Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Self Promotion: How many ways can you get yourself out there?

This week I was able to finally put the final touches on Issue 1 of Mind the Thorns.  It's the first three chapters, packaged as a mini-novella, and available as an eBook and in print edition.  This week, over on Mind the Thorns, I'll be posting chapter 6, which will also bring Issue 2 to a close.  Between time to edit it again, format for publication and have the copy editor work over it, I should, in theory, have it ready by the 30th.  It's still a little slower than I would like but it can work.

The real question, though, is if any of this will work to add to the overall exposure of the website, the story and my other writing.  

Just getting into brick and mortar stores is a challenge, too, because there just are not that many traditional book stores in my area any more.  There's still a Borders, about 45 minutes away.  There are a few comic shops that I'm hoping to get into but they're not really known for novels.  Really the best way to get your hands on a dead tree edition of a book is Amazon.com.

Friday, July 27, 2012

Mind the Thorns Give Away

While you can always find Mind the Thorns for free on the website, you can also enter to win a free copy of Issue 1 on the website Good Reads.  I'm happy to sign and dedicate any copies I give away if people would like.

Goodreads Book Giveaway

Mind The Thorns Issue 1 by Rob Osterman

Mind The Thorns Issue 1

by Rob Osterman

Giveaway ends August 03, 2012.
See the giveaway details at Goodreads.
Enter to win

FFV: Dora Movie Trailer

That's right. She's getting a movie, folks.

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Life Imitates Art?

Yes this is my second blog post on the Aurora shