Tag Archives: coffee

FREE Sale Ends TODAY!!!

Until midnight, you have the chance to pick up the first part of my Post-Apocalypse/Sci-Fi series Meet Me at the Falls for FREE! Yes, you can join the THOUSANDS of people who already downloaded the book today and catch up for less than the cup of coffee you’ll drink while reading it. It may even taste better (especially if it’s Charbucks).

After two years of writing, it’s been incredibly rewarding to see people going nuts downloading the book.So far the response has been incredible–with over a thousand downloads so far and we’ve climbed the ranks to become #1 in several categories and today, the second day of our FREE SALE, we are at the Top 300 spot in the Kindle Store.

We owe all of our success to YOU. As much as it is a personal journey for us, we’re writing this story for you, our loyal fans who have seen us through many adventures. Today, we invite you along for the ride totally FREE.

If you like the book, please let us know in the Amazon reviews section, and tell your friends and family about it. We’re self-published and have to do everything ourselves–especially marketing. The best way for us to share these great stories is actually through you…through word of mouth…Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, Amazon, Goodreads or whatever you use. We truly appreciate any help and support, which again is why we’re making the book FREE for you today.

We spent an entire year of writing and editing Part 3, because we wanted it to really shine and be worth the wait. Part one is FREE today, so anyone can discover The Falls.

THANK YOU… Seriously and sincerely :’)

FREE SALE ends TONIGHT, so hurry on over to Amazon and download your copy today!

Part Two and Part Three are out now, and we wanted to make those just 99 cents as well!

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First Draft Tuesdays

Tuesdays are always the worst. Mondays are bad, but at least you just had the weekend. Tuesdays, though…the whole week is still ahead of you. It drags and drags and drags like that goddamn Lynyrd Skynyrd song (great song, though–seriously)

Alright, maybe it’s not so bad. Happy Gilmore started out with that song after all, right?

One thing that days like today are good for are writing. Meet Me at the Falls – Part 3 is out and in the world. I feel good about it, but the journey is FAR from over. During the editing process a big chunk of my part was left on the editing room floor. The material needs to be in the story–just not yet. Today, my task has been picking up the pieces and seeing what I can salvage. As with all good writing, most of it will change as I mold the next chapter.

I did find myself re-inspired to find my way to Part 5, though. Through a series of coincidences and merely saying “Yes” to an opportunity at work, I found myself at a bar with a woman from Amazon.com who was from Snoqualmie Falls. She quickly made me realize that our vision of the Falls may be slightly different than reality. I learned of Snoqualmie Pass, which is what happens during the winter up at the campgrounds and the ski-resort on the other side of the mountain…what the terrain is like up there…and that there should probably be some sort of avalance–er ash-a-lanch? What a terrible word. It’s a good thing our characters aren’t QUITE there yet (spoiler alert).

Part 5 is scheduled to be finished by July as of right now. The pressure is on. I should get back into Scrivener and finish my first draft of part 4 now that the Skynyrd song finished playing on YouTube.

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Meet Me At The Falls Part 3, Pre-Order!

The wait is over. You can now pre-order your copy of Meet Me at the Falls, Part 3 (Submersion) before it’s released to the public on Amazon.com. By ordering now, Amazon will deliver the story to your Kindle or other reading device at midnight. It’ll be like Christmas, enjoying good reading hot off the press with your morning cup of coffee.

MMATF_3_Cover_KINDLE

PRE-ORDER NOW!

The story picks up right where Part Two left off. If you need to catch up, grab yourself a copy today here. The Murphy family continue their hard journey to the Falls, but each of them couldn’t be further away. All the set-up from parts one and two are exploding into action, starting with The Kids, caught up in the middle of a blood-bath on the freeways outside of Seattle. Alan finds himself lured by the questionably mad Doctor Belmond, the Mother faces the bitter cold of the wild and the harder decisions she faces, and Wiley waits for his family–already at the Falls, but ensnared by a Native American dreamcatcher.

Curious to see where Alan is running in the stunning new cover? Or what he may be running from? Find out now!

