Kindle Giveaway, Stocking stuffers, and Starbucks gift cards! Party hardy!

stuffers

Stocking Stuffer Giveaway Dec 15th for sharing my events! All prizes there by Christmas! Earbuds, Kindle Case, Starbucks Gift cards, and bookmarks to several winners! Click HERE!! To learn how to enter!

We are also doing three parties that rock so hard! First, The Treemakers Release! December 3 and this event is going to be legend…(wait for it)…DARY! Legendary!

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Second Ya/Na New Years Celebration! Jan 3—with TEN YES YOU HEARD RIGHT TEN Authors! Best selling books being GIVEN away, over thirty titles, along with a Kindle Giveaway and wine and chocolate!

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And lastly Book by its Cover Awards Ceremony!

January 10th

Grab your best indie cover and bring it over we are still nominating! Trophy for best cover and trophies for other catas!

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Combined we already have 700 people going to these events yahoo~!

Join Join JOIN!

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Do you want to pimp your book/blog?

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In December I’ll be doing a podcast about Gods of Anthem, writing and other chatter. Stephen Campbell of The Author Biz is handling the interview and it’s gonna be awesome!

If you have a question you’d like to ask about my upcoming release or writing in general, let me know and I’ll pimp your blog or book or if you’d rather remain anonymous that’s cool too!

Wanna be a VIP? Click to the right to join my mailing list! It’s only for cover/book releases so no worries about spammy-spam-spam.

 

L

 

Wax on Wax off – the Lo-Lo down

wax

My very first concert was the New Kids on the Block. I was totally into them. I had the shirts, cups, the dolls, and pretty much everything else.

I remember I went away for a week with friends and my grandparents were in Vegas. When they came back they said, “While we were in Vegas we got the NKB’s to sign an autograph for you!”

Now. We all know they simply went to a store and picked up an autographed cup. But as a kid I totally bought it. My grandmother lied, to my face, down to the clothes they were wearing. I then ran to school and told everyone, ignoring those with obvious knowledge of my “story”. They were just haters!

It was one of the most exciting things of that year. I remember being the coolest kid ever for a total of one day when the sorry kids that believed me began asking me questions about it, I’d roll my eyes and shrug like it was my secret to keep and the NKB’s might be at my party next week too but you know…they could get busy cause they’re famous.

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You might think how awful it was for my grandparents to lie to me, but I totally think it rocks.

It’s the spice of life, kids. It’s Santa on a Mid-May Wednesday.

People make up stuff or color it in all the time. Sometimes stretching the truth is fun.

Don’t think so?

Well then stop watching TV, or reading books. What many entertainers do is take a real happenstance and stretch it. Yup. Go read some blogs, “Well that scene actually happened to me…only, it wasn’t with flying elephants.”

I recently got blogged into “Why I write” by the wonderful and talented Christina Rozelle

It’s been explained pretty accurately by others already. I’m a thinker, a ponderer, always have been.

But since most every “why I write” reason has been covered, instead, I thought I’d make mine about “Why I continue to write”.

This is important for me because I’ve given up a few times. Yup. Or had GIGANTIC gaps in between.

If you think I haven’t gotten nasty rejection letters, or reviews of my work, and then packed in my quill and said what’s done-is-done about a million times, then, put on a strait-jacket, my friend, because it’s getting a little loony in here.

Some things I’ve posted about writing:

“A writer has to mitigate the doubt dumped daily on their heads.”

“Of course failure is an option…I’m a writer!”

And

Writing is a vanity that can only be afforded by being damned good.”

More times than not I’m not: “damned good”, even perhaps, I have been: “peculiarly bad”. There are only a few beats on that path to writerdom that make me smile and say, “Ah, yes. Now this part I liked.”

I have to keep a barf bag handy for occasions where I read my old works. “What was I thinking!” bursts from my lips like I have self-review turrets.

I’m my worst critic.

What bothers me is the highs and lows, and how I sometimes let my writing achievements or lack-there-of affect my everyday life. I want to slap myself when it happens because it’s completely useless to stress about things that are out of my control.

Like when Elsa had those magical ice-shooting powers. (I have a toddler) The more they tried to “control” it, the more she exploded with icicles from her fingies.

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The “accolade” aspect is unhelpful to us, because the art is supposed to be where I’m at already and not the other way around. It shouldn’t be a destination, but part of my journey that I scribble down along the way. Like some road poet noting characters only because they were people he wanted to remember rather than, oh this is gonna be the best seller of the century!

