Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Scratch my back

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Why is launching a Kickstarter campaign so exciting? For me, it's the feeling of letting you be a part of this book, The Evenarian, in a very special way. Some authors are all secluded when they write their book, not giving the slightest glimpse to strangers or family alike. But I want to share my book with you, and let you get a sense of what it's like to write and publish a novel.

All my life I've been training to be an author. I've saved up money while working as a journalist so that I can do this. Every day after work I would come home and work on a novel that I self-published online because I wanted to perfect the art. Since it received many positive reviews, and I had enough money saved up to get started, I went for it. I'm writing full-time now, and it's going great. I'm writing conflicts and resolutions, build-ups and action, plot and subplots. The story will be spellbinding - not in the least because there's actual spells in it.

Sadly, I recently realized that I have enough funds to get me through writing the book, but not enough to build an audience and get the novel published. That brings up all sorts of troubling questions.  What if I write a great book but nobody will be able to read it because it just needs an extra boost to get a bit of press and an editor who will make it shine for a publisher? That's why I need you to donate to my campaign.

But this isn't a one-way street. I can give you an inside scoop into writing and publishing, and you can give me a chance to go all the way to bookshelves and living rooms all over the world. This is where Kickstarter comes in. With each donation comes a prize.

For the price of a movie ticket, you can get the first level of inside scoops into the book and writing process. You can get a postcard in the mail with new and improved Evenarian cover art and a heartfelt thank-you note from your truly. You can also get an inside view into what literary agents see when I send them the package about my book. You can get a phone call with me where you can ask me about the writing and publishing process, or just what it's like to live in California. It'll be a blast. You can even get an invite to the book launch party. And most importantly, for all of the prize levels, you get your name in the book's thank-you section!

Thanks in advance for your support. I promise it'll be worth your while.

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Writing is a job

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When you work in an office environment ensconced by coworkers and a 9-5 schedule, it's easy for friends and relatives to understand why you are occupied for the better part of the day. People know the demands and constrictions that come with working-full time – in the conventional sense, that is.

It seems to be more abstract and far harder to grasp when you work from home and create your own schedule. I noticed this shift in the attitudes of others when I made the switch from my office job to writing a book from home. Suddenly people were acting as though I didn’t even have a job – not a conventional one, at least.

More requests for help in the middle of the day trickled in and I kept hearing about how lucky I was to be free of the daily grind. A lot of people couldn’t quite grasp the fact that I still worked, that making my own schedule and fostering a creative environment where I could churn out pages everyday was a real challenge.

Rather than having a place I could go that was conducive to productivity, I had to create that space in my own home. I had to make a schedule that I could keep everyday to maintain a consistent work pace. And I had to find time to get in some semblance of social interaction so this new experience didn't become isolating. I really underestimated how the workplace can be a big a part of your social life.

It has taken four months to really find a new work-life balance, even though both of those things are occurring in the same room.  And, now that I am halfway through the book, I have learned a lot about what it takes to have both self-discipline and to communicate my new needs and feelings to others.

I suggest everyone take at least one crack at self-employment and detour to self-discovery at some point in their careers. It’s hard work.

Monday, October 29, 2012

Halloween and terrifying realism in fantasy

Image Source: Deviantart

Halloween is just around the corner and I am going out on a limb predicting that there will be a fair amount of bejeweled daggers, velvet sleeves and Grecian-esque outfits accessorized with dragons traipsing about thanks to the recent popularity of the Game of Thrones series. 

My anticipation of the street flowing with the nobles and small folk of the Seven Kingdoms has gotten me to really reflect on what this phenomenon is resonating.

While many are jumping on the Thrones craze because of the HBO show's popularity, I like to think there is something about series' gruesome realism that is both shocking and refreshing.

When Game of Thrones debuted last year, I quickly became intrigued with the unapologetic way George R.R. Martin kills, pummels and maims even the most beloved characters in his series. He throws the utopian Camelot mold out the window to show that kingdom building (and destroying) can be scarier than any magic and fantasy elements. 

In my novel The Evenarian, I was inspired by, and hope to do homage to, this darker side of the human experience. Because while time travel, magic and fanciful creatures make life more interesting, people's behavior can be a story's most outrageous element. 

This is what I'll be thinking about when I see drunken Lannisters and Starks milling about Halloween parties this year. Who knows, maybe in a few years people wearing Evenarian costumes will remind others of the fear that human responses can muster.

Sunday, October 28, 2012

Hey everybody, I made a video!

