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Saturday, June 27, 2015

NEW Episodic Novel/Novella Series: The Writer

NEW Episodic Novel/Novella Series: #TheWriter #WhyIWrite #cheapreads

Hello again people out there in the blogosphere. Yes, I have not one, but two good reads that have come out just yesterday. The first I already told you about below, DARKER (#DARKER). Hold on to your butts (Samuel L. Jackson voice) because this one will take a little more explaining. Read below for a synopsis and a description of how I tackled this project and what to expect from it.

Michael Singleton, 26, is a writer struggling to make it out in Hollywood. Homeless and down to his last dollar, he has a final meeting with a production company interested in hearing his pitch on a show about a writer. Their response? Who wants to watch something about a writer. Years spent pursuing his dream come to an end when he finally decides to return home to Cleveland, Ohio a failure.

Alek Vitsin, a 51-year-old business owner in Cleveland finds his life lacking. He has a smart and beautiful wife, great kids (they're teens, so they can get on the annoying side) and a thriving business empire, still he can't manage to see it for what it is—perfect.

A series of strange events and even deadlier circumstances bring these two men on differing journeys together and bonds them in unforeseen ways that challenge the paradigm of fan and artist. As they each seek a legacy to call their own, they must discover how to navigate each other through the twists and turns that life throws their way, a feat made all the more difficult because of Alek's main occupation—the biggest drug lord in Ohio.

A gripping drama/action/suspense/thriller/literary hybrid in the vein of Breaking Bad, Hannibal and Death Note, The Writer takes the reader through a weekly episodic journey through the increasingly perilous and gruesome lives of Michael and Alek as they become more interwoven, dragging the titular character through a morally ambiguous descent into the macabre all in the name of art.  

Here it is, my Episodic Novel (or novella) series. What is that, you ask? Let me explain.

All my life I’ve always been a fan of entertainment. I love it all: books, music, movies, TV, video games, etc. One of the things I also love is how we used to consume these things. I’m not too young to realize that books (bestsellers especially) have gotten a bit on the long side in recent years (Gillian Flynn’s Gone Girl was like a bagillion words, or 130,000 something at least). And while I have plenty of works that match that (most of my books come in somewhere around 100,000 words), I know that not everyone has time to consume that.

That was when I had a thought. While I still use a DVR for most of my television watching, I try to imbibe episodes one at a time. This way, I don’t get binge-watching fatigue. So I thought, why not apply that same thought to reading? Lord only knows how many books that might have been good I gave up on because they either started slow or they just felt way too long. Reading is great but sometimes it can be mean to us.

For those who may feel that way even when they love reading, I present to you The Writer (#TheWriter). So again, what is it. It is an ebook weekly episodic novella/novel (whichever you want to call it). It consists of 60 digital pages (pages measured on the Kindle Fire in Georgia font, lowest pt, to fit all on one page) per week or one episode of a full season. You say, well that sounds like a comic book or a serial from old. Not quite. For one, most comics are monthly or bi-weekly these days, and run until whenever. Serials back in the day usually did the same. The Writer has seasons, thusly a set time each year, just like a TV show. This is season one that is slated to end in late September just before or after the official start of fall. It will consist of between 13 and 15 episodes, all of which will be between 55-68 pages, and will have a proper season finale.

Why do this? In some ways, I miss the days of the watercooler talk. With everyone bingeing shows (I just binged Game of Thrones on an HBO free preview weekend) some of that great watercooler feel has been lost. Even with book clubs, it’s more often than not an all in kind of thing where you meet once every month or however many weeks and you are expected to have finished the entire book, and you’re freaking out because last month’s book was way shorter than this month’s. This way, the casual reader can gobble down one episode at a time and get on with their day. More voracious readers can read an episode, mentally mark what happened and move along to another book between episodes. Book clubs can meet on a weekly or every other week basis and no one have read farther than the other (don’t those people grind you sometimes?)

My point is that I’d like to encourage short reading while giving more power back to the reader to have a freer schedule. Also, with the price going to be kept low (no more than $1.50 for any individual episode; usually starts at $1.00) readers can more easily sample pieces of the season before committing 20-something dollars to a hardcover book by some author that they usually love but just put out a rare miss. It’s also easier than going to the library. 

OK, to wrap it up because this is getting long and feels like it’s nearly a quarter the length of an individual episode, this is season one of The Writer. If you go to my author's amazon page you will see that I am selling a compilation of Episodes 1-3 as well as each individual episode, though I recommend getting the compilation because it's one cent cheaper (hey, a penny earned and so forth). I hope you enjoy the start of this journey as it will explore the roots of how legends are made, and become the stories that entertain us all. Next week's episode 4, "The Sound and The Fury" will be out on Friday or maybe even late night Thursday and this will continue until late September. I won't always blog for each episode, but for those that are going to be really big, I might write a blurb or mention it. Anyway, Happy Reading! 

Again, purchase the compilation here: AMAZONAs always, follow me on Goodreads, Tweet about the book #TheWriter on Twitter, and join the Goodreads group. Until next time.
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OK, it has been a while people. I know, I've been slacking with my posts especially since there have been a lot of good books, movies and TV shows I want to talk about. My computer crashed on my off and on throughout these last two months making my workload twice as heavy because I had to keep re-booting each time. But I wanted to give you all two new posts today starting with my latest full novel DARKER.

Zariah Smith never thought much of herself. With her loathsomely dark skin, unruly kinky hair, and naivete about herself and the world around her, she has become the subject of ire for many of her different-skinned peers, a punching bag for their own sorrows. Thinking she might escape the shame her mother thrust upon her for being so tar-baby black, she goes to college, a place where youths find themselves and futures are discovered. But when the disdain for her color continues, she finds comfort within a most unexpected place: the darkness. Blessed (or cursed) with an unenviable power, it is within the darkness that she finds strength, and others face their darkest fears.

An exploration of modern-day race relations (though, it can be enjoyed by all readers), college hazing and coming-of-age when everyone around you is so unabashedly different, Michael Stephenson welcomes horror fans on a sometimes gruesome path to terror. A homage to Stephen King's first professionally published book Carrie, DARKER invites the reader to follow Zariah on her odyssey to assimilate in a world that seems only to fear what is different, fear what is misunderstood, fear the darkness.

With DARKER (#DARKER) I initially wrote the earliest draft of this book back in college. It didn't dawn on me until later that it shared some similarities with Stephen King's own work. Rather than try to change it drastically into something it didn't want to be, I stripped away certain elements and made it a straight homage. However, it stands on its own as it explores more so how we deal with our fears and desires in this increasingly complicated world. Yet another go into the horror genre, DARKER is filled with gruesome imagery of the product of our darkest fears. What if you couldn't escape your fears? What if you couldn't hide from your shame? What if... you couldn't avoid the darkness? The answers lie within Zariah Smith! 

At a brisk 77,000 words (a quarter longer than King's original Carrie), purchase your digital copy of DARKER here:AMAZON. Get it this week for only #3.49.

As always, follow me on Goodreads, Tweet about the book #DARKER on Twitter, and join the Goodreads group. Until next time.
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