Chaos Chronicles Paperback

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Now available in paperback! The Actuator 3: Chaos Chronicles

This book includes amazing stories by 9 authors. It isn’t “optional” like the Borderlands Anthology, though. These stories are machine monks, separated from the main group, and their struggles after the saboteur comes back to wreak more havoc on the world. It’s part of the main story line, so you absolutely must read it before the series climax comes out later this year. If you are following the Actuator series and only want your books in paper, the time has finally arrived.

Read more about the series on my Actuator page or…

Get it now!

How Long is a Story?

Today I guest blogged on Forever Writers. It’s all about the arbitrary classifications publishers enforce on stories (genre, audience, word count, etc.) and how the Actuator series shatters them all! Check it out!

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Book Review: Death by Cliche by Bob Defendi

Death by Cliche cover

The first time I encountered this book, I listened to the audiobook. I laughed SO MUCH! Now I’ve read it, and it still cracks me up. Bob Defendi is some kind of genius. That must flow from his extensive writing, game designing, and gaming background.

My review: Dragged into an awful alternate fantasy reality by the hack DM who tried to murder him, Damico has to try and manipulate the real world through the tritely constructed game dimension. Defendi is a masterful writer, making you love characters you knew were one-dimensional just moments before and keeping the reader on the hook to the very end. Oh, and did I mention it’s funny?

Trust me, GET IT NOW! (Also, if you check his blog, I appear occasionally… most of it’s not true. Well… some of it’s exaggerated.)

Your First Published Novel

My latest, and possibly last, book acquisition is Death By Cliché by Robert J. Defendi. I say it’s possibly my last acquisition because I’ve been stepping back and not doing much in the way of acquisitions lately. The story of this one is much too fun not to share. I’m not going to tell it myself, however. Defendi has been writing a series on getting his book published, how to make audio books, and several other useful bits for new aspiring authors. I recommend you check out his blog: Playtesting.net for a great perspective. And occasionally the posts mention me, although only about 2/3 of everything he says is true. 🙂

Review: The Summer the World Ended

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As far as Riley McCullough is concerned, her best friend getting ‘dragged’ off to Puerto Vallarta for the first two weeks of summer vacation was the end of the world―at least until the bombs fell.

Life in suburban New Jersey with her mother has been comfortable, not to mention boring, to an introverted fourteen year old. As if her friend’s surprise trip wasn’t bad enough, her expectations for the ‘best summer ever’ disintegrate when she gets sent across the country to stay with a father she hasn’t seen in six years. Adjusting to a tiny, desert town where everyone stares at them like they don’t belong proves difficult, and leaves her feeling more isolated than ever. To make matters worse, her secretive father won’t tell the truth about why he left―or what he’s hiding.

Her luck takes an unexpected turn for the better when she meets a boy who shares her interest in video games and contempt for small town boredom. In him, she finds a kindred spirit who might just make the middle of nowhere tolerable.

Happiness is short lived; fleeing nuclear Armageddon, she takes shelter with her dad in an underground bunker he’d spent years preparing. After fourteen days without sun, Riley must overcome the sorrow of losing everything to save the one person she cares about most.

Review: You already know I’m a lifetime fan of Matthew Cox‘s cyberpunk, of course. This YA is a bit of a change, though. It has the apocalyptic feel, but spends the time with his main character and digs deep. It’s an emotional ride, and I highly recommend it. I can’t say much the synopsis didn’t, because I’d hate to give any spoilers. This almost borders on horror, and I highly recommend it!

Get it on Amazon!

More reviews on Goodreads.

Author Bio: Born in a little town known as South Amboy NJ in 1973, Matthew has been creating science fiction and fantasy worlds for most of his reasoning life. Somewhere between fifteen to eighteen of them spent developing the world in which Division Zero, Virtual Immortality, and The Awakened Series take place. He has several other projects in the works as well as a collaborative science fiction endeavor with author Tony Healey.

Matthew is an avid gamer, a recovered WoW addict, Gamemaster for two custom systems (Chronicles of Eldrinaath [Fantasy] and Divergent Fates [Sci Fi], and a fan of anime, British humour (<- deliberate), and intellectual science fiction that questions the nature of reality, life, and what happens after it.

He is also fond of cats.

Sometimes They Have to Live

Guest post by Jay Wilburn. I’ve had the privilege of working with Jay on 3 anthologies– So It Goes: A Tribute to Kurt Vonnegut, The Actuator 1.5: Borderlands Anthology, and the forthcoming Windows into Hell. He’s a pro all the way, and I’m thrilled to have him post on my blog.

