Errata from the Cliff – what a view it is!
So I’ve been contemplating cliff hangers lately. Probably because my first book ends on a major cliff hanger. I’ve heard (via anyone who has an opinion on the topic) opposing opinions on this. Some lobbying for just putting it (my book- Angels of Mercy) out there. My fear: that I’ve asked readers to invest in my character (the main character that the book is dependent on his POV) only to have something happen that threatens the investment that my readers will have put in at that point.
But then I think about authors who have written their first novel of a series and it ends in an unresolved or even a cliff hanger state and their readers came back for book two. I mean, they had to start somewhere, right?
Take Rowling, for example. Sure, Harry’s story is hardly a real cliff hanger series (well, except maybe for the last two books which sort of were real cliff hangers because he Muggle/Wizarding world was upended on both sides so yeah, those last two could be argued were cliff hangers). By that I mean that the books all had a serious situation to deal with that the characters had to cope with and resolve. And each book ended with Harry being returned to the safety of his uncle and aunt’s home in Little Whinging. He was relatively safe for another summer, THEN all hell would break loose, so to speak.
So yeah, HP is not a perfect example in my pursuit of how I should handle my series (Angels of Mercy) because my story (my first novel published anywhere) ends on a d00zy of a cliff hanger. I was a little concerned that I might piss off my new readership and since it was my first story, I might not get them to come back again. Part of me hopes they will. I’ve been told by my beta readers that they would read the second book without a doubt. So I know I have something. But again, I am untested by the masses out there. Betas are fine but they aren’t the whole enchilada and I’d be remiss in my due diligence in sorting this out if I didn’t cop to that. So yeah, while I like what they’re telling me about how solid my writing is, and how engaging my characters are, there is the potential that there will be others out there that won’t like the whole leaving you on the edge of a cliff with nary a hope in sight (it ends REALLY dark).
I had lunch with one of my beta readers and he made a comment to me – why not pose a teaser at the end? An interesting prospect. The second book is told by the boyfriend of my main character in book one. That’s sort of the point in this series: the entire tale is told from three boys perspectives. Book one is Elliot, book two is his boyfriend Marco’s turn, then the last by Marco’s brother, Pietro. Each boy retells the same sequence of events only advancing the timeline further down the road towards the final resolution. It’s a very thought out process to put each of these boys in play to tell this big tale of a love between two boys and the foibles that they encounter (both trivial and fatalistic in nature) to get to their Ever After, Happily.
This isn’t something new that I’ve been toying with in the back of my mind. And okay, I guess I’m good with if it doesn’t sell out the door right away. A really great post from a self-pub expert out there (thebookdesigner.com) explains how I need to keep working at expanding my social media reach but also accept that if my book is well written, well executed and well edited, it should find its audience. It may not be this year, or next, but during that time that it might languish in relative obscurity I need to press forward with everything that I can to put my name out there – only by marketing ME can I hope to garner interest in my work. Also, I needed to sort out why I have a site at all. I need to take a look at what am I offering readers by coming to my site.
Thus, I’ve sort of turned a new leaf. I am honing in on not only why I am writing my novels but why I associate with other authors and readers. I am going to try and bring something else to my readers. I don’t know how I am going to do it, but I know that my success as a writer sort of depends upon it. I want to discuss with other writers in my genre their craft, their approach, their point of view on why they write what they write and most importantly, why do they feel so drawn to do so. I know there’ll be the usual – well, because I can’t think of any other way to be. I am a writer – plain and simple. Somehow, if I do my job correctly, I think there’ll be more interesting reveals down the road for some of these authors on why they are passionate about what they do. In a very real way, this can only enrich us all by having this dialog.
So yeah, my buddy authors out there – I just might be tapping on your shoulder to have such a dialog on my site. Get a real feel for what you do and why you do it. I know why I am in the mix – as they say, but I’d so like to hear why others feel the drive to do so as well.
