Author Profile – Angela Addams

 Angela and I met via Twitter and I knew right away that she was my kind of smart ass.  I say that in the most complimentary way. I have no tolerance for weak, needy people and it was clear to me right away that Angela had a strong spirit.  We share an interest in the paranormal.  Mine manifests itself in horror novels and Angela explores her interest through romance books.  I read “Going the Distance” and I have to admit it was my first foray into the genre.  Addams does an incredible job of putting a twinkle in the eyes of her characters.  It’s almost as if she’s telling you the story in a corner of a dive bar with a jukebox cranking out old records at a volume that’s a little louder than it should be.  And lucky for you, the lights in Angela’s dive bar are dim enough that nobody will see you blushing.  The following is an interview I conducted with author, Angela Addams.

Going the Distance is more than a steamy story.  You develop the two main characters with issues that most people can relate to along with a sprinkling of Greek mythology.  Do you identify more with Steph or with Ronan?
Ha! Now that is an interesting question! Well, I think that at various times in my life I have behaved in much the same way as both of the characters actually. I mean, who hasn’t taken someone for granted in his or her life at one point or another? And I’m certain that everyone has been a doormat in a relationship at times, right? When I wrote it, I really wanted to capture a “real” situation that involved a couple who didn’t have everything all figured out and who were very rough both together and apart.

Do you have a writing routine?  A dedicated writing space?
I don’t really have a writing routine, especially now that I’m back at work. Time for writing is scarce at the moment. When I have a project or a deadline then I start writing once the kids are in bed. My dedicated space is with my laptop in bed. I have a wonderful writing loft that I never use and a second desk in the bedroom too, but I prefer to destroy my neck by typing away on my lap 😉

Your bio says that you were “enthralled by the paranormal at an early age”.  How did this come about?
All I remember is absolutely loving a book called The Littlest Witch when I was a kid…loving it so much that my parents accidently “lost it” so they wouldn’t have to read it to me again 😉 That’s when it started for me; ever since then it’s been all about black and orange and everything Halloween 😉

What has it been like writing for a publishing house, Cobblestone or Evernight?
It’s been awesome! I’ve learned a lot from my experiences with both pubs. All aspects have been eye-opening…editing, cover design, writing blurbs, etc. I’ve learned a great deal about all of the steps when it comes to getting a book out there. Invaluable experience really.

What role does social media play in the marketing and promotion of your books?

I use Twitter and sometimes Facebook as well as my blog to promote my work. I’ve also been known to do a guest post or interview on other folks’ blogs as well 😉 I think social media can be a great method for getting your work out there. I’ve met a lot of awesome people and connected with new readers by being able to interact on the various sites.
 
What are you writing now and what are your plans for it?
Well, I’ve got a few projects on the go, but my main focus is on the ms I’ve been working on with my agent. Other than that, I’m always thinking up sexy new stories to write…the world is a very inspirational place when it comes to erotic romance 😉

Angela Addams Official Sites:

You can read my guest post/interview on Angela’s blog here.

Holy Sh*t

My writing career changed forever on March 14th.  This post explains why and what it could mean for other independent authors.  And if you like to read books, this affects you too.  It is concrete proof that legacy publishers are going the way of major record labels.  There are many indie authors that sell WAY more books than I do that are saying the same thing.  The message isn’t new.  My point here is that you can do this too.  This is not a “get rich quick scheme”.  You’re not going to get J.K. Rowling money just because you can upload a Word document to Amazon.  But there is plenty of the pie to go around if you approach it as a marathon and not a sprint.  And if you write good stories.

I found Carolyn McCray and the Indie Book Collective and entered The Seventh Seal as part of their FreePar-Tay Lucky Day promotion.  Over two dozen indie authors across genres locked arms and made certain books free from March 14th to March 18th.  We cross-promoted using Carolyn’s crafty matrix of titles that complimented each other and blasted our way into the Top 100 Amazon Free Bestsellers.  The FreePar-Tay books (the name of the promo run by the Indie Book Collective) took many #1 spots on the genre lists (The Seventh Seal held three of those #1 spots for the majority of the five days – Action/Adventure, Fantasy, & Contemporary Fantasy).  At one point, there were at least six of our books in the Top 10 Amazon Free Bestsellers List for ALL of “fiction”.  Even before entering the promotion, a one-hour webinar led by Carolyn provided me with advice that pushed my paid ranking on Amazon from around 500,000 to 25,000.  That means I went from about zero sales/month to 30 in two days.  McCray knew what she was doing.

