Monday, August 24, 2009

Free Short Stories

With the coming release of my new novel, Black Earth: End of the Innocence, I am releasing three free short stories through the official website, Each story intersects with the others to tell of the events leading up to the novel. Enjoy!

Accidents Will Happen
Nathan Pierce is just trying to get his driver's license on a typical Saturday morning. But what started out as an inconvenience quickly turns into a tragedy when a hasty traffic move irreparably changes the future forever.

Hidden Agenda
Daisy Pierce is enjoying a delicious latte in the local cafe when a strange man yells her name out and starts chasing her and her friend, Stacey. Now she's on the run, not sure where to go or what the stranger wants with her.

When Destinies Collide
Tiffany Williams needs to get her newborn baby to a hospital. But when her drunk, abusive husband gets in the way, how far will she actually go to save her child and herself?

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Black Earth Cover Design

Well, here it is folks. A sneak peek at what I've been up to in regards to the cover design for Black Earth: End of the Innocence. It needs a bit of cleanup, especially the seam in the middle of the sky, but this will be the general layout of the front cover of the book.

I want to thank my wife and my good friend Jelani Parham for their assistance with some of the items in the design. The silhouette of the oak tree was actually a picture that my wife took when we were driving around in California and I took a nap on the side of the road. She caught a picture of the silhouette when the sun was rising at just the right location and time. She also got a nice picture of a starry night when we were out camping with her family and I used that picture for the stars behind the title. Then it was Jelani with his expertise who was able to pull the tree from the picture and slap it on an invisible background so I could use it for the cover. He also added some glow to that piece of clipart I am using for the comet. The font for the BLACK EARTH title was found through, a website that specializes in free fonts. The majority of the cover is being created in a program called Art Explosion Publisher Pro by Nova Developement.

All in all, I like the cover immensely. It really portrays the symbolism of the novel, the end of the innocence. The oak tree was an idea inspired by the cover art to Switchfoot's Nothing is Sound album, whose song, The Shadow Proves the Sunshine is briefly mentioned in the Black Earth short story, Hidden Agenda. A poster with the album cover art is seen in the first half of Black Earth: End of the Innocence.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

What Genre?

Just recently I sat down with a good friend of mine. We talked about our Sci Fi interests, swapped marketing strategies and discussed the status of our projects. In the midst of it all we got on the topic of what genre my upcoming novel, Black Earth: End of the Innocence, is going to be. That was a tough question.

Personally, I'd like to think of myself as a mainstream author with Christian ideals. My Expired Reality series never mentions God or Jesus or anything about Christianity, but does have underlying ideals like redemption, forgiveness and mercy. Not to mention the age old battle between good and evil.

Black Earth is more open about the Christian themes that are presented in it: standing up for your faith, questioning God when things go wrong, trusting in God when all seems hopeless. Black Earth is, however, a much darker novel than what has been presented in the Expired Reality series so far.

So what genre would it fall under?

I don't have plans to market Black Earth:EOTI as a Christian novel. I think it would entertain the mainstream crowd more so and so I don't want to pigeonhole the book into a corner that the mainstream crowds wouldn't go near with a ten-foot pole.

I don't have plans, either, to strictly market my book as science fiction/fantasy. I think it would get lost in that genre among all the hundreds and thousands of other sci fi/fantasy stories that get created every year. I want something unique, something that is specific but has a niche that I can tell others about when I am asked what genre my novel is.

My friend mentioned that my work might fit into a the dark fantasy category. So, last night I did some research and found that he may be right. Dark fantasy can include stories about dark supernatural creatures and deals with darker themes than a normal fantasy novel. This would definitely describe some of Black Earth. I have demons and witches and supernatural beings who are all in a war to save/destroy the Earth. The fights with the demons and some of the material in the story could borderline horror, but doesn't extract the same type of feelings that a Friday the 13th movie would.

I researched some more, wanting to see if we could add something else to that dark fantasy genre and come up with a more specific description of my book. I thought about calling it dark Christian fantasy, but that's almost sounds contradictory in title. And that would also be pigeonholing me to the Christian crowds, veering me away from the mainstream outlet that I am heading for.

Then I found another genre, almost a subgenre of dark fantasy: urban dark fantasy. Urban fantasy contains stories with supernatural context that take place in real-world, contemporary urban settings. That would describe my novel as well.

So....urban dark fantasy? That sounds about right. We'll see though.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Drather's Story

Finally received my proof copy of Drather's Story in the mail the other day. I am quiet pleased with the quality of the book, however, after reading a few sections of it to check for errors, I realized that it would be in my best interest to do one more edit on it before making it available for sale to the public. Might be another couple weeks until it's ready, but it will be worth the wait! :D

This is my first attempt at self-publishing a novella, so I was a little surprised with how thin the book was when I got it (48 pages), but its small size makes it very convenient to carry around in a backpack or even a planner. I am definitely going to be putting together more stories in the future that take advantage of this unique layout.

Saturday, August 8, 2009

The Next Chapter

Last week was the end….the end of a struggle, the end of a fight that was so hard fought that I am still worn out and recovering from the effects. For months, I tried to improve on the environment that I was working in and was ultimately let go of in the worst way possible. An attack on my integrity, on my ethics, was the name of the game and instead of stooping to a level that I might have felt so inclined to, I ended the day happy that I had done things on my own terms…I didn’t give in, I didn’t quit, I didn’t give up.

Yet, with every end, there has to be a beginning to something, and the end of working for said company is the beginning of the next chapter in my life. This next chapter, of what will easily become a ten volume memoir, is the one that I have been waiting my whole life for and promises to be the most exciting.

See, I’ve wanted to write since I was twelve. And back in the day, I was told that if I wanted to make a living off my writing, then I better hope I’m good, else I won’t make much money to support myself off it. My dreams trampled, I gave up. Years later, I picked up the passion again, only this time I wasn’t exactly writing things I should have been writing. So I took my material at the time and dumped it in a cylinder trash can and lit it all on fire. A prayer left my lips, one that told God that if He ever wanted me to write again, He would have to give me the material and the passion Himself.

Years from that point, my passion returned, but only after I had made a decision that I was going to move to Seattle to attend Bible College. Now I had a dilemma…follow my spiritual calling or follow my artistic calling. I became so anxiety ridden from trying to pick that I drove myself practically insane…until a fellow camp counselor that summer turned to me and told me that God sometimes wants us to pick a path and he’ll bless the one that we have chosen.

I sighed with relief and picked writing.

Since then, I’ve heard many promises from God regarding my choice, ones that I sometimes wonder may have been my own wishful thinking they seem so incredibly impossible. But we deal with a God that doesn’t know what impossible is. We deal with a God that keeps His word and won’t lead us astray. I deal with a God that has carried me this far and won’t let go when the dawn is about to break, even if sometimes I feel too weak to hold on.

As my adventure continues into this next chapter, I hope and pray that I have the strength and determination to keep going. The fog has lifted, and now I can see the shore, but there’s still a long way to go and I’m still tired and worn out from the previous battles.

Taking the Promised Land is no small task…for us, anyway. For God…well, that’s a different story altogether.