Book Re-Release!

Migration: Beginnings has been re-released!  The long overdue task of completely rewriting from scratch, as well as including updates that brings it into alignment with the principals of the awesome book, ‘Take Off Your Pants’ is complete.  So the newly edited book, along with the gorgeous new book cover, is live at the online bookstore of your choosing.  Links are below, or you can click on the new book cover below to head over to Amazon if that’s your store of choice.

Migration: Beginnings

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A Migration Moment – Blustered

Here’s a little Migration Moment, a look into Rhys and Jason’s lives together.  Takes place before book one.

“Jason Tambor,” Rhys said as he pulled the car into the gas station.  “Have I told you how much I love you lately?”

“You’d better,” Jason replied.  “Otherwise this is going to be a pretty awkward road trip for the next ten days.” Jason bobbed his eyebrows at Rhys, which never failed to garner a smile.  He pointed towards the bustling store beyond the pumps.  “Want anything?” he asked as he reached for the door.

“No thanks,” Rhys said as he relaxed in the seat.

Jason walked behind the car, Rhys catching his eye in the side mirror.  A moment later, Jason was standing next to his window.  “Oh, Boo?” Jason said as he tapped on the glass.

Rhys rolled down the window. “Yeah?”

“We’re in California,” Jason said as he glanced around.

“Yeah, so?”

“So this isn’t Oregon. You have to pump your own gas.”Rhys blushed.  “I knew that,” he said, then stepped out of the car.  Together five years and Jason could still get him flustered.

Rhys started the pump as he basked in the warm coastal weather.  Theirs was the only car at the pumps until a convertible pulled in behind them.  A woman with oversized sunglasses got out, her long auburn hair, the color of sand that gets stuck to your flip-flops, waving in a sudden breeze.  She was wearing a bikini made out of the same amount of material that went into a roll of stamps, and even though Rhys was gay, the sheer amount of flesh on display made him gawp.  The click-click-click sound as she walked caused Rhys to look down, and he realized her outfit was finished off with a pair of impossibly high heels. His mind flashed the word, ‘impractical.’

“Hi there,” she drawled as she pulled off her sunglasses.  She put an arm under her ample bosom as if making an offering.

“Umm, hi.”  Out of the corner of his eye, Rhys saw Jason stopped dead in his tracks.  And even though he wanted to turn to his boyfriend for help, for some reason, all he could focus on was the sheer amount of flesh suddenly in his personal space.

The woman’s face broke into a broad smile, whitened teeth glistening in the sun as fingers twirled at her hair. “Can you help me?  I’m ever so bad at this kind of thing,” and gestured for the gas pump.

“Uhh,” Rhys said as he blindly reached for the gas pump.

“Wrong tree, sister,” Jason called as he confidently strode to Rhys’ side.  He put a possessive arm around Rhys as he gave the woman his best smile, then nodded to the woman’s breasts.  “Those things don’t work on us.”

And just like that, the stupor that had wrapped up Rhys dissipated.  A blush overtook his face as he made quick work of his own gas pump, then got in the car as the sound of retreating high heels looked for help elsewhere.

Jason handed him a bottle of water as Rhys pulled the car back out into traffic.  He welcomed the coolness, first taking a sip and then rolling the bottle across his forehead.  When Jason snickered, he turned.  “What?”

“You’re cute when you’re flustered,” Jason said, then dropped a kiss against his shoulder.

Beta the new version of Migration: Beginnings

Okay, so when I first got to publishing, I had no idea what I was doing. Then I got a few pointers from people, read some books, etc. And now I still have no idea what I’m doing, but at least I think my writing has gotten better!

As such, Migration: Beginnings was rewritten from scratch for two reasons. First, many people like me who tend to read in present tense can read either present tense or past tense without issue. But people who prefer past tense typically (at least from the feedback others have given me) detest present tense written books.

I know, right? Who knew?

But beyond the entire rewrite, I also went through the principals of ‘Take Off Your Pants‘ by Libbie Hawker and realized that hey – Migration wasn’t ready. So after the rewrite, I then went back and added in stuff that Hawker extolls in her book. And I think it’s made all the difference.

So now that that’s done, I have one last read-through before I’m done. But I’d also like to get other’s feedback as well. So if you’re interested in a pre-release copy of the Migration: Beginnings rewrite, drop me a note and I’ll be happy to get you one as long as you promise to send me feedback.

