NEWS! Plus weekly tour wrap up

Hey everybody,

 

First up, I want to share some pretty awesome news. The guys over at ProseBeforeHohos.com have invited me to become a contributing editor at the site. That means my blog post will now be somewhat evenly divided between here and there. All the Prose Bros are cool guys and if you’re not familiar with the site, go give it a follow.

Now, on to Beasts of Burdin blog tour news. Here’s a recap of everywhere I’ve been this week.

 

I got to share my favorite PIs with Kayla over at Bibliophilia.

I shared my favorite authors with Laurie’s Paranormal Thoughts and Things.

Lola’s Reviews got a list of my favorite foods.

A list of favorite demon books, tv, and movies went to Musings of a Fantasy Writer’s Life.

And finally, over at the Stabby Pen, Jonathan Lister gave me the most professional interview ever. If you only click one link, click this one. I’m honored.

 

And lastly, I wrote an article for Prose about why writing is a complete waste of time, and that’s not a bad thing.

 

That’s it. Stay tuned for more next week. Monday I’ve got the most intriguing interview of the tour coming up…

Reading, writing, and stealing

I started writing, like, actually writing with the intent of finishing a novel, a little over two years ago. Yeah, I’m kind of a noob, but that’s okay ‘cause it works in my favor sometimes. You see, before I started writing, I didn’t read a whole lot. A topic I’ve already covered. Short story: The shit I had to read in school bored me and I didn’t know people wrote novels I wanted to read until much later.

Things changed when I started writing, though. I like to think of myself as having a bare minimum not-quite-stupid level of intelligence and the sponge residing in my cranial cavity told me something. Before you ask, it’s not an actual sponge. No, it’s more like a coral reef kind of thing. Either way, it’s alive and it talks to me.

So, the sponge said, “Hey, dumbass, if you’re going to write books, don’t you think you should read them too?”

To which I replied, “Why?”

“So you don’t sound on paper like the dumbass you are in real life, dumbass.”

The sponge is very fond of calling me dumbass. It’s like a cute pet name, only slightly less cute and less puke inducing. You know what I mean, Snookums?

The sponge had a valid point. How could I expect to string together words in a coherent way if I never actually read words strung together coherently? To satiate the sponge’s constant nagging as to my semi-illiteracy I started reading while I was also writing.

And now I come to my point. If I had read as much as I have now, I would never have finished my first book or any thereafter. Crippling paranoia of copying someone else’s work would have killed me deader than dead right on the spot. I find when reading it’s natural to compare to things you know, for reference sake, I guess. It’s set in space like Serenity or it’s about people trapped on an island like Gilligan, or it about bloodthirsty investment bankers that do blow off the wombs of maiden hyenas to retain their poster-boy good looks like Wolf on Wall Street. Disclaimer: I’ve never actually seen that last one, I’m just filling in blanks from what I saw in the trailer.

Comparing as a viewer is totally fine. It helps you define what you like. For example, Book F sounds a lot like book R. I really liked Book R so therefore I would also, probably, enjoy Book F. As a creator, comparing wreaks havoc on the fucking process. I start to write a scene and then I get all, “Man, that’s just like that one scene in Book F. Fuck my life.” *Slams delete key with all the anger of a thousand political talk show hosts*

The reason I bring this up is: I started reading a book, Devil You Know, it’s a good book that so far is very enjoyable. It’s about a witty, down-on-his-luck exorcist who has been retired for over a year and takes a job to help out a friend. My debut novel, Beasts of Burdin (Out February 10th, preorder today!) is about a witty, down-on-his-luck demon hunter who has been retired over a year and takes a job to help out his brother.
Sound similar? Yup.

Did I steal anything from Devil You Know? Nope. I hadn’t even heard of it when I started writing Burdin. But, I had heard of it then, instead of now, I can promise Burdin would have been a completely different book.

Now, I have a little more confidence in my creative abilities. I know that there are always going to be similar stories to what anyone writes; there are no new ideas, only new ways of telling them, and all that jazz. I also trust my integrity to never steal a person’s work or ideas. Sure, some things influence me. I see a powerful story and think, “Man, I want to write like that,” and possibly try to incorporate some elements of what I like into my style.

So in a short way, being ignorant of other books has helped my writing. Would I suggest an aspiring writer stop reading? Fuck no. Go read a book. Preferably mine. Not for literary content though. I’m still pretty bad at writing, obviously.

