Friday, December 19, 2014

Average Joe and the Extraordinaires Released TODAY

Today is the day.  My novel, Average Joe and the Extraordinaires is now available on the Amazon Kindle Store.  You can find it at http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00R7EMRXA.  I'm super excited and ecstatic that the release went smoothly.

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

SUPER EXCITING ISBN's ACQUIRED KINDA DAY

Hello everyone!  I finally acquired enough money to buy my ISBN's and pay for the special font that I used for my Average Joe and the Extraordinaires book cover.  And when I say acquired I mean saved because I realize that saying acquired sounds shady as hell.  Anywho, I'm excited to the MAXXXX and now I'm just about ready to publish.  I still have quite a bit of work to do.  I just had some awesome supporters give me some interesting suggestions to improve the book so I'm going over those.  I've been changing stuff around here and there for the last few weeks but I don't want to change too much. Right now I'm also putting some time into researching Lightning Source, Ingram Spark and Createspace more thoroughly to see if I want to print this thing in the near future.

So the plan now is: to view these suggestions for the book and add them if they fit, find all the metadata I need for Amazon and Bowkers and whoever else needs it, prepare all resources needed for release, and possibly if all goes right to release on Friday December 19th.  I'm pumped but now I need to get my act together and work on a few things.  All the while I'm working on another book and prepping for a job interview.  What an interesting time to be living!  Thank you all for following this blog or just stopping by and I hope your dreams are within your grasp.

Saturday, December 6, 2014

Character Profiles: Average Joe and the Extraordinaires: Team Badd Azz



Fleez
Government Name: Bartholomew Taluni
Other Nicknames: The Gamesmaster, Grease Monkey, Bart
Height: 6'3"
Weight: 193 lbs
Hair: Short Black
Eye Color: Brown
Race: Polynesian
Birth Place: Orangetown, Florida
Age: 16
Hobbies: Pranking People, Lifting Weights, Working on Cars, Watching 70's and 80's Action Movies
Talents: Very Skilled at Automotive Repairs From Years of Working with His Father, Clever Prankster Whose Years of Watching TV and Movies Have Given Him Loads of Ideas, Athletic and Strong for His Age

Dozz
Government Name: Michael Phillips
Other Nicknames: McPrankerson, Tech-head, Mick
Height: 6'2"
Weight: 208 lbs
Hair: Shaggy Brown and Long
Eye Color: Brown
Race: Caucasian
Birth Place: Louisiana
Age: 16
Hobbies: Pranking People, Backyard Wrestling, Browsing Forbidden Message Boards, Building CPU's Out of Junk Parts, Watching 70's and 80's Action Movies
Talents: Very Skilled at Building and Fixing Old and New Computers Thanks to Learning from an Older Cousin and Continuing in a Votech Class, Older Cousin Showed Dozz the Ropes of Backyard Wrestling Which Dozz Still Participates in and Announces For With Fleez, Athletic and Strong for his Age

...and sometimes...

Byron
Government Name: Byron McCoy
Other Nicknames: Byron Rox-Your-Sox, B-man, Big Guy
Height: 5'9''
Weight: 273 lbs
Hair: Dark Brown, short, and unkempt
Eye Color: Black
Race: Caucasian
Birth Place:Orangetown, Florida
Age: 16
Hobbies: Watching TV, Complaining, Snacking
Talents: Is Really Big...Like Really Really Big, Insults Bounce Off of Him Like Bullets Off of Superman (He's Pretty Dense), Extreme Lack of Caring About The World Around Him, Did I Mention That He's Big?...

Team Badd Azz came about from the boys watching too many seventies and eighties action movies and wanting to start a gang of strong "men" to live life in the most Badd Azz way possible.  Fleez and Dozz had actually met years ago when Dozz had first moved to Orangetown from his home state of Louisiana.  The boys were very similar as both had grown up in large impoverished families and shared similar interests.  Surprisingly enough, both boys are quite smart despite their propensity for using their physicality to solve problems and get what they want.  They both typically get high marks in class quite casually and are both skilled at a useful trade thanks to years of helping their various family members.  Despite their brutish behavior both boys are actually on track to very bright futures...if they don't blow up something first.

Fleez and Dozz only use Byron as free muscle and labor.  He was never a real member of the group because neither Fleez nor Dozz can stand his constant downer attitude and complaining.  He is, however, a great enforcer.

Average Joe and the Extraordinaires is available now!

http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00R7EMRXA

Sunday, November 30, 2014

My NaNoWriMo 2014, The Phoenix Rises and the Phoenix Dies




I know that a lot of you out there are participating in the National Novel Writing Month and some of you don’t even know what it is.  I’ll give a shorthand explanation below.  But this is the tale of my early successes, ultimate failure, and the insights I’ve gained from it that I feel can prove useful to others such as yourselves.  So here goes.

