Thursday, August 30, 2012

And The Results Are....

IN! but I cant tell you which book won yet. Ill reveal the winner in this weeks Six Sentence Sunday..

I should have called it a secret ballot since 99.9% voted by email. (the other .1% somebody told me what they wanted face-to-face; which was good, but now I don't have any official record of it)

Given the success of this, it got me thinking about more ways for readers to get interactive. As things come to me Ill post them here and let the fun begin.

For now Im plugging away on Nonari Book 3. Making good progress though I might take a break after the first draft to do some mini-projects for several upcoming anthologies. Those ideas are still brewing and I have time to get them in, so for now 100% focus on Book 3.

And with that said, I'm shutting up and going to work.

Monday, August 27, 2012

Vote! Vote! Vote!

I mentioned that I would hold a vote to see what potential readers/readers would want to see in the next Six Sentence Sunday. The choices are:

The Hero of Twilight : the first book in an epic/heroic fantasy saga.

The Threat of Saint Flesh : the sequel to Hero of Twilight.

The Forvian Sphere : A science-fiction yarn with elements of Dying Earth,  Hard SF, alot of Soft SF, and a pinch of Cyberpunk.

Those are the choices on the ballot. To vote on which one you want to see next week, simply comment here on the post, or email me here Jason J Sergi , or you can Facebook me, hit me up on Twitter, smoke signals, whatever method you use I will find you. The poll closes Thursday morning ( Aug 30th). That morning I will compile the results from all the different sources and then I will post six sentences from the one you guys/gals chose on Six Sentence Sunday (Sept 2).

I'm gonna leave this post up here at the top until Thursday so everyone has a chance to see it. Its an Election Year so heres your chance to get some practice before November.

This should be interesting, wink

Sunday, August 26, 2012

Six Sentence Sunday: The Threat of Saint Flesh

Ok, its Sunday again, and that means its time for Six Sentence Sunday, where writers, like myself, pick six sentences from anything they've written, published or not, and post it up for everyone to see. Kind of a free, no strings attached sample with easy viewing.

For me, personally, I only use material from my published or soon-to-be published works. That way, if a person is interested, they can actually purchase the book instead of getting just a tease.

I know we all hate getting teased---wink

Here are six sentences from The Threat of Saint Flesh, Book 2 of The Golden Griffin Series. This scene happens towards the end of the book during The Battle of Delldoan.




Chaos surrounded Camail and the bulk of her army. The battle was being fought along three hills, with hundreds of elf-like things casting deadly blue bolts and soldiers armed with pikes or swords who fought in a frenzy as another wicked being flew to and fro, casting down violet lightning upon the city. On the hill, adjacent to the one she stood on, a Deusite Temple sprawled, the outer wall hung heavily with bloated bodies. She was further disgusted to discover the black clouds hovering over the bodies were flies.
She shook her head as she returned her attention back to the battle surrounding her. Her Twilight soldiers were trying to push the sea of enemy back down the hill, fighting ferociously in between buildings, or what was left of them.

Don't forget to check out the other writers participating in Six Sentence Sunday here:  sixsunday.com

And, as another reminder, you can read the first chapters to each book for free, here: Hero of Twilight  and here : Threat of Saint Flesh if interested and they can be purchased online everywhere books are sold.

Thanks for reading!!

Friday, August 24, 2012

Krull vs Willow

So I was complaining a while back that I wanted to watch the movie Krull again to see if it still stood up. Itd been at least ten years since Id seen it last...but maybe closer to 20. I finally got to see most of it recently thanks to the wonders of modern technology.
Now, my impression of the movie back when Id first seen it was that it wasn't exactly an A movie but it def wasn't a B movie either. It was one of those things that you watched on HBO at like 3am but nothing great. But I also remember it being personally awesome to me and it still is. It did bomb in theaters and I can see why though I cant put my finger on it. Special effect and story-wise I thought everything was solid but it doesn't have that blockbuster muscle. I even did a little research to see what other people thought of the movie and found that the majority of people hated it, some for the story, some for the lame humor, but most only hated it because there was Sci-fi elements tainting their otherwise Fantasy-filled movie.
I was the same way back in the day; I didn't want laser beams interfering with my swords or robots messing with my knights. But, in my older years here, I find myself not caring so much. I like fantasy and I like science-fiction...so why not both at the same time?
Like I said, I can sympathize with the purists out there, but even back when I first saw Krull the science/fantasy didn't bother me and it still doesn't.
Bottom line, Krull still rocks.

