Category Archives: Uncategorized

Sepia Blue Sisters

Sepia Blue Sisters
Sepia Blue Sisters

I have been away from this blog for a few months due to my insane work and writing schedule. That has since calmed down a bit and so I will be posting regularly.

Its been an amazing few weeks. I had an incredible summer.  I have also taken on training seriously. I realized that a healthy body facilitates a healthy mind which means I can write more.

500lb deadlift
500lb deadlift

 

That’s me doing a 500 lb dead-lift and making the only face possible when lifting that much-we call it a squat face lol.

I’m currently putting the finishing touches on the third book in the Sepia Blue series and it has been a blast to write. Book Two(cover above) will be released this month and the story is twisting in some unexpected and surprising ways. By the time you read this-Sepia Blue Sisters will be available. Grab a copy and let me know what you think.

I’ll be releasing some new content soon. I have a new kind of story rolling around in my head and I would like to bounce some ideas here, before I pursue them elsewhere. Your feedback would be greatly appreciated.  I truly hope you have had a pleasant and exciting summer.

Keep reading!

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How do you go from writer to author? Try the Self Publishing Formula.

The Author Helper
The Author Helper

I am eyeballs deep into a new course being run by Mark Dawson(Self Publishing Formula) but I will get to why that’s important a little later.

I know I have touched on this topic before but in this post I wanted to go into more detail.

So first a few facts:

From January to December of 2015, the entire calendar year-my books generated…$56.81.

From January to May of 2016 (to date) my books have generated over $2k and Im on track to gross over 5k for the year.

In plain math, in the space of a year( really a few months), I will be making 100x what I made last year.  This is mind shattering.

So how did this happen? I got help. Not help as a writer. I got help as an Author.

See last year I was firmly in the camp of “If you write it they will buy.”  My books didn’t sell well( most days they didnt sell at all) and I was oblivious to the marketing aspect of being an Author. Until I met John (you will meet him later).

Prior to getting help I had heard of Mark Dawson but I didn’t know who he was or what he did. You have all heard me mention my amazing uber editor Lorelei Logsdon, well she introduced me to John, her husband and the other half of this power couple.

John’s first question to me was “Have you heard of Mark Dawson?”

To which I answered “Not really.” This was back in December 2015. So he points me in the direction of Mark’s free videos which of course( if you are familiar with Mark Dawson) present me with an entirely new perspective to marketing and selling my work. I followed these videos and would ask John for tips here and there.

Another question John asked me was “How large is your mailing list?”

Now I knew mailing lists were important and I had one and in 2015 my list had a grand total of 11 members.  At least 4 of those were family.

To date my mailing list in 2016 has 1709 subscribers with a smaller subset being part of my launch team, which is a group of committed fans who have taken on the  role to help me launch my books and make them a success. I had never heard of a launch team before I met John. Now I  frequently add between 15-30 people a day to my main mailing list.

So where did I get this help and how did I make these changes?

Free videos from Self Publishing Formula and The Author Helper. This site is a treasure trove of information and videos for those willing to learn and apply the lessons contained within.

Where did John learn all of this? With  Mark Dawson and the Self Publishing Formula system.But here let John tell you himself.

Watch this video I promise its worth the 3 minutes you will invest.

You still have time to sign up for this course.  Its affordable and more importantly its essential to your growth as an Author. My reasoning is that if I was able to learn a great deal with the free videos from Mark Dawson and the Author Helper site.  I now I have an opportunity to learn even more from the Self Publishing Formula course.

You can sign up for Mark’s course HERE. It will be closing soon so I suggest you sign up and get this information !

Consider it an investment in your writing career. Just as importantly visit the Author Helper if you find yourself stuck or with questions.  Chances are they will have the answer you  need. The site is a resource for all Authors and I still drop in almost daily to listen to the podcasts and to increase my knowledge.

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Staked by Kevin Hearne

Staked cover
Staked by Kevin Hearne

I put it off for as long as I could/dared.  This book is excellent and I highly recommend you pick it up and give it a read!

