Saturday, June 23, 2012

A Mythical Promotion

From now until July 1, 2012, you can download a copy of Mythical from Smashwords for free!

Use coupon ZM38W to download in your choice of format.

Friday, June 22, 2012

Mythical Questions

Mythical is the first book in a series- a trilogy. As such, it has some set ups for the sequels. Mysteries that won't be ansered right away.
As a reader, that might irritate you. The research I've read however, is that readers like series of novels. So Mythical's mysteries were purposely put in to pave the way and link the three books together.
In case you missed them all, or want to know more before deciding to read, here are all of Mythical's planned mysteries and unanswered questions:
1. Where did Ketzkahtel come from, and is his name a misspelling of Quetzacoatl?
2. How did Mark Kenslir get turned to stone? Why does water heal him? What exactly are his powers?
3. Where did the Stone Soldiers come from? How were they made?
4. It seems like an amazing coincidence that Josie and Jimmy happen across Kenslir in the desert.
5. Why didn't Ketzkahtel kill Josie when he had the chance?
6. What happened to Carlos, Kendall and Logan?
7. Why was Ketzkahtel in the Arizona desert to begin with?
All of these questions will be answered in the next installment, Mythical: Brothers in Stone. Which should be done and uploaded to Kindle, Nook and Smashwords in August 2012.


Oh, the horrific blurb, how I hate thee.
In terms difficulty, writing was least difficult, then came converting and uploading to Amazon, then Smashwords then Nook, then comes marketing... and finally... the Blurb.
I think I'm now on my fifth or sixth blurb and I'm still not happy.
The problem is, a good blurb is going to hook the reader and tell them the whole story... which means there are spoilers. Mythical starts as a mystery, then turns into straight action-adventure. I really didn't want the reader to have the solution to the mystery right off the bat, but I guess it makes sense.
So here's Mythical's newest ultra short (logline-ish) blurb, and a slightly longer, almost-back-of-the-book type blurb:
A resurrected super soldier and a group of teens must stop a shape-shifting giant who eats the hearts of his victims to steal their identities.
Teens Josie Winters and Jimmy Kane are drawn into a world of monsters and magic they never knew existed when they find a super soldier left for dead in the desert.

Returning to life, with partial amnesia, Colonel Mark Kenslir eventually remembers his last mission: stop a shapeshifter on the loose in America. It can take the form, memories and even the powers of anyone- by ripping out and consuming their heart. Kenslir and his squad were sent to stop the shapeshifter, but were all killed when it unexpectedly assumed the form of a dragon.

Unarmed, with no support and not sure who to trust, Kenslir sets out with the teens to stop the shapeshifter's killing spree.

Friday, June 15, 2012

Mythical Tomatos

Tomato, Toe-mah-toe. How do we pronounce some of the words we see in books?
Take for example, Mythical protagonist, Col. Mark Kenslir, call sign "Antaean".
In Mythical, we see how it's pronounced "An-tay-ann".
A Word a Day says it's "ann-tee-un". Well, that just makes no sense.
ANTAEAN comes from the Greek giant of mythology, Antaeus. That's AN-TAY-US, according to at least one of the Kevin Sorbo Hercules movies of the 1990s. It's a word meaning "possessing super-human strength". A descriptor for Col. Kenslir's most prominent super power- his strength.
A Word A Day would have us believe it's An-tee-ann, possibly from the sissified giant, Ann-Tea-us. As in, "Hey, giant! It's noon and we're thirsty! Tea us!"
I don't think so.
A word based on the giant An-tay-us, would clearly be Ann-tay-un.

Mythical Extras: There were Giants in the Earth in those days...

