Tuesday, December 21, 2010

My Last Book Signing Of The Year

This last Saturday I had my long-awaited book signing at Borders at the Superstition Springs mall. Initially, I figured if I had a signing this close to Christmas that I'd have better luck making some book sales, but that wasn't necessarily the case. A lot of the people I approached in the store were on a mission to find sought-after Christmas gifts and didn't really want to put the time into swinging by my table to see what my sci-fi/fantasy series was all about.

Was that discouraging? A bit. I had a hard time selling books or getting anyone interested in my table for the first hour. After that though, I positioned myself right at the entrance to the store and made sure almost everyone that walked through those doors had a postcard with my book info in hand.

By the end of the signing, I had sold ten books. An old friend from high school came out and supported me, which was really nice, and I had a couple people who were willing to chance a self-published author and grab my books as gifts for someone else.

At the end, the sales manager purchased five of each of my books to put on her shelf in the sci-fi section of the store. I sat down at my table with her while I signed the copies and she stuck 'autographed copy' stickers on them.

It was a great ending to the six signings I've done in the last couple months and a great ending to a very eventful year. I'm sure I'll have more book signings set up after the new year. But first, it's time to take a breather and wind things down a bit, just in time for the holidays. :)

Friday, December 17, 2010

Spirit Blade: Special Edition Review

If there’s one thing this world has a significant shortage of, it’s Christian science fiction and/or fantasy. I apply this comment to all realms of media and entertainment, including books, movies, plays, and even audio drama. The latter of these are in especially short demand, not just in the Christian Sci-fi/fantasy genre, but in general. So I think it an especially wonderful treat that I came across Spirit Blade: Special Edition.

I’ve known Paeter Frandsen, the creator of Spirit Blade, for many years, and have been meaning to pick up a copy of Spirit Blade to listen to for a while now. Alas, lack of time and many other excuses prevented me from doing so, but I put aside some time this last week to sit down and experience - yes, experience - the special edition of this wonderful project.

Spirit Blade is like nothing you’ve ever experienced before. And I say that with a true degree of knowledge, not just assumption, not because I know you or what you’ve experienced before, but because I know for a fact there isn’t much in terms of Christian sci-fi/fantasy out there, let alone in audio form. It’s slim pickin’s out there when it comes to finding the message of truth running through the creative veins of the science fiction and fantasy genres, so when something like this comes out, it’s arrival has to be shouted from the mountain tops.

Too many out there have the opinion that Christianity and science fiction don’t mix, that there’s something blasphemous to even suggest such a thing. I’m not here to launch into an argument about that subject, but I am here to tell you that Spirit Blade proves the two can be brought together within an exciting drama that unfolds through a cast of top notch voice actors, stunning sound effects, and an intriguing storyline that I guarantee will captivate you.

This is a story, a tale of good vs evil, of a reluctant musician named Merrick who gets wrapped up in a worldwide conspiracy and is forced to face the truth about himself, about the world(s) around him, and about his own beliefs. You’ll find demons in this, you’ll find villains, you’ll find an underground resistance. And you’ll find our hero, Merrick, struggling to find his place in the midst of all of it while the forces of dark and light clash together to fight for his very soul.

Spirit Blade is a story as much as it is a treat for the ears, the mind, and the imagination. If you think reading a book has the ability to cast you light years away to other places, other colonies, other worlds - Spirit Blade does just that and then some. Listening to Spirit Blade: Special Edition, you can tell that Paeter has poured hours and talent into his project. The sound effects, the musical scoring, the voice acting, and especially the music - which is all written by Paeter and performed by Paeter and the cast - is superb.

What a treat this was! I can’t underline enough how awesome it is to see someone else out there who has put their creative talents to work to bring such an endeavor out for everyone to experience. The audio aspect of this is made it convenient to listen to on my MP3 player, my computer, even the CD player. As much as I’m for the ereaders out there, you really can’t get any more compact than audio.

To sum things up, Spirit Blade is truth wrapped in a tasty coating of action, adventure and science fiction. If you’re a fan of science fiction or fantasy you will love this. I am proud to recommend this to any and everyone I know and don’t know.

If you get the chance, I highly recommend at least downloading a free 30 minute preview of Spirit Blade at Paeter’s website, www.spiritblade.net, as well as check out the other projects he’s been cooking up. Paeter also has a podcast that you can check out which covers everything from horror to science fiction to comic books to anything geeky. Check it out at http://paeter.libsyn.com.

Spirit Blade: Special Edition was given for this review.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

The Bottom Line

I think self-publishing - and being an author in general - are both funny things. You never quite know what you're going to get, especially when you deal with the public. This last weekend I had two book signings, both which had very different outcomes in terms of book sales, but both of which had very similar benefits to the time that was put in to them.

My first signing was on Saturday at Half Price Books out in Phoenix.

It's a fairly new store on Camelback Road, and the manager, Jim, had only been a manager there a few days before I came in for my event. He was incredibly hospitable and the store was clean and had a nice polished look to it. During the three hours I was there doing my signing, I managed to sell 0 books. That's right, the big ol' goose egg. The dreaded zero. Zip. Zilch. Nada. Nothing.

The funny thing is, I'm not dismayed in the least. I had some great conversations with the folks that came around my table. I met a script writer, and one of the store employees used to work as a publicist, so I had a bit of wonderful seasoning in the conversations I had. I'll be the first to admit that I still have so much to learn and I love listening to how others are carving their path and making their way through their dreams.

On the flip side, my second signing was at the Mesa Bookmans on Sunday.

In the three hours I was at that store, I managed to sell 9 books.

Again, I had great conversations with the people who came by my table. I met another author, one who writes thrillers, and managed to get a nice number of people to sign up for my email newsletter. It too was a wonderful experience.

Now, through the lenses of sales and the 'bottom line', some would say my second signing was the most successful. But in my humble opinion, I believe both had their own outcome for me. Of course I would like to sell books - that is one of the reasons I do these signings - but my bottom line isn't going to be the same as some other writers out there. My bottom line is really relationships - with those in the community, book stores, and other writers.

Meeting other authors, people who look up to me simply because I've completed the process of writing an entire novel and self-publishing it, is a great feeling. I want to pave the way for those that have been told they can't do it, let alone on their own. Those that have been told they can't publish a book in today's economy, those that have been told they are dreamers.

