Saturday, April 30, 2011

Harbinger, I Summon Thee

More than a gallon of writer's block smasher.
The proof copy of The Seventh Horn is on its way to me so I must resume my writing habits.  I'll start by playing with one of my short stories and jump right into Blood Testament: The Harbinger directly after.  I think the picture speaks for itself.  I wouldn't say alcohol makes me write well... I'd say it makes me care less about every little damned issue and just do it.  At some point I imagine that I'll be comfortable enough with my writing and just do it without the need for assistance.  Some pretty decent scenes from T7H flew from my fingers when I was hammered, so let's see what comes from this go around.  Hey, maybe if I'm lucky, I can use this merlot for its alternative purpose before I waste it all on writing.

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Updates, Updates

Alright.  Here we go:

1) You are correct.  You are now at JamesSickels.com.  I thought it egotistical to name a website after myself too, but it seems to be the easiest way to tell other people about my little space here.  It's also commonplace for real authors to do so - so what the hell?

2) You may notice a "Bio" page up top there.  That's just a little something about me that you may or may not know.  I thought it'd add another layer of depth to the relatively stale page here, so have at it.  I had to have a friend write it up for me because I simply can't talk about myself and be comfortable with it.  Thank you to my editorial consultant, Kim.

3) The Seventh Horn has received an update to version 2 on B&N.com and Amazon.com.  Minor grammatical errors and spelling errors were resolved along with a few tiny add-ons here and there.  Notably, the language was toned down a bit to allow for a bit wider range of audience.  If you purchased it already, you should be able to download it again for free to receive those changes.  Sincerest apologies for the mishap.

4) The Seventh Horn is is being processed for self-published paperback edition, ISBN and all.  It's being produced through a company called CreateSpace which falls under its parent company of Amazon.com.  I'm not sure of all the logistics, but I believe you will be able to purchase it outright and have it shipped to you right from the website when the time comes.  If I recall, the price will end up being something like $6.00-7.00 + shipping, but don't quote me on that.  In all likelihood, I will be ordering an amount for distribution to you lucky people which will end up being much cheaper than that.  My copies will be signed to boot (ooh, ahh.  I know.)

5) In light of the strange increase in traffic to the site and the random friend requests I've been receiving, I've decided to make an Author Page on Facebook.  You can see the shortcut button over on the right-hand side.  Click it and join the few other people who think I'm just swell.  New posts and updates will end up there, while my personal stuff will end up - good guess - on my personal page.  Again, it feels narcissistic of me, but anyone who knows me knows that's not the case.

Excerpt: Amalgamations and Cacophonies

Men, women and children jumbled together in settings while scenarios melded together into hideous, nightmarish landscapes.  Bloodshot eyes were located in the center of the most beautiful of daisies and human arms protruded from the oaks.  The blades of grass were stainless steel and ivy was razor-wire.  The sky was on fire, blood poured from the clouds, and icicles hung from the sunbeams.  Vaguely misshapen human bodies twitched as they remained impaled on the dangerous flora across the landscape.  One man had a triangle for a head while others had ears, eyes and mouths which were scrambled upon their faces.  In the distance, an enormous fuchsia and teal spotted spider bore a multitude of newborn baby faces where its insectoid eyes should have been and it walked upon legs made of glass.  Ark was immobilized as the disturbing scene played out before him and the baby-headed arachnid slowly and carefully made its way toward him.  Monstrous legs clicked and clacked across the bladed grass field and as it approached him, it raised a shimmering leg.  With a quick jab, it pierced through his face and he found himself returned to the world of the living with a scream.

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Bunnies and Eggs and Chocolate

Hope everyone had a great day with kin and kindred alike.

The next few days should be interesting.  Wednesday's interview for promotion is the next time I am scheduled for work, so during my free time I will be wrapping up the most final edits and then moving forward with the rest of T7H.

'Moving forward' should include paperback publishing and review by what I would call a VIP.  I'm a little excited by the potential outcome of this next phase.  T7H has been pretty well received thus far, so here's hoping that a professional review will serve as a more definitive reason to believe that I might actually be able to write.  Once that is complete, I plan to go into marketing, contests, and whatever else I can manage.  Not to mention that I'm going to begin writing The Harbinger in full force.  If my promotion goes through, it will seriously eat into my writing time, but sometimes ya gotta do what ya gotta do.

On another note, I'm considering moving this blog o' mine to an actual namesake.  The heightened traffic I've been receiving leads me to believe that I can only achieve greater heights by making myself accessible to a wider audience.  http://jsickels3.blogspot.com will still take you here if you are bookmarked or what have you, but I think this upgrade might be in order.  It sounds narcissistic to me, but I think JamesSickels.com is probably the best option.  It's unfortunate my last name is easily misspelled and that 'ss' combo in there really bothers me - but oh well.