During my research of Krull I came across the movie Willow as well, which I had always thought was a great movie and which I had always thought was another commercial flop. But it wasn't. it actually made some money in theaters just not as much as George Lucas might of wanted: which is usually the moon. I haven't seen it recently but I'm sure it still holds up as well...but as much as Krull, I don't know.

I also came upon Enemy Mine, which was and still is (to me) another awesome movie that tanked in theaters. That one kind of boggles my mind. Its a straight up sci-fi flick with a killer story line. I guess critics might zone in on the Drac being a pregnant hermaphrodite and Micky Mouse being called a god, and how Dennis Quaid pretty much irks everyone, but take that all away, I think its still an awesome, 3am HBO movie.

And it could be worse: people could have made sequels or remakes of these movies. Take Beast Master for instance: awesome movie but the sequel? WTF were they thinking? Thats all I'm gonna say about that...and there's a part 3 too apparently, which I haven't watched and never will, hopefully.

I think a Krull 2, Willow 2, or an Enemy Mine 2 would be massive mistakes. Don't mess with perfection, though Willow does have a literary sequel in the form of a trilogy. Ive read a little of it. My review: Yuck.

And dont get me started on remakes.

Just don't.

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Review Of Saint Flesh

Below is a pretty decent review of The Threat of Saint Flesh. There are some slight spoilers for those who haven't read Hero of Twilight but nothing major.

Now, its a common misconception that my books are children's books. Maybe its the covers, maybe its the series name Golden Griffin, I don't know. Maybe Ill change the name to Killer Griffin and ask the cover artist to add more blood to the next cover--lol But for a future note, and whoever reads this, please spread the word: I Do Not Write Children's Books. Scott (the reviewer) had it right that Saint Flesh was High School appropriate, but even then Id rate it R. (old fashioned, I know)

Heres the review for those interested in reading it: Review of Saint Flesh and I want to thank Scott P for putting out the word and for the work he does with other writers.


Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Book 3

Started work on the 3rd Nonari Book a day early---big whoop right?

I cant help myself. I always tell myself that I'm gonna take a break between books, a week or two, and if I'm lucky if I stay away for a few days. But when I'm not writing I wanna be, so I rather be permanently mentally exhausted than bored for even a second. I don't have any other hobbies really; none that would take up the vast amounts of time I use when Im writing so...off to work I go.

Not that I can really call it work.

I got a great response from doing Six Sentence Sunday last week so I'm gonna def do it again this weekend. This time around the sentences will be from Threat of Saint Flesh. I'm gonna have to pick out an awesome scene that wont contain spoilers for those who haven't read Hero of Twilight. Might be tricky.

Week after that I might do The Forvian Sphere or another from Hero of Twilight; maybe Ill have a vote??

I think I will.

Monday, August 20, 2012

Notes To Self

Spent the day workin on notes for Book 3 of The Nonari Series. Not much to it; I know the story of the entire series, ending, all the major scenes leading up to it, what has to happen, what might happen, and what will happen, but each individual book needs a few fine details on paper to go with those already in my head.

Back in the day I would spend days, weeks, a month or two outlining, rigorously ironing out every small detail, and basically writing the entire novel in a bland monotone. And when it came time to write the actual novel, I found the process rigid and boring, going from Point A to B to C with no surprises, no room to move, and the writing suffered for it. If my heart wasn't into it,  it was gonna show and I couldn't expect a reader to dish out money or their personal time reading something that sucks.

Thats why I was surprised how easy it was to write without the outline anchor; the first book I tried that with was Hero of Twilight. I spent a few days drawing maps and building nations and then I detailed (slightly) Points A (beginning of series) through Point Z (end of Series) without adding all the fluff that bridged all those scenes. The details exist in my head, as do the intact scenes, but the story flows more organically, less linear, without those bridges and the outline anchor. I know That I need to get from Point A to Z, but unlike with an outline, I can do it whatever way I want, and in my case, I think it makes for better story telling.
Where back in the day I would have whole notebooks dedicated to a single Book, now I have one or two pages, give or take a couple.

So that's that. I plan on starting the actual writing of Book 3 on Wed. I wanna start right now but my brain is still creatively recharging after being spent on Book 2....but by Wed I should be back to it.