Well, it's time for us dreamers to get out there and show the world what we're made of. More than just a bottom line of sales and spreadsheets, but of relationships and community. ;)

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Branching Out

Recently, my wife and I came to the conclusion that we could use a bit of extra money each month to help make a few ends meet. That was the initial motivating factor for me to start looking for some part time work, although at first I didn't know what part time work I should start looking for. I've been out of the '9-5' work game for almost a year and a half now, and the unemployment rate isn't all that encouraging.

It was suggested to me a couple weeks ago on another blog that I should look into applying with Demand Studios for some freelance work. I brought this idea to some friends and a discussion mounted on how it would benefit me to do some non-fiction freelance work anyway, especially if I plan to continue to make writing my career.

For years now I've focused primarily on writing fiction, with sci-fi, fantasy, and young adult being my specialties. Aside from working as a feature writer for my high school newspaper so many years ago, I haven't really bothered much with non-fiction - my blog being the only real exception. I figure diving into the world of article writing will be great for my portfolio, for my craft, and even for my finances.

I applied to Demand Studios and was subsequently rejected. I received a form letter type email from them that didn't really give me a solid reason for the rejection except that "due to increased interest in freelancing positions at Demand Media, the approval process has become quite competitive, and we have had to turn down many high-quality applicants." Interesting.

Once Demand turned me down, I applied with Suite101, a website similar to Demand, but with a different process and pay structure. I have been accepted and plan to start working on my first article soon. Though it may take some time - and hard work - for some real funds to start coming in, I am looking forward to this opportunity.

If any of you out there work - or have worked - for Suite101, please share your experiences with me. At the very least, I believe this new journey will help me sharpen my writing skills and add some fresh and diverse content to my writing credits. :)

Photo Credit - Horia Varlan

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Small Beginnings

I had my third book signing promoting my latest novel, Black Earth: The Broken Daisy, this last Saturday at the Tucson Speedway Bookmans. If there's one thing I'm noticing during this slew of book signings, it's that I'm doing much better this time around. When I originally did signings and promotion for End of the Innocence, the first book in my series, I didn't really know what I was doing. I would stutter and mumble when others asked what my book was about, I'd become reluctant to greet people coming to my table, and I never asked any of the book stores if they'd like to stock my book.

I guess I can chalk up most of my dismal success the first time around to shyness and the shell that I am successfully breaking out of this time around.

In the two and a half hours I spent at the Tucson Speedway Bookmans, I managed to sell 26 books. That included three double packs (sets of both books in my series) and ten of each book sold to the book store to stock on their shelves.

When I first arrived at the book store, I was told they had fielded 4-5 phone calls from customers asking about my signing before I even showed up. While I was setting up my table, one woman approached me, bought books already in hand, and asked me to sign them while another woman approached the table all ready to purchase a double pack as a gift. This makes the very first instance where someone not related to me has approached me at a signing simply to have their books signed as opposed to purchasing them there at the signing.

Don't despise small beginnings. I firmly believe in that right now. :)

Special thanks to Anthony for allowing me to do this event in his store.

Thursday, December 2, 2010

The Tunes Of My Muse

For a long while - actually as long as I can remember - I have enjoyed listening to music while I write. I know there are other authors out there that need complete silence in order to approach their muse, almost as if they were trying to sneak up and attack the paper with a stealth ninja move. Not me. I need the tunes blaring in my ears before I can really focus on my characters and their current predicaments.

I listen to a variety of things ranging from Christian rock to dance and techno.

When it comes to dance music, the beats, the pulse - especially in club mixes - really helps to get the ideas from my head to the laptop screen. I love listening to Benassi Bros, ATB, Jes, Kaskade and OceanLab - particularly their hit, Satellite -

I also enjoy the classics from my early twenties like Collective Soul, Matchbox 20, Lifehouse and 3 Doors Down - one of my favs is It's Not My Time...

I'll also listen to old classics that I was introduced to when I was a kid. My dad and I would do projects on the house late at night and listen to music from Steve Winwood, Gloria Estefan, The Bangles and even Don Henley. My favorite of his is End of the Innocence -

Throw in a bit of Third Eye Blind, a dash of Nickleback, some Evanscence, especially their hit, Bring Me To Life -

and maybe some numbers from Toby Mac, Michael W. Smith, and Fireflight - notably For Those Who Wait - and I'm good to go.

One of my favorite songs at this moment is by an artist I've been listening to for years now - Kylie Minogue. Her current hit, Get Outta My Way, is probably one of the few songs at this moment that I could listen to over and over and over again and never get sick of it.

If you're an author and you love to listen to music while you belt out your latest scene, let me know what's on your playlist. I think music - just like it does in a movie to bring action, suspense, romance to the audience - can bring emotions, and feelings to the page.

Photo credit -  Hryck

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Book Signing Essentials - Attitude

I did a book signing at the Tucson (Grant) Bookmans this last Saturday and I had a blast. I was there in February promoting the first book in my Black Earth series and I was amazed at how much fun a book signing could be. I was not disappointed this time when I came in to promote, sign and sell copies of my second novel, Black Earth: The Broken Daisy.

Travis, the event coordinator, made me feel right at home as usual. The store was having Sci Fi Saturday, so a welded sculpture of an alien was put by my table. A great touch! I managed to sell a dozen copies of the book, and some of those were put on the shelf of the book store. Travis even let me prolong my signing a bit since I had driven all the way to Tucson to do it. Instead of a two hour signing, we managed to stick around for about five hours. I met some great people and just had a great time.

One thing that Travis said to me really stuck out. He said I had one of the best attitudes he has seen from an author in a while. We got to talking about how difficult a signing can sometimes be, especially to try and get people to purchase books from an unknown author, and Travis commented on how positive my attitude was even if I wasn't selling tons of copies.

And that's really the key, isn't it? Attitude. Yes, I am an unknown author. Yes, it's difficult convincing people to take a chance on me and purchase copies of my book - that goes for in person and online.But if I get too discouraged, if I let myself get too depressed about how the odds aren't all in my favor, it shows. It shows to the person who has allowed me to come in and do an event in their book store, it shows to my family and friends, and it shows the most to those who are approaching me, asking me about my book, teetering on the edge of purchasing a copy of what I've poured my blood, sweat and tears into.

