The title pretty much says it all, though it likely seems a bit confusing at the moment. It’s simple, really. First of all, I owe you all an apology. I typically post on the weekend, and here I am at the close of the day on Tuesday, just getting my post out there. I’ve been sick, and let myself get a little run down. No big deal, but after work, I have all the energy of a wet washrag.
However, I noticed something today. I checked the hits on my blog here and found that the number of visitors here just took a big jump. I can only assume it’s related to a message I got from Lynn McNamee (formerly Lynn O’Dell – more on that below). Her message was a bit cryptic:
Of course, I followed the link and read the review… All I’ll say is… Woohoo! Just follow the link and go read it for yourself. Whether or not one event had anything to do with the other, the number of visitors to my little blog here spiked at almost triple my normal average. So to all you new folks, if you’re still checking in here… welcome! I hope you keep dropping by.
Now, on to the celebrations. This last weekend, I got the chance to meet some of the Red Adept family when Lynn O’Dell celebrated her marriage to Chuck McNamee, and we were invited to share in the celebration. While there, I also had the chance to finally meet some others of the Red Adept family in person. I met Jim Chambers, who saved my bacon in the proofreading stage of HPM. He is now a publicist for the newly opened Red Adept Publishing. I also got to meet with Ed Lorn, fellow Red Adept Select author, and vangard author for Red Adept Publishing. We had the chance to discuss story ideas, and it looks like we will be working on a project together in the very near future. I’m really looking forward to it.
And of course, Sunday was Memorial Day. I hope you all had a fine time, but still spared a moment to remember the real reason behind the holiday – our brave men and women who have sacrificed so much in the name of our freedom. We all owe them so much!
And now for the goodbyes portion. A friend of mine from work has been battling esophageal cancer for the last few years. Each year the doctors told him that he needed to get his affairs in order, that he wouldn’t make it to see another Christmas. And for the last two years he proved them wrong. This year, they were right. He went into the hospital last Friday for an upper GI obstruction. He didn’t make it out this time.
So long, Jim. I’ll miss you, my friend. May every day be Beer Friday for you now.
Below is the interview I had with new author, Edward Lorn. I “met” Ed (as much as you meet anyone on the internet) as a fellow client of Red Adept Publishing. I used Red Adept editorial services before they had an actual publishing arm, and now that they’ve launched as a full-fledged small press, Edward Lorn was one of the first authors they snatched up. His latest release, Dastardly Bastard , is currently for sale in electronic format, and should be out in print later this month.
The book description of Dastardly Bastard follows:
JEFF: I’ve recently had the opportunity to read both Bay’s End and Dastardly Bastard and my immediate impression is that your writing strikes me as very “Stephen King”-ish. I assume that King is one of your writing influences. Would you agree?
ED: I’m a huge Stephen King fan. With that said, I don’t really try to emulate him, so much as learn from his successes and mistakes. The man has this ability to give life to characters on a page. They transcend the novel you are reading and become a part of your life. You know these people, love them and hate them. I only want to write the best characters I can without using stereotypes or cop-outs.
JEFF:Who or what are some of your other influences?
ED: Richard Laymon is, by far, my favorite author when it comes to no-holds-barred horror. Before his death in 2001, Laymon saw success in the UK only. His books were always brutally violent and sexually graphic. I’m no prude, but he’s made me blush on more than one occasion. Everyone seems to liken “Bay’s End” with Stephen King’s novella, “The Body,” but a better comparison would be Laymon’s “The Traveling Vampire Show.” I won’t spoil anything about Laymon’s coming-of-age piece, other than to say that the book has absolutely nothing to do with vampires. The novel is about two boys and a girl, friends till the bitter end, and the struggles they must go through. “The Traveling Vampire Show” deals with sexual awakening, jealousy, the curiosity of young teens, and an event that will change them all forever. Yeah, Laymon was a master, though highly underrated. He normally scares new readers off within the first chapter or two. Fun times.
JEFF: Do you recall how your interest in writing originated?
ED: I started as a horrible liar. Everything that came out of my mouth was either terribly exaggerated, or completely false. From the time I could form sentences, I was telling stories. I got in quite a bit of trouble around school—I told one class my baby brother had died over the weekend, and I’d never even had a brother. My first grade teacher offered my mother a venue for my tales. “Have him write these things down. Let him get them out, and maybe he won’t feel the need to tell everyone every little thing that pops into his head.”