Here is the synopsis:

When a Druid has lived for two thousand years like Atticus, he’s bound to run afoul of a few vampires. Make that legions of them. Even his former friend and legal counsel turned out to be a bloodsucking backstabber. Now the toothy troublemakers—led by power-mad pain-in-the-neck Theophilus—have become a huge problem requiring a solution. It’s time to make a stand.
 
As always, Atticus wouldn’t mind a little backup. But his allies have problems of their own. Ornery archdruid Owen Kennedy is having a wee bit of troll trouble: Turns out when you stiff a troll, it’s not water under the bridge. Meanwhile, Granuaile is desperate to free herself of the Norse god Loki’s mark and elude his powers of divination—a quest that will bring her face-to-face with several Slavic nightmares.
 
As Atticus globetrots to stop his nemesis Theophilus, the journey leads to Rome. What better place to end an immortal than the Eternal City? But poetic justice won’t come without a price: In order to defeat Theophilus, Atticus may have to lose an old friend.

This is the eighth book in the Iron Druid Chronicles with number nine Scourged being the final ( which I hope is a lie) installment in the series.

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Writers Write

words are art
words are art

I recently read a post about how damaging this saying can be: writers write. I will give you my views on this saying in an upcoming post.

The original post by JH Moncrieff is located HERE.

Give it a read because JH Moncrieff makes some good points, but I dont agree with her.

Here is my response because right now Im too irritated to write out an answer. For all of you that write.

This is a post by Neil Gaiman on writing.

Writers Write-Read on.

Dear  Author,

By now you’re probably ready to give up. You’re past that first fine furious rapture when every character and idea is new and entertaining. You’re not yet at the momentous downhill slide to the end, when words and images tumble out of your head sometimes faster than you can get them down on paper. You’re in the middle, a little past the half-way point. The glamour has faded, the magic has gone, your back hurts from all the typing, your family, friends and random email acquaintances have gone from being encouraging or at least accepting to now complaining that they never see you any more—and that even when they do you’re preoccupied and no fun. You don’t know why you started your novel, you no longer remember why you imagined that anyone would want to read it, and you’re pretty sure that even if you finish it it won’t have been worth the time or energy and every time you stop long enough to compare it to the thing that you had in your head when you began—a glittering, brilliant, wonderful novel, in which every word spits fire and burns, a book as good or better than the best book you ever read—it falls so painfully short that you’re pretty sure that it would be a mercy simply to delete the whole thing.

Welcome to the club.

That’s how novels get written.

You write. That’s the hard bit that nobody sees. You write on the good days and you write on the lousy days. Like a shark, you have to keep moving forward or you die. Writing may or may not be your salvation; it might or might not be your destiny. But that does not matter. What matters right now are the words, one after another. Find the next word. Write it down. Repeat. Repeat. Repeat.

A dry-stone wall is a lovely thing when you see it bordering a field in the middle of nowhere but becomes more impressive when you realise that it was built without mortar, that the builder needed to choose each interlocking stone and fit it in. Writing is like building a wall. It’s a continual search for the word that will fit in the text, in your mind, on the page. Plot and character and metaphor and style, all these become secondary to the words. The wall-builder erects her wall one rock at a time until she reaches the far end of the field. If she doesn’t build it it won’t be there. So she looks down at her pile of rocks, picks the one that looks like it will best suit her purpose, and puts it in.

The search for the word gets no easier but nobody else is going to write your novel for you.

The last novel I wrote (it was ANANSI BOYS, in case you were wondering) when I got three-quarters of the way through I called my agent. I told her how stupid I felt writing something no-one would ever want to read, how thin the characters were, how pointless the plot. I strongly suggested that I was ready to abandon this book and write something else instead, or perhaps I could abandon the book and take up a new life as a landscape gardener, bank-robber, short-order cook or marine biologist. And instead of sympathising or agreeing with me, or blasting me forward with a wave of enthusiasm—or even arguing with me—she simply said, suspiciously cheerfully, “Oh, you’re at that part of the book, are you?”

I was shocked. “You mean I’ve done this before?”

“You don’t remember?”

“Not really.”

“Oh yes,” she said. “You do this every time you write a novel. But so do all my other clients.”

I didn’t even get to feel unique in my despair.

So I put down the phone and drove down to the coffee house in which I was writing the book, filled my pen and carried on writing.

One word after another.

