My Promise as a Writer

I promise to entertain you to the best my twisted little mind can manage. I will take you from the light, and into darkness. I might even let you see the sunrise at the end of the journey, but that I can't promise. My stories will sweep the hair from you brow, leave your stomach in knots, and suck the air from your lungs. But no matter how far we descend, I will offer you a fragment of hope to cling to. I will treat you to dark fantasy, science fiction, horror, and anything that falls into the strange and disturbing. Will we re-emerge into the light? Well, that is the point of taking the journey. I hope you will join me on these adventures.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

SAM OF GREEN COVE 1-50

1. Sam was born in Green Cove the night fire consumed the sawmill. He was born with a harelip. The villagers murmured over omens and portents.

2. On Sam’s third birthdate, the waters of Green Cove receded by three meters as though held back by an invisible dam. His deformity was blamed.


3. The water wall was a meter high when Sam was ten. He played below the piers with the other children, kicking the wall, watching the fish.

4. Parents did not permit children to play near the water wall, fearing the unnatural occurrence. However, Sam’s father knew where to find him.

5. Sam followed his frowning father home without complaint. “The mayor’s wife believes you gave her milk cow the evil eye before it died.”

6. Sam protested the accusation of the mayor’s wife, and his father believed him. But a father’s faith was not enough. He stayed home in fear.

7. By now the villagers blamed all miscarriages, deaths, early frosts, and any general calamity on Sam and his harelip. He was a lonely boy.

8. Tragedy struck when Sam was fifteen. Rains soaked the ground lumberjacks had cleared. Mud slides killed many, and the bay filled with homes.

9. Sam’s father was among the dead. The village was in shock with the southern quadrant in ruins, and two dozen strong men missing or dead.

10. Fingers pointed at Sam, and lips whispered maliciously. A village meeting was called, and Sam knew his time limited before the mob arrived.

11. His mother hastily packed food and clothes as Sam saddled his father’s horse. She gave him a rusty sword before pushing him into the night.

12. In the hills above the cove, Sam watched torches converge on his mother’s cottage. He wiped tears from his eyes as men forced their way in.

13. Smoke billowed from the door and windows as Sam turned the horse into the trail. He set the mount to a trot as torches fanned out behind.

14. Sam knew returning to Green Cove demanded he clear his name. He was determined to discover the cause behind the cove’s invisible dam.

15. Sam avoided trails and roads as he fled. Despite these efforts, he spotted riders on his back trail. The riders vanished on the fourth day.

16. Sam rationed food like a miser, but found himself in need of fresh meat after a week in the forest. He hunted on foot with bow and arrow.

17. He came upon a buck drinking from a creek. Sam released the arrow before the buck picked up his scent. It was not a clean kill.

18. Sam tracked the buck for over a league before coming upon its body. “That’s the king’s deer.” Sam spun around at the voice, arrow notched.

19. “You have nothing to fear from me, boy.” The speaker was old enough to be Sam’s father. “I have little concern for king’s law when hungry.”

20. Sam stood between the man and the buck. “This is my kill.” The man shrugged. “Never said it

wasn’t. That’s an awful lot of meat for a boy.”

21. The man held out a hand. “Lower the bow. I’ll carve and dress the buck while you retrieve your horse.” Sam declined. “You’ll steal from me.”

22. The man hooked a thumb over his shoulder. “Left my destrier and mule in that copse. Take my mount to retrieve yours.” Sam hesitantly agreed.

23. Venison steaks were broiling over a fire when Sam returned. “Your horse bites.” The man glanced toward him. “All good warhorses bite.”

24. “Name’s Jori,” The man said as he served them. “I’m a hedge knight on my way to Little Port. What’s your story?” Sam shrugged. “Run off.”

25. “Seems there’s a story there,” Jori prodded. Sam pointed to his harelip. “Because of this, I have been blamed for all the ills my village.”

26. Sam spoke of Green Cove, and the mysterious occurrence of the invisible dam. He finished with the mud slide. Jori kept his tongue.


27. “And now you hope to find who created this dam that is not there,” Jori surmised. “Do you have a plan?” Sam glanced to the fire. “No.”

28. “Well, Sam of no plan, may I suggest you travel with me?” Sam graced Jori with suspicious stare. “If I wished to rob you, you’d be dead.”

29. “It’s a long way to Little Port, and it’s as good a destination as any for a boy without a plan.” Jori shrugged when Sam remained silent.

30. Morning came in vibrant colors. Sam ate in silence before saddling his horse, and following Jori deeper into the forest.

31. They covered little ground on that first day. Jori spent the time regaling Sam of his daring deeds, lost loves, and disdain for authority.

32. They made camp early. “Show me what you can do with that.” Jori pointed toward the rusted sword looped through Sam’s belt.

33. Turned out Sam could do little with his father’s sword. “Never-ever carry a weapon you don’t know how to use,” Jori admonished.

34. Jori drilled Sam long after the blisters popped and started to bleed. The boy was aching all over when finally allowed water and sleep.

35. Jori welcomed the quiet and a chance to study the slumbering boy. Something trouble the hedge knight. He sought answers well into the night.

36. The first week passed in slow travel and hard training. Jori sat beside Sam as night descended. “We are being followed.” He informed Sam.

37. “About ten men,” Jori continued. “They don’t have the look of professional swords, except one. I suspect they hail from your village.”

38.“Green Cove?” Sam asked. Jori nodded. “Do we fight?” Jori sighed. “No. We ride of Little Port like we have. Change nothing in our routine.”

39. “What if they attack?” Sam blurted. Jori’s head shook. “They seem interested in watching, but that might change if our pattern changes.”

40. Three more days brought them to a village nestled against the Neck River. “We’ll sleep on a mattress tonight. No stone pillows for us!”

41. They found a tavern near the river. Jori paid for a private room. They sat down to ale and stew after attending to horses and gear.

42. “I’ve been thinking of your predicament,” Jori started. “And what I’m thinking is you’re going to get killed awful fast without a plan.”

43. Sam’s eyes widened in alarm. Jori sighed as he attempted to sort out the misunderstanding. “You’re safe with me, boy. But goodwill is rare.”

44. “You’d be wise to consider thous capable of creating that dam back in your village. It’s unnatural, and bound to lead to a powerful person.”

45. “What should I do?” Sam asked. Jori smiled“Learn! And when you think you can’t stuff anything more into your brain, learn some more.”

46. Jori continued. “You’re probably facing a sorcerer of some kind. That’s dangerous enough on its own. Asking questions will get you killed.”

47. “A sorcerer skilled enough to create that dam is smart enough to keep an ear open. He’ll know about you before you know about him.”

48. “I’m not going to give up!” Sam snapped. “I’m not saying that.” Jori said in soothing tones. “I’m encouraging to be quiet and methodical.”

49. “I have a . . . job in Little Port,” Jori continued. “I can convince my employer he needs another hand. You will learn much working for us.”

50. Jori’s offer felt ominous. “What’s the work?” Sam asked. Jori hedged a bit before conceding to answer. “A bit of mercenary work.”

Friday, October 21, 2011

MY DAMN NEIGHBORHOOD: FIRES, GUNMEN, AND A TANK

My damn neighborhood was a nice little cluster of lines on Google Maps when my wife bought the house three years before she met me. There is a bit of the rough and tumble redneck element, but that is to be expected on this side of Puget Sound, where the shipyard serves as the blue collar Mecca for those who hope to chisel off a small portion of the nearly defunct American Dream. We live in easy walking distance of the elementary school, Starbucks, a grocery store, and the largest business in town--Wal-Mart. A short bike ride (2.5 miles), and we are at the waterfront public library. Between our house and the library is a wonderful used bookstore so wonderful my wife has a hard time convincing me not to spend her paycheck on used books.