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Writing Process (9 of 9)

mountdoom

Letting Go…

… continued from part 8: DEADLINE

This is probably the hardest part. I’ve looked at the book for so long I don’t even know what to think of it anymore. I love it and I hate it. I’m also indifferent about it. Overall, I’m just way too close to it. I could noodle with this or that forever, but I’ve hit my deadline and now it’s time to let it go.

This is where, if you’re self-publishing, you really have to be hard on yourself. You are never going to get it perfect. There is no such thing as perfection. Every author, every director, every artist has to at some point just let it go. Pass it off to your editor to send to the press, upload that file to Amazon and start worrying about how much to charge.

Glaring corrections can be fixed in subsequent editions. I’ve found copies of Fitzgerald that have some pretty bad typos. Who knows how long they were in there. But the important thing to realize is that you’re done. A work of art will never truly be finished in the eyes of the creator. But therein lies the beauty of it. It’s not supposed to be. I don’t write books for myself–I might come up with an idea I like but ultimately, I write it to be read by others. It’s the reader who finishes my books. And they finish it a thousand times over with endless variation. What wonders I would see if I could crawl inside their mind as they flip through the pages, deriving meaning from the unintended and totally missing meaning I tried to put in. But that’s the beauty of it all. Some people will love it, some people will hate it. Never in the history of the world has there been one piece of art that everyone came to love equally.

So that’s it. You’re done. Get it out there and let the readers have at it. I try to learn from my mistakes and improve on my next creative endeavor. And as an artist, I know damn well that I’ll be on my death bed, still with the desire to grow.

I’ve currently finished a short story, Meet Me at the Falls, with fellow authors Zack Keller and Ben Tuller… and for as much as I think I have it all figured out for this book, I know my next book may be an entirely different journey where I abandon these methods deeming them useless and naïve. I’d like to think that I won’t, but for me the point of writing… and for that matter, reading what people write… is to gain a glimpse into the soul and see the wonder and magic in the expression of the human condition.

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Creativity is Playtime

Every Tuesday, Thursday and sometimes Saturday, I meet my friend and trusted cohort Zack Keller at a local coffee shop at the butt crack of dawn and we work for three hours before heading into the studio. Be it a novel, script, our web series, a collective short story, a poem or even just an idea for something. This dedicated schedule gives us the time we need to be truly creative, bounce ideas off a trusted mind, and especially to suggest terrible ideas and avenues that ultimately lead to the right solution – from pure process of elimination, if nothing else. It’s almost as important as coffee.

The more pots I have on the stove, the more I find myself researching and coming upon revelations for the craft itself. Often times, these revelations surface only after the “hard work” was accomplished. A few years back, I adopted the creative workflow of the great master comedic writer John Cleese, of Monty Python fame. It’s difficult accepting any sort of structural formula into what’s largely an open, creative thing. But I gotta say – this technique WORKS!

The basic philosophy is that creativity is NOT A TALENT. It is a way of operating.

It’s much like playing a game. A very specific game with rules and boundaries and time limits. This is very important. Creativity is Playtime. Period. And the best thing about play is that when you’re playing, you’re not afraid to make a mistake. You learn things from the unexpected and adapt on the fly, finding new opportunities and abilities you didn’t even know existed before.

Remember that first time you swung a bat and it finally hit the sweet spot and you scored the winning home run? That moment, that new skill, that “A-ha! Moment” was during a game. A game you likely played for quite a while before you earned the nickname ‘Slugger’. The problem now is repeating it. And just like that winning swing, it probably happened when you weren’t paying full attention and didn’t expect it at all.