There were giants in the earth in those days; and also after that, when the sons of God came in unto the
daughters of men, and they bare children to them, the same became mighty men which were of old, men of renown.
-Genesis, 6:4
Choosing the right villain for a novel is never easy. Some folks pick a villain (the antagonist) first, then a hero (the protagonist) to counter it. Other writers have their hero in mind, then have to come up with a suitable villain for them to oppose. Such was my case with Mythical.
At it's core, the idea for Mythical was simple: the last of the previous generation's super soldiers is discovered by teenagers and with their help completes his last mission. It's an old-meets-new situation. And yes, it paves the way for a sequel where our hapless teen(s) become the next generation of super soldiers.
I had Antaean down- Colonel Mark Kenslir was a hero from a previous series of books I write in the 1980s and 90s, but never got published. Killing him off, then having him come back from the dead seemed a great way to symbolize how I took an old idea and resurrected it. But I couldn't make the whole book be about the mysteries of Kenslir's previous life.
I needed a villain.
My first idea was to make a super soldier fight a super vampire. But vampires have been done to super death lately, and I just didn't think slapping a "super" label on a vampire was all that interesting. Then a thought occured to me: giant-size a vampire.
It worked for countless monster movies as far back as the 1950s, like Tarantula (1954). So why not a giant vampire?
I began my research on giants- beginning with the earliest account I had heard of a giant: Goliath.
Turns out, the Bible is chock full of giants. And there are a number of internet sites that claim giants' remains abound on modern day Earth. They were a great starting point.
So what were giants? Well, the consensus is they were the offpsring of people and something more. Fallen angels, by Biblical accounts. Aliens by others. They were bigger versions of men, capable of amazing feats, and in most folklore not the friendliest of chaps.
One of my favorite websites claims giant skeletons were discovered in North America by early explorers- normally buried in Indian mounds. The Smithsonian rounded up all the skeletons and hid them though. Another website features a museum in South America where giant remains are on display- sowing the giants to be six-fingered, six-toed brutes with two row of teeth in their over-sized heads.
Now THAT sounds like a villain.
But a giant vampire...? I still wasn't sold. Then it hit me- there have been lots of variations on vampires. One of my favorites is from the 1985 movie "Lifeforce". In that film, the vampires just suck the energy right out of you. No neck biting needed. And being a giant, our antagonist would clealry need a LOT of victims.
From there the idea just evolved, into the heart-ripping, power-stealing super giant of Mythical. A very appropriate enemy for the last of the super soldiers to face. But to make it even more complicated, and give it that just-over-the-top feel, shapeshifting had to come in. That's right, a shapeshifting, lifeforce-devouring giant.
Vampires beware.


The ongoing saga of file conversions....
So yesterday, I wrote about the horrors of self-editing. That typos slip through, but that with ebooks you can quietly remove them and reupload your work.
I did that, and then found out this morning that the new version inserted a bunch of blank pages. Argh.
Well, easy enough to fix on Nook and Smashwords. Kindle will have to wait for later.

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Mythical Extras

One of my favorite things on DVDs and Blurays, are the extras. All the neat bits of production and pre-production art, the make up applications and the how-to, behind-the-scenes clips.
Books should have that too.
Authors spend a great deal fo research on their novels. They have to plot out characters' backstories, they have to read up on things they aren't experts on, so they'll be able to described them sufficiently. That's a lot of work, that a reader never gets to see.
But now we're in an age of eBooks and webpages for eBooks. So why not start showing some of that behind the scenes work off?
Here's my first behind the scene peek: the crest for Detachment 1039, as described in Mythical

>>ERROR... >>ERROR...

Self publishing a book is a great thing for authors and readers. It allows authors to skip over the dreaded publisher's slushpile, and put their work out there for anyone to see. Which means readers have far more of a selection to choose from.
Alas, skipping the slushpile also means you skip the editors. Unless the author wants to spend money for a professional editor.
I didn't. I figured that between myself and my wife, we would catch all the inevitable typos and conversion errors. Boy, was I wrong.
So, as of June 13, 2012, Mythical has been re-uploaded. Hopefully error-free. I went over it a third time. If three is the charm, then this time I've caught it all and it is finally the way I intended it to be.
If not? Well, that's another beauty of self-publishing, just like a printer, I can make a new edition, and correct any errors.

Thursday, June 7, 2012

Why you should read MYTHICAL

As an avid reader myself, I understand that selecting what to read can often be a difficult decision.
Printed books can have great covers, but turn out to be awful wastes of ink and paper that surely the trees weep for.
On the other hand, some of the books I've enjoyed the most didn't even have cover art- they were hardbacks.
Even the backs of books or the insides of dust covers can be misleading. What's that leave a reader?
Well, you could always flip through a book. Maybe read the first few pages. In the age of E-books, that's called a preview. A sample to get the reader hooked. MYTHICAL's first few chapters are available like that, at Amazon and Smashwords.
But I know a better way.
It's the 99th page trick.
Basically, the theory goes that you can open any book up and turn to page 99. If it seems interesting, you should get the book. If it doesn't, pass.
I tested this myself when I first read about it last week, and was surprised by the simplicity of it. But it makes sense, given that all books are supposed to follow a 3-Act structure: Intro of Characters, First problem and resolution, Second Problem and Climax. BY page 99, there should be something cool going on. I was greatly relieved when I found MYTHICAL to be somewhat interesting. (I promise there's more action later- it all kind of builds to a big blow out)
So, without further ado, here's MYTHICAL's 99th page of text...

