Should I Tweet, or Not

I am considering taking part in the Twitterverse, a micro social world that a close friend tells me is filled with narcissism and is top on her list of websites dumbing down society.

Setting her personal feelings aside, I have noticed here at WordPress and at Facebook that many artists and writers I follow are Twitter members. Therefore, I see joining Twitter as a good personal venture for two reasons: 1) I can follow artists and writers I like—the ones who pass along interesting information about the arts, and 2) I can keep my readers up-to-date with brief progress reports about my books projects.

Still, I have reservations. The above reasons for joining Twitter are the ones I had when I joined Google+. But G+ fell short of supplying me with valuable information from other artists and writers. Plus, its format is too similar to Facebook’s, filled with irrelevant feeds from family and friends. Wading through it all is often too time-consuming, taking away from my busy schedule.

Overall, I think I have sold myself on the idea that it is possible to “tweet” at Twitter in such a way that the “pro’s” outweigh the “cons.” All the same, I would love to hear your input before I take the Twitter plunge.

Book Sequels: Thanks For All the Fish

As an avid reader of sci-fi/fantasy I am not particularly fond of book sequels and series that go beyond trilogies. I like discovering characters and growing with them, which is why I favor the first books of every series I have read; beyond that, the character growth slows and sometimes stops after the second book. Of course, there are exceptions. Harry Potter for instance, grew and changed with every book. Still, I almost stopped reading the series after the third book, perhaps because I have conditioned myself to stick with trilogies when investing in an author’s series. I almost did the same with Douglas Adams’s Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, hence the title of today’s blog.

I like to read sci-fi/fantasy written for all ages, so it is common for someone to find me reading books for children and young adults along with the highly technical tomes for older adults. Overall, I enjoy YA books best, probably because today’s YA books are innovative, sophisticated, and deal with challenging issues.

Lately, I have eyed Cornelia Funke’s Reckless, apparently the first book in a new series she is writing. I love her Ink Heart trilogy, and this book sounds like something I would write. It is about a boy who disappears into a fantasy world behind a mirror to escape reality. Wait a minute. I did write a story about a boy who escapes reality by passing through a mirror—a story I wrote 40 years ago and am now rewriting. The mirror is a green crystal and the boy is a girl named Verawenda Erickson. Sorry Lenny.

All the Time, Changing

I wrote earlier this year (March 20) at my website that my friend Laura Gilson-Comier and I were co-writing Green Crystal Stories at Amazon. We planned to publish the book in July. Unfortunately—or fortunately—Laura has a new job in Tokyo and cannot finish writing the book with me. Therefore, we have decided to scrap the book as a co-authored one. This will delay the new novel’s planned release date because I am rewriting it as the sole author now. Laura has agreed to rewrite her work for a future project once she is settled. Meanwhile, I took the liberty of renaming the book Green Crystal Gambit and penciled in a tentative release date of September or earlier. I will still feature Vree Erickson as the main character in the novel, which will turn it into book 2 of a series because of her major role in the preceding Night of the Hellhounds novel. I am playing with the idea of calling the series “The Vree Erickson Chronicles” because the books are a narrative description of her life written in chronological order.

Of course, I will have to work on my partiality to trilogies if I decide to write beyond a third book. Until then, I will keep you posted on the book’s progress … and hopefully pick up some new readers and fans along the way.

Giving Thanks

The Green Crystal Stories would not be a project if not for Lola Gentry-Dey, the person who helped get the Night of the Hellhounds story rolling in 1999. Lola was a young female SoCal writer-poet-artist-musician-photographer whom I met at an online writing group. We shared an interest in urban fantasy, so we sometimes bounced story ideas off each other, usually via emails that went “Hey, I wrote some paragraphs of a story that has no direction, so go ahead and add whatever you think works and get back to me.” That’s how NotH got rolling, and she helped me write the ending of the first short story version at my old website. Fifteen years later, she freely and with an overly generous heart allowed me to feature some of her story ideas in NotH, as well as include some of the wonderful poetry she wrote. Plus, she has been a valuable beta reader, finding errors and challenging my ideas (she proofread the final draft of NotH and, yes, challenged several of my ideas). Her benignity was greatly appreciated. That is why I am delighted that she agreed to proofread GCG.

Thanks also to April Helmuth and Bruce Pratt, two friends, co-workers, and Kindle authors who let me share story ideas with them in the break room, and who always want to know when I am publishing my next book for their Kindle e-readers. Their curiosity, insight, and comments are forever invaluable.

Biggest thanks go to my wife, Jennie, who allows me to devote time to the stories that fill my head. I love her, always.

Help a Guy Out [fiction guest post]

Lenny Stevens

Hi. My name is Lenny Stevens. I’m fifteen years old—although I was sixteen and seventeen a long time ago. But things changed in my life and I became fifteen again. Any fiction writers reading this will understand.

Okay, yes, I probably should have mentioned upfront that I’m a fictional character. But that doesn’t make me less real.

I was born in 1970 … I mean, I was created in 1970 by Steve Campbell, the author of my stories. I was thirteen then, lived in a big house with my mom and dad in Ridgewood, Pennsylvania, and was best friends with Dave Evans. Dave lived out of town on Myers Ridge with his parents and his twin sister, Amy. They no longer exist … I mean, they do exist, but not as the people I knew from 1970 to 1975. Now, Mr. and Mrs. Evans are characters with different names and married to other people, and Dave and Amy are brother and sister to a girl named Vree Erickson. Dave, Amy and Vree are triplets and Vree has psychic powers because lightning struck her.

Anyway, Dave and I were best friends in the 70s, went to Ridgewood High School back when miniskirts and bellbottom jeans were in fashion, and did practically everything together. We got as far as twelfth grade before Steve stopped writing about us. He saved our stories in some 3-ring binders and kept them in a box while he graduated high school, joined the Navy for six years, went off to college for four years, and married and became a dad. Now, his kids are grown up and he’s busy changing the stories in those binders. Personally, I’d rather he not change anything, but the damage is already done. I call it damage because Dave is Vree’s brother now and not very friendly. Read Steve’s book Night of the Hellhounds and you’ll see what I mean. I miss hanging with the old Dave.

I miss my old parents and my big brother and sister, too. My new mom is dead and my dad is the high school’s art teacher and an artist. I’m good at art too, though I never was before Steve published Night of the Hellhounds. I have a different big sister who runs the restaurant my new mom used to own, and I have two younger sisters whom I’m just now getting to know. So far, we’re not very close.

Steve isn’t the only writer who has changed my character. His friend Lola wrote me as a miscreant teenager when she and Steve collaborated on the Night of the Hellhounds book. They scrapped the collaboration when Lola moved to the UK to some place called Leeds with her husband and kids, and Steve deleted the scenes where I behaved like a degenerate before he published the book.

I’m really a good guy. I truly believe that. And I believe I can carry the lead in Steve’s novels. I know Vree is the main character in his planned books about Ridgewood and me, but I think I’ve been around long enough that I can vest the readers’ interest and carry a story from beginning to end easily. That’s why I’ve been interrupting Steve’s writing sessions and whispering at him while he’s drifting off to sleep. I’ve even haunted some of his dreams.

And that leads to why I’m writing this.

If you believe I could be the lead character in one of Steve’s forthcoming novels, leave a reply and let him know. If enough of his readers back me, then my dream could come true.

Whattaya say? Help a guy out before Steve does something crazy like having my family move away, or worse, killing me off like he did to my new mom.

Meanwhile, I’ll keep bugging him every chance I get.