Summer 2015 Update

I know it’s been a while since I posted any updates, and I apologize. Life has a way of stepping in sometimes and showing you who’s boss.

I’m in the middle of a writing workshop right now, this one on building a career, and I’ve just been accepted into a Publishing Master Class workshop that will be held in Oregon in October. Really excited about that one, as it will be taught by Dean Wesley Smith and Kris Rusch, both of whom I have learned a ton from over the past couple of years. And I also have to admit to being a bit intimidated by being around all those other writers, some “pros” and some not, but all immensely talented. Should be a blast!

Work continues slowly on The Novelist, and though it’s progressing at a snail’s pace, I’m really happy with what I’ve got so far. I’m hoping the rest of the novel goes fairly quickly, as I know where the story is headed now and I look forward to seeing how it ends. No kidding. I had no clue what the ending would be when I started. That’s called “writing into the dark” or “pantsing” as some writers refer to it, meaning you’re flying by the seat of your pants. This has been somewhat of an experiment for me as I’m usually an outliner. And although I did outline the first third or so of this book, I kinda veered off course, so now the story has taken on a life of its own. I love when that happens! However, the downside of that for me has been that the writing has gone slower. My outlines have run that gamut from orderly and tidy to messy and illegible. When I was writing The Killing Vision I used a typewritten outline that I actually cut apart and assembled on my office floor; even though I sort of had an idea of what was happening, I needed to adjust things for a specific timeline. (And to be honest, until I assembled my Frankenstein monster outline, I had no clue who the killer was going to be. None.) In any event, the new book is moving forward and that’s all that matters.

Until next time, happy reading, and remember you can find me on Facebook and Twitter and always right here as well.

Spring 2015 Update

Greetings to all my faithful readers!  It’s been a while since I’ve updated my blog and I wanted to touch base with you and let you know what’s happening in my world.

I’m continuing to plug along on The Novelist, and I’m quite happy and surprised at the turns the book is taking.  I will be honest; this book has been a struggle for me and at times it has been very difficult to put myself in “writer mode.”  I have considered working on other projects at times, but I feel the need to finish this.  I’m enjoying how the story’s structure is developing, and I’m eager to share it with you.  And frankly, sometimes knowing there are people out there waiting for my next book is what keeps me going in this crazy endeavor.

The Turkish translation of The Killing Vision is out now.  I’ve not received my copies yet, but the translator generously sent along a shot of the cover.  Looking forward to holding it in my hands, even though I won’t be able to read a word of it.

We’ve had a long, snowy winter, and I know everyone is ready for spring.  Our area saw the biggest one-day snowfall in decades – 21 inches.  Nothing compared to what the poor folks in the northeast have experienced, but to us those are crippling numbers.  As I write this I’m looking at the sun in a cloudless sky and hoping we’ve seen the last cold weather for a long time.

As always, keep watching here and on Facebook and Twitter for the latest updates and news of special sales or announcements, and don’t hesitate to drop me a line.

Until next time, happy reading!

December 2014 Update

My goodness what a difference one year can make.

Since my December 2013 post I’ve released all three Brock Ford books in paperback, Devil’s CatacombsMoon Shadow, and the audio book versions of The Killing Vison, The Island  and The Movie House Mystery.  I’ve also had a short story appear in the anthology, Light in the Darkness, and I saw The Mummy’s Tomb walk away with a silver medal in the Florida Authors and Publishers Association awards.  We also had a grandchild!

Whew!

Quite an eventful year.  2015 will most certainly be as exciting.  I fully expect to release The Novelist in the first quarter, and due to popular demand, the sequel to The Killing Vision is back in the works.  The fourth book in the Brock Ford series, Ghosts Along the Amazon, may also make its appearance, along with at least one more horror novel.  I have lots of writing to do in the coming year, but I will always try to update my faithful readers at least once a month.

Today I finished the Ideas to Story workshop with Dean Wesley Smith, and I must say that I was left with a great deal of inspiration for future projects.  The whole point of this workshop was to show how story ideas can be triggered from a wide variety of sources – objects, people, places, etc. – and how these triggers can be built upon to create stories, novels, or entire series.  It was fantastic working with Dean, as always, and I highly recommend any of his workshops to writers who want to better their skills.  The workshops are a little pricey, but they’re well worth it.  If you’re serious at all about being a writer, you understand the importance of constantly learning how to improve your craft.  Great writers aren’t born, they’re made, and if you stop learning you’ll grow stale and wither into obscurity.  I advise anyone who wants to write to constantly strive to learn from a variety of sources; your writing will only get better for it.

I want to thank everyone who in the past year purchased one of my books, sent me an encouraging email or Facebook post, or stopped by in person to visit.  You are the reason I love doing this.  Without readers a book is a dead thing, a lump of ideas and dreams and words.  You are what brings them to life, what keeps them alive.  I feel very fortunate to have a dedicated group of readers who always ask, “When’s the next book coming out?”  It’s a constant reminder that I’m not sitting here working away for nothing, that people really do enjoy reading my stories, as twisted as some of them are.  (The stories, not the people.)  Thank you again for all your support, and I hope to keep entertaining you as long as I can still put words on a screen.

I hope this holiday season you are all surrounded with peace and joy and love.  Merry Christmas, and best wishes for a wonderful, exciting, and promising 2015!

November 2014 Update

Autumn was short-lived here in Kentucky this year, and it seems we have gone straight to winter.  As I write this we are under a winter weather advisory for this evening, with one to two inches of snow predicted overnight.  It’s always pretty to look at, especially with the holidays just around the corner, but it sure makes for a treacherous commute.

Work continues to progress on the new horror story, tentatively entitled The Novelist.  This is a book I wrote in the ’80s but which I have decided to rewrite and give a horror twist.  The original was just literary fiction, and focused on a best-selling author suddenly stricken with writer’s block.  If you’re a writer, you understand how truly terrifying that is.  I’ve decided to up it a notch, and throw in some hints of the paranormal and out and out horror.  However, it won’t be ready for a January release as I’d first hoped, but look for it in the spring.  More details to come.

I’m taking another writing workshop from Dean Wesley Smith this month.  This one is all about moving from idea to story.  I’m really hoping to get a lot out of this one, as I tend to have lots of ideas, but sometimes have trouble generating a real story from them.  Anyway, Dean is the best, and I’m sure I’ll get more than my money’s worth.  I hope to one day attend one of his in-person workshops out on the west coast; immersing myself for a week in nothing but writing and learning with other authors sounds like heaven.  And to do it on the beautiful Oregon coast is the cherry on the cake.

I still plan to have a book special during December, so stay tuned for more information.  Watch Twitter and Facebook for the latest.

That’s it for this month.  As we head into the holiday season, I hope everyone stays happy and healthy and is surrounded by family, friends, and love.

Happy reading!

October 2014 Update

This has been a month of traveling and work, and not much writing I’m afraid.  Some months are like that.  Real life unfortunately gets in the way of pursuing our passions, and it’s up to us to grab onto the reins and take control. I’m hoping as we move through the holidays and back into the winter other obligations will fall away and I’ll have even more time for writing.

