Welcome To My Blog

Ever wonder what it's like to be in that moment between struggling artist and published author? Read on and find out.

Wednesday, August 19, 2015

Wanna Be Famous?

            I’m about halfway through plotting the next book in The Gathering series. This is the point where I start assigning names to all the new characters I’ll be introducing. And that gives me an opportunity to ask all of you—do you want to be famous?

            I tried using the names of people I know in my last book and I think it worked pretty well. One of my wife’s coworkers jumped at the chance to be truly evil. A friend in my neighborhood read the first story and readily agreed to lend me her name as long as I didn’t kill her, maim her, or turn her into a jerk. (Where’s the fun in that?)

            A couple of important characters are going to be introduced into book three and at least one of them will appear throughout the rest of the series. Without a doubt, I’ll find a way to kill off several people that have a few lines of dialogue before they meet their untimely demise. And I expect to go through a reasonably large number of names for cast members who are less than nice. All of these people need names.

            If you are interested in possibly having your name used for a character in my next book post a comment or send me an e-mail through the contact page. Let me know if you are willing to accept a fate as a villainous cad, an eventual cadaver, or if your name can only be associated with the cream of humanity. But I have to warn you that I don’t have a lot of room for nice people in my story.  

            So, do ya wanna be famous?



Thursday, August 13, 2015

Book 2

            A friend once told me that less than 1% of hopeful authors succeed in having one of their books picked up by a publisher. And I know from my experiences since I’ve been published that many first time authors do not go on to have a second book published. But thanks to all of you I have beaten the odds and my second book, Call to Arms: Nations Fall, is on the bookstore shelves.
            Thank you.



            Does the publishing experience feel different the second time around?
            Yes it does. The thrill of seeing a story I created in the book store is still there as is the giddy hope that people will enjoy the story and even possibly have it enrich their lives in some way. Gone is the confusion of what I need to do next. I have established contacts and know the routine all that remains is to go out and meet the public as I market the book. And I know from my marketing efforts over the last 18 months that marketing is the fun part of the process. 
             One thing that has gained a new level of complication is how to answer the question, “What’s going on with your book?” That question now needs clarification. Do they mean my first book? Do they mean the book that’s about to come out? Do they mean the book I submitted to several publishers and now wait for acceptance? Or do they mean one of the three books for which I am currently writing chapters?
            In case you’re interested, here are the answers: 

            Book One, The Gathering: End’s Beginning, is still selling a few copies. I’m still getting people in my neighborhood coming up to me and telling me how much they enjoyed reading it. They are still leaving reviews on Amazon. This is a new experience for me and one that I rather like. My work lives on. Granted, this will be more impressive if the book had already been out for twenty years, but you have to take the pleasures in life as they come along.  

            Book Two, Call to Arms: Nations Fall, was released on August 11 and I am in the middle of the blog tour for the novel. Hooray. This is the busy time. I have the official book launch party on Friday and then the first of a series of book signings on Saturday. It is still too early in the process to have a feel for how people are enjoying Call to Arms, but I’m anxious to find out. What parts of the story did they like best? What part did they not like? Did I manage to hook them into wanting to read the next story in the series? Only time will tell.  

            The middle-grade fantasy I finished a couple of months ago has been sent to a publisher and I am waiting to hear whether they want it or will reject it. This is easily the most difficult part of the authoring process. It contains an equal mixture of excitement and dread. Will the story take me to the next level as an author? Or will all of the publishers reject it, forcing me to self-publish what I feel to be a wonderful story.  

            The next book in the series, a middle-grade story about a boy and his dog, and YA dystopian story are the three novels I am currently working on—simultaneously. Did I hear you say that’s insane to work on three books at once? Why, yes it is. And I certainly don’t advise anyone else to join in the insanity. I’m in the early stages on all three of the novels and still excited about writing them.            

            Anyway, thank you everyone who has taken the time to read The Gathering: End’s Beginning. Please, consider picking up Call to Arms: Nations Fall. I think you’ll be glad you did.

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Movie Review - Strange Magic

Strange Magic $$$$


99 Minutes

Starring: Evan Rachel Wood, Alan Cumming, Elijah Kelley, Meredith Ann Bull, and Sam Palladio.
Directors: Gary Rydstrom.

            I happened to be looking for a PG movie to take my family to see and this is what was playing at the luxury theater we planned to attend. Nobody in the family had heard anything about the film so we were a bit unprepared for a musical. Don’t get me wrong, we enjoyed it, but it took a few numbers for us to adjust our thinking. The best way to describe the movie is Grease in fairyland.

            The plot is pretty simple. Marianne (Evan Rachel Wood) is preparing to marry Roland (Sam Palladio) when she catches him cheating on her. She vows to never fall in love again. Meanwhile, Sunny (Elijah Kelley) travels into the dark forest in order to have the Sugar Plum Fairy (Kristin Chenoweth) create a love potion that will make Marianne’s sister, Dawn (Meredith Ann Bull) fall in love with him. The problem with that is the Bog King (Alan Cumming) holds the Sugar Plum Fairy captive and forbids the making of any more love potions.
            There you have it, a tale of love from both the light and dark side of the point of view. And even though I found it a bit odd, I really enjoyed it.

            This is how I rated Strange Magic.

1. Fun – How can nearly 100 minutes of music and the pursuit of love not be fun? Alright—don’t answer that. I like musicals and this certainly hit the spot. I gave the film a full MB for fun.

2. Story – Let’s face it, musicals are fairly weak as far as story goes. Other than being on the simple side there is nothing wrong with this one. I enjoy where they go with the story, but don’t feel that it deserves a full rating for it. I gave Strange Magic half a MB for a pretty standard tale.

3. Technical – Good animation. Check. Lively music and sound. Check. An interesting take on the classic romantic tale. Check. I gave it a full MB for hitting all the right technical notes.

4. Acting – The acting did not get in the way of the story. Which is good, but not great. Alan Cumming (The Bog King) turns in the strongest performance in the film. I also enjoyed Elijah Kelley and Maya Rudolph (Grisela) as well. However, the acting just wasn’t strong enough to warrant a full MB so I am giving it half a MB for some solid voice work.

            That combines for a rating of 3 Movie Bucks. And that may be an unfair rating as I would be willing to pay full price to see the film again. It was a lot of fun. A matinee makes more sense for an outing with the entire family, but don’t hesitate to take a date to this and pay full price (assuming that both of you like odd musical fare).

                        Randy’s Rating System

$$$$   = Full Price    See this movie right away and pay full price, it’s worth it.
$$$     = Matinee      Catch this as a matinee or other discounted showing.
$$        = Discount     Wait until this movie reaches a discount theater near you.
$          = Rental         Wait until this movie reaches your local video rental outlet.
0          = No Sale       Don’t see this movie at any price.