Sunday, August 19, 2012

Six Sentence Sunday: Hero of Twilight

Im doing Six Sentence Sunday. For those not in the know, its where you take any six sentences from anything you've written, published or not, and then post them. The six below are from Hero of Twilight, when Abigail was telling Bathmal what had been happening in Twilight of late.





“This one,” Abigail went on, “Demon-Before-The-Sword, arrived in the north of Illerland five years ago. Well, he didn’t come himself—-not powerful enough yet, you see?—-but sent his dark champion, Venok, in his place. It’s said that Venok walked right into the throne room of the capital, that the guards who tried to stop him withered and shriveled to black rags before getting to within paces of the abomination, and that he went before the king and demanded his highness to cede the throne to his master.
“The king, mistaking stupidity for bravery, denied the champion and was killed outright, falling from his throne in a withered slump. Soon after that, Demon-Before-The Sword sent his fell armies across the land, using his devilknaps to weaken it, before sending Venok to mop up what was left. It was the devilknaps that stripped Twilight of our only mage and noble governor.




And you can also check out other Six Sentences from other people here:Six Sentence Sunday
Enjoy!

Saturday, August 18, 2012

Magazine of Fantasy&ScienceFiction

Received my copy of the Sept/Oct issue of F&SF and gave it a read through. All the stories within are generally good and well written but Give Up by Richard Butner, A Diary From Deimos by Michael Alexander, and Troll Blood, by Peter Dickinson were the three that stood out for me of the bunch.

Its hard to talk about any of the stories without letting any spoilers slip but, suffice to say, there's a little something for everybody in this issue. Those who are already subscribed to the mag are in for their usual treat, but for those that aren't, this might be the perfect issue in which to start.

Either way, it wouldn't hurt to check out their website: F&SF  

The website has a bunch of information, offers, free reviews of current titles and a whole lot else. Its worth checkin out.

I'm gonna end the night by reading more of my issue now.

Friday, August 17, 2012

Done Done Done

Just finished and sent in the second installment of The Nonari Series, so thats cookin; now to take a deep breath and get to work on Book 3....but not tonight. Im beat--lol.

Probably some time this weekend Ill be doing a promotional blog post for The Magazine of F & SF; Im just waiting for the mag to show up.

And def keep an eye out on the blog for Six Sentence Sunday. For those who don't know what Six Sentence Sunday is, check back here on Sunday and you'll find out; plus it will give those who haven't read The Hero of Twilight a free taste. 

You can also check out the first chapters of  Hero of Twilight and The Threat of Saint Flesh for free by clinking on the links on this side--------> of the blog.


Ok Im shutting the commercial off now, time for boxing and coffee--J

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Editing and The Hard Scene

I'm almost halfway done with the final read of the second Nonari Book (why don't you give us a title, Jay? Answer: because I'm superstitious and don't release titles to my books until I have the contract in hand and signed; I'm weird like that) and it never ceases to amaze me when I still find typos and weak spots within the writing, even after four or five edits, going line by line, they're still there, and even after I know for a fact that Ive edited it to the point of exhaustion, the prose perfected, all the weak spots hammered out, I know that when its time for final edits there will be more bugs after it comes back from the editor. Thats just the way it is. It happens to a lot of writers, big ones too, like George Martin who had to fix his on the spot while he was doing a live reading. You can edit all you want, typos and other blemishes are like roaches: for every one you kill, there's a another hundred waitin to eat your  cheerios.

Speaking of George Martin and of being almost halfway done with the final read, Im coming up on a heart-wrenching scene that I had to write not once, but over five times, going back to it again and again and each time was harder than the one before; not due to the actual writing, but because of the content.

In all of my books my aim is to make the reader feel something: Happy, mad, sad, embarrassed, uncomfortable, crazy, intoxicated, any combination thereof , and anything pretty much other than being disgusted or depressed; I do want my readers to come back, duh! But in order to make a reader feel in such a way, the writer needs to write something in such a way to trigger those emotions and sometimes thats easier said than written.

Sometimes, not very often, I WILL shy away from writing something that's too extreme.  In my books, nothing is off limits but there are certain things I cant handle like kids dying or getting raped, etc, etc...that doesnt mean I wont write about them if thats what the story calls for, but if I had to it would be a bad day for writing.