Who's excited to see a new video about The Evenarian? I'm putting the finishing touches on the short video that will be on my official Kickstarter page come November 1, but I couldn't wait to share it with all of you!

It's a casual conversation in a San Francisco cafe. It's a glimpse at my working routine and my office. It's also a great overview of the book. I put a lot of positive vibes into this video and hopefully you'll want your friends to feel them too, so let them know about it.

And as always, kill the prophecy, save history.

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Editing is a dirty job, but someone has to do it

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Have you ever read a magazine article or even a menu at a local restaurant and been struck by a glaring editing mistake? It happens to me all the time. From simple misspellings to just plain bad grammar, I can't help but see it. My years in journalism taught me that editing mistakes take away from the reader's experience and can be embarrassing to boot. 

As an author, I have experienced both the frustration of running into these errors everywhere I look as well as catching mistakes that I make while writing The Evenarian.

When you are churning out hundred of pages and already going through multiple rounds of edits, all those paragraphs start to look like alphabet soup. This is why I have decided to push my inner copyeditor aside and hand my novel over to a professional editor with a fresh set of eyes. Because heaven help me if there's a single subject-verb disagreement in the book!

However, the real issue with getting a professional to dive into editing an entire novel is that they tend to want to be paid for their time - and rightfully so.

In order to fund this quest for the most high-quality novel possible, I am asking friends, family and grammar sticklers alike to support my upcoming Kickstarter campaign to offset the editing cost before I shop for a publisher.

If you are a fellow fan of error-free reading, then please pledge support for my campaign and share the event with friends and family.

My red pen thanks you!

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Support an artist -- It's good for you!

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Everyone has a special talent, a gift that lets him or her shine as an individual. Some people plan exceptional parties or decorate their home and others can craft a piece of furniture or design jewelry that puts a smile on someone’s face.

Whether I am basking in the beauty and skill of historical art pieces in a museum, passing by alley murals or watching performers along the street, I am constantly reminded that art can truly be awe-inspiring. However, my path into this world has always been the written word.

I have been enamored and connected to the literary world for as long as I can remember.  Creating something with little more than your imagination and words is both challenging and rewarding.

As I continue to pour ideas onto pages while creating The Evenarian, I am reminded of just what a challenge it is to be creative full-time. While many people indulge in their creative side as a hobby to unwind from a less-creative work life, I have taken the plunge to be a full-time artist.

And let me tell you, I have a newfound respect for people who have devoted their lives to their art all along.

Through this process I have become much more generous and supportive of various artists I come across from buying more books and art to supporting projects I have found on Kickstarter.

It is easy overlook all the sweat and tears that go into creating something from the depths of your imagination. So I just wanted to remind and encourage everyone out there to support artists that they admire because not is it a financial commitment to get new art out into the world, but we do appreciate the feeling of being appreciated by others.

So buy a book, tip a street performer, share a new artist with a friend or, heck, hug an author.

If you would like to support my efforts to get my book to print then please “like” my Facebook page, attend the Facebook event preparing for the Kickstarter campaign, pledge to donate to my Kickstarter, share the event and page with friends, follow my blog, follow my tweets or send me an email to

Monday, October 22, 2012

Alternative history

Have you ever read a book that made you put it down every few minutes to pause and think? A book that made you see the world around you in a different way?

In science fiction and fantasy, there are books which make you ask questions about events, and how they could've transpired differently. This is a sub-genre called "alternative history." It takes place in our world's past but frequently a key historical event happens differently and magic or other fantastical elements are present. These stories explore "what if" questions like "what if Hitler had been assassinated before starting World War II" or "what if Jesus' ministry had been different" and so on.

While The Evenarian does not take place on Earth, its world very well could have been ours, or rather, our world may have been The Evenarian's world.

One of the themes tackled in the story is just how much of truth is hidden from us, including history and destiny. Many elements of The Evenarian's world are parallel to ours.

For example, what if the messianic figure that changes the world had created a positivist religion (i.e. based on science) instead of a mystic one? What would our society be like if its religious institutions were founded on positivism and post-enlightenment thinking? How would this even go about happening?

The world before the Evenarian came was a mystical place, full of simple wonders. But our hero knows that the world left behind by the ministry of the Evenarian will be full of fanatics. Opposing groups with different scientific axioms are constantly at war because of conflicting logic instead of religious beliefs. These groups are, of course, painfully unaware of what we know as Goedel's incompleteness theorem. It's our world, except that it's totally different. After reading the complete story, you'll hopefully see many of our modern debates about the nature of truth and religion from a new angle, much like after meditating on a zen koan.