That’s the only way that novels get written and, short of elves coming in the night and turning your jumbled notes into Chapter Nine, it’s the only way to do it.

So keep on keeping on. Write another word and then another.

Pretty soon you’ll be on the downward slide, and it’s not impossible that soon you’ll be at the end. Good luck…

Neil Gaiman

 

From Writer to Author-Making the transition

authorwriter
Author/Writer

I’ve been a little quiet on the blog because I have been creating a persona. Back in 2012 when  started writing professionally I had no clue what a persona or “brand” was. I just knew I wanted to write a book and I wanted to get it out into the world.

I didn’t know about marketing or having a presence. Online or otherwise. I simply thought that if I wrote the book I would have a legion of readers clamoring to get my book.  Yes the naivete was in abundance. Continue reading From Writer to Author-Making the transition

The Difference between Sparring and Fighting

striking points
striking points

I took a brief break from blogging to catch up on my reading and writing. I am in the middle of rereading Scaling Force by Miller and Kane. This was part of series for me that started with  The Little Black Book of Violence, by Lawrence Kane and Kris Wilder. Followed by The gift of Fear, by Gavin de Becker and culminated by Scaling Force. I recommend getting all of the above and studying them, repeatedly.

Why reread these books and books like them?
First a little background: I was born and raised in the streets of the South Bronx in NYC. In the process of my growing, despite having a very strong parental influence I knew what it was to join and be in gangs. In my life I faced pipes, clubs, bottles, knives and the barrel of a gun several times. I know what it is to be in a fight one on one, the chaos of two armed mobs fighting and being in a situation when you are outnumbered. I don’t share this as a badge of honor, it was and is a stupid path to pursue, grounded in a false sense of pride and ego that usually sends you to an early grave. I share it because it gives me insight into what the differences are between sparring and combat. I wont go into the military aspects of combat, because I have never been in the military (although I have family who have served with distinction) and so I cant give that perspective. I want to approach this from the perspective of street violence. Which is what we are most likely to encounter.

In our school we have the poster you see above hanging on one of our walls. In fact I have seen the same wall chart of striking points in several schools. Its so pervasive that it has become part of the scenery, no one really asks about it and its just accepted as part of the decor. If you stop a moment and take time to examine the wall chart  you will see that the points it shows can be quite devastating if struck with force. The points are not often taught in a regular class even though most of them are contained in the kata in most styles of the striking arts.

This is the case with sparring and fighting. Most schools teaching fighting are actually teaching sparring, there  is protective gear and points and places on the body that are off-limits. All of this is good and has its place. I like to send students home intact without visits to the hospital or broken and dislocated parts. The danger lies when this is all that is taught, or is taught as combat. At some point the student must be taken to the other side of fighting, which is combat. There are no rules in combat. No one is going to wait while you don gear and get yourself mentally ready. No one is going to step in and break you up if it gets too rough. There are no rounds and  no points. When you are in this context survival is the goal.

This is not to discount the legality of this type of encounter. There are and can be severe legal penalties for causing damage and breaking a person when that level of force was not required. Which is why awareness is paramount. The concept of scaling force is also indispensable to meeting violence with the appropriate  response. I always tell my students- if you have to get physical, you weren’t paying attention and your defense failed. The legal ramifications are so involved that a book would be required to do the subject justice, see the above titles for a good start.

So how do we reconcile these concepts of sparring and combat? Sparring is a tool to introduce concepts and principles. It is a safe, controlled environment that allows for mistakes. It is a laboratory of sorts, where you can explore and ask and try out techniques. The stakes, if there are any are low.

Combat / Fighting is almost the exact opposite of sparring. It is not safe or controlled. It is chaotic, fast, sloppy and messy. It sends your body through a hormone cocktail that you will not be able to control. Mistakes usually result in serious bodily harm or death-the stakes are high, sometimes the highest.

If you find yourself in a school or self defense class that does not make this distinction, do your research ask questions of the instructor and find out the strategies and tactics of the style you are currently engaged in and how it would deal with violence in an uncontrolled situation.

I recently had to revise the way one of my students was sparring. The method she was learning was a formal sparring method, which she was struggling with. When that was changed to a no rules type of fighting, this works on the street method, her ability and understanding shifted and improved considerably.