I’m always excited to share freebies and sales with my readers, so watch here, on Facebook and Twitter as I hope to have some special deals for the holidays.  Not sure at the moment what will be offered, but rest assured it will be something you’ll like.

In the meantime, I’ve been reading lots of good books.  If you follow me on Goodreads you know I religiously document everything I read.  I review very little, but I always leave a star rating, and if I feel a story has touched me in an exceptional way, I try to send a note to the author.  I’ve made some great friends over the past few years by just reaching out to other writers.  Call it fan mail if you wish, but sometimes the best ego stroke we authors can get is a personal message from someone who has enjoyed our work.  It’s like proof from the cosmos that we’re not working in vain or sending our stories out into the ether to fade into oblivion.

Some of the books I’ve read this year that I can highly recommend:

Willy by Robert Dunbar

Lineage by Joe Hart

Nightmares: Bedtime Stories for the Wicked by Mark Souza

Boy’s Life by Robert McCammon

Any of these books are worth a read, especially with Halloween coming and the desire to have a chill running down your spine.

That’s it for this month.  Until next time, happy reading!

September 2014 Update

Fall is definitely in the air!  Shorts and flip-flops will soon give way to sweatshirts and jeans, and the crisper air is perfect for cozying up around the firepit with a hot beverage. Here at the Overby house we’re planning our autumn getaway, which will be to Florida this year.  Looking forward to catching up with my old friends Mickey and Goofy and enjoying a spin through the Haunted Mansion.  This will be our first trip to Disney in twenty years without the kiddos, so it should be interesting.

My short story “Ink” will appear in the anthology Rocking Tales of Terror due out some time in October.  It’s a horror tale about a new tattoo that turns out to be more than the protagonist bargains for.  I had a lot of fun with this one!  Keep watching here and the usual places for more information on the anthology’s release.

Work continues on the latest novel, although I took a break to work on “Ink” and various other projects.  Now it’s back to business as I hope to have the book ready for a January release.  We’ll see how it goes.  Some things you just can’t rush.

The Silver Medal Edition of The Mummy’s Tomb will hit store shelves this month.  I’m going to retire the first edition, so if you have one of those, hang onto it because it might be worth a fortune one day.  The new version will include a reproduction of the FAPA medal on the cover, although Brian Bowes’ wonderful cover art and interior illustrations will stay the same.  A small tweak, but important nonetheless.

Also this month, the paperback version of Light in the Darkness will be released from Ivy Media Press.  Look for it in all the online stores or at your local independent book seller.  Don’t forget that all the profits go to Literacy for Incarcerated Teens, a non-profit organization based in New York.

That’s it for now!  You can find me on Twitter or lurking about on Facebook, so don’t hesitate to drop me a note.  I’m always happy to hear from friends and readers!

Happy Reading!

August 2014 Update

Wow!  Hard to believe the summer is nearly over!  Here at the Overby house we’ve enjoyed cooler temperatures but little rain. Today as I write this, it appears we may get a few drops before the weekend’s over.

The Mummy’s Tomb walked away with a silver medal in the 2014 Florida Authors and Publishers Association Book Awards in the Children’s Fiction category. I’m astounded!  This is the first competition I’ve ever entered, and to soar so high in my first outing is both humbling and validating.  I can now truly call myself an award-winning author.  I want to thank writer, illustrator, publisher and fellow Dawsonian Mark Wayne Adams for giving me a heads-up for the awards and pushing me to enter.  Mark is a fantastic voice for independent writing and publishing, and I expect more great things from him.  If you’ve not picked up a copy of The Mummy’s Tomb and your 9 to 12-year-old is looking for an adventurous read before school resumes, head over to Amazon right now.

The YA anthology Light in the Darkness that includes my short story “Touch” was released on August 11, and all the contributors were part of a great online launch party hosted by Amber Garza of Lady Amber’s Reviews.  I’d personally like to thank author Tabitha Short for inviting me to be a part of this project and S.K. Whiteside and Ivy Media & Press for providing editing, formatting, and production.  I also want to give a shout-out to Airicka Phoenix for the wonderful cover design and my fellow authors who contributed their hard work for this worthy cause.  I was able to read some of the other stories in the book, and let me tell you, they are all worth a read.  And don’t forget, your purchase is a donation to the Literacy for Incarcerated Teens project.  Great fiction and the joy of helping others at the same time – what more could you ask?

In the meantime, work is progressing on my short story contribution to a horror anthology called Rocking Tales of Terror that we hope to have out by Halloween.  A lot of the writers working on this one are really in their element, and if the stories are anywhere near the quality of work in Light in the Darkness you’ll be in for a real spooky treat.  I’m excited to read everyone’s work, and I just know I’ll have to sleep with the lights on a night or two.

Thanks to everyone for the well-wishes for Granddaughter’s birth. She is certainly growing and changing every day.  My wife and I had to privilege to go visit recently and though it was a long drive, it was certainly worth it.  Grandchildren are the best!  I’ll happily continue to provide updates and granddad stories until you kindly tell me to stop. 🙂

That’s it for this month.  If you enjoy reading my work (or that of any other author), please leave a review on Amazon or a star rating on Goodreads.  Those things sell books, and selling books gives writers the incentive to provide you with more stories and a wealth of entertainment.  Happy reading!

July 2014 Update

Baby Nora is here!  She was born June 20 weighing 8 pounds and measuring 21 1/2 inches.  Everyone is doing fine and we appreciate all the well wishes.  She is going to be one spoiled little girl!

After a lot of agonizing I have decided to put the sequel to The Killing Vision on hold for now.  After about 12,000 words I was just not getting into the story and I wasn’t satisfied with the direction the plot was moving.  Maybe at some point in the future I will revisit this project, but for now I’m going to continue to focus on horror, which is my true love.  This of course presents a setback in my schedule and also my long-term plans, but I can’t see the value of working on something I just don’t have a passion for.  It’s unfair to both myself and my readers.  In the meantime, I’ve already got another book project underway, and I’m feeling really good about it.  There will be more about it in upcoming blog entries, so stay tuned.

The cover for the anthology which will contain one of my short stories will be revealed on July 28, with the ebook to be released on August 11.  Watch Facebook for more info including where you can get your copy.  It really has been a great experience working with so many other talented writers, and I hope to do it again really soon.

If you happen to be in the Dawson Springs, Kentucky area on July 25, I will be signing books at the annual Barbecue Festival, along with my mother Rebecca Solomon and suspense novelist Tabitha Short.  We’ll have a booth set up from 6:00 PM until 9:00 PM, so please drop by to say hello!

Until next month, Happy Reading!

June 2014 Update

We’re still on baby watch here in the Overby household, hoping for our new granddaughter to make her appearance any day now.  I know her parents are more than ready, as well. But, babies take their own sweet time.  Don’t want her popping out until she’s done. I’m sure there will be pictures aplenty on Facebook when the big day arrives.

