Thursday, April 23, 2015


You're a writer.  Your preference in writing is genre fiction.  That's almost a guarantee you're going to create a series.  A series featuring a specific character.  It's natural.  Like mayonnaise on a ham sandwich.  Not kosher if you have one and not the other.

So I created a character by the name of Roland.  Roland of the High Crags.  A warrior-monk-wizard, who has, upon occasion, anger management problems. The genre is Heroic Fantasy (Fantasy for sure; the Heroic Fantasy is a moniker I'm not sure has been invented yet).  

The idea was to create a heroic character who was . . . flawed.  Maybe more human than hero.  A hero who has doubts.  Has fears.  And definitely has a temper.  Mix in some wizardry magic, some swordplay, some impossible escapes . . . and give him a quest that he will find impossible not to accept . . . and as I thought, you would have the perfect novel.  One that anyone would want to read.

Well brother, I was wrong.

Every publisher I sent it to, sent it back with a form letter that said, in so many words, "Thanks for this idiotic story . . . and NO, we don't want the damn thing!"  

The only option left was to self publish.  I did.  About nine people have read.  And liked it immensely, if you believe their comments.  But that's it.  About nine people.  Okay.  But Roland doesn't want to go away.  He is, at least to me, a damn interesting character.  One that has story possibilities that are almost inexhaustible.  I want to keep writing the stories.  But more than anything, I want people to discover and READ them.

The idea hit me a couple of days ago.  Combine Books One and Two together . . . bridge the gap with some new writing . . . and write an Intro that'll captivate the potential buyer almost instantly.  And artwork . . . maybe re visualize the cover with something different but striking in nature.

Last night I wrote something which might turn out to be the Intro just mentioned.  I thought I would share it.  Maybe get some feedback.  Maybe not.  What do you think?

In my Own Hand, I write the History of the Great Struggle

            The sunlight streaming through the narrow slit for a window is strong today.  Its warmth fills my old soul with a deep sense of satisfaction.  And peace.  A breath of quiet, still, peace I have not felt for quite some time. I have been in this cell for oh, so long. Years.  Decades.  Perhaps centuries . . .I cannot say.
            But it's time, brother.
            Time for me to leave the confining space of this narrow dungeon cell.  Time to elude my captors and again take up the sword and shield. The fight will continue.  What was will be again.  There is no escaping the cycle.  Years of solitude ,of captivity, have only made me stronger. Aye, brother . . . my body is old and frail.  White is the color of my hair now.  The wrinkles of age on my face too numerous to count. My bones creak and groan every time I stir from my bed. But the soul. brother . . . the soul within this ancient casket of flesh and bone remains strong! And as long as my soul lives . . .
            How long have I been in this dungeon cell I cannot say.  I gave up counting the days and years long ago. Suffice to say it has been at least one life time.  Perhaps two.  This narrow slit deep in the bowels of some ancient fortress long forgotten, its walls made of stone streaked with a rare metal which limits my wizardry powers, has counted with me many summers and winters passing.  Patiently I have waited for this day.  I endured. I survived.  I fought back the pain of my captor's torments. I fought the long hours of unbelievable silence which pushed me close to the edge of the abyss called insanity.  For years I heard not the sound of a human voice. I endured in this cell of infinite solitude.
            Know you, pilgrim, I am a Bretan monk. A Bretan warrior-monk.  I wear still the yellow robes of that ancient order with deep humiliation and love.  Even though . . . even though in the eyes of my kind, both brothers and sisters of the order, I am an Apostate. A feared and loathed disbeliever who has taken up the sword against his faith.  Against the teachings of the Bretan.
            They will tell you, my Bretan brothers and sisters, that it was I who brought this Great Evil among us.  It was I who, when given the chance to destroy this Great Evil long before she became what she is today, I failed in my faith and allowed her live. To not only live, Pilgrim, but to thrive!  To grow in her strength and powers of the Netherworld through the training and technique of a Bretan wizard.
            For she is indeed a formidable power, brother.  Her command of the Netherworld magic is beyond comparison.  She lives in both worlds.  Both here in the Middle Kingdom all souls still wrapped in these caskets of flesh and blood reside in, and in the World of the Dead as well.  The Netherworld. Lives in both at the same time. Aware of both; interacts in both dimensions, all at the same time. No mortal wizard or witch before her has ever accomplished such a feat.
            How many have died because of Her?  How many empires have fallen?  How many loving families ripped asunder.  Millions.  Hundreds of millions. And she still reins over the many.  Because of her a great imbalance permeates throughout the Great Cycle which both the Neatherworld and the Middle Kingdom revolve around. An imbalance that must be corrected. Has to be corrected if this Universe as we know it is to remain intact and operating like the great mechanism it is.
            But she is, Pilgrim, not the She whom I raised. She is a different soul.  A She from some far distant Past who, when the opportunity was offered to her, stole the one whom I raised from childhood and imprisoned her as well.
            Aye brother . . . aye.  It is something beyond knowing, beyond belief, that which I scribble hurriedly on this parchment  A She from a different Past, you say?  How could this be?  What Dark Magic is being laid bare here? How could someone from the Past, someone long since dead, return to the Now and replace the living?  But it is so, Pilgrim.  It is so and it falls upon my shoulders to rectify this Great Schism and bring back the Laws of Order and Tranquility from the Rules of Chaos and Darkness.
            And it begins tonight, my brother.  Tonight . . .when the full moon hurls its first bright beams of pure light through the bars of this narrow dungeon cell. When the shaft of  soft golden/white light touches the stone floor I will step into its sweet embrace I will . . . I will . . .
            But before this happens.  Before the struggle begins anew, I will hurriedly scribble a few lines of what took place before.  I will write a short History of the Struggle with the forces of Chaos and those entities whom reside in the Netherworld.
            I am Bretan, brother.  Once known as an honorable warrior-monk and wizard.  I am Roland.  Known as Roland of the High Crags. 

