War of Nytefall: Eradication Volunteers Needed!

Bill Murray from Stripes (BTW- There is no meeting.)

Here’s my first call for anyone who wishes to help promote War of Nytefall: Eradication.  This is the 4th book of my vampire series.  To be clear, nearly every character is a vampire and it follows the events surrounding the appearance of a new breed called Dawn Fangs.  The war has been fairly cold with other enemies stepping between the old-world vampires of Nyte and Clyde’s new kingdom of Nytefall.  This time, it’s a cult that has broken away from the Sun God religion and possesses a weapon that may have the power to kill Clyde the Dawn Fang progenitor.  He might actually have to fear this thing.

My goal is to release the book at the end of February and continue hyping on my blog in March.  I’m going to be asking volunteers to choose a day in March and try to spread people out in that month.  The choices of posts (sent in html or Word) are the following:

  1. General ‘Book is Live’ post with blurb, teaser, author bio, cover, and sales info.
  2. A specialized post that we can discuss a topic for in the comments or by email.

I’m really hoping to get at least a dozen volunteers, so please share this post or direct friends to it.  If you know anywhere that I can go to ask for help then I’ll head over there too.  It’s been a long time since I tried to set up a blog tour, so I’m kind of rusty and out of the loop.  Any help would be appreciated.

Posted in War of Nytefall | Tagged , , , , , , , | 18 Comments

A Week to Remember . . . Give Me a Minute . . . So Much Happened

I’m writing this Friday night before I pass out, but I can’t tell if the post or the collapse will win this race.  A common statement among people I know is that this week felt like it went on forever.  Not always in a bad way, but there weren’t many moments to breathe.  Ended on Friday the 13th too, so maybe that’s what caused all the trouble.  Had a really full and big moon for the last night or two as well.  That would explain a lot of what I was getting thrown my way.

Now, I got 1.5 chapters done last weekend, which was a great start.  It would have been more, but I had some errands that stopped me from finishing the half.  My plan was to do that throughout the week, except I found that the universe was destined to make me routinely collapse on my bed by the end of everything.  The big chapter I wrote was actually an all villain one because I had a few scenes that got pulled from the flanking chapters.  She hadn’t made an appearance since the prologue, so I needed to give her more time before she became more hands on.  I’m enjoying this character because she’s kind of a like Chastity Sullivan, but with less shame and morality.  Basically, I’m writing a very lustful and conniving character who is smart enough to know that she has to avoid going up against Clyde without a secret weapon.  Very different from the more arrogant villains who have littered War of Nytefall.  I’m looking forward to writing her again next weekend even though she’s spawned from a rough source.

School was busy because we had field trips, a dance on Friday night, and I had to run around helping with a lot of other things.  Only one week left before a two week break, so there’s a lot to be done.  The field trip went off smoothly and the kids I was helping did great.  I managed to snag two puzzles (Detective Pikachu 1,000 piece and Prince John from Disney’s Robin Hood 1,000 piece) as I followed one kid through the toy section.  I mean, I literally had to do a quick scan and yoink as I power-walked by because this was a kid on a mission.  As my dad said, it sounds like I got my steps in.  My legs are kind of numb as I write this.

*eyes getting heavy*

Briefly, I’ll say that the Friday dance was a lot of fun.  I brought my son who got to meet several of my coworkers and students.  He was really nervous and had some crying fits before we left the house.  Almost had one at the dance, but I was able to take him for a walk and show him the classroom I work in.  He was amazed at the fridge, washer/dryer, and kitchen set up.  Though not as amazed as he was about the small rocking chairs we had.  The thing that had him nervous was that there were ‘so many teenagers’ and they were ‘so much bigger than him’.  After pizza and sweets, he got the courage to hit the dance floor and got into.  It was when there were fewer people out there that he began making friends and showing off.  At one point, he told me he met a girl and pointed at someone with a big grin.  Made it through the whole party and now he’s in bed.  Tomorrow is a big day for him with his morning activities and then we need to start moving my stuff into the basement for the painting happening the week he’ll be with his mom . . . Well, that’s as good an opening as I can find.

