Thursday, November 20, 2014

Writer versus Author

I've spent the past eight years writing seriously, and I never dared call my self an author. I was a writer. My definition of what it takes to be called an author wavered a bit, mainly because I couldn't quite pin down whether I would only consider a traditionally published writer to be an author or include self-published writers. It shouldn't be a surprise that the line wavers, because the stigma of self-publishing has itself wavered over these past few years.

I can't say that I have come to a definitive definition even now that I am finally being published. I see some truly excellent self-published books out there, certainly worthy of their author being called an author...but I see many, many more where even if the writer has true talent, they haven't produced the best product that they could have. Perhaps it was not having the money to afford hiring a professional editor. Perhaps it was a rush to get their book into print. I've learned to be patient over the years. I finished my first novel in 2009 and have yet to publish it, though I believe it is very good. I just think it isn't quite good enough yet.
copyright Stephan Martiniere
I do know one thing, though, and that is how I feel after publishing my debut novel. It's a palpable feeling that I can't deny--I feel different than I did. I feel like an author, and now I will call myself an author. It doesn't matter if most people ignore my book. I've already seen, in my brief couple weeks of marketing, that most people--even those who love science fiction--will not even take a glance at the book of an unknown author, regardless of quality, so it is truly difficult to get a good book out before the eyes of the buying public.

But I feel like an author, so I'm happy and I'll keep working at it. There is one thing I do wish readers would be more willing to do. It is so easy for them to help unknown writers gain some notice. If they like a story, why not write a quick review for it? Even a single paragraph, if a few minutes of thought is put into it, on Amazon and Goodreads can add important support for a newbie author.

What are your publishing experiences? If you have self-published, do you feel like an honest-to-goodness author?

p.s. Has anyone tried Ingram's Advance Catalog? Have you found it to be worth the money?

Tuesday, November 11, 2014


Today is an exciting day for me! Breakwater Harbor Books is publishing my debut sci-fi thriller The Immortality Game, and today is the first time that I could go to Amazon and see my book (available for pre-order) and author page.

So far this is only the ebook edition. More ebooks will be available shortly at B&N's Nook store, Apple's iTunes store, Kobo, GooglePlay, and others. And the print edition will hopefully be available soon as well.

It's really something to see yourself on Amazon for the first time!

Friday, November 7, 2014

Cover Reveal -- The Immortality Game

I'm very happy to reveal the cover to my forthcoming technothriller The Immortality Game. Most likely the ebook will come out first sometime later this month, and then the paperback will become available. I hope you like the cover! (click to enlarge)
Cover Illustration © Stephan Martiniere
Anyone willing to help me spread the news once the book is published is very welcome! The cover can be used as long as it credits the artist as you see here. Watch this space or my Facebook page for updates.

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

Cover Art for The Immortality Game

I've very excited about the final version of the cover art done for my upcoming sci-fi thriller The Immortality Game. Stephan Martiniere is tied as my favorite living artist, along with Alan Lee, and he did just what I needed him to do here. Click it to enlarge!
Cover Illustration © Stephan Martiniere
The pyramid and twin curving hotel towers represent the home base of the antagonists in the novel, and it is where the climax takes place. The white floating stuff that looks a little like snow is called 'pukh' in Russian. It is actually poplar seeds, and it flies around like snow each summer in Moscow (and plays a symbolic role in the story).

The cover itself with all the typography is close to finished, thanks to some help from Bradley Wind. It is very difficult for a book, no matter how good, to gain any notice these days, so I hope this cover art will help draw attention to my novel once it comes out.

Friday, October 31, 2014

Gorgeous artwork

Stumbled across this gorgeous piece of artwork done by Richard Solomon. Sometimes it's nice to just kick back and admire a great piece of work!
The Fallen by Richard Solomon

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Cover Art Teaser

I received the nearly-complete cover art for my forthcoming sci-fi thriller The Immortality Game the other day, and it blew me away. I knew Hugo-award winning artist Stephan Martiniere was the best artist alive, so I pretty much knew he'd nail it, but it is still nervewracking to worry about how it might turn out.

I don't want to post the full cover shot yet, since I'd like to save that up for when I actually publish the novel, but I thought it would be cool to put up a slice of the cover so people could see some of the astonishing details Martiniere has put into the piece. Note that he is still adding a few touches, so this isn't the final work, but it's close. Click on the photo to get a larger view.
Cover Illustration © Stephan Martiniere
You can't see much of it here, but there is a huge pyramid in the background, which is the base of operations of the Russian mobster gang that serves as the primary antagonist in the story. The pyramid is the location of the climax. The character you see on the right is my main character Zoya, an innocent young woman in 2138 Moscow who happens to get thrown into the action when her gangster brother asks her to hold onto a small package for him (against her will).

I love how he depicted the different lanes of air car traffic. In reality there should be many more of them, but that would have cluttered up the cover too much, so this is perfect for my needs. I can't wait to show you the final cover once I figure out how to design the cover text properly!

Saturday, October 25, 2014

Gorky Park

Long ago I read three of the Arkady Renko novels by Martin Cruz Smith, the most famous of which is Gorky Park. I had always really liked the character of Renko, a melancholy man who always seems to face impossible obstacles to solving the murders for which he is the chief investigator, yet he has a doggedness of character that simply refuses to ever give up. When I found out there are now eight Renko novels, I decided to read them all, and I've really been enjoying myself.
 Today I rewatched the movie Gorky Park, the only one of the novels adapted to film. It's a decent movie, but I was shocked to realize that in my mind I had erased the fact that William Hurt played Renko and replaced him with another actor, Stephen Rea. When I thought about it, I realized it is because Stephen Rea ideally represents the way Arkady Renko appears in my mind as I read the books. William Hurt is a good actor and does a creditable job in the role, but he was the wrong choice for the part. It really belonged to Stephen Rea, whose demeanor and style perfectly represent Renko.
For those who haven't read the books and enjoy stories set primarily in Russia or simply like good detective mysteries, I'm including the links below.