Folly Launch Day

Exciting news! Folly (Crossroads Book 2) launches today. It is available in ebook and paperback on Amazon. It is the follow-up to Fake (Crossroads Book 1), also available on Amazon. To celebrate, both ebooks are available for $0.99 each for a limited time.

Fake  Folly

What is the Crossroads Series? Imagine our contemporary world with an underground society of urban warriors. Maginalized people who have formed clans and fight each other for supremacy.

Two families are at the heart of the story. The Lau family are the hereditary rulers of the fierce warriors known as Two Dragon Clan. The Sparrows are Strowlers, a traveling people, but outcast from their clan because of their unconventional ways. When Lennon Lau and Penny Sparrow meet, they set into motion what could be the destruction of their clans and the Crossroads. Behind the scenes, an ancient dragon watches and waits, determined to save his species from extinction.

Keep up with the world of the Crossroads by subscribing to my monthly newsletter, Wandering Times. News, contests, deals and steals! SUBSCRIBE NOW and receive a free coloring book, Dragons: A Crossroads Coloring Book.

DragonsCover

Coloring Under the Covers

Love to read? Love to color? Then this post is for you. I’m thrilled to be part of a new project called Coloring Under the Covers, a series of adult coloring books of novel covers. Volume 1 has just been released and my novel, Fake, is one of the featured books.

cover11-completelayers-frontonly

Do you enjoy reading and getting to know the authors who create your fictional worlds? Use this coloring book to fulfill your artistic side and relax while adding to your “To Be Read” list. Meet the authors you know and discover new ones. Take this coloring book to events—have the author sign their page, color the cover, then pick up the e-book or the paperback and see what all the fuss is about. With easy-to-follow QR links to the books with our featured covers, as well as the authors’ websites, this is the ultimate reference for the “must read” books of the year. Be on the lookout for future volumes as you color for a cause. Each volume will help support a different charity each quarter. Coloring under the Covers … accept no substitutes.

Proceeds from Volume 1 will benefit the LifeAfter Project, a nonprofit organization focused on suicide prevention.

Special thanks to the creators of Coloring Under the Covers, Tiffany Fox of Beyond DEF and Deena Rae of E-BookBuilders. These women worked tirelessly on this project and are dedicated to raising funds for each chosen charity.

Coloring Under the Covers Vol. 1 is available on Amazon.

NaNoWriMo Book Launch

Welcome to November 1. For those of us who participate in NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month), this is a big day. Thousands of novels will be launched. Some have been planned meticulously in the days/weeks/months previous to November. Others are being conceived starting today.

Many writers will not finish their novels. Most of those who do finish will find themselves with a very messy first draft. Finishing or perfection are not at the heart of NaNoWriMo. This month and this movement are all about writing. People who otherwise can’t find the time to write will do so this month.

To all of you who participate, I salute you. Each sentence you write brings you one sentence closer to your dream. If possible, don’t write alone. Find a write-in in your area by joining a region on NaNoWriMo website. Participate in a NaNoWriMo word sprint. Go to or start a local Shut Up and Write Meetup. Find your tribe and write like you never have before, with joy and passion and no internal editor.

Today, I’m launching my debut novel, Fake. It was first written during NaNoWriMo and that first draft was a hot mess. After many drafts and a professional edit, I’m very proud of the final results.

You can do it, too. I know you can. I have faith in you. Now, write that book!

Making Your Own Magic

This past summer, I listened to the audiobook version of Felicia Day’s memoir, You’re Never Weird on the Internet (Almost). Listened, rather than read, because I saw her in person on a panel at Denver ComicCon and thought she was a delightful and engaging speaker.

Almost anyone who considers themselves a geek is familiar with Felicia Day. Along with recurring roles on Supernatural and Eureka, and co-starring in Dr. Horrible’s Sing Along Blog, and being a consummate gamer, she created and starred in that seminal Internet video series, the Guild. In her memoir, she tells the story of how she pulled together this show using spit and chicken wire, inspiration and perspiration, and a whole lot of caffeine. Her budget was whatever she could beg, borrow or steal. In other words, she made her own magic and the result was a phenomenon.

Felicia Day’s memoir spoke to me. It said you can make your own magic happen, too. Coincidentally (or was it?), while I was listening, I received a conditional resubmit letter from a publisher. It basically stated that they were interested in my novel, Fake, but wanted me to submit a rewrite with some substantial edits, including changing the point of view. This isn’t the first time this has happened. A few years ago, I submitted another book to a publisher and got a similar request. I did the rewrite and didn’t much like the results. It altered the story and characters too much. I resubmitted and was rejected. All that work for nothing. Or was it?

During that time, I was living in Colorado, and after receiving the rejection I had a bit of a meltdown and went to stay with a friend in San Francisco. While there, I wandered the streets and came up with the idea for Fake and the world of the Crossroads.

The offer from this latest publisher brought me to my own crossroads. Do I take that chance again? Do I send the manuscript to another publisher? Or, like Felicia Day, do I make my own magic?

I chose magic. I put myself on the path, and steep learning curve, of indie publishing, which I’ll blog about in future posts. I’ve submitted Fake to Amazon’s KDP program. It’s now available for pre-order and will launch on November 1, 2016.