The anthology I’m part of has finally chosen a name for our book:  Lights in Darkness.  I like it a lot.  The story I’ve contributed is called “Touch” and has a bit of the paranormal in it. No horror, though, since we all wanted our works to have an upbeat and inspirational feel. I’m really happy with the way my story turned out, and beta readers have given it a big thumbs up.  Watch here and the usual places for news on the release of the anthology.

The audio book version of The Island is in the can and is heading to retail.  I’ve listened to the whole thing and Gary Tiedemann’s narration just really knocked my socks off.  It should be released any day now, and I can’t wait to share it with everyone. I said it before when The Killing Vision audio book was released, but it’s still a real thrill to hear someone else’s take on your work.  Gary’s reading really makes the characters come alive, and his voices are spot on!  The audio book will be available on Audible, iTunes, and Amazon.

Speaking of The Killing Vision, I’m still plugging away on its sequel, A Vision of Murder. It’s a bit strange settling back in with characters from the previous book, especially now that so much has happened with them in the interim.  In a way, though, it’s like visiting with old friends, and I’m looking forward to delving deeply into their backgrounds once again.  Creating characters is one of the most fun parts of writing fiction and when you get it just right and readers tell you how much a certain character resonated with them, there is not a better feeling in the world.

If you have not yet read the new novel, Moon Shadow, head over to Goodreads and enter to win one of three signed copies of the book.  The giveaway ends on June 22, so you still have a few days left to get your name in the pot.  If you’re not a winner, fear not! Amazon will have the Kindle version on a “Countdown Deal” July 1 – 6.  For those of you unfamiliar with these sales, the book will start out at 99 cents on the morning of July 1 and gradually increase in price over the next several days until it’s back up to its regular price of $4.99. There are some other books going on Kindle Countdown Deals over the next few weeks as well:

The Killing Vision, June 18-24

Brock Ford Adventures box set (Books 1-3), June 23-29

There may be some more promotions toward the end of July, so keep checking back here for details, or sign up for my newsletter and be among the first to hear about specials as well as new releases.

Hope everyone is having a blast this summer.  Until next month, Happy Reading!

May 2014 Update

Greetings!  Here at the old homestead winter is still putting up one last fight.  And depending upon what you hear we’re in the middle of Blackberry Winter or Catalpa Winter, or some other such made-up season.  Whatever.  The blackberries are in bloom so I’m sticking with that one.

Moon Shadow has been released and is now available in paperback and for Kindle.  I’m getting some great feedback from early readers, and that’s always good news.  I’m glad to finally be finished with this project and ready to move on to the next.

The audiobook version of The Island continues its progress toward completion, and hopefully it will be released within the next few weeks.  Keep watching in the usual places for all the details.  What I’ve heard so far is fantastic, and I can’t wait to hear the rest.  As a reminder, audiobook versions of The Killing Vision (read by J. LaLonde) and my kids’ book The Movie House Mystery (narrated by yours truly) are already available through Audible, iTunes, and Amazon.  More will be forthcoming in the months ahead.

I’m still hard at work on my contribution to the anthology to benefit incarcerated teens.  “Touch” follows a special little girl who has the ability to heal and the joys and burdens that accompany the gift.  The anthology should be available in July, and I will keep you informed as I learn more.

All three Brock Ford books are being released as an ebook box set this month.  These are, of course, the new versions with the beautiful illustrations by Brian Bowes.  The price for the box set will be $5.99, which is a bargain.  Watch the bookstore page on my website for availability.

Thanks again for all your support.  As always, please feel free to drop me a line anytime.  I’m happy to hear from readers!

Until next month, Happy Reading!

April 2014 Update

Greetings from the Overby house on a beautiful spring morning!

Moon Shadow is complete and is awaiting some edits before I release it out into the wild.  I have not been entirely happy with the ending, and after talking with one of my beta readers I have decided to rework it slightly.  I think this will make much more sense character-wise and will give the book a more satisfying conclusion.  I am expecting a release in early May, so watch here for more details.  In the meantime, Kit Foster has created a wonderfully eerie atmospheric cover:

 

Moon Shadow SM

In kids’ book news, The Movie House Mystery is now an audiobook!  This was my first foray into book narration, and I have to admit that though it was a lot of work, it was still fun. I’ve always wanted to do voiceovers, and producing my own audiobooks will give me the chance to do that.  The Movie House Mystery is available on Audible, Amazon, and iTunes.  Expect more audiobooks from me in the future.  I’m planning on recording the entire Brock Ford series and the remainder of my backlist novels.

And now for something completely different.  I have signed on to contribute a short story to an anthology to benefit Literacy for Incarcerated Teens (LIT).  This is a group that provides books and hosts author appearances for detained teens.  I think it’s a great cause.  The anthology will be available this summer, and I’ll provide more details as they become available.

That’s all for now.  Until next month, happy reading!

 

March 2014 Update

Here in Kentucky the grip of winter seems to have broken.  Just here in the last week we’ve seen the temperature hit close to 80 degrees.  Believe me, it was welcome.  It’s been a long, long winter.  I don’t recall a harsher one in recent memory, and I’ve heard a lot of people compare it to the deep freeze of ’77.  I remember that because the schools closed around here because the temps hovered around twenty below for a few days.  Thankfully we haven’t seen anything of that magnitude this year, but it’s a reminder that things can always be worse.

The audiobook version of The Killing Vision is in the can, and it should be up for sale at Audible, iTunes, and Amazon within a couple of weeks.  It’s been an amazing journey, and working with voice personality J. LaLonde has been a dream.  I’ve had a chance to listen to the whole book, and J. brings a vibrancy to my prose that I couldn’t have imagined.  Watch for more information here, and I’ll announce the release as soon as it happens.  In other audiobook news, actor/voiceover artist Gary Tiedemann has signed on to read the audiobook version of The Island.  We’re shooting for a late spring release for this one, and I’ll keep everyone posted as the production moves forward.

I’m starting to see the end of the tunnel on Moon Shadow, and I expect to finish it within the coming week.  Kit Foster will again design the cover, and he’s already got me on his schedule for the first week of April.  I’m really excited about this one, and I can’t wait to release it.  I have really enjoyed working on this book, but it has taken me six months to complete, which is almost three times as long as I had anticipated.  For one thing the characters took on a depth I hadn’t expected, which is always a good thing.  For another, the story hit an unexpected twist and I was forced to look at the book from a different perspective.  I love when a novel takes on a life of its own, but I have to admit, this one has really worn me out.  I will be glad to start working on something new.

As of right now, that something new looks to be the sequel to The Killing Vision.  The working title for the moment is A Vision of Murder, but that may change as the story develops.  I’m still in the “gathering information” stage, which my long-suffering wife recognizes as “those times when I sit and brood.”  Anyone who has known a writer or artist personally will understand this.  It’s just part of our genetic makeup.  A writer spends a lot of energy digging things up from inside, and it’s exhausting.  I remember finishing up The Island last summer and spending a few days recovering because I just couldn’t think anymore and I felt I could sleep for days.  I don’t expect that level of exhaustion this time, but at least I’m prepared for it just in case.

