Wednesday, December 7, 2016

Five-Year Plan (#IWSG)


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After a disappointing October, November started off well as I finished a couple of short stories, neared another to completion and made good progress on my special project. I knew that I wouldn't be able to carry the momentum into the holidays, so I tried to get done as much as I could while the going was good. Sure enough, everything came crashing down at the end of the month as my wife ended up bed ridden for almost two weeks and then everyone in the house started working through a nasty flu.

Now we're hurtling headlong into the holidays and we haven't even started cleaning, decorating and all that fun stuff, so the next few weeks are going to be crazy hectic. I'm not going to put down many words for the rest of the year (I nearly forgot about this post, too) but something about today's IWSG question set off a spark in me. So without further ado...

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December IWSG Question: 
In terms of your writing career, where do you see yourself five years from now, and what’s your plan to get there?



I had to think long and hard about this one, because I don't think about my writing as a "career." I've said before I'm not doing this to make money or achieve praise, nor do I ever expect to make it a full-time gig. A small second income would be nice, sure, but it's not a priority.

I've never had a long term goal or plan for my writing. For me it's more of a hobby. Usually I just go project to project, but lately I've thought a bit more about new things I want to try, and what I want to do next. If I had to make a list (and really, that's the point of this exercise) some things I want to accomplish in the next 5 years, it might look something like this:

  • Write 3-5 books. That doesn't mean publish or even get to final polish, just a first draft would be acceptable. I just have to keep working on something and moving forward.
  • Submit at least 3 books to agents/publishers, just for the hell of it. One of them is already mostly done, and the other two are heavily outlined (and will fall under those 3-5 I plan to write above). As I've said in the past I have no particular desire for the validation of a traditional publishing contract, but it's worth a shot just to see what happens. Even if none of them are picked up, that leads me to...
  • Self-publish 2-3 books. This could be stuff that is not picked up traditionally or one or two ideas I have that I know would have to be self-published (including a sequel to one of my previous books). 
  • Write at least 2 short stories per year and submit them to anthologies/magazines. I really like short stories and I've been working lately to get better at writing them. Two a year, even with my other goals above, should be reasonable, and even I will admit it would be cool to get a couple published and see my byline somewhere.
  • Collect at least 100 rejections. Between the three books and 10+ short stories, that should be more than doable. I'm not even sure why I want to do this, as I don't care that much about the ultimate publication, but I feel like this is just supposed to be part of the author experience and I kinda want to say that I've done it.
So yeah, I don't know if this is "where" I see myself so much as a just a bunch of roadposts I want to hit along the way. Where exactly will I be in five years if I follow this plan? I have no idea, but at least I'll feel that I accomplished something along the way.

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The first Wednesday of every month is officially Insecure Writer’s Support Group day. Writers post their thoughts on their blogs, talking about their doubts and the fears they have conquered. It's a chance for writers to commiserate and offer a word of encouragement to each other. Check out the group here.

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Friday, November 18, 2016

GUEST BLOG: Piper Morgan to the Rescue by Stephanie Faris


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Stephanie Faris is a Piper Morganing machine, and I'm here today to tell you all about the latest entry in her continuing series of misadventures. This little girl has already joined the circus and taken over a school through nefarious schemes (or maybe her mom was the principal, I should go back and check), now she's saving dogs from an animal shelter! Make sure you follow her every step of the way (and follow the lovely Ms Faris at the links below)!

THE BOOK!

Piper helps some four-legged friends find the perfect home in the third book of the brand-new Piper Morgan series.

Piper is super excited to help out at Bark Street, a local animal shelter in town. Who wouldn’t want to be surrounded by adorable puppies and dogs all day? And when Piper sees Taffy, the cutest dog she has ever seen, Piper is determined to find a way to bring Taffy home. But it won’t be easy—especially when she finds out someone else wants to make Taffy a part of their family, too!


THE AUTHOR!

Stephanie Faris knew she wanted to be an author from a very young age. In fact, her mother often told her to stop reading so much and go outside and play with the other kids. After graduating from Middle Tennessee State University with a Bachelor of Science in broadcast journalism, she somehow found herself working in information technology. But she never stopped writing.

