Archive for February, 2012


So as you know in my last post I gave a shout-out for Ciara and Robert.  Long may they reign in their respective realms.

Tonight I’m super tired.  Falling asleep at my desk while knowing full well (here comes the guilt) that I should be writing something witty and fun and maybe get back to some action-packed stuff.  But seriously, I’m so sleepy and tired I hurt.

So bless Alex J. Cavanaugh for making it easy to write this short, sweet, enthusiastic shout-out for the release of his new novel, CASSAFIRE!

(Pause to cheer).

That’s right, folks.  Feb 28  is the blog party for Alex’s sequel to his best-selling novel, CassaStar.  The Kindle version is already out on Amazon, the paperback is now officially launched, and a new adventure begins for Byron, who among other things must train a woman pilot “whose skills rival Byron’s unique abilities.”  Love the sound of this.

So here’s a cyber toast to Alex and CassaFire.  Happy launch, y’all.

UPDATE:

You know, if I had bothered to read the instructions Alex sent out, I woulda posted more accurate information.  But am I an efficient blogger in this respect?  Oh, hell no.  So here, delayed, is the OFFICIAL info regarding Alex’s blogfest:

Today is the Catch Fire Blog Party, celebrating the release of CassaFire by Alex J. Cavanaugh! The goal is to help CassaFire “catch fire” on the best seller charts and achieve the success of the first book, CassaStar. There’s also a special package of prizes being given away at the author’s blog (copies of CassaFire, CassaStar, tote bag, mug, and bookmarks) as well as book giveaways during his two-week blog tour. See Alex’s site for details: http://alexjcavanaugh.blogspot.com/

Available today!

Science fiction – space opera/adventure

Print ISBN 978-0-9827139-4-5, $15.95, 6×9 Trade paperback, 240 pages

EBook ISBN 978-0-9827139-6-9, $4.99, available in all formats

CassaFire is the sequel to Cavanaugh’s first book, CassaStar, an Amazon Top Ten Best Seller.

Two Shout-Outs

on February 24, 2012 in Misc 14 Comments »

Today I’m giving a shout-out to a couple wonderful fellow writer/blogging pals of mine.

First up is Ciara Knight (as in www.ciaraknight.com). She’s a very fine, frighteningly prolific author who has a new novel out on Crescent Moon Press.  It’s called The Curse of Gremdon, and while one of the genres it falls under might be paranormal romance, it has one tough kick-ass heroine who makes her first appearance wearing a leather skirt and wielding a sword.  Shades of Kate Beckinsale!  Layla also highly approves of this woman.  Here’s the novel’s blurb:

In a world where marriage is forbidden, sex is only granted to male warriors, and the outer realm is full of murderous creatures, Arianna fights to protect the life of her only living relative, her brother.

Tardon, an elite warrior, is granted anything he desires by the Elders, but finds little joy in the voluptuous women presented to him. Born for the bloodlust found only in battle, complicated emotions emerge when he discovers his equal in the alluring warrior, Arianna.

Charged by the Elders with saving the castle from  attack, Tardon and Arianna risk the curse when they traverse the vast outer realm to retrieve serum from the Tree of Life.  If successful, the Elders have promised Tardon the right to marry and Arianna the cure for her brother’s death fever.  Will their love carry them through or will the discovery of a great deception be their ultimate demise?

How irresistible is that?

You can check out Ciara’s novel on Amazon, Crescent Moon Press, and other venues.

Next up is Robert Read.

Besides being a writer and all-around very smart man, Robert has been bravely taking on impressive action hero-type training that includes climbing, parkour, and archery.  You may remember his excellent essay on Olympic weight-lifting, which was recently posted here.  Obviously, the man is in strong shape.

As if all this weren’t enough, Robert is also an inventor and the founder of Public Invention For All Mankind.  PIFAM is a blog and educational charity that he (and I and others) hopes will serve as a great coaching organization for inventors.  There’s no profit in this effort or in such inventions, just a lot of brains, idealism, and real-world experimenting.  In short, “PIFAM gives inventions to all mankind that teach how to increase prosperity, fun, and beauty with less toil, waste, and pollution.”