I also have big news in my personal life.  We’re expecting our first grandchild in June!  We’re all very excited, but my wife and I can’t help feeling we’re still too young for this.  Does anyone ever feel old enough for grandkids?  Probably not.  But rest assured this will be one spoiled little girl when she arrives.  She’s already amassing an extensive wardrobe, and Granddad is looking forward to sharing books and stories.  It’s going to be a fun time!

Finally, you may have noticed a couple of changes to the website.  I’ve added a bookstore link where you can purchase my books directly from Amazon.  I’ll probably mess around with it a bit more to add more categories and functionality, but you get the idea.  And as you can see I’m sporting a new headshot for 2014 courtesy of my neighbor, photographer Josh Morgan.  I think Josh did a decent job of making me look cool.  Which is no easy task, believe me.

Until next month, Happy Reading!

February 2014 Update

Hard to believe it’s been a month since my last update.  Here in Kentucky winter has kept most everyone indoors since Christmas.  Lots of snow and ice and freezing temperatures and a good dose of cabin fever.  As someone I know used to say, the only good thing about February is that it’s only twenty-eight days.

-AqeyXA5

In Brock Ford news, The Mummy’s Tomb is now finally out in paperback!  It has been a long haul getting these three books in print, but it has definitely been worth the wait.  Brian Bowes, whose wonderful illustrations grace all three volumes, sent me a gift.  A coffee mug.  Now, wonder what made him think I like coffee?  Hm.  In any event, it was a thoughtful gift, and I’ve been using it every day at work.  It’s a great conversation starter.

Moon Shadow is still progressing, although the book seems to be growing.  I’m now looking at April for the release.  Once again Kit Foster will be designing the cover, and I can’t wait to see what he has in mind.  Watch here, on Facebook, and on Twitter for details.

I’m really torn about my next project.  Originally I had another horror novel planned, but I’m thinking of shelving that for a little while longer to work on the sequel to The Killing Vision, which is still selling quite well.  I have a good idea how I want the story to go, and I feel like I should work on it now while I feel the momentum of inspiration and also while reader interest is still keen.  We’ll see.  One project at a time.

Devil’s Catacombs will be arriving in paperback within the week, and should be available on Amazon in other outlets before the end of the month.  It will retail for $13.95, or you can download the Kindle version for $3.99.  I have spent today formatting and uploading and will be relieved to have that project finally finished.  It always feels good to move on to the next thing.  Or in my case, the next three or four things.

The Turkish publisher handling the translation of The Killing Vision has expressed interest in The Island  and Drum.  My foreign agent is handling that right now, so we’ll see how it goes.  I am so curious to see the Turkish version of The Killing Vision, and I wish I could read Turkish so I could appreciate how my words are being translated.  I’m sure there are going to be some differences.

Until next month, Happy Reading!  Let’s hope spring arrives early!

January 2014 Update

Lots of exciting news this month, so let’s jump right to it!

First and foremost, Devil’s Catacombs will be released within the next couple of weeks.  Once again I’ve enlisted the talented Kit Foster for the cover, and I think you’ll agree he has come up with something amazing.  With the story taking place at an old abandoned tourist trap, I came up with the idea of using a worn billboard for the title.  Kit liked that idea and ran with it.  It’s a very atmospheric graphic, one that immediately evokes the feel of the story.  Keep watching here for the release date, or subscribe to my newsletter and find out before everyone else.  The story will definitely appeal to you horror aficionados and shows the turn my fiction is taking.  I have to admit, I’m having a blast writing again, now that I’ve given myself the freedom to write what I want.  I think my enjoyment shines through with this one.

Moon Shadow is progressing rapidly.  I wrote last month about researching the ’80s.  I’ve moved into the ’90s now, and it’s been quite a ride seeing what’s happened to my characters over a decade of their lives.  It’s a little bittersweet, seeing what’s become of their high school dreams and plans for their lives.  I’m close to halfway finished, and well on track for a March release.

The audio book version of The Killing Vision should be ready for release within the next few weeks.  It’s read by J. Lalonde, who is a comedian and voiceover artist.  I really like what I’ve heard so far, and Mr. Lalonde gives a whole new depth to my words.  I think you’ll like it, too.  I’m hoping this will only be the first of my books to be brought to audio.

The Killing Vision has also been picked up by international publisher Harf Eğitim Yayınları who will be bringing out a Turkish translation later this year.  Yes, I said Turkish.  This will be the first of my works to be translated into a foreign language, and I’m really eager to see how it turns out.

I’m also in the very early planning stages (i.e., going over things in my head) for a sequel to The Killing Vision, which will again feature the characters of Mike Halloran and Joel Roberts.  I’m excited about this one and can’t wait to get more into it.  I might even rearrange my schedule to start on it sooner.

Well, that’s it for this month.  Stay tuned to the usual channels for updates in the interim.  Happy reading!

December 2013 Update

I hope everyone is enjoying this time of the year.  It’s the middle of the holiday season as I write this, smack dab between Thanksgiving and Christmas.  And while we have a tree up this year we don’t have any ornaments displayed or gifts under it.  That’s the reality of living with cats sometimes.  Last year we didn’t even set out our tree because we knew we’d have a kitten using it for monkey bars.  Now he’s way too fat to climb, but still enough of a youngster that ornaments would be too much of a temptation for him.  He also likes to chew on wrapped gifts as we unfortunately found out the hard way.

Anyway.  I want to wish all my readers a wonderful season of joy and love, no matter whether you’re celebrating Christmas, Kwanzaa, Hanukkah, or the winter solstice, and to thank you for your support over the past year.  2013 saw the release of four new books, and 2014 is promising to be just as fruitful.  I can’t wait to share new characters and stories with you in the coming year!  Don’t forget to sign up for my mailing list so you’ll be the first to hear of new releases and other announcements.  You can sign up by clicking here.

And now for the big news!  The Lost Treasure of Kilimanjaro and The River of Gold are finally available in paperback form with the gorgeous illustrations of Brian Bowes.  These editions have been over a year in the works, but I’m sure you’ll agree with me that they have been worth the wait!  Unfortunately there’s been a delay with The Mummy’s Tomb due to some permissions issues, but I fully expect that to be resolved before the end of January.  Brian has been great to work with and very open to my suggestions and always willing to answer my questions.  Check out his online gallery at http://www.behance.net/StudioBowesArt.  Brock Ford should also be back for a new adventure some time in the next year, so watch here for more details.

In other writing news, Devil’s Catacombs is with beta readers and should be released in January.  If you enjoyed the horror elements of The Island I think you will enjoy this new book.  No zombies this time, but dark caverns, a shapeshifter, and six unwitting college students should keep you plenty entertained.