 

Flash fiction with Danielle Shipley

So I asked for anyone to write a story and Danielle Shipley was the first up to the plate. We wrote this story back and forth, one paragraph at a time, with no per-planning or outlining of any kind. It’s always fun to work with another author like this and if anyone out there wants to do another one just let me know. It could also be fun if we got a group to write a quick story like this. Four or five authors with two, maybe three paragraphs each. Be a bestseller before the sun went down over Spokane. That’s a saying, right? Anyway, enough blabbering, here’s the story:

 

(DS) The last time it snowed on this house, the drifts piled in the yard so high that the only colors to be seen were the tips of the garden gnomes’ hats. All else were shades of white and gray. The bottom steps of the porch lay buried in heavy fluff, the top steps glazed in ice. The spears of frozen water jutting down from the overhanging roof were to blame for that glittering death trap. They dripped like a slavering monster’s row of fangs. The mailman wasn’t about to brave all of that. Through rain and sleet and snow and hail, sure, but his code of honor didn’t say anything about walking into the jaws of an ice beast and slipping to his frozen doom. Why couldn’t this place have its mailbox standing at the foot of the drive, like every other house on the street?

 

(AN) “Holy icicle deathtrap, Batman,” he muttered under his breath. He crept up the slick steps without incident. On the porch the path became less treacherous and the mailman relaxed. He opened the flap covering the mail-slot in the door and sucked in a quick breath at what he saw on the other side.

 

(DS) “Thank goodness you’ve come,” the elderly woman gasped from the floor. “I was on my way out to clear the steps for you, but the darn cat got underfoot, and… well, you can see where that’s landed me.” Her eyes pleaded with him through the mail-slot. “By the way… you don’t happen to have a little something in an ominous black envelope for me, do you?”

 

(AN) Mailman reached in his satchel, pulled out a large black package with no markings. No address. No postage. Nothing. He silently wondered how it even got in his bag, but decided not to question. He held the package up for the old woman. She nodded that it was, in fact, her package. He held the package, obviously too big to fit, up to the mail-slot and pushed. Somehow, the package fit and the slot in the door swallowed his arm up to the shoulder.

 

(DS) “Lovely, lovely,” the old woman murmured, drawing the package from its deliverer’s grasp. “And it’s arrived none too soon. Erm…” She glanced at him through the mail slot, her thin, wrinkled lips pursed and a guarded look in her eye. “Pardon a senior citizen her idiosyncrasies, dear, but I would prefer to open this in private. Might I have a moment? If you’d like to make yourself useful while you wait, you could go round to the driveway and clear my vehicle of snow. Quickly, please,” she said sharply, indicating it was less a request, more a command.

 

(AN) Mailman stared at the old woman for along moment, stunned by her directness. He turned around and carefully stepped down from the porch. A solid sheet of snow and ice that used to be the driveway greeted him at the bottom. No car occupied the driveway, but the handle of a broom stuck up from the snow in the middle. Mailman treaded over to the rickety old broom and pulled it from the snow. With a shrug he started sweeping away to top layer of snow. The old woman stomped out from the house with a surprising amount of spunk for a woman of her age. She ripped the broom from his grasp, muttered something that sounded like “fool”, and threw a leg over the broom. Without another word she took off in to the sky.

 

(DS) Mailman blinked after the woman on the broomstick open-mouthed, a fresh fall of fluffy snowflakes landing on his tongue with an ease they never did whenever he actually tried to catch them. He turned to look back at the house, a puzzled frown between his brows. What happened to the lady’s broken hip routine? Maybe there was far more to that black package than he knew. But that was a mystery for another time. Mailman readjusted his grip on the bag slung over his shoulder and continued to make his way down slushy sidewalk. These bills, circulars, and postcards from sunny Florida won’t deliver themselves.

 

The End! (…or WAS IT?!)

 

Under The Cover: Beasts of Burdin

     Okay guys, so in three days my cover for Beasts of Burdin is going to be revealed to the world. I’m super excited and can’t wait for you all to see it. To get everyone ready for the reveal I thought I would tell you a little bit of what went on to get the cover what it is.

     Disclaimer: I think my cover is awesome and I think the team at J. Taylor did a great job at bringing a picture to my words. I was very picky about the cover and they worked with me every step of the way.

     When my book was first approved I was asked what other cover designs I liked to imitate for Burdin. I like the idea of something simple like Dashiell Hammett’s Thin Man or Charlie Huston’s Joe Pitt books. I definitely wanted a cigarette and glass of whiskey on the cover. Oddly enough, I don’t smoke and drink only occasionally, but Ty Burdin does both to excess.