Personally, I think there’s also some danger, such as in Robert’s efforts to test his Merfluke, which would allow humans to swim like a dolphin.  He wrote about this invention in his science fiction novella but is now working with his prototypes in open water situations.  Taking something from fiction into reality – I just love this idea.

You can find Robert’s blog about PIFAM at http://publicinvention.blogspot.com/

And that’s all for today, folks.  Have a really good weekend.

AAAACK Time

on February 20, 2012 in Misc 13 Comments »

Well, this has been a painful weekend.

See, I visited a couple friends (Doug and Cil who are a couple), and while it was great to see them I was also prepared for the grim news they warned me about ahead of time…

First the good news:  they both finished reading The Compass Master and really enjoyed it.

Now the bad news: between them they found approximately 25 typos/mistakes in my book.

AAAAACK!

I mean, this really hurts.  This is so embarrassing.  Most of the slip-ups are barely noticeable.  But some others? Oh, they hurt.

Of course both Doug and Cil emphasized that I had done a good job, especially considering TCM is 523 pages long.  He told me he’s read, just for example, all of Clive Cussler’s novels and finds typos in all of them , and those tomes are published by one of the Big Six in New York.  Cil told me that as a teacher she’s unusually good at proofing and spotting mistakes.  And I told them I wish I’d known how good both of them are at this proofing stuff ’cause I woulda asked for their help BEFORE I published TCM.

So okay, my book has some mistakes, just like books put out by traditional publishers.  But the fact is I’ve always known that if you want to make it as a self-published writer your standards have to be very freakin’ HIGH.  Like you have to aim at putting out a better book in every possible way than those put out by the professionals if you want to be taken half as seriously.  And 25 or more typos is really, really asking to be laughed out of the book business.

Hence y’all know what this means – I gotta look into seeing how much it would cost me to reprint TCM with the necessary corrections.  Then there’s the matter of how long the Kindle version on Amazon has to be taken down so that the new one can replace it.

Damn. And I thought my biggest problem was figuring out how to promote my novel.

At least, in another literary vein, these same friends fiercely nagged me about getting my other two novels into print. They read both, love both, insist that it’s those two (shorter than TCM) books that would take off in women’s book clubs and other venues.  And since I really do love those two other novels as much as I do TCM (we all love our writing efforts, don’t we?), their support means so much to me.

So that’s it, folks.  As spring and warmer weather approaches, along with opportunities to finally start doing Layla stuff again, I’m gonna be turning into an editing/ proofing/ publishing whirligig.  I might even be mostly finished by mid-summer.  And Doug and Cil will be proofing my manuscripts BEFORE I publish them.

Anyway, that’s my sorry news. Hope your own literary announcements are happier ones than mine.

And Ciara – in my next posting I’ll be giving a way overdue shout-out for The Curse of Gremdon.

Well, that was a wasted weekend.

Sure, I got some stuff done. The roads and weather were finally clear enough that I could chop the ice off the edge of my garage door and get my car out and run some errands.  I also organized my desk and plotted a schedule for polishing two historical novels that are still in the manuscript stage.  I did a couple loads of laundry.

And that’s about it.

I mean, I FEEL CHEATED! I WANT MY SATURDAY AND SUNDAY BACK! Between the bitter cold days and my crowded weekdays I haven’t been able to do anything very Layla-like for a while now. And if I can’t get active I at least want to see a movie.  A friend called and said he’d like to catch one with me, but we were both too tired to go anywhere.  So we just ranted on the phone for a while about politics and the world in general.  Then I took another nap. Cold, grey weather can bring out a kind of hibernating tendency in me.  I think I was supposed to be born in a tropical clime.

Anyway, you may think that because I’m in Colorado and do action stuff that of course I could go skiing.  But in fact I haven’t been skiing in years, I’d have to rent the equipment at this point, lift tickets cost a bomb, and I know either complete non-skiers or excellent ones who wouldn’t want to hang around an in-betweener like me.  On the bright side this means I won’t rip an ACL or break a leg – pretty common occurrences in this town in winter.  Even in our little work office we have our first co-worker of the season with a torn ACL.  She’s scheduled to have surgery on it in about a week.