Should make for some very interesting conversations.
Author’s Note: This is a converted blog entry. It was originally published on 04.21.14 @ 10:10pm, US Pacific.
[NSFW] Not Safe For Work entry! Fair Warning…
So I didn’t post yesterday.
You wanna know why? Cause I spent all of Easter Sunday (I am NOT religious by any stretch of the imagination, so no worries there – just giving a common frame of reference for ya) battling the server that this site is hosted on.
So why the battle that raged since 3am on Saturday morning through the day and well into Sunday evening? Well it seems that the application I am using to build this here site is a tricky bitchy monster when it comes to its built in SFTP capabilities. I put the tech at TMD Hosting through the wringer this weekend. And since I am a network engineer by profession (aspiring to move away from that to full time writing if I can swing it) I knew what they were dealing with on their end trying to get my software ftp client to consistently allow my newly changed files to upload to their servers.
Yeah, it was a monumental struggle. Ticket updates flying back and forth. The really pisser of this whole thing? The FTP builtin client on this web development app just plain sucks (and not in a way that a guy needs things to suck if you get my meaning).
Well, what should be simple has turned into a crap assed convoluted way to upload and sync my files. Not that you give a rat’s ass about it. I don’t expect you to. I am just sayin’ it cause I missed doing my daily writers blog because I was so fucking wrapped up in my server/ftp shit that I plum ran out of energy when it came to actually posting shit here.
[Putting soap box away now]
Okay, so down to the other monster: the one in my Fae Wars saga. I had a vision last night as I was putting my weary head down. And it was monumental in the shift of my story (it’s a good thing that I am still in the early stages of writing the first book). This whole shit though is killer and it’s so gonna rock the story even better. Movie option time better. My Fae baddies just got a whole lotta bad ass-ier…(I know that’s not really a word – but that’s the beauty of a living language: say it often enough and it will be a part of the vernacular. It just happens. Something the hubby rails against cause he comes from a looooooooong line of educational professionals). School runs knee deep with his brood. I’m good with that. He’s definitely my Marco Sforza (and if you don’t know who that is – mosey on over to Angels of Mercy free read in the Works section and find out).
But here’s the dealio with my new and improved super baddy Fae (actually, I need to stop calling them Fae cause they are what started the whole Fae thing – they are the Feigr). They hark back to their Viking roots rather than the Celtic variety. And as such they are a whole lot vicious and vile when they want to be. The Feigr in my story are bringers of life and death. There are two sides and they are at war. This war has spilled over into our world for a very specific reason. I won’t say what it is just yet, but suffice to say that it is a real switch up from the original Viking Feigr. You could say they are the gay version of the Feigr but that’d be such a human way of looking at it. No, my guys are way more scarier than that. Think fundamentally as in the foundation of life scarier. And the people of Earth are nothing but pawns in this war. They don’t stand a chance. They are merely fodder for my Feigr (hence the title of the first book: Fear the Feigr). There’s a very good reason for humans to think that. But as I said, there are two sides to this tale. Two parts to this war. Bringers of life and the bringers of death. The ultimate clash of what is good and evil if you really think upon it.
As a kid I’ve always had a thing for monsters. Perhaps being gay I knew that I was different too and would be persecuted, belittled, followed, chased even. So I identified with their ‘outsider-ness’, their removal from the mainstream but being complex creatures all on their own. Dracula wasn’t evil. Not by a long shot. He was a man in great pain. I got that. I got the pathos. Something that I was so super grateful when my granddaughter (at the tender age of 3) watched the Frank Langella Dracula with me one Saturday afternoon. After we got through the whole thing – she was super still through it all. Never once shirked from any of the vampiric stuff. Didn’t hide her eyes once (granted the Badham/Langella version is a bit overly romantic). Even for a three year old – my girl was on tough cookie. So we got through to the end. I turned off the movie and the TV so she could talk about it.
I asked her – “So, what did you think?”
