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My Writing Process: A Blog Hop Stop

Blog Hops are these neat little things where different bloggers build bridges between their worlds and hopefully introduce their readers to someone new. There are all kinds of themes for blog hops. This particular one is about the writing process.

Sidney Williams from Sid is Alive passed the baton my way for this leg of the blog hop. Sid is a friend, colleague, and fantastic horror writer and I recommend that you check him out.

Now on to the questions:

What am I working on?

I have several projects under way. For the past six months I have been working on a manuscript for a horror novel (it’s Trainspotting in a haunted house) and a poetry collection with a friend of mine. I’m also doing a fair bit of copywriting and reporting regularly for GenuineOrlando.com.

And…I recently finished a one-month Bizarro writing workshop on Litreactor.com, hosted by one of the pillars of the genre, Rose O’Keefe (publisher of Eraserhead Press). I managed to crank out three short stories and I am putting together a few pitches for potential bizarro novellas.

This is by far the most exciting thing I am currently working on.

How does my work differ from others in its genre?

I’d like to think that it has to do with the referential nature of my writing, along with my talent for satire. My first (and currently only) novel, Leather to the Corinthians, is a bit of a genre mash-up that many found hard to describe. Perhaps that is not the best thing for marketing, but hearing someone say that you just HAVE TO READ IT TO UNDERSTAND IT…that feels great to me.

I have also been told that the book is weird, wild, bizarre, etc. I’ll take that too.

I wrote the book I wanted to write.

Why do I write what I do?

To kind of piggyback on that last thing, I write stories that I would want to read. I have experienced so much STORY in my life, through reading, watching, and playing. I am well read. I know formula, trope, and cliché. I am always looking for something original. I try to do that with my own work and present an original voice.

How does my writing process work?

I write every day, M-F. Sometimes on the weekends, but that’s typically only if there is a paycheck involved.

I need quiet. I need isolation. I am now at the point in my life where I have my own home office and that has made me much more productive. I am more creative when I am tired or after exercise, so I try to time my sessions to line up with these.

I can write at any time in the day, but until I do, I feel like I left something on the stove.

Or the water running.

Or that I am being crushed by 1000 pounds of dreams and expectations.

Also, I will listen to music that reinforces the mood of what I am writing. Many of my characters have soundtracks or playlists that help me stay true.

Who’s next on the Blog Hop?

I have chosen two wonderful writers for you.

Dominic and I have been friends since I started blogging. We met through WordPress. I love his stuff. He’s so damn authentic. You can find him here – eternalDomnation.com

Linda is a writer and folk artist, and she is amazing at both. Her blog is relatively new and each post is so very well crafted. Find her at: Lindapuritz.wordpress.com


Submitting Stories and all of the Other Stuff I am Doing.

Although I have managed to keep my blog current, I haven’t spoken much to the actual pursuit of the craft, something I did much more of as I ramped up to the release of my first novel as well as the months that followed.

That’s because I have been busy writing the second novel, along with several other ongoing projects. I have gotten to the point where I am writing every day, working on something. This level of productivity is beyond anything I have experienced in the past and although I do ride up near the edge of exhaustion more often than not, I know that when you’re hot, you have to shoot the puck as much as possible.

The second novel is going well. I am about to hit the 45k mark, so I am halfway through the first draft. It’s very different than my first book (which will be a series in time, but it will take some time). It’s a horror novel, first and foremost.

Here’s the premise for your consideration:

Jesse Cruce wants to escape his past. As a struggling drug addict, he thought rehab was hell, but it turns out renovating his dead father’s house in St. Augustine is worse. When he accidentally opens a portal to the afterlife, he unleashes a demonic force capable of dragging the city’s souls into the abyss. Jesse might be able to stop it — but only if he can defeat the self-perpetuating monster of his addiction first.

So there’s character development, a plot, internal and external conflict – all the makings of a fine story (or so I have been told). I’m having a great time writing it and I am enjoying horror much more that I even thought. The writing is slow but steady. I can manage about 500-1000 words a day. Some of “why” of this is time (gainful employment be DAMNED) but I’m exploring some dark places and to be honest (and at the risk of sounding pretentious), it’s emotionally draining. Most days I go for a jog right after to clear my mind.

I expect to have the manuscript wrapped up by late spring. Then revisions. Then a content editor. Then more revisions. Then beta readers. Then the queries. Unlike the insanity of Leather, it won’t nearly be as hard to pitch. Yay for simplicity!