JEFF: Here’s one that most authors are asked at one time or another – where do you find your inspiration for your stories? I mean, you write about some pretty messed up stuff. I assume they’re not stories of your summer vacations.
ED: My inspiration is life. Everything has a story behind it. You just have to show enough interest in it, and it will cough up its wares.
As far as the darker content in my stories, I grew up in southern California in the ’80s and ’90s. My memories are filled with twisted things.
When I was ten, I saw a young man hit by a truck while trying to cross the street on his way to school. The vehicle knocked him down, and he was dragged under the chassis. The back tire treated his head like a piñata in a vice.
I lived through drive-by shootings, witnessed fights where knives were brought out, and even saw an overdose victim with a needle still in his arm. Years later, I do wonder if I ended up becoming a product of my environment, or if writing saved me from what I might have become.
I have no problem with being looked upon as twisted. But I would have people know that I don’t enjoy these things. I only know that they exist and choose to shed a light on them. If I can give away some of my nightmares, maybe I can start sleeping better at night.
JEFF: Getting back to your writing, are you a plotter or a pantser?
ED: What do you mean by pantser? I’ve never heard that term. I know I’m not a plotter, so I figure I’m a pantser.
JEFF: Ah! Sorry. It’s a relatively common term with writers these days. I mean do you plot your stories out, or do you write “by the seat of your pants”? I’ve also heard it called “Discovery writing” or “Intuitive writing.”
ED: Then yeah, I’m a pantser. Plotting kills my creativity. Every time I plot, one of two things happens. Either I grow bored with the story—because, heck, I already know what’s going to happen—or the plot changes so drastically, an outline was a complete waste of time. “Bay’s End” just kind of happened. I don’t know how else to explain it. I didn’t plot a single line of that book. I trusted my characters to tell me what was next. When Eddy walked in with those cherry bombs, I was just as excited as Trey was. I know, I’m crazy. But I love being insane. It’s so much more fun.
JEFF: You were chosen as one of the vanguard authors for the new Red Adept Publishing small press. What has your experience been like working with them?
ED: The entire crew has been a godsend. Lynn O’Dell is a fabulous editor, but she’s an even better human being. When you delve into the creative arts, family and friends are absolutely no help to you. They love you and do not want to hurt your feelings. Well, that kind of crap doesn’t help you grow. Lynn lays it out like it is, as does Michelle Rever, who did the initial content edit for “Dastardly Bastard.” I don’t need someone to tell me what I did right. I need to know what I did wrong.
JEFF: Why have you chosen to publish your books via Indie and/or small press, rather than via traditional publishing?
ED: If I had never met Lynn O’Dell, I would have stayed Indie—actually I never would have published anything of quality from the jump. I have no doubt about that. Once I heard she was starting up with the publishing side, I had to get in. With the bigger publishers, authors like me get lost in the mix. My book’s too short, the content is too controversial, blah, blah, blah…
Another big thing is length of time between novels. Lynn hasn’t—not yet, at least—put a cap on how many novels I can put out in a year. I write a lot. So that’s a good thing. I believe she’s of the same mindset as me. As long as they’re quality works, get them out there. No need to be a tease.
JEFF: Do you have any other writing projects in the works?
ED: Of course.
JEFF: LOL. Can you share a little of what it’s about?
ED: I don’t know, really. It’s hard to tell what will be next. I can keep up with three different books at a time. Right now, I’m doing just that. I have one that I’m working on more than the other two, but I have no idea if that will be my next book. I’m unearthing everything as I go. I am trying to give my readers something a little more substantial as far as length is concerned. There’s nothing wrong with a short book, but I know people like to get lost for a while. Up until now, I didn’t have a long story to tell.
I will add this: We’re going back to Bay’s End. I can guarantee that.
JEFF: For those of us who are beginning to learn our way around in the ever-changing business that is non-traditional publishing, are there any lessons you’ve learned that you’d like to share?
ED: I’m still learning myself, brother. I would love to divulge secrets, but I’m not privy to them at this time. Sorry.
JEFF: Any other thoughts, comments, or advice you’d like to leave us with?
ED: I try to lend an element of humor and truth to everything I write. If you can make someone believe your characters are real, that reader will follow you anywhere.
It’s really easy to fall in love with a person if they’re funny. Ask just about any woman on the face of this planet what she looks for in a man, and most will respond with “He has to be able to make me laugh.” They’ll have other criteria, of course, but that one’s almost always present. It’s how I managed to woo my wife, because Brad Pitt, I am not.