Stephanie is the Simon & Schuster author of 30 Days of No Gossip and 25 Roses, as well as the upcoming Piper Morgan series. When she isn’t crafting fiction, she writes for a variety of online websites on the topics of business, technology, and her favorite subject of all—fashion. She lives in Nashville with her husband, a sales executive. 






THE LINKS!
TWITTER | INSTAGRAM

THE CONTEST!

a Rafflecopter giveaway
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Wednesday, November 2, 2016

Well that didn't go according to plan... (#IWSG)


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I just made a donation for $10 to Canadian Blood Services. This was my pledge for the Vampire Books for Blood campaign, in which I said I would donate $1 for every copy of Hell Comes to Hogtown sold in October.

I didn't actually sell ten copies. That was just the minimum donation the website would allow.

Truth be told, I didn't even sell five copies, which is what I had originally intended to donate. I was rounding up from three, which itself was a bit of an inflation as it included two books I sold at the end of September.

That leaves me with one. One book. That's what I sold in October.

And it was on-sale for 99 cents, which you may notice is less than what I pledged to donate.

So yeah, I don't know what I expected to get from Vampire Books for Blood. I certainly didn't expect huge sales or anything, but I thought with 50 authors in a similar genre cross-promoting on their blogs and Facebook and Twitter pages, SOMEONE might see my book and decide to give it a try. Hell, I bought a couple of books myself because they looked interesting. But it was not meant to be.

I just Googled "sad vampire" and got, like, a billion hits. 
I should have known better.

Don't get me wrong, I'm not complaining about donating money to a worthwhile charity. I'm just disappointed that I continue to flail about impotently hoping someone will check out my book. I've only sold half as many copies of Hogtown as I did Ten Thousand Days in a similar time frame, and only received 1/5 as many reviews, despite the new book being much better (in my opinion).

I was so bummed about my non-existent success that I gave away copies of Hogtown for free yesterday for Trick-or-Treat for books. At least it's in someone's hands now. I'm not worried that those freebies took away from any potential donations that would have went to Blood Services, since I ended up covering it anyway.

Anyway, I'm bummed, I'm frustrated, I'm disappointed. Awhile ago I said I don't care if my books make money and I meant it, but I really would like someone to read them.

Anyway.

Here's a picture of my kids dressed up as Minions for Halloween.


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November IWSG Question: 
What's your favourite part of being a writer?

This one's easy, and ties well into my anecdote above. The best part is definitely when someone tells me they enjoyed one of my stories. It doesn't have to be much, even a "hey man that was really cool" is great (though a detailed review is always awesome). I ain't in this for the money or your revolution. I'm a ham and a storyteller and a clown - I just want people to read my damn books. ;-P

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The first Wednesday of every month is officially Insecure Writer’s Support Group day. Writers post their thoughts on their blogs, talking about their doubts and the fears they have conquered. It's a chance for writers to commiserate and offer a word of encouragement to each other. Check out the group here.


Read More »

Monday, October 31, 2016

FREE BOOKS! (Happy Halloween 2016!)


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In honour of the joyous festival of Samhain, today I'm joining forces with Patricia Lynne's Trick or Treat Book Blog Hop to give out free stories to everyone who stops by. It's just like Trick or Treating for candy, except with (hopefully) fewer cavities.

A number of authors and small publishers have signed up to give out free books and stories this year, so be sure to check out everyone on the list to get your free stories. Just make sure you come in costume! 




As for my contribution to the list: For today only, you can download my novel HELL COMES TO HOGTOWN from Smashwords absolutely free. It's a perfect for this Halloween season, as it features monsters, ghosts, violent murder, evil cults, fortune tellers and um, drugged-out professional wrestlers. It's creepy, it's gory, it's got a sense of humour, and it's all yours if you visit Smashwords today:

Get your copy at Smashwords

Happy Halloween, everyone. Be careful, be safe, and have fun! Don't forget to visit all the participants to grab your free stories, or you'll regret it!

Poor Marilyn missed his free stories, and he regrets it.
He regrets a lot of things in his life.

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Wednesday, October 19, 2016

BOOKS ARE CANDY! (Trick or Trick for Books)


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It's that time of year again!