All this suburban niceness is offset by the interesting personality of the community.

On any given residential street in our tiny cluster of America, you will see no more than a third of the houses with manicured lawns. Of the houses not in need of painting, only a quarter of those avoid the . . . interesting colors. We are a neighborhood of mint green, vibrant blue, and pink. Think I even spotted an orange house at one time. Most of these home owners have little concern for the moss blanketing their roofs. Many of these homes also resemble refugee camps. Plastic tarps over front porches, furniture and rubbish piled up in the yard. Broken down cars clogging the driveways, and dead household appliances fighting for room on the front lawn among the pestilent population of garden gnomes. At first, I thought these guerrilla landscapers were a result of the community lying in an unincorporated section of the town. That attitude has since changed after becoming more familiar with the mighty P. O..
We are an exciting community!

Since November of 2010, our neighborhood has become well known by the fire and sheriff’s departments.

On November 24th, 2010, we woke up to find a house missing, and in its place a pile of charred timber. The 23rd was a nasty night. A blizzard in actuality. The weather was so bad that the fire department was unable to navigate their big, red engines down the driveway at ten o’clock at night. How do I know this? Our backyard neighbors were engaged in bonfire fun, the wind whipping embers high into the sky, into the branches of surrounding pines trees. Black ash dotted the snow in our yard, and I assume the same can be said of the other home owners sharing a timber dry fence line with the backyard neighbors. The city had lost power around six, when most folks are making dinner. The next block over, a family decided to abandon the mighty P. O. for a cozier location with heat and electricity. Rumor blames the fire on a stove burner that was not turned off when the power was lost. This information is third hand, so my faith in its accuracy is expressed with a shrug. Fortunately, the home owners have a good insurance company, and nearly a year later, they are moving into a freshly built house identical to the previous, and on the original location.

Life in the mighty P. O. was calm for two months. On the morning of January 23rd, 2011, my oldest daughter and I set out on a father-daughter date so she could spend her Christmas gift cards. The original plan was to hit the furthest out stores first, making the last stop the local Wal-Mart--which is no more than a pig’s fart away. At the last minute, I made Wal-Mart the first stop, not wanting to end a pleasant day with reminders of what society will devolve

to when the zombie apocalypse hits. Never before has my wife been happy I disobeyed her. Around the time my oldest and I were returning home, the sheriff’s department was receiving a 9-1-1 call concerning a shopper carrying a gun. According to the original plan, we would have been leaving the Wal-Mart at the time sheriff’s deputies made contact with the gunman, Anthony A. Martinez, a thirty-one-year-old from Utah, and an upstanding petty criminal. The Wal-Mart parking lot quickly became the scene of a modern day gunfight at the O. K. Corral. Two deputies were wounded, and Martinez was fatally shot. Unfortunately, Martinez’ thirteen-year-old girlfriend was caught in the crossfire, and killed when she ran into the middle of the shooting. That’s right. I said thirteen.

Another eight months passed without incident. All was quiet in the burg with the exception of exceptional neighbors (more on that in future posts). Then September 13th, 2011 happens.

I work from home. My office is in the utility room with a small desk shoved between the freezer and an old china cabinet. There are no windows. As a result, much of the outside world passes by while working. The noise of a helicopter hovering over the house, however, demands some amount of attention. I became curious if the rumored meth house four doors down was being raided. Foolishly curious, I stepped outside. What I saw was a pillar of smoke in the opposite direction. Seems I missed seeing the Dodge Durango speed past my house at 50 MPH. The diver of the Durango managed to miss the bright red stop sign at the end of the street, miss two lanes of traffic on a busy street, and utilized a neighbor’s garage in place of the brakes. A fire followed thanks to a busted natural gas line, and the driver was rescued by every day Joes turned hero. The home owners were gone at the time of the accident. A small favor? That is up to them to decide.


The street I live on was blocked off a few feet from my house, causing concerns over the wisdom of remaining at home rather than taking the more prudent action of voluntarily evacuating. The area was a circus of the curious for the next four hours. I watched car after car ignore the huge ROAD CLOSED sign, driving over orange cones. I have no idea if these idiots were attempting to get a better look at the fire, or if their destination was so important they felt it was necessary to ignore a roadblock set up for their safety. But they were not alone. The street quickly filled up with looky-loos migrating on foot--also ignoring the rather blunt sign. Even our own flesh and blood was drawn to the near tragedy. A cousin parked her car in our driveway before ambling on down the road for a better view. Sadly, I doubt if I’m any better. I was seriously considering propping up the ladder in the back, and offering folks an elevated view for ten bucks a pop. (Ultimately, I decided I wasn’t poor enough to shame myself in that manner.)

After the flight of the Durango, the neighborhood was quiet for a long time; for fourteen days to be exact. On September 27th, 2011, Lester Bradley Steele was pissed off. Steele lived in a nearby apartment complex that we have visited on occasion so my oldest could enjoy the company of a classmate. At 4:30 in the morning, Steele called his brother-in-law, claiming he had killed his wife and daughter. This call started the fun. The brother-in-law rightfully called the police. The police attempted to talk to Steele, at which point Steele decided it would be a fine idea to shoot at the responding officers. Enter SWAT. Police, SWAT, and tanks. . . That’s what I like to see in my neighborhood. Around 10:30, Steele surrendered without further incident. I have to assume he did not kill his wife and daughter since none of the charges against him mention murder. This occurred on a Tuesday morning near the elementary school my youngest daughter attends. You would think the police would have notified the school, and the school in turn would have informed parents to keep their kids home for the day, you know, with a mad man shooting at cops a hundred or so yards away. Nope! The sidewalks were clogged with kids heading for school just like any other school day.


Since Steele’s melt down, we have enjoyed some amount of quiet. Nothing too terribly unusual for my damn neighborhood. Feel free to visit, but I recommend a wardrobe fashioned from Kevlar, and don’t forget to bring your own fire extinguisher.

Associated Links:
House Fire
Wal-Mart Shooting: King5
Wal-Mart Shooting: Seattle Times
Wal-Mart Shooting:KiroTV
Durango Fire
Steel's Standoff
More on Steele

Friday, October 14, 2011

SAM OF GREEN COVE 25-36


25. “Seems there’s a story there,” Jori prodded. Sam pointed to his harelip. “Because of this, I have been blamed for all the ills my village.”

26. Sam spoke of Green Cove, and the mysterious occurrence of the invisible dam. He finished with the mud slide. Jori kept his tongue.

27. “And now you hope to find who created this dam that is not there,” Jori surmised. “Do you have a plan?” Sam glanced to the fire. “No.”

28. “Well, Sam of no plan, may I suggest you travel with me?” Sam graced Jori with suspicious stare. “If I wished to rob you, you’d be dead.”

29. “It’s a long way to Little Port, and it’s as good a destination as any for a boy without a plan.” Jori shrugged when Sam remained silent.

30. Morning came in vibrant colors. Sam ate in silence before saddling his horse, and following Jori deeper into the forest.

31. They covered little ground on that first day. Jori spent the time regaling Sam of his daring deeds, lost loves, and disdain for authority.

32. They made camp early. “Show me what you can do with that.” Jori pointed toward the rusted sword looped through Sam’s belt.