With truth, people must believe the motivations that drive your character. They don’t have to agree, but they must understand. The hardest chore I have as a writer is to not add my own reactions and emotions to a situation. Just because I would run from the beastie in the shadows does not mean my character would. There are plenty of people with more strength and will power than I in this world. But there are also weaker souls. Continuity is key. If your character acts off type, there has to be a reason. Have they finally broken? Has something presented itself to embolden them?
Good fiction finds the truth in the lie.
JEFF: Thanks, Ed. I wish you luck with Dastardly Bastard, and look forward to future books from you.
I know, I know – I said I wouldn’t ever review any more books or authors in public. And I’m sticking to that promise – this isn’t going to be a review. I promise, it isn’t!
However, there is a fellow Red Adept Select author who goes by the moniker of Edward Lorn, and he’s having trouble getting much traction with his writing. It’s just one of those things where I got lucky, and he didn’t. I don’t understand it. You see, the guy is an amazing writer. I heard his first book “Bay’s End” described as “the best five-star book I never want to read again”. I read it and I have to agree. Think of it as King’s “Stand By Me”, only darker – much darker. That’s all I can say about it without getting into review territory, so I’ll just stop with “I highly recommend it” and point you to an earlier post I made about it at the bottom of my “Conjour 2012” entry.
But that isn’t the main reason for this post. You see, Ed (or “E”), is about ready to release his next novel “Dastardly Bastard”, and he needs help funding the project. To that end, he is starting a Kickstarter campaign. I urge you to at least go and check it out. I know from personal experience, that entering the writing business is a gamble. The new indie model makes it possible to do on your own, but not without the sacrifice of many nights of sleep, considerable gray hair, and a not-so-insignificant amount of cash.
Ed has not asked me to do this. In fact, he doesn’t know I’ve posted this at all. Of course, if he has his Google alerts set the way he should, he’ll find out soon enough. But I would urge anyone who wants to help a guy who shows amazing talent as a horror & suspense writer to please check out his current book (“Bay’s End“), and if you can spare a few bucks to help a struggling writer out, also check out his kickstarter campaign. I know I’m going to.
Oh, a final note of caution – if you are offended by strong language, Ed just might not be your cup of tea. Let’s just say that his characters have no problem expressing themselves in a very “down to earth” manner. However, it’s done in character, not for shock value.
All right, I’m getting down from my soapbox now. Carry on. And be safe.
Just got back from Conjour 2012 this afternoon, and it was great. Conjour is a three-day SF/F/H/Gaming convention with a very strong writing track. I spoke to one of the committee members and asked why what is advertised as a SciFi and Gaming convention has so many writing panels.
Podcasting 101 panel - Left to right - Charlie Brown, Terry Mixon, Paul E. Cooley)
She explained that since the convention was hosted at the University of Houston at Clear Lake, they were obliged to present the event with a strong educational element. The result has been the best “hidden” writing convention (that isn’t really a writing convention) that I know of. Some of the panels I attended were Character Development, The Business aspect of writing, Podcasting 101, Writer’s block, Plot Development, Researching your story, Setting, “She Walks in Darkness” (on feminism in writing), Real Ghostbusting (a discussion on paranormal investigation equipment by the Pasadena Paranormal Research Team), Science to Fiction – Fiction to Science, Publishing and Marketing realities for the Emerging Author, Plot Development 2, How to Start your own Publishing Company, and Technology for writers.
I learned a lot, got to meet and network with some other great authors, and had a great time overall.
Then, when I got back home, I found that our latest Red Adept Select author (Edward Lorn) has just gotten his book out of the gates at Amazon. I had the opportunity to read an advance copy of his book (Bay’s End), and I can see why Red Adept Publications voted him in as one of their Select authors. Bay’s End was a dark, disturbing, and amazingly well written book – a darker version of King’s “Stand By Me”, and (IMHO) written just as well. If you like dark and suspenseful stories, I highly recommend this one. I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again… reading the other Red Adept Select authors amazes me. I am continuously awed by the talent of these folks, and still thrilled to be allowed to play in the same sandbox as the big kids.
Okay sorry folks, but after three days of panels and networking, I’m exhausted. So please forgive me, but this is going to be a really short blog post tonight. I’ll make up for it by getting some more posted in the next day or two.