Friday, December 30, 2011

Days of Beer: An Excerpt

Here's a little piece of Days of Beer that no one has seen before. Well, that is unless you've already read the book.

In my first week in New Orleans I stopped at a local gas station to fill up, and then went inside for a snack. I noticed several large, barrel-shaped coolers stuffed with ice and single beers of various kinds. The sheer beauty of the arrangement stunned me for a moment. I felt the wick of tears come to my eyes. It is for such wonders as this that terms like “smorgasbord” and “cornucopia” were invented.

I’d never been to a place other than a bar where you could buy a single serving of beer, but in front of me now I saw a pirate’s hoard of single servings, the gorgeous colors of their containers vying for my attention. And this was at a gas station.

A sudden terror overwhelmed me then. I feared I was experiencing a flashback from my graduate school experience with that hallucinogenic. Surely, this vision could not be real!

Before the mirage could dissipate, I quickly plucked two tall golden bottles of elixir out of the ice and rushed to the checkout counter. The woman behind the register asked me: “Would you like me to open those for you, sir?”

I stared in confusion at her for a moment, knowing that she spoke in English but unable to quite translate her meaning. Finally, I replied, “I’m…driving.”
She leaned a little closer to me, and in a louder voice to make sure I heard her, asked again: “Would you like me to OPEN those for you, sir?”

I finally understood, and managed, somehow, to choke down the emotion threatening to well up inside of me.

“Well, maybe just one,” I replied.

The link at Barnes and Noble is here

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Days of Beer Goes Live

I said I had an announcement for today, and it’s big for me at least. I was complaining earlier this month about having many projects going and none finished. Well, I’ve finally finished one. Days of Beer is now live online at Amazon and Barnes & Noble. I am happy, and somewhat relieved. Apparently I still can finish things when I have a little time to write, as I’ve had over the Christmas break.

I’ve talked about the “Days of Beer” project quite a bit. You’ve seen pieces of it. The full title is “Days of Beer: A Memoir of a Beer Drinkin’ Man.” Although some folks suggested changes to the title, and taking out the word memoir, it is a memoir of sorts, although with the emphasis on funny incidents rather than a serious examination of my life. (That would be incredibly boring.)

I also did a fair amount of researching what books were available already, and this title comes closest in my mind to conveying what audience I’m trying to reach. I could be wrong. But in the end you’ve gotta go with your gut.

I decided to introduce the book at 99 cents, although it’s actually got slightly more words in it than “Killing Trail.” I plan to raise the price after a month.

Lana took the cover photo but I added the title and author name. There’s a second cover version inside the book. Lana was going to help with it but after her surgery she just couldn’t stand any time on the computer so you get the best that I could do. I want to get better at doing covers since I’d like to publish more ebooks down the line. Once Lana is back on her feet, she'll probably up the quality on this cover and I’ll replace it. I didn’t want to wait until then to get the work out, though. I’ll be back in school and time will be a precious commodity again.

The link at Barnes and Noble is here.

I'm happy!

Monday, December 26, 2011

Color and Mood in Writing

I'm over at Novel Spaces today with a post on color and mood in writing. I hope you can drop by.


Sunday, December 25, 2011

For Reasons Unknown

For reasons unknown, my blog suddenly disappeared yesterday. In fact, I found myself persona non grata with Google so that I couldn't log in to my gmail account or anything else powered by Google. That includes Blogger. I sent an email to their contact and access was restored sometime after midnight last night. I don't know why but I'm glad everything is back with no problems.

I'll have a big announcement, for me anyway, coming up on Tuesday.


Friday, December 23, 2011

Updates of Various Kinds

Lana is in quite a bit of pain and discomfort after her surgery. She's having trouble sleeping for more than a couple of hours at a time. Her throat gets sore when she sleeps as well, from the tube used during surgery, no doubt. All of this is standard and to be expected, and much what she experienced with her last shoulder surgery. I hope she will get stronger every day now.

I will be at home with Lana for another week or so, but our school starts back on January 4, this year, which seems awfully early. I had hoped to get a lot accomplished over the break but it doesn't look good at the moment. However, Days of Beer is pretty much finished and I've been working on the cover. It will be up soon.

I checked Blogger this morning and had 220 plus posts in my reader. I did a quick scan through and didn't see anything earth shattering, so I decided I didn't have the strength to do my usual commenting. I'll try to get back to visiting and commenting today.

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Lana is in for Surgery

Lana is going in this morning (Dec. 21) for surgery on her shoulder, for a torn rotator cuff. I will try and post later once she's out, but won't be visiting blogs on my regular rounds today.

UPDATE: It's 12:45 now and Lana is HOME, and asleep. She came through everything OK. Thanks to everyone for the well wishes.