Possibly the biggest drain on me is from a week long issue.  As usual, I can’t go into details, but the ex-wife and I were butting heads for most of it.  Culminated in a rough therapy session that gave me flashbacks to our marriage counseling days, which was a massive drain on my mind and body.  We have a major difference of opinion on something with my son and there’s no middle ground that we can find right now.  By the time this post goes live, I’ll have already met with her again on neutral territory and maybe things will have taken a better turn.  I unleashed a lot of what I’ve kept pent up for the last year, but I don’t think it meant anything.  All it really did was exhaust me by the end of the week and stop me from writing the last two sections of this chapter.

Oh, did have a parent/teacher conference for my son.  We’re pinpointing his strengths and weaknesses since it’s the first one of the year.  I’m seeing how his actions at home mirror what I see in the reports.  Best thing is that he tries, participates, and everyone thinks he’s a joy to have around.  I find these very important because it means he can socialize when he gets comfort.  With how he gets nervous, I worry that he can grow into a person who avoids others and that can really hurt his future.  More so than the toe-walking, head-banging, arm-flapping, and any other physical tic that people focus on.  If you can make people happy that you’re around then you’ll have friends wherever you go, which is a good life to lead.

I have no real plans for the week.  Getting things ready for painting and writing a bit whenever I can.  I’ll be doing more with my blog preparation than the novel.  Might take a night to work on a blurb for War of Nytefall: Eradication.  We’ll see how tomorrow’s ‘Volunteers Needed’ post goes.  I really hope to get people asking for specific topics, so I can get things ready and more unique.  Talk more about that tomorrow though.

Goals of the week:

  1. Get room ready for painting.
  2. A little blog work for March.
  3. Work on any volunteer requested posts.
  4. Write a chapter or two of War of Nytefall: Ravenous
  5. Read more ‘Overlord’.
  6. Finish this circular puzzle before I have to pack away the table.
  7. Remember gloves when cold in morning and umbrella when raining.
  8. Cry to bed after scheduling this post, especially since it just took me 4 tries to write ‘scheduling’ (5th try!) without screwing up.  I’m out . . . But only after writing and scheduling (YES!  First attempt nailed it!) because I’ll be awake and active once this goes live.  Later.
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Hero Motivation vs Villain Motivation

I was asked a few months back to write about the motivations of heroes and villains.  This was the be done separately, but I found the topics overlapping.  That and I thought it would work better as a comparison.  After thinking and comparing various pairings, I find that the above picture is true and so is this:

Heroes are defined by their villains.

Yes, they have individual aspects, but a hero is only as good as his or her villain.  If they are facing a bungling fool that is easily toppled then they can seem weak or overpowered.  A hero can be the underdog, but not the villain.  Otherwise, you wonder how the bad guy got so far in the first place.  This is why the motivation of antagonists should probably be designed before those of the protagonist or at least connected in some fashion.  It will be a strange story if the villain is out to steal a precious gem, but the hero is out to save the world.  Those don’t really match up unless the gem is essential to destroying the world in the first place.

I’m just going to list some tips in regards to motivation because it will always vary depending on the story.  A cattle rustler in a Western will differ to some extent from the undead dragon that has recently awaken from its crypt.  So, I’m going to try to talk in generalities instead of specifics.

  1. Even if it doesn’t start that way, the hero needs to develop a motivation that counteracts those of the villain.  They can’t keep following a path that won’t lead to conflict.  If the story ends with the hero succeeding in finding his true love while the villain has blown up the planet then you have a problem.  In fact, you may have been telling two stories at the same time by accident.
  2. Villains can possess a heroic motivation such as saving a loved one.  It’s how they go about doing it that makes them the antagonist.  A hero may travel the world to get the cure for his dying mother.  A villain may harvest organs from unsuspecting college students or rob a bank.  So, the motivation can be anything, but it’s evolved by the character’s actions.
  3. Heroes and villains can possess the same motivation if they are chasing the same thing.  It could be the throne of kingdom, a magical relic, the hand of a potential lover, or anything.  While actions can define who is who, this is where the second half of a motivation can come into play.  This would be what they plan on doing with the target of motivation after gaining it.  For example: Character A and B want the McGuffin.  Character A wants it to prevent his college from being shut down.  Character B wants it to buy a nuclear weapon and take revenge on his high school football team.  Both are motivated to get the same thing, but their motivations split when it comes to what their final goals are.
  4. Motivations can change as situations change.  In most cases, it’s the antagonist who causes this to happen or at least makes the jump faster.  Seems protagonists are commonly a few steps behind here.  A villain progressing faster can force a hero to alter their course, so this again shows how they are connected.  You can really sense how they feed each other in terms of a driving force.  Even if the hero gives less to the villain, their presence means things won’t run smoothly.  Those pesky do-gooders tend to get in the way.

