Thursday, December 18, 2014

Holidays And What I am Doing

I love Christmas. I could care two-wooden nickels about most every other holiday. Hell, I would gladly skip my birthday if all my family and friends would let me get away with it. I enjoy having an excuse to get gifts for people - and I don't think I have ever gotten people around me enough. I always wish I could do more and get more and decorate more. For those of you who know me closely you might think of this as being slightly out of character. I am so flipping ascetic with purchases for myself that I am pretty sure my wife and I have had money fights over me not buying myself new undershirts or socks I need.

I have not lived a life that including being spoiled on the holidays. In fact, a majority of my childhood Christmas memories have been, well, less than stellar. Once I got into control of my holiday experience (when I had a job and was an adult) I turned things around drastically. If I had the money - I would not even scoff at dropping multiple thousands of dollars on Christmas. Completely serious.

The first part of my adoration for Christmas comes from decorating with Christmas lights. I enjoy putting up Christmas lights. Any gap or space larger than three or four inches deserves more bulbs. I typically keep to the blue and white lights for my own home - but I will helps friends out with their own adornments of photons. It is my hope that when I own a home again, I take over the neighborhood at Christmas to decorate every home around with a huge light display. Eight house minimum. Think "Christmas with the Kranks" level of involvement.

The second and even more important part about Christmas is the whole "Christmas Spirit" thing. I don't need to get a bunch of stuff, I am not worried about commercialization of Christmas. What I care about is that it is a time set aside to care. Not like an a month of awareness like they do for Breast Cancer or Black History; this is a season devoted to the idea that we should take time with our families and loved ones. In an America where we are afraid to even take our vacation time we have earned and much of our workforce faces loss of income just to care for a sick child it is a welcome respite to know that culturally we are making a period of time about others.

Yeah - there are some horrible consumerist aspects about Christmas and every other Holiday out there. But the idea behind it, behind all the fluff and the advertisements and the gift giving and caring is something I love. That I look forward to. That ideal can't be taken from me.

I have been quiet this year as the holidays approached because I have not had the best of years. I lost some family that were dear to me. However this silence does not mean I have not been busy. Or more accurately, I have been supportive of a project my wife cooked up last year. We are having our second annual toy drive for a local Children's Crisis Center. My wife has a lot more friends than I seem to so I am glad she got this thing going. In our first year we were able to donate three care loads of stuff - toys, games, hygiene items and clothes. This year we may have even more stuff to donate - which brings me nothing but joy.

I spent some time in one of these Crisis Center's as a child myself. I was waiting for a foster home placement and I understand a bit of the feelings and experiences these children have endured. I did not stay nearly as long as some of these kids have - so the depth of what they are feeling is beyond what many can imagine. There is a certain loneliness that really can only be experienced to be believed, and each of these kids endures that. I still remember the feeling, but I don't know how to communicate that emptiness I feel when I look back to that time. My mind has a memory and my heart has an emotion but between the two I can't decide what the best way to help others understand this is.

So I want to do more. If I could take all of these kids and put them into homes today that would support them and help them heal I would do so. If I had the money I would take them all myself. Hell - I have even considered building a group home to make sure that someone is looking out for these kids. These children deserve a shot, they deserve to have someone, all of us, making sure that they can do great things with their lives. That they can create supportive families for their children they will hopefully have in the future.

So in the next few days I will be helping make a large, kick-ass delivery to a local center. I am helping make sure a bunch of kids who will never know me have a decent Christmas. It is pretty awesome to think about that - and it is something that I know I want to do more of.

So to anyone who read's this (that isn't already involved) take a look at the link here and figure out if there is any thing there that you have or would like to donate. These kids need the village to step up and make sure they have someone looking out for them. You can message me directly (Facebook or Email) and I will help you get something in the hands of these kids.

You know they deserve it. 

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

Jumping off into the Holidays

Halloween has passed us by and we are now quickly marching onward into November. I am a huge fan of the Christmas – mostly because of the lights. I am already planning my outside light display (soon lights… soon….) which will hopefully not blind my neighbors.

I had an interesting October that included a real vacation, recovery from having my wisdom teeth removed, and going to a convention and conducting panels. Hell – I even recorded them (insert links) so you can all view them at your leisure. I felt incredibly proud of my panel on sexual assault and consent issues. It is something I am personally attached to given the past I have lived through. If I could make a living just helping work to prevent women and children from being mistreated and abused I would probably do it. Though the work is hard and very "sticky" for me mentally. I would need a hell of a vacation policy to recover pretty regularly.