Why I chose to unpublish Migration Beginnings

One of the most difficult things you have to do as a writer is the editing process.  I have a wonderful little magnet that says:

Write Drunk – Edit Sober

And that’s a good philosophy, even if you don’t take it literally.  Write as uninhibited as you can, but when you go through the editing process, a careful, analytical hand is called for.

Migration: Beginnings has been published for just over a year now to minor success – and that’s okay.  It’s my baby, and I’m happy with it, for the most part.  But what I wasn’t happy with stemmed from feedback received after the book was published, as well as information I found out just about the same time.  First, the overall feedback from a couple of readers was that the book would flow better if it were in past tense instead of present tense.  Now for me, tense doesn’t make that huge a difference.  I can read either.  But I consider that personally, I don’t like to read things written in first-person.  Very few writers can get me to read first-person written works.  So thinking about it from their perspective, it just made sense that I should rewrite it as a past-tense written book.

Beyond that, I read Libbie Hawker’s “Take Off Your Pants” – and realized all of the stuff that I left out of the book.  The good thing is, not only can I see the holes that I need to fill, but I can also see how to fill them.

But the problem isn’t the rewrite – it’s the time it’s taking me.  Real life gets in the way a lot, leaving me precious little time to work on my writing.  I’m carving out time to get it done, but sometimes it gets missed because life happens.

So I unpublished Migration: Beginnings from Amazon.  It’s still published in a couple other spots, but because the volume of sales is so low, I’m not worried about it.  I’m giving myself until May 31st to finish the rewrite, and then I’ll get it published again.  And if you’ve purchased a copy, it will get updated to the new version.

Here’s to meeting deadlines and productivity!  Once Migration is completed, I can start on what the Muse strikes me with on any of the half a dozen other books that are running through my head.

On Music

One thing that hits every single aspect of my life is music.  Be it the background noise while I’m writing, what I do to keep me just distracted enough to keep me focused while doing my day job, or what I bounce to while I’m cleaning.  Music is in just about every aspect of my life.

Stephen King writes to artists like Metallica.  I was talking to another writer about music (Soren Summers) and he mentioned that he listens to artists like Gesaffelstein.  I, personally, listen to classical music for what I need in my environment when I write.  But it’s not just the music that’s there – it’s the music that enhances what you’re writing.

For instance, Soren’s choice of Gesaffelstein is something that I could definitely listen to if I was writing erotica.  There is something sensual in the beats, the rhythm, the trance that the music puts you in, and that overall it just gives you the chance to let go of yourself.  And if you’re writing an effective sex scene – not a lovemaking scene, a sex scene – then why not listen to something that’s raw, and a bit animalistic?

When writing parts of A Million Miles Amok, I actually chose to write without music, and used the noisy aircraft cabin as my ambience.  But when I wrote Migration: Beginnings, I actually varied what I wrote.  In the “setup” type scenes, I listened to regular classical music. But in a couple of pivotal action sequences, I actually put “O Fortuna” on repeat.  Why?  Because it’s one single piece of music that has been used in critical action sequences in multiple movies, and I wanted to see if I could capture that same type of energy as I wrote.

Music is pretty big for me, and as I don’t have much to blog about right now (because rewrites kinda suck!), I thought I’d start a little side bit here about music.  Not just music when it comes to writing, but also music in the movies.  Because music can make or break a film, turning a cinematically-filmed marvel into a two dimensional piece of entertainment.  I mean, when it came to films from 2005, the cinematic marvel was “Brokeback Mountain”, though it would not be as successful if Gustavo Santaolalla hadn’t penned the beautiful piece “The Wings“.  What would Close Encounters of the Third Kind be without the pivotal “Dialogue” scene?  And the movie Jaws wouldn’t have been half as scary without those few low notes from a tuba and woodwinds that started it all.

I, personally, was ready to dismiss the remake of the 1950s classic “The Secret Life of Walter Mitty” – until I not only saw the movie, but the accompanying music.  Sure, the scene with Walter Mitty jumping on the helicopter as Kristen Wiig and David Bowie sang “Space Oddity” was a turning point not only for Walter, but for the movie itself.  But to me, both the cinematography and lyrics to the song “Far Away” do the most when it comes to non-verbal communication with the audience.  Mitty, a guy who has a nonplussed life, suddenly is feeling alive again as he skateboards down a deserted road.  Even the lyrics are there.  “Step in front of a runaway train, just to feel alive again.”  There’s a link on Youtube, but unless you see the whole thing, it doesn’t impact you as much as the whole film does.