Monday, December 19, 2011

The Urge for Memoir

I was never very interested in memoir writing. Until lately. Before my fifties, I wrote a few short pieces of memoir. Most were intended to be funny. One was called “When Electricity Came to Arkansas,” about an unfortunate experience with an electric fence. Another was a short piece called “Death by Prose,” about the humorous pitfalls involved in selling stories to the Small Press. I did a different kind of piece about my Hurricane Katrina experience and its effect on my writing. That wasn’t funny. I also wrote an account about adopting my son, called “Long Strange Road to Fatherhood.” While it was accepted for publication once, in the end it never saw print.

Then, just after I turned fifty, I put together the pieces for Write With Fire and ended up adding a longish memoir about how I became a writer. It was almost 4,000 words long. For some reason, I felt it was time to tell that story and that book seemed like a good place. I don’t really know if anyone paid much attention to it, but it was fun to do.

A year or so ago I posted several pieces on my blog about my teenage experiences with beer drinking. I called them “Days of Beer.” They were favorably received and a couple of months ago I suddenly decided I was going to write up those experiences more fully and publish them as an ebook. That work is almost finished now, and it’s 18,000 words long. I couldn’t believe how much material was there to work with until I started, but I believe the thing holds together well and I think it’s pretty funny. So far, the writing group that I’ve shared about a third of it with have agreed.

In the next weeks, then, a new piece will be coming out from Razored Zen Press. I need to finish the final read through, and get the cover ready. I have an idea for that and will get Lana to take the photo. I’m using the actual names of folks in many cases, but if I feel there’s any likelihood of embarrassment I’m changing the names or just leaving them out. I’m planning on opening it at 99 cents for the holiday season. I’m also toying with titles, but am leaning toward just calling it “Days of Beer: A Memoir of a Beer Drinkin’ Man.” What do you think?

The biggest question is “why now,” though. Is there something about getting older that naturally makes one want to look back and recall your life? Or is it something that most people have when they’re younger and I am just now finding it of interest? Are you interested in memoir? In reading it? In writing it? Is it a recent thing for you? Or long-term? Do you have any idea why?

Friday, December 16, 2011

I'm Reading Again: Here's the Proof

Well, I’m officially finished with the school semester. I got my grades turned in on Sunday and took two days pretty much completely off. Then I got back to work on some writing and it has been going well. I’ve also been doing a lot of reading and much enjoying it. Here’s some of the stuff I’ve read.

A Rip Through Time, by Chris F. Holm, Charles A. Gramlich, Garnett Elliott, Chad Eagleton.
From a concept created by David Cranmer.

What a great fun read this one was. A grand romp across time by four authors working in serial form, the kind of pulp adventure you don’t often see anymore. It’s no secret that I did installment two of the story, and I tell you I just loved seeing how Garnett Elliott and Chad Eagleton played off some of the ideas that I introduced into the work, just as I enjoyed playing off what Chris Holm had put into the opening chapter.

At present, this is available at Smashwords, and for the Nook.

Miles To Little Ridge, by Heath Lowrance

This is a fast paced western of novella length. The main character, Gideon Miles, was created by Edward Grainer, but here the writer Heath Lowrance takes over the reins to tell a hard hitting tale of revenge and justice. I liked the detail on this one. I found the settings and characters very believable. Good stuff.

Monsters & Mormons, Edited by WM Morris and Theric Jepson

I’ve only read one story from this collection so far, David J. West’s “Fangs of the Dragon.” I enjoyed it very much. The gunfighter, Porter Rockwell, is sent to investigate tales of a lake monster who is killing locals. He finds a wide ranging conspiracy related to the sightings, and then comes face to face with the monster itself. The results are unexpected, and cool.

I’m also reading Bolo!, by David Weber, which consists of stories about the infamous “Bolo” war machines originally created by Keith Laumer. I haven’t finished it yet but I’ve just loved the first two stories, both of which had me a little misty eyed at the end. This is the first work I’ve read by David Weber. It won’t be the last.

Monday, December 12, 2011

Monster Dream

Cool monster dream last night. Lana and I were on vacation, staying in a motel at the outskirts of a large Texas city. I was hungry; she wasn't, so I walked about a dozen blocks to small restaurant. While I was there, Lana actually called me on the store's phone and told me she wanted to go home. As I left the eatery, however, a parade was coming along the main street between me and our motel.

I started trying to find a gap through, when I heard a collective gasp and looked up to see the ball of a water tower flying through the air and then crashing down into some buildings. When I looked behind me I saw massive columns of smoke rising in the distance, and fires burning among the city center's skyscrapers.

The parade was scattering so I ran through the crowd toward our motel. I started along the route I'd come but soon came to a big parking garage that was leveled. I turned into other streets, trying to make my way through, and I knew that whatever the destroyer was it was getting close because debris was flying everywhere. At one point, a giant whip-like tail went whizzing by over my head, shearing off tree tops.