In book news, I am a little stuck in a very important chapter for the second book. It is a chapter involving Cael's father so I am taking careful pains to create the exact scene I want to help explain more of Cael's backstory and why he could be, well, annoying at times. I think there is a little piece of my mind in each of my characters – so I do get attached to them and their stories.

If you take the time to watch the author's panels, you will find that writers can even surprise themselves while they create these stories for your consumption. I create ahead of writing and while on the fly. Sometimes as I type the words into the word processor something comes to mind that just needs to be said/described/experienced and I put it down on the page. Just as a point of how important those little pieces are to me as a writer – Mesieve was created on the fly. There was no pre-thought into him; his story just happened. He has become a central character that I never knew I was going to have.

I also had some amazing networking opportunities at the convention I attended. The Comic and Media Expo was in Mesa, Arizona, and had a nice list of skilled artists and content creators for attendees viewing and purchasing pleasure. I am sure everyone wanted more people to attend, but that is the fate of every artist trying to make a living (or a hobby) out of hawking their wares. I did however get a chance to meet some awesome people, and make connections for content and ideas that I never thought of. A few people stand out and I would like to cover all of them in due time – however a couple major ones stand out I want to talk about today.

The first – Tavis Maiden. I started following his work when I saw him on Strip Search. He had his booth set up and was incredibly friendly to chat with. Since there were not too many people present I talked to him for the two days I attended around my panel times. I also gave him an ebook copy of my book since I got to read a lot of his stuff online for free as well. It's only fair. Don't know what he will do with it but I hope he reads and enjoys it.

The second person was Jessica Feinburg, who was selling many of her dragon themed art items. I can't really do her work justice by describing it, so please just go to her Facebook page and store and check it all out. I traded a book for a dragon play/place mat that I already put to use rolling the dice in my Pathfinder campaign. She tolerated my presence and gave me a lot of product ideas that I am trying to find a way to make possible.

Lastly, I want to thank those who attended the panels I was hosting. The convention was nice enough to give me time to fill – and I actually did which surprised even me. All of these videos are available on my YouTube channel linked off of my Facebook pages. If you get time, check them out. I will have a book signing in December so keep posted on the next time I am out in public selling/signing books for all of you. 

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Terminal Defense Position: Pertek Castle

I do my best to keep track of what is going on in the world - its very important to understand our world and the events shaping it. I feel this is doubly important when someone is trying to write a story that includes global level events. If you don't understand the impact of that crop failure on a nation thousands of miles away your world begins to fray. You can't have an army destroy every food source available in its march to conquer the world without SOMEONE going hungry. Food comes and goes somewhere so you need to understand it.

I was reading up on what the Islamic State was doing in attacking a city near the Syrian border with Turkey and I discovered a very fascinating location for a Terminal Defense Position. Following the river just west of the city of Kobane, I followed the river into the mountains of Turkey. Once there I noticed an island with an old fortress on it. The fortress of Pertek.

Given its location, the island probably has more history hidden on it than any writer would dream of making up. Sitting smack in the mountains of Eurasia this sort of place is a wonder unto itself.

Limited Approach:
This is an island located in a lake surrounded by mountains. Can't argue against deep water with steep cliff approaches as benefits. However - in a global wipe out of humanity by zombies being in the connecting land between most major population centers of the planet might be a big downer.

Length of Stay Before Resupply:
Across the lake is ample farmland. If you prepare for it and bring solar panels it is on a similar parallel to my current one making solar electricity very viable. These two supply items would make the stay work quite well.

Farms will work decently for a long while, and being a freshwater lake it is likely to have some decent fishing. However mineral and technical resources are limited in the area - and it won't be an easy trek out of the mountain country to replace things.

This place is a defensible spot with food sources nearby. There is ample sunlight and fresh water would be readily available - as long as no contamination comes from upriver. I think this local with its food nearby makes a solid place to hang out in the apocalypse of undead.

Also - do a Google image search for this area. It is absolutely beautiful. All the good pictures I felt were copyrighted and I didn't want to deal with that issue today.

Sunday, September 21, 2014

October Special Events

About a week and change ago I posted that I was waiting for some news, and I finally have it. I will be attending the Comic and Media Expo in Mesa in mid-ish October. The dates for this are the 17th through the 19th. This is a first year event, and it sounds like these people have their ducks all in a row. Not to mention they have what appears to be a pretty good guest list.