So this is the slow moving titan that is pulling me through 2014. However, I have several other projects going that are supporting my need to be stupid busy. Also, versatility must be practiced.

As an aspiring storyteller, it’s one of my goals to always be submitting, to have my work in consideration somewhere. Last year, I had my darkly humorous take on Santa Claus accepted and published in F*cked Up Fairy Tales, did some guest blogging, secured a short story in a horror anthology coming out in 2015 and sold a vampire poem — of all things.

This year, I have two stories that I am trying to find a home for. The first is a very straightforward werewolf tale (it may be too linear in structure, we’ll see) and I also have my attempt at metafiction/slipstream, a 2000 word shifting narrative that has gathered seven rejections to date. It might just be that the right editor hasn’t seen it yet or that it has a significant flaw or twelve that I have yet to identify. I also have three short stories in the planning stages: a sci-fi satire starring a gigantic gladiator by the name of Titanus, a dystopian tale of a world where having material possessions is punished, and a non-fiction piece about a terrible car accident I was in many years ago.

Although my novel would be finished much sooner without the side projects, I feel that it is critical for me to be putting smaller works out there and I think it’s something all aspiring authors NEED to do. For me, it’s about expanding my readership and exposure while challenging myself to work with stories and themes that are slightly out of my comfort zone. Seriously, I would never think to write a werewolf story, but I have one. For you, it may be a completely different reason but I can say that those small victories are what keep me motivated.

There is the rejection. Or should I say, there are the rejections. I have my fair share of them. The pursuit of writing demands it! I recently was asked how I deal with regular rejection and it’s not complicated. I give myself an hour to feel a bit bummed then I immediately target new places to submit. I’ll take another good look at the piece in question, perhaps revise a bit, and then it’s out the door to another editor. Unless you have been given specific feedback, you can never be sure why it was rejected, so there is no reason to get pissed off or depressed. If they gave you feedback, there’s even less of a reason for hard feelings. Hell, you just got feedback for free. Rejoice!

Fall off the horse seven times, get up eight.

I’m using a few different sites to find places to submit. I’ve been leaning on Ralan.com mostly as they list the kind of markets I am most interested in and they keep their info up to date. There’s Duotrope, of course. Writer’s Digest also has lots to offer if you are looking to submit, and I have had some luck with Writer’s Relief.

Between these four sources, I think I have it covered. I can’t write enough content fast enough to enter every competition or submit to every publication that interests me, but that’s why I keep everything I write. You never know when you’ll stumble upon the perfect place for that piece that has been sitting in the box – just waiting for its chance. Put me in coach, I know I can play.

I’m also collaborating with an old friend on a poetry collection. It’s a good time. It’s pushing me. I choose a topic and write a poem. I send it to her and she writes on the same topic, and also writes a second piece, with a new topic of her choosing. She sends both back to me and I duplicate the process. We’ve written 20 poems each over the past year and I am learning so much from it.

And if all of this wasn’t enough, I am doing quite a bit of copywriting as well as script writing (marketing and instructional videos) and contributing reviews to an Orlando-centric (what to do around town kind of thing) to a new website. You can check it out here.

To wrap it up with a pretty ribbon, since starting this blog I have only build momentum. The friends and readers I have gained from it – MIND BLOWN. Far beyond any expectations I had with that first post. I’d like to thank you all for putting the gas in my tank to pursue my goals and dreams. I am passing mile markets with increasing speed and I have a great feeling about 2014.

Lucas out.

The Indignity of Falling

It’s kind of hard to admit this
But I did something stupid
It wasn’t the last stupid thing I have done
But it was perhaps the greatest

I was at a party
Downtown, in a warehouse
Old slaughterhouse turned hipster
I was bored so I wandered

Up and up.

Seven stories until the roof.

A spectacular evening.

Detroit skyline.

Blinking and pretty.

