Archive for the ‘Writing’ Category

Hey everybody! The website’s been pretty neglected for the last few months, but I have remained busy as ever.

Before all that, I have a little business to attend to: book signings. Taking advantage of the holiday rush, we’ve scheduled signings to support Project R on three back-to-back weekends this month starting tonight. It’s short notice, I know, but if you can make it to any of these I would love to see you there even if you don’t buy any books.

  • Friday, December 2nd 2011 from 4pm-7pm
    -Mead’s Corner, 430 East Douglas Avenue Wichita, KS
  • Saturday, December 10th, 2011 from 10am-2pm
    -Hastings Entertainment, 316 North Main Street Stillwater
  • Saturday, December 17th, 2011 from 10am-2pm
    -Hastings Entertainment, 316 North Main Street Stillwater

I love love love hosting book signings. It gives me a chance to interact with folks as an author and really connect with people who enjoy books in general, not just my own. And, writing being a solitary affair, it gets me out of the house every once in a while which I’m told is good for me 😉

Other Projects
2011 has a been a strange year for in terms of writing.  It has been a year of starts and stops.  I have at least three novel scripts started that I believe are fantastic.  I have at least twice as many rough outlines for new projects.  On top of all that, I’ve started dabbling with writing comic book scripts.  The problem comes from deciding what gets priority, which I prefer to the opposite problem: having no projects to work. 

To give you a little background on the script-writing thing, a while ago I wrote a script for a short film that my brother and a few of his friends worked on.  While the movie never saw the light of day, writing the script was a nice exercise in a medium I had never tried before.  I figured I would give comics a shot for the same reason.  That, and I really love comic books.  It’s been pretty fun.  I’m roughly halfway through a planned 4-issue sci-fi series which I aim to pitch to several publishers of creator-owned works.  My brother and I also have our own projects, the first of which I’m hoping to unveil in the early part of next year.

For you Black Armor fans, don’t worry, Book 3 has not been ignored.  I have part of a draft finished and, once we get through the craziness of the holidays, I plan to make it my top writing priority.  Promise.


Late, but Still Worth It

Posted: September 23, 2011 in Writing
Tags: ,

As an apology for the lack of updates, I give you the following penance…

Project R is now available for purchase!

Adam has never felt as though he belonged in the little commune nestled in a back corner of the megacity, a world of concrete and metal. Life is easy enough. He is respected and admired, but his own sense of purpose eludes him. When he and a group of scavers – the provision gatherers of the commune – break down the door to corridor fifty-eight in search of more supplies, they unwittingly release a swarm of terrifying creatures and Adam‘s world is torn apart. The commune is attacked, and he goes on the run with a handful of survivors. When they are rescued by a pair of scientists, Adam learns the truth about the megacity, the creatures, and, to his shock, the role that he specifically must play to restore life to a dying world. Only, Adam isn’t so sure he wants the job.

As with my other books, availability at the various outlets will be in stages.

To buy it today for $11.99 (+S&H), visit CreateSpace

Once it’s up on Amazon and in its various e-book formats, I’ll make another announcement.

Man, this one took a lot longer than I expected it to.  I started with a very structured approach and was very brutal with the book during the editing process.  My initial edit run chopped out something like 20 pages.  I wound up adding that much back in and then some.  Then I went back and hacked away again.  I lost count how many times I ran through the manuscript, tweaking, changing, deleting, and adding to shape it into something I was really proud of.  And when I got the proof from CreateSpace, I realized it was all worth it.  The way the book feels in my hands, the way the fonts look on the inside, and the coloring on the cover, all of it exceeded my expectations.

I poured a lot of work into this little book and it was a lot of fun to make.  And now, you guys get to enjoy it with me!  That right there is the best part for me.  I love hearing back from folks who have read my books and what take away from them.  And be completely honest.  Don’t worry, I’ve got pretty thick skin 🙂

I was glad to see folks enjoying the last few blog posts.  I hope you guys know that I write this stuff for you.  I’d be pretty conceited if I spouted this nonsense because I thought you should live the way I do.  My whole focus for writing to begin with is to relay my own personal experiences with things and maybe, just maybe, someone else out there might pick up a nugget or two that will help them as well.