Travis' comments really helped to open my eyes to how important it is to keep a chin up and keep a positive attitude about what I'm doing. I believe that God has a purpose in everything, in every book that someone purchases, in every discussion I have with a fellow reader. And whether or not you believe in God, each person that does end up getting a copy of your book has agreed to enter your world, has agreed to take a trip that you've guaranteed to some extent they will enjoy. That's trust that they are putting in you. And even if only a few dozen people put their trust in you in your lifetime, would it mean your writing is insignificant? Of course not.

Han Solo once said, "Never tell me the odds." I think the Star Wars quote really embodies the very attitude writers - and everyone else out there who is following their dreams - need to have. Forget the odds, forget the numbers, and just go for it. Go for it with everything you've got!

I'll be in the Tucson area again this coming Saturday doing a signing at the Speedway Bookmans, so if you're in the area, come drop on in and say hi. I plan on it being a successful one. ;)

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Black Friday, Black Earth

With this Friday being known as Black Friday and Monday being dubbed Cyber Monday, I figured I'd jump into the fray and add my own bargains to the mix of ridiculous deals out there in the retail stores and on the internet.

If you head to my website - www.davidnalderman.com - any time between Black Friday (November 26th) and Cyber Monday (November 29th), you can order a set of both paperback books in my Black Earth series for only $24 - and that includes free shipping to anywhere in the United States.

You can also order the ebook edition (in Nook, Kindle, Sony Reader, etc formats) of the first novel in my series - Black Earth: End of the Innocence - for only 99¢, and the second book - Black Earth: The Broken Daisy - for $1.99.

Enjoy the holidays everyone, and stock your book shelf and e-readers with some great fiction!

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Book Signing Essentials - Gift Wrapping

With a score of book signings occurring for me between Nov 27th and Dec 18th, I decided to add a bit of seasonal flare to my author toolkit - free gift wrapping.

I got to thinking that since most malls, retail outlets, and even some book stores off free gift wrapping during the holidays as a courtesy to their customers, why couldn't I offer the same? I've had many people at my book signings approach me and say that sci-fi/fantasy isn't really their thing but that they know someone who really loves the genre. They usually end up buying my books as gifts. So, why not make it a bit more convenient for them, especially during the holidays?

I need the gift wrapping to be as cost effective as possible, seeing how I'm on a limited budget, so I went and scoped out Dollar Tree and found exactly what I needed: two gift bags for $1. I purchased five sets of two different colors, giving me twenty bags. I figure I can always return to the Dollar Tree to grab more if I need to, which would be a good thing to have to do.

With the bags, I throw in some tissue paper which can be found at Dollar Tree as well - $1 for 40 sheets if I remember right.

So for $11 I have a nice treat I can offer those who purchase my books. Sometimes, it's these little touches that will make all the difference when someone is debating on purchasing one of my novels at a book signing.

Saturday, November 20, 2010

The Resurrection Of An Email Newsletter

About a year ago I attempted to do an email newsletter. After fishing through dozens of email newsletter services online, I found one and went with it for a bit. Eventually, my very limited budget didn't allow for me to pay the $10 a month minimum to keep the service, and I ended up dropping my email newsletter to the wayside, transforming it into a marketing orphan.

I'm proud to say I'll be resurrecting that free email newsletter, The Lysallis Times. Only this time I'm running it completely from scratch instead of using a paid service. I will use Art Explosion Publisher Pro or Microsoft Publisher to create the newsletter and then I'll convert it to PDF, attach it to email, and send it to those that are subscribed. Pretty simple really.

A subscription form has already been added to the front page of my website, www.davidnalderman.com, so if you get a chance please sign up. I plan to jam pack each newsletter with news about my upcoming writing projects, writing tips, self-publishing help, fiction goodies - like free stories, and sometimes special guests.

And for those of you who are curious where I got the name Lysallis - it's the name of the major city in my upcoming young adult series. It's pronounced Lie - Sal - Iss. :)

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Closing In On The NanoWrimo Victory Line

Well, It's only the 18th of November and I'm 37,499 words into National Novel Writing Month. I'm on the downhill slide to 50,000 words, which the Nano site tells me I'll reach by the 24th if I keep up with my daily average of about 2,000+ words.

Not sure why, but this year has actually been a tough one for me in Nanoland. This is my sixth year doing this and each of the last five I had no real issues with staying interested in my novel. This year though, I've already lost some interest in the storyline and the characters. I debated before I started Nano if I should switch to a different novel idea, but decided not to. I should have.

Eternal Midnight, the rough draft I'm writing for NanoWrimo, is the first standalone book I've written that isn't part of a series. It bridges the gap between two series and has new characters that don't have anything to do with my Black Earth series or my upcoming Expired Reality series. The struggle has come from out of nowhere. The storyline is pretty good, the characters are decent. Maybe it's just because of how busy this month is for me. At many points this month, I've found myself rather wanting to devote the Nano time to other projects and maybe that's why I feel so detached from this story.

I'm determined to win Nano though. There have been years past I've won it in eight days. Some tricks I use when I'm desperate to cross that finish line? I'll spell out contractions, such as 'is not' instead of writing 'isn't'. Gives me two words for the price of one. I'll also skip around the book and write random dialogue encounters between characters. Dialogue usually gives me a great chunk of word count for the day. Sometimes I'll also go really lengthy on the description of certain objects or places just to milk the wordiness for all it's worth. And finally, I'll simply start writing random scenes with my characters in them. Might end up in the book during the final drafts or might not, but either way it's part of the Nano novel.

I'll pass that victory line and score me another year of Nano winnings. I have to. Nano is in my blood.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Book Signing Essentials - Postcards and Bookmarks

I figured I'd start blogging on the finer points of this self-publishing journey I've been on for a while now, starting with book signings. Now, if there's one thing I don't like doing, it's going out making public appearances. I can be quite shy and introverted, especially in regards to my writing. But book signings are essential to a self-published (and published) writer's life, if just to get you out into the general community and spread word about your latest work.

This is definitely an area that I am working on in my life and my career. Having face time with readers, with your community, with a book store, is essential and can be fun and help to progress your career as a writer. The tools of a book signing are many, and if you know what they are ahead of time then you can prepare yourself for a fun and successful time.

The first tool I want to go over is bookmarks and postcards. For my printed needs, I use PSPrint. They do a great job, have fast shipping times, and their prices are affordable. *At the writing of this post, they are having another one of their sales on postcards - 60% off.