Moon Shadow is coming along nicely and is clocking in right now at around 24,000 words. I’m very happy with how this story is turning out.  The characters have made a great transition from my original 1983-84 manuscript and have developed a depth I didn’t know they had.  One thing about writing this that I never expected — having to research the culture of the mid-’80s.  After all, I lived it; shouldn’t I have all that knowledge store away somewhere?  Unfortunately, no.  I keep finding myself looking up pictures and old TV schedules and other tiny details that had long left my brain.  For instance, I had forgotten that cars of the era had two keys – one for the door locks and one for the ignition.  How could I forget something that was such a part of everyday life back then?  I’m sure purists will find some something else I’ve missed, but to them I say see my previous post on perfection.

So until next month, I wish you the best.  Enjoy the holidays!

November 2013 Update

I’ve been thinking a lot lately about perfection.

Kristine Kathryn Rusch wrote a wonderful blog post last year about how the pursuit of perfection can actually harm your writing.  Her husband, Dean Wesley Smith, also a great blogger on the business of writing, says (and I’ll paraphrase here) that you have to reach a point where you call the work finished and then stop caring about making it perfect.  Unless you are a writer, you probably don’t understand how difficult that is.  We’re taught from our earliest school days to strive for perfection.  Personally, I was never satisfied with myself in school unless I was making A’s.  B’s were like the ugly step-sister – good, but certainly only second-best.  C’s made me feel as though I was already failing, and anything below a C was just plain devastating.  College was the same, and I remember ripping open the envelope with my grades after my first semester at college, seeing all A’s, and bursting into tears in relief.

So going to a mindset where everything doesn’t have to be perfect is almost like telling me I can sprout wings and fly across town.  What if someone reads my story and finds a major flaw in the plot?  What if one of my characters says something in Chapter 2 and then completely contradicts herself in Chapter 10?  What if the sentence structure in that one paragraph on page 170 is stilted or awkward?  What if, what if, what if?

You know what?  The world’s not going to end.  I’ve had these fears lately about the newest book I’m about to unleash on my beta readers.  There was a lot of research involved, and naturally I’m afraid I’ve missed something.  If I have, hopefully my readers will catch it before it goes to final edits.  Even if they don’t, all I can do is remind myself that I wrote the best possible story I could at that point in time.  Then move on to the next book.  It’s a learning process.

You see, the time to care is when you’re writing.  When you’re creating story.  That’s when you have to do your best.  But caring about your story isn’t the same as trying to make it perfect.  It will never be perfect.  I look back on August  and Drum and think, sure there are phrases or details I could rework, or sections I could rewrite, but I won’t.  Because I’ve moved past those stories.  I did the best I could when I was writing them.  That’s all anyone can do.  Ten years from now I’ll look at The Island or The Killing Vision and think the same thing. Once the book is out, it’s finished.  No more rewriting.  Move forward.  Or as Dean says, stop caring.

In reality, that’s an incredibly hard thing to do.  It’s also a very freeing thing.  The pursuit of perfection can stifle your creativity.  It’s impossible to allow the creative side of your brain to take control if the critical side is constantly acting as overseer and second-guesser.  And if you can’t let go of a story you can’t go on to the next.  I’ve really worked on that all through 2013, and I have written more in the past twelve months than I have in the prior ten years.  Stopping the critical voice while I’m in creative mode, knowing when to stop finagling around with the plot or details and send the story out into the world – all of that has unleashed a tide of creative juices.  It’s been a great ride.

In book news, the illustrations are now finished for Brock Ford.  At least two of the paperbacks will be released before Christmas.  I’m eager for my readers to see these handsome drawings Brian Bowes has created.  I think you’ll agree, he has really brought these stories to life.  Stay tuned to the usual places – here, Facebook, and Twitter – for more info on release dates, etc.  Also, join the mailing list on my Contact page and be among the first to learn about my new books.

Thanks for stopping by.  See you next month.

 

October 2013 Update

I admit to being a little overwhelmed.

As of this writing over 6,000 free copies of my new novel The Island have been downloaded. That’s a lot of books!  It’s been enough to propel the book to the number 1 spot in both Occult Suspense and Occult Horror categories and number 45 overall in the Kindle Free store.  I don’t think I could have asked for better results than that!  Thanks to everyone who downloaded a copy during this free promo.  I plan on more freebies in the future, so watch the usual locations for more details.  If you’d like the chance to win a paperback copy of the book, head over to Goodreads and sign up for the giveaway there.

Goodreads Book Giveaway

The Island by Will Overby

The Island

by Will Overby

Giveaway ends November 01, 2013.

See the giveaway details
at Goodreads.

Enter to win

 

I wrote the last word for The Devil’s Catacombs today, making it my third completed novel of 2013.  It still needs a lot of work, but while it’s mellowing like a fine wine, I’m getting ready to start the next book, Moon Shadow.  This is the novel, you may recall, that I began my senior year in high school, and it’s been almost 30 years since I visited with it.  My plan is to take the basic idea and modernize it, certainly rewrite most of it, and see what happens.  I’m really looking forward to working on this story again.  I fell in love with these characters back in 1983, and they’ve never left me.  It’s always bothered me that their story never was completed, and now I’m going to take the time to do just that.

I love this new modern world of indie publishing!  I follow several writing blogs, and the one recurring theme I see in all of them is that you must keep writing.  Never give up.  I admit to going through several years of being discouraged, a long haul in which I was trying my hardest to get discovered through traditional publishing routes.  During that time it seemed as though my creativity had all but dried up.  It’s easy to say “keep writing and don’t give up,” but it’s very different to actually do that when you’re getting absolutely no encouragement at all from the powers that be.  Now the only powers that be are you, the readers.  The writing process is a lonely one at times, and for the most part you are never sure your work is even being read, let alone appreciated. I am thankful for every review (good or bad), for every Twitter follower and Goodreads fan, for every email I get  because I that means someone is reading my drivel and mostly enjoying it.  And that, my friends, gives me all the encouragement I need to keep going.  To keep writing.  To keep putting those words – those pieces of myself – out there for all to see.

Thanks for the encouragement!  See you next month.

September 2013 Update

Lots of writing going on in the Overby house these days.

The Devil’s Catacombs is coming along, although a bit slower than I had hoped.  I am probably right around the halfway point, so I’m a little behind schedule.  I really had hoped to finish this book by the end of the month, but it’s looking a little doubtful right now.  My next project, Moon Shadow, may be pushed back a couple of weeks.  That actually may be all right, since it is basically an update of a novel I began during my senior year of high school.  I’ve always had a special spot for that book, as I can really tell my talent started to mature during its writing.  But I’m getting ahead of myself.  First I need to finish The Devil’s Catacombs.  One project at a time.

The Island will be released at the end of this month.  I’m getting some good feedback from beta readers, and I’m doing the final edits right now.  Watch here, Twitter, and Facebook for updates and release dates.  Once again the multi-talented Kit Foster is designing the cover, and he’s come up with a sophisticated look that we hope to carry through the next few books – part of my author “branding.” Anyway.  More details to come.

