“The Journey of St. Laurent” Now Available!

Ladies and Gentlemen, it is with great pleasure I announce the unveiling of Bryce Beattie’s long-awaited, much anticipated sequel to Oasis, entitled The Journey of St. Laurent – now available on Amazon’s Kindle platform, Barnes and Noble’s NOOK platform, and in many additional formats and platforms from Smashwords!

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From the description:

ER nurse Corbin St. Laurent has had a bad couple of weeks. His hometown was overrun by zombies and then bombed to the ground. Now he finds out aliens are not only real, but hostile. To make matters worse, the government’s response it to tell the everyone to calm down. With washington strangely reluctant to fight back, Corbin searches for a weapon that could give the people cause to rise up – the same zombie virus that destroyed Oasis.

The Journey of St. Laurent is a pulp action adventure sequel to Bryce Beattie’s debut novel Oasis. If you like zombies, aliens, fiery redheads, loud mouth radio hosts or non-stop action, you’ll probably like this book.

Check it out at the links below!

http://www.amazon.com/The-Journey-Laurent-Bryce-Beattie-ebook/dp/B00GVM1N5C

http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/the-journey-of-st-laurent-bryce-beattie/1117495901

https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/381116

Guest Post: SBR Martin

Today, I have as my guest author SBR Martin, the writer behind the novel “pig”.

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Writing as a Reader: My Novel Approach to the Novel

I have been fortunate enough to study under the greats when it comes to literature and the art of writing fiction. Chuck Palahniuk schooled me on plot twists and the intentional consequences of inserting highly technical medical jargon into otherwise smooth text. Anne Rice educated me on the finer points of character depth and development.

The idea that one character can be both a protagonist and an antagonist at the same time was taught to me by John C. Gardner, as well as by Gregory Maguire. From Mr. William Faulkner, I learned how to further broaden a narrative’s “God” perspective. William Shakespeare, Jean Racine, and Nathaniel Hawthorne were but a few of my other instructors, joined by nonfiction scholars such as Sigmund Freud, Bruno Bettelheim, and Howard Zinn.

Needless to say, though I’ll say it anyway, it was not directly under these greats that I studied. Practical considerations such as time and geography aside, I can’t even begin to fathom the tuition cost of a fabled institution that had all these famed artists on staff!

Every writer is first and foremost a reader, and I am no exception. It was through my academic and personal studies that I discovered and dissected my own writing curriculum. By reading the works of others—from the backs of cereal boxes to the most brilliant works of fiction—I learned invaluable lessons that have influenced the ways I live, learn, and write.

That said, I have had no formal, official, or university-approved training in my art. In college, I took only those writing courses required for graduation and the completion of my psychology major.

I am what some would call a self-taught writer/author. But what beauty I now create came from once-upon-a-time rocky soil. Writing was not always my strong point.

When I started high school at The Ellis School in 1992, my first English assignment was to write a critical analysis of Beowulf. After working at my typewriter for hours, I submitted a paper I thought was pretty damn good. My teacher, however, did not agree.

When the paper was handed back a week later, it was returned without a grade. The words “See me” appeared in the front page margin. What I had considered damn good was, in fact, a crude and poorly-written book report that lacked analysis and sentence variety.

Rather than conceding to my inadequacy, I confronted it, determined to equip myself with stronger skills. Though I embraced help from my high school teachers and a faculty tutor, I placed the brunt of the burden on myself. The scholastic guidance I received was but the first step in a long process that lead to my proactive adventure with the English language and my own understanding of the elements of artful and effective writing.

I honed these self-taught skills and put them to use in my undergraduate studies at the University of Pittsburgh, receiving stellar marks in courses requiring essay work.

It was in my junior year that I again met a familiar situation. After working at my laptop for hours, I submitted a psychology paper I thought was pretty damn good. When the paper was handed back a week later, it was returned without a grade. “See me” appeared in the front page margin.

What I considered damn good was, in fact, so damn good that my instructor questioned whether I had actually written it and dismissively accused me of plagiarism, requiring me to defend myself in front of the head of the Psychology Department before penal action was taken.

Armed with samples of my writing submitted to other professors, I met with the department head, who thoroughly reviewed my work before tabling the claim and calling the instructor into her office to begrudgingly apologize to me for her false accusation.

The next scrutiny my work received was of a far more honorable sort. I was given an English Composition Award for a piece I’d written in an undergraduate legal writing course, a remarkable feat as such awards are rarely doled out for professional writing coursework.

After college, I studied law at the University of Pittsburgh School of Law, where my writing was recognized by publication in the school’s Journal of Law and Commerce and by an invitation to speak at the 54th annual Conference on College Composition and Communication.