As you can see, motivations are interlinked to some extent.  Personally, I believe villains guide this area of a story more than heroes.  At the very least, they give the heroes something to aim at in terms of getting stronger.  A secondary motivation to gain more powerful for either side will stem from their rivalry.  That’s another point I should make before I finish:

Characters can have more than one motivation!

They’re just like goals in that way.  We’re all driven by multiple influences in our life, so we can be motivated by more than one thing as well.

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How To Promote Your Book On Instagram

Nicholas C. Rossis

Kurt Walker | From the blog of Nicholas C. Rossis, author of science fiction, the Pearseus epic fantasy series and children's booksYou may remember Kurt Walker from his recent posts, 9 Ways To Market Your Book With No Money and 7 Things to Do Before Your Book Is Released.

Kurt is a digital marketer and a college paper help writer at Easyessay.org. Besides that, Kurt is a guest blogger at AustralianWritingsUK.bestessays.com, and Superior Paper writing service. Kurt specializes in email and social media marketing. He is the father of three kids and a passionate New York Knicks fan.

Today, he’s sharing with us some ideas on promoting books on Instagram. As Instagram is one of the social media I’m least familiar with, I was keen on finding out more about it. I hope you find the post as informative as I did!

How To Promote Your Book On Instagram

promote your books on Instagram | From the blog of Nicholas C. Rossis, author of science fiction, the Pearseus epic fantasy series and children's book

Writing a great book is difficult, but it is only a beginning. You also need to…

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Derailing Bedlam: End of the Brakeless Line Part 4 (GRAND FINALE!) #fiction #adventure

First, a big thank you to everyone who has followed this entire story.  Hope you all enjoy the ending.  Will Cassidy and Lloyd ever return?  I don’t know.  For now, they’re going to be relaxing and taking smaller jobs.  I think they’ve earned a break.

As usual, here is your warning that this story has cursing, sex (not graphic), innuendo, and violence.  It’s my Rated-R action adventure called Derailing Bedlam.  This is the fourth outing (third official) for Cassidy and Lloyd, so feel free to click on one of the two covers to see how it started.  Each one is 99 cents!

Cover by Jon Hunsinger

Cover Art by Jon Hunsinger

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Posted in Bedlam Series, Derailing Bedlam | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 7 Comments

For the Love of Violence

I was trying to decide if I wanted to do this as a thought piece or a poem.  The former won because I didn’t think the latter would work too well.  This is actually connected to when I did a week on the ‘Perverted Character’ and got some rather visceral reactions.  A lot of strong opinions against it, references to real life crimes, refusal of redemption, and the list goes on.  I found this odd since I’d written posts on assassins, serial killers, warriors, and many others who solve problems through violence.  Not a single condemnation on any of those fictional types and people never brought it into reality.

Now, I already touched on the why and such during that week, so this could end up being a rehash.  People would rather battle over sex than touch on the violence.  In fact, we couldn’t stay on the topic of violence for very long.  So, I’m actually not really sure where to go with this topic . . . Time for the seat of my pants.

Personally, I think it’s easier for all of us to create a mental and emotional distance when it comes to fictional violence.  While we see a person dying on screen or in a book, we know that there isn’t a real person being hurt.  A big reason for this is because we don’t always have that kind of experience to make it real.  Some people do and might react differently to seeing violence, but the majority of humanity doesn’t have that in their history.  Yet, most people have some connection to sex and attraction.  This makes it more real and we can picture it better.  We can also see ourselves being in a sexual situation with more ease than violence.  This is just what I get from talking to people, so you might not be in this boat.