The false warmth of
Many drinks made me feel quite cozy

Night sky, stars, the manufactured beauty
Glass and concrete creations
I thought it was all quite special
Pardon my precocious sentimentality

Took a few steps around a water tower
One step too many I’m afraid
Found myself gripping the edge of the roof
Thought I might die hard

Slipping fingers and thoughts to instinct
And down I went ass first, head second
To the fifth floor, my good sir
No stops in-between

There I lay, half-in-a-stupor
Facepalming just thinking about it
By the providence of the greater
I landed on a second roof instead of the street

Then the waiting, the hallucinating
The worry, the piss, the dehydration
The hunger, the pain, the shame
Broken hip couldn’t move no one knew

Took nearly two days for them to find me
I was a complete wreck a damned fool
Fractured bones and ego but happy
For a stretcher ride out of the shit

8 days in the hospital
10 weeks on crutches
15 years of head shaking
It’s been a while but I don’t forget

I dodged a bullet
I was spared for what purpose I
Might never know for sure
But I recognize the gift

One day my number will be called
Ticket punched and all that
A lovely service then
The trash heap

And there I will be watching
All of the events of my life
With the big bearded guy keeping
His finger on the rewind button

He’s going to want to watch this particular
Highlight more than a few times
And I will have no choice but to sit
Patiently waiting

While God laughs his ass off.

Photo Credit: bruckerrlb via Compfight cc

Blogger Book Fair: Special Guest Adele Park

July BBF button copyWelcome to the Blogger Book Fair! All week I will be featuring a diverse group of bloggers and authors, but I also recommend heading over to the event’s website, Blogger Book Fair, because there are a lot of other blogs and websites participating, and there are all kinds of freebies and great books to discover.

In addition to a week of guest blogs, I have marked down the Kindle version of my novel, Leather to the Corinthians, to only .99 for the week! Click here to get it.

My first guest post is from author Adele Park. She is the author of the award-winning audio book, Yikes! Another Quirky Audio Book and has taken the time to share her experience with the process of narrating an audio book. As I am considering taking this step with my work, it’s quite interesting. Enjoy!

Do You Want to Narrate an Audio Book?

Are you an actor or voice-over artist looking for more work? The market for narrators is expanding with the growing audio book industry. New studios are cropping up every day so you don’t necessarily have to live in New York City or Los Angeles to land a gig. In fact, the cost of opening your own recording studio has dropped so dramatically that many narrators do their work from the comfort of their own homes.

Audio book narration is a very specialized skill, especially for projects where just one person is reading the voices for all the characters. Narrators must develop a unique voice for all the characters and make each one believable, even if they are reading a part for the opposite sex. Additionally, the narrator must be able to move seamlessly from one character to the next.

If your narration skills could use a little polishing or if this is a talent you’d like to develop, one place to start is with Pat Frayley.com. Pat has been hosting narration workshops all over the United States for many years. Not ready to commit to a workshop? Pat also offers a variety of free lessons on his website.

Seasoned narrators have an abundance of work opportunities thanks to ACX (Audio Creation Exchange) www.acx.com. Narrators can create a profile an post their voice demo on the ACX site. Narrators can also use ACX as a way to audition for specific projects they are interested in working on. Better still, ACX allows narrators to negotiate their own fees.

Another way for narrators to advertise their services is through the Audio Publishers Association www.audiopub.org. The APA is a networking organization which strives to promote the audio book industry and keep its members informed on sales trends and other relevant information. Please note: there is a small fee associated with joining the APA.

As the owner of Straight to Audio Productions LLC, I’m often approached by narrators who would like to work on my audio books. All of my audio books are multi-voiced and feature numerous actors. While I can’t tell you what other studios require, perhaps some of the things I look for have a universal quality. At the very least, you’ll know the best way to pull off a successful audition for my projects.

At Straight to Audio Productions, a positive attitude is one the main indicators of whether or not I want to invest time and money in an a certain actor. My goal is to attract those with an upbeat, happy disposition. I consider every actor who works on my projects to be equally important, whether they have the lead role or just read one or two chapters. I’m a bit of a stickler when it comes to punctuality and preparedness. In return, I’m careful to respect other people’s time, so I’m always set up and ready to go when an actor comes in for a recording session.

I’m not sure what school of thought other production studios use, but for my company I have a few things I look for during an audition. As an audio book listener, I get distracted by sound tracks where the volume level changes due the way the narration is voiced. I look for actors who can read at a consistent level so listeners won’t have to keep turning the volume up and down. I also prefer strong voices as opposed to reedy ones that may be tricky to edit.

While I’m not currently in production for an audio book, I do have one in the works. Narrators who are interested in being invited to audition for Straight to Audio Productions are welcome to send their demos to studio129@infowest.com. Please make sure your demo is in mp3 format and doesn’t exceed three minutes in length.