Divulging exact sales numbers feels a bit like kissing and telling, but I can tell you that The Seventh Seal was downloaded thousands of times over the 5 days it was offered for free.  Yes, I know only 0.2% of those digital hoarders will read my book.  And yes, I know the free list rankings don’t transfer to the paid list rankings.  But the cumulative power of our collective reverberated throughout the customer recommendation queues and has kick started my career.  The book is climbing towards the Amazon Best Sellers Top 100 Paid list (currently at #350) and has broken into the first page (top 20) of the Top 100 Paid list for both Contemporary Fantasy and Action/Adventure.

Gotta get back to my stories…

FREE ebooks!

Starting today and lasting through midnight on March 18th, you can get dozens of free ebooks for your Kindle. No catch, no strings. As part of the Indie Book Collective’s FreePar-Tay promotion, 25 authors (including myself) have locked arms to give away copies of select books, for a limited time. Get my novel, The Seventh Seal for free.

Those of you that live in Cleveland or grew up here will recognize our Rust Belt gem on the cover and hopefully enjoy the Easter eggs I left for you in the story. Enjoy it and then grab all of these other free books as well. Everything from horror, to thrillers, to sci-fi. Did I mention that they are all FREE?

Author Profile – Scott Nicholson

“Author Scott Nicholson has written 12 thrillers, 60 short stories, four comics series, and six screenplays. He’s also a freelance editor and journalist. He lives in the Appalachian Mountains of North Carolina, where he tends an organic garden, successfully eludes stalkers, and generally lives the dream. He’s online at www.hauntedcomputer.com.”

I first came across Nicholson’s work when he showed up as a “customers who bought this item also bought” selection on the product page for one of my books.  Being relatively new to the Amazon Kindle, I was curious.  It took only a few clicks for me to realize that Nicholson is a prolific writer that has transformed himself as the publishing landscape has changed.  Rather than clinging to the archaic tendencies of legacy publishers, he is branching out into self-published ebooks as well as other ideas that will challenge what it means to write a book.  Currently, I am reading “The Harvest” which is a tale of an alien invasion of a different variety.  Nicholson combines elements of sci-fi, contemporary character-driven fiction, and apocalyptic outbreak stories.  He paces the novel so you find yourself in a place where it’s difficult to put it down.  Without being a spoiler, I can tell you that I’ll never look at mountain folk the same way again.

I admire Nicholson because he does not get mired in genre-specifics or cater to stereotypes.  He writes horror and paranormal but he does dress entirely in black (I do, FYI). As a musician and author, I recognize the danger of the pigeonhole, besides the pigeon droppings.

Do yourself a favor and grab Nicholson’s latest Kindle box set.  You can get it here:

This is the inaugural “Author Profile” feature and I hope to continue it.  Guest blogging can be both a blessing and a curse.  I feel guilty asking an author to do it because it requires reciprocity.  “Gee thanks, J.  Now you’ve added another thing to my to-do list; a guest blog post.”  Therefore, I’m taking the burden off of you, fellow authors.  If you invite me to guest post on your blog and you do not want to have to write one for mine, I would be happy to profile you in this format.  Get in touch if you are interested.

You can read my guest post on Scott’s blog here.

“40 seconds? But I want it now!”

Why should kids work hard when corporate America cheats and steals its way to profits?
Why should bands write, record, and invest in their music when it’s freely given away, or best-case scenario, earning them $0 .99 a song?
Why should I go to a live concert when I can watch any performance I want on YouTube from my phone for free?

Email to Facebook to Twitter.  Face-to-face conversations to phone calls to text messages.  It’s a Long Way to the Top to the instant fame of American Idol.  What will happen when everyone gets everything they want at the instant they want it?

For your dwindling attention span and instant gratification, I offer you “Tales From a North Shore” Kindle version for free until midnight on February 3rd.  Sorry, you’re still going to need to read it yourself but you don’t have to wait 40 seconds to get it.

Threefold Law & Chris E

Threefold Law & Chris E

I tried starting this post with a witty commentary on being open-minded.  I was going to rap poetically about the merits of give and take in the creative process.  And then I gave up and decided to simply tell you how I feel.