Another thing is that we are bombarded with violence to the point where we build up an immunity.  It’s part of our entertainment.  Even some children shows will demonstrate a punch or something get hurt.  You would think this creates a sensation of it being more real like what happens with sex, but we get desensitized a lot more to violence.  It could be because there’s no shame or apprehension about showing it.  The villain needs to get punched.  Death is part of life.  You need to fight, sometimes physically, to protect what you hold dear.  We rationalize violence to the point where it is seen as a viable action when faced with a problem.

The difficult thing is that violence in fiction does capture attention because it’s a form of action.  We, as a species, love to be excited and action is one way to do it.  My stories would be really dull if the champions defeated the Baron with the shaking of a finger.  Maybe it’s because bullies and those who do harm tend to only listen to the same tools that they use, which is violence.  You can’t see it done any other way in some situations, so to remove violence would severely limit the types of stories you can do.  Even a chase scene will have some violent aspects such as crashing into things and breaking stuff.  It may seem we’re trapped with this being an acceptable tool in our creative arsenal.

So, what does everyone else think of violence in fiction?

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Revisiting Legends: Trinity the Queen of Shayd #fantasy #adventure

Cover Art by Jason Pedersen

Where to even begin with Trinity?  Over the course of Legends of Windemere, she has worn the mask of a villain, hero, savior, tormentor, victim, friend, rival, and a few others.  I think she’s the most diverse one of the whole cast because I had to move her from one spot to another.  It wasn’t really supposed to be this way either.

Trinity is the ruler of a species called ‘Chaos Elves’.  These are a species of elf that maintain some of the demon taint that was thrown into the mix of the original model, which nearly destroyed Windemere.  They live on the shadowy continent of Shayd and are known for being deadly assassins.  Although, they used to be known as annoying pranksters before the Great Cataclysm happened.  Very few people know that Baron Kernaghan’s prison cracked enough that he managed to enslave the chaos elves and turn them into his personal army.  He’s gone through many puppet rulers to keep them under his thumb, but now he has Trinity.  This might not be a positive for him.

Originally, Trinity was a deal-loving caster who debuted in Prodigy of Rainbow Tower to counter the power of Nyx.  She was actually stronger at first because she had more experience.  While Nyx trained for most of her life in Rainbow Tower, Trinity took the throne and became an agent of the Baron at a very young age.  By the time she appears in the books, she’s had a lot of kills and misery under her belt.  Plenty of suffering too because she’s done what no other ruler has done before.  She accepts the punishments of her people, which has kept many of them alive because the Baron would never dare to kill her.  This upbringing always made me think of Trinity as a mirror image of Nyx and that either one could have become the other under different circumstances.  In fact, this is a plot point for one of the books when Trinity confronts Nyx . . . This is also where I began having problems.

I always expected Trinity and Nyx to be bitter rivals who would push each other to the highest levels of skill.  Then, they’d settle their feud once and for all with all of the hatred coming out at once.  Unfortunately, I could never maintain their hate because I would see how they’d respect each other.  Nyx wouldn’t hate Trinity who does evil to protect her people.  Trinity wouldn’t hate Nyx for following her destiny.  This would result in them being forced to team-up at times, especially since both of them despised Stephen Kernaghan.  I did manage to create a few scenarios where I could have them really throw down with each other, including their final encounter.  Yet, it never had the emotions that I wanted.  Instead, there was an odd amount of pain and anguish that they felt when doing battle.  It came alongside a sense of pleasure and excitement since nobody else could challenge them in the same fashion.  So, my bitter rivalry became a friendly one that made me change a lot of stuff later on in the books.

For those that made it far into the series, you probably know more about the Trinity/Stephen stuff.  This is probably the darkest I got and it’s a big reason I hated the guy.  I was never sure if I should be overt with the fact that he had raped her and probably threatened to kill her people if she said no.  Before anyone freaks out, I’ve made it clear many times that Stephen is the irredeemable monster of the series and I had to take a shower whenever I wrote a scene where he wasn’t getting his ass kicked.  I think Trinity helped to flush out the horror that he was and it strengthened her a bit because she got to fight back at times.  There’s a big scene that touches on this and Nyx is involved too, but it’s kind of a spoiler.  I didn’t let this part of Trinity’s history define her either.  It was another scar for her to have among so many others, but this is the one I think about the most.

Posted in Character Origins, Legends of Windemere | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 11 Comments