Hitting the button that submitted my final draft was the hardest part. I wondered why and then realized it was the final step in saying farewell to my dream of being traditionally published. Making your own magic means discovering and owning your own power. Wish me well on this journey. May you discover and make your own magic and dreams come true.

Clarion Alley Mural Project

About twice a month, I manage to make it to one of my favorite write-ins, the Friday afternoon Shut Up and Write, at one of my favorite places, Borderlands Books/Cafe, in the Mission District of San Francisco. Borderlands is located halfway between the 16th and 24th Street BART stations. I always choose to get off at 16th Street for one particular reason, so I can stroll through Clarion Alley.

Since 1992, the entire stretch of Clarion Alley has been a canvas for over 700 murals. No work of art is permanent, so the murals are in continuous rotation. If like me, you pass through about twice a month, you’ll almost always see something new. Even if the murals haven’t changed, you can linger over the familiar ones and discover something you hadn’t noticed before.

During a recent walk, I was fortunate enough to catch artist Kenshin Tomoshima working on his latest mural.

Clarion_Kenshin

Clarion Alley murals often reflect current events and popular culture, such as this one, Rest in Purple by Mel C. Waters, in memory of Prince.

Clarion_Prince

Today, while on my way to Borderlands, I was particularly struck by two murals showing two sides of San Francisco.

Everything Must Go! By Daniel Doherty shows the tragic face of gentrification. Small businesses are being gauged out of San Francisco by exorbitant increases in rent. It’s a sad fact that the city today is not the city of my misspent youth. Much of what had made San Francisco so unique is being bought and sold by the tech elite.

Clarion_MustGo

We All Deserve a Healthy and Safe Community by the various artists of Hospitality House shows a more hopeful vision of the city. People of the various communities and cultures come together to celebrate diversity and to rally for an inclusive San Francisco for all its residents, regardless of income. This is the city that still exists and gives me hope for the future.

Clarion_Safe

Clarion Alley is always open and is a popular tourist destination on the weekends. You can find out more on the Clarion Alley Mural Project website.

Eurovision 2016 – Belarus

I’ve been busy for the past month with work, writing and a quick trip to New Orleans. Eurovision has been nudging the edge of my consciousness, but it’s been hard to get back into the groove. Until today.

A friend sent me a text asking if I knew about the guy from Belarus who’s going to perform nude, with a wolf, at Eurovision.

Wut?

Needless to say, that hooked me right back in. The aspiring nudist is Ivan (AKA Alexander Ivanov) and he won the Belarusian national song competition with his song Help You Fly. Let’s take a look and listen. For those concerned, he does perform fully clothed in the official video.


Okay. Decent song. Catchy, even. He’s got a gravelly voice with a good range. His stage presence is all right, though he relies a lot on a cute face and flippy hair. The background effects add some excitement to his performance. Is he a standout performer? Probably not. Unless…

Is Ivan really going to bare it all? Here’s an article stating his intention to do so. However, since Eurovision allows neither nudity nor live animals onstage, it’s highly doubtful. Nonetheless, Ivan has prepared for the possibility. Warning: the following video does contain partial nudity.


This does seem a lot like a publicity stunt, and why not? Ivan needs to build some interest in his song outside Belarus and Russia. This is one way to do it. I’ll be interested to see how he performs at the semi-final.

Help You Fly isn’t a winner, but the extra press and some fun staging could propel it into the finale. Kisses and best wishes to Ivan and Belarus!

You can read more about Ivan here.

Eurovision 2016 will be held 10, 12 and 14 May in Stockholm, Sweden. You can watch the entire contest live on eurovision.tv.

Eurovision 2016 – Russia

Sergey Lazarev was announced as Russia’s Eurovision participant at the the Russian National Music Awards way back in December 2015. He’d just been named Singer of the Year and is a well-known, popular artist in Russia.

On March 5, 2016, he dropped his Eurovision song You are the Only One. In one week, the video has racked up over 3 million views. That’s impressive. That’s a hit. That could be a winner. Let’s see what all the fuss is about.


Ah yeah! This is what I’ve been waiting for: a great, high-energy song. Something memorable that makes you want to move. Sergey Lazarev has a powerful voice and strong, sexy presence. I suspect some auto-tuning in the video, but since he won Singer of the Year, I’m going to believe he can deliver a great live performance. The video itself uses cool special effects, and is gimmicky and fun.

High-energy songs have been lacking at Eurovision the last few years. Last year, all the dramatic ballads bored me to tears and I wasn’t alone. Israel’s Nadav Guedj made the top ten simply because Golden Boy was energetic and fun. In a better year, it would’ve been in the teens at best.

Sergey Lazarev and You are the Only One are in it to win it. This could be Russia’s year. I’m giving this 10 points. They’ve set the bar high and now other participants are going to have to up their game. Hopefully, this makes for a more exciting competition.

On a side note, I’d like to voice my hope that politics can be kept out of this year’s competition. Last year, my favorite performance was A Million Voices by Russia’s Polina Gagarina. Though I favored Italy, I would have been happy if she had won. The geopolitical situation of her country set her up for failure. Let’s not let that happen again to any artist.

Kisses and best wishes to Sergey Lazarev and the Russian people!

You can read more about Sergey Lazarev here.

Eurovision 2016 will be held 10, 12 and 14 May in Stockholm, Sweden. You can watch the entire contest live on eurovision.tv.