I finished up the Pitches and Blurbs workshop with Dean Wesley Smith.  I truly learned a lot during these six weeks.  I’m going to be revisiting all the blurbs for the existing books and most likely tweaking them or completely rewriting them.  It’s amazing all the flaws you can see when you know how to spot them.  Additionally, the assignments forced me to come up with a ton of ideas for new books and stories; I now know what I’m going to be working on for the next year at least.  But the best part of the workshop?  I paid for it with money I earned from my writing.  That feels really good.

So. . . staying busy.  Weekends are full of writing projects now and look to be that way for quite some time.  Which I love.  I really feel like I’m hitting my stride and I’m having so much fun and even making a bit of cash, too.  That’s all anyone could ask for.

See you next month.

August 2013 Update

In case you haven’t heard, my new middle-grade novel is out.  Zach Ziegler’s So-Called Middle School Life hit shelves on July 21.  This was a story I had wanted to write for a long time, and there is a lot of myself in it.  No swashbuckling adventures or hidden mysteries, but there is plenty of middle school angst.

The Island will make its debut next month, and I’m eager to share it with my beta readers very soon.  I have put off writing the cover blurb as I am right smack in the middle of a pitches and blurbs workshop taught by Dean Wesley Smith, and I want to make sure I use everything I’ve learned and get it right.  The next step is editing and cover design, and those are always fun times for me.  (I know, who enjoys editing?)

Work is progressing on my latest excursion into horror, right now called The Devil’s Catacombs.  I’m about 10,000 words into it and really enjoying creating the characters and their situation.  I have decided that writing from now on is going to be all about having fun. I’m no longer going to brood over and second-guess myself on every word and sentence; as I have learned, writing and editing are two separate things, and it’s hard to let your creativity flow when the critical side of your brain is trying to filter it.  As a result of this “revelation” I am writing more and finishing projects quickly.  And I’m having a ball. I find myself really looking forward to my weekend writing sessions and not dreading my time sitting in front of the computer.  When it ceases to be fun is when I’ll stop.  And I don’t see that happening any time soon.

Because of this new creative renaissance, I’ve mapped out some goals for myself for the next six to eight months.  They’re lofty goals, and if I had written them down this time last year it would have terrified me.  But now I believe they are not only doable but practical. You see, my goal is to one day financially support my family with only my writing, and to do that, I’ve got to keep putting new work out there for readers to discover.  So that’s what I’m doing – writing the best stories I can, packaging them up in the most professional manner possible, pricing them correctly, and getting the word out.  I am so glad to be living in this time of independent publishing in which it can happen.  And thanks to you, my readers, for helping make it possible.

July 2013 Update

The first draft of the latest novel is finished! I was able to write 22,000 words during the week I was on vacation, and now I am exhausted. Writing takes a lot out of you, physically, mentally, and emotionally. There is something about working from deep down inside yourself that is draining, and I’m using this week to recuperate. The title has now changed from Dead Awake to The Island – A Novel of Terror. As the story evolved throughout the writing process I discovered that zombies that were originally the focal point of my idea were only a minuscule part of the plot; the story was really about the island, its culture and secrets. I’m going to let it set for a while and mellow, but will tackle it again in a few weeks for rewrites and edits. I hope to have it out by autumn.

Meanwhile, my new middle grade book is back with me now after being on submission for a couple of months. There was no interest in this story from agents at all. None. I can’t hide the fact that I’m disappointed, but I have to say I’m happy to still have it under my control to be indie-published before the summer’s over. Here is the blub:

Zach Ziegler’s mom says he’s “big-boned.” His grandfather referred to him as “strapping.” His dad, whom he never sees much, calls him “Sporto.” No one uses the F-word: fat. But Zach’s arch-nemesis, Trevor, doesn’t mind pointing out the obvious, and Zach is horrified when Trevor christens him with a new nickname in front of the whole PE class. If that isn’t bad enough, the science fair is coming up, and Zach and Trevor are paired up on a project. But while working together, Zach and Trevor begin to learn things about each other that neither has revealed to another soul, and they come to realize that maybe they aren’t so different after all. This is the story of an unlikely friendship – of setting aside misconceptions and labels and finding the true heart underneath.

As usual, I’m stuck on a title. The working title just didn’t feel right. My beta readers have been stymied as well. I may have to resort to using the online title generator. Worked well for The Killing Vision, after all.

On the Brock Ford front, my illustrator has taken some time off to work out some personal issues, but we are now shooting for a Christmas 2013 release of all three books in print. I’m really looking forward to sharing Brian’s great work with all my readers. It has been a long, arduous process but when you see the results I’m sure you’ll agree it has been worth it.

That’s all for this month! Stay tuned to Twitter and Facebook for more frequent updates and don’t forget to drop me a line. I’m always happy to hear from readers!

June 2013 Update

Not much to report this month.  The Killing Vision is still selling well.  May 2013 was my best month for book sales ever.  I appreciate everyone who bought the book or downloaded the e-version.  If you read it and enjoyed it, please do me a big favor and leave a review on Amazon or Goodreads.  Goodreads is easy, because all you have to do is rate it using the star system – no writing required!

Dead Awake is coming along very well.  In fact, I’m very near the halfway mark.  I’ll be taking a week off from the day job in July, so I’m expecting to finish it then.  Keep watching the blog, Twitter, and Facebook for progress reports!

In the meantime, feel free to drop me a line!  I’m always happy to answer questions!

May 2013 Update

Things have really been moving and shaking here on the writing front!

The Killing Vision was released at the end of April, and it’s selling like hotcakes.  In fact, May looks to be my biggest month for sales EVER.  Thanks to everyone who downloaded it or bought the paperback.

Work on my new book, Dead Awake, is progressing nicely.  Last weekend I was lucky enough to get a whole day of uninterrupted writing in and pounded out 5,500 words.  If I can keep up the momentum, this book should be ready to release by early fall.  It’s going to be more of a horror novel, but still character-driven as is most of my work.  There are zombies involved.  Really.  I’ve got some dynamic characters I can’t wait to play around with, and I look forward to how they interact with one another.  Especially when they get to the island.  But I’m getting ahead of myself.

As always, keep watching here, on Facebook and on Twitter for the latest on what’s happening with me, and feel free to drop me a line.

Don’t forget to head over to Goodreads and enter to win one of three signed copies of The Killing Vision.  The giveaway ends May 31.

Happy reading!

The Killing Vision cover reveal!

As promised here is the fantastic cover for my new crime thriller, The Killing Vision, by the talented Kit Foster.  I’m really thrilled with how this came out.

The Killing Vision is now live on Amazon for Kindle.  You can buy it right now for $3.99 or *sshhhhh!* wait until next week and it will be free for three days.

Print edition will be released within the next week, so stay tuned!

THe Killing Vision Front (Small)

April 2013 Update

Things have certainly been busy here in the past month!

As I noted in my last post, I have a new short story collection out called The Human Condition.  I was excited to put this out, as it was something I’d been wanting to release for a while.

In other news, I have just finished up the final edit of my new novel for adults, The Killing Vision.  This is a murder mystery/crime novel with just a touch of paranormal thrown in.  I’ve been working on this one for a while, and I hope to release it within the next month.  I am working with the talented Kit Foster on the cover design; I’ve seen his preliminary sketches and I’m really excited to see more.  I will reveal the final design in the next week or so, so watch here for details.

