Thursday, January 28, 2016

Launch Party Recap And Book Three Status Update

This blog post is brought to you by the number three. Why? Because today, I'll be recapping Launch Party number three, which featured three bands (each with three members) as well as three local authors. Also, I'll be giving you the third status update on Book Three.
Launch Party #3 was, in a word, awesome. Authors April Bullard and Shawna Reppert were there with their books (Roslyn McFarland had a last-minute situation and had to cancel - we missed ya, Ros), Nate and the staff at Shanahan's were super-cool as usual, and there was already a nice crowd assembled by the time I rolled in. Some of my friends even flew in all the way from Los Angeles and Hawaii to attend!
Toxic Kid hit the stage first and rocked the place with their old-school punk rock sound. Second Player Score was up, well, second, and I had a great time jumping around and screaming things into the microphone. Then afterwards, Stab In The Dark were so rockin' that they incited a mosh pit (check it out on our Facebook page - just scroll down a bit)! It was a very smart pit, by the way - whenever someone fell down, everyone stopped and helped them up. Good to see.
John and Karen from Autism Empowerment were also there, and I'm happy to report that I'll be able to make another donation after selling a bunch of books at the party. I'll bring the check over this weekend, John and Karen!

Since we're on the subject of books, I can now smoothly segue into the Book Three status update! Uh huh, that's right, you see what I did there.

At the time of last month's update, I was at 22,000 words. Now I'm at...(drum roll)...33,000 words! Woo! Right on track. This whole no-stopping-to-revise-or-rethink plan is really working wonders so far. Of course, I'm sure there's tons of garbage within those 33,000 words that will get cut or rewritten later, but again, as I learned during the Book Two process, that kind of thing will happen anyway, so there's no sense in slowing myself down during the initial drafting process.

And hey, how about that - the latest word count makes for another "3" reference! 'Cause, you know, 33,000 words...thirty-three thousand is a multiple of three...all right, I'll stop now.

Thursday, January 21, 2016

It's Your Last Chance To Party far as celebrating the release of Book Two is concerned, anyway (there will be many more parties to come in the future, trust me).
In case you haven't heard, the third and final launch party for Mystery of the Moonfire is this coming Saturday, January 23rd, at Shanahan's Pub in lovely downtown Vancouver. In addition to yours truly, we'll have three other local authors in attendance as well: Roslyn McFarland, April Bullard, and Shawna Reppert. And there will be three rockin' bands for your aural pleasure: Toxic Kid, Stab In The Dark, and Second Player Score.

Festivities start at 8pm and will last until 1am or so, or whenever they kick us out. There's no cover charge, but tons of merch will be available for purchase, and as always, a portion of the profits from my book sales will be donated to Autism Empowerment.  It's 21 and over, so make it a date night and leave the kids at home (with their own copies of Book Two to keep them occupied). Beer, books, bands...what more could you ask for?

Thursday, January 14, 2016

Things That Are Happening

As the Supreme Dalek is fond of asking, "what is happening?"
Well, the answer is: plenty!

Something that already happened was that this past Sunday, I was a guest at Autism Empowerment's Autism Serves Kids Care Club, where the subject of the month was literacy. I spoke a little bit about the writing and publishing process, and even read a passage from Book One using my (in)famous pseudo-English accent for Marshall's parts. I had a great time! Much mahalos go out to Karen and John for inviting me, and to everyone who was there for being such an awesome audience.
That's me in the corner
Speaking of Book One - this coming Saturday, it will be one of the featured titles on Ripley's Booklist, a subscription list that highlights Young Adult and New Adult fiction e-books that are both good (as Ripley herself says, she's very selective) and cheap (under $5). Book One's regular e-book price is $4.99, but right now it qualifies even more for Ripley's list as - in case you haven't already heard - it's on sale for just 99 cents. So get your copy today!
Speaking of this coming Saturday - I'll be at Autism Empowerment's Tween and Teen Social Club again! It was a lot of fun the last time, with pizza, books, and video games, and I'm looking forward to another great night. It's a closed group, but if you're interested in joining, you can find more information about how to do so here.
Speaking of video games - my band Second Player Score (a video game reference, in case you didn't know) has just released our latest single, "Demon's Kiss." Check it out here!

Speaking of Second Player Score - we'll be playing a couple of shows this month: Saturday, January 30th at the Hawthorne Theatre lounge, and Saturday, January 23rd at Shanahan's Pub. The latter just so happens to be the third and final launch party for Book Two!

Thursday, January 7, 2016

The Spectraland Saga: Origin Story, Part Four

Missed the previous chapters? Well, here they are:
Part One
Part Two
Part Three

Picking up where we left off: in December of 2010, I sat down and started writing what would eventually become Secret of the Songshell, Book One of the Spectraland Saga. Ah, I can almost remember it like it was yesterday.
Oddly enough, I have no records of that initial draft. However, I do remember that the book originally started out in the same place, with Joel in the hall of his high school. Only, instead of psyching himself up to talk to Suzi, he had a little run-in with one of the school's football players. Nothing significant, mind you - they basically just bumped into each other because Joel was focused on something else while the football player was, well, he wasn't really looking where he was going - and the resulting first line of the book was:

"Hey, watch it."

And then it quickly moved on to where the story actually now begins. It was a pretty unnecessary moment - not even long enough to be considered a "scene" - so I'm glad I cut it out. So glad, apparently, that I have no saved versions of that particular draft. As a result, I don't really remember exactly what transpired between Joel and Mr. Touchdown.

But I'm going to backtrack for a moment here, because I want to talk about how the whole process of creating the Spectraland Saga in the first place seemed sort of like a real-life hero's journey. I touched on this subject briefly in a previous post, but I don't think I really ever delved into it that deeply. So, here we go!

In case you aren't familiar with the hero's journey, it's basically a narrative structure that involves the main character leaving his or her ordinary world, embarking on a grand adventure, and then returning after winning an epic victory. You can and should read more about it here. It's been the template for many, many stories ranging from The Odyssey to Star Wars (btw, I saw The Force Awakens for a fourth time last week, this time in IMAX 3-D. Still so good!)

Okay, so if you read more about the hero's journey like I just suggested, then you know that the first step is - say it with me, class - the Call to Adventure, in which "the hero begins in a situation of normality from which some information is received that acts as a call to head off into the unknown." In my case, this Call to Adventure was the fateful moment when my son came up to me in the upstairs hallway of our house and said, "Hey, Dad - can you write me a book?"

The funny thing is, I really was in a situation of normality at that point. If you've been following this blog for a while and you have some kind of amazing photographic memory (like Joel Suzuki?), then you'll remember that there was a time when I felt like I was at the end of my creative rope. I was ready to give up playing in bands, not only because I was pretty burnt out on that whole scene at that point, but also because I wanted to just stay at home and spend more time with my kids. But as someone with a desire to make stuff up (sometimes we call these people "artists"), I knew I couldn't sit still for long. Fortunately, writing a novel was something that I had always wanted to do, and now I would have the perfect reason and inspiration to do it.

To be continued!