I'm very proud of this concept. It's one of those mind-bending puzzles that makes you put a book on your chest and gaze at the ceiling. If you enjoy that feeling of enchantment that a book gives you, then please support our Kickstarter (launching October) so we can get this book published.

Friday, October 19, 2012

Meet my new friend Kickstarter

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Happy Friday, fans! It’s been a few days since I sprung my latest endeavor on you: The upcoming launch of a Kickstarter campaign to get my book edited and out to publishers.

So far, I've gotten a lot of positive feedback, but also some questions about what Kickstarter is and how people can help with the campaign. I'd like to take this opportunity to tell you all more about what Kickstarter is and why I'm using it to help complete The Evenarian.

Kickstarter is an online funding platform for a host of creative projects, from films, books, and music to art, design and technology.

People interested in funding creative projects create a campaign on the website and encourage people from all over the country (and the world) to support their cause. But unlike many donation-based services, the only way for a Kickstarter campaign to see any of that money is by reaching their funding goal. Otherwise, no money is received.

In other words, if you pledge to support my Kickstarter but I don’t make the goal of $5,000 within the allotted timeframe, you don’t get charged anything. But on the flip-side, the project remains unfunded.

This campaign runs for just 30 days (the month of November) so that means it is crucial to get support on DAY ONE. You can help by making your pledge on that day.

Also, Kickstarter promotes campaigns that get an early wave of donations (whatever the size) by putting them on their front page. This exposes campaigns to a huge number of prospective backers.

For The Evenarian's campaign, there are different levels of support, from a single dollar up to $3,000. Each contribution leve comes with its own rewards (think the totebags PBS gives out during pledge drives). Who doesn’t love rewards? And for those of you who can’t spare much, know that a bunch of supporters giving a dollar apiece can still make a huge difference!

You may be asking: What else can I do to help?

Until the Kickstarter campaign goes live on November 1st you can join the Kickstarter Facebook event page and pledge to donate on Nov. 1! Also, “like” The Evenarian's Facebook fan page to get updates on the campaign and the novel's progress. And don't forget to read the author's blog, comment, retweet and pledge!

Thanks so much for all your continued support!!!

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Kickstarter Countdown

Attention bibliophiles and fantasy aficionados! I'm really excited to announce that while I have been banging out pages of my book, The Evenarian, I am also getting ready to launch a Kickstarter campaign to help get the book edited and shopped around to publishers.

It seems like just yesterday that The Evenarian was just a twinkle in my eye and now it’s really happening!

While I’m the one giving my sweat and tears, I am asking for just a little help from my supporters in order to get this book to print.

On November 1, I will launch the KICKSTARTER campaign with a goal of raising $5,000 (and have hopes of surpassing that in the 30 days that the campaign is live).

In order to reach (and hopefully shoot past this goal) I need help from everyone who believes that more creative, page-turning literature should be out in the world.

Since I have friends, family and supporters of all different means, there are many different levels of contribution that can be made (from a single buck to a $3,000 bracket – each with rewards to boot!) to bring The Evenarian to fruition.

Since November is just around the corner, I want to keep the buzz going so the Kickstarter gets a big first week and the momentum propels this book into everyone’s hands as soon as possible.
Word of mouth and excitement will help make this book more than just a few million letters on my hard drive.

Since November is national novel writing month, I couldn’t think of a more fitting time to get this project closer to completion. In the coming days and weeks, I will be posting some great blogs, asking for feedback and giving shout-outs to all those that pledge to support The Evenarian. (Hopefully I’ll be shouting out to all of you.)

Until the Kickstarter campaign is live, I am asking everyone to share my Facebook fan page with other avid readers and people that love to support original content so “like,” blog, join the Facebook event, comment, retweet and pledge!

 More about The Evenarian:

The Evenarian is a fantasy novel-in-progress, inspired by the works of George R.R. Martin and Neil Stephenson. It takes place in a medieval world of magic, kings, ancient tribes and empires. It's also world on the verge of a massive change—a change that must be stopped at all costs. The world is held together by a monastic system of cloisters where the Seekers of Truth study history, prophecy, healing, warfare and, of course, magic. As the characters navigate a dangerous, politically-charged landscape, they find themselves confronted with not just the realities of their own journey, but questions about the nature of truth itself.