According to Cleese, there are five steps to a productive creative work day. They won’t leave you burning the candle at both ends or suffering a creative block for days, weeks, months… These conditions help make it more likely to get into an open mode and make it more likely for something creative will happen. More likely. No guarantee. Sometimes nothing will happen at all. But without taking these steps, you’ll likely never get that revelation a few days later whilst driving to the store or the next morning in the shower:

  1. Space – An oasis of quiet, isolated space away from your daily demands.
  2. Time – A specific period of work time before you resume your normal life. Start time. Stop Time. But first, time to do nothing. Let your mind run through the mess of your life: I need to make sure to call back Ben. Oh and that shirt needs to be fitted. I think I’m out of coffee. I wonder what Stacy is going to think of the gift I got her. I should really reorganize my contact list … This continues for about an hour and half until your mind quiets down again.
  3. Time – Yes, Time again. Now it’s time to use the oasis. Take the other hour and a half you have left to concentrate on the problem at hand. Even if you abandon the puzzle when your work/play time is up, you ultimately put in more time thinking about your problem than those that literally sit down until 3am every night trying to solve it, exhausted and totally spent. Don’t just take a snap decision. Defer your decision until the last possible moment for maximum pondering time for the most creative solution.  Give your mind as long as possible to come up with something original. Keep your mind gently around the subject. Daydream. Bring your mind back, just like meditation in a friendly but persistent way. Sooner or later you will get a reward from your unconscious IF you’re put in the pondering time first.
  4. Confidence – While you’re being creative, nothing is wrong. There are no mistakes. No fear of being wrong. When you play you’re comfortable. You’re sure of yourself because it’s just a game. What if it’s this? Or that? Or something completely different. Spontaneity. Risk illogical, silly, or things you might consider to be “wrong”. Anything could lead to the breakthrough.
  5. Humor – Laughter brings relaxation. Humor is playful. The easiest way to get yourself into a creative mind is through humor. Every time before I write or draw, I pull up a list of animated gifs on Reddit (a technique I adopted from Dick Figures creators Ed Skudder and Zack Keller), or tell some jokes with a friend, or make fun of something in the news that happened the day before. It’s the mental equivalent of stretching before you play. Humor is the most important thing, especially when your work is serious.

On that last point, I’d like to quote Cleese directly on the topic of Seriousness vs. Solemnity:

“How many times have important discussion been held where really original and creative ideas were desperately needed to solve important problems, but where humor was taboo because the subject being discussed was ‘so serious’? … I suggest to you that a group of us could be sitting around after dinner discussing matters that were extremely serious, like the education of our children, or our marriages, or the meaning of life — and we could be laughing and that would not make what we were discussing one bit less serious. Solemnity, on the other hand, I don’t know what it’s for. What is the point of it? The two most beautiful memorial services that I’ve ever attended both had a lot of humor, and it somehow freed us all and made the services inspiring and cathartic. But solemnity, it serves pomposity, and the self-important always know at some level of their consciousness that their egotism is going to be punctured by humor. That’s why they see it as a threat, and so dishonestly pretend that their deficiency makes their views more substantial, when it only makes them feel bigger.”

Full lecture here:

[youtube http://youtu.be/f9rtmxJrKwc]

 

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Writing Revelations

My fellow writers from Pen, Pint & Pyre will often meet over a pint to discuss the craft and the importance of coffee. I’d like to share a few of the more notable revelations and general guidelines we try to think about while writing:

  • Write in a language people know. Flowery words and descriptions can impress from time to time and say what you mean in a sort of poetic flow, but more often than not the best and most memorable, meaningful prose are just a few simple words — none of which are more than three letters long. “To be or not to be.” BOOM. What simple truth are you trying to say with all that pretty language?
  • Tell a story like you’re sitting around a campfire with people of all ages. Write naturally.
  • Respect the intelligence of your audience. They’re likely three steps ahead of where you think they are. Give them 2 + 2 and let them discover 4.
  • Let the description happen to the characters. Experience the story from their point of view. The story isn’t happening to the characters, the characters are experiencing the story.
  • You can’t work on anything until you have something to work with. Get that first draft done. Just shit it out and get it down on paper.
  • Storytelling is all about taste, so you need to add your own flavor.
  • Hitchcock would stop production whenever he a block. Stop and do nothing to do with what you’re trying to do. You’re working too hard. Relax. It will come.
  • When you’re at a road block in your production, you can’t figure out what the characters should do, start making a list of what you know they would NOT to and watch how easily the obvious solution pops into your mind.
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