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 through the whole month of October. You can check out some tidbits of what I've written so far in my profile on

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 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 ( 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 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 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 (, 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