Speaking of guests - I am leading a few panels with local authors in the Phoenix area/region. First I will talk a little bit about the guests and then I will talk about the panels we will be doing.

Deena Remiel is the mind (and typist fingers) behind at least 16 different books (according to Goodreads) and enjoys writing stories involving the fight between good and evil.

T.M. Williams (Tina Marie) has written at least 10 works (again according to Goodreads). She focuses on Science Fiction and Horror writing, but has at least one Business book to her name.

Patti Hultstrand Is a writer and works in local publishing for authors of all types and genre's.Patti has helped to publish 74 books since 2009, she can also help you to get your book(s) out into the marketplace. If you want to know how to get your book physically out there - She would know whats what!

Matthew Cerra - This is me! I will be leading the panels, but also participating in these. I have the fewest books to my credit in the group so I get to be the baby on the panels.

These authors all deserve support so I encourage you to share/like their Facebook pages and check out their works. Breaking out in writing is all about getting in front of people that enjoy your Genre and impressing them with what the world inside your head is like.

The Panels
"Author Ask Me Anything - Late night" is scheduled for Friday from 8:00PM-10:00PM in panel room "Palo Verde III". - This is a great opportunity to ask these authors, well anything! If you are a fan and have wanted to just find out what drove your favorite character over the edge, into the edge or anything else, it is a great chance to ask.
Participants: T.M. Williams, Deena Remiel, Patti Hultstrand, Matthew Cerra

"Creation, Struggle and Dystopia: Your First Story" is scheduled for Saturday from 8:30PM-9:30PM in panel room "Robson". - This panel is a place to discuss how to get that first story from idea and onto the page. Authors have to manage a lot of threads at the same time so this is a chance to hear how some others have made their mark and gotten their books together and on the market!
Participants: T.M. Williams, Deena Remiel, Matthew Cerra

"Respecting Consent: A Reverse Perspective" is scheduled for Saturday from 5:30PM-6:30PM in panel room "Palo Verde III". - This panel is an updated talk about a subject I have not spoken about for over twelve years. This panel will be covering issues of sexual harassment and consent and while I do believe that it has content that younger audience members should not see - it would be best to keep this to mature 10+ audience members. I used to give this talk to 5th graders so I think it is still safe for them to hear.
Participants: Matthew Cerra, Sakura Thumbelina

Sunday, September 7, 2014

Book Review: A Ruby for Victor

Tonight I am going to write about a book that is not my own (please hold the gasps of surprise).

At a recent function for local Authors I made the acquaintance of Ronald C Tobin - another intrepid writer in the world of fantasy. We spoke for a few minutes and soon realized that we shared the same publisher! Long and the short of it we decided to exchange books and read what craziness the other was putting out into the world of printed word!

The first in his own multi-book series, A Ruby for Victor is not my usual forte for reading. It is a modern tale of vampires and their intrigue. It has a fascinating take on the "Vampire Mythology" that I enjoyed. He tosses in other familiar yet still fresh ideas that flesh out the story that allows the reader to find something to latch on to. In one way or another some measure of vampire knowledge (or lack there-of) gives you a starting point you can work from to get into the story.

Monsieur Tobin does a handy job of creating a structure that these vampires exist within that does not feel forced. Though at times it is quick paced with how quickly it introduces new characters and reveals the varied histories at work - the characters seem to keep up and do not lose pace with what is going on.

I feel my only valid critiques is that much of the character thought and feeling are not left to the reader to understand and comprehend on our own. We know exactly what every character is feeling and when - simply because it tells us so. This is not wrong - I am a person who guards his feelings and thoughts more closely than anything, so for me it feels odd that others would be so exposed.

If you need something new to read, and enjoy a solid Vampire story (that is leading to many more I hope after talking to the author directly) I suggest you pick this one up. 4/5 stars.

Friday, September 5, 2014

Relationships are Hard

My apologies for not getting the blog out last night - life gets exciting and for that I cannot apologize. I am stuck here unable to talk with my family because I had all four wisdom teeth out today - what better opportunity to write! Today's subject I will hopefully not upset anyone with - it is something that is fascinating to me so I felt it was pertinent to mention.

I was asked recently about the presence of gay and lesbian relationships in my stories. Sex and I have a very complicated relationship, much more than is needed really, so I must admit I did not have an answer.

