Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Halloween Street Series - 31 Days of Halloween Short Stories!

Well, I've been very hush-hush about this project, but I'm finally able to announce it! I have a series of short horror stories being published this October entitled "Halloween Street". This is a massive project, as I will be publishing a new short story every single day in October for a grand total of 31 stories! Short teaser is below:



So what is Halloween Street exactly? Halloween Street is a series of 31 short stories taking place during the same Halloween night in the town of Hollowell. Although the stories may be read individually and in any order, there are subtle ways the stories intertwine which you will notice if you read the series in order. A new short story will be released everyday in October 2014 as part of my 31 Days of Halloween promotion.

And how did this project come about? This was truly a labor of love. Halloween has been my favorite holiday since I was a kid, but my enjoyment and obsession really grew when I became a teenager and my love for the holiday has only grown over the years. When I decided I wanted to start writing in the horror genre, I initially had a novel in mind to release first, but when I got the idea to do 31 short stories taking place on Halloween and releasing them all throughout the month of October, I had to run with it! It's been a tremendous amount of work, but I'm really proud of how the series turned out. There were times I didn't think the series would be done on time, but I pushed through and worked long hours to bring this to life. That is how much I truly love Halloween and wanted to express it through my work.

Now a couple things I do want to mention.

The series will be exclusively on Amazon Kindle, and with the new Kindle Unlimited subscription program (now available in the UK as well as the US! Yay!), you will be able to borrow every single one of my stories as part of your membership. If you don't have a subscription, the price per story is only 99 cents. I know limiting it to Amazon may seem restrictive, but because of the time sensitive nature of the publishing schedule it really wouldn't have worked out to publish them on multiple outlets. One thing I will mention is that all of my books/stories are DRM free, so if you don't have a Kindle, you can still buy my work on Amazon and convert it to the file format of your choice using Calibre or a similar program. To be honest, I don't know a ton about this subject, but I'm sure there's lots of info if you just Google it.

And on the topic of the time sensitive nature of the project, I do have to say that Amazon is typically very quick during the publishing process (in my experience, a book gets published within 12 hours or less), BUT (and this is a big BUT) as far as making sure a story is published every single day, I am at the mercy of Amazon. I have heard of authors experiencing unusual delays from time to time, sometimes upwards of 48 hours, which I do realize could make the "new story every day" promo a bit null and void. Like I said, I've never experienced such a delay, my books have been published in as little as 4 hours and never more than 12, but basically once I hit the "Publish" button it's out of my control. To be honest, this did make me a little leery to do the 31 days of Halloween promo, but I'm a Taurus and stubborn by nature, so I really wanted to stick with my original plan ;)

So that's it! I hope you're looking forward to this series release as much as I am! :) More info will be coming soon!

Thursday, August 28, 2014

Nothing Special - a childhood memory turned life lesson

Yesterday, I had a random memory pop into my head out of nowhere. When I was about nine years-old, I remember that my dream was to become a cartoonist. The idea of being a writer wasn't even on my radar, despite having written several short stories at that time. No, I wanted to draw cartoons, and I remember sitting in class and spending a lot of time drawing random things, cartoon characters and superheroes and the like. I had several books on how to draw that I would work from when I was home, and I loved drawing so much that my favorite game as a child was Pictionary.

One day, I was sitting on the living room floor, doodling, and I drew what I thought was a great picture of Roger Klotz, the bully from the cartoon show Doug. I drew it hastily from memory, which was not something I often did. I usually drew from trying to copy some form of source material, very rarely just from my own head. Well, anyway, I was so proud of this drawing that I wanted to show it off to my dad. So, I did. And he gives me a slightly puzzled look and says "Who is this supposed to be?"

Of course, I thought, Dad's not familiar with that show, I need to show him the original character. I happened to have a pack of Doug trading cards and one of them was of Roger, so I ran to my room and got it and excitedly hurried back to show my dad. And I was like, "See? Doesn't it look just like him?"

He looked back and forth between the trading card and my drawing, and then with a sort of "meh" expression on his face, he says, "Eh, I guess it kind of looks like him." He then handed me back the card and my drawing, and that was it.

For him.

For me, I was crushed. It may seem silly now. After all, it was just a quick doodle from memory and years later I found it, and Dad was right. It wasn't very good. But at the time, being nine years-old and having spent so much time practicing drawing and having a dream of one day working on the Simpsons or Disney movies or even on a Nicktoon like Doug, that feedback had a huge impact on me and planted a rather large seed of doubt. Dad was oblivious, as he often was. I know he didn't intend to hurt my feelings or cause any irreparable damage. After all, I was the one who asked for his opinion. But I wasn't really asking for his opinion. I thought what I had done was brilliant and wanted it recognized. Instead my so-called brilliance was met with a "meh".