So there you have it. It’s that blah time of year for me – after the holiday, before spring, and squat money and decent weather to do much anything.  Still, the days are getting longer and I’m starting to get enthusiastic about working on my manuscripts.  Got two more novels to publish!

So how about you? I’ve got the distinct impression when I go around to other blogs that everyone is busy and productive and on the edge of achieving published literary success.  Me, I’ll go take another nap.

If I were an action hero with money and means and freedom, I’d go so far away right now.

I’d just take off. Disappear to a tropical island. Fly to an archeological dig in the Middle East.

It’s not like I had a terrible day. It was actually a kinda good day. But then at the end of it someone in a position of power was an asshole to me. I’m talking a real out loud asshole. And there wasn’t a damn thing I could do about it without getting myself in deep trouble..

See, I’ve known for a long time that this is one reason why I created a character like Layla Daltry. Because she has the kind of bank account and independence that allows her to do as she damn well pleases. If someone is nasty to her, watch out! You do not cross Daltry the Defiant.

This is where writing novels can be both a cheap escapism and a solace to the spirit. At least it is for me. Creating other worlds, other people, living lives we don’t have but wish we did – it’s one sure way to shed our skins for a little while and have fun and excitement and adventure and romance somewhere far, far away.

Unless, of course, you write serious literary novels that plunge soul-deep into the tragedies of real-world lives. Years ago when I read Dostoevsky’s The Brothers Karamazov, I wanted to slit my wrists. I pretty much avoid Russian novels now.

What I find myself reading more and more these days are paranormal stories and some science fiction. The characters in them can have strange powers and supernatural abilities or really cool gadgets and weapons. They live in a world you want to visit. Unless it’s a dystopian one like in Hunger Games. But then the heroine Katniss is so strong and such a survivor that at the end of the book I felt uplifted and kinda happy.  And I felt some hope, which I sure don’t get from reading nineteenth century Russian literature.

Anyway, it’s time I called a halt to this rather pointless rambling dirge of mine. I feel better now. Tomorrow I’ll get out of bed yet again and live my life and everything will be okay.

Have a good day, y’all.

Forbidden No More

on February 6, 2012 in Misc 8 Comments »

Well, that was one weird and scary technical snafu.

My apologies to all my friends out there who tried to bring up this blog o’ mine in the last 36 hours and got only an ominous “FORBIDDEN” notice.  And thank you, Robert and Hart and Old Kitty, for emailing me or posting a shout-out that I’d seemed to have fallen off the planet.

Let me tell you, on Sunday evening when I couldn’t get into my blog one way or the other, I kinda freaked out.  I mean, I couldn’t even bring up the login page.  So my techie friend Alonzo jumped on the case, thought it was such-and-such a problem with the server (hey, you expect me to remember geeky IP terms?) and told me to simply wait out the process.  Then by late Monday he realized that somebody at the server company had done something really stupid with my account (the technical term was “They f***ed up”), and he had to have a cyber argument with them about their mistake (which they wouldn’t admit) and order them to FIX THE PROBLEM RIGHT NOW!  (They fixed it.  Alonzo can be very intimidating when he’s mad).

Thank you Alonzo.

It’s at times like this that I really hate being such a brainless twit when it comes to the more advanced features of computer systems, website maintenance, you name it.  Action heroes are supposed to be tech wizards, on top of being super jocks.  They can hack into high security systems, communicate with a satellite via their cellphones, you name it. Me, I don’t have the faintest idea how to rescue my own blog after some nameless twit in the Philippines commits a boo-boo.

Maybe next time Alonzo is in town I’ll ask him to give me a quickie introductory course on computer systems and server companies and whatever.  Problem is, guys like him know so much they don’t understand how SLOWLY I need to be led through this subject.

Any of you guys remember that computer guy Jimmy Fallon used to play on Saturday Night Live?  He’d impatiently rattle off computer geek words while insulting anyone who didn’t understand him.  And no one ever stood  up to him because he had an incredible SUPERPOWER:  he could fix people’s computers.

Damn.  I now understand that in fact that geek was an action hero for our times.