I’m stoked.  My band, Threefold Law, has recently announced our latest project which happens to be a collaboration with Chris E, singer for Cleveland heavy metal giant, Cellbound.  Since late November, we have gotten together with Chris to write and record three original songs for an EP that should be done by early March.  I know.  That seems like a long time to craft three songs.  It was.  However, we didn’t want to slap something together for the sake of it.  We didn’t want to call her in to sing lyrics we wrote over music we composed and arranged.  We gave over some of the creative control of Threefold Law to Chris and invited her to be a partner with us.  Threefold Law has been at this for over five years, which are like dog years when it comes to bands.  We like our mash potatoes a certain way.  We altered our typical songwriting process for this record and the result is killer.

We riffed.  We jammed.  Chris threw vocal riffs out there, toyed with lyrics, and was an equal member in song arrangement.  We discussed creative decisions, things that on the surface didn’t have much to do with music.  In the end, we created something unique.  It’s not Threefold Law.  It’s not Chris E.  It’s not Cellbound.  It’s Threefold Law & Chris E and we dig it.  We know you will too.

What it Takes and Something FREE

If you’re only here because you saw the word “FREE” you can stop reading right now.  Hit this link and get my latest novel on your Kindle for absolutely nothing.  From now until 11:59 p.m. on Christmas Day, you pay $0.00 to get a full-length novel wirelessly delivered to your Kindle or Kindle reader.  Ever thought about what it takes to write a full-length novel?  If so, read below the break for my story.  If not, enjoy my holiday gift to you.


It started with a thought, a feeling.  “Preta’s Realm” came to life on a frigid night in Cleveland, Ohio.  It was one of those nights when the furnace never turns off and yet you can still taste the chill in the air.  I awoke around 2:00 a.m. and swore someone was walking around my house.  I thought I saw shadows in the hallway and thought I heard the slight cracking of the oak floor in time with footsteps.  I could have been dreaming.  I could have been half-awake.  It could have been a Gaki.  I began to think of reasons why I might be visited by spirits.  Not the Ghost of Christmas Past, but the kind that emerge from previous generations, the kind bearing witness or trying to save me from myself.  I had peeled back the corner on a story that had to be told.  Writers don’t create stories, they uncover them.  They tap into the same creative space as painters and musicians; artists that channel work instead of birthing it.

From there I spent two hours a day for the next two weeks doing research on Gaki and Preta.  These “hungry ghosts” appear in many Asian cultures and I needed to learn more about them.  The Gaki or Preta, are wandering spirits, never satiated, eating human feces.  They have bulbous heads, distended abdomens, and represent human greed.  The description convinced me that Preta was skulking through my house.  Utilizing the BIC method (Butt in Chair), I committed to 1500 words a day for about six weeks.  I got up at 4:00 a.m. and forced myself to type at least 1500 words by 6:00 a.m.  This blog post is in the ballpark (1200 words).  I’d match this word count, at four in the morning, every day for six weeks.  Some days the 1500 words flew off my fingers.  Other days I cried over 600.  If I fell short of the 1500 in the morning, I’d try again before I went to bed.  If I didn’t hit it at night, the word count carried over to the next day.  I surmise that this is the point where most people that say they’re “writing a novel” tend to have the idea die.  Even if you are perpetually stuck at 3000 words, technically, you’re still “writing a novel.”  At the end of each writing session, I wrote a two to three sentence summary of the 1500 words which served as my guiding outline.  I never plan or outline my stories in advance as I find that utterly boring.  Being the first reader of my books, I want to be surprised too.

After six weeks of composing the first draft, I set the manuscript (really a Word document) aside and did not touch it for another four to six weeks.  In my morning sessions that were previously spent crawling to 1500 words, I wrote essays, blog posts, song lyrics; anything else not related to my manuscript.  I needed to give it time to percolate.

The initial reading of the first draft became a glorious experience as I read the story I had uncovered.  I owned the words but the story belonged to the Muse.  A trip to Kinko’s with a twenty dollar bill got me a hard copy of the manuscript.  I read it in one sitting which took eight hours and required me to clean the house for a month as repayment for my wife dealing with the kids.  I scratched a note or two in the margins, but I tried to simply read it.