I continued to draw, but I never felt the same about it after that. No matter how hard I tried, I just never felt good enough. I really had no natural talent for drawing. I couldn't draw the same image twice flawlessly, which of course is very important in animation. By the age of ten, a mere year later, I had absolutely no desire to be a cartoonist at all anymore. In fact, when given an assignment to write what my future goals were, I wrote with absolute sincerity that I wanted to attend St. Petersburg Junior College and then become a waitress. In fact, for the next several years, I thought that's what I was going to do. And oddly enough, to this day, I still often write about twenty-something women who are waitresses (Beth in Moonridge Memories, for example), that's how much of an impact that transition had on me, that transition from having a huge, unobtainable dream to having a much more realistic and modest dream, and yet to some degree, glamorizing it.

When I was eleven, I wrote a lot of poetry and short stories. At twelve, I attempted my first novel and got stuck at around 30 pages or so. At thirteen, that novel suddenly clicked for me, by just adding extra characters to it and subplots, I was able to write the whole thing within a month or so. Writing after that came so easily to me that I never dreamed of being a professional author. It came so easily to me that I thought there was nothing special about me and that anyone could write stories or novels. Between the ages of thirteen and eighteen, I wrote the first drafts of fifteen novels. How many people write just one novel in their lifetime? I don't know. But somewhere between the ages of thirteen and eighteen, I went from writing as a hobby for my own personal enjoyment to really wanting to pursue it as a career.

At that time, I wouldn't let anyone read my books. Not one person. I was afraid of having a dream taken from me again. I wrote fifteen novels before the age of eighteen and gave myself so little credit for such an achievement, and even saying that now makes me uncomfortable--calling it an achievement. After all, it was nothing special. Everyone could do it, right?

Wrong.

Even in today's world, where you can be in touch with thousands of people over the internet who do what you do, my ability to write, finish, and publish a novel makes me feel more special today than it ever did when I was young, even when I knew no one else personally who wrote novels. So many people say "I'd write a novel, but I don't have time. Maybe someday." Someday usually doesn't come. Because writing a novel is not a whim for a writer. It's not an end goal for "someday". It's as necessary and as natural as breathing. That is why I never felt special, because one doesn't feel special for breathing. Everyone breathes. However, very few, comparatively speaking, write.

Drawing never came naturally for me. It required all of my energy and my effort and still came out "meh". When I browse a site like DeviantArt.com, I'm in awe of the talent that people have for such artistry. But then I'll read their descriptions and some of them will say things like "This didn't turn out how I wanted it to" or "This isn't very good, but..." and I'm thinking I couldn't draw something half this good if I had the rest of my life to work on it. I think it's time for people to start giving themselves more credit for what they can do, for what makes them special. It doesn't matter if there are people out there who are better or worse than you are. There is only one you. Your voice, your perspective, your mind, makes you special and stand out among your peers. No one can take that from you, unless you let them.

As I was writing this, I was reminded of a song by Belle Brigade whose lyrics are rather fitting for my sentiments above. So have a listen below, if you'd like. Try to feel good about the things you do, because there are too many people out there waiting to tear you down to build themselves up. When you have a strong foundation of confidence and appreciation for your own talent, no one can tear it down.




Friday, July 4, 2014

Moonridge Memories Collection Is Out Now!

I know it's been ages since my last update. A lot of work being done behind the scenes, without a lot to share. I am happy to announce that the Moonridge Memories Collection is out now, and contains all four novels from the series!

http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00LHDTWLM/ref=as_li_tl?ie=UTF8&camp=211189&creative=373489&creativeASIN=B00LHDTWLM&link_code=as3&tag=theofficisi00-20&linkId=M7KU6QKZB5H6RKFA

Now, you may be wondering about the images used. Well, I actually decided to give the whole series a little facelift, so all four books have new covers:


I really like how they turned out. I think they set the tone and mood for the series better than my old covers.

I have a lot planned for the end of summer and autumn months, and I've been very busy preparing for that. Blogging always seems to fall along the wayside when I'm working, so forgive the lack of updates and posts.


Monday, February 24, 2014

Remembering Harold Ramis

I was shocked and saddened to find out that Harold Ramis passed away today. As someone who grew up in the 1980's, I remember Ghostbusters fondly. It was a huge movie franchise and a big part of my childhood. As a fan, I've been holding out hope that a third movie would be made with the original cast members. It just wouldn't be the same without Egon :(

Harold Ramis also directed a favorite movie of mine, Groundhog Day--not to mention National Lampoon's Vacation and Caddyshack. He will be sorely missed.

And remember, kids, don't cross the streams:




Saturday, February 15, 2014

2014 Plans

Since I disappeared for such a long time, I thought I'd share some of things I have slated for 2014. I tend to be a tad overambitious, so these are pretty much tentative goals. I enjoy staying busy though, so I'm hoping to hit most of these goals without totally cracking under the pressure.