*uses ice magic against said thoughts*

You may not feel like writing is anything more than craft, but I aim to set a mood with my words, and this causes a lot of problems for the “craft” part. When I see wood and a hammer in my head, my word-mood turns carpenter, which might make things a bit…wooden. (sorry bad joke)

I want my prose to drop the reader from their perch straight into the storm that is my brain cells. I want them to try to beat me up after reading, or shake my hand, or pat my back whilst beating me up, or something along those lines because great art does that to me.

I usually throw a book with a great ending across the room.

Or I write a ravenous review of how I loved it but but but but, please fix me and write another!

As far as my own work, I don’t want them to say, “Nice structure.”

Pfft. Structure…? STRUCTURE! BAH! “Mittens are nice!” (Friends reference there for those of you…never mind)

I don’t want to set art up on the podium for a gold medal and then try to achieve that.

I’m not the only one who follows this logic either. Even going for gold can be a bit deceptive.

Recently, I watched gold medalist Gabriel Douglas’ documentary/reenactment of her life on Netflix. If you get the chance, see it.

Gymnastics is the epitome of discipline. There’s no one sport that forces body parts so intricately and demandingly. Your core has to be solid. You have to be able to run and lift. You yoga to remain elastic, but also stay hard as a rock. Then you have to be mentally stable, ready to compete in that moment at your peak—no full hour long game of chance or team sports going on here.

AND you also have to do all of this by the Olympic clock. You outgrow it after that clock stops ticking. Tick tock tick tock, little gymnasts all over the country are watching the calender years in advance. In some countries there are toddlers being primed. (weird countries but…)

Are you starting to feel like writing is easy compared? Good. You should.

In the documentary her coach said something epic about one of her skills. It was on the bars where she was having trouble and he said, “You are not releasing the bar and grabbing another. You are the bar. You are the skill.”

And that is so true.

I know this is a Miyagi moment, wax on-wax off. But in sports, psychology is HUGELY important.
And guess what? Writing is the same, yo.

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When I competed as an equestrian, and I plan on it again, I always knew that I brought everything from my life to that point with me into the ring. In that ride, that certain movement represented my state of mind, my training, my past, and dictated my future.

The test movement was me. It was not some outside thing because I’d done it enough times correctly to know I had it in here. (taps chest) Finding it was the secret.

The test asked me questions. That was its job. Was I calm? Was I fierce? Was I nervous? Was I second guessing? Was I ready?

I was.
It was.
We were.

Art is exactly like this. Your art is you. It is not simply a distant thing floating on a tether,

YOU ALREADY HAVE IT INSIDE.

Wait.

That’s kind of important.

Say it with me.

MY ART IS ALREADY INSIDE OF ME.

Down side time.

When I shred the dialogue, and when I have a para missing in rhythm, the story, characterization, descriptive….. It’s painful. Because it’s me. Because it’s my past in there, my today on those certain days. And, it dictates my future. Not specifically, no, but it’s definitely a part of the fabric of my forward momentum in life.

Big stuff.

Scary stuff.

So why continue to write?

Because there’s good news too!

Gabby’s coach also said “Gymnastics is music”.

I wrote this almost exactly into my entire novel Gods of Anthem. The idea that life is an orchestra. You will see it spread out through an entire story, but it’s there, hidden, and the idea is a good one, I think.

Gymnastics is rhythm and flow with a final crescendo.

This is what art is to me, and why I continue to do it. Because the melody is here inside of me, and, though I make mistakes, it keeps flowing and wanting to be given shape.

My words, the novel, it has rhythm, not always accurate, but I see it there, each one I do gets better, flows more, peaks in the right spots.

But I’ve still got so many more songs to give. So much more chemistry to create.

So much more art to find.

I’m just writing until I reach the crescendo, friends.

L

‘KICK’ back and relax in my fabulous interview session with John L. Monk!

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“Right now “Kick” has 65 reviews on Amazon, and a 4.7 star rating out of 5. When I first published, I’d hoped people would like the book, but I never expected the reaction I’ve gotten. I had a top 500 Hall of Fame Vine Voice reviewer say it was “one of the more entertaining and unique books” he’d read that year. Another Vine Voice reviewer also gave me a great review, and multiple reviewers made statements requesting a sequel. Over on Goodreads, I have a 4.3 rating (43 ratings/16 reviews), which is pretty good for Goodreads. I’m hugely flattered.” John L. Monk

I know I’ve whetted your appetite for this for far too long! Here it is folks,
John L. Monk rocks the house with our very first Loganesque interview.