For another four to six weeks, I used my 4:00 a.m. to 6:00 a.m. time slot to edit and revise the first draft with a red pen.  I circled, underlined, crossed out; all the excitement of a high school English Lit teacher.  When I reached the end, I sat back down at the computer (BIC) from 4:00 a.m. to 6:00 a.m. for another two to three weeks and made the changes from the printed draft to the second draft Word file.  Back to Kinko’s for a hard copy.  Back to the red pen.  Back to the chair for another round of making changes on the Word file.  I did this three to five more times over three to five more months.

Now I had a draft worthy of sharing.  I went to Kinko’s again to get a print out that I gave to my friend Adam.  The guy is my first reader, a trusted friend, and gives great advice.  We spent a few hours discussing it.  I scribbled notes and then went back to tweak.  This took a few weeks.  Another trip to Kinko’s and I had a final printed version which I edited for grammar, punctuation, and tone.  Back to the chair where I created another Word document, probably the eighth or ninth file by this time.  I knew the story inside and out.  I could recite lines from memory.

Done?  Not even close.  I took the final Word document, blasted it open in an HTML editor, and began formatting it for the Kindle.  Line by line, over 90,000 words, I edited each one to make sure it looked clean and properly formatted on an eBook.  In the meantime, I had hired a graphic artist to design the cover.  The Kindle conversion process took several hours a day spread over two to three weeks.  Like the writing, I ended up with seven or eight Kindle versions before I considered it worthy of an upload.

Finally, I uploaded the finished product to Amazon, viewed it one more time on my own Kindle, and released it.  By now, it’s been a year or so since I saw ghosts in my house and I have spent hundreds of dollars of my own money at Kinko’s, on graphic art, coffee, and Percocet (not necessarily in that order).  I have lost count of the number of hours spent researching, writing, editing, and formatting this story.

And the speedy endeavor unfolds like this if I don’t get sick, don’t have family obligations that get in the way, don’t have any technical glitches that cause me to lose work, don’t get divorced by my wife that doesn’t see me for days at a time, etc.  This is “best-case” for one novel.  I’ve done this six or seven times and will continue hopefully until I die, maybe even beyond that.

Whether it’s a novel or an album, the process involves investments of time and money for an artist that cares about the craft.  So please consider my story the next time you scoff at paying $0.99 for a Kindle novel and please enjoy “Preta’s Realm” for free through Christmas Day.  It’s probably best to pull the covers over your head instead of investigating the shadows in the hall.

Hoser

J. Thorn in 1993

On September 26th, 2011, Patrick Borally drove his catering van from a Cleveland suburb to Niagara Falls.  He crossed the border heading north, deeper into Canada.  On October 2nd, 2011, near Fork Lake in McVittie Township, Ontario, a passerby saw a rubber hose running from the exhaust pipe to the van’s window and called the police.  This was Borally’s third attempt at suicide since he disappeared from Richmond Heights.  The family attorney addressed the media, calling off the regional search conducted by hundreds of volunteers and law enforcement officials.  “His doctor told me that Pat has a serious brain disorder that could be related to his spinal meningitis that he had as a child,” his wife, Kathy Borally, said. “He is getting help. Thank God he doesn’t remember anything, and he seems positive now. And he’s ready to get home to us, and God was with him through all of this.”  God made it through the border crossing without his birth certificate or passport, apparently.

I think I have the same brain disorder as Patrick Borally.  The last flare-up occurred in 1993 when I worked as a defense contractor going by the nickname “D-Fens.”  All I wanted was breakfast from Jack-in-the-Box.  I remember saying to my wife, “I’ve passed the point of no return. Do you know what that is, Beth? That’s the point in a journey where it’s longer to go back to the beginning. It’s like when those astronauts got in trouble. I don’t know, somebody messed up, and they had to get them back to Earth. But they had passed the point of no return. They were on the other side of the moon and were out of contact for like hours. Everybody waited to see if a bunch of dead guys in a can would pop out the other side. Well, that’s me. I’m on the other side of the moon now and everybody is going to have to wait until I pop out.”  And then she told me that the police were there.

There’s a pretty good chance I’ll die in the latter stages of a zombie apocalypse.  Being a vegetarian, I’m worried about what the other zombies are going to think when I turn my undead nose up at raw human flesh.  But then again, there’s also a good chance I’ll implode, bursting into a flaming ball of hair, obscenities, and dead Canadians.  Why Canadians, you ask?  Because some mornings I have to drag myself out of bed and resist the urge to go Borally.  I have to convince myself that driving to Canada and detonating a car bomb along with some Mounties as collateral damage isn’t easier than dealing with my mortgage, debt, mid-life crisis, and the end of Judas Priest.