It is not that I don't think about them - I just don't pay them much heed. Except when their rights are concerned. Then I will pitch a fight and kick ass every which way from Sunday. Yes I am a full supporter of LGBTQ rights.

I have made some obvious heterosexual relationships - its what I know. Its what many people know. But if I missed out on possibly having a meaningful love between two men or two women would the story be less engaging because of it? While there are sections of my book that things are laid out pretty clearly and we all know where all the pieces are going to fall - I want the intricate relationships these characters develop with other to leave everyone with someone to latch on to, to understand.

As luck would have it - inspiration struck me a couple weeks later. I was beginning to write the scene of a reunion between two characters separated by centuries of time, decisions that drove them apart, and a act of evil they both had a different part in - one redeeming and the other sinister. As I stated to write these two characters reactions to each other - I felt it would be a much more powerful scene to make that relationship more than even I originally thought.

After writing the first few paragraphs and laying some hints for a love that had once been there - I realized I needed more information. I did not want to assume that all relationship mannerisms were the same. That I could be missing out on some additional things I could put in this scene to make it so much more powerful.

I have never had to hide who I was, I have always been a slightly feminine dude who likes women. While most of my family falsely believed I was gay my entire teenage life - I have always been straight. I don't know how you show love to someone when you may not be able to touch them, when others may seek to harm you just because you give in to the crushing urge to reach out and feel their skin and hold their hand while you walk along the street.

So I have a few friends on either side of the spectrum I will be talking to. I am not uncomfortable acknowledging my ignorance - and while I understand our emotions and attractions may be very similar - how they struggled to show affection when they were not allowed to is something I have no clue on. It is something I will remedy and I hope my books will be better because of it. 

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Where are my Characters at?

Today I am going to do a rundown of the map of the World of Theron. I sent this image to a friend reading the book and they said it was pretty damn helpful in keeping track of where things are occurring at. To be honest I liked having it myself while writing. Without further adieu - I give you Theron (in color pencil glory).
This version of Theron is not the original - there was a much different one when this idea came into being a decade ago. However, this one grew as the story did. Additionally, I incorporated greater details based on an increasing understanding of how our world was made. I have a personal love of geology, paleontology, meteorology among other things science.
Yes, I actually have ideas for how weather patterns have shifted because of Epic events that occur in my story. In fact - I fully plan on weather having an impact on the outcome of what this world will look like by the end of the story.
Also, I am a HUGE fan of Jared Diamond and his books. His ideas on specific triggers causing the collapse of societies is, I feel, reasonably useful in explaining how some societies meet their end. I don't think any writer should go without reading his books if they want a realistic story about societies.
However - a breakdown of the nations of Theron, starting with the northeast continent and moving clockwise...

North East Continent
Ledun, Dalerad, Kalnor, Dwarven Holds, Barbarian Holds, Eastern Coalition, Pentath, Yulan.

Eastern Continent
Brodesia, Sythian

Central Islands
Iliana, Adavad, Narkissos, Zenon

Western Continent and Islands
Lopaka, Palila, Elnar, Goran, Western Coalition, Goronwy, Zsalt, Haidar, Noam, Phelan, Castell, Sanctum, Ergheith

Northern Lands
Priscus, Tyrnor

There are lots of lands for me to write about, and I have lot I will share as this world grows. I really want to get to a point where I write multiple books - taking place in different epochs of this world. I have ideas to write the pre-history and another for a story to take place in a modern or future technology era as well. That is for the future - for now I am making this trilogy go places.

If anyone wants more details on a country, let me know and I will make a post about a specific country and its culture, history, etc.

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Royal Commanders, Vandahar Gates and Denzel Washington

I like the idea of a person devoting themselves to an ideal, and showing humble loyalty to that singular thing they devote their lives to. Perhaps I am, at times, jealous of the focus individuals can have as they doggedly pursue the cause they have set themselves to. It is even more of a love when done in the thread of a fantasy story – because they can become not just devoted but empowered. Nothing can compare to the giddy feeling I had inside when I read the battles of Garet Jax in “The Wishsong of Shannara”.