For the third year in a row (second year for me), the talented Ms. Patrica Lynne has organized a Halloween Blog Hop where everyone can go trick-or-treating for FREE BOOKS!

It's super easy: On that wonderful, magical day of Samhain (Halloween for you non-pagans), visit any of the author sites on the list below to get free books and stories into your grubby little hands. It's just like going door-to-door to get candy, but it's like candy for your e-reader instead, and it's guaranteed to cause 100% fewer cavities.


Dressing up in costume while you sit at your desk surfing these sites is completely optional, though highly recommended.






If you're an author or publisher and you want to join in on the fun, be sure to sign up as well. All you have to do it make sure you have a story or book to give away for free, and some way to distribute it (through Amazon, Smashwords, email, Google docs, post the text into your blog, save it on a floppy disk and staple it to a messenger pigeon - you know, all the regular channels).

Be sure to stop by here on October 31 for your treat!

Also, don't forget I'm still participating in Vampire Books For Blood. For every copy of Hell Comes to Hogtown sold in October, I will donate $1 to Canadian Blood Services. To learn more about this great charity and to browse lots of fun books participating, go to vampirebooksforblood.org.


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Wednesday, October 5, 2016

Happy Bloody October! (#IWSG)


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So what am I insecure about this month?

I have a very specific topic on the agenda.


As you may know, I've signed up for Vampire Books For Blood, a charity organization where authors pledge to donate funds to the American Red Cross and Canadian Blood Services based on the number of vampire-themed books they sell during the month of October. I have pledged to donate $1 for every copy of Hell Comes to Hogtown.

(If you haven't heard about it, you will - I'm going to keep up on it for the next four weeks!)

I thought this was a stellar idea. It's a great cause as well as great cross-promotion between a number of authors in a similar genre (at last count there was over 40 authors and publishers participating). The charities win, the authors win and hopefully readers win by discovering new books and writers they enjoy. It seems like a perfect situation for everyone involved.

So why am I worried?

I am convinced that come the end of the month when I tally my sales and go to make my donation to Canadian Blood Services, I'm only going to be giving them, like, two dollars, and it's going to be hugely embarrassing. I mean, I'm used to lousy sales numbers, that's been my reality for the last two years, but to pledge to the world that I'm doing this and then announce exactly how many people bought (or did not) buy my book, well, that's something else.

I'm already checking my bank account to see how much I can pad my donation to make it less shameful.

Anyway...

You should definitely check out Vampire Books For Blood. It's a great cause, and if you're vaguely interested in vampire-themed fiction at all, there's a ton to choose from and surely something to slake your thirst. You certainly don't have to buy my book; but please, considering picking up something that catches your eye.

And if you're a writer who has your own vampire fiction, there's still time to sign up!




Fitz is a broke night manager for a grubby comic book store. His only friend Dee is a drugged-out, womanizing pro-wrestler. Together they’re the most pathetic losers on the face of the planet. Their lives cannot possibly get any worse.

And then they’re implicated in the kidnapping of the prime minister’s wife.

On the run from the cops, Fitz and Dee discover there is something far worse than the RCMP stalking the dark streets of Toronto. They are being hunted by an ancient demon of unspeakable evil with an insatiable taste for blood... or maybe it’s just your run-of-the-mill giant murderous hobo?

Either way, life in prison might be better than whatever the creepy drifter has in store for them…


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IWSG October 5 Question: When do you know your story is ready?

I am ABSOLUTELY not the right person to ask about this, as I have gone back and edited everything I've ever published (one of the advantages to our digital age of self-publishing). Most of it was minor things for typos and such, but I may or may not also be in the middle of a massive revision of one of my previously-published works. But those are just rumours.

Also, everything I've ever submitted to other publications has been terrible. Anytime I've gone back and looked at things I've sent in, I've shaken my head in shame. "What was I thinking? How did I think this was ready?"

That being said, I think you'll know when it's ready. Hell Comes to Hogtown was ready, I think, and I felt pretty good when I hit the publish button. The changes I've made to that one after the fact are very minimal, because I felt like I put in the right amount of work to get it where it needed to be. I also had huge help from outside sources, mostly my amazing editor Amy Allen-Macleod, and my wonderful wife, who pointed out some very key things that fixed a number of problems in the plot. After all these years you really think I would listen to her more often.