33. Turned out Sam could do little with his father’s sword. “Never-ever carry a weapon you don’t know how to use,” Jori admonished.

34. Jori drilled Sam long after the blisters popped and started to bleed. The boy was aching all over when finally allowed water and sleep.

35. Jori welcomed the quiet and a chance to study the slumbering boy. Something trouble the hedge knight. He sought answers well into the night.

36. The first week passed in slow travel and hard training. Jori sat beside Sam as night descended. “We are being followed.” He informed Sam.

Sam of Green Cove 1-12

Sam of Green Cove 13-24

Friday, October 7, 2011

FIRST REVIEW OF "SHADOWS BEYOND THE FLAMES"

The first review of “Shadows Beyond the Flames” has been posted on Goodreads.

A person's work being reviewed is always nerve wracking,
and we all know it, so I won't bore you with the agony's suffered. I'll simply say I'm rather pleased with what Sanelso2 Nelson wrote:

"First off, I need to give my thanks to Good reads for sending me this book. I appreciate it very much.
At times I wondered if the author was crazy sometimes bordering on mentally unstable. There were moments I loved the book and moments I felt somewhat lost. However, I found one common theme throughout, he is very good with how he can describe the situation. I thought he was quite witty in some of the stories. I just didnt enjoy them all, which is to be expected seeings as the book runs from the future space travels to fantasy to abusive fathers. On average it was a good read, I would be more interested in a novel (which he says is to come) than a collection of short stories.”

Nelson's review is fair and honest. Yes, I appreciate the ego boosting lines--I'm human after all. I also appreciate Nelson's honesty in mentioning being lost at times. Such comments force me to re-examine what I'm doing and make it better. But I wonder if Nelson knew my favorite quote from the review would be: "At times I wondered if the author was crazy sometimes bordering on mentally unstable." I'd like to say, "No!" but only crazy people say they're not crazy. Plenty of days have passed in which I'm left scratching my head over what I had written, wondering how things could have gone so horribly wrong for those poor, poor characters. Instinct says to stick with the ick, so I do; even when the events in Shadows Beyond the Flames left me disturbed. But it's fun. Roller coaster through the pits of Hell sort of fun. . . Okay, not that extreme.

Sunday, October 2, 2011

SAM OF GREEN COVE 13-24

13. Smoke billowed from the door and windows as Sam turned the horse into the trail. He set the mount to a trot as torches fanned out behind.

14. Sam knew returning to Green Cove demanded he clear his name. He was determined to discover the cause behind the cove’s invisible dam.


15. Sam avoided trails and roads as he fled. Despite these efforts, he spotted riders on his back trail. The riders vanished on the fourth day.

16. Sam rationed food like a miser, but found himself in need of fresh meat after a week in the forest. He hunted on foot with bow and arrow.

17. He came upon a buck drinking from a creek. Sam released the arrow before the buck picked up his scent. It was not a clean kill.

18. Sam tracked the buck for over a league before coming upon its body. “That’s the king’s deer.” Sam spun around at the voice, arrow notched.

19. “You have nothing to fear from me, boy.” The speaker was old enough to be Sam’s father. “I have little concern for king’s law when hungry.”

20. Sam stood between the man and the buck. “This is my kill.” The man shrugged. “Never said it wasn’t. That’s an awful lot of meat for a boy.”

21. The man held out a hand. “Lower the bow. I’ll carve and dress the buck while you retrieve your horse.” Sam declined. “You’ll steal from me.”

22. The man hooked a thumb over his shoulder. “Left my destrier and mule in that copse. Take my mount to retrieve yours.” Sam hesitantly agreed.

23. Venison steaks were broiling over a fire when Sam returned. “Your horse bites.” The man glanced toward him. “All good warhorses bite.”

24. “Name’s Jori,” The man said as he served them. “I’m a hedge knight on my way to Little Port. What’s your story?” Sam shrugged. “Run off.”

Sam of Green Cove 1-12

Thursday, September 29, 2011

WRITER PROFILE: TRACY FALBE (PART 3 OF 3) THE BOOKS


Tracy Falbe is the author of five novels, a shorty story, and numerous blogs. Her novels are available on her website (link provided below) in ereader format and paperback. Falbe’s first novel, Union of Renegades, has surpassed 25,000 downloads, and still going strong. Rys Rising, Book 1 ,the first book in a quartet prequel series to the Rys Chronicles was released August 1st of this year. The book is available for free download for ereaders, and is currently being serialized as a blog on Falbe’s homepage (see links below). She has also shipped her paperbacks around the world to international readers.

The purpose of this third and final installment of Falbe’s writer profile is to introduce readers to her work. Out of respect for those who loath spoilers, the decision has been made to allow the back of the books to herald the fun and adventures waiting within the pages of Falbe’s novels. To learn more about Tracy Falbe, please click on the links at the bottom of the page.


Rys Rising: Book I
(free ebook)



An outlaw rises to become a dreaded warlord, the terror of kings. He takes the name Amar and seeks to join the Kez, the fiercest mercenary society in the tribal kingdoms of Gyhwen. His fearless ambition is inspired by Onja, a mysterious rys female whose magic has shaped Amar into a loyal friend. He zealously pursues her every command and hopes to join her in her mythic homeland of Jingten. But he knows little about the challenges confronting Onja. She and all rys are the reviled creations of the tabre of Nufal, and Onja longs to expel her hated masters. To liberate the rys, she knows that she will need more than Amar's help. Onja sees her best hope for an ally in Dacian, a prodigy among rys, but he is loyal to the ruling tabre order and dreams of winning equality for the rys nonviolently. He holds tenaciously to his ideals even as the tabre brutally subjugate him. Will he endure more dark abuses for the sake of peace or reach out to Onja? And what fate is Amar blindly embracing as he kills for her? Like a tree crashing in a storm, all civilizations will crack when hit by the force of the rys rising.

Three more novels are planned in the Rys Rising series and will be published over the next year.


Union of Renegades: The Rys Chronicles Book I (free ebook)


Dreibrand Veta has killed for his country. At the frontlines of imperial expansion, he seeks to rebuild the fortune of his noble family. In his daring travels he encounters the rys, a race far more powerful than the human empire that bred him. Dreibrand cannot defy the rys Queen Onja nor defend his companion, Miranda, and her children from the wicked tyrant Queen.
Desperate for help, Dreibrand and Miranda join Shan, a rys with emerging powers who plans to challenge Onja. In Shan’s pursuit of the rys throne, he exerts his magical powers, gathers his allies, and incites rebellion among Onja’s human subjects.
Great wealth and power will reward the kings, warriors, and spies that align themselves with the rys pretender, but defeat could mean worse than death. Onja can imprison souls and her genocidal rage is legendary. Everything is at risk for Shan’s union of renegades.
This novel comes in 6" x 9" trade paperback or the following ebook formats: Mobipocket, Sony, eReader, PDF, Microsoft Reader, and HTML.



The Goddess Queen: The Rys Chronicles Book II



Queen Onja has called for Shan’s head and her Kezanada agents stalk him with enchanted weapons. For Dreibrand Veta, his growing list of victories has increased his influence in circles of power, but his fame has not endeared him to everybody.
The rebellion proceeds slowly for Miranda who cannot rescue her children until Shan defeats Onja. Shan has learned much since beginning the rebellion. His powers are growing. He has used his magic to kill, and, when the spring comes, his armies will fight the armies loyal to Onja.
Despite Shan’s mounting confidence in his battle magic, Onja will tenaciously defend her throne, and Shan will discover that he does not know the powerful secrets of the Goddess Queen.
This novel comes in 6" x 9" trade paperback or the following ebook formats: Mobipocket, Sony, eReader, PDF, Microsoft Reader, and HTML.