*cue music as John enters*

So John, are you as stoked about this interview as I am?

John: Uh huh…

I’ll take that as a WAHOO!

I know you want to talk about your book Kick and we’ll get to that in a minute, but first relax man, have a seat, a drink, and tell us a little about your real life self. What cooks your noodle? Aka, what do like to do for fun, maybe tell us if you live in any special place, treehouse…what have you.

John: If I had to describe my hypothetical perfect day, it’d be coffee at 8:30am, reading 10 or so 5 star reviews on Amazon, going “wow” at the 300 or so purchases since last night, then opening my email to find notes from my author friends asking me “what’s your secret?!” Then I’d sit down and do some writing—and it’d all flow out of me like water! My wife would make me breakfast at some point (in a perfect world…), she’d feed the dogs, she’d walk the dogs, she’d yell into the room at some point, “hey you got 10 more 5 star reviews!” to which I’d reply, “Uh, yeah…kinda late, huh? Pssht…” Around Noon-thirty I’d take a nap, then wake up for more coffee and a few more emails, then I’d write some more, then play some video games, then maybe grill something outside. In other words, everything I do on Saturday, minus the reviews, sales, wife-made breakfast, and Noon-thirty nap. Man I’m boring, huh?

So what you are saying is that you want my life? *blinks*

We love your book Kick! But let me ask you a bit about your writing process. Yes, we want to know all about that too because lots of writers out there are just starting this gig and need to know what it takes. So, give us some info about how you come up with your ideas.

John: I get my best ideas usually right before I fall asleep. Then I have to get up, go downstairs and write them down or I absolutely will forget them. When I’m writing, I don’t normally get new ideas about plot changes. I just write out the events of the story as best I can (it’s usually awful), and occasionally I have little flashes of creativity that turn “awful” into “possibly fixable.” Generally, I re-read my chapters as a way of kick-starting my daily writing session, and I tweak it a little here and there, shape it. When I’m done with the first draft of the entire manuscript, I re-read it about 50000 times and cut/chop it into something hopefully better. My general philosophy is that every scene has to be interesting. If it’s not, I either fix it or nix it.

Kick-starting…? Get it? Had to point out that little pun to our readers…with a blow horn.

How do you get pumped for writing?

John: I’m very rarely pumped for writing. When I am, it’s usually after a really good movie or TV show like “Justified” where the writing is simply incredible. Good books do the same thing, but obviously they’re more of a time sink (and yet, you must dedicate time to reading good books if you want to succeed). I’m usually pumped when I first start something—the words come flying out of me. This is one of the reasons why some people have described “Kick” as episodic. It’s basically three consecutive “adventures” by the same character. Very easy to write because I got to write “something new” each time.

That’s actually quite a neat idea! An episodic market maybe?

Editing. What are a few must do’s for a writer in this portion of the craft?

John: I’m currently reading a book called “It was the best of sentences, it was the worst of sentences” by June Casagrande. It’s dense, meticulous reading, but it’s absolutely brilliant. Before that, I read “How not to write a novel” by Howard Mittelmark and Sandra Newman. Before that, it was another book on grammar that Stephen King recommended. Before that it was a book on self-editing. I have a bunch of links on my blog to various sites that talk about editing. Whatever a writer can do to make sure their work is perfectly polished, they should. Can we break the rules? Sure, but it’s good to know the rules so that any breaking is our idea. Before I submit the sequel to “Kick” for professional editing (a must), I will re-read Casagrande’s book again, just to shore up my basics.

I think you summed that up quite nicely.

Okay, Kick it is! Go: (tell us about your awesome book!)

John: Kick is a vigilante story with a supernatural twist. It’s about Dan, a guy who commits suicide in college, who’s able to come back into the world of the living by possessing the bodies of bad people. He pops up in their body, in full control, and basically lives his life the way he pleases. He eats at restaurants, reads novels, goes to the movies, goes fishing, and when he’s not too busy, he helps people in need. After about 3 weeks, he’ll start to get kicked (kind of like a sneeze, without the tissues). Before he’s kicked completely out of the body, he makes sure his “ride” can’t hurt anyone. It’s a little like Dexter meets Quantum Leap.

If your book had a broadcast alert how would it finish? Beeeeeeep, beeeeep, beeeep, warning this book:

John: This book will make you hungry. I’m actually not kidding. The main character doesn’t have any friends, so he tends to focus on food for enjoyment. People always say, “enjoy the little things.” But for Dan, all he has is the little things.