"I can't believe the government has a telepath- and a sorceress," Josie said. "Those guys were Feds, right?"

Sorceress? Jimmy thought. What did I miss?

"They weren't suit salesmen," Mark said.

"So why didn't you just go with them?" Jimmy asked. He'd been wondering that the whole time the telepath was controlling him like a puppet.

"Because I don't know if I can trust them," Mark answered.

"Because you can't remember everything?" Josie asked.

"No, because I remember the important parts," Mark said.

He waited a moment, then spoke again. "This is your chance to go home.

"But I'll need to keep your truck for awhile, if you don't mind," Mark added.

"Why aren't they coming after us?" Josie asked. She eased Jimmy back down into her lap and started rubbing his temples.

Jimmy closed his eyes. He was embarrassed to look at her. But also a little confused. What was going on here? Why was she being so nice?

"They're tracking us from orbit. Or maybe with a ghost walker," Mark explained.

"Ghost walker?" Jimmy asked, keeping his eyes closed.

"Astral Projection is the technical term," Mark said. "Couple that with a telepathic handler and you have a spy that can circle the globe and relay real-time information."

Jimmy panicked at the mention of a telepath. He sat up suddenly and began looking out the windows. Josie did the same thing. They could see nothing but darkness surrounding the truck.

"You can't see them," Mark said. "Not unless you've got a touch of clairvoyance yourself."

Jimmy didn't know what clairvoyance was, but he relaxed a little. He was ready to lay back


Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Is MYTHICAL really Christian?

When self-publishing, it turns out you have to make a lot of decisions you never considered when actually writing a novel. Like how to tag it, market it, etc.

For me, one of the toughest decision was whether or not to list the book as "Christian".
For sure, it's Young Adult- it's got two teenagers as main characters, with the reader following them as they are thrust into an adventure where mythical, modern day titans battle. And being Young Adult, that means there shouldn't be any smut, excessive profanity and a lot of the other stuff that Christian novels are safe from.

Secondly, Mythical antagonist is from a Christian world. A giant. Giant's are in the Bible.
Then there's the main character, the soldier with amnesia who comes back from the dead at the beginning of the story. He's a Christian- he wears a Christian fish pendant, and he even says grace before eating, to the bemusement of the teenagers.

So, Christian antagonist, Christian protagonist, no smut, no excessive profanity. Well, yes, that does sound very Christian, or at least safe for Christians.

Except there's the violence. Horror-class violence, what with the antoagonist going around, ripping people's hearts out of their chests, and eating them.

I struggled with this- did I want to offend Christians by making them read something very violent? Then I remembered the Old Testament. There's lots of violence in there. There's even a Protagonist, David, who slays a giant antagonist, Goliath. Hmmm. Yes, I think that does make this a Christian novel- in the end the hero, a Christian, defeats the villain, a pagan.

What could be more Christian than that?

Tuesday, June 5, 2012


Mythical was uploaded to Amazon's Kindle store this morning, and should appear before nightfall.

Check back for stats on page views and sales updates.

Monday, June 4, 2012

What is Mythical?

Mythical takes two ordinary teenagers and throws them into a world of supernatural mystery and adventure.

The story follows Josie Winters and Jimmy Kane over a hectic three days shortly after they graduate high school.

The teens have journeyed out into the Arizona desert, riding motorcycles, when they stumble across a corpse in the desert. The corpse regenerates and turns out to be a fallen super soldier, who at first can't remember who he is, how he died or who killed him.

Josie decides the teens are going to help the soldier, by taking him back home where he can recuperate and maybe get his memory back.

Ultimately, the soldier remembers that he fights supernatural threats for the military, and that he was hunting a shapeshifter who eats the hearts of victims, taking their form. The shapeshifter was believed to have come to Arizona to kill, and possibly replace, the Vice President.

With the help of Jimmy and Josie, the super soldier sets out to warn the VP and complete his mission.
Now available at, Barnes & Noble, and Smashwords.