Judgment Rising: The Rys Chronicles Book III



To the victors go the spoils, and Shan and Dreibrand have flourished for five years as the leaders of their respective kingdoms. Allied by friendship, they greet the future with excitement and grandiose plans.
Dreibrand counts on his relationship with Shan to protect him from the encroaching Atrophane Empire as he carefully avoids direct confrontation with his former countrymen, now under the undisputed leadership of his old rival Sandin Promentro.
But a greater malice than imperial ambition threatens the new lords of the Wilderness. The long dead civilization of Nufal, where Dreibrand and Miranda nurture their fledgling kingdom, has not forgotten the brutal genocide of its ancient war with the rys. The ghosts of Nufal may have been extinguished but their avengers remain. The inheritors of Onja’s wealth and lands will now battle the nightmare of their judgment rising.

This novel comes in 6" x 9" trade paperback and multiple ebook formats


The Borderlands of Power: The Rys Chronicles Book IV


Nufal is invaded and human warriors fight alongside their rys and tabre champions in a grueling clash of muscle and magic. Grim struggles smash strategy into chaos, and loyalties degenerate into desperate choices for survival. Tempet and Alloi, driven by their desire for revenge upon the rys, push King Shan deep into the violent reservoir of his power.

Still reeling in the aftermath of battle, Dreibrand Veta scrambles to assert his authority upon the remaining forces of the Atrophane Empire if he is to defend his land and overturn the censure that disgraces his name. Rebellion on the imperial frontier complicates these goals as does Shan's sudden unpredictability as an ally. Miranda braves the snows of the Rysamand Mountains to demand that Shan pay his debt to her by helping Dreibrand. Only ambition keeps despair at bay as forces vie for dominance in the borderlands of power.

This novel comes in 6" x 9" trade paperback and multiple ebook formats.


Challenging Lessons (a short story)


For almost two thousand years Queen Onja has ruled the rys, a super race that occupies a high mountain valley. Her powers exceed the magic of all other rys, except perhaps her loyal young ward Shan. Onja instructs him in high magic, but one lesson triggers a moral crisis in Shan and sets him on the path of dangerous ambition. Read the beginning of a stunning conflict between two super beings.









To learn more about Tracy Falbe, take a look at Part 1 and Part 2.


Brave Luck Books Homepage


Tracy on Twitter


Tracy's Blog

Guest Blogs:
Fangirl Favorite: Lieutenant Uhura of Star Trek Past and Present
To Read or Not to Read
Two Ends of the Pen
My Favorite Scenes from The Lord of the Rings Trilogy

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

WRITER PROFILE: TRACY FALBE (PART 2 0F 3) INSPIRATION


The most frequently asked question directed toward any writer is, “What do you write?" The second most frequently asked question is, “Where do you get your ideas?" The previous Falbe blog (Part 1) addressed the first question, attention will now shift to answering the second question.

The desire to write can be ascribed to her early infatuation with the written word. Tracy has stated that from an early age she wanted to be a writer when she first learned how to read. She has held to that early determination, honed her craft, and made her dreams a reality. She studied journalism at California State University, Chico before fully focusing her attention on writing fantasy. Though she works hard at her craft, writing is not work for Tracy. “I enjoy the process of writing and consider it one of my primary forms of entertainment.” Her passion infuses the pages of The Rys Chronicles for the satisfaction of readers (who are adept in deciphering when a writer is merely interested in putting words on the page rather than striving to provide entertainment).

Like so many writers of fantasy, Tracy Falbe’s love for the genre was kindled between the pages of J. R. R. Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings. Her appreciation for the trilogy is strongly represented in breathtaking landscapes, tragic figures in the tradition of Boromir, and in the

insurmountable inner strength fans of Tolkien have heralded since 1954. Eowyn vanquishing the witch king of the Angmar made an early impression on Falbe of what courage and strength can accomplish when faced with fear made physical.

Despite the influences of Tolkien’s writing, she is quick to point out, “My fantasy novels are not really like Lord of the Rings, but the river of inspiration that gushes from Tolkien’s writing waters the fields of my imagination.” Falbe’s work focuses more on the grittier aspects of humanity rather than Tolkien’s emphasis on the ambiguous sins of the heart and mind. Falbe does not pull her punches, instead preferring to display the merits and deficits of her characters without relying upon hints and innuendos, enabling her to give life to a believable cast of characters.

Falbe’s quest as a writer does not end with Tolkien. Frequently, she draws from history when emersed in writing. “I find inspiration in history and like to contemplate warfare before gunpowder and life without modern technology. Placing characters in an elder fantasy world fascinates me and allows me to explore age-old notions of bravery when combat was often done face-to-face.” Her need to be in the midst of the action pulls in the reader, forcing them to participate in the confrontations whether they wish to or not. Her passion for history is further supported in the construction of her novels with the accuracy she insists upon with respect to the details, such as wardrobe and setting.

Falbe understands the need of readers when referencing a classic movie, based on Fred Gipson’s novel, in regard to the fates of her characters. “For the sake of drama, I usually go out back

and shoot Old Yeller, but not too often.” Though no one wants to hear the crack of the rifle, there is no denying the story would have fallen flat if this tale of sacrifice and loyalty did not conclude in anguish and bittersweet hope. Such moments have found their way into Falbe’s writing, aiding in the creation of characters readers can sympathize with.

Music has provided inspiration as well as the driving force for many writers. Stephen King drowns out the world with Metallica while writing. Nick Hornby wrote an entire novel on a relationship based on music, High Fidelity. For Falbe, the music inspiring her fingers over keyboard tends toward classic music, such as Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov's Scheherazade, inspired


by the classic The Book of One Thousand and One Nights. Antonio Vivaldi's Four Seasons is another favorite Falbe turns to. Movie soundtracks, such as Conan the Barbarian, Howard Shore’s Lord of the Rings, and John Williams Star Wars movies have provided much of the background music for Falbe’s imagination.



Tracy Fable is an inspired writer in tune with the world around her, taking inspiration from a kaleidoscope of sources and repackaging it for readers around the world. Visit her website, and dare to be inspired by her writing.

Brave Luck Books Homepage
Tracy on Twitter
Tracy's Blog

Guest Blogs:
Fan Girl Favorite: Lieutenant Uhura of Star Trek Past and Present
To Read or Not to Read
Two Ends of the Pen
My Favorite Scenes from Lord of the Rings
Books:
Rys Rising: Book 1
Union of Renegades: Rys Chronicles Book I
The Goddess Queen: Rys Chronicles Book II
Judgement Rising: Rys Chronicles Book III
The Borderlands of Power: Rys Chronicles Book IV
Challenging Lessons

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

SAM OF GREEN COVE 1-12

1. Sam was born in Green Cove the night fire consumed the sawmill. He was born with a harelip. The villagers murmured over omens and portents.


2. On Sam’s third birthdate, the waters of Green Cove receded by three meters as though held back by an invisible dam. His deformity was blamed.

3. The water wall was a meter high when Same was ten. He played below the piers with the other children, kicking the wall, watching the fish.

4. Parents did not permit children to play near the water wall, fearing the unnatural occurrence. However, Sam’s father knew where to find him.

