Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Authors That Don't Actually Write

You've seen it, I'm sure. You see a famous author on the bookshelf and you think that maybe they just released their latest novel only to have your bubble burst when you see the author's name have a hyphen or the words "with so and so." I saw it earlier this week with the new Tom Clancy and I felt my blood boil to a fever pitch, knowing that the man had just given up on writing altogether.

And to think I once had admiration for the asshole. Granted, I was 14 then and didn't know any better. Hell, I was reading, right? As I got older, my tastes changed and I became more and more appreciative of writing as an art and less as a commodity (though both are important for separate reasons). I still maintain The Hunt for Red October is a good book and a solid American spy thriller (a cosmic rarity in of itself). His later books, however, became less about story and more about the latest technology or Clancy getting on his political soapbox and the books, as a result, took a nosedive. From The Bear and the Dragon on, the books went into total freefall. After 2003, there was a lot of speculation about what his next book would be. We got our answer in 2010 with Dead or Alive. We also learned he 'co-authored' the book with Grant Blackwood. That was all I needed to see. He didn't write the book. At best, maybe he polished the first draft and worked on the outline.

I knew he'd been doing this kind of thing with different series like Op-Center and Net Force, but doing it to your flagship series... this is where any last drops of respect I'd had for the man disappeared.

James Patterson is arguably the most famous culprit, "writing" series all over the place. I never had much use for the man to begin with, but it is depressing that he is duping readers with third-rate garbage written by people trying to emulate him.

And then we have our celebrities trying to write. Those fuckers couldn't put two intelligent sentences together if I put a loaded automatic to their head. Steve Martin and a few others aside, the others don't do the work themselves. Tori Spelling? Bristol Palin? Lauren Conrad? Yeah, right. They come up with whatever "idea" (usually thinly based on their own lives or their "memoirs") and they get someone else to write them.

Politicos are no different. Hell, it's been widely accepted that Jack Kennedy didn't write the Pulitizer winner Profiles in Courage. What makes you think that stupid hick Sarah Palin wrote her books?

I take great comfort in Elmore Leonard, who's 85 and probably slipping a little, but the man still writes his books by hand, one word at a time. If you have any regard for yourself, you'll take this advice to heart:

Write your fucking book yourself.

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Coercion Officially for Sale

Well, it took a long time and a lot of delay, but I'm very pleased to announce that Coercion is finally up for sale for the low, low price of $2.99 USD. Figure this'll be enough to keep everyone happy. It is currently only on sale at Smashwords because it needs to be vetted by the Smashwords people so it can be published everywhere else. Once that happens I'll need to do a little more work so it can be accepted for the Apple people and what-have-you. All of that should be happening in the next week or so. For right now, though, you can buy it on Smashwords here.

Here is the official artwork:

A little noirish and gritty, which is what I was hoping for.

This is very exciting and hopefully I can reach my initial goal of selling 100 copies.

Sunday, June 5, 2011

What I Do Apart From Writing

Gasp... you mean writers do stuff beyond read, write, and stare at that monitor all day hoping to put together two cogent sentences?

Surprisingly, yes.

This will be brief, but I do have other interests and passions apart from the world of writing, though none of them even come close to my passion for the game.

I do enjoy watching sports. Baseball and basketball, in particular. I am a lifelong White Sox and Bulls fan and was around to see Jordan's six titles and the White Sox win in 2005. I hate the Cubs (sorry, Cubby fans), mainly out of some inferiority complex and because of the storied rivalry that especially heats up when the two teams play six games a year. I like the Bears, even though the ownership drives me nuts. The Hawks have become fun again since the old man died and their Stanley Cup title last year was a real treat. I like Northwestern in college sports for reasons that continue to confound me. Wonder how many more disappointments I have to swallow before I give up. The rest of the sports are hit-or-miss. I'll watch the four golf majors and the Ryder Cup, the Kentucky Derby, and if there's a good boxing or UFC match I'll watch that, too.

I also enjoy playing sports. Basketball and golf are my favorite to play. Baseball and football is more for recreational fun more than anything else. I wish I could play pool and I have no particular skill for bags, but then not many people do, I've noticed.

I'm an avid video game player and have enjoyed playing them for the last twenty years. Many of my favorites are Nintendo classics like Tetris, Mario 3, A Link to the Past, and Ocarina of Time. Modern games I've really enjoyed are the Metal Gear Solid series, Half-Life 2 (ditto Portal 2), Grand Theft Auto (from GTAIII onwards), and the Modern Warfare games. I admit the storytelling isn't quite on par with what we've seen thus far in books and movies, but they're getting better, and I do enjoy it when someone tries to swing for the fences.

I like movies, but all the crap spilling into theaters makes me yearn for better times. I like movies that have good, fundamentally sound stories that will challenge me. Sadly, not too many these days since the average intelligence of the moviegoer is about on par with a retarded monkey.

I enjoy a good cup of coffee and I like writing in coffee houses (cliched, I know), but, hey, if it gets the job done I couldn't care less. Better than sitting on your ass and waiting for inspiration, which has become the trend for so many "aspiring" writers that I know.

Well, hopefully this gives you a slightly fuller picture.

As for my book, Coercion, I hope my new artist will have the drawings ready for me this week so I can publish by June 15 on Amazon and B&N. I hope, but we shall see.