Tuesday, May 25, 2010

New Edition Ebook

I added a story to Tales of a Texas Boy (see below) for ebooks. I just received notice from Amazon that the Kindle editions are now available with the new story included.

If you previously bought (or got a freebie) of Tales of a Texas Boy, send me a note and I'll provide you a coupon to receive the new ebook in the e-flavor of your choice:

MOBI: Loads to Kindle
EPUB: Kind of a universal format for many readers.

The Smashwords link is here.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

A Legend in His Own Mind

You've heard the phrase "A Legend in His Own Time." That's when somebody does something so extraordinary they create a legend around themselves. As time moves on, the legendary aspect grows and morphs into something bigger and, well, more legendary.

Then there's the phrase at the top of this post. That's when a person's ego grows beyond reality. They believe themselves to be so wonderful, they're a legend. Of course, they are the only ones who think so.

Then there's another type of legend. It's when an author bases a book on a real person, but exaggerates the person's feats to make for good reading; the writer creates the legend. Can you think of a case where this has occurred? I imagine there are many, considering possible biographers who hero-worship their subject past the point of reality.

Then I come to my own mini-legendary person: Little Eddie from Tales of a Texas Boy. The stories are mostly based on some brief vignette passed to me from my father. Those of you who have read the print edition might have slowed down enough to peruse the Foreword where I lay out that Eddie is my father and some additional background on his life. Nothing too exciting there. He just happened to have a few incidents in his life that I could turn from a passing comment into a short story.

I made my father a legend. The stories I wrote about his experiences are so enhanced, they have become the stuff of legends. Yes, a very small part of the population know the stories. However, how long will the Tales books be out in the world? I published the first edition in June, 2007. Coming up on the 3rd anniversary next month. In three years, more than 2000 people have had possession of the book in some form. They may have even read it. If I keep the book in print, how many people will get to know Eddie in ten years? I should mention that the majority of those potential readers picked up the book in the last year.

What's my point here? Not sure other than to state my realization that even not so famous people can become legendary to some extent from some author deciding to write about them.

By the way, I just finished a new Eddie story, which I'm including in the ebook editions. Already available at Smashwords and will percolate out to B&N, Amazon, Kobo, Sony, and Apple over the next few weeks.

The added story is titled "Ma Yote and Her Cubs." The new edition at Smashwords is available free til the end of May using coupon code XZ59M.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Cue Jeopardy Theme

While I'm waiting for a certain publisher to send a contract, I'm in a pins and needles wait state. Will the publisher change her mind? Decide my space opera romantic action adventure is not right after all?

Writers spend a huge amount of time waiting. Yeah, we're doing other things to fill that space between query, request for ms, rejection or acceptance. However, we're still churning our CPUs in that idle state. A virtual head popping up on occasion to see if the various zines, publishers, and agents have not passed on to the great publishing heaven in the sky or tend to ignore anything in which they have no interest.

Despite the "6-12 (or more) weeks to reply" often stated in guidelines, I'm an impatient sort. I'll give them their stated minimum plus one week, then they're marked as non-responsive. After that length, I've learned that if they answer at all, it will be a rejection. Positive answers always come more quickly, except when they don't.

Writers develop their own version of casting chicken bones or crystal gazing to determine the future of a particular query or submission. Those writers who wait and wait and wait . . . well, they're more patient than me. I have my own formula for wait time, and it is based on past performance.

Bless Query Tracker and Duotrope. We've got STATS! So, publishers and agents: know that we know. You can play hard to get, but writers are learning and have may have already gone courting a new beau for their work. 99% of the time it's no big deal. But that 1% you've ignored or put off might mean a big payday missed.

Thursday, May 13, 2010


You've all heard of Tweeting. Most likely, you're a tweeter. I enjoy reading tweets as long as they are substantive. That is, I am interested if you've got publishing industry news, your books has just come out, someone posted a great review, or even how you're progressing on your WIP.

However, I don't care if you just got a skinny mocha supreme at Starbuck's or your cat has just hacked up a hairball on your bed.

Then there's chirping. Not heard of it? That's 'cause I just made it up (probably others have, too, but I haven't seen it). It takes the form of unremitting cheerfulness. I could blog every day if I had a yen to show the sunny side up constantly. If I write blogs about how I feel, then they are not going to be chirpy. I'll leave that to the bloggers who can keep that smile up like a Miss America contestant.

I'll just stick to the boring news, review, and any other 'ews. Mostly, the latter I suppose.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Review: The Twain Shall Meet

Since I got my Kindle, I'm working through the 50+ books I already have queued up. This is gonna take awhile! Nevertheless, j's book is one of the first I've finished (many are in various stages of reading). I'll post my reviews as I finish the books. Note that I will only be reviewing books by independent authors in this blog. Those other people don't need my help, nor will they give a rat's heinie whether I review or not.

The Twain Shall Meet
j guevara

I recommend j guevara's novelization of Mark Twain's return to the world of the living as he's carried to earth riding Halley's Comet.

Set in 1986 Key West, I'll take j's word for the Key scene (never been there).

His interpretation of what Samuel Clemen's would be like if he did return to the world was spot on. I'm a Mark Twain fan and have read most (all?) of his books.