The Goal: Write 50,000 Words of a Novel in a Month (November)

The Book: Average Joe and the Beauty (ending), Average Joe and the Side Story

The Plan: Pre-Write (Brainstorm, General Outline, Chapter-by-Chapter Outline, Research) For The Month of October, Start Contest On Time, Daily Incremental Word Increases During Work Days, Large Production Hikes On Off Days, Finish AJB, and Make Great Progress Into AJSS.

The Reality:
Soooo, things didn’t quite go as planned.  I started my prewriting late into October but still managed to make a nice amount of chapter outlines in a style that I was experimenting with.  My chapter outlines are typically vague when it comes to details regarding the setting and place in time.  I typically flow through a story and hit a point where it becomes important to know what time of day it is or what part of the month the characters are in for silly stuff like weather patterns, lunar cycles, and all the other continuity that we real life air breathers take for granted.  This new style of outline helped me keep track of all that with ease and made setting up scenes a breeze.  While more time consuming than my standard methods, this new style of outline has proven much more comfortable to me than I expected and has proven to be just as flexible as my previous outlining style.  As always, things changed once I started writing scenes for the contest so that flexibility in my outline was paramount.

The Phoenix Rises…

I only had about ten days of actual prewriting done for the contest, which is probably a generous number but those ten days worth of notes gave me a strong start for the contest.  What can I say, I’ve always been a last minute homework, project, and test crammer.  Hell, I completed last year’s NaNo only through some last minute miracle cramming so I shouldn’t be surprised.  I started the contest on day one and started writing early before I had to do whatever the task of that day was.  I opted not to do a midnight start for reasons I don’t remember.  I also don’t remember how each and every one of those first ten days went but I remember producing fairly well and then getting a huge mega boost on the sixth or seventh day from writing all night.  The site was down the first night so I was also behind on posting my actual word count by about a day.

…The Phoenix Burns and Learns…
I hit a snag when I ran out of outline.  I was also on a slow part of my story that required more setup and detail than I’d prepared.  It was here that I learned the awesome and crazy skill of “living in the scene”.  My general outline had character motivations, events, and outcomes.  The chapter outline I made up detailed the time, which characters were in the scene, who the chapter revolved around, where the scene was taking place, where the scene would end up, in addition to the character motivations, events, and outcomes of that scene.  What I didn’t have was what “living in the scene” gave me.  Living in the scene is an extra way of imagining your scene.  It can be accomplished through intense imagining of a scene which requires unwavering concentration.  I had to close my eyes at times and interact with the characters to see how they moved and interacted with the environment around them.  Acting out the scene (as quietly as I could or mentally) also became necessary during the intense final struggle of the book.  There was a lot of emotion and a lot at stake and I really had to dig into all that which slowed the typical breakneck writing process of the month.  I also had a unique creature at the end that I could only vaguely describe.  I had words to describe it but they weren’t visceral enough so I took time out to draw the creature.  It came out pretty good and all the words I needed came easily after.  

So I guess what I didn’t account for was the importance of the setting and how it affected everything in the scene.  The environment is a huge character and requires a huge amount of imagination.  Conjuring that much detail is tiring and should be a part of the prewriting if possible, I think.  If not you certainly can’t rush through building them, I know I couldn’t.  Anyways I kept writing but my daily word count plunged significantly and then came the days that I didn’t write at all.  Strangely though I didn’t feel guilty about my lack of writing like I normally did.  I only sat back and played videogames, particularly Dark Souls.  I didn’t even fret about it.  I kept on like that for a week before I picked up my pen and paper or touched the Average Joe files on my computer.  When I started writing again it flowed pretty well and I wrapped up the chapter I was working on much better than I expected.  But my word count wasn’t anywhere close to where it needed to be.  I felt that the story was definitely getting what it needed though and my ruminations felt natural.  I didn’t feel the need to rush that process to finish the contest.  NaNoWriMo was secondary and soon lost its significance altogether for me.  I still had a desire in me to “win” but my desire to be at peace and enjoy life was much stronger for the month.  So by the 20th of the month I knew I could pull another miracle like last year if I really tried but I had no desire to do so.  I kept working on the book at a slow rate and by the end only mustered a little under 15,000 words.  Utter failure for the contest.