Having tackled critical composition and legal analysis, I next moved on to wrestle other forms of writing. Since 2011, I have worked as a freelance reporter, accumulating journalism experience with media outlets such as CBS Local Media Pittsburgh and AOL’s Patch Network. At Patch alone, I wrote approximately 150 articles over the course of ten months.

My debut novel, In Wake of Water, marked my entry into another genre of writing—fiction. Less than four months after its publication, I finished my second novel, Pig, which was honored as a Second Prize Quarterfinalist in the 2012 Amazon Breakthrough Novel Award Contest.

Of my manuscript, Publishers Weekly wrote: “The ultimate resolution of the story makes for quite a surprise… (Martin) is able to build good characters, flawed and believable, yet familiar; so that at the end one is saddened, but also, in a strange way, enriched.”

A review like that is evidence that I’ve been doing something right. But what?

I’ve been asked about my writing process countless times. My answer is always the same: I write with the intention of writing a good story. To some, this seems like an evasive answer, like I’m purposefully trying to conceal my trade secrets.

Dagnamit, I’m not trying to be cagey! I’m being perfectly candid.

I don’t sketch out a plot. I use no outlines or plans other than those in my head. I just think about what I want to write until I am ready to write it. And, as I write it, more thoughts come to me.

When penning (or, rather, typing) Pig, I started off with a general idea of the story I wanted to tell, the story of a woman reflecting on the loves and losses of her life. My main objective was to have her be a well-rounded person who endured both pits and peaks during her existence. She, as well as the cast of supporting characters, was to be both beautiful and flawed, just as we real people are.

I decided to have her life recounted in a setting where reflection is quite common: at a funeral home. I have experienced the deaths of many family members, and, therefore, understand and appreciate how the faces of funeral home patrons can stir memories, both good and bad.

Along that vein, I formulated the general structure of the imminent novel. I set out to alternate present tense happenings at the funeral home with past tense recollections of the main character’s life.

At the beginning of my writing process, that’s all I had in mind. I didn’t yet have the specifics of the story. I let those come to me, one chapter at a time. I’d sit down, write a chapter, and then think about what should come next.

What else would I want to know about this character or that event? What would shock me? How about a red herring, something that seems important but is nothing more than distraction? Where can I hide a clue to a secret I’ll reveal later? Can I make my characters any more believable? Any more compelling? Why did she do this, he do that, or they do the other thing?

Etc., etc., etc. until completion.

And, speaking of completion, I wrote the end of my novel when I got to the end. I didn’t have the ending in mind at the beginning. The conclusion flowed from me as the chapters before it had done, in a natural, coursing manner. In many ways, I think the resolution was there all along. It was just waiting for me to find it.

Perhaps my approach to the novel is novel, although I doubt I’m the first person to ever write this way. Given my background, or lack thereof, I write the only way I know how—as a reader. It is my greatest hope that my work will affect other readers as strongly as reading others has affected my work.

Read it. Live it. Love it. sbr.

Books by sbr martin:

imagePig: available for purchase on Amazon at http://www.amazon.com/Pig-ebook/dp/B008AY5L66 and likeable on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/sbrmartin.pig

In Wake of Water: available for purchase on Amazon at http://www.amazon.com/In-Wake-Of-Water-ebook/dp/B005WOFNFG and likeable on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/inwakeofwater

sbr martin’s other online presences:

sbr can be found online in myriad places, including multiple stops along her virtual tour. Guest posts, interviews, and other visits are chronicled on her Goodreads blog. If you’d like sbr to make a special appearance on your blog/site, contact her directly at sbrmartin@sbrmartin.com.

sbr on Goodreads: http://www.goodreads.com/sbrmartin

sbr on Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/author/sbrmartin

sbr on Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/sbrmartin

sbr on YouTube: http://www.youtube.com/user/sbrmartin

sbr on Twitter: http://twitter.com/sbrmartin

sbr on sbr: http://www.sbrmartin.com

Interview with Michael Esser

Today we have as our guest author, Micheal Esser, of the “Deadz” series “The Deadz” and “Vegaz Apocalypze”.

Welcome, Michael!

Michael, “The Deadz” is the first of a series of zombie books you’re working on. What made you want to write zombie fiction?

I moved from a big city to this little town and one day I was looking around and thought to myself, “What would happen if a zombie outbreak happened here?” We seem so isolated that I thought it would be a real problem! So, the idea was born.

Do you have a special fondness for that area of horror or do you have any plans to branch out into other areas?

I do have another zombie storyline or two I’m throwing around. I might like to do a mash up of sorts. My daughters sparked an idea to write, “Vampires vs. Robots” and I’ve set it in the last decade of the 21st century. The rest is under wraps, but let’s just say the vamps aren’t the hunters in this one.