Using direct quotes from Twain and well-interpreted extrapolations on what Twain might say if he came back, j created an entertaining and interesting 'what if'.

j has an easy, very readable style. His narrator, Reid, is a "t-shirt" salesman (note: drug dealer) who becomes a Twain fan through direct association with the great American author over a month while Reid introduces Twain to such modern concepts as strip clubs, Disney World, modern politics and events.

Well done!

Wednesday, May 05, 2010

Native American Mythology

It would take hundreds of pages and a lot of researach to even scratch the surface of Native American mythology. No way would I even attempt that. But I did learn a lot for my middle-grade adventure, Eagle Quest (available at Amazon in Print and Kindle editions).

I wanted a half-breed Native American boy searching for his roots. Mitchell, who calls himself Black Crow, believes that a Vision Quest will help him discover his true self. He and his friends decide to visit the Bear Valley Wildlife Preserve, which is one of the several preserve areas in the Klamath region in southern Oregon. This particular preserve is a nesting place for bald eagles. Mitchell would also like to collect an eagle feather for his medicine bag. He didn't know that collecting any eagle parts is illegal. Enough about the story (please read it if you'd like to learn more).

Native American mythology sets great store by the animals around them. The stories imbued each animal with certain spiritual traits. The following information was derived from the Encyclopedia Mythica.

Wakan: Wakan or Wakan Tanka is the name the Lakhota Sioux use to specify the general spirit of god. Every creature and object has its own wakan, a spirit without limitation. Wakan tanka kin, the wakan of the sun, is the most important in the Sioux tradition.

Bear: Bear plays a major role in many Native American narratives. The animal represents the west and thoughtfulness. Many tribes tell narratives with Bear as the central figure.

Crow: Crow is one of the most prevalent mythological trickster characters, particularly for the northwest and Alaskan tribes.

Coyote: Coyote is the trickster character in southwest cultures, but is also sometimes portrayed as the creator, but he may at the same time be the messenger, the culture hero, the trickster, or the fool. He is also a power transforming character. In some stories he is a handsome young man, in others he is an animal, and others present him as a sacred power.

Eagle: Eagles are a powerful medicine. Elaborate headdresses of chiefs and leaders often feature eagle feathers. Sometimes equated to the Thunderbird, eagles are a symbol of strength.

Inktomi (Spider): The Spider, although most tales involve the trickster nature of the spider and center on morality lessons for the young, Inktomi also created Lakhota culture. Interestingly, the Spider has almost identical role in the myths of African cultures (Anansi).

Vision Quests: The Vision Quest is a rite of passage tradition for many North American tribes. Vision quest preparations involve a time of fasting, the guidance of a tribal Medicine Man and sometimes natural hallucinogens. The quest is undertaken for the first time in the early teenage years. The quest itself is usually a journey alone into the wilderness seeking personal growth and spiritual guidance from the spirit Wakan Tanka.

Traditionally, the seeker finds a place that they feel is special, and sits in a 10 foot circle and brings nothing in from society with the exception of water. Occasionally the seeker will urinate in the water as a means to purify it. A normal Vision Quest usually lasts two to four days within this circle, in which time the seeker is forced to look into his soul. It is said that a strong urge to leave the Quest area will come to the seeker and a feeling of insanity may set in. However, the seeker normally overcomes this by reminding him or herself of the overall outcome of the quest, causing the mind to stop wandering on random thoughts. The individual can generally find solace in the fact that he or she will not die in just two to four days. It is noted that few have claimed grand visions on their first Vision Quest. Native American spirits or wakan are said to be capable of speaking through all things, including messages or instructions in the form of an animal or bird. Generally a physical representation of the vision or message such as a feather, fur or a rock is collected and placed in the seeker's medicine bag to ensure the power of the vision will stay with the individual to remind, protect or guide him.

Medicine Bags: Medicine items attributed with various supernatural abilities for the bag would often be procured in a tribal custom known as a vision quest. This ceremony includes personal sacrifice: fasting and prayer over several days in a location isolated from the rest of the community, often involving hallucinogens. The purpose was to make contact with natural spiritual forces that help or guide people to reach their potential. The spirits, or totems would aid the individual to gather magical items, increase knowledge and aid personal growth.

Sunday, May 02, 2010

Coyote Con

May is virtual conference month. Drollerie Press is hosting Coyote Con. I attended a few sessions yesterday, and I'll have to say that conferencing on-line works pretty well. You also save a bunch of money by not having to travel somewhere.

You can still sign up (it's free!) and jump into the open courses. There might still be some openings for sessions that you have to reserve.

This conference fits into the Myths and Legends category for this blog because that's what Drollerie is all about. A small, mostly ebook, press, they have been around for a few years. They have several imprints to fit just about anything that touches on mythology, folk stories, legends, etc. Here's a short note on their imprints:

Drollerie Press: Fantasy, High Fantasy, Paranormal, Urban Fantasy, Contemporary Fantasy.
Chrysography: Literary, Experimental, Non-Fiction, and Special Projects.
Expressions: World/Multicultural Speculative Fiction written by or about one or more persons of color and/or from a non-western and/or non-caucasian perspective.
Flyleaf: GLBTQ Speculative Fiction.
Gauffer Press: Suspense, Thriller, and Mystery.
Grotesqueries: Horror and Dark Fantasy.
Illuminated Press: Inspirational/Spiritual Fiction.
Kettlestitch: Young Adult.
Pen Flourish: Romance, Erotic Romance, and Erotica.
Quadrivium: Science Fiction and Science Fantasy.

Hope to see you at the Con!