She’s a wise old soul of a little girl, “It was sad.” (Pathos – I LOVE this girl! No really, even if she weren’t mine, I’d still be rockin’ the whole Keely-monster thing!)
“What do you mean sad?”
“Well, he just wanted to be loved and they wouldn’t let that lady love him. It was sad.” That’ssa my girl!
Pathos – at the age of three. Fucking bloody brilliant moment in my life: given to me by a three year old. So yeah, Keely and I are good with monsters.
So when I started to form the Feigr storyline, I knew who my protagonists were. It’s a love quadrangle (if you can believe it – full of deceit and malice on Seth’s part and love and healing on Sylas’). And the story is very sexual in nature – very liquid in how they use their bodies to augment what they can do.
Without a doubt, Antonio Biaggi one of the sexiest gay porn actors out there.
Doesn’t take away from the hubby, but Antonio’s definitely got it goin’ on…
For the Life Bearers – Sylas (I used porn actor Antonio Biaggi (above and below) as the basis for this character – as his public persona just embodied the part – the man knows how to seed, that’s for fucking sure)) – the reigning King of my Feigr Life Bringers. His first husband (Sylas’ not Antonio’s – just to be clear here) – Thorn, who was the Captain of his personal guard before they were married. Sylas is the ultimate life bringer but also a voracious lover. So much so that Thorn is not the only husband to share his bed.
For the Death Bringers – Seth Stormbringer (porn actor Gavin Waters fits that bill just fine but with all the snarky-ness of a Tom Hiddleson).
These two brother’s carry quite a bit of pain between them. And Thorn and Sebastian are in the middle.
I particularly like how Gavin looks in this picture – and i am not normally attracted to blonds.
But he just does it for me on some level. Maybe it’s just the way he fucks.
Then there’s the golden one – I can’t just say what he is because the entire saga hinges upon it – Sebastian Alexander Collins (where I get my nom de plume). Sebastian is the one that all three men are after – for good reason. Sylas and Thorn because Sebastian came to them for help only to be pulled from any safety they could provide and whisked away.
Out of reach – and into our world. With no memory of who or what he is. But that (as they say) is just the beginning…
My Feigr are fucking dangerous motherfuckers (good and bad). And there is very little that separate them. And the humans of this world can precious little about it. There’s no ‘evil loses because we all prayed it away’ or ‘an infection that they can’t cure takes them out’ or the Hollywood go to – ‘let’s just nuke ‘em.’ None of that will help the human’s involved in this story. It’s gonna be brutal, apocalyptic in scope and scale.
But all is not lost…
Sebastian can turn it all around. If only he can remember who and what he is. But it’s not as simple as just walking up and to him and tell him. There’s a twist in why no one can do that – and the drama is born out of that little twist.
Sebastian is just a senior in high school, got a rockin’ ballet dancing girlfriend and is just trying to figure shit out before he graduates. ‘Cept his eye keeps roving over to his bestest buddy in the whole world: Thorn. Thorn means the world to Sebastian (maybe even more than his girlfriend). And that’s starting to scare him a bit. And a little bit, not.
When you are the beings that live on the cusp between creation and devastation (in equal measures), some bad assed shit his bound to happen. I can’t wait to get it rolling either.
Free Fear the Feigr read to be posted this weekend (5/26) so keep an eye out for it.
Yeah, monsters can definitely kick your ass. But they can also be the best fucking gift around.
Author’s Note: This is a converted blog post from a previous blog software I was using. It originally was published on 04.16.14 @ 6:36PM Pacific.
Okay, so I can definitely say that there is quite a bit of good writing out there. I mean, I’m easily inspired when I see it. So many artists are great muses as well. Though they often don’t know it. Jay Brannan is one such muse of mine. I happened upon him back when I was relocating from San Diego to the SF Bay Area (for me it was a move back to SF – second time around) as my daughter was going to SFSU and she needed family support for our then five year old granddaughter.