Best of luck to all the narrators in the world. You have a valuable skill that helps listeners learn new things and enjoy their favorite books. Now is the time to make your voice heard!
Written by: Adele Park
Website: www.yikesaudiobook.com
YouTube: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PPotQyyPsuo&feature=g-upl

IMG_1742About Adele:

Adele Park worked as a TV and radio reporter, news anchor and on-air personality for more than 20 years. In 2008, Park formed Straight to Audio Productions LLC and opened a recording studio in St. George, Utah. Park’s first audio book, WHEN RADIO AND POLYGAMY COLLIDE . . . Jitters-A Quirky Little Audio Book, received a 2011 Audie Award from the Audio Publishers Association for Multi-Voiced Performance. Jitters-A Quirky Little Audio Book was also honored with a spot on Jimmy Fallon’s Do Not Read List.

yikes-thumbprint-1200x1200About Yikes!

WHEN MARIJUANA AND REALITY TV COLLIDE . . . Yikes! Another Quirky Audio Book
Written, Produced and Edited by Adele Park. Yikes! Another Quirky Audio Book is a satire about a marijuana enthusiast named Blue McKenna who uses reality TV as a way to cure an apocalyptic case of writer’s block. A conglomerate of kooky contestants invades the polygamist community of Navel, Utah, to compete in a reality show called Yikes! Participants include Steven Finch, a lovable stoner who develops a conspiracy theory involving a rock band called the Rectal Surgeons, and Randall Smoot, a member of the Gay Mafia.
Yikes! Another Quirky Audio Book is 10.5 hours long, features a cast of 11 actors, and is available for sale on Audible.com and Amazon.com. Yikes! was released in September of 2012. The ISBN number for Yikes! is 978-0-9837074-1-7.

I Almost Died A Lot

When I was very small
My mother took me to the lake
Out I floated, inflatable raft
Then I slipped.

I didn’t know how to swim
And down I went. Once. Twice. A third time.
Thrice is a bit much.

But she dragged me to shore.

A few years later, away at camp
In the bitter winter, I ventured a lonely lake
I chose to walk on the ice
After school specials be damned

Through the ice I went
No one to see me

Somehow I pulled myself out (some movie taught me how to do it)

In college, headed to a party
Everyone loaded and laughing
Especially the driver, what a punk
He flipped the damn car at 90

Being drunk paid off
As I flopped out the window

Cut up, but I scraped by. I left a few pints behind.

Sitting at the bar, having a few
A downtown Detroit restaurant
Suddenly yelling, a gun
It was a robbery, hands in the air

Nobody move, he says
So some asshole moves. Thanks.

Gun goes off just past my shoulder

One night I found myself on a roof
Seven stories high, look at that skyline
It was night, and I was stupid
I fell off the back, should look when I am going
Only 60 feet, instead of 150

Broke a hip and my pride. Pride still hurts.
But survive I did

Later to be the punch line of jokes. Maybe you heard a few.

A year later, only a damn year
A violent storm, a tornado in fact
Tears through the house
I hid in the basement

Lost everything I owned
But a bag of clothes. That I had packed for the weekend. Convenient.

It was a close call.

Then there’s the time that fell after
I don’t care to share details
I can tell you that I
Made bad choices, the killing kind

Truly, it’s a miracle that I made it
If life were fair,

I’d be dead.

Two, maybe three times over.

If I were a cat (A Tom Cat), I’d be down to my
Last life. 9 of 9. (Rough calculation)
But I fear that it might be
Whittling away

Being nickel and dimed by fate
And age.

It’s a list of nonsense:
Late onset food allergies, hives
Teeth falling apart (I get cavities now)
Plantar fasciitis.

Now I got a goddamn podiatrist.

Hemacromatosis – big word, big boy.
(Hey! There’s a cyst in my liver. They tell me this happens all the time)

Other bullshit, and bullshit to be named later.

The slow death of minor inconveniences, maladies, risk factors, possibilities.
I think that my last life will be taken by a collection of annoyances.

A lazy hatchet splintering small chips until tree
Number 9
Falls over.

Photo Credit: [ henning ] via Compfight cc


jumpWelcome to the blog hop!

What is a blog hop? Basically, it’s a way that readers can discover new authors, because with bookstores closing and publishers not promoting new authors as much, we need to find a way to introduce readers to authors they may not see in their local bookstore.

Here you have the chance to find many new authors. You’ll find information about me, my blog, and my book – Leather to the Corinthians. But that’s not all! Also see links below to other authors you might like to check out.