Now, for my postcards, I usually use the front cover image of my latest book for the front and then I put the back cover copy of the book on the back. On the back, I include where my book is available (my website and Amazon.com), my website address, and the ISBN # of my book so your readers can find it anywhere online or in their local book store. This is personal preference, but I choose to keep my book's price off most of my printed promo materials. Sometimes if they find my book on Barnes and Noble or Amazon, my book will be on sale, so I'd rather that be the price they see.

I then hand these postcards out to everyone that walks in the door of the book store. I ask them to check out my book as I hand them one. Usually they keep walking because they are usually at the book store for a specific reason. I tell them the reason for the postcard is so they can wander the store and check out my book while they're at it.

I know some will say that I should be handing copies of my book to people to wander through the store with, but since I'm self-published and my book is not on the shelf of most of these book stores yet, I don't want to risk my book getting lost somewhere in the store, shelved somewhere I'll never find, or possibly walked out with. If they come back to my table and ask me about the book, then I hand them a copy to flip through.

Bookmarks are created somewhat the same way. I use a section of the book's front cover for the front of the bookmark and include my website somewhere on there. I don't have anything on the back of my bookmark just because it saves me money on printing not to have it double sided, although if you have the funds, a double sided bookmark gives you more space to include more info about your book or you as an author.

The bookmarks are one of the promotional materials I send to the store ahead of my signing so they can put them at their registers for customers to grab. I usually mail the store the bookmarks, and fliers announcing my arrival, at the same time. * I'll be covering fliers in another blog post. I stick a bookmark in each book as they are sold, and I also keep a stack of bookmarks out on my table so people can grab them and stick them in whatever book they're reading other than mine.

Bookmarks and postcards are relatively cheap, especially if you take advantage of discounts, and if each piece is printed with your website and book info, you're good to go in spreading word about your book. Think of them as business cards but for your book. :)

Friday, November 12, 2010

On The Horizon

Black Earth: The Broken Daisy is now published and out there for the world to love or hate. And aside from promoting the book with book signings, advertising, reviews and other things to bring attention to it, I have a line up of projects I'll be working on in the next couple of months.

First of all of them is the release (or re-release, depending on how you look at it) of a novel series I birthed years ago. Expired Reality, a young adult sci-fi/fantasy series, will be re-edited and released Summer/Fall of 2011. The first two novels, Expired Reality: Endangered Memories and Expired Reality: Lost Birth, were released a couple years ago and I had planned to follow them up with a third, Expired Reality: Crystal City. After growing into my writing style and voice with Black Earth though, I decided to have these books re-edited, polished, and re-released with new covers and extended editions. I plan to have a month or so between the release of each novel.

Second, I am having a novella that I briefly released months ago, Drather's Story, re-edited and re-released under the title Picture Perfect. It is the back story of a character from the Expired Reality series and will be released in ebook, audiobook (my first ever) and paperback. Ebook and audiobook editions will be free and paperback will be sold at a nominal price. I plan to release this in the next few months, before the debut of the Expired Reality series.

Third, I am resurrecting my email newsletter, The Lysallis Times. I have found a cost effective way to do email newsletters and will be debuting The Lysallis Times (again) this December. Stay tuned because I will announce when I will have an email subscription form up on the website.

Lots of goodies are coming down the line and I'm excited each time I have something new to offer to all of you who are fans of my writing. I appreciate all of you and your support, and if there's any characters or plot lines you might like to see some side stories on in the near future, let me know and I'll see what I can do. ;)

Photo Credit - ~H. Crimson

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

The Broken Daisy's First Signing

Saturday I had my first book signing for my latest sci-fi/fantasy novel, Black Earth: The Broken Daisy. My signing was held at the Phoenix Bookmans.

I sold five books in the two hours I was there and my book will also be appearing on their bookshelves in the very near future! O_O! I cannot contain my excitement!

I of course want to extend my thanks to the event coordinator of that store, Yvette, and say that I have a great time each signing that I do at her store.

For those of you who are published (either by traditional means or like me, self-published) I'm going to be doing a series of blogs soon that break down my process for doing book signings. I know when I first started doing signings about a year ago, I had so much to learn. And I'm still learning. But there's no harm in passing on what little knowledge I have garnered to those who are just stepping up to the plate.

Stay tuned! I have more book signings coming up. Five more between now and January to be exact. And I plan to blog on all of them. :) Check out my event list - www.davidnalderman.com.

Photos by Michal C. Alderman

Saturday, November 6, 2010

Blog Winner

John Williamson won the blog giveaway. Congrats Scott!
And thanks to everyone who became a follower of A Broken Reality. :) There will be more giveaways in the near future, so stay tuned.

Friday, November 5, 2010

Introducing - Black Earth: The Broken Daisy

And now, it is with great pride that I release my latest creation to the world.

The next installment in my apocalyptic sci-fi/fantasy series - Black Earth: The Broken Daisy - is now available in paperback and digital editions. You can get your copy by clicking here.

For those of you new to my Black Earth series, you can grab free downloads of the first five chapters of each of the two novels in my series.Just head over to my website - www.davidnalderman.com - to get your hands on them. While you're there, you can check out the string of book signings I have coming in the very near future. The first one is this Saturday, November 5th at the Phoenix Bookmans from 2:30pm-4:30pm.

For those who entered the two giveaways I ran earlier in the week, I'll be announcing the winners first thing tomorrow morning. And thanks to all who entered. :)

Thank you all for the tremendous support in my writing endeavors. It is an honor to have one read my work, to get lost in the world I built with my own hands. I hope you all enjoy The Broken Daisy as much as I enjoyed writing it.

Photo Credit - laap mx

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Facebook Giveaway

Continuing the celebration for the upcoming release of my latest sci-fi/fantasy novel, Black Earth: The Broken Daisy, I am giving away a set of digital editions of both Black Earth: End of the Innocence and Black Earth: The Broken Daisy. Just head over to my Facebook Author Page, become a fan (click on LIKE), and I'll pick one random winner on Friday, November 5th to win the set of ebooks. The digital editions can be read on almost every ebook reader, including the Nook, the Kindle, and the Sony Reader.