5. Sam followed his frowning father home without complaint. “The mayor’s wife believes you gave her milk cow the evil eye before it died.”

6. Sam protested the accusation of the mayor’s wife, and his father believed him. But a father’s faith was not enough. He stayed home in fear.

7. By now the villagers blamed all miscarriages, deaths, early frosts, and any general calamity on Sam and his harelip. He was a lonely boy.

8. Tragedy struck when Sam was fifteen. Rains soaked the ground lumberjacks had cleared. Mud slides killed many, and the bay filled with homes.

9. Sam’s father was among the dead. The village was in shock with the southern quadrant in ruins, and two dozen strong men missing or dead.

10. Fingers pointed at Sam, and lips whispered maliciously. A village meeting was called, and Sam knew his time limited before the mob arrived.

11. His mother hastily packed food and clothes as Sam saddled his father’s horse. She gave him a rusty sword before pushing him into the night.

12. In the hills above the cove, Sam watched torches converge on his mother’s cottage. He wiped tears from his eyes as men forced their way in.

Thursday, September 15, 2011

WRITER PROFILE: TRACY FALBE (Part 1 of 3) AN INTRODUCTION TO TRACY


Tracy Falbe ranks high among independent writers with her first book, Union of Renegades, enjoying 25,000 to 30,000 downloads. Her journey from unknown to rising literary star is one of epically Hobbit proportions. Tracy’s story of achieving her dreams as a writer is infused with strength and determination.

Like Frodo Baggins, Tracy Falbe has found herself compelled to cover great distances in her journey as a writer. Tracy’ interests, education, and career have taken her from Mount Pleasant, Michigan to Las Vegas, Nevada, and on to Chico, California before returning to Michigan. There are some differences in the quest of Tracy and Frodo, enough to ensure Tracy out-distances Frodo in the hall of heroes. Sure, Frodo walked whereas Tracy most likely drove a car. She was never impressed into service in a goblin army (where there is a whip, there is a way!) And Frodo has harry feet to help him along on his travels--I suspect the same cannot be said of Tracy. Not to mention, Frodo never had to endure passengers who failed to roll down the window before tooting their own horns. Of course Frodo had to risk life and limb to ditch that oh so tempting bit of bling-bling into the pits of hell, but has he ever faced finals week? I think not, good sir! Neither has he combed the internet in anxiety, wondering if today is the day he will stumble across the first negative review of his literary works.

As with Frodo Baggins, Tracy Falbe grew up in a small, quiet corner of the world known as Mount Pleasant, Michigan. The major difference between The Shire and Mount Pleasant is that the latter is a party town--so I guess it’s not all that quiet--failing to require an eleventy-first birthday party for a rip-roaring good time. Growing up in this atmosphere well-prepared Tracy for her two year sojourn in Las Vegas, Nevada, as well as her extended stay in Chico, California where she studied journalism at California State University, Chico (voted the number one party school by Playboy Magazine in 1987).

Tracy’s explanation for her decision in moving to Las Vegas mentions a childhood dream of running away to join the circus. (Apparently she never read Ray Bradbury’s Something Wicked This Way Comes, or she is a scary person who relishes in the macabre delights of demonic carnivals.) Her years in Vegas are shrouded in mystery, and probably best left uncovered. Seems she left the city without a criminal record. It’s safe to say she avoided repeating much of the lunacy and debauchery that ensnared Hunter S. Thompson. (In defense of Vegas, Thompson had been in the throws of lunacy and debauchery since early childhood.)

In 2000, Tracy graduated from Chico with a journalism degree, and promptly changed course to focus on the world of fiction, opting for the ever competitive and exciting genre of fantasy, a worthy choice having been a life long fan of J. R. R. Tolkien. Tracy is the author of the Rys Chronicles, a four book fantasy series filled with wonderful characters, hard choices, magic and imagination--all the ingredients required for a successful fantasy epic. Penning the series began in 1997, and did not see completion for another six years in 2003. During this time, Tracy embarked on the worst nightmare for any writer--submitting query letters to all the likely publishing houses. As is the case with so many talented people in this highly competitive market, Tracy got no where fast, but she was far from defeated. In 2005, she started her own company, Falbe Publishing, and began distributing her books as an independent writer, sighting her self-employed parents as her inspiration. Since then, she has created the brand name Brave Luck Books, published a total of five novels with the most recent made available August 1, 2011. Tracy has also published a short story, “Challenging Lessons,” and is busy on the guest blog circuit when not answering pesky emails from other bloggers attempting to write about her.
When feeling the need to allow the muse to rest, Tracy finds pleasure in the Hobbit traditions of raising garden crops and baking tasty treats. Bicycling, boating, and swimming help to clear her mind when hashing out those frustrating plot points. To learn more about Tracy Falbe, click on the following links:

Brave Luck Books Homepage

Tracy on Twitter

Tracy's Blog

Guest Blogs:
Fan Girl Favorite: Lieutenant Uhura of Star Trek Past and Present
To Read or Not to Read
Two End of the Pen
My Favorite Scenes from Lord of the Rings

Books:
Rys Rising: Book 1
Union of Renegades: The Rys Chronicles Book I
The Goddess Queen: The Rys Chronicles Book II
Judgment Rising: The Rys Chronicles Book III

The Borderlands of Power: The Rys Chronicles Book IV

Challenging Lessons

Thursday, August 25, 2011

TO REPORT ERRORS IN "SHADOWS BEYOND THE FLAMES"


Few things annoy me more than finding myself reading a book that has been to press ten times, has seen three anniversary editions (one with pretty, glossy pictures) only to find a typo or typesetting error from the first edition still clinging to life. I understand the publisher is making an economically sound decision. Few errors share the magnitude of Larry Niven’s first edition of “Rim World” in which he had the Earth spinning in the wrong direction. Most typos are of a nature as to not affect the over all sales of a book--particularly if it’s survived long enough for the super-duper glossy picture edition. Ereaders and print on demand has made this economical stance obsolete. Therefore, I’ll be handling “Shadows Beyond the Flames” much like publishers of school text books treat their publications. All reported errors will be fixed! Please read the guidelines below if you have found an error in “Shadows” and wish to report the problem. There are two options for doing this.

Option A: Leaving a comment on this blog:

1. Don’t worry if the error/typo has already been reported. It’s my job to keep track of the reports.
2. List the format of your copy--either ereader or paper copy.
3. Provide the page number and name of short story.
4. Write the sentence as it appears in text, followed by how the sentence should read.
5. All contributors’ names will appear in the next edition in the acknowledgments. Please write your name as you would like it to appear. (No vulgar nicknames.)

Option B: Contact Bear Lord Publishing

1. Open an email to bearlordpublishing@gmail.com
2. Follow steps 1-5 in Option A.
Option B is intended to provide privacy for those who do not feel comfortable leaving a comment. Those who contribute to hunting down and killing the typos will be notified when the second edition of “Shadows Beyond the Flames” is ready for distribution.

Thank you!

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

BOOK REVIEW: A DANCE WITH DRAGONS (NO SPOILERS)

Thirty-six days have passed since the release of George R. R. Martin’s ‘A Dance With Dragons,’


and already thousands of reviews are clogging the internet highways--like refugees on The Kingsroad. (Google lists 16,500,000 results for the search: a dance with dragons review. The search undoubtedly includes everything Martin and reviews having no relation to the writer.) This is not a bad thing. A heavily reviewed book by professionals and hobbyists alike is a recommendation in and of itself. The problem with reviewing any of Martin’s book is answering the all important question of: “Will the review include exploration into the events, or limit it to style?” Discussions on plot and theme tend toward spoilers, so that option is out. Fortunately, the question has already been answered for me. My wife, who will be the first person to read the review, is nearing the conclusion of ‘A Storm of Swords.’ I value my life and want to see our children grow up, so I won’t make mention of the crossbow marriage of Jon Snow and Queen Cersei Lannister--Jon really should have kept his hands off her skirts. (Don’t worry, that doesn’t happen . . . or does it?)