“Sometimes They Have to Live”
by Jay Wilburn

Kill your babies is a common recommendation for writing. It is a broad piece of advice. It refers to pages and scenes within a story that don’t serve the story. Those have to be cut no matter how cleverly worded they are. It refers to flashbacks and dreams and back stories and tangents. They may be things that are beloved by the author, but often they are the very things that hold the story back. It can of course refer to the actual characters within a story. Sometimes a character has to be erased from existence or absorbed into other characters instead of standing alone. It can mean that characters have to die.

Dead Song Book 1 final cover

Not everyone gets to live until the end of every story. George R. R. Martin, Stephen King, the Walking Dead series both television and graphic novel, and others are well known for no character being safe. This is part of the appeal of these authors and stories to the fans. Everyone is in danger at every moment. The story becomes intense and the losses are anticipated with great dread. The problem in a long running series though is that after the sense of loss and history of certain characters, they often have to be replaced by new characters. When these new characters meet their end on the buzz saw of the infamous character killers, their demise lacks something and their replacements are sometimes kept at a distance emotional by readers. There is a novelty and a true power to a story where anyone can die, but there is also a cost in too frequent deaths.

Some of the power in characters not making it through the apocalypse or the war story is both in that anyone can die, but deaths aren’t one after another. If the death of a character is meant to catch readers off guard and move them the way the characters within the story feel the loss, then sometimes they have to live.

There must be a core of the story characters that make it through. Readers benefit from having some characters that have been with them since the beginning. These characters hold the history and know the full scope and meaning of the series. They can refer back to moments that carry meaning throughout the series. Often, these moments hold more potential than the death of these characters would.

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There are moments when it is time for characters to go and those moments must be chosen carefully, if we are serving the readers. Their lives and deaths matter to the story and matter to the audience. If they don’t, then killing them off in a creative way isn’t going to carry much punch anyway.

Check out the latest book and music from a new series by Jay Wilburn!

The Dead Song Legend Dodecology Book 1: January from Milwaukee to Muscle Shoals –

http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/B00YDZKXCI/jaywil0d-20

The Sound May Suffer – Songs from the Dead Song Legend Book 1: January –

https://itunes.apple.com/us/album/amazing-circle-of-suffering/id996569862?i=996569871&ign-mpt=uo%3D4

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About the Author: Jay Wilburn lives with his wife and two sons in Conway, South Carolina near the Atlantic coast of the southern United States. He taught public school for sixteen years before becoming a full time writer. He is the author of the Dead Song Legend Dodecology and the music of the five song soundtrack recorded as if by the characters within the world of the novel The Sound May Suffer. Follow his many dark thoughts on Twitter @AmongTheZombies, his Facebook author page, and at JayWilburn.com

Book Review: Bieber’s Finger

Bieber's Finger An intergalactic pop idol dies in a tragic murder. But one of his most devoted fans isn’t ready to say goodbye. Twana Burch, super-fan, waits outside a concert venue for a glimpse of Bieber, the object of her obsession. Her whole world changes when his limo explodes. In the blast, she catches a souvenir, his finger. In the midst of recent controversy surrounding illegal cloning, Twana concocts a plan to resurrect her pop idol and rescue his career by booking him at the biggest concert event in the known universe: The Pan-Galactic Prom Show. Meanwhile… The warrior crew of a dying race of alien creatures sets out into space in a search for help to rescue their war-tattered planet. Their tools: entertainment and propaganda. Their target: The Pan-Galactic Prom Show.

My Review: This book is hilarious! The two stories progress to a climax until you can’t stop until you reach the end. A master of suspense and humor, this book has everything from familial love to genocidal war. It packages deep and touching humanity in media hype and snickers. A cross between Spinal Tap and Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy. I had to get book 2 before I finished book 1, because I couldn’t wait! It’s a good thing they are both out, or I would have been angry.

As a second note, I listened to this as an audiobook. The author is an amazing reader! His voicing talent is exceptional. I honestly don’t know why he isn’t making his whole living reading audiobooks. It is among the best audiobook presentations I’ve ever heard.

About the Author: Craig Nybo lives with his beautiful wife and kids in Kaysville, UT. He works as a creative director for mediaRif.com, a digital agency. Craig writes novels, short fiction, and screenplays. As a musician, he has released several records with friends under the band names, Rustmonster and The Big Sky Country Boys. Craig also records solo work. He has released three records under his own name, Zombie Sing-a-long, and a sequel album, Zombie Sing-a-long: Whistler and the Children (Parts 1 & 2).

As a filmmaker, Craig has written and directed many short films. He also writes and directs many commercials and industrial videos as part of his profession. Aside from writing, Craig enjoys playing in the Rocky Mountains, rock climbing and canyoneering.

I’ve had the pleasure of working with Craig Nybo on panels, in games, in bands, and on writing projects. He’s one of the most professional musicians and artists I’ve ever met. Women want him and I want to be him! That’s not an exaggeration. His creative studio is flippin’ amazing! If you’ve never had the chance to read Nybo’s work, Bieber’s Finger is a great book to start with.