Saturday, April 18, 2015

The Demise of Cable/Network TV?

The other day I started binge-watching a new Netflix show entitled, Daredevil.  Yes, that Daredevil; the one based off the Marvel Comics hero.  And right off the bat, in the first few minutes of the first episode, I was sold on it.  Well written, well crafted, imaginative . . . with characters you could immediately love/hate, depending on your own personal tastes.

(And I haven't mentioned the action sequence/fight scenes.  Which are, frankly, amazing)

Another non-cable/network show came to mind as well.  Have you seen the series called Peaky Blinders?  A series about British crime families set in the early 1900's in England.  With not nearly the amount of thrilling fight scenes as found in Daredevil, nevertheless the stories here are deep, emotional, hard hitting, and filled with character.

And it got me to thinking.  How many shows are out there on Cable or Network TV which equal or rival the production qualities of Daredevil?

A couple come to mind.  The Blacklist could be thrown into this collection.  A NBC program, it's the main characters that make this series so interesting.  My favorite found on any network is Person of Interest.  A computer guru designing a computer that looks for terrorists, and crime victims or perpetrators, across the entire electrical/computer signature . . . along with the ex-CIA agent who is as tough as hardened steel hired to protect the innocent, is a natural for me,

The Scy/Fy channel has a new out called The 12 Monkeys.  Good one.  It has time travel, conspiracies, and End of Times story lines which, if one is into this kind of stuff, can get deeply wrapped up in rather instantly.

But there's a difference here between non-network/cable material and the new shows popping up on the likes of Netflix and now Amazon.  There are no commercials for one to interrupt you at a critical point in the story.   Disconcerting, to say the least.  And there are no censors to speak of for the shows found on the likes of Netflix and Amazon.  And that's good.  It make for . . . of can make for . . . a far more interesting story to be told.

We all know Network TV is rapidly losing viewership numbers.  There's a reason for that.  Several reasons, in fact. (like, just HOW MANY freaking commercials do you have to run in one time slot before finally getting back to the show?)  Frankly, I'm from the Old School.  I grew up watching Network TV.  So I'm hoping there can be some kind of resurgence . . . a real Renaissance if you will . . . for its return to glory days.

That's what I am wishing for.  I didn't say I was counting on it to happen. 

Saturday, April 4, 2015

Smitty's back in, A Killing Kiss.

A Smitty novella is coming out in April.  Called A Killing Kiss.  It's a short novella depicting Smitty as his murderous best.  The dark Avenging Angel, if you will.

Essentially it is a story about a mobster kingpin who knows he's about to die.  But before he does, he wants to make arrangements with Smitty that, in his untimely demise, his young wife and baby son are protected from those who have more, shall we say, maleficent intentions in mind.

A new publisher is bringing this one out.  Number Thirteen Press is a new English ebook publisher specializing in short stories and novellas.  On the 13th of every month they bring  a fresh voice and a hard noir little jewel out to share with everyone.  I'm like the sixth or seventh author coming out in their inaugural year.  I'm hoping we will have a long and lucrative relationship

One of the problems I have to be wary of is this; when it comes to my writing I can overload a potential publisher with sheer volume.  Stories, novels, novellas, are everywhere!  I've got computer memories groaning from the overload.  Books that have been waiting for years to get out into the open and be read.  Short stories . . . . sheez.  More short stories than I can write in a hundred years waiting to be written.

But that's a problem about being a writer.  Stories keep coming.  Whether you want them to or not.