Wish me luck as I wish you a happy rest of your holiday.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Shower Epiphany

There I was taking a shower when I was suddenly struck with an idea for a book.  I will tell you now that the two are completely independent of one another and the idea in no way involves showers or anything down that road.  Big disappointment, I'm sure.  Wipe that smirk off your face.

Now that I think on it, the idea might have sprung from the bits and pieces of the Bio section that I've been discussing with a friend.  I know I had a similar idea a few weeks ago, but I didn't have any way to write it down at the time and now it's gone.  I've still managed to retain what began that lost idea, however.

Stephen King says that he gets his ideas from taking two mostly unrelated ideas and smashing them together (and then one can only assume he sprinkles paranormal stuff in there for good measure).  He then asks that predicament or situation the question: What If?  Instead, I like the concept: Careful What You Wish For.  It's more of an addendum to his question, I guess.

What if that were a real thing?  Careful what you wish for.

There are always people running around with ideas that they think are fabulous and wonderful and these people are always asking others to agree.  Everyone has met at least one person like this.  "The government should do this!" and "Someone should invent something that does that!" and "Such-and-such should be illegal!"  Okay, what if?  Maybe next time you'll be careful what you wish for.

Saturday, April 16, 2011

Another Year Gone By

Just concluded my birthday and overall, I'd say it went pretty well.  This week I got a bit of extra bonus cash from the side job, got a new job opportunity on the horizon where I won't have to risk my life on a daily basis, e-published my first book, got a new radio setup in the car so I can listen to decent stuff finally, and had a nice meal or three today.  Something's missing, but good things come to those who wait - or some shit like that.

So, I'm working on the possibility for a paperback "definitive" edition of T7H.  I didn't catch everything in the editing process and there are a few more little things that I see need tightening up here and there.  I'm an amateur, but I'm trying, ya know?  I'll update the e-book to reflect the changes when it's complete so that future downloads will receive that as well.  I have something in mind for people who already bought the e-book, too.  If this includes you, send me an e-mail or a message on Facebook.  I'm going to compile a list and try to do a little something for ya in the future.

Besides that, I'm going to get back to work on the two short stories that are in progress.  It's been too long since I've actually written something.  Thank god for the note-taking ability that spawned from thin air, otherwise I would've undoubtedly forgotten 90% of the stories I have laid out.

Monday, April 11, 2011

So To Answer Your Question (Part 2)

It's now been 48 hours since release.  I'm kinda impressed at the sales thus far (yes, I can see how many copies are sold).  Help me out.  Send me a question about the book and I'll answer it.  Read through T7H and write me a review on the sales sites.  I appreciate any word of mouth marketing that you give me and will do my best to show it to you later on.

Q) Is that supposed to be Ark on the cover?
A) Yeah.  I guess I couldn't convey that I wanted Ark to be an attractive male.  If casting the role of Ark in a movie, I'd have gone for a young Jason Lewis.

Q) I don't have an e-reader or a fancy shmancy tablet.  Whaddya want from me?
A) Well, I'll be the first to admit that it's a pain in the ass to read on the computer.  It can make you wanna dig your eyes out.  That's what I think anyway.  If you aren't like me and think you'd like to read it on your computer, both the Nook and the Kindle have free apps you can download to your PC, iPhone or etc.  Like I mentioned in the previous post, I'm playing with the notion of free signed copies of the paperback version for the first batch of people who buy the e-book.  If you buy the e-book and are still having a tough time, let me know and I'll see what I can do.

Q) You suck.
A) That's not a question, sir.

Q) Was it necessary to swear that much?
A) Yup.  Look, would you have really believed that the uneducated residents of an apocalyptic Philadelphia went around saying "gosh darn" and "dang it?"  Yeah, me neither.  They don't talk like that now, why would they talk like that later?

Q) Are you really going to finish this series or am I going to read this and get pissed off?
A) If you tell me that you actually want more after reading T7H, I will gladly write the next two.

Q) Sorry, I don't like reading books.
A) Again, not a question, but I will forgive you young lady.  T7H is not an epic novel, nor did I want it to be.  It's just supposed to be entertaining.  With the amount of stupid dialogue in there, you might think you're reading a script instead of a book anyway.  T7H doesn't require a dictionary to understand and it doesn't demand you have a philosophy degree.  You may need a sense of humor, however.

Sunday, April 10, 2011

So To Answer Your Question (Part 1)

It's been about 24 hours since The Seventh Horn went up for sale on the websites and I thought maybe I'd take a few moments to answer some questions.