Ok, now that I LIKE!

Any R rated parts of your book?

John: There’s bad language, but mostly by others, and not the main character. There’s gruesome murder and sexually suggestive (and dark) material, but nothing explicitly X-rated. I’m not into the “blow by blow” analysis, if you follow me…

Got it. Your answer is nearly R rated for my blog…if you follow me.

When I googled your book, it did come up first. However, there was another similar named book below it. Tell me, have you contacted them and asked them to change it?

John: Nope. There’s a book called “Kick” about a soccer player. That’s two different kinds of Kicks, which is allowed under the Geneva Convention. If it becomes an issue one day, I’ll deal with it then.

Let us know when you do! I have a new video camera.

What’s next? Besides being poised for stardom, I’d love to know what else we should expect to come our way.

John: Sometime in October I’ll be published in an anthology called “For Whom The Bell Trolls”. Other than that, I’m working on a sequel to “Kick”. I’m trying to limit any short story writing and/or excessive blogging until I’m done with the first draft, because it’s easy to get sidetracked.

Lady Gaga calls her fans “Little Monsters”, can we start calling your fans “Little Monksters”?

John: It’s funny, I had a blog post that talked about that. I wanted to call my fans “Lava Demons” but everyone thought “Monkeys” made more sense. I still like Lava Demons…just saying.

Monkeys it is!

Where is your blog?
http://john-l-monk.com

Where can we buy your book?
http://amzn.com/B00DSPPTA0

Where can we show up unexpectedly with our luggage?

John: The airport! Hah, wasn’t that a clever answer? That’s the kind of clever you can expect if you buy my book. Except in my book, everything is even more clever. But to answer your question (less cleverly): I live in Virginia.

I think you monkeys know how to do your own stalking so…now you have a reference and state!

Thanks again, John! I know I enjoyed having you and wish you luck. Let us know when the second one comes out so we can question you again, even harder 😉

John & Family!
John & Family!

So that’s all, people. Check out John’s book and stay tuned as I hunt (cough) search out my next author to put on my trophy wall!

L

Unfortunately we have to decline your story “Dark and Dreary”… !!!!!My release is out!!!!!

One of my first in depth declinations, I was told that my story was depressing and why would I think they’d want to publish that type of thing in their magazine?

This press is known for dark stories, but I suppose I had gone beyond dark and horror into the realm of sad.

But sad stories need love too!

The truth was I’d received about 20 rejections for “Vile” and a few others after my very first submission “Ever-after” was accepted right away…

Thinking it was all easy street after, euphoric, I told my family and friends, since this was the first piece outside of a competition to be published but then only later to be really REALLY unable to land much of anything else for a long-long while.

Sniff sniff.

Then came “Snowed”, my first story in _UNHINGED_ . I wrote it and posted it in a small hothouse where we all reviewed eachother’s work and submitted. A writer on there, who I respected but who also hadn’t much to say about my stories, read this one and commented along the lines of “I couldn’t stop reading. I had to know what happened!”

Being my first short story over 5000 words and hearing that someone “couldn’t stop reading” I suddenly knew what was more important than denials and lectures about depression, this exactly: People have to not want to stop reading.

SOOOOoooo you are thinking.. I submitted it and got right in?

And you would be right! Jussstt kidding.

I tried thriller since it’s a mix of horror/thriller and they decided thriller didn’t quite fit their magazine but the guy said to me “Hey btw, we all read it here and were on the edge of our seats.”

Again. That’s important. And even then I knew it. I knew that stringing a reader along would be far more important than publications even if I felt like my skin was pealing back a bit at the rawness of it all.

Though it still stung, I packed my baby away and have been editing the story off and on for about five years…until this debut that is ;)D

Readers.

Readers are most important.

AND SO (drum roll please)

..with the release of my very first self-publication (a very special shout out to the people that helped below) (raises-glass) here is to the readers!

May we put them on the edge of their seats forever!

GET IT HERE FOR FREE >>>> UNHINGED NEW RELEASE

A very special thanks to a few people who helped make this possible!

Mike Coombes for helping me get started on my shorts and believing in me back in our hothouse days where I wrote most of these!

Alianne Donnelly for the cover and moral support of yet another side project!

Kimberly Grenfell for some super ninja edits!

J Matthew McKern for ARC and my first five stars!

And Jim Adams for a review I will NEVER forget that kicked me off with inspiration and a goal to make the next one even better!

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