This singular devotion also comes from my own personal faith – Confucianism.  I studied many different
religions and their place in a cultural context. For a time I can even say I was a Christian Fundamentalist – a prospect that undoubtedly would frighten some of those who know me now. Once I found Confucianism, its basic ideas seemed to grow on me. I liked what it had to say about what a person should say and do and how they should behave. Most importantly it helped me deal with quirks I had developed from my own life. When you have a colorful past as I do, everyday things disturb you that others do not struggle with. This gave me a way of acting that helped me to feel I had a guideline to follow – something I need more than people know.

Why am I discussing Garet Jax and Confucianism? Because they helped me create the concept of a “Royal Commander”, the first of these seen is Vandahar Gates in Empires Awakening. While they will not all be warriors like Vandahar, they are all individuals who have submitted themselves to a higher calling, and they have become “Tian” (insert character) and are princes of virtue among humanity. The Chinese consider this to be “Heaven” or “Sky” but mean “Great Whole” – these are those individuals that are truly following the teachings that will make them great. In my concept they have sworn themselves to serve the people of a nation, but that doesn’t mean they “serve” them in the traditional sense of following every command. These are individuals who work to ensure a people are safe and allowed the chance to prosper. Vandahar is devoted to fighting the dangerous elements in Brodesia making sure the innocent and the meek can live to prosper. You can fully expect a multitude of other Royal Commanders to make an appearance with entirely different sets of skills and paths to meet these goals.

Lastly, if anyone was curious what I imagined Vandahar Gates to look like and how he spoke – You can look no further than Denzel Washington. While I make it no secret I hope my books are received awesomely enough that I could get a movie deal for them (who wouldn’t want that?!?) I don’t know if I will get to be big enough fast enough that Denzel could still be asked to fill the part. Only time will tell.

It could happen.

Thursday, August 7, 2014

The World of a Fantasy Writer - Early Onset Insanity

This is being posted at in addition to its home here (edited of course), so some of this might seem redundant to my regular readers. However anything new is still to be enjoyed by all who usually partake in my blog posts. Once I get the "live" link I will update that URL with it.

Today one of the wonderful readers of my book sent me a link to a picture on Facebook with a unique
quote (look to the right), that after a bit I realized had some truth to it.  In some ways being the writer of fantasy can very easily turn into a very dangerous form of balanced insanity. If some random person was walking around your town describing dragons, unicorns and creatures of a magical nature - they would undoubtedly be committed before they hurt themselves or others.

However as an author of fantasy - I am called upon to create a fantastic world that will actually lure people in with its beauty and enticing story. I must create an experience that would be so immersive and engaging to the reader that they will want to leave reality behind for a time. I must create an experience that a reader will love and appreciate as much if not more than they do reality. I must also keep a firm grip on which world is real. That balancing act is exciting, and not entirely without its dangers.

I began writing when I was very young, though I am not sure when I began to compose entire stories. I know for certain I was reading as many books as I could get my hands on from an early age. I was a very early reader - before I turned four I could already read, driven to it by the book pictured to the right. As you can imagine, I had a thing for trains and rail roads. Okay, I will be honest, I STILL have a thing for trains and rail roads. If I ever become as well off as JK Rowling I fully intend to buy my own steam engine - working of course. It will be a Norfolk and Western Class J for those wondering.

However much of my reading was an escape - for much of the first 18 years of my life things were going on that were creating a need and a wish to get away. When I had opportunities - which were few and far between since I moved a great number of times - I would take writing workshops and courses geared to get the insanity inside my mind out onto the page. I even for a time participated in an email RPG. What that is is a creative writing exercise, where you tag multiple people in a story thread and try to push the story ahead while at the same time give them a chance to fill in the gaps, and then they continue to push the story ahead while you then go back and fill in your gaps and tags.

I think during that time, my greatest lessons were both practical and social. I learned great value in working with other creative individuals. Learning to let go is what I think is a very difficult process for some authors. This is no less sacred to them than anything else. My stories are my creations, my work put into the world - having someone change that in a way I can't predict can be frightening! You don't realize how attached you are until you hand something over to another and have no clue what they will make of it, its very hard to get used to that.

The even more important lesson I learned was how powerful words can be for us. Language is our way of bonding with others - friends, family and love is created through language. That person you see every day on the subway or the bus may not mean as much to you as someone you have written with or talked with. Those words and the emotions behind them mean something. One of the writers that I found to be an incredible blast to work with, who I spent probably four years working with, let me and a few close others know they had a terminal illness. Granted, I have never met the man in person, I had emailed and written with them for just a few years - but their presence and their words being gone really struck a chord with me.