Q) I haven't been paying attention to your ramblings.  What's your book about?
A) From my spontaneous synopsis:

"Ark awoke with powers he didn't ask for surrounded on all sides by people who despise him for who he is. It certainly hasn't changed their feelings about him now that he's dead. He was always a bit of a loner and always a bit of a chauvinistic coward, but people no longer want to avoid him - they want him dead. On the other hand, the dead seem to understand his thirst for power and offer him a place in their community of psychopaths and murderers. Only one person is keeping Ark's untapped powers from destroying the world and she seems to think that he is a messenger from God. Will it be salvation that Ark chooses or will the dark embrace prove too strong to resist?"

To clarify, it's a fairly short novel (just over 50,000 words) about a suddenly turned vampire in Philadelphia during the biblical apocalypse.  If you live in the area, you're sure to recognize locations and landmarks that I've mentioned.  Everything takes place in the real, yet fictionalized, Philadelphia.  Yeah, it's a vampire book because I've had an infatuation with the real vampires like Vlad Tepes and Lestat for a great many years.  It's not my fault everyone else ruined vampires, alright?  This isn't a romance novel and it's not a young adult novel.  It's a book about what if a real person turned into a vampire?  Not a gothic weirdo, not a teenager, not a ninja.  In fact, I'll come right out and say it - he's an asshole.  It made me laugh just writing it.  If you'd like tidbits: 1, 2, 3, 4 excerpts from the first draft are here for your viewing pleasure.  Samples are also available from purchase pages on B&N and Amazon.

Q) Ugh, I gotta pay?
A) Yeah, I know.  I'm sorry.  It's only a buck though.  It's the cheapest I was able to set it for on the websites.  I know it's more about the hassle of having to input your CC information into the websites than the actual dollar, but c'mon.  I think a few hours of entertainment and helping someone out is worth the minute and half worth of work, right?  Besides, I don't even get the whole dollar - not even half, to be honest.  It's about having the numbers showing that people are interested in me.  I'm toying with the idea of having specials for facebook and blog fans who buy the e-book.  Perhaps free paperback editions signed by yours truly?  Perhaps giveaways of the cover art?  Perhaps I'll write you into my next book?  Who knows.  Be a sport.  Read the book and tell people you know some jackass wrote a book and that maybe you liked it.  That's all I really want.

Q) I'm already done.  Can I have some more?
A) The Seventh Horn (T7H) is the first book of what I plan to be a trilogy I've named Blood Testament (Old, New, Blood Testaments - I slap biblical text pretty hard, fyi).  A prequel entitled The Harbinger is next, followed by a sequel tentatively called The Charred.  While it took me about six months in total to write T7H, I have no idea how long it'll take me to pop out the next two.  I may get sidetracked with short stories and the other novel I started a while back called XII.  If you happened to enjoy my writing, let me know and I will do my best to get what I can sent your way.  Find me on facebook, send me an e-mail, give me a call, or jump on here and leave me a comment or two.

Saturday, April 9, 2011

Release Day


Welcome sinners and heathens, friends and family!  Have you ever had the overwhelming desire to read a cheap piece of trash filled with heresy and vampires written by an untalented hack?  Well, today is your lucky day.  The e-book version of The Seventh Horn is now available for purchase for the amazingly expensive price of $0.99 on Barnes and Noble's website.  Click the link for more details.  The Kindle version should be released tomorrow on Amazon.com with that information to follow.  Need a Nook App?  

Processing...

It's almost time.  My sin shall be wrought upon the Earth.  What sin, you ask?  The publication of Blood Testament: Volume I.  Many frowny faces will litter the walls of Facebook upon the release of this travesty.  It's bad, awful and bad.  You don't want to read it.  You may be deemed worthy of excommunication for even thinking otherwise.  Look away.

You still here?  Well, don't say I didn't warn ya.  Keep an eye out in the next few days, brave followers.  It's almost time.

Friday, April 8, 2011

Second and Last Draft

Completed the suggested edits this evening and it feels like it took longer to do that than actually write the book. I did manage to shove the entire first draft process into one month, so it's very possible I spent more days doing revisions, I guess.  I think I'm just going to skim over what I've got on the Nook and pop it on up for e-publishing. I really want to get started on something else and having this constantly looming over me is kind of a buzz kill.  I started writing because I enjoy it.  Gotta do something to keep it fresh and interesting for me.  I've got a couple short stories lined up.  That should be fun.  Maybe I'll even slap em all together into a collection sometime in the future.  Hell, I haven't even read anything in weeks.  I'm obviously really burnt out right now, so I bid you adieu.