I call these Hard Scenes. The Hero of Twilight has one, though many people might not agree and Book 3 of The Golden Griffin Series has one: a worse one than in Hero of Twilight. The Forvian Sphere and The Threat of Saint Flesh dont have any, tho they have their share of uncomfortable, edge of your seat moments.

The one Im about to read right now is about equal in Hardness to that within Book 3 of The Golden Griffin series.

The things I do for a story (sigh)

On the bright side, they're only made up characters right????


Tuesday, August 14, 2012

WHO YOU GONNA CALL?

My son gave me his cold so I been sick all week---Blah! I know its only tues but I hate being sick even just a little. Im semi on the mend now, or alt least Im gonna pretend not to be sick so I can do what I gotta do.

On the plus side I got a lot of good reading done and then hit up the Encore channel for some Ghost Busters. I havent seen the movie in years and was happy that it still holds up. Tonight Ill prob watch part two...which, if I remember right, wasnt nearly as good as part one.

Guess Ill see.

But what I really want to see is Krull. What ever happened to that movie?? I thought it was awesome when I was a kid but I havent seen it since.

Sigh.

On the writing front, Im pretty much done with the second Nonari book; just need to give it a last read through; hope to get started on that tomorrow, but for now, Im gonna pretend not to be sick.

Monday, August 6, 2012

Writing Away

Ive been a little quiet blogwise due to the current project. Plugged in a 12 hour day today and now I'm a 4th of the way done with the third draft of the 2nd Nonari book.

Lookin to pack in another 12 hour or longer day tomorrow and I'm looking forward to it. I hate the feeling after a long day of writing when you cant write anymore cause your batteries are dead but you're too tired to do anything else and you still have hundreds of pages lurking in the background waiting to be tweaked.

I'm not complaining, I'm just explaining.


By the end of tomorrow I'm aiming to be halfway done with the third draft with a 100% completion by Friday. After that, I just have to give her the final read though and then ship her off to the editor. Then Ill prob have to work on edits for Book 1: The Forvian Sphere for a couple of weeks, and then I have to do the unfun stiff: promoting it. But its got to be done. Books don't sell themselves unless you're Stephen King.

Thats it for now...cant way for the AM.

Saturday, August 4, 2012

Games of the XXX Olympiad

Emphasis on games....especially when it comes to Olympic boxing.

I'm not a sports guy. I'm a boxing/MMA guy, which are different from all the mainstream sports, and sometimes, in very unfortunate ways.

For almost a hundred years, professional boxing has been plagued by corruption, incompetence, bias officiating, and infestations of crooked sanctioning bodies. Boxing is the only sport where no one knows who the world champions are because there's four for every weight class--and that's only the four major ones; if you counted all the world champions, you'd prob have over thirty in each weight class.

Thats insane; but its also business. Sanctioning bodies get sanctioning fees for each bout they sanction: take it from there. 

But you would think, with amateur boxing, since there is very little money involved, all those things listed above would be non-existent or seldom.

Wrong.

ALL of those things plague the amateur ranks as well, and nowhere are they most apparent than in The Olympics where you can add national pride to the list.

In Seoul, South Korea,1988, American Roy Jones was ripped off in the finals when he lost to the South Korean fighter by an obnoxious margin. 99% of the world saw and knew that Jones had won, including the Olympic committee who swore to make sure nothing ever happened like that again. 

Their solution was to change the format so much that it boxing didn't even resemble boxing any more, it resembled an adult version of patty cake. The only scoring blows were ones landed to the face--not the side of the head, not the body, not anywhere else. Five judges with buzzers in their hand would score each scoring blow by pressing the buzzer, with three out of the five judges having to hit it within 1 second of each other.

That was their fix. From 1992 to 2008 we had to deal with that bullshit, and 2008 was the worst Olympics for the Americans ever with only one guy medaling, and that was a Bronze! But American weren't alone, everybody had a bad year that year, with no one shining. Many people thought the American team had earned the right to advance more, but how could you tell? The scoring system was so bizarre that ANYONE could have won or lost and still no one could be convinced.

So in 2012 the powers that be decided to change the format again. Its still a mess, but a little bit better. Now body shots count, but only straight shots to the head count, no looping punches.  And the scoring system?? Ugh. Five judges score the fights with their buzzers in hand, counting the scoring blows, and then at the end, a computer takes out the high and low numbers to each score, averages out the other three, and there is your score.

I can hear you laughing out loud from here.