    Cigarettes and alcohol got vetoed. They sent me a cover to see how I liked it. As soon as I opened the attachment in my email my heart dropped. It was a picture of a dark alley (good) with a man on the cover that looked more like he belonged on Jersey Shore than drinking himself into a hole.

     I spent a very long time trying to craft an email back to the publisher to express how little I cared for the cover. After a couple more idea exchanges we ended up with the correct person on the cover. Then came the color disagreement.

     The publisher wanted a blue hue for the entire cover and I wanted more of a sepia color tone. Burdin has a very retro feel about him and I wanted that displayed on the cover. I was told that blue looked more like urban fantasy and we needed to remind readers what kind of book Burdin really is. After a great deal of complaining on my part we came to a beautiful agreement and that is what you are going to see on Monday.

     Thanks to everyone at JTP for giving me a cover I’m proud of and I hope you all like it.

Weekly update…a week late

I’m back with my occasional Thursday posts. I missed last week. No reason other than I totally forgot. On Friday my wife was like, “Hey, did you have a blog post this week?”. Oops. Now, I’m back, better then ever…hopefully.

This week I want to bring everyone up to speed on the million projects I’ve got going now. Not really a million, but a bunch.

I didn’t think line edits for Beasts of Burdin would be sent to me until late in July, so I figured I would have time to rewrite an old project I desperately want fixed and publish ready. Half-way through the rewrite I get an email with line edits for Burdin. Now, I’m taking a quick break from other project to get these edits done.

 

On top of that, lucky for me, I’ve already got the first draft of Burdin 2 (Which I’ve now decided will be titled “Ty Down”) finished. I am going to edit it immediately after finishing the line edits for Burdin since the story and characters will be fresh in my head.

Looks like my other project is going to be taking a back seat for a minute and I have no idea when I’m actually going to have time to actually write any new material. I’m going to get to it eventually though.

Oh yeah, and I’ve spent tonight catching up on like 6 blog posts I should have had written two weeks ago. Such is the life.

Until next time…

Sunshine Award

Hey guys, quick break from the regular Thursday posts to share another blogging award. This one is the sunshine award and it works much the same as the liebster award. I’m more than honored that Felicity Burnett thought me worthy. I have to admit that I’m only half participating. I am going to answer all the questions, but I am tapped out for people to nominate. So, here goes nothing.

 

1.     What inspired you to start blogging?

        I wanted to learn from established authors and promote my upcoming book, Beasts of Burdin. (Look, I just promoted it a little just then. Seriously though, it great and you guys will love it. February 2014, mark your calenders or something. Okay, okay. I’m done now.)

2.     How did you come up with the name of your blog?

      I’m Alex Nader. I write. I’m literal like that.

3.     What is your favourite blog to read?

       I really can’t say I follow enough blogs to name a favorite. I mostly use twitter and click on blog individual blog posts that sound interesting. That being said I’m always up for some cool reading so if anyone finds a blog that includes cheeseburgers, good tv shows, steak, good movies, cheesecake, good music, french fries, mixed martial arts, red velvet cake, good books, and biscuits, let me know.

4.     Tell us about your dream job:

       I write. Novels, short stories, whatever. If writing were my only source of income I’d consider myself living the dream. Or if I could own a publishing company to watch my friends succeed around me.

5.     Is your glass half-full or half-empty?

       Somewhere in the middle. Not quite half-full, but not quite half-empty. It’s quite an interesting thing to see really. It helps if you turn your head sideways.

6.     If you could go anywhere for a week’s vacation, where would you go?

        I’ve always wanted to see Venice for no particular reason other than lakes for streets.

 

7.     What food can you positively not eat?

       Fish. I can’t touch the junk in any shape or form. Bad consistency, bad taste.

8.     Dark chocolate or milk chocolate?

         Dark as of late, but tastes change as do the fickle winds of the great blue yonder. I consider myself like those fickle winds personified. As long as wind likes chocolate. If not, it’s no friend of mine.

9.     How much time do you spend blogging?

       A few hours a week. I usually use other forms of social media. Like myspace. I think that’s really going to take off one of these days.

 

10. Do you watch TV and if so, what are your favourite shows?

       I watch exactly two shows a year. Game of Thrones and Walking Dead. I love Game of Thrones, best show on TV. I want to like Walking Dead, but it just keeps disappointing me. Next season it’s really on my TV chopping block.

 

That’s it folks.