My new still-untitled middle grade novel has been fermenting for the past few weeks, and I expect to start rewrites this week.  I’m very happy with how this book turned out, and I still intend to go the traditional publishing route with this one for now.  The reason is that self-publishing is still an iffy thing for children’s books.  The important reviewers that most “gatekeepers” (teachers, librarians, and a lot of parents) follow are still closed to self-published books.  I encountered this last fall with the release of The Movie House Mystery, which I did not even submit to any publishers or agents.  Adult books seem to find an audience more easily, especially in genre fiction such as horror and mystery.  Anyway, we’ll see what happens.  I don’t expect to even have the new book ready to send out until summer.

That’s it for now!  Even the wheels of self-publishing turn slowly at times.  If anyone has any questions or comments, I would love to hear from you, either through the comments here, my contact page, or through Twitter or Facebook.

As always, if you like what you read, by me or any other indie writer, please remember to leave a review or rating on Amazon or Goodreads.  Reviews and ratings are important especially to indie authors as they affect algorithms which determine how often our books “pop up” as suggestions to potential readers.  And it’s all about reaching as many readers as possible.

Until next time, keep reading!

New Short Story Collection

Just a quick update to announce my new short story/poetry collection, The Human Condition. The paperback version is available for $9.95. The e-book is normally $2.99, but from April 1 through April 5 it will be free for Kindle on Amazon.com. Most of these stories date back from the late ’80s and early ’90s, and you’ll find some extras from very early in my career, including the very first story I ever wrote! Happy reading!human condition cover

March 2013 Update

The first draft of my new kids’ book is done! Yay! Now, to let it sit while I work on wrapping up a few other projects. I hope to have rewrites done in time to begin querying agents in the early summer.

Brock Ford continues to inch forward. Frontispiece artwork is taking shape, and I’m very excited at what I’ve seen. Still hoping for a spring release date, but now it looks more like late spring. 🙁 As usual, I will post any and all updates here.

New project alert! I’m working on putting together a collection of short fiction and poetry, which is something I’ve wanted to do for a long time. Most of this stuff dates back to the late ’80s/early ’90s when my voice was really beginning to develop and I was studying under a tough but talented writer/instructor at Murray State University. I also plan on including some real relics for curiosity’s sake. This collection (which of course at this moment has no title yet) should be out in a month or so.

In the “Color Me Starstruck” department, I got to meet one of my literary idols at a writers’ fair in Madison, Indiana. Michael West is a horror novelist known for his “Harmony, Indiana” trilogy and numerous other stories. Most recently he edited an anthology called “Vampires Don’t Sparkle.” I was lucky enough to be traveling back from Indianapolis the day of the event and took a quick side trip to pick up a couple of autographed books, as well get a picture with him. Did I mention he’s also a really nice guy?

That’s it for this month. Lots of exciting things going on behind the scenes, and I’ll keep you updated!

Meeting author Michael West, March 2013

Meeting author Michael West, March 2013

February 2013 Update

The three Brock Ford paperbacks continue to inch along toward publication. Just this week I’ve seen the rough sketches for the interior illustrations, and I am so excited! My illustrator just continues to wow me. I know choosing Brian for the work was the best decision I could have made. Not only do I have professional covers, but the chapter headings will make the books come alive like never before. I’m still looking at a late spring release date (and hopefully more school visits!), so watch here for more details.

My latest book is currently with beta readers. I don’t even have a final title yet, so I’m hoping one of my betas comes up with something great. (Ryan, are you listening?) I’m eager to get the book edited and out, and that should be a release in the summer. Again, stay tuned to the blog for more info.

The first draft for the current work-in-progress, a contemporary middle-grade, is about 2/3 finished. I’m thinking of going the traditional route with this manuscript and submitting to agents. Why, I don’t know. I guess I feel this latest effort has the potential to catch the eye of one of the Big 6. It’s certainly a story written from personal experience. I’ve taken agent Mary Kole’s advice to “dig deep and tell the truth.” We’ll see what happens.

I’m also toying with the idea of putting out a short story collection. I’ve got several shorts and even a bit of poetry lying around. The time just seems right to put it out there and see what happens. That’s a project for when I finish the first draft of the current WIP, while it mellows for a bit.

So… lot of things going on, yet the wheels turn slowly. Stay tuned!

January 2013 Update

Wow! Has it really been over a month since I last updated my blog? I have been busy, busy, busy!

Right now I’m about a third of the way through my current work-in-progress, a new middle-grade novel. It’s really going well, and I’m hoping this will be the one that finally gets me noticed by the right people. I’ve put myself in seclusion the past couple of weekends and forced myself to write, write, write.

Something I’ve come to realize in the past six months is that my first draft doesn’t have to be perfect. The important part is just to get something down. I can fix it later. That’s what revisions and editing are for. Amazing that I’ve been writing for thirty years and I’ve just discovered that. If I had figured it out sooner, there’s no telling how many more books I’d have under my belt. It’s actually been liberating. I’ve always known on the surface of course that subsequent drafts can fix almost anything, but I would never give myself the freedom to just write in an almost stream-of-consciousness mode. All that changed last fall when I picked up an old unfinished novel and decided to complete it. By utilizing that new freedom, I was able to plow through the remainder of the book in about a month and a half. That book will soon be in the editing stage and will hopefully be out before summer.

On the Brock Ford front, my illustrator plans to work on the chapter headings through February. I’m still shooting for a spring release of the paperbacks. Keep checking back for details!

Now, I like to make a plea on behalf of myself and other indie authors. If you like what you read, PLEASE leave a review on Amazon or Goodreads. It doesn’t have to be lengthy; 25 or 30 words is fine, and on Goodreads you can just leave stars without writing anything. Reviews are extremely important to indie authors because more reviews leads to more exposure and that leads to more sales. Also, if you enjoy my work, please tell other people; word of mouth sells more books than anything.

Please feel free to drop me a line. I enjoy hearing from readers and I love to answer questions!

Merry Christmas/Happy New Year!

With the holidays in full-force now it’s going to be tough to get back in the swing of any kind of writing schedule.  Next week my son will be home from college for Christmas, and I expect a lot of my time will be taken up with driving lessons.  That’s okay, though.  I cherish any time we get to spend together, no matter what we’re doing.

2012 has been a year of decisions.  My choice to stop looking for an agent and go indie has so far been a good one.  I have done more writing this year than in the past five.  I’ve put out three books, finished another, and started two more.  I’ve met some really great folks both in person and online and also began building a pretty awesome fanbase.  I supposed some people would say my sales figures are pretty small, but I’m a lot closer to living the dream than I was a year ago.

2013 looks to be just as exciting as I anticipate rolling out the new paperback versions of Brock Ford in the early spring and probably a paranormal/thriller/crime novel before the year is over.  Stay tuned!  I’ll keep everyone informed of news and events here on my blog, on Twitter, and on Facebook.

