.
They say God wipes away every tear, and I know for fact that's true.
I've shed a lot throughout the years. It's not quite heaven without you.

Monday, February 13, 2012

Self Publishing

So, after yet another rejection letter from an agent / publisher, I've decided to self publish.

Admittedly, the genre in which I write, Traditional Old School Fantasy, is a difficult genre to break into. There are a lot of established well known writers such as George R. R. Martin, R. A. Salvatore, and many others. Right now, Paranormal Romance and Urban Fantasy is what's hot, and it offers the best chance for new writers. While I could see myself writing an Urban Fantasy series in the future, I want to get a series under my belt before I go that direction.

I already have a marketing plan in place, one that hasn't really been tried, but I believe has a lot of potential. I am not going to release the details of it until after I launch Blood Of The Righteous. I'm also going to give up one of my vices and use the money towards online marketing. I have several sites picked out already, and once my cover artist gets my cover together, I am going to create an ad banner.

I know a number of people who have self published, and now their books are sitting on Amazon for $0.99, or free with an Amazon Plus account. I've studied their errors, along with what successful self publishers have done, and learned from them.

1) If you believe in your books, put your money where your mouth is. Be prepared to spend $300 - $400 on a professional cover if you aren't a digital artist yourself. Being a Neural Network Scientist by trade, this is not one of my strong points.

2) Given that the Ki Kalendeen Chronicles is a seven book series, once I'm ready to release my second book, I'm going to make the first one free. My wife is a very big e-book reader, and that is how Amanda Hocking snagged her interest.

3) Go out of your comfort zone on Social Media. You may be a brilliant writer, but the quality of your writing alone won't get you noticed.

4) Join independent author sites. They are a great way to get noticed. Be prepared to pay to join. Several I am looking at are free for readers, but they charge the authors.

5) The "Two Days Free" promotion is a great way to increase sales from what I've seen.

Anyway, these are just some thoughts on self publishing. I'm hoping I'll be a success at it. We'll see.

Saturday, February 11, 2012

Trying to get published

For six years, I wrote a political blog that had a large following. Tiring of the endless insanity on both sides of the isle, I turned my talents towards fiction. I have seven books planned for this series, 5 in the main story arc, and two collections of short stories.

Blood of the Righteous covers several genres: Traditional old school Fantasy, and Alternate History. The series offers a consistent world that incorporates magic and religious elements, both scriptural and apocryphal. It can be used across many genres, and I have ideas for series that take place in both the old west and modern urban fantasy.

I have already received a request for manuscript from a small independent publisher. While that route is acceptable, I would really like to get in front of larger publishers. I am looking for representation so I don't get taken to the proverbial cleaners.

If need be, I will go the self publishing route. I have hired a professional artist to do my cover design. You can visit his website at . Also read about his own upcoming zombie apocalypse book: Shuffle.

The publishing world is a numbers game. Try go get in front of an agent / publisher, along with the other 200 people they will be glancing over that day. Naturally having that many people vying for your attention will create some very big egos out there, so prepare yourself for a lot of rejection, and some of it will be uncalled for and nasty.

I'm going to keep perusing the traditional route, but thanks to companies like Amazon and CreateSpace, the traditional route isn't the only way to go.

Blood Of The Righteous

Book 1 of the Ki Kalendeen Chronicles

Murder most foul! A noble lord is slaughtered in his manor. His three surviving children suddenly find themselves commoners. The Oldest, Gabriel Ki Kalendeen, is a knight in service to the church. He must balance his commitment to God with his responsibilities of his family. Eleenia, an independent minded healer, tries to make her way in a male dominated society, and in a profession that permits few females to enter. The roguish David, having survived the attack on his family, takes on a new identity, convinced that he is still a target. Together they struggle against society, their own deep character flaws, and the evil that secretly manipulates the world through intrigue, deception, lies, and murder. But the sons of perdition knew not what they did when they spilled the Blood of the Righteous!