"Empires Awakening" is the grandest story I have created yet. This is the largest world, with the most characters, and is a culmination of many different creative threads I have had dancing around inside my head for a decade. Probably the biggest thing I want everyone to know is that I want to bring them a glimpse of something wonderful. I will always take my time and craft a world or a place that will strike a reader with its beauty, its presence and even its emotional toll. Anyone who comes to my table at the Summer Author Event will be guaranteed an exciting and open spoiler-free conversation. I am very friendly and want every reader to have the chance to be given a way out of reality for a short time. Hopefully for not the same reasons I needed to. A few minutes witnessing beauty through the words put to page is something everyone could benefit from each day. 

Friday, July 25, 2014

Would you like to be in a Book?

Good evening folks - I hope your days have been fun. I have been hard at work writing this week and am glad to say I should have another chapter of the sequel to Empires Awakening complete very soon.

I have also recently been given a list of local media contacts I need to work through. Hopefully with all of this, I can soon get myself promoted to a point where I can begin to do Wizard World Conventions - and really make this book thing take off. Taking my book out there to the audience has always been the goal.

Something you should be aware of that I have coming up.

July 28th - Barnes and Noble has this as the date of availability for Empires Awakening. I will be checking out my local store to see what copies they will have on hand. Expect to see me photo-bombing my own book in public. If anyone else can check their local bookstores and do the same - I will post the picture on this blog and on the Facebook page.

August 16th - I will be attending the Summer Author Event at the Phoenix Art Museum. I am going to be on hand to sign and sell copies of my book. If you bring one you get elsewhere - I will sign it to you. There may also be a chance I will discuss what I have planned for some characters in the next two books.

Lastly - I am going to hold a contest. I am going to offer a chance for a few people to become characters in the story I am sharing with everyone in these books. This is what it will take - to enter. Go to the Empires Awakening Facebook Page and invite your friends to like the book page.  Take a screen shot and send the pictures to and I will enter you into the contest. Get someone to buy a copy and post a picture with it - and that character will be given a major role in the story.

Depending on the response I get I will up the number of character spots I will be seeking to fill. So please - get those requests sent. You could soon become one of the heroes of Theron! Please remember to include your information for me to contact you later.

I will update more later, have fun everyone!

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Official Book Release Day!

Today is the official release day for Empires Awakening. Yes - those of you who have signed copies from me are the proud recipients of a pre-release copy that makes you extra special. Those of you waiting on books still - they are being sent and you will be reading them soon.

As to where you can locate the book - I was able to pull up the book page on, Barnes and Noble, and on the website for Powell's Books.

Other than that, today all I ask is that those of who have read the book, please leave a review online. These retailers and other readers DO see those reviews and make choices based on them, so I look forward to seeing what you all have to say.

And yes Mr. Kiel - I am working on book two.

Thursday, July 3, 2014

This Page has Been Updated!

I made changes to the blog layout today. I now have actual pages that have different information on them! Additionally, since I am using this as more than just a page for my sometimes hilarious blog entries about my zombie fear I have re-titled my blog to be called "Master of Theron".

Theron is the world that my books take place in, so it makes sense that I am its master. Nothing more than that. In the coming months I will try to expand this to cover even more important events and information so keep watching and hopefully soon I can start doing shows and meeting my readers.

Best Regards
~Matthew Cerra

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

First Signing Success

Salutations my devoted readers!

Last Saturday I had the opportunity to have my first book signing – and it was a success. It actually helped out the owner of the coffee shop I was holding the event at.

Other than new faces to enjoy the shop, there was a breakdown in the espresso machine used to make all of the coffee’s. This resulted in a two hour closure that morning that I did my best to push people to the counter (after getting my book) to make sure they bought a drink or a snack to make up for that time they were closed.

Again, Thank you Sam for hosting my event at your shop. I will have to do it again down the line. Lo Fi Coffee was a nice place to have friends come out and show their support and get my book.

Now, I just need to figure out where my next signing event will be. I have something in mind for August – so please watch out for another event that could be coming. Once I get the details locked in I will tell everyone and send out invitations to everyone and write about it here.

Also, I am going to try and get my website set up soon so I can get books sent out to people online. This will hopefully be a page that can hold my blog and include information for each of the books as they progress towards completion. I know I will now have more people clamoring for the books to be finished more quickly – and I will do my best to make that happen.

