Tuesday, October 4, 2016

Friday, September 30, 2016

iAi Featured Book of the Month: "The Old Mermaid's Tale" by Kathleen Valentine

(Novel - 132k words. Love Story, Coming-of-Age, Historical - Paperback or eBook) In 1960 when Clair Wagner's friends are showing off their new bikinis at the local swimming hole and planning weddings, Clair is plotting her escape from her rural farm-community life. She is headed for college on the shores of Lake Erie with plans for the future and dreams of a "handsome sailor with the constellations of the Northern Seas in his eyes".
          Into her life comes Pio, a beautiful Italian fisherman, who longs for a life of adventure on the Great Lakes under the aurora borealis. Clair soon meets Gary, the dashing son of a wealthy shipping magnate, who introduces her to Canal Street on the waterfront where she encounters The Old Mermaid Inn, a tavern that, as Gary tells her, "deserves its reputation".
          But The Old Mermaid Inn, with its giant painting of a seductive mermaid, is home to some fascinating people including Tessie, the owner and original mermaid, and the intriguing Baptiste, a Breton mariner injured in a shipwreck, who earns his living as a musician.
          With Pio, Clair discovers passion, with Gary she gains entry into the world of the commercial waterfront, and with Baptiste she discovers all-consuming love. But as her relationship with Baptiste grows she discovers he is far more complex and mysterious than she could imagine. He has secrets and his secrets will alter her life forever.
           Set against the backdrop of Great Lakes shipping legends and lore, The Old Mermaid's Tale is in part a coming-of-age story, in part a history of a transformative time in America, and throughout a love story of grand proportions that pays homage to the importance of story-telling in our lives. (Also available in Boxed Set with Depraved Heart and Each Angel Burns for Kindle only.)

"The soul, they say, is divine and the flesh is iniquity. But I am a musician and I ask this - without the wood and the strings of the violin, where would the sonata find form?" - from the Prologue
You can learn more about "The Old Mermaid's Tale" by going HERE.
About the author...  From the Allegheny Mountains where she grew up, to the Gloucester seaport
where she writes, Kathleen Valentine loves nothing more than listening to the stories that people tell while sitting on front porches, gathered around kitchen tables, or swapped in coffee shops and taverns. Her collection of legends, folklore, and tall tales are woven into her fiction. The award-winning author of novels, novellas, & short story collections, as well as books of knitting patterns, & a cookbook/memoir about growing up Pennsylvania Dutch, Valentine has been listed as an Amazon Top Selling Author in Horror, Mystery/Suspense, Cooking, and Knitting. As a writer her primary interest is delving into the psychology of her characters. Her stories are sometimes mysterious, sometimes funny, usually romantic, and frequently frightening. Her characters range from lost children and grumpy old folks, to mysterious men and women who are not to be trifled with.

She lives in Gloucester, Massachusetts, America's oldest seaport.

Saturday, September 10, 2016

Can Writers Monetize a Con Visit?

I had an interesting exchange with Shea Fontana, a writer friend of mine. She was wondering if it's possible for a writer to monetize a con visit (Comic-Con, Dragon Con, etc.). Here it is...

Shea:  Does anyone have good resources on how to business at Cons (especially for writers)? I like going to them and hanging out with the fans, but losing several days of potential work every time is not ideal... No paid vacation in freelance life...

Roger:  Shea, I've wondered about this, too. In general, I think it's much harder for a writer to monetize a con visit.

Artists are able to justify renting a booth to sell prints and self-pubbed comics/graphic novels, etc., but unless you have successful indie titles of your own (or are able to work out some sort of appearance deal with your publisher/studio), I'm not sure how it would work for a writer. Plus, those booths can be pricey.

Most of the writer success stories I've run across involve booth rentals and/or popular sci-fi/fantasy/youth authors who do signings (often on someone else's dime).