And if you're already a fan, then you're already entered. :)

Photo Credit - MarcinMoga / Lolek

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Reviews Wanted

I'll be honest. I've never really worked hard to seek out reviews for the books I self-publish. I think it's just been an oversight of mine in the past. I tend to get tunnel vision and hyper-focus on writing or marketing or this or that. So once I finish a book and self-publish it, I wind up slowing the marketing train down to focus more on writing my next big novel.

Well, I've learned from my past mistakes. This time around, I know I need as much exposure as I can get with the release of my upcoming novel, Black Earth: The Broken DaisyThe Broken Daisy is the second book in my sci-fi/fantasy series, Black Earth, and will be released publicly this coming Friday, November 5th. I'd be honored to speak with those of you who would like to read it and write an honest review on it.

The type of reviews I'm looking for are blog reviews, Amazon.com reviews, Smashwords reviews, Goodreads reviews, and any other website based sites that allow you to post book reviews.I am looking for positive, but honest reviews. This means I don't want reviews that will tear me down as an author or reviews that will simply fluff me up. Write what you found positive about the book and then balance it with what you feel could maybe have used more work. This isn't just for my benefit, but for the benefit of other readers out there who are scanning the web looking for a great book to read and want honest reviews to help them make a decision.

For those who are interested in reviewing my novel, please shoot me an email and we can get things set up. I can even throw in a copy of the first book in my series, End of the Innocence, so my series as a whole can be reviewed if that's something you're interested in. Write me at - dna@davidnalderman(dot)com.

Photo Credit - Daehyun Park

Monday, November 1, 2010

Black Earth: The Broken Daisy - Release Week

Black Earth: The Broken Daisy

Nathan Pierce's sister, Daisy, has been arrested and sentenced to death for treason.

Nathan's only ally is Cynthia Ruin - the daughter of the woman who betrayed Daisy. Now Nathan and Cynthia must join forces, escape the president's grasp in Tucson, and find out where Nathan's sister was taken before it's too late.

While the world waits for the death of an innocent girl, the stars that have crashed into our planet are found not to be stars at all, but vessels of some kind that are transporting a strange entity to Earth - an entity that has plans to consume the world in darkness.

Black Earth: The Broken Daisy is the latest installment in my scifi/fantasy novel series and will be released this coming Friday, November 5th. In preparation for this occasion, I'll be doing giveaways all week, both of The Broken Daisy, and also of the first book in the series, End of the Innocence.

The first giveaway is a set of both books in paperback format to one lucky follower of my blog - http://abrokenreality.blogspot.com. You can follow via email through the Subscribe Via Email box, or you can follow by clicking the Follow button on the Google Friend Connect (the box to the right side of my blog with everyone's face in it). I'll pick one random winner from the list of followers this coming Friday. The contest is open to anyone, but the address the book set is shipped to has to be within the United States.

Stay tuned because there are more giveaways to come this week and by all means, please spread the word to your friends and family about the release this coming Friday. The Broken Daisy will be available in paperback and ebook editions so everyone can get their hands on it. I've even posted a free sample of the novel on my website - www.davidnalderman.com. If you preorder the paperback edition through my website before the end of the week, you'll receive a special discount. You can even order both books in the series in a discounted set and get up to speed on the series.

Photo Credit - josephpetepickle

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Just About Time For...NANOWRIMO!

So here we are. It's almost November. The leaves are changing. The air is cooling. And I smell fresh ink in the distance. That's right, it's just about time for National Novel Writing Month.

National Novel Writing Month - or NanoWrimo for short - is a contest that writers from all over the world participate in each year. The goal? To write 50,000 words within 30 days. Those who embark and accomplish this insane endeavor receive a certificate of completion at the end of the month, a good dose of self-respect, admiration from fellow colleagues, not to mention they get to hold a 50,000 word manuscript in their hands.

NanoWrimo is perfect for those who have 'always wanted' to write a novel. NanoWrimo is a great tool to get the draft of my next novel done. If you calculate 50,000 words out across 30 days, you find you have 1,667 words a day that need to be written in order to stay within a healthy average. Me? Well, I've been known to finish NanoWrimo in 8 days before. Usually I finish in about 12-15 though. Once I start writing and give myself the freedom to go crazy in November...well, at that point, there's really no stopping me.

Usually for NanoWrimo, I write drafts to sequels within my scifi/fantasy series. One year I did a short story anthology - which from that anthology, my Black Earth series was born. But this year I decided to do something a bit different. I'm writing a stand alone novel - my first really - that takes place in the Black Earth/Expired Reality universe but can be read completely separate from both series. I'm titling it Eternal Midnight, and it's about a girl, Sage, who escapes Midnight City in search of an ancient text that can clear out the darkness that engulfs her world.

I'm in good shape for Nano this year because of the Nano Prep challenges I did on Writing.com through the whole month of October. You can check out some tidbits of what I've written so far in my profile on Writing.com.

So if you're a fellow writer - or wannabe writer - go ahead and turn on your email forwarding, lock the doors, put on a pot of coffee, and let your imagination go wild. What better time to do it! Head over to www.nanowrimo.org to set up your profile. And you can friend me if you'd like. My user name is DavidCorbin.
Then get ready for November 1st. That's when the fun starts!

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Purpose Of A Book Signing

Well, I'm less than two weeks away from the release of my latest scifi/fantasy novel, Black Earth: The Broken Daisy. With the release of a new novel comes everything marketing related to lead the way for it. Including book signings.

Last year I managed to line up five book signings for the release of book one in my Black Earth series, End of the Innocence. That's where the marketing train ended. I'm not sure if laziness kicked in or if I just didn't think I could get anymore book signings lined up or what the deal was, but by the end of February this year, I just stopped trying to set up book signings and stopped most of my promotional efforts and things died down due to lack of momentum.

This time around, though, I'm more determined to get into the community and promote my latest release. One important revelation that I've come across while calling around to my local book stores for signings this time was the purpose of me setting up the book signings to begin with.

One store that I contacted for a signing was a bit hesitant to set up a signing because they stated that the cost at which they would be able to purchase my books to put on their shelf wouldn't be a price that most authors would agree to because the store specializes in discount books. I kindly mentioned that my highest priority wasn't necessarily getting my books on their shelf but to get myself into the community and make a name as a writer of quality science fiction and fantasy. I also mentioned that I bring my own books to the store to sell at the signing. The manager gave me a date for my event.