I’d like to thank fellow author SUZY DUFFY for tagging me to participate. Click the link below to find out about her latest Bestseller, WELLESLEY WIVES.


In this particular hop, I and my fellow authors, in their respective blogs, have answered 10 questions where you get to learn about our current work in progress as well as some insights into our process, from characters and inspirations to plotting and cover decisions. I hope you enjoy it!

Please feel free to comment and share your thoughts and questions. Here is my Next Big Thing!

1: What is the title of your book?
Well…my blog is just stinking with it. Leather to the Corinthians. I am currently outlining Book 2 of the series (yep, it will be a series but I have yet to name it). The working title for the second installment is…The Scarlet Leather.

2: Where did the idea come from for the book?
Years ago, I wrote a short story. I liked it. What I liked most about it was the fact that it had a strange voice. I didn’t recognize it, but it was (in my mind) something special. I had been writing for several years, in many styles and genres. This was the first time that I felt like I had found MY VOICE. Geez, pretentious much?

3: What genre does your book come under?
Science Fiction/Fantasy. That’s the most recognizable. However, it’s a strange book – on purpose. It’s a bit of Naked Lunch as written by Douglas Adams. It’s surreal, high-concept satire. It’s a genre mosh pit.

4: Which actors would you choose to play your characters in a movie rendition?
The Soldier: Joseph Gordon-Levitt.
Scratch Microphone: Matthew McConaughey
The General: John Noble
The King: Richard Branson

5: What is the one-sentence synopsis of your book?
A young freedom fighter struggles with his humanity in this dystopian sci-fi satire.

6: Is your book self-published, published by an independent publisher, or represented by an agency?
Technically, it’s self-published. I am now the proud owner of a Small Press: Room 1331 Publishing and Media. My book will be only one in a growing catalog. There’s many great writers that I am looking at right now.

7: How long did it take you to write the first draft of your manuscript?
I wrote Leather while I was a high school teacher, and I only worked on it during the summers. Took me five years, but if you boil that down, probably about a year.

8: What other books would you compare this story to within your genre?
My book has been favorable compared to Ready Player One, John Dies at the End, Trasmetropolitan, and Snow Crash.

9: Who or what inspired you to write this book?
Leather is social commentary at its core. There’s so much that frustrates me at a societal level. I don’t have much political power, but I have a voice.

10: What else about your book might pique the reader’s interest?
This is taken directly from my Amazon page: “If you are fed up with the ridiculousness of big business, politics, mass media, fast food, organized religion, et al…if you enjoy underhanded satire, science fiction, fantasy, the surreal, comic books, video games, and a good laugh — you’ll dig my book. Join me in my quest to expose the truth and fools behind it.”

Below you will find authors who will be joining me by blog, next Wednesday. Do be sure to bookmark and add them to your calendars for updates on WIPs and New Releases!

Happy Writing and Reading!

The INTRIGUING Tof Eklund: http://www.tofeklund.net/
The POWERFUL Robyn J. Williams: http://www.robynjwilliams.com/meta.html
The THOUGHTFUL Allison Bruning: http://allisonbruning.blogspot.com/
The THRILLING Michelle Muckley: http://www.michellemuckley.com/
The ROCKING Robert Raymond: http://www.robertraymond.com/
The ESTEEMED Roland Mann: http://rolandmann.wordpress.com/

Photo Credit: R’eyes via Compfight cc

The Next Big Thing Blog Hop: Part One

Hail New Visitor!

If you are new to my blog today, then chances are you are coming via the AMAZING Suzy Duffy (author of the best-selling WELLESLEY WIVES), who was cool enough to bring me into this literary chain of awesomeness.

Now, I realize that I might not be the typical author you would check out, but at the same time, I am often surprised by who connects with my work. Next week, I will have a brief Q & A so you can get to know me better, as well as 5 more sweet authors for you to investigate. I’ll thank you in advance for supporting Indie pub. It is the now and the future. Never have so many voices been given an ear. This is an exciting time for the written word.

My blog is filled with poetry, short rants, and a few other surprises — but my biggest focus is THE BOOK.

005_leather_cover_title01Leather to the Corinthians is my first novel. It’s a surreal dypstopian satire that has been favorably compared to Ready Player One, Snow Crash, Transmetropolitan, and John Dies at the End. You can learn more about my strange fictional world here on my blog or maybe just zip on over to the Amazon page, where buying it is dangerously convenient.

Thanks for stopping by, and hope to see you next week!