Over the years, I've been invited to reading festivals (the book equivalent of a con) where, in exchange for appearing on panels and doing readings and signings, etc., they paid for travel and lodging expenses and gave a small per diem. Maybe asking for at least that level of "payment" when you're invited to a con can take some of the sting out of taking an unpaid vacation.

I'm not sure if that's the kind of info you're looking for, but hopefully it's at least a little bit helpful.

Shea:  This is exactly what I'm looking for! Artist can do commissions and sell prints, so maybe they can make a little cash (but from all accounts, not much). But even if I could get wholesale books to sell, being a "merchant" sounds like a certain circle of hell. So I guess it's just a publicity/networking play...

How about you folks? Any thoughts on or experience with this subject? If so, please share in the comments.

Here's a link to an enlightening post by sci-fi pro author Chuck Wendig entitled "The Pros And Cons of Pro Cons (For Writers)" It's a real eye opener!

Saturday, September 3, 2016

Saturday, August 13, 2016

More Progress on My Work in Progress and Other Progress

So... the first chapter of my sci-fi  WIP is at a solid literary agency that specializes in picture books and middle-grade/YA reads. I'm hoping they like it well enough to request the full manuscript. I decided to dip my toe into the traditional publishing pool for a couple of reasons:

First, I'm not a "Indie books suck!" or "Traditional publishing sucks!" kind of guy. I'd be as happy with a nice contract from a publisher as I would with a high sales ranking on a self-pubbed Kindle title. Yep, no snobbery either way as far as I'm concerned. I just want to get my books out there so people can enjoy them.

Second, my WIP is a shiny-new-well-written-bauble (imho) that isn't part of an already published series. Thanks to incredibly helpful notes from my writer friends and some pro-level proofing/copy editing, I think my manuscript is in excellent shape. In other words, this is the perfect opportunity to woo a good agent and give traditional publishing a shot.

I'll let you know how things go. For now, wish me luck.

Then, as I announced on my Facebook Author Page...

Good news for UNDRASTORMUR fans. I've got parts two and three completely outlined and have some strong notions on where I want to go with parts four and five. Yay! The idea is to end up with a total of five novelettes in the series. Fyi, a novelette is roughly 7,500 to 17,500 words in length - Undrastormur was right around 13,000 words.

Writing starts this week!

Friday, July 1, 2016

Progress on My Work In Progress

Just got my space opera manuscript back from the proofer/copy editor today. Looks great! She found lots of stuff that I missed, but it wasn't as bad as I thought it would be. Huzzah!

"Untitled spaceship" concept art by Viktor Titov. (I'd love to have something like this for my cover art!)

Sunday, June 19, 2016

Mini Blog Tour: "Dead Man Lying" by Scott Bury

Dead Man Lying

A Lei Crime Kindle World Mystery 
by Scott Bury

She knows when you’re lying …FBI Special Agent Vanessa Storm is back on Maui to catch a killer.

With lush rain forests, black sand beaches, and a laid-back lifestyle, Maui offers the perfect retirement location for once-famous country singer Steven Sangster … until he ends up dead.

As the killer, or killers, strike again and again, Detective Lei Texeira and FBI Special Agent Vanessa Storm must untangle the lies spun by the singer’s associates, friends, family — and the singer himself before the music dies. 

UPDATE: The Amazon link to Dead Man Lying is now LIVE!

An Excerpt:  

Even though it was only a mile to the village of Hana, Lei took more than ten minutes to drive there in the rain. The wind was strong enough to shake her truck, and when they finally parked at the Travaasa Hotel, the biggest in town, they both hesitated before running through the downpour into the open concept lobby. By the time they reached the desk, they were both drenched.

A half-hour later, checked in, showered and dried, they sat in the hotel’s restaurant. Vanessa had a glass of wine in front of her, Lei a pint of beer. They were off the clock, waiting for their meals, but they couldn’t help talking shop.

