Monday, June 25, 2012

Summertime Fireballs.

So sorry for the long absence this month. Things have been so crazy around here.

Thank you so much for your encouraging words and your suggestions when my publisher sent me notice that they were closing their doors at the end of the year. I had the option of having them publish my book anyway, and they would be nice enough to give me back the rights on January of 2013, but I decided to take my rights now and see if I could find a new home.

I've got great news: I DID find a new home. Fortunately, I was able to land with a great publishing house, Hydra Publications. I met with the president and got to pitch to him in person a few months ago, and I reached out to him again. He's been looking for some good steampunk books, and Dragonfly Warrior hit the spot. The best thing about joining Hydra is all of the other authors on its roster. They've created a robust and active writer's community, and they've already welcomed me with open arms.

I know I'm in good hands. Although this is a delay, I'm relieved and happy that I signed a contract with Hydra. Depression has been replaced with jubilation. Things happen for a reason, I guess.

I have been traveling ALL over the place by car. Yuck. My lower back hurts so bad. I don't have satellite radio, so I am sick of the same songs being played by the radio. I hate Adele now. The cool thing, however, is I've gotten to drive through and stop at all of these great little towns...bits of Americana out here in the middle of the US of A. And with summertime in full swing, it was really cool to see kids playing baseball in a sandlot (literally). Or the ice cream truck surrounded by a swarm of eager kiddos holding dollar bills in their hands (in my day, you only needed 50 cents to get a bomb pop). Swap meets, picnics, festivals..

It made me think of my own childhood and summers spent outside the house, not coming back until the proverbial streetlight reached its full electric bloom. My most memorable summer memory is one that involves me and my buddy riding our bikes late at night and a huge fireball streaking across the sky. I think it was 1982.

We just about crashed our bikes when we saw this huge object hurtling right over us, a piece of it falling off and vaporizing in the air. It went from west to east, streaming and billowing across the horizon. I had a tough time falling asleep that night.

Next morning, my friend knocked at my door with a newspaper in his hand. A Russian satellite had fallen. It burned up before striking the ground. What's funny is that other that this blog post, I still talk about that night all the time. I accidentally ran into my childhood friend in college, and he said that it's one of his favorite stories to tell too.

So yeah, when I think of summer, I often think about Russian satellites crashing.

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Dust in the Wind

Easy come, easy go...right?

Just got some horrible news. Literally one month before my book, Dragonfly Warrior, was to be published by Otherworld Publications, they have decided to shut down operations. So me and my book are now homeless.

Not sure what to do.

The good news: they are going to give me back my rights by July.

The bad news: I'm not going to be a published author in July.

Any suggestions???


Bueller?  Bueller?

Sunday, June 10, 2012

Villains We Love to Hate

Again, I apologize for my absence. My job is requires so much travel - and when I do have the time to sit down to write or blog, I'm mentally exhausted. To those writers that are fortunate to be able to focus on your craft, I'm so jealous! And to those that somehow find the time/energy to write after working a demanding job, I salute you.

While I was driving all over God's-green-Earth, I was thinking about literary villains. What's a good guy without a bad guy? To me, a great villain works as the most effective foil for your hero. The contrast can highlight your protagonist, thus strengthening characterization. So I thought: What makes a great villain? And which ones are my favorites?

Here's what I came up with:

Lord Voldemort - Harry Potter Series. Nevermind that he looks like an evil Ninja Turtle. This is one badass dark wizard. He reminds me of Anakin Skywalker/Darth Vader in the Harry Potter world. Here's this gifted kid, who turns to the darkside, and wants to kill people. Voldermort embodies pure evil in the series as he pursues immortality. Oh, and he tried to kill baby Harry!
"Who are you going to use as a shield today, Potter?"

Hannibal Lecter - Red Dragon. What makes Hannibal evil? Um, he eats people. And he's pretty proud of it. The dude pairs a human liver with freakin' fine Italian wine. What makes Hannibal extra creepy is that he's profoundly intelligent and cultured. Gives me the willies just thinking about it.
I love a good thigh.

Iago - Othello. I LOVE me some Shakespeare, and I will admit that a lot of my writing is inspired by the bard. Iago is one bad dude. Driven by jealousy (and racism), he tricks Othello into thinking that his wife Desdemona is cheating on him. He's a master manipulator, and eventually his dastardly schemes come to fruition when Othello kills Desdemona. And Iago almost got away with it, but his own wife turns him in. Ha!
Don't listen to him Othello!

Pennywise the Dancing Clown - It. Clowns are scary, and Stephen King's demon shape-shifting clown that lures and murders children might be to blame. The 1990 TV movie scared the hell out of me too. Everything scary is embodied in this freaky clown: it's a demon, uses your phobias and fears against you, and dares to target innocent kids by biting them or ripping their arms off. Geez, Stephen King is one troubled bastard.
Pennywise the SCARY!

Alex - A Clockwork Orange. I read this book in college, and man was it disturbing. This is one of the granddaddies of dystopia, and I think what makes books like this so haunting is the dark truth in all of them. Alex is a crazy teenager and gang leader  that engages in just about everything bad you can think of . Violence and assault, breaking and entering, stealing, raping, and murder. Karma's a bitch, and in the end, he gets his!
Alex about to ravage two girls

How about you? What are some of your favorite literary baddies?