As an FYI, for the next issue we’ll take a break from the book writing topic and pick it back up the following issue.  This book-writing series has many facets to it, I want to make sure to still give time to other topics along the way.

The Outline is Crucial, but it Also Isn’t
I’ve read a ton of different books on writing and was surprised to find that the outline seems to be one of the most disagreed-upon topics.  I wouldn’t call it controversial because to me the whole argument seems rather silly.  From what I can tell, the debate seems to boil down to personal preference.  One person will construct a detailed outline before ever typing the words, “Once upon a time…” while another will start with a single thought and just go.  Even the heavy hitters differ on this point.  Best-selling author Thomas F. Monteleone has never done an outline whereas Ted Dekker will generate a 40-page ‘story document’ for each book that describes every major plot point and provides background to every setting and character. (more…)

Apparently, this last week I had a major brain malfunction (see Vol. 3, Issue 4) and forgot to post this.  No excuses, no busy schedule really.  I just flat out forgot.  My apologies for the mental lapse.  Hopefully, we can keep it from happening in the future.

The Writer’s Greatest Resource

Ideas won’t keep, something must be done about them. – Alfred North Whitehead

I spoke last issue about having the right mental attitude.  While I spoke on it as a first topic, it’s usually not the first thing people think about when they want to write.  A person will get the itch to write when an idea of some kind strikes them, and they want to turn that idea into a story.  I started with attitude because it must must must be there before you can carry an idea through two or three hundred pages. (more…)

I could have titled this post, “How Sam Blunders His Way Through Writing His Books And Now Tries To Explain How To Do The Same,” but I dislike long titles.

Learn from the…erm…expert?
There are two things that people always seem to say when they learn you’ve written a book. The first, and most common is, “What’s it about?” My reply is usually, “Read the book and you’ll find out.” My wife is working with me to change this approach (thankfully). The next thing usually said, and to me the more curious of the two, is something like, “I could never be that creative,” or “I could never do that.” I find them curious, in either version, because they’re downright wrong. (more…)

There are a number of really cool things I’ve really enjoyed the last few weeks and I thought I’d share them with you guys.

1] Battle: LA
This movie was freakin’ awesome! It had the intensity and feel of Black Hawk Down thrown against a science fiction backdrop.  The premise of Battle: LA is that aliens invade major population centers around the globe and, ignoring all pleas for diplomacy, begin tearing the place up.  You follow the actions of a squad of marines sent in to rescue civilians holed up in a Sheriff’s office.  Let’s just say that, by the end of the movie, I would’ve followed Aaron Eckhart (the film’s lead) into a fight against aliens.  The special effects were top notch and the acting very good with one notable exception (“I’m a veterinarian”? What the h-e-double-hockey-sticks?).

2] Batman: Arkham Asylum
I’m a couple years late to this party, but dang if I’m glad I showed up.  Batman: AA is a prime example of why I love video games.  Rocksteady, the studio that developed the game, pulled out all the stops and gave proper respect to one of the most-beloved superheroes of all time.  You can tell they really did their homework.  The story is classic Batman and the characters faithfully re-created.  The Joker serves as the main antagonist and is just as insane here as Heath Ledger’s version.   Many of Batman’s foes show up and provide many memorable moments (most notably Killer Croc and Scarecrow).

Of course, I can’t leave out the main man himself.  As Batman, you get access to many of his fun gadgets as you solve puzzles and fight your enemies.  And there’s the real meat of the game: beating up bad guys.  This happens in a number of ways.  My favorite is straight-up combat, jumping into the middle of a group of twenty henchmen and taking all of the down singlehandedly.  How can you not love that?  There are also plenty of parts where stealth is the name of the game, and you have to carefully pick off each bad guy one at a time (it’s especially fun to string one up from the ceiling by the leg).

The level design is incredible and gives you a sort of open-world feel, allowing you to revisit previous areas to collect special in-game achievements.  What’s more, it all looks gorgeous.  So, if you’re looking for an all-around awesome game to play, give Batman: Arkham Asylum a go.