While the system is a little better, fighters are still getting ripped off left and right, but this time, the powers that be step in when a wrong decision is handed down and revere them, which is good. A fighter from Japan beat the ever-livin shit out of a fighter from Tajikistan (or from somewhere around there) and lost. At least for a while, until the decision got reversed. Same thing happened with the last American we got standing. He pummeled his Indian for three rounds, and lost. Thankfully, the decision was reversed last night and hes moving on to the quarterfinals because for the first time in Olympic history, The American Boxing Team was that close to not medaling.

Hopefully, in 2016 they go back to the 10-point must system and train their judges better. Good Luck to the sole survivor of Team USA.

Another Draft In The Books

Or maybe its another book in the drafts; either way works for me.

I held a marathon writing session last night and finished the second draft of the next Nonari book. I'm still way behind schedule tho. I was supposed to have the book completely finished by July, that was my goal. I think I kind of missed that mark.

oops.

Well, all the hard writing is done, now I just have to smack it around a little until it shines like it should. I plan on starting the third draft (which is really the fourth and fifth draft for me; I know, confusing, but hang in there with me) tonight, if I still have eyeballs left.

Life is good.

Thursday, August 2, 2012

WANNA NOT GET REJECTED?

First off, what the hell happened to July??? Is it really Aug already??

Anyways, this post is kind of a sequel to my last post where I touched on getting rejected by an editor. Im highly qualified to speak on such a thing since I'm an expert at being rejected across a broad range of fields but for blog purposes, Ill stick with the writing sense.

Over the years and through many endeavors Ive learned what an editor will reject, and what an editor might not reject.

A good way to get an instant rejection is to write something that totally sucks. (been there, done that, see below) and send it in. Thats one way. Another good way to get rejected is to write a Fantasy piece (good or bad) and then send it to an editor whos only accepting Romance. On that same line of thought, not following the SUBMISSION GUIDELINES each and every editor should have listed can get you an instant rejection for a variety of reason, especially with E-Subs where there might be a spam filter involved.

The first story that Id ever written  was a short story titled Jalok And The Tweek Petals. Yeah, I know; and I think I submitted it to Weird Tales. When I wrote it I thought I was a genius, the next big thing for fantasy.  It was 5,000 words, and about 4,000 were adjectives. I'm joking, but only just. I used six or seven words to describe a mushroom, which is fine if that's what it takes, but I put all six adjectives in a row--and there were A LOT of  sentences like that throughout the story. But what was worse, was: I broke the cardinal rule on writing a successful story by revealing in the end that all the terrible stuff that happened in the story was just a dream. (cringes)
I waited the 3 or 6 months for my contract and my check, but instead received my very first rejection letter; and it was pretty informative.
It was my first hint that editors (and readers) hate stories that end in dreams, the MC being crazy, or everything gets solved by Divine Intervention.

Refrain from doing all that and you're on the right track already.

Those are the top issues that will get your MS tossed into the recycle bin in my experience. Now here are some others,

Originality--don't write something that sounds like its already been written. That means avoiding elves, dwarves, ogres, dragons, dinosaurs, alien invasions/abductions, werewolves, submarines that go to the bottom of the sea to find Atlantis, time travel, etc, etc; A few years ago vampires would have been put on that list but well....yeah

Now none of the above is completely off limits if you give it your own twist in such a way that makes it fresh. The best way to do that, I think, is to read everything you possibly can, see what other people are doing, and then do something completely different in every way. Its a double-edged sword though because  I know that there are trends. Sometimes readers like to spend months and years reading similar stories within a particular genre before needing a change. So if you come up to someone who likes to read about robots destroying the earth and offer them a story about murderous sprites rampaging through an old computer, they may politely  decline you. OR they may take you up on the offer and you can be the next big trend.

Don't know till ya try.

And you can always write a similar story that's trending and still add your own twist. The problem there is that by the time you get there, everything's already been done---almost. Its up to you to find that one thing that hasn't been done and write it. Its hard, but if it can be accomplished you'll probably have earned fans that will follow you forever.

Like I said, there is no Holy Cross against rejection, but follow the tips above and you can at least cover yourself in garlic and holy water and have a fighting chance. Just don't give up, and remember to read and write your face off like its your job because it might be your job someday.

Varsavian Press Spring Ebook Sale!

Fantasy : Hero of Twilight (Revised and Expanded) (Golden Griffin Book 1) Young Bathmal was born nothing and was destined to be no...