And this is what led me to analyze why I do book signings. For some authors, getting your book on the shelf of a local book store is a monumental victory. It is for me too. But my three main purposes for contacting my local book store and setting up a book signing are:

1. To reach out to my community and let everyone know who I am
2. To establish a relationship with my local book stores
3. To procure a temporary store front for me to sell my books to the public

I think these three objectives are great to keep in mind when a self-published author is attempting to set up a book signing in their local book store. Reaching out to the community is invaluable, especially considering a good percentage of those people that you will be reaching out to at a book signing are strangers.

Establishing a relationship with the book store is essential for a number of different reasons, including the fact that if they are an independent book store, we want to support them as much as we can to hopefully keep them in the community, not to mention that establishing a great relationship with them will practically guarantee opportunities for more signings in the future.

Procuring a temporary store front is also an invaluable opportunity for selling copies of your book. Yes, a lot of sales can happen online, but selling in person gives the community a face and a personality to go with the book, not to mention if you get the timing and the location of the book signing right, you can give yourself a really good advantage. Case in point, I just procured a book signing at Borders in the local mall the last Saturday before Christmas - right in the middle of the holiday scuttle.

As a self-published author, I still have so much to learn. But as I move along the road that I am paving for myself, I am realizing that there is more to this writing business than just sales. There are readers, there are book stores, there are opportunities, and my job is to make the very best of all of them.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Book Release Countdown

Only weeks left until the second novel in my Black Earth series, The Broken Daisy, is released to the public, both in paperback and ebook formats. Friday, November 5th is the official release date and coming off that date, I have my first (in a hopefully long line) of book signings at the Phoenix Bookmans the next day, Saturday the 6th, from 2:30pm-4:30pm. From there, I am having a book release party that Sunday the 7th for anyone that's local (Phoenix and surrounding cities) and would like to drop on by. If you would like to come to the party and you haven't received an invite through Facebook or email, please drop me an email and I will give you the details.

In preparation for all of this, I am offering a special preorder price for The Broken Daisy, and double packs containing both books in the series, through my website. You can order the book(s) and have it delivered to your place (anywhere in the U.S.), or you can order the book(s), skip shipping costs, and have it waiting for you at the book signing.

I am thoroughly excited about this! I really feel this book is some of my best work, and it will definitely satisfy my fans' thirst for answers after the cliffhanger at the end of End of the Innocence.

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Battle Royale - (Book Review)

Battle Royale is a novel about a class of junior high school students who are dumped on an island by the government of the Republic of Greater East Asia - an alternate timeline Japan - and forced to kill each other. The winner gets credits and freedom while the losers, of course, die. To up the ante, each student is given a survival pack with miscellaneous supplies and a random weapon inside. Each student has a collar put around their neck which is said will explode if the students break certain rules, and there are time limits and forbidden zones that keep everyone moving around the island, forcing confrontations that might otherwise never happen.

The story itself is brilliant. Touted as being extremely controversial, especially for the time it was released, the book opens up all sorts of doors to conversations and thoughts about psychology, murder, survival, love, loyalty, and moral ground.  I enjoyed how the different characters were brought to the page - and there were a lot of them. It was fascinating to see the paranoia that the very situation sparked in most every student and the different reactions because of it. Some of the students refuse to kill, instead trying to take pacifist actions that most of the time ended up getting them killed. Others develop, or rather bring to the surface, the cold-blooded killer instincts that the game has given them an excuse to execute.

Merciless killing, gratuitous gore and themes of friendship, love and redemption come shining through the books otherwise grim and gratuitous themes. While most of the plot arcs were a bit predictable, there were some nice surprises along the way and I found myself quite surprised and happy with the ending. I found myself constantly stopping to question what I would do if placed in a similar situation. The book also gave me a bit of appreciation (not that I didn’t already have it) with the freedom that our great country gives us.

Some drawbacks to the book were constant grammar errors and typos. These might be attributed to the fact that the book was translated over from its original Japanese text, but there still should have been a better editing job done on it. Those mistakes weren’t enough to detract from the books overall feel, though I did have to stop at some points and try and figure out what was trying to be said. Some of the scenes in the novel required me to heavily suspend my  disbelief, with some of them even crossing the line and forcing me to wonder how so-and-so got out of a blaze of bullets unscathed.

Some of the ways these students hack-and-slash their way through the island they are trapped on makes me a little weary about how students of their age bracket (15+) get their killing motives, though that’s really where the psychology questions come in. The book is gory and blood-drenched, but honestly I became slightly numb to the descriptions by the end of the novel because a lot of them were either outrageous or just repeated too many times.

Overall, I would give this book a hearty 4½ out of 5 stars. It’s definitely worth the read. If you cringe at slash and hack, I would steer away from this since, as I mentioned before, it is a bit gory. There are touches of romance, and definitely some great moral themes to spark off in-depth conversations with others.

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Black Earth: The Broken Daisy Excerpt Now Available

I know many of you, especially those that have read the first Black Earth book, End of the Innocence, have been waiting patiently for the sequel to come out. I'm happy to announce that the second book in the series, The Broken Daisy, is slated for release the very beginning of November. And in preparation for its release, I'm revealing the first five chapters for everyone to take a peek at.

Just head over to my website page and download the PDF.

If you haven't had a chance to read End of the Innocence yet, you can order the paperback version or grab an instant download of the ebook here.


Friday, October 1, 2010

NanoWrimo Prep Challenge

For those that don't know, November is National Novel Writing Month, or NanoWrimo (www.nanowrimo.org) for short. Putting writing fears and insecurities aside, everyone is encouraged to blow out a 50,000 word manuscript in the 30 days that exist in November. If you succeed, you are given a special certificate of completion and bragging rights to all those around you. I've participated and completed the challenge for the last five years now.

I know that writing - let alone 50,000 words - can seem a bit daunting to some. That's why I'd like to bring to everyone's attention a great challenge that takes place in October to prepare you for NanoWrimo in November. It's the Writing.com NanoWrimo Prep Challenge. Essentially, it's a writing activity each day of the month of October that gets you ready for NanoWrimo. Each exercise takes maybe 15 minutes and covers everything from who your characters are to what your setting is. There are contests in this challenge that you can enter to win great Writing.com prizes like merit badges and gift points.

I've participated in this challenge for the last two years now and I've found it immensely fulfilling each time. Aside from preparing me for the novel I'm going to blow out in November, it's also a great discipline to do some writing every day.