So here goes.  A dialogue on music that’ll happen from time to time.  Because why not?

Not a fan of the Kindle? That’s okay!

So many people like and use the Kindle format, either on a Kindle reader itself or within the Kindle app.  I tend to read that way, because it can keep track of your progress in a book, sync with Goodreads, among other things.  But the thing for me is, it doesn’t sync between devices – at least not for books that you don’t get from Amazon.  And if you take part in ARC (advance reading copies) programs or downloads from Instafreebies or the like, then that book stays on the device you downloaded it to and doesn’t get shared with your other devices.

Which is why I’m happy to announce that Migration: Beginnings is now available on not just Kindle, but iBooks, Smashwords, Barnes & Noble, and even libraries starting Tuesday, March 7th!  The book is live in many of these bookstores, but get delivered to Kobo and libraries starting tomorrow.  And as a special for libraries, I’ve made the books free.  So if you’re interested in reading from your local library (many of which take advantage of the Overdrive reading app), you should be able to download a copy and read it from your libraries starting soon.

Hope this makes people’s Mondays just a bit better!

Proper preparation and all that stuff

Oh man… So when I wrote ‘Migration: Beginnings’, all I had was the whiteboard (which I told you about in the first Vlog that I produced), and my notes that I typed up and kept in a Microsoft Word document. And that’s all I really needed. Why? Because it was so fresh in my head, that I never doubted a thing.

And then I finished the book, read quite a lot, and have written other stuff since then that’s not related to Migration. So when I went to write out something about Rhys, the lead character from Migration, I suddenly had to know what college he went to – where he got his undergrad work, and where he got his PhD. (Turns out that it was Boston College for the undergrad, and University of California, Berkeley for his PhD – if you were curious). I used to know these items in great detail, even though they weren’t a part of the book. It was still something that was in my head.

That’s why you should always start a book with not only an outline, but a character biography. Just a single page that tells you everything you need to know about the person. And I’ve started doing them now, in anticipation of continuing the sequel to Migration: Beginnings. Like for instance, Jason is the middle child of three, was voted his high school’s class clown, and went to the University of Washingon. Whereas Captain Clarice Franks is bisexual, was born in Germany but on a US Military base, and has wanted to fly ever since her father took her up in his private plane when she was barely out of diapers.

Proper preparation, y’all!

Ficlet from Migration ‘verse: An Italian Afternoon

I belong to a few writing communities, one of which is called “Get Your Words Out,” that is hosted on Livejournal.  I’ve pledged to write at least 150,000 words this year, which includes finishing the second book in the Migration series, as well as a short novella that is set before the series begins, just to get people acquainted with Rhys and Jason.

One of the prompts in the community is a picture prompt of two women who are sitting on a windowsill (you can see the picture here), and honestly it didn’t speak to me at all.  I’m usually very good with writing for random prompts.  However, I was stumped.

And then as I sat down this morning, the scene painted itself clearly to me.  Though the image is of two women, the story of Rhys and Jason from Migration: Beginnings and how they are vacationing in Europe, and happen upon the two women sitting in the window.

I call the story, “An Italian Afternoon”, and you can read it here:

Read more

Alternate Cover Art!

I was talking to my friend Sarah Madison (if you aren’t reading her, you should be!  Click the link for her homepage!) about a few items, and the subject of the book cover came up.  If you’ve seen the book cover, you know that it’s pretty much a bunch of shade of greys.  Thing is, it works – or at least I think it does.  But what about you?

Sarah mentioned a “splash of color” might be needed.  So with that in mind, my friend Alice put together the cover, but with a gentle splash of color, and I think it actually does make a difference.  But what about you?  What do you think?

Here’s the original and the new; let me know what you think!

Two New Giveaways!

I’m running another giveaway, both on Goodreads for a print copy of the book, but also on Amazon for five copies of the Kindle version. So if you’re interested, enter to try and win!

If you’re interested in the Goodreads paperback giveaway, you can click this link: Goodreads Giveaway.  The Goodreads giveaway will run from December 15th, 2016 through December 31st, 2016.

If you’re interested in the Amazon instant-win giveaway, you can click this link: Amazon Giveaway.  The Amazon giveaway is live now, and five random people out of 250 will win a copy of the book.

So get to clicking, and good luck!