When I found the motel, people were running and screaming, although some were clustered together praying. I started screaming for Lana but there was no answer. I ran inside and down to our room. When I threw open the door, Lana was inside folding clothes with the music turned up really loud. I started yelling at her to "come on, come on". And to "get her shoes." I grabbed her hand and practically dragged her from the room to the outside. Then I woke up.

This dream was almost surely a response to watching the movie "Super-Eight" the other night, although it had elements of "Cloverfield" in it, for sure. I enjoyed!

Since it's getting close to Christmas, I thought I'd also post my "price list" today. If anyone wants a signed copy of anything I've got around the house, this is the damage. You can email me at kainja at hotmail dot com I hope everyone is having a good December so far.

(2011): Current Prices on Books: Signed copies. (Shipping included inside the USA)

The Talera series: Sword & Planet Fantasy Adventure Series

Swords of Talera -- $12.50
Wings Over Talera -- $12.50
Witch of Talera -- $12.50
All 3 -- $32.00

Bitter Steel: An anthology of Sword & Sorcery short stories. $12.00

Midnight in Rosary: An anthology of Vampire and Werewolf short stories. $12.00

Both anthologies: (Bitter Steel & Midnight in Rosary). $22.00

Cold in the Light: A horror/thriller. $8.00

Wanting the Mouth of a Lover: A collection of vampire haiku. $5.00
Or $4.00 as an addition to any other order.

Write With Fire: A nonfiction guide to writing. $14.00

Friday, December 09, 2011

A Matter of Convention

I'm over at Novel Spaces for today with a post about something that happened to me at a recent SF/Fantasy convention. Stop by if you get the chance.


Wednesday, December 07, 2011

Wings Over Talera

David J. West has a nice review over on his blog of Wings Over Talera, the second book in my Talera Trilogy. I appreciate it.

The most fun I've ever had writing remains the writing of the Talera Trilogy: Swords of Talera, Wings Over Talera, and Witch of Talera. I will do a fourth book at some point.

I'm very glad that folks have generally liked these books a lot, that they've seen something good in the way I drew on the legacies of Edgar Rice Burroughs and Robert E. Howard. I certainly appreciate all the kind comments on them, and the reviews over on Amazon and on Goodreads. These remind me of why I love good stories so much, and why I so enjoy writing.

If anyone is interested in picking up signed copies of one or all of the Talera books for Christmas, let me know. I've got copies at the house and can make folks a deal on the trilogy. Email me at: kainja at hotmail dot com

The books are also available for the Nook and the Kindle so if you know someone who has one of these ereaders, or who is getting one for Christmas, these books could make a nice gift. At least I think they do. :)

Saturday, December 03, 2011

Time Travel and Sword and Planet Action

I’ve been needing to post this information for a while but work has been crazy this whole semester. Seems mostly I’ve been putting up holding pattern blog posts. I have a test to grade today but Monday is the last day of class and then we’ll have final exams. I’ll be incommunicado for a few days then before I get finally to Christmas break. If I’m gonna get this post up it needs to be today.

First up, the collected Simon Rip adventure, A Rip Through Time has been published from Beat To A Pulp. It’s available from Smashwords for .99 cents and that’s quite a lot of reading, over 38,000 words. You can get it there for Kindle, Epub, PDF, or various other formats. Many of you already know that this is a serialized story based on David Cranmer’s ideas and character, and that I did one of the sections. Below is a quote about the work that I took directly from the Smashwords site, and it’ll give you the writers and the titles of the various sections:
“A Rip through Time follows the time-cop's travels in a series of five short stories written by several of today's top pulp writers. Chris F. Holm opens the collection with the fast-paced "The Dame, the Doctor and the Device." Charles A. Gramlich's "Battles, Broadswords, and Bad Girls" and Garnett Elliott's "Chaos in the Stream" breathe new life into the time travel story. Bringing the saga to a gripping conclusion in "Darkling in the Eternal Space" is Chad Eagleton, who then takes it a step further with a mesmerizing coda, "The Final Painting of Hawley Exton." And for all the time-traveling enthusiasts, Ron Scheer provides an insightful essay, "Are We Then Yet," which explores the mechanics of time travel in popular fiction.”

I’ve got my copy and look forward over Christmas break to reading the whole thing together. I was so pleased to be a part of this. I much enjoyed writing my segment, and was lucky to be chosen to be among this crew of fine writers.


Next up, I want to mention a new, and “illustrated” collection of Sword & Planet stories called Strange Worlds. This anthology is edited by Jeff Doten, who also did all the wonderful drawings for the work. I believe this may be the first illustrated collection of S & P stories ever. And I’m very happy to say I have a story in the collection called “God’s Dream.” I had an incredible amount of fun writing it.

You can find out more about the anthology here. There is a review of the book up at Black Gate. I will be posting more about it as I read the rest of the stories in the collection. Here's the front and back covers below: