Top 3 Reasons You Need to Do Character Sheets

I initially resisted. In fact, I’m resisting right now, and am only writing this blog post to avoid writing another character sheet. But I’m here to tell you they are as invaluable as they are tedious.I’ve been using Scrivener, which is an amazingly robust writing program that allows you to consolidate nearly ALL of your miscellaneous data (research, photos, maps and yes, character sheets) into one document. In fact, it comes with a template built in (see inset below).While this is a great start, I’m recommending something far more involved. If printed out, the character sheet I use would take up five pages. I can’t remember where I got the version I’m using, but here’s a current link to it.Detailed, Read More…

Guest Blog Post: Russell Elkins, Author of Open Adoption, Open Heart

Anyone who knows me knows I’m adopted. I’ve known all my life and have never made a secret of it. I had a very satisfying childhood and view the family that raised me as my true family. That said, I was found by my birth mother several years ago and we now have a steady, ongoing relationship. The experience inspired me to write Battle Axe, which is not to say it is based on my experience in any way–it simply served as a catalyst for my imagination to run wild and wonder what would happen if a man my age suddenly found out he was adopted, at age 40, and was subsequently found by his birth mother…or someone claiming to Read More…

Interviewed on “Just Following a Dream” blog!

Jessica Sayler, author of the “Just Following a Dream” blog (and author of a WIP tentatively entitled “Awakened”) was kind enough to host me on her blog and ask me a series of interesting–and random–questions. However, as fellow authors know, there’s no such thing as a random question or thought when it comes to fiction. Anything is fair game and anything can lead to inspiration, a plot point, dialogue or a character. The interview deals with both my humorous suspense novels, the recent Kindle Book Review honoree Ring of Fire and Battle Axe, and touches on my own WIP Opposite Day). You can read the brief interview here.

Ring of Fire Selected as “Best Indie Book of 2012” Semifinalist!

The Kindle Book Review has selected Ring of Fire as a suspense/horror semifinalist in its annual Best Indie Books competition. The page has had over 50,000 hits in the last couple of months so this is some invaluable exposure for my debut novel. The final five finalists from each category will be announced on September 1, and the six winners (one in each category) will be announced on October 1. I’ll be sure to update you as I find out, but this is a huge thrill for a book that was once agented and had lost hope of finding a “home.” 

North Carolina Month on Booksie’s Blog!

It’s North Carolina author month on Booksie’s Blog. Ring of Fire, my humorous suspense novel set in a thinly-disguised Chapel Hill, is featured today.

“Hopelessly Devoted Bibliophile” Interview

Certified bibliophile Jessica Torres has interviewed me on her “Hopelessly Devoted Bibliophile” blog and you can read the brief interchange here. Like many things these days, it was done entirely via email, which was quite convenient, I must say. I’m trying to round up as many of these as I can, in addition to building up my book reviews, in the hopes of mounting a more aggressive promotional push (blog tour, giveaways, etc.). Jessica is holding a contest to win a free e-copy of each of my books, but hey, if you’d like a free e-copy of either in exchange for a review, just let me know!

They’re Even Funnier If You’re Drunk.

The esteemed Crossroads Bar at the landmark Carolina Inn in Chapel Hill has been completely renovated in what looks to be a permanent tribute to Daily Tar Heel cartoonists. Four of my pieces are framed around the room, including one entire Man from UNCle strip (the popular “steal the Old Well after graduation” one). Also included are a few illustrations I did to accompany columns and editorial pieces. My friend Trip Park is represented there as well, as is Charlie Daniels, Jeff MacNelly and other, much more famous alum.(Sorry for the sloppy appearance of the play window–my html skills don’t go much beyond “cut and paste.”)

Top Ten Musical “Novelists”

Music figures prominently into both of my humorous suspense novels—in Ring of Fire, one of my main characters is a college student whose iPod is improbably crammed with selections from the Great American Songbook. In Battle Axe, the protagonist leads a weekend swing band. If I had any musical aptitude, I’m sure I would have tried to start my own band at some point in my life. As things went, I’ve had to settle for lyric writing for my best friend (who IS a world-class musician, songwriter, and now ebook cover designer) and simply surrounding myself with good music whenever and wherever possible. In fact, whenever I’ve changed addresses, the stereo is always the last thing packed and the first Read More…

Podcast with Wattpad!

I’ve done announcer-type work and voiceovers for years as kind of a side job, but I still don’t love listening to myself. You, however, are welcome to. This is an interview I did last week with the exceedingly nice Pam from Wattpad, a very popular site for writers to post their work and gain free exposure. I’m bound to Amazon to keep “Ring of Fire” there exclusively for another few weeks, but I posted “Battle Axe” on Wattpad back in March and it’s already received over 100,000 “reads.” Pam asks me about my background in fiction, cartooning, advertising and whatever else we can think of. Listen to it here.

Choose Your Friends Carefully

What I mean by that is, if at all possible, during your formative years, become friends with someone who, a few decades later will offer to design your ebook cover as a personal favor. Make sure this person is someone who displays very little aptitude or passion for graphic design at the time, but through hard work and dedication miraculously transforms into a visionary artist and Photoshopper par excellence. Well, that’s what I did, anyway, and look what it got me. I’m posting a larger cover of my debut novel Ring of Fire here, mainly to give it a place to live so I can send out links. My designer–the multi-talented Mike Sottong–worked with my crude notions of a concept Read More…