3] Here, There Be Dragons, by James A. Owen
What would happen if J.R.R. Tolkien, C.S. Lewis, and H.G. Wells were all thrown into a world very much like the ones they created?  That’s the question that the Chronicles of the Imaginarium Geographica series aims to answer.  James A. Owen begins the story with his book, Here, There Be Dragons.  It’s an adventure that pulls together influences from just about everywhere and throws them all into a big stew.  Fortunately, the stew actually tastes fairly good.  It follows the tale of John, Charles, and Jack who are drawn into a fantasy realm that is at war against the evil Winter King.  While there are few moments where the writing is a little forced, you can tell Owen worked hard to remain faithful to the authors he depicts.  All in all, it’s a fun book to read and I am eager to start on its sequel, The Search for the Red Dragon.

4] Ghostopolis, by Doug TenNapel
Ghostopolis is one of those stories that really impacted me on a personal level.  Sure, I enjoy plenty of comics, movies, and books, but few move as much as this one did.  It’s not one particlar aspect of it that I could point out; it’s one of those unspoken feelings that just hits you.  TenNapel does a great job presenting us with a very human story set in a fictional, supernatural world.  A terminally diseased boy named Garth is accidentally sent to Ghostopolis, the name of the world of the afterlife, by Frank Gallows, an agent of the Supernatural Immigration Task Force, a government agency that hunts down wayward ghosts in the real world and sends them back to the afterlife.  Garth and Frank each have their personal battles to fight, both literally and figuratively, within Ghostopolis.  For Garth, it is learning to never accept defeat, no matter how dire the circumstances.  For Frank, it is redemption for the life he’s lived.  Their main obstacle takes the form of the evil ruler of Ghostopolis, Vaugner.  Filled with ample amounts of humor, action, and great storytelling, all wrapped in TenNapel’s odd-yet-fantastic artwork, Ghostopolis is a story I recommend to anyone.  You can find it in the Independent Reader section of any major bookstore.

5] Writing Project R
I know, I know.  Kind of cheesy, but hey, I really have enjoyed writing this story.  More than my previous two, Project R has felt like a dream to write.  That doesn’t at all mean that it’s been easy.  In fact, in some ways, it’s been the most difficult to create.  But, it’s also been the most fun and, up to this point, is the book that has the most of my “DNA” within.  I’m really excited to finish it up and present it to you guys.  I keep having to push it back thanks to other projects and life in general, but I’m busting my butt to get it finished up soon.

Alright, that’s it for this week.  Make sure you check some of this stuff out.

Some of you may have noticed that the ‘ol website looks a tad different.  As I mentioned in my previous post, changes were a comin’ and here we are.  The blog has been retooled to serve as my main website on the internet, a virtual hub if you will.  All things clicky associated with me and my books will go from and come to this site.  It’s part of a new strategy to get my name out there.  The side bar to the right has been slimmed down dramatically and the pages completely reorganized.  Things are still in work, but overall I’m pleased with the changes.

As an extra cool treat for everyone, I have added a short story set in the Black Armor Tales universe called A Good Bowl of Ramen.  This was originally handed out as a freebie to folks who bought the paperback version of The Island of Istburn at our book signings when it released.  Well, now you can enjoy it as free digital reading.  You can get a couple of ways: 1) From this website by clicking on the link above my avatar or by clicking on the Free Stuff! tab;  2) Via Smashwords for your ebook viewing pleasure.  I’ll try to see if I can get it onto the actual services (Kindle, Nook, iPad, etc.), but no promises at this point.  Oh, and if you’re feeling generous, you can get a paperback copy of the short story on and CreateSpace.

Speaking of Istburn, I’ve had some issues with getting the book in wider distribution.  Nothing major, just file formatting problems.  Those have now been fixed and the book should be available on multiple ebook platforms soon.  I will make an announcement when that happens.

It’s an exciting time, folks!  Opportunities abound.  The internet is changing everything and allowing those of us who really enjoy writing to connect with those you of who really love to read out stuff like never before.  I can’t wait to see where all this goes.  It should be a fun ride.