If both you and the people you trust think it's ready, then it's as ready as it's going to be.

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The first Wednesday of every month is officially Insecure Writer’s Support Group day. Writers post their thoughts on their blogs, talking about their doubts and the fears they have conquered. It's a chance for writers to commiserate and offer a word of encouragement to each other. Check out the group here.
Read More »

Monday, October 3, 2016

Interview with Comic Fantasy Writer and Former Pro-Wrestler, Philip Overby


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Philip Overby is many things. He's a self-published author and the Godfather of Splatter Elf, who has a new book out right now! He's also the co-host of the always wonderful and informative Grim Tidings Podcast, an engaging interview-style program where he and fellow host Rob Matheny speak to authors, editors, agents, publishers and all plethora of folks in the fantasy and sci-fi industry, especially those purveyors of all things Grimdark.

But do you know what doesn't get spoken about enough? Philip's former career as professional wrestler, "Phil the Drill."

Phil is doing the rounds right now promoting his new Splatter Elf book, One Goblin Army, but when I knew I had a chance to ask him a few questions, I insisted they be about wrestling. You can read about Philip's writerly pursuits and One Goblin Army elsewhere, but no where else will you get the inside scoop on the life of a small-time professional wrestler!

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So how does one get into pro-wrestling? Did you start off in a backyard? Did you go to some kind of semi-reputable school?

I did actually start doing backyard stuff with some friends and my brother. It was fun beating up my brother, but we were really rough on each other. I think I shaved a few years off my life doing the backyard wrestling. It's mostly important to not do anything too stupid. Later on I worked with some local wrestling promotions to get training. Again, I'd recommend finding a reputable school whenever getting into wrestling. Not just for safety but people running a school for a long time usually have good reputations for teaching all types of skills you need.

Why did you get into wrestling? Were you an athlete or a theatre nerd in high school?

Probably like most people that I loved it growing up. I saw a window to get into it and I jumped at it. I never really expected for anything to happen. Yeah, I did church plays when I was really young and always liked being a character.

Mr. The Drill in all his glory.

Tell us about your first match.

No one's first match is ever great really, but I won. I think I did like twenty DDTs with no psychology whatsover and I was wearing a what looked like pajama pants and an AC/DC shirt. I looked like a typical dumbass with no gear on. In retrospect, I should have gotten gear from the beginning, but like a lot of dudes that get into wrestling as a hobby, I just rocked up in whatever shit I had. Later I learned my lesson, but in the beginning I looked like a doofus.

I know you worked mostly heel (ie, he played the villain character). Tell me about making people hate you. I know you're dying to tell a story about kids spitting on you.

I don't really know how to describe my early character, but the closest thing to a current wrestler would be maybe Joey Ryan's sleazeball vibe. I was heavily inspired by the more flamboyant characters like Gorgeous George and Adrian Adonis. Now that I'm more aware of him, if you watch videos of Jimmy Del Ray from the Heavenly Bodies, it was very much like that. I was always dancing really sleazy and of course my body was not great, so it made people hate me more.

For reference, this is Joey Ryan. Phil willingly compares himself to this guy.

One show we did, I was a lumberjack in the main event and I kept feeling something wet hitting my back. There were kids spitting on me. They remembered me from my match earlier in the night and decided to welcome me back to ringside. I had people threaten to fight me in the parking lot and one time a kid pushed me off the turnbuckle when I was about to do a move. Since these shows had shitty security, nothing happened.

I was strict with kayfabe at shows. Meaning if I was a heel, I was a heel. One kid asked me for an autograph once and I said "If you give me twenty dollars." He offered to give me some necklace he had and I said "I don't want that." As a person, it still makes me feel bad. But as a character, it made sense.

What was your finishing move?

The move I used the most in the beginning was the Drill Bit, which was Victoria's Widow's Peak move. Later on I developed some other movies such as Secret Tiger Death Crank, which was just a headlock and the Reverse Frog Splash, which was just a frog splash that I did backwards.

BTW, this is the Widow's Peak. I really hope Phil got some decent training so he didn't kill anyone with this. 

What was the worst/weirdest/dumbest character/wrestler/gimmick you encountered?