As fans of Martin’s world know, ‘A Feast for Crows’ and ‘A Dance With Dragons’ were intended to be under the same cover. Fortunately, that did not come to pass. Otherwise, we’d be faced with a volume so large it’d require four maesters to hold the book and turn the pages for you. Not to mention, Martin would have taken eleven years to complete book four if a chunk had not been sliced off to create ‘Crows.' The events contained within these books share the same timeline while focusing on separate sets of characters. To my knowledge, ‘Dragons’ is the first instance where book five in the series picks up after book three rather than four. (Still with me?) Frustrating at first, but it all works out in the end.

What can you expect from ‘Dragons’? Death, destruction, and descriptions of feasts that will make your mouth water--even if you’ve already gorged yourself on steak and potatoes. Martin remains at the top of his game. The book is a wonderful ride that will keep you turning the pages unless you strive to ration yourself. (Forced myself to take nearly a month rather than consuming the book in the typical three day reading fest.) The safest statement about ‘Dragons’ is a reiteration of the presenter for July 29th, 2011 Seattle book signing: “Someone will die!” (After reading The Red Wedding, my wife has dubbed Martin as, “George Really Rude Martin.”)

I envy those who learned of ‘A Song of Ice and Fire’ through the HBO miniseries. I’ve followed the book series since 1998, and many who read this review may have been following Martin since 1996 when ‘A Game of Throne’ was first published. So I envy people like my wife who are just now starting out, and will enjoy five books before running dry.

Once again, the long wait begins.






Goodreads Book
Giveaway





Shadows Beyond The Flames and Other Stories by J.M. Tresaugue



Shadows
Beyond The Flames and Other Stories



by J.M. Tresaugue



Giveaway ends August 31, 2011.

See the giveaway details
at Goodreads.




Enter to win


Monday, August 8, 2011

SAM OF GREEN COVE AND HIS UNTIMELY DEMISE

I doubt many people wonder what happened to “Sam of Green Cove.” I suspect even more never heard of the boy and his adventures. I surely never received any emails when he dropped off the face of the planet, but that was expected. Who is Sam of Green Cove? A boy of fifteen whose life is marked by tragedy, mysterious events, and a deformity.

The concept of “Sam of Green Cove” originated as a serial for Twitter at one post a day, and perhaps two on Sunday if I was feeling froggy. I modeled the series after newspaper comics for no other reason than I like the slow build up. His story was moving along fine until I got sick. I missed a day or two, but I got better (so much for being turned into a neut!) Then I got sick again. I missed a few more days. A week of good health was enjoyed, things were on the upturn, and before I knew it, I was sick again. This time, I was in bed for a week with little to no energy. Do I turn on the computer, or save that energy to ensure I make it to the bathroom in time? Let’s just say my wife would not have been happy if I soiled the bed in preference to the computer. I chose . . . wisely. It’s safe to say the winter of 2010 was a nasty bit of business for me. I got all the bugs scampering around the school, regardless if the girls came home sick or not. And so “Sam of Green Cove” slipped into a quiet, uneventful death.

I miss “Sam of Green Cove.” I might be the only person in the universe who does miss him, but I find myself unable to leave him in his grave, rotting while providing good nutrients for maggots and the like. He was a good boy. I enjoyed writing his story to fit the constraints of Twitter. Don’t get me wrong. There were moments I wanted to jab rusty nails in my eyes. Early on, I learned to stick to names of three to four characters to save room on text. I agonized over word choice, and cried myself to sleep when a weaker word was necessary to bring the post to 140 characters or less. But I had fun! So much so, Sam will be resurrected.

As in the first run, “Sam of Green Cove” will appear in my tweets. Every Sunday (unless I’m sick), the weekly posts will be compiled into a blog for those who wish to read the episodes back to back. The same will be done at the end of each month, and again when this serial novel comes to its conclusion. I have no ideas concerning the length of “Sam of Green Cove.” What I do know is the first two months are ready for tweeting. For now, I will be digging up the backyard, unwrapping the old bedsheets Sam was buried in, and cleaning him up for an attractive display.

Look for Sam’s return to life on September 1, 2011.




Goodreads Book
Giveaway





Shadows Beyond The Flames and Other Stories by J.M. Tresaugue



Shadows
Beyond The Flames and Other Stories



by J.M. Tresaugue



Giveaway ends August 31, 2011.

See the giveaway details
at Goodreads.




Enter to win


Monday, August 1, 2011

"Angst" Review #2


Note: This review was intended for a site dedicated to independent writers. I was unable to post the full review for the sake of brevity. After a few days, I decided Pedersen was entitled to have the entire review posted, so here it is:

David J. Pedersen’s debut novel, “Angst”, is a wonderful journey through a magical world filled with wonders. Angst is a middle aged magic wielder and low level bureaucrat in the kingdom of Unsel. He finds himself and his taboo skills in demand when a mysterious threat to peace and harmony arises along the boarders. In the company of his trusted friends, Angst embarks on a high adventure filled with mystery and danger while struggling to retain his identity and values.


The pages of Pedersen’s book are filled with wonderful characters to love and hate as they bring joy or frustration to the reader. Immemorial issues of bigotry and acceptance, good and evil, love and hatred are deftly explored as Angst struggles to bring cohesion to his life. Pedersen has not only created a vast world bulging with all the elements fans of fantasy crave, but brings a unique and enjoyable touch to the genre of speculative fiction. Pedersen seems to have taken a page from Kurt Vonnegut’s rule book in working hard to make the reading easy.  The 767 page novel passes quickly, even when plagued with the day’s interruptions. “Angst” is a quick passed story that leaves the reader craving for more. Fortunately, that is what the reader will get when Pedersen’s forthcoming sequel is released. Though geared for an older audience, “Angst” is well suited for fantasy readers of all ages.

Thursday, July 28, 2011

WRITER PROFILE: CLAYTON DIGGS

A blog by Clayton Diggs and J. M. Tresaugue



As I sat down to write this blog, a bit of hypocrisy came to light. I don’t promote anything other than my writing career. That is not entirely true. I also promote good to excellent books, and the writers behind them. This blog serves as an amendment to previous statements on promoting/advertising. The joy that comes with reading a good book endures for the lifetime (or memory) of the reader. That joy is enhanced when coming across a great find, and passing it along to friends, family, and the strangers you meet in the bookstores and coffee shops. This month’s great find is the writing of Clayton Diggs.


Diggs made himself known when pointing out a few errors in my blogs. Since then, I have been following his work, and having a great time. Diggs’ writing doesn’t merely show promise. He is talented! His blogs are well crafted, filled with humor, and conclude with a recipe well chosen for the subject matter. (Been looking for a coffee related recipe on his site, but have not had any luck so far.) Perhaps the recipes are what lifts him above most bloggers.  No. It’s his style, his crisp and clear writing, the humor, and the recipes. Clayton Diggs’ future as a master in his craft is secured. At the time of writing, Diggs is working on his first book. Unfortunately, the title has been locked in a firebox, buried in the dank depths of McDougal’s Cave, and guarded by a horde of rabid bats. Regardless, I look forward to Diggs’ debut novel, which he intends to publish as an independent writer.