Have a great holiday season!

Writing Updates

I finished the first draft of the new novel today.  This is a crime novel with a bit of the paranormal thrown in.  Not scary, but more of a thriller.  I have been working on this book for more than six years, so when I say it’s done, you have to imagine me doing some kind of happy dance.  Right now the plan is to put it away for a while, at least until after the holidays, before I start revising and editing.  This will allow me to put some distance between the story and myself.

In the meantime, I hope to start outlining the next idea I’ve got in mind, which is an out and out horror novel.  I’m really looking forward to that one.  I haven’t tried to write horror since high school, so this should be fun.

Reading night at the Dawson Springs Library went well, and I enjoyed connecting with a few of my readers and signing some books.  Let’s hope we get to do it again really soon!

On the Brock Ford front, Brian is now working on the third and final cover for the completed books in the series.  Once this is done he will begin the interior illustrations for the chapter headers.  He has been great to work with, and I’m hoping this is the beginning of a long partnership.

Have a great Thanksgiving, everyone!

More new cover art!

Last month I posted the new cover art for the repackaged Lost Treasure of Kilimanjaro.  These new paperback versions of Brock Ford are moving right along.  Today I’m sharing Brian’s artwork for The Mummy’s Tomb.  If anything, I think he’s managed to outdo himself, and this time he included Sparky in the mix!  I am so happy with Brian’s artwork, and I can’t wait to see what he has in store for the next book.

In other news, I will be appearing at the Dawson Springs Branch Library with fellow author/illustrator Mark Wayne Adams on November 14 at 6:00 PM.  We will be reading, answering questions and autographing books.  It’s sure to be a grand time, so join us if you’re in the area.

New cover art for The Lost Treasure of Kilimanjaro!

I am excited to reveal the cover art for the paperback version of The Lost Treasure of Kilimanjaro, the first book of the Brock Ford Adventures series.  The painting is by a wonderfully talented artist named Brian Bowes.  Check out his portfolio at http://studiobowesart.com/.  He specializes in pulp, adventure, and children’s book illustrations.  Brian is working on all three of the completed Brock Ford books right now, and the plan is for them to be released at the same time, maybe in time for Christmas.  I think Brian has captured the excitement of the story in awesome detail.  What do you think?

My First School Visit

So this week I experienced my first school visit.  The morning was spent talking to 7th and 8th graders.  We discussed the story writing process and all the elements that go into making a story, including plot and characters.  We also talked about the story arc and how it is universal to writing, film, and television, and I told them about my journey as a writer.  I got lots of good questions and met some really great kids.

In the afternoon, I read part of The Movie House Mystery to the 3rd grade students.  We all had a blast!  The kids really enjoyed the story and wanted more.  I loved answering all their questions and could have talked to them for another hour or two.  I really feel like we connected and that I found my true audience.  When it was over, I got hugs from a couple of students as they were leaving.  That was the best feeling in the world!

Hopefully I will be able to visit again when the first three Brock Ford books are released in December.  I look forward to meeting more young fans!

School Visits!

So I’ve got my first school visit all lined up for next Tuesday. I’m a little excited and a lot terrified nervous! I’ll be speaking to several 7th & 8th grade English classes about writing in the morning and reading to the 3rd Grade in the afternoon.  I have no idea what I’m going to talk about. I’m thinking of going through the process of writing a story – coming up with the idea, working up the plot, and developing characters.  I also might talk about story arc and how all those elements fit in.  I will probably also explain my journey from writing as a kid up to self-pubbing.  I’m really hoping this goes well.  I haven’t done anything like this before, so I’m flying by the seat of my pants.  I want to be informative and entertaining, but I certainly don’t want to bore them.

If you’re a writer, tell me in the comments about your first speaking experience.  Were you nervous?  How did it go?  What subjects did you cover?  If you’re a reader, tell me what you’d like your favorite author to talk about?

I look forward to any and all suggestions!

Cover Woes

I am having a horrible time with the print cover for Drum.  When I received the first proofs, the image was too dark and the face was hardly visible, even in bright light.  I have been fighting with it ever since.  Over the weekend I scrapped my Photoshop file and began fresh.  I finally ended up with an image I liked, but it weighs in at a hefty 80 MB – twice the limit for cover image files at CreateSpace.  I worked with it a little more, and ended up with a 35 MB file, but when I saw the results this morning, it was again a disappointment.  Guess I have no choice but to work with it some more tonight and hopefully get the image lightened up AND under the 40 MB mark.  It would be easy to just slap something on the cover and be done with it, but that’s not how I roll.On a lighter note, the proof for Movie House Mystery came in today.  Hopefully it won’t suffer from the same issues and it can be put out fairly soon.  I know my illustrator, Cindy Loy Crider, is anxiously awaiting seeing her work on a printed page, and I can’t wait to have a physical book to offer to people who have enjoyed this little book.  Stay tuned!

Brock Ford Progresses

I am working with a great illustrator right now named Brian Bowes on the new paperback editions of the Brock Ford series.  Brian’s still doing rough sketches right now, but I have to say I am extremely happy and excited with everything I have see so far.  I can’t wait to unleash the updated Brock on the world!  I will post more updates when I have them.  In the meantime, check out Brian’s website at http://studiobowesart.com/.

Old Face, New Place

I  have a confession to make.  I have been writing very little the past few months.  It’s been hard to isolate myself and make myself trudge forward with a story.  However, I have stumbled upon a solution.  I bought my son’s old laptop.  I have set myself up in the family room where my wife usually sits and where the TV is.  I decided I would try working in there for a little bit, just to see how things went.  I’m doing a rewrite of my first novel first penned back in the ancient times of 1984-1985, and I thought I would see how I could work with so many distractions.

The verdict?

I have written more this past weekend than in the past month.  Who knew that simply moving my work area from an office to the center of family life would have such an impact?  I really doubted I would be able to concentrate with so much going on around me, but I have found the opposite is true.  It’s like the noise and activity actually keep my brain flowing.  Sitting by myself in the study seemed to have stifled my creative juices.  Ideas are flowing again now, including my latest project which is to self-publish all my old stuff.  With decent editing and rewrites, of course.

Stay tuned to see how things pan out!

Book Giveaway Results

Thanks to everyone who downloaded their free copy of The Movie House Mystery over the past few days.  Here is a breakdown of the number of downloads by country:

USA – 277
UK – 141
Germany – 16
France – 1
Spain – 4

It’s exciting to see I’m reaching an audience outside the US!  I do ask that if you enjoy what you read, please leave me a review on Amazon!

It’s Here!

A new short e-novel for kids is up at Amazon.  The Movie House Mystery introduces Charlie Barnett, a real movie fanatic who winds up in a real-life mystery.  It’s free for a limited time, so get it now!

This is a book I actually started back in 1988, then re-wrote around 2001.  This is its third incarnation, this time with some polished editing and a couple of updates to bring it into the 21st century.  I’m especially please with the cover, created by yours truly with the help of Photoshop.

Anyway, enjoy it here!