Zombie stories in general are apocalyptic, especially since the Romero classics. Why do you think that is?

It’s the fantasy of getting to see the end of it all. Zombies are a human element at work, not like a meteor or atomic bomb, and if you’re caught in this disaster you become part of it.

How does that influence your work? Does it constrain you or liberate your work?

I think it liberates it because in my world I can destroy the whole damn thing and still have a setting to tell my story.

Speaking of your work, tell us about your writing process. How do you come up with your stories? Do you plot your stories, outline them, or are you a “pantser” (writing the story off the cuff, by the “seat of your pants”)?

I am constantly capturing ‘ideas’ for stories. Then, when I have something I’ve mentally mapped out, a beginning, middle, and end, I outline it like I’m watching it as a movie. (This happens, then this, and this, and so on capturing the main points in a little more detail.)

Are you one of those writers who always seem to have a notebook or pen handy when the Muse tickles you? Or are you like me, scrambling around for a pencil or pen and some scrap of blank writing surface to jot down the idea before it vanishes?

I used to be a notebook FREAK! I could leave the house without pants before my pad, but nowadays my phone has become the new pen and paper. Although, I am a ‘jot down the idea before it vanishes’ kind of guy to the highest degree.

When did you first realize you wanted to be a writer? What drew you to writing?

I was nine. I had a dream about my buddies and I going off into the desert for the night and when we returned it was twenty years later. I was so awed by the future world I woke up and scrambled for a crayon and the back of some old homework to jot it down. I’ve been in and out of writers anonymous ever since.

Which books or authors influence your work the most? Do you try to emulate anyone in particular?

I like a few authors, couldn’t say I love anyone. The first books I read, and still love, were comic books. I remember the “Narnia” series from middle school. Lately, I ran through the Hunger Game books rather quick a couple years back, Brian Keene is cool, I loved and can’t wait for Warm Bodies to hit the screen, that was another one I tore through.

My style is and always will be a mix of manuscript and screenplay writing. I want to attract that, “I’ll just wait for the movie types” to read something that plays out in their mind like film. I’ll set up the world and guide you through it, but I want you to color the pictures in.

Tell us about your new book “The Deadz Won’t Rize”, and when do you expect to publish it?

I threw up a rushed version a few months back to get input. Those that read it, liked it. I re-read it and decided to clean it and Vegaz Apocalypze up a bit and make them more cohesive. I’m shooting for October 2012. The protagonist, Michael, has been fighting the deadz as an altered dead himself. But, when he thinks his family has been killed he snaps and goes cannibal on the cannibals and for the first time we see him lose it on a murderous level. Then a cure starts to take effect and everything is again flipped.

Besides writing, what do you like to do with your time? What hobbies and activities do you involve yourself with when you’re not being a key-jockey?

I am a geek. So, you name it. Midnight movies, quirky video games, sci-fi TV shows, I collect movie posters and superhero memorabilia. My kids love me when I go into the kitchen. I’ve created ‘zombie sauce’ and my own special rubs for meats and, I really like to bring out the crazy. (Crazy good!) I’m gonna open a zombie themed diner or food truck when I get old.

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Check Michael’s work out on Amazon.com and his own website, http://thedeadz.wordpress.com/.

The first two installments of my zombie series “The Deadz” and “Vegaz Apocalypze” are available NOW at https://www.smashwords.com/profile/view/michaelesser.

(D3 “The Deadz Won’t Rize” is COMING IN OCTOBER!)

Author Interview: Bryce Beattie

OasisToday, I’m pleased to have as my guest author Bryce Beattie, whose work includes the self-published zombie-pulp thriller Oasis, and its sequel (on his blog for now), The Journey of St. Laurent.

Bryce, you’re too young a man to be familiar with the pulp-era style, so how did your love of pulp come about?
Well, It kind of stemmed from my love of the era itself. There was this one Christmas where my parents gave my brother and me some tape sets of The Shadow, Cape Cod Mystery Theater, and some hard boiled detectives, I can’t remember which ones. So I started to like some of the popular genres of the time. Over the years, I liked other stuff about the era as well. In high school, I got into Big Band jazz, and then swing dancing. I kept doing that for a long time. I even ran the swing club at the University of Utah for a while. Dancing is how I met me wife.

What was I supposed to be talking talking about?
Right, The pulps.

Somewhere along the high school portion of the timeline I picked up this collection of shorts called Tough Guys and Dangerous Dames. It was my first real exposure to pulp literature. I loved reading that brick of pages until just about disintegrated. A couple of years later, I was pouring over the shelves of my local used bookstore when I came across a shelf of Doc Savage paperback reprints. They were cheap, and the covers looked pretty sweet, so I picked up a handful. I wish now that I’d bought the whole lot, because Doc Savage is quite possibly the awesomest man to ever (fictionally) live. I’ve written about him a few times on my blog.