The Phoenix Fails and But Considers What He’s Gained

So I knew it was over by the 20th day and my production had almost halted completely.  After a ton of heavy research I managed to complete this difficult chapter I’d been working on that was a huge departure from the rest in terms of setting and characters.  Now today on the 30th I am officially tapping out and preparing to post my final paltry word count before the contest even ends.  But you know what—I’m okay with that.  Like last year, I have gained a tremendous about of insight into what makes me tick as a writer.  I’ve gained some invaluable tools in my writing process: like being able to live in a scene, using drawing to flesh out ideas and characters, and using (bad) acting to understand the physicality of the characters.  These techniques were born out of desperation, coffee, and lack of sleep but they’re better than the alternatives.  I plan to enter into next year’s NaNo but this time with much more powerful mental tools at my disposal.  As for now I will continue to pluck away at my projects.


NaNoWriMo Tips:

+Pick your NaNoWriMo project early.  I was going to write a completely original novel for the contest but changed my mind at the last minute because I thought what I chose would be easier and would align with my business goals.

+Outline your ass off!  Do it all year if you can.  If you have separate projects just for NaNo do it as early as possible.  Don’t just make a general outline, make a chapter outline as well.  Make it as detailed as possible, you can always change it if you need to but those details help the writing flow a lot easier than coming up with them on the fly.  October is a great month to outline as all of that research and those notes are fresh in your mind for November.  Just be consistent with it.

+Remember that editing is its own step, its own process.  Do your BEST to ensure that you’re not editing too much, you don’t want it to take too much time away from your writing.

+Try different techniques to visualize your novel, to see the action in your mind as you write.  Practice early, preferably during the outlining process.  Doing this can cut down on the changes you make mid-chapter.  Most of my issues arose because I had no idea how something looked or how a “crafte” (magic) felt, sounded, or how it affected the environment.

+Write out a detailed description of your environment beforehand along with a list words to describe it.  Admittedly I can’t even see myself doing this but I wish I did.  If you can’t tell already I have the tendencies of both a “prepper” and a “pantser”.

-Don’t play lots of videogames.  As a matter of fact, If you want to win unplug your XCubeStation 9 and have a loved one hide it.  If you have self-control, hide it yourself and then hire a mentalist to make you forget where you put it because we all know that you don’t really have as much self-control as you think.

-Don’t wait for a muse.  The act of writing itself helps get the creative juices flowing.  I am always surprised at how quickly I can get going even when I reaaaaaaaaally don’t feel like writing.

-Don’t do anything I did this year.  Basically all of my above tips amount to this.

So that’s my NaNoWriMo story this year, what’s yours?  Comment and link to your blog if you have one so that I can read your NaNoWriMo stories.  Thanks again for the browse and good luck next year!




My NaNoWriMo 2013

Part 1

Part 2

Part 2 ½

Part 3

Part 4

Part 5

I'm Baaaaaaaaack!...and slightly more different than ever before!!!



^^Excuse the title grammar^^



Hey everyone!  Belart here and I’m back from my long hiatus from the blog (and life) and am here today to announce my plans for upcoming blog content.  This hiatus is mostly from pure unadulterated laziness and confusion about dealing with my life’s journey.  The silver lining with all this is that I’ve kept fairly productive as far as the writing goes and have been noting down some really cool ideas for the blog, my life, and my stories.  So now that the soul searching is over (mostly) and I have a rough idea of what I want to do for the month and upcoming year, here’s what I plan to post:

#1 will be a post on this year’s NaNoWriMo and how I did **spoiler, not so good** and what I learned from it.
#2 will be more Average Joe profiles and videogame breakdowns which are long overdue.
#3 will be a blog hop post, which seems like it’ll be pretty fun.

After that I’m not quite sure what I’ll put up but I’ve been gaming a lot lately so probably more VG breakdowns.  I’ve gotten into Dark Souls and Armored Core like crazy lately and of course Borderlands 2 is always in the system.  I just bought a bunch of games digitally over the last few weeks.  So much so that my 250 GB Xbox 360 hard drive only has 6 GB left.  Xbox is really putting out some awesome deals of late.  I was able to get most of the stuff I’ve always wanted to play like the Fallouts, the Elder Scrolls games, Red Dead Redemption, RE6, a slew of Tomb Raider games, Tales of Vesperia, DMC, Eternal Sonata, Soul Calibur V, Tales from the Borderlands, Mirrors Edge, and a ton of stuff that I can’t remember right now.  Each ranged from $2 to $10 so I went a little crazy.

Anyways it’s back to productivity in all things and back to learning new things.  My next endeavor will be learning to draw.  So my life for the next six months will consist of writing, typing, editing, publishing, marketing, dishwashing, reading, drawing, training, family stuff, and maybe a little gaming.  Sounds fun, except for the lack of dating but all good things come in time.  Must focus and improve for now.  Thanks for reading and be sure to make someone you love smile at least once today.  It works wonders.