Anyway, I found Jay Brannan’s album/recordings from a site that was promoting up and coming gay artists. I bought the album without hearing a single song. I later found a YouTube channel for him and it was music love at first sight (hearing). Jay’s a master with words – a modern day bard. His first full length album “goddamned” was an impressive collection of words and music that, though it had been many years since I had to wrestle with what he was singing about, it did bring me back to those feelings the moment he began to sing/play. The truth of his words cut though the years behind me like blowing on a dusty photo album and rediscovering old friends, lovers and acquaintances. Brilliant textures and a crystal clear voice that I found haunting as it was lyrical.
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So I’ve been listening to him ever since. His latest album, “Rob Me Blind” served as the emotive core for one of the main character’s in the Angel’s of Mercy series. So much so, that I had him be a fan of Jay’s work in the book. Those lyrics were tantamount to why Elliot did and thought the things he did while Marco overwhelmed and consumed every aspect of his little artistic geeky boy life.
Marco is a god to Elliot. Towering, confident (though never cocky), and most of all – steadfastly devoted to Elliot. Elliot doesn’t understand this. Can’t fathom how the star quarterback of his varsity high school football team would even notice him let alone being totally in love with him. It’s heady stuff for Elliot. And for a while, he keeps waiting for the other shoe to fall. For Marco to wake up and realize what a colossal mistake he’s made in dating Elliot – the out gay geeky nobody at Mercy High.
I worked really hard at Marco’s and Elliot’s backstory before I ever put a single bit or byte to electronic paper. I had to know them so thoroughly that writing them would just flow. And for the most part it does.
Now we come to one of my biggest gripes about dramatic writing – especially on TV or in the movies, is that it’s gotten way to soap opera-y on us all.
Take for example the recently aired episode of Resurrection from ABC. I don’t know if you follow it or not, but there was a moment in last week’s Ep where a busy body old cow (played brilliantly by one of the Cartwright sisters) got up and railed against probably one of the nicest/most balanced characters on that show and said some hurtful things that stretched the truth of the matter in front of his entire congregation (oh yeah, I should mention he’s the town preacher). Evidently Bessie the old cow, wasn’t happy with chewing the cud on her part of the pews and decided to rail against the preacher because of something that happened in his past (that the TV audience was completely aware of how he had been duped by the recently returned (un)dead girlfriend (this is where the title of the show comes in). There was simply no way he could’ve anticipated what came out in the wash (that his girlfriend from 12 years ago had killed herself and was pregnant with his child when she took a long drive off a short pier). But all of that is fine… EXCEPT for what came next: the preacher said none of this in his defense. Leaving everyone in his congregation to assume what Bessie had been mooing over from her part of the pew farm was the absolute truth.
Now… you and I both know that if it’d been us and we were wrongly accused of something we had no knowledge of we’d defend it. Not stand there like some poor brainless schmuck who appeared to have wandered from the Walking Dead onto the wrong show. And don’t give me the whole: but he’s a preacher crap, either. Preacher men are men of words. Not always the right one’s. I’ll grant you, but of words nonetheless. They are ‘paid’ to think on their feet. So if there was ANYone who would’ve said something it woulda been him. But nada, zilch. Just stood there like a government employee (and I was a government employee once so I can say that with some authority – that last, by the way was a nod to the writers of Greater Tuna). That’s not how it happens in real life – I know, I know, it’s a televised drama – keyword: drama.
But there’s a way to make it far more believable, isn’t there? Preacher man – no matter how balanced and good, should be able to handle Bessie the cow and put her back out to pasture to chew the cud with other bovine gossipers of her ilk.
Anywho, I’ll get off my soap opera box now. I’m just getting tired of screenplay writers who take the easy way out to create drama. The whole Duh, dah, dah moments are so 1960. I know Mad Men is still all the rage, but hey, at least they get the heightened drama right.
Am I right?