Back when Blackmask online was still Blackmask online (and not munsey’s), I got into more hardboiled detectives, then Edgar Rice Burroughs’ John Carter of Mars series. That is where my love of pulp novels exploded. I soaked up tons of it. The work that stood out the most for me was that of Robert E. Howard. First I read all the original Conan stories, then the Solomon Kane yarns, and then his horror work, then lots of his other stuff. Recently I read a bunch of his Sailor Steve Costigan boxing stories. Those are kind of like watching Rocky except without all the sissy parts.

What are the most powerful influences on your writing? Is there any one writer you try to emulate most?
I would like very much to have the energy of Robert E. Howard in my work. I doubt very much I’ll ever get there, but I’ll keep trying. As far as current authors go, I’m working hard on my writing voice, and I’d like to work into my narrative the kind of conversational personality that Jim Butcher uses in the Dresden Files series.
Of course, if I could cram in some subtext like Jane Austin, that’d be good too.

How does your writing process work? Are you an outliner or a “pantser” (writing without any structure)?
For both Oasis and The Journey of St. Laurent, I wrote a high level outline, and then worked into it mentions of a few scenes that I absolutely had to have. Then my outlining process totally broke down. Most of the time I do write down the major hits in a scene before writing it. I’ve noticed that the writing itself is way easier the better of an outline I use. You’d think then that I would outline the heck out of everything I write. Nope.  At least not yet.

I’ve already got outlines going for several more books, though. At least one of those I’m going to outline thoroughly.

Do you have a particular genre you favor more than others? A particular style?
Oh, as far as my reading goes, I am as variable as the wind when it comes to genre. I go through “classics” periods where it’s all Dickens and Austin and such. Then it’s all detective novels. Then it’s urban fantasy. Then it’s espionage. Then it’s NYT bestselling thriller time. Then it’s cowboy fantasy time (wink, wink). My imagination must be like a pretty dry pile of pine needles, because it doesn’t take much to light it on fire. I read out loud to my kids pretty much every night, too, so I’m always in to Children’s literature.

I do often return to Urban Fantasy, Mystery/Thrillers, and Adventure novels, though. I’ll call those my favorites.

How much time do you spend reading about the craft of writing?
This is just another one of my phases. I’ll read nothing but writing theory for a month or two and then not touch it for a year or more. I’ve read “Techniques of the Selling Writer” a couple of times, and I consider it probably the best book on writing that I’ve ever read. I used to read several writing blogs almost religiously, but that’s tapered way off recently.  I’m convinced what my writing needs now more than anything is just more butt-in-chair-hands-on-keyboard time.

Your last two projects were zombies and aliens. What’s next on the horizon for you?
Let’s see. I have a batch of short stories (including one that will appear here on your blog shortly), a hard boiled detective novelette, three Children’s fairy tale type books, a couple of mainstream thrillers sketched out, and at least two sci-fi series I’d like to someday write. That’s my “to write” pile anyway. Immediately will be a detective short and novelette, then one of the Children’s books.

You can find Bryce all over the Internet, on Facebook, Twitter, and his blog, which is where you should go for all the other connections. And of course, check out his novel, OASIS, on Amazon and other retailers.

New Anthology Released!

Ladies and gentlemen, I’d like to announce the release of my second collection of short stories entitled A Moonlit Stroll.

It’s a collection of stories and novellas comprised of almost everything I’ve not previously published, from the longest of about 16,000 words to the shortest of about 800 words. Many of them appeared here as flash fiction for the #FridayFlash fun which takes place every week.

Because they’re in a published work now, they’ve been removed from my blog, but I hope you’ll consider stopping by and downloading your copy from Smashwords.com.

Thank you to one and all for your wonderful support and the incredible encouragement you’ve been to me.

The Amazon Kindle store hasn’t released the book yet, but when it’s “live” I’ll post the link here and everywhere else you can imagine. :)

Thank you again, and stay tuned for more to come. :)

-JDT-

Good-bye, Michael Crichton

A dark day for the literary community — the great author, television producer, movie producer, director, and general creative icon Michael Crichton has died at the age of 66. He will be sorely missed. Sorely missed.

Godspeed, Dr. Crichton. Thank you for all the wonderful stories, inspiration, television programs and wise words you’ve left for all of us who inspired to a fraction of your talent and genius. Thank you for not only telling us, but showing us, that there is no such thing as great writing — only great re-writing.

All our prayers and condolences go out to the Crichton family in their time of loss.

-JDT-