  • Moonridge Memories collection - been on my to-do list for ages! I want to combine all four books into an ebook collection at a discounted price. I know how cluttered ereaders can get, so a collection is a no-brainer. I'm hoping to have this done in time for summer.
  • Print editions - ugh! Another thing I've been wanting to do for quite some time. I'll be honest, the formatting just seems sooo daunting compared to ebooks. I'm slowly picking it up, working on making a template, etc, but there's still a lot of work involved. I don't have a timeline as to when I want to get my books into print, but I would like it to be this year before I fall too behind on it, and end up having to do a dozen books at once.
  • The Virginia Chronicles Books Two and Three - Number two in the series (The Rook) will definitely be out this summer. I was actually hoping for a late spring release, but I didn't want to stretch myself too thin. I'd also LOVE to get book three out by the end of the year. So how long will the series be? I don't know yet. I'm just a fountain of information, aren't I? ;) I could see it being an ongoing series that I can add to between projects since each book is mostly a stand-alone story (though following a chronological timeline). So it could run to 5 or 6 or even more books, but it really depends on if I feel inspired to continue the story and if there is more story to tell. I don't outline books ahead of time. I usually jot down the general idea and plot of a book and let the characters lead the way when I sit down to write it. That's why it's hard to know when a series will be over for good. I try to always stay open-minded to the possibility of sequels and spin-offs and such. Inspiration can strike at any time--it's funny like that.
  • A Horror Trilogy (Titles TBA) - I have a horror trilogy I've been wanting to release for some time now, but it still needs some work, rewrites, edits. I'm hoping for a fall release in time for Halloween. I'd like the whole trilogy to be out by December.
So, there ya go. Plans may change, but that should give you a general idea of what I'm working on and why I sometimes don't have the time/energy to blog. I'm terrible at keeping specific deadlines, because I never know when issues might creep in and spoil my plans. That's why I'm trying to keep my release schedule somewhat vague.

I love writing and doing what I do. I love self-publishing for allowing me the freedom to work at my own pace and for only having to answer to my own muse and to my wonderful readers. It's a good time to be a writer :)

Thursday, February 6, 2014

I'm Baaaack...With A New Book Release!

Hello to all who have stopped by this blog over the last six months or so. Forgive my absence. I don't like to delve into personal matters much, but suffice it to say a lot of the writing plans I had six months ago went kablooey when I fell into a pit of anxiety and depression. This is something I've struggled with since I was a child, and it comes and goes, but when it comes it tends to hit me hard. I was about halfway through a writing project I had intended to have released in time for Halloween, and as you well know, it didn't happen. I basically just went into hiding and avoided everything and everyone. This has always been my coping mechanism.

Although my planned project involved a horror trilogy, I have placed that on the back burner for now, in favor of a new thriller series! It's entitled The Disk, Book One of The Virginia White Chronicles.

Summary:
From within the walls of a criminal asylum, Virginia White tells her story of a childhood dream becoming a waking nightmare. At fourteen, she invents a powerful weapon and places the plans on a computer disk. Now they want it, and they will stop at nothing to get it. Virginia soon learns that in order to survive she must become as coldblooded as the men pursuing her. Virginia is forced to lay everything on the line to keep them from obtaining the disk.~~

I'm really excited to be releasing my first thriller book! It's a vigilante justice book (I had no idea this was a subgenre until I went to publish, but it fits so well in the genre, lol!). It is gory and violent, but it's also a story of survival, not only physically but mentally.

I know I said before I'd be venturing into horror--and I will be, honest!--but for now my plans are to focus on this series, and maybe release something horror later this year, maybe in the fall.

Anyway, I apologize again for my absence, and I hope it doesn't happen again, or at least not anytime soon. In the meantime, I hope you check out my new book. It's available (so far) at:

Amazon.com
Smashwords

It should be available at Barnes & Noble, Kobo, and elsewhere within the next couple of weeks. Check back for further updates!


Sunday, August 18, 2013

One Year Anniversary! (And 99 Cent Sale - One Day Only!)

It was a year ago today, that I independently released my first book, Dog Days of Summer (Moonridge Memories, Book 1). It's hard to believe a year has passed already!

To celebrate this long but fun journey, for one day only, you can get Books 2, 3, and 4 of the Moonridge Memories series for 99 cents at Smashwords!

Leaves In Autumn - Coupon Code: VK66K
Lonely Nights of Winter - Coupon Code:HS82E
Time Enough In Spring - Coupon Code:JS83S


I don't have much to update right now on future releases. I am currently working on several projects and just trying to organize a release schedule. I know it's been awhile since I blogged, and that tends to happen when I'm busy writing, but I should hopefully have some news soon!