Friday, December 28, 2012

Happy New Year and Spectraland Saga Factoids

To all my readers (of both blog and novel), thank you for your support. 2012 was an amazing year, and hopefully we can keep it going in 2013 and beyond. If you have any suggestions or ideas for topics that you'd like to see me write about in this blog, please let me know.

The second book in the Spectraland Saga is coming along well. I'm now up to about 13,000 words, which translates to roughly 52 pages. It would be nice if I could get it all done by the fall of next year, but we'll see. I'm not going to rush it.

2013 may also see the unveiling of recordings by a couple of the bands that I'm involved in. Keep watching this space for updates.

I'll leave you with some random Spectraland Saga factoids (you head these here first!):

- I chose Suzuki as Joel's last name because I wanted a name that was easy to remember and pronounce. I figured that most people in the U.S. were familiar with the Suzuki car company and, maybe to a lesser extent, Ichiro Suzuki (formerly of the Seattle Mariners, now with some moderately successful team on the East Coast).

- Felicity's name came from an older story idea I had that involved kids who could transform into animals (yes, I know, so original). She was going to be able to transform into a cat, so, you know, cat . . . felis . . . Felicity . . . you get the idea. But, Felicity also means "happiness," which happened to work out very well with the main theme of Secret of the Songshell, which is about the pursuit of, well, happiness.

- The original working title for Secret of the Songshell was "Minstrel."

That's all for now. Happy New Year!

Sunday, December 16, 2012

A Real-Life Hero on the Autism Spectrum

Joel Suzuki is a literary hero on the autism spectrum. Here is a story about a real-life hero on the autism spectrum - someone who saved the day with his special qualities, not despite them.

Wonderful and inspiring stories like this one are more important than ever in light of recent tragic events. Please read this blog post from my friends at Autism Empowerment; it captures my thoughts on the matter very eloquently.

Thursday, December 13, 2012

More Publicity Tips for Authors and Musicians

For all you aspiring or current authors and musicians out there, I share some of my experiences in a podcast interview with my awesome PR company, Arts Seen & Heard. Check it out here!

Also, if you have any questions about DIY book or music marketing, feel free to leave them in the comments and I'll be happy to answer them as best I can.

Monday, December 10, 2012

Book Signing Epilogue

The book signing at Kazoodles was a success! Mahalo to: Mary Sisson for being an awesome host; John and Karen Krejcha (and family) for referring me to Mary and promoting the event; and everyone who came out and bought a book. You guys rock.

That's me in the corner
If you live in the Vancouver/Portland area and haven't been to Kazoodles yet, I highly recommend checking them out for all of your Christmas (and beyond) toy-shopping needs.

Thursday, December 6, 2012

Book Signing @ Kazoodles This Saturday!

For those of you in the Vancouver/Portland area, I'll be signing copies of Secret of the Songshell at Kazoodles Toys this coming Saturday, December 8th, from 4pm - 6pm! Kazoodles is at 13503 SE Mill Plain Blvd #B-3 (Columbia Square Shopping Center), Vancouver WA 98684. My friends from Autism Empowerment will also be there. And if the mood is right, I may even do a reading, which means you'll be able to hear my world-famous* Marshall Byle British accent . . .

* not actually world famous

Monday, December 3, 2012

Indie vs Mainstream

My latest favorite band is The Lonely Forest, out of Anacortes, WA. I first heard them on "94/7 Too," (910 AM for those of you in the Portland area), a station that plays music from Northwest bands exclusively (as well as Mariners baseball during the summer - I dig this station).

I fell in love with The Lonely Forest's song "We Sing In Time" and was excited to think that this was possibly a local, unsigned band (I'd heard unsigned bands like my friends in Ramune Rocket 3 on 94/7 Too before). After finding out who they were, it turned out that although they were from the Northwest, they were actually signed to a label that had connections to a major record company.

Did this make any difference to me? Absolutely not.

The forest probably isn't as lonely any more
I've always felt that the main and only criterion for whether or not I liked a certain book, song or film was: whether I liked it or not. The Hunger Games - published by Scholastic - getting tons of buzz? Okay, I'll check it out. Local unsigned band The Crash Engine rocking a show? Cool, I'll buy their CD. (Yes, I admit that I originally resisted Harry Potter because of the hype, but hey, nobody's perfect.)

One reason being a finalist in the 2012 USA Best Book Awards was so gratifying was that it was open to books from both traditional and independent publishers. The winner in the fantasy fiction category was a book on major imprint Harper Voyager (Deliverance: Mortal Path Book 3 by Dakota Banks) so it was nice to be recognized alongside a novel that was put out by a big publishing house.

If you want to dismiss certain works of art out of hand simply by virtue of whether they're indie or mainstream, then that's your prerogative, of course. But just be aware - you're probably missing out on some great stuff.