My character was pretty weird as it went through different phases. I was teamed up with Crazy Charlie and we were called Beauty and the Beast. We were probably the strangest pairing in terms of characters, but our chemistry worked well because we loved to antagonize people. Often we wouldn't even care about the moves in the match, but would be more concerned with what were were going to yell at people. One time we won the tag team championships for a promotion and did like a ten minute celebration. People were really annoyed.

What was favourite match/best moment?

I did a No DQ type of match before I left to come to Japan. This was when I had turned babyface at one promotion. I had kind of the Damien Sandow/Heath Slater vibe in that I was entertaining and got beat so often that I actually got over that way. After the match, the fans were chanting my name and it was a cool send-off. Winning championships is always fun as well because it means the promotion thinks you're good enough to represent them in some capacity.

How long did you wrestle? Why did you hang up the boots?

I wrestled when I was older, so I only worked for maybe five or six years off and on. Mostly I just quit wrestling because I moved away from the U.S. Wrestling in Japan would have been a dream come true, but my body was already beat to shit by then. Wrestling in Japan isn't a good idea if you're already beat to shit.

Do you follow wrestling in Japan? Ever attend any big Tokyo Dome/Sumo Hall shows?

I used to go to Wrestle Kingdom every year at the Tokyo Dome when I first moved to Japan. I think I went three or four years in a row. It became a tradition. Then I started to do so many other things, I didn't have time to go anymore. I'd still love to go to shows every so often, but it's been a few years now. Some of the best wrestling I've ever seen live was at the Tokyo Dome. Kota Ibushi vs. Prince Devitt (Finn Balor) still stands out as the most amazing match I've seen live. I've seen New Japan, DDT, NOAH, and ZERO-1 live. New Japan was always my go-to promotion.

Do you still follow American wrestling? What pisses you off the most about wrestling today?

I still follow it but I wouldn't say I watch it regularly anymore. I actually think NXT is must watch TV for wrestling fans. I've seen some incredible matches and storylines on that program. Wrestling is one of those things I stopped nit-picking. It's like reading books or watching movies or whatever. Some of it really stands out as amazing and some just isn't for me. I seek out the wrestling that appeals to me and I skip the things I don't like. I haven't watched Lucha Underground, but it sounds like a cool way to present wrestling that makes it stand out. I also like the trainwreck appeal of what Matt Hardy's doing right now with matches like the Final Deletion. His character Broken Matt Hardy is unique and weird, just the type of character that made wrestling fun when I was a kid.

Any chance we'll ever see wrestling-themed fiction from you?

I actually wrote a story not long ago that features a monster wrestler. It hasn't found a home yet, but it could be appearing somewhere soon-ish. I've also wanted to just write a straight-up wrestling story one of these days, but I wouldn't want it to be a typical story. It would have to be weird. And bloody. Maybe even be based in Japan?

Who is your all time favourite wrestler?

I have so many favorites, but if you ask me right now, today I'd say Shinsuke Nakamura. To me he's the perfect blend of entertaining and brutal. He's got that quality about him that makes you excited to see his matches. If I go back and look at a wrestler I've enjoyed consistently since I was young, I'd say The Rock because, like Nakamura, he was good at everything.

Gotta agree with Phil on this one, not many guys could pull this off.

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Phil's new book, One Goblin Army, is available now at Amazon along with all the Splatter Elf stories. I highly recommend you give them a try. Here are some helpful places you can find Mr. The Drill online:

HOMEPAGE/BLOG: http://PhilipOverby.com
AMAZON: https://www.amazon.com/Philip-Overby/e/B00P588ETQ

Grinner, the goblin with the fancy teeth, wants his damn money and he's not going to let some bastard wizard run away with it. Katzia of Clovenhoof, the part-time monster hunter and full-time sword enthusiast, is kidnapped in order to help capture the ever-elusive monster Tundertum. In the chaotic, grotesque art project that is the city of Phlegm, Grinner and Katzia encounter mercenaries, warlocks, a cursed accountant with maggoty powers, and other dangers all while seeking out the one weapon that can stop the rampaging Tundertum: the blood-drinking chainsaw known as Manglesaw.


This story is for mature audiences due to naughty language, blood, guts, and other fun stuff!

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