Just as an FYI – book two first draft is 30% complete.

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Book Signing #1 - The Adventure Begins with Coffee

Today I get to make the very exciting announcement: My first book signing has been scheduled! Saturday June 28th between 1 and 3 at Lo-Fi Coffee in Downtown Mesa. The exact address is 105 W. Main St., Mesa AZ 85201

Since I am new to this gig, I have a feeling that this event could be a pretty funny moment in time. However, I think my publisher, Tate Publishing, picked a wonderful first spot for me. Thank you Jim! (He would be my marketing contact and guy I order my books through)

This is a picture from the front the coffee shop, Lo-Fi Coffee, that will house my first book signing. I admit, I was leery since I had never heard of the place - and my publisher is based in Oklahoma. There is a bit of distance there so I doubt my marketer Jim stopped by on his way home from work.

I did a little bit of Internet searching and felt better - and being that this is my first signing - I decided I had better scope the place out. I wanted this to be good for the cafe and myself. I was NOT disappointed.

I met the owner Sam out front - quite unintentionally. I walked up and he was stepping out. He turned right around and opened the door for me as I went in and immediately went behind the counter and asked if he could help me. Sam and I had talked via a couple of emails the day before and was very personable as I said who I was and what I was there for.

I had learned from the reviews online that this was a pretty artist friendly joint. Pictures of concerts and artists working at different events was a pretty common thing for me to find online. This place felt like I had stepped back in time to the coffee shop I spent my college years almost living in. To be frank, I like the place already. They had books and board games available on the shelf in back and I am pretty sure the TV had an old school gaming system attached.

The picture to the left of this text is a picture I took after talking to Sam about his cafe, what other events went on, and him giving me a few ideas for setting things up. I am thinking I may besetting up by those red chairs - but I guess I will see what happens. Once my books come in I will have to see what sort of space requirements it will take. I have only seen one copy of my book at a time. I don't think I can comprehend what dozens of copies look like and the space they will take up in a given area, but I am excited to find out.

Speaking of books, though I didn't take a picture of them, there were other fantasy books by authors right there next to the display case with the food that is available for purchase. Sam has a friend who also work in printing and he is no stranger to the genre. At this point, I felt even better about the arrangement. In fact, I am going to try and reach out to those other authors through Sam's friend. Might as well start making writer friends that may want to go to Conventions with me.

Now I finally get to the part of this blog that I am sure many of you are thinking about: how is the coffee? I liked that I didn't really order off the menu and Sam still made a delicious drink for me. I wasn't trying to be a prima donna I just don't know what I like from a coffee menu. I did not have a traditional introduction to coffee and neither did I get some snobby 'triple machiatto fancy Italian name for a small' training. I started drinking coffee as a way of dealing with head aches and as a drink option that was not soda. I like the taste of caffeine, but do not get a buzz from it. My fiance and I will drink coffee in bed before passing out - we just like coffee.

So how did he magically figure it out? I told him what I drank at Dutch Bros, and he made his equivalent. For those curious I drink an ER-911 usually as a blended or iced coffee. Kind of like a slushy with enough caffeine to send normal people to the ER. (Probably how it got its name). I am glad to say Dutch Bros now has some competition for me. Given how close Lo-Fi Coffee is to the Natural History Museum that my family frequents and that it is one of the few places intelligent enough to be open on most Sundays I think the family will finally have a solid coffee choice when we go to downtown Mesa.

So I will be inviting everyone I know and many I don't to make this event successful. Lets makes the first signing a blow-out success!


Thursday, May 22, 2014

Crisis of Confidence

There are days where I have not one iota of confidence in myself. Today is one of those days. It is particularly difficult because there are many days in my line of work where lacking confidence is just not an option. Not to mentions when my confidence is shaken in my own work.

I am published, freaking published and waiting for my book to hit store shelves - and I just want to shut down and not type one more word. To not attempt to create one more scene. And this feeling in debilitating. Also, it is kind of strange for me.

I am not used to not being confident - because I never really let myself feel confident in the past. I just didn't care, but I knew I would struggle through and do what I needed to do. Apathy was my companion for so long I guess I really didn't know what it was like to have a real confidence rather than a bitter lack of compassion towards myself.

I am trying to channel this energy I feel into a scene in the second book. For those of you who are afraid of spoilers - just known that things will happen, actions will be taken, and some people won't make it out alive.