I dedicate this post to my new digital friend, Jason, the long-lost third McKenzie brother.  If you got here from his blog, help yourself to Preta’s Realm for only $0.99 (for a limited time).

Say Hello to Yourself

You devour epic fantasy and seize the opportunity to transcend worlds through books. It’s not unusual for you to sink into a recliner, in the most secluded corner of your house, and read for hours. And interspersed between trilogies set in distant worlds, you come back to this one, drawn to the mysterious, dark realm of supernatural thrillers and horror. Exotic settings must jump off the page and come alive in your mind, especially stories of survival; life on the fine edge of existence. You cheer for the reluctant hero, the common man thrust into obligation and you also cheer for the villain, the arch nemesis.

Episodes of “Ancient Aliens” clog your DVR while you anxiously await the return of “Cities of the Underground” on History. You can recite verses from “The Raven” but get more excited when someone wants to talk about “The Rats in the Walls.” Heavy music fills your iPod. Those shiny discs that the kids no longer recognize lay scattered on the passenger side of your truck. You are a fan of Black Sabbath and Aerosmith, not “reality show” Ozzy or “American Idol” Steven. You prefer “Master of Puppets” over “The Black Album,” and like Cliff more than Jason or Robert. The rumble of a Harley Fatboy makes you smile and you know Detroit will never produce anything cooler than a 1977 Corvette. When you have the choice, you opt for Guinness over Budweiser and Starbucks over Dunkin Donuts. You can’t hang a picture without a power tool. You can’t purchase a power tool without hanging it in your garage.

Louis C.K. makes you laugh while the memory of George Carlin makes you cry. You love vampires and hate Twilight. You know the difference between a hip check and a cross check and despise golf unless it includes a home video of a Tiger mistress. You prefer Suicide Girls over Playboy Playmates, long hair over short hair, curves over rails. Ten years later, you don’t necessarily believe the full-on conspiracy theory surrounding 911, but you also know an F-15E Strike Eagle could have prevented anything from hitting the Pentagon.

Too young to give up, too old to start over. Too immature for Johnny Walker Red, too mature for a case of Busch. You’ve been around long enough to get tired of mainstream entertainment and yet you’re still excited by a new author, band, or movie. This is you, my ideal reader. Let’s hang out sometime. I want to be your ideal author.

Your Khakis

I see all this potential, and I see squandering. God damn it, an entire generation pumping gas, waiting tables; slaves with white collars. Advertising has us chasing cars and clothes, working jobs we hate so we can buy shit we don’t need. We’re the middle children of history, man. No purpose or place. We have no Great War. No Great Depression. Our Great War’s a spiritual war… our Great Depression is our lives. We’ve all been raised on television to believe that one day we’d all be millionaires, and movie gods, and rock stars. But we won’t. And we’re slowly learning that fact. And we’re very, very pissed off.

Fight Club, 1999

Two wars, a bailout, and waves of recession have left the past decade licking its wounds. You’ve felt it. Palahniuk was a prophet. It’s why “Fight Club” has such a tremendous cult following, even with Brad Pitt immortalizing Tyler Durden. Let’s cram more “Dancing With the Stars” down the wife’s gullet to keep her from realizing how much debt we own. Let’s make sure the N.F.L. never strikes again so I don’t have to face my shitty life, at least on Sundays and possibly Monday nights if I can still afford cable. Give me that new Droid so I can tune out my annoying kids.

It’s more than a bunch of hippies in drum circles down there on Wall Street. Regular people are getting pissed too. We’re tired of having the government steal our money and hand it over to corrupt CEO’s that pad their own severance package with millions. I want the bastards involved in the Cuyahoga County corruption scandal to pay. I’m making my monthly mortgage payment, barely, while financial advisors tell clients to let the house go into foreclosure if they can’t afford it. Follow the rules and you get screwed. Break them and you get rewarded.

You’re not your job. You’re not how much money you have in the bank. You’re not the car you drive. You’re not the contents of your wallet. You’re not your khakis.

Then what the hell are you? Are you a human trying to survive or are you Preta, mindlessly consuming without satisfaction?

The first rule of the blog is you don’t talk about the blog. On second thought, a comment or two would probably be fine.