Diggs and his writing style are best described by the writer himself:


Clayton Diggs is an author from totally in the middle of nowhere, somewhere in the Deep Dark South. So deep and dark, it seems, that neither Clayton nor anyone he knows has any damn idea where the hell they are. Most people where Clayton lives can’t find their own town on a map, and most have never even seen a map. In Clayton Diggs’ hometown, there are more raccoons than human beings. Clayton often shoots raccoons, though not out of malice but simply because they mess with his trash. He really does hope that the raccoons he offs with a shotgun go straight to critter heaven.

Clayton Diggs currently has several books of fiction in the works, soon to be available for general consumption for Kindle, Nook, and on Audible.com. His writing, like his blogs, shows flashes of the dulled rapier wit that has made Southern humor famous throughout the land. At this moment, Clayton isn’t available for comment because he just blasted another damned raccoon and is trying to skin it. If you’re following him on Twitter, you know this to be true. If you’re savvy on skinning raccoons, please do send him a message, or tweet him on twitter. He’s getting kind of desperate, and when he’s desperate he takes to drinking, and when he takes to drinking, he often ends up in jail, and even though the sheriff is his cousin and will release him in the morning, it’s still not an experience he’s real keen on.
Clayton Diggs is a somewhat bitter divorce√©, but he does hold out some hope for future romance. He loves his dogs, he loves his truck, and he loves sending boxes of horseshit to his ex-wife. He’s an optimist, if an ambiguously ironic one, whatever that means. We would ask him to clarify, but once again, there’s the raccoon issue, so we’ll have to wait.

Follow the link to read more by Clayton Diggs’: http://claytondiggs.com/

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

THE NEVER ENDING REVISION



A poem is never finished, only abandoned.--Paul Valery



The same can easily be said of novels and blogs, or almost any written endeavor. That one sentence could have been written better. How did that typo make it into the manuscript after all those proof readings? My answer is simple. I’m too close to the subject matter. I know what I intended to write, so that is how I read the segment. Thankfully, my cadre of volunteer proofreaders is excellent. They are under orders to make the pages bleed red ink, and they do. They are brutal with their recommendations. Mistakes, however, still surface, like an obstinate poo surfing the eddies in the toilet bowl. Want proof? I received a message from Clayton Diggs in regard to a couple blog postings: “Dude, I like your blog! Check for typos: ‘There maybe some interest’ should read ‘There may be...’. Also, ‘I must read’ = ‘A must read.’ I reviewed the blogs, and he was right. The changes were made, the blogs reposted.


Diggs is a stranger to me beyond his tweets, and this translates to him taking a significant risk in contacting me. Not everyone enjoys having their mistakes pointed out, particularly those made in a public forum. (I appreciate the manner in which he handled the matter.) He had no idea how I’d react, so I hope he is as pleased with me as I am with him.


With the upcoming release of Shadows Beyond the Flames and Other Stories, I will be placed in a situation in which I have less control over who reads the collection of shorts. The future readers will find mistakes. It’s unavoidable. Take a look at your shelves if you want proof. Pick up your favorite book (I’m reaching for It), and flip through the pages. You are guaranteed to find at minimum one typo and a sloppy sentence or two. Chances are, the book you picked up was written by an established writer who went through the traditional publishing process. These books we are holding have been picked apart by the writers, their cadre of proof readers, agents, editors, and typesetters. They did a marvelous job. The book looks great, feels important, and, in a few years, will smell great. Who is to blame for the grammatical errors, plot holes, and sloppy sentences? Fault lies with no one but the author. This is true even when the error is unintentionally inserted during the typesetting. After all, it's the writer's name on the book cover, not the typesetter's. Errors in publication must be dealt with, so let’s get started.

The editing never ends. Misspelled words and other typos were found as my wife and I worked on formatting Shadows Beyond the Flames, giving us a chance to make last minute corrections. I’m sure there are more to be found by fresh eyes. That’s where you, the readers, come in. Like school text books, I’m open for business when readers report errors. Being an independent writer/publisher, I can afford to include the corrections in following editions. This is a good thing! Nothing frustrates me more than spotting an error in a big name author’s novel, especially when the book went to press ten times, or made it to an illustrated anniversary edition. The publishing industry knows it is cheaper to leave the typos in place rather than typeset the novel yet again. Independent publishers have more wiggle room in this regard (all due to technology). The errors can be fixed. That misplaced comma must be removed, and there corrected to they’re. “The king sits upon a thrown until he his throne down by his subjects. . .” Wait! Reverse that! Such typos can be the kiss of death for independent writers/publishers since they carry the stench of hack, amauture, dilettante--whether deserved or not.


Do I have a big ego? No! It’s HUGE! And it has to be if I’m going to tell readers to drop that lovely cash for my book. Yet I’m grounded enough to know I’m not Midas on the keyboard. (Well . . . not all the time.) I have no choice but to accept and seek criticism if I hope to grow as a writer. I may politely disagree but not until I take a look at the writing in question. As an independent writer, I don’t have the years of experience and knowledge contained within the name of that publishing company printed on the spine of the book you grabbed. I have myself, a cadre of proof readers, and people like Clayton Diggs who is willing to give a fellow a hand without expecting anything in return. (Please do not take my statements to mean Mr. Diggs is available to proofread unsolicited manuscripts.)

As the release of “Shadows Beyond the Flames” approaches, work is underway on my website. We (that is the royal we because I’m a royal pain) are constructing a forum where readers will be able to identify the poop that made its way into publication. Those recommendations, if agreed upon, will find their way into the second edition. I also give credit where credit is due. Participants in the forum will find their name in the acknowledgments after every nugget of poop has been gathered and flushed for a cleaner second edition.


My job is to provide my readers with entertaining stories. Mistakes tend to rip readers out of the story, forcing them to puzzle out the writer’s intention. I’d rather keep you, the reader, engaged in the story rather than reviewing your knowledge of literature as your eyes pass over a “whether” that should have been “weather.” I’m certain those instance can be eliminated with your help.


Thank you for your forthcoming criticism.


To learn more about J. M. Tresaugue visit: http://jmtresauguebooks.webs.com/

To Learn more about Clayton Diggs visit: http://claytondiggs.com/

Sunday, July 17, 2011

WHY I HATE BLOGGING AND WHY I STILL DO IT



I hate writing blogs. I hate being in a position where I must write one blog a week, preferably more, if I hope to remain relevant. And really, what is the purpose of writing a blog? Promotion. The purpose of writing a blog is to promote either yourself, a philosophy, a business, or a product. Only one of the above applies to me.