I am just not feeling that though, my mindset needs to be different to be truly inspired to write. Believe it or not, the entirety of the text of Empires Awakening was written listening to the band Muse. I don't know what it is, but their music takes me away from everything and leaves me alone in the world I created on the page. Writing the book one piece at a time I muddled through and somehow completed a book.

It is impressive, looking at the editing hard copy I ordered. I look over at it and realize that it's my book. Someone is helping me get it front of readers and very soon I will even be doing conventions. How sweet is that? The answer is - Pretty Damn.

So those of you out there trying to write, live or work and are finding yourself unsure - just know we all feel that way. Every person on Earth has a down day and once on the other side all will be well. Just keep at it.

PS: For inspiring me to write this post,I want to thank  

Thursday, May 8, 2014

Where the hell have I been?

I have been a wee-bit absent the past few months.

Okay fine, COMPLETELY absent. However that is not without reason, and not entirely because of laziness. Life gets busy. I have a child - no longer a toddler. I have a better half who I like to be involved with - that is part of why you have one. Lastly - my book is being published - and that takes time.

Yes, my book is finally getting an official publication and I am now faced with figuring out how to promote a book. I need to find locations that I can take a small number of books to and get people to buy them. That is a weird feeling - let me tell you. I have some ideas but if any of my readers have some ideas - I will take them.

However, the book has now been edited and has a professional cover - that you can't beat. I think it is pretty awesome. I mean look at that tower! The font struck me as well - I am going to have to figure out titles that look awesome in that font style.

Titles you say? Well I don't think it is really a secret but this is book one of six. Yes, six.

When I started this tale of epic proportions I was not in full comprehension of how many words it would take to create the world of Theron and to complete the story. One book became three (in outlines). After finishing the first book and the outline for the next two I came upon an incredibly horrible/awesome realization - I missed half the planet.

I decide that I would need an entirely separate story line to deal with more villains and stories that this first book cannot logically handle. Part of my writing is that I did not want to invent reasons for my characters to go places. Looking at the story as outlined - there is no logical reason for my characters to go to the other side of the planet to deal with the other parts of the story that I didn't get to. I don't want to artificially put a character somewhere they do not belong.

So how did I solve this problem? I planned a second trilogy. That is why at the very bottom of my cover you see "Saga of the East". This story deals with the events of the Eastern half of a planet and another trilogy will need to be written to handle the events of the other half.

The outline for the "Saga of the West" is very fluid at this point. I have a few characters in mind, but only one major story arc (three are probably what I need) so it is still under development. The characters in the this book however - they all have plans and things I will need them to do. Their fate is sealed *insert maniacal laughter here*. Excuse me.

At the behest of my publisher, they suggested I get back into blogging - and I figure I will use this one as it already is in place and I can use it as a place to expand the universe I have created. Using that as a base I should be able to provide some more blog topics and I can start reporting on my successes and failures as this process moves forward.

On that note I will leave you all until next time - hopefully within the next week. If you message me questions I will deal with those more quickly. 

Sunday, January 5, 2014

Waking up to the Undead

I had another Zombie filled night. It was by far not the worst one - I have seen things in the past that have both frightened me and driven me to tears. Last night was just hour after hour of gnawing fear.

I would like to thank those that appeared in my dream, for not dying. Last thing I like to have to deal with is people I care about turning into zombies. Jeff Johnson - though you might mock me in real life about my fear of zombies you were supportive and helped prepare against them. Though after putting a hatchet in your shin as a kid, and a titanium rod in your thigh as a teenager - the idea of extended bouts of running from the undead probably would not be very appealing.

I am not sure why, but I was an amusement park. People knew the undead horde was coming, some of them anyways, yet still they played on. The park itself seemed to have themed sections for a southwest "western" prairie with a mountainous area to walk in. There was a bayou area inexplicably next to the Polynesian area. And the winter area seemed nice - but was prone to avalanches that wiped people out.

I can't tell you what type of zombie attacked, or how many were taken out. After they first showed up I just kept waking myself up. Every time I tried closing my eyes to sleep they were there again. Sure - dream about zombies it is just a movie with a play and pause function. Try to dream about being super-powered, winning a major political race or a three- I guess I can stop there. You get the picture.

So, I got around two and a half hours of sleep. I am tired, and I have a wall to patch up today. Trip to a dinosaur show, the Science Museum and grocery shopping. Sounds like I will be pretty tired today.