Sunday, October 5, 2014

Indie Book Corner: Going Green by Christina McMullen






Quick reminder for those not familiar with my so called “reviews”.  I don’t review media in a traditional sense, that is to say that I don’t typically leave a score or rating unless I’m posting on a site that demands that sort of thing.  I don’t feel that I can adequately encapsulate my experience with a game or book or movie into a numbered score or even a lettered one.  I also don’t see a point in it.  If you typically read reviews for recommendations then I do typically leave a list of pros and cons of the material.

Going Green, by Christina McMullen is an ebook that I came across through an indie author group on Google+.  I have no idea which group it was because I’ve joined quite a few.  I caught this book, I believe, upon its very first release day.  It was free on day one and I snapped it up as fast as I could.  I did so partly to support another indie (with non-money) and partly to satisfy my curious reading habit.  It took me a while but I finally got around to reading it after a few months.

I found Going Green to be a clever, witty, and very original take on the clich├ęd zombie apocalypse genre.  Inside its pages I found a very sardonic and humorous take on life before, during, and after a future zombie outbreak.  The book is cynical as hell in its depiction of the reaches of mankind and how we have taken our carelessness into space and relegated NASA to space tourism duties.  A series a bad decisions involving drugs, explosions, space shuttles, showmanship, and radiation is made by a few characters and leads to the apocalyptic outbreak.  We see selfish government cover-ups, public ignorance, and poor decision-making in spades.  It’s just like the present day, except in Christina McMullen’s bleak future it’s hilarious.  We glimpse all this through well told vignettes featuring multiple characters.  Each character brings something new to the apocalyptic tale and most I found to be humorous.  There was probably a bit of inappropriate laughing on my part as well.  I laughed a lot while reading this book.

I found all the set-ups here to be utterly plausible.  It was a future that I could clearly envision as I read the book, sadly enough.  Even outlandish scenes like the one involving a certain small time rock star – ahem – that is to say the Zombie Apocalypse Rock God Jaden Winslow – seemed plausible in this type of bleak future.  Imagine yourself on a day that could be the turning point for your future.  You’re set to have something really big happen for you, something positive that could change your life for the better.  Now imagine on that day, as you’re planning all the major details, one of your friends tells you that you can’t go through with it because of a zombie outbreak.  Some of you might just lose it and go a little stir-crazy.  Some of you, like me, might just do something a little stupid, reckless, and cathartic in response to the madness.

I’m not a big fan of zombies—at all.  I find them to be a boring trope, genre, creature, concept, or whatever you want to call them.  There’s some interesting ideas to be found in the concept but it’s been done to death (no pun intended) and not well I believe.  Once you’ve seen one shuffling brain-dead meat monster, you’ve seen ‘em all.  With all that said, I still found there to be a treasure trove of fresh and cool ideas in this short read.

The way the future is setup is pretty neat.  Space has become this “been there, done that” sort of thing and so now corporations have set up shop and begun making loads of dough on interplanetary tourism.  I also liked the fact that certain characters made viral videos in space and documented themselves as being the first to do something in space to get in the Guinness record books, even if that something was super mundane.  These zombies are also “different” in that they aren’t undead.  I don’t believe that’s a spoiler, it doesn’t really spoil anything.  In every other way these zombies do seem to behave like the stereotypical zombie in whatever media you choose to view them.  They’re slow, unintelligible, disease filled, and crave human flesh.  They are different in one major way apart from all that though, but revealing that would spoil a very interesting chapter and I aint gonna do that.

I loved just about every part of this book and think I’ll read it again pretty soon.  It was a very short read.  You can probably finish it during a long lunch break or siesta if you’re lucky enough to have those.  I didn’t find that to be a problem for this title.  It honestly made its point in its eighty-five pages.  I sat up late one night reading til about three in the morning, laughing like a madman.  I honestly don’t have any negatives unless you count that this book has made me a little self-conscious of my own writing.  Good books always tend to do that though so I just need to work on my humor more and read more good books.

Ya Dig!:
+Scary possible future
+Highly cynical
+Interspersed with humor
+Clever ideas and imaginative world
+Outlandishness grounded in reality
+Zombies are different
+JADEN WINSLOW: ZOMBIE ROCK GOD
+Smooth read

Watch out for:
-Short book length (though the pacing does feel good)

And that's about it, but don't just take my word for it.  Go check it out yourself with the links below.  Tell me what you think and as always, my glorious readers, thanks for the browse!

Author’s Blog

Amazon Book Link

Goodreads Book Link