“So what did you get out of the interviews?” Lei asked just as a thin blond girl with colorful tattoos down her arms put their plates in front of them. Vanessa waited until she was out of earshot to answer.

“Mostly that everyone is lying,” she said. “Everyone I spoke to is hiding something.”

“How do you know?”

“I can always tell.”

“Like Daredevil?”

“The superhero? No. Everyone gives off little signals when they lie. It’s caused by stress.”

“Like looking away or covering their mouth?”

“Those are two. But there are other common signals, too.”

“But couldn’t that just mean the person is feeling stressed? In a case like this, there are lots of reasons to feel stressed.”

“It’s not a perfect system, but it’s usually pretty reliable.”

“So, how did you develop the ability, if you’re not Daredevil?”

“I studied it in university, and kept up my studies since. I have a Bachelor’s degree in clinical psychology from the University of Vermont, Burlington and a Master’s from Columbia.”

“Wow. Well, I can’t argue with that. But I got the same feeling as you — everybody on this estate has something to hide. The widow, the current Mrs. Sangster, seemed to be more angry at his death than sad about it.”

“She let out a lot of grief when I was alone with her,” said Vanessa. “Maybe she’s more angry at the family than at her husband. Her late husband.” She took a bite of her fish. I love Hawaii, she thought. “It’s too bad we had to stop that argument. Some interesting facts came out.”

“I thought so, too. Like Kathryn calling Isabel a tramp. Do you think she really was sleeping with Steven Sangster?”

Vanessa nodded. “Without a doubt. She admitted to me that she was in love with him, had been since she was a teenager.”

“That figures. That’s why she came out here from the mainland — to work with her childhood hero and heart-throb. Sangster was really handsome when he was young.”

“I remember,” Vanessa smiled and sipped her wine. She thought of the one time she had seen Sangster play, in a club in New York City, part of a comeback tour — and a real come-down for a star who once packed the country’s biggest stadiums. He was still handsome, then, close to fifty years old, but still with those rugged features, thick dark hair and beard streaked with grey, and those amazing blue eyes that seemed to pierce the heart of every woman in that audience.

“I remember, too. Too bad his son didn’t seem to inherit any of his looks,” Lei said.

“What do you think of that shot at the heiau? Was someone shooting at us or at Simon?”

Vanessa heard Lei’s phone chime, and she pulled it from a pocket in her jacket. She looked at the screen and said, “The crime scene investigators haven’t found anything in the way of a discharged or missing shotgun. They checked all the guns in Sangster’s collection, especially the shotguns,” Lei said. “Either none of them had been fired, or if it was, it was cleaned really well and then coated in a fine layer of dust.”

“So that means the weapon that shot at us is not one of the collection. Of course, the shooter probably wouldn’t have had time to return the gun to the collection before we got back to the house.”

About the Author 
Scott Bury just cannot stay in one genre.

After a three-decade career in journalism, his first published fiction was a children’s story, followed by an occult spy thriller. The Bones of the Earth, his first novel, crossed the boundaries between historical fiction and magic realism. He has also published spy thrillers and two police procedurals set in Hawaii.

You can find all of Scott’s books and other writings at his website, The Written Word.
Read his blog, Written Words 
Find him on Facebook at Scott Bury Author
Or follow him on Twitter @ScottTheWriter.

UPDATE: The Amazon link to Dead Man Lying is now LIVE!

Sunday, June 12, 2016

Book Review: Valley of Monsters (Island of Fog, Book 7)


A well-executed continuation of Keith Robinson's excellent "Island of Fog" series, this book deals, primarily, with Hal's struggle against the wolf within and the gang's search for a set of long-lost shapeshifter twins. Although much information is given in "Valley of Monsters," the author keeps the story moving at a brisk and entertaining pace so the reader never feels bogged down with backstory. If you, like me, have enjoyed all of the "Island of Fog" books up to this point, you can rest assured "Valley of Monsters" continues that fine tradition of excellence.