I’m not terribly interested in promoting myself as a person. I lead a boring life, planted at a desk day in and day out, writing and revising. I clean house, mow the lawn, and cook dinner Monday through Friday. I walk the dog and ignore the cats. What’s there to promote? I suppose I could write a blog about hiking with the dog. There may be some interest in the stories (look at the success of “Marley and Me”), but the need to tell those tales of tail wagging can be satisfied in a short conversation with those who are truly interested in my dumb mutt. (I’m counting an audience of three who’d patiently listen to the dog stories.) Do I tell people that my dog likes to drink river water? Show me a dog who doesn’t like to drink from a river or creek. “I’m in the wilds! I’m drinking water from a stream! And it’s not in an f-ing bowl!” Cute, but uneventful. I tend to shy away from cute stories for my reading and writing. It’s not me. Neither am I interested in complaining about the perceived losers filing in and out of the box store all day long. Not interested in writing about the mundane. That is not the type of writer I am. There are plenty of folks out there who can take the common events of everyday life, and transform the dog walk into an amazing adventure. They are damn good at what they do. But that is their thing, not mine. Neither am I interested in writing about the triumphs and disappointments of my daughters. They have a right to privacy, which is why I use the dog for examples--he has no concept of privacy. Basically, there is no need to promote J. M. Tresaugue as a person. Our lives are not that different. I have a journal if I want to write about my life. That way I am only boring myself, and not you.1


Do I have a philosophy to promote? I’m pretty sure everyone does. My views tend to surface in my fiction writing, but that is an illness all writers suffer from. Do they belong in a blog? Not for me. I’ve made my own choices in politics and religion, and encourage others to do the same. I refuse to tell people that their life will be better if they vote a certain way, or what they should do with their faith. I have no right to interfere in your business! I’ll interfere in the dog’s life, but that’s because he is living in my house, eating on my dime, and pooping in my yard; all without any return. (He actually thinks I like him!) I grudgingly interferer in my daughters’ lives, but only to keep them safe and to encourage them to think for themselves. (They actually think I like them! Okay, that is true.) No point to chronicle a personal philosophy here since my philosophy is not interested in beating up your philosophy. (Did I contradict myself? Yes!)


Should I write I blog to promote a business? Hell no! Especially if I’m not getting paid! The only business I’d promote would be my own, but I don’t own a business. (The only exceptions are for the rare occurrences when I’m completely blown away by a company accomplishing something amazing, like colonizing Mars.)


Now we come to promoting a product. Do any of us truly need yet another advertisement? Advertisements are on our clothes, on our license plate holders, on the products we buy, storefronts, billboards, movies, youtube, social networking sites. They arrive unsolicited in our mailboxes. Open your eyes and you’re assaulted with advertisements. This includes the corporate propaganda in your office. The only time we are free of advertisements is when we sleep. (But I’m sure there are teams of assholes working to change this--we are talking eight hours out of the day when the erection pill companies can’t reach you. Do you think they are happy about that?) So do you really need another advertisement? Probably not. But I do. I write fiction because I’m driven. Perhaps addicted is a better word. Find me on a day when I have been denied the chance to work on a story and you won’t find much to like. I see no purpose in sweating over the keyboard, revising and revising until I’m tired of reviewing the same old pages (and then revising once more) if I’m not going to do my damnedest to get the stories into the hands of readers. I’d stick to journaling if I didn’t want people to read what I write. I sit in front of the computer day in and day out for us--to keep me sane, and to entertain you. I put days and weeks into the short stories that will take you less than an hour to read. I sweat for years over the longer works. The short stories in “Shadows Beyond the Flames" were accumulated over a five year period, with most penned between 2009 and 2010. I think a few bucks is a worthy trade for all the work that goes into story creation (if I didn’t my wife and I would still have room for more bookcases in our house).


So that is why I blog. To promote my work and to keep you updated on my projects and events. And that is also why I hate blogging. You worked hard for your money, and now I’m working hard to exchange your money for books. Yes, I am conflicted. Unfortunately, there is no way out. If I am to get my book into your hands then I have no choice but to advertise. Besides, I have to feed the kids somehow. Won’t anyone think of the children?

1 Furthermore, my wife will be the first to tell you this blog does not represent my personality. (She is going to be pissed she is a footnote!)

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Author's Note from "Shadows Beyond the Flames."

Author’s Note I: You Really Should Read This First

My wife once asked, “Could you write a story with a happy ending?” She was reading the first draft of Victim at the time while I was scanning the pages of Asimov’s Science Fiction. After a moment of contemplation, I came to the conclusion that writing happy stories might be impossible for me. Shrugging, I answered her question the best I could. “Sometimes Always was suppose to be an uplifting story of a father reminiscing about his daughter." But even that story
clings to its fair share of death and murder. I deserved every bit of eye rolling in regard to my lame defense. The Groaning Attic is perhaps the only story I’ve written that comes anywhere close to a happy resolution.

Many of the stories contained within this volume are filled with folks being maimed, dying, and having an all around frightening time. Yes, there is some humor, but don’t expect much. When I write, I tend to go to the dark places, the places that send me scrambling under the blankets late at night. Don’t ask why because I don’t have an answer for you. I’ll let you know once I figure it out for myself. I do know, however, I’m not alone in my desire to look into the darker side of life. The proliferation of horror and dark fantasy books, magazines, fanzines, and ezines are proof enough I’m in good company. So if you are timid or loath the ominous sounds in the night, then these stories are not for you. Don’t worry. This probably means you are well adjusted. (Hopefully you bought a paper copy so you can take it down to the used bookstore, and get something useful out of this volume.) If your passions are similar to mine, then you are about
to embark on a series of adventures that will not disappoint. I enjoyed writing these stories, and I’m arrogant enough to say you will enjoy reading them.
A helpful hint for those who insist on continuing from here: The worse of the gore is found in the first short story, The Manual. Please proceed on from here as you see fit.

Monday, July 4, 2011

About "Shadows Beyond the Flames and Other Stories"


J. M. Tresaugue’s Shadows Beyond the Flames and Other Stories proves he is a versatile writer. His stories span science fiction, fantasy, horror, revenge, and the plain strange with social commentary thrown in for kicks.

Shadow Beyond the Flames Cover Art

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Sam of Green Cove Episodes 22-27

22. The man hooked a thumb over his shoulder. “Left my destrier and mule in that copse. Take my mount to retrieve yours.” Sam hesitantly agreed.

23. Venison steaks were broiling over a fire when Sam returned. “Your horse bites.” The man glanced toward him. “All good warhorses bite.”

24. “Name’s Jori,” The man said as he served them. “I’m a hedge knight on my way to Little Port. What’s your story?” Sam shrugged. “Run off.”

25. “Seems there’s a story there,” Jori prodded. Sam pointed to his harelip. “Because of this, I have been blamed for all the ills my village.”

26. Sam told of Green Cove, and the mysterious occurrence of the invisible dam in the bay. He finished with the mud slide. Jori kept his tongue.

27. “And now you hope to find who created this dam that is not there,” Jori surmised. “Do you have a plan.” Sam glanced to the fire. “No.”

28. “Well, Sam of no plan, may I suggest you travel with me?” Sam graced Jori with suspicious stare. “If I wished to rob you, you’d be dead.”

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Sam of Green Cove Episodes 15-21

15. Sam avoided trails and roads as he fled. Despite these efforts, he spotted riders on his back trail. The riders vanished on the fourth day.
 
16. Sam rationed food like a miser, but found himself in need of fresh meat after a week in the forest. He hunted on foot with bow and arrow.

17. He came upon a buck drinking from a creek. Sam released the arrow before the buck picked up his scent. It was not a clean kill.

18. Sam tracked the duck for over a league before coming upon its body. “That’s the king’s deer.” Sam spun around at the voice, arrow notched.

19. “You have nothing to fear from me, boy.” The speaker was old enough to be Sam’s father. “I have little concern for king’s law when hungry.”

20. Sam stood between the man and the buck. “This is my kill.” The man shrugged. “Never said it wasn’t. That’s an awful lot of meat for a boy.”

21. The man held out a hand. “Lower the bow. I’ll carve and dress the buck while you retrieve your horse.” Sam declined. “You’ll steal from me.”