To enter, simple go to the following link (http://www.writing.com/main/forums/item_id/1474311-October-NaNoWriMo-Prep-Challenge), read the rules, and sign up. The challenge starts October 1st and goes until October 31st, ending just in time to start NanoWrimo. You can complete your October 1st challenge as late as October 3rd, so don't worry if you don't have a chance to jump into the fray today.

Hope to see you all over there!

Graphic by Karin Dalziel

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Proof Copy of Black Earth: The Broken Daisy

I just received my proof copy of Black Earth: The Broken Daisy! Aside from a few formatting tweaks that need to be done, and the repositioning of the front cover title (it's too close to the edge), the book is looking pretty good. It is by far the thickest, longest book I have self-published to date, but I am also the most proud of this chunky gem. It's a powerful, emotionally charged adventure that I poured all of myself into, and I can't wait for everyone to get their hands on it when it's released!

Friday, September 17, 2010

Black Earth: The Broken Daisy - Cover Design

Here's a sneak peek at the cover design for Black Earth: The Broken Daisy...

My wife put the majority of this together. The sunset and the cityscape are actually photos that my wife took.

I kept the same fonts that I did for the original, aside from the back cover text which was originally done in Exotc350 DmBd BT and was changed this time to Times New Roman for easier readability since there's more text than the first book.

As with the last cover, (and with future covers), a daisy was included on the back near the website url. I just thought it would be kinda cool to have that appear on all the covers for the Black Earth series. Sort of like a tiny trademark or something similar. I'm trying to keep consistent with certain elements so the books will look good together on the shelf. The first book incorporated blue hues and a night sky and this one incorporates a sunrise and some orange and red shades.

We'll see how all of it really turned out once I receive my proof copy in the next few days.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Back Cover Copy - Final

After a few revisions, some advice from a couple other authors, and a good polishing by my editor, the back cover copy to my latest novel is good to go:

---------- Black Earth: The Broken Daisy - Back Cover Copy Final ----------

The stars have fallen, and the world is tilting into darkness…

“From dust you came, to ash you go.” – These terrifying words are found spray-painted on an office wall in Tucson. It is a message left by Legion, an otherworldly entity that traveled to Earth in the fallen stars. Now Legion is enveloping the world in darkness, disintegrating almost everything in its path, leaving nothing to stand in its way of the planet’s destruction.

Nathan Pierce is on the run for forging the president’s mandatory barcode tattoo. With a bounty on his head, Nathan finds an unexpected ally in Cynthia Ruin, who agrees to help him save his sister, Daisy, from being executed for treason. But Cynthia’s mother, Theresa, is the one who betrayed Nathan and Daisy. Surrounded by suspicion and doubt, Nathan struggles to stay one step ahead of the world that’s against him, and keep tabs on Cynthia, who may or may not end up selling him out in the end.

In the midst of the darkness, those still alive are forced to fight against Legion’s malevolence or lose their humanity beneath it.

A huge improvement from the original, if I do say so:

---------- Black Earth: The Broken Daisy - Back Cover Copy Rough----------

The stars have fallen, and the world is tilting into darkness…

With a bounty put on their heads by the President of the United States, and Theresa Ruin hot on their trail, Nathan Pierce and Sin Ruin venture through Tucson in an attempt to find Nathan’s sister, Daisy, who is about to be executed for treason.

At a secret underground facility owned by a group named Vector, Heather Rhodes and Griffin Smith are reunited with old friends they knew before the church camp shootings. Heather struggles to find out what has happened to her longtime crush, Nathan, while Griffin befriends a time-traveling stranger who may be able to give Griffin the answers he seeks about his past.

Paths will collide while a frightening entity known only as Legion begins to engulf the world in darkness, forcing those that are still alive to fight against it’s malevolence or lose their humanity to it.

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Back Cover Copy

I've been working lately on the back cover copy for my upcoming novel, Black Earth: The Broken Daisy. Here's what I have so far. It still needs a brief grammatical editing. I want to make sure it's interesting enough to make someone want to pick up the book - for those that glance at the back cover first anyway. I'd love to hear what everyone thinks...

---------- Black Earth: The Broken Daisy - Back Cover Copy ----------

The stars have fallen, and the world is tilting into darkness…

With a bounty put on their heads by the President of the United States, and Theresa Ruin hot on their trail, Nathan Pierce and Sin Ruin venture through Tucson in an attempt to find Nathan’s sister, Daisy, who is about to be executed for treason.

At a secret underground facility owned by a group named Vector, Heather Rhodes and Griffin Smith are reunited with old friends they knew before the church camp shootings. Heather struggles to find out what has happened to her longtime crush, Nathan, while Griffin befriends a time-traveling stranger who may be able to give Griffin the answers he seeks about his past.

Paths will collide while a frightening entity known only as Legion begins to engulf the world in darkness, forcing those that are still alive to fight against it’s malevolence or lose their humanity to it.

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

New Website Design Revealed

Well, it's been under wraps for a couple months now, but I've finally finished my new website overhaul. This will be the last time I change the theme of my website. There really wasn't anything too wrong with the way it was, but I felt the need to change it to something that's easier on the eyes and easier to navigate.

The site is pretty simple at the moment, with just info on me, my novel, and a few flash fiction pieces. I am going to be adding many more stories in the upcoming months, along with samples and info on my soon-to-be released novel, and updates on projects including my dive into podcasting.

Check it out if you get a chance and let me know what you think! http://www.davidnalderman.com

Friday, August 27, 2010

Time For My Best

I've noticed a recurring theme that's been cropping up in my life over the last week, either in sermons I've heard being preached or conversations I've had with other people. It's a theme that's really encompassed by a question: Am I doing my very best?

Have you ever had someone ask you to do something and you tell them you'll do your very best? I'm wondering how many times we actually mean those words when we say them. When we say we'll do our very best, what are we using as a scale to determine what our very best is? Are we just comparing our efforts to someone else's best? Someone else's worst? Maybe we're considering our best to be anything above average, barely walking the fence between the extraordinary and what's needed to get by.

Over the past couple days, I've taken a very serious look at my writing career and I've asked myself if I've come even close to where I wanted to be when I started doing this full time a year ago. Now I know that we all make goals and sometimes it's just not possible or even probable to reach those goals in the time we specify for ourselves, but at the same time, some progress needs to be made. On top of progress, we should be able to look back and say confidently and honestly that we gave it our very best shot.