Both have their place in training and your life, just remember to know the  difference between the two.

Sensei
Sensei Orlando

 

Why I Play Destiny

Destiny
Destiny

I am a gamer. I was raised in the era of the Atari 2600 and I owned  almost every console that existed when I was young. Now that I think of it my mom certainly indulged my gaming in my youth. As an adult I played several PC games until I discovered MMOs(Massive Multiplayer Online games). My first MMO was the Matrix Online which picked up right after the Matrix trilogy of movies. The writing  was intense and the game gave you the real feeling of being in the matrix world, even to the extent of running from agents who were many levels higher than you and gave you a mini heart attack every time they appeared. After the Matrix Online I discovered City of Heroes/ Villains. The game was a great adventure. I played it for seven years until it was shuttered by NCSoft. I made real friends who i am still in touch with today. After City of Heroes I took a hiatus from games since they are huge time sinks. For a short time I played The Secret World but found it became too much of a grind and left it. Its very hard to understand the motivation to play games if you dont play. Continue reading Why I Play Destiny

The Fallen Warrior-Preview

The Fallen Warrior
The Fallen Warrior

Many of my readers have been requesting this book. Its coming, I promise in mid to late June. However the request has been so strong that I decided to give you all the first chapter.

Let me know what you think, enjoy.

 

 

 

CHAPTER ONE

Her little legs pumped as fast they could. She ran faster than any child should have been able to. Her simple dress was torn and soiled from running through the undergrowth of the forest. Her hair was loose and trailed behind her, whipping about as she turned in sudden changes of direction. Around her neck a heavy steel collar dug into her skin, leaving red welts and as tears streamed down her cheeks. She looked back several times, pausing as if listening to something on the wind. Then she would take off again at a dead run. She could hear them—they were getting closer. She crossed a small river, slid down a ravine and took off running as fast as she could, fear etched on her features.

Twenty seconds later, two figures appeared at the river.

“How did she get free, Hin?” said the first. He crouched down and touched the soil, lifting a pinch of it to his lips and tasting it. Nodding with satisfaction, he looked in the direction the little girl had run. They were dressed in black, tight-fitting gear. They wore masks that covered their faces, leaving only their eyes visible. Strapped to their thighs were short swords in their sheaths.

“I don’t know, Fen,” said Hin. “What I do know is that we have to get her back. Dead or alive.”

Continue reading The Fallen Warrior-Preview

John Wick-A Revenge Story

John Wick
John Wick

I’m not a big Keanu Reeves fan.

I enjoyed the Matrix movies and I have seen him in several movies.

I have always found him to have a very limited range of emotions when acting. The last movie I saw him in was 47 Ronin. I wont get into how disappointing that movie was, no I wont.

However this movie was a pleasant surprise.  Its a revenge story. An ex hit-man is brought out of retirement by a thug. And goes on a spree of mayhem and death.

Here is why this movie works: Reeves has a minimal amount of lines. The range of emotion is limited to angry, mildly angry, very angry, and cold and calculated, you guessed it- anger.  This is perfect for Reeves. The fight scenes in the movie are excellent and the whole movie is really an excuse to get from one fight scene to the next. I’m not bashing Reeves. I really think this movie was the perfect vehicle for him because the parameters set were narrow and when that is the case he excels.

If you’re looking for a plot. You wont find it in this movie. It is basically violence for the sake of violence. Very much the way no city survives a  Michael Bay film and everything is exploded within the first thirty minutes. Taken in this context John Wick is a good film. I enjoyed it for what it was.blogdragonfly

Kintsugi-Embracing the flaws

At our dojo we recently had one of two promotions we hold every year. As an instructor I think I am more nervous than the students going for their next rank. I know what its like to be a student and test for a promotion: the nerves, the anxiety, the sick feeling in your stomach as the realization hits you-today is THE day. This is balanced by the exhilaration, the sense of accomplishment of techniques properly executed under stress and the deep feeling of support from your classmates and seniors. This promotion was, in many respects like many of the ones before it. Every group promoting exhibited a strong spirit, incredible amounts of fortitude, grace , and poise. Continue reading Kintsugi-Embracing the flaws