If I look back at the last year, I can honestly say I've done a decent job. I am right around the corner from releasing the second novel in my Black Earth series, I'm about to roll out a brand new, made-from-scratch, website design, and I have many more projects in the pipeline to reach some new markets I've never tapped before.

But can I say I gave the last year my very best? I'm not sure how to answer that. The last few months I've felt inspired to start on some new projects, both writing and marketing related, but I haven't really dived into any of them. Why? Procrastination is probably one reason. The other might be because I've been pocketing large quantities of my potential and putting the average on display.

See, when I worked a "9-5" job a year ago, I was putting out 32 hours there, then I was coming home and working another 5-6 hours on writing projects. On top of that, I was being a husband, a friend, and was very careful to make sure that the rest of my life continued to stay within balanced means.

Now I work maybe eight hours a day and call it a great, productive day and then go on with my life. I know some people like to tell me not to be too hard on myself, but I really think it's time to take a serious look at this. If I was able to put out so much effort while I worked a 'real' job, then why am I not able to put out at least the equivalent now?

One important thing I have learned being self-employed is that I am my motivation. I don't have bosses peering over my shoulder to make sure I'm staying on task. I don't have a time card that I have to punch every time I walk into my office and sit down at my desk. I set my own hours, I control the projects I work on, and I determine how much effort I'm going to put in each day. It's up to me.

I want to do my very best. I gave 110% of myself to employers that didn't even appreciate me, so why wouldn't I give at least that to the tasks that God has given me to do? It's an important question, one that I think everyone should be asking themselves.

As for me, I've asked the question and my answer is that it's time for me to turn things up a notch. No more procrastination. No more wallowing in discouragement, allowing the naysayers and circumstances to determine how far I'm going to take all of this. Writing is my life. It's my passion. And it deserves to get all of me. This isn't to say I'm going to burn myself out, but it does mean that I'm going to take things a little more seriously, finish the projects that have been on the back burner for so long now, and take control of this writing career.

Photo Credit - storymary

Friday, August 20, 2010


I doubt there is anything more frustrating in this world then when a computer crashes and you lose everything. This happened to me on Wednesday afternoon, when I tried to repair the Windows installation that was on my laptop and something caused my computer to go haywire, forcing me to reformat the hard drive without being able to recover any of my files.

The silver lining is that I've always been a stickler for backing things up. I have jump drives, Zip disks, CDs and numerous backups on other computers for all of my writing, web design and marketing content, so when my computer crashed, it wasn't an utter loss. It did allow me to see the holes in my backup processes though. I lost the latest version of my web design software, some of my music, a vital image editing program, all because I didn't have them backed up. I also lost all of my internet bookmarks.

Luckily, I have a resourceful side that comes out during these times of distress. The music I lost is still on my MP3 player, so I think I can salvage that easily enough. There is a copy of the photo editing program on my wife's computer, so that's won't be too hard to restore onto mine. The web design software was graciously replaced by the company I purchased it from, once I explained my harrowing situation to them.

The only thing that I wasn't able to replace was the bookmarks. Over a year and a half of internet bookmarks ranging from marketing sites to book reviewers. For future reference, my wife pointed me to Google Bookmarks, which apparently can be opened on any computer - if you have a Google account - since the bookmarks are stored with Google.

This "little" computer mishap hasn't slowed down my progress on Black Earth: The Broken Daisy though. I wasn't about to let that happen. I am still on track to have the book released the beginning of Fall.

Photo Credit - mandyxclear

Monday, August 16, 2010

Time To Read

I'm happy to report that I'm finally far enough along with the edits to my latest novel, Black Earth: The Broken Daisy, that I'm able to start reading it aloud to my wife tonight.

This next stage in my novel process is one I started incorporating with my last novel. Reading my book out loud helps me catch typos, wrong wording, and ill-conceived sentences that get overlooked when I read a manuscript through silently. I tend to read fairly fast, meaning my eyes glance over mistakes that I can easily catch when I read the story out loud.

I think while I read it aloud to my wife, I'm also going to test out the recording capabilities of my laptop microphone and the free recording program, Audacity, to get me prepared for podcasting, which I intend to start diving into once this novel is finished and out the door.

Once I've read it aloud and made the proper corrections to the book, I'll do one last glance over, and then move on to formatting. Almost there...

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

God's Timing

Some say God is never late.

I think it's important to note that God is never late - in His own timing. As with a lot of things, our timing and/or perception of things isn't always matched up with God's.

Case in point. We ran late on rent. First time we've run late on a bill in the last year. I've blogged many times about the incredible journey God has had us on over the last year. And in these blogs, I've noted that we haven't run late on a single bill. For us to run late on rent this month made me question a few things.

So my wife and I went to people we trust, people who have been by our side on this journey since the beginning, and we asked the hard questions. Would God let rent slide to tell us this leg of the journey is over and that it may be time for me to go look for 'real' work? If God is late, does that mean He has abandoned us in some respect? Did we miss something we should have done over the last month to make sure rent was paid on time?

Asking questions is hard. Asking questions of God can sometimes seem impossible, because aside from the Bible, there really is no black and white cheat sheet that gives you the answers. There are wise people around us, but they aren't always going to "feel led by God" to give us particular advice.

Talking out these questions - and answering these questions - led me to the answers I needed. My wife and I are right where we need to be.

We were at a friend's house Friday night and I remember saying something to my wife about how I wouldn't be surprised if God let us run late on rent so we could ask and answer these questions. When we returned home that evening, we had a notice on our door from the apartment complex telling us we had to pay rent in five days or they would start the eviction process.

It was ten minutes later that my wife suddenly remembered the stack of savings bonds she had been holding onto for the last year. They were gifted to her in her childhood and her mother had given the collection of them to her around the time I was fired and said she thought we may be able to use them.

We paid rent  - and all of the late fees - the next morning.

Monday, August 2, 2010

New Author Pics

My photographer wife and I went out Saturday morning to Phoenix and a few other locals to get some new author pictures of me. It's been long overdue. I think she took some great shots, and I can't wait to see all of the finished pics once she's done doing her edits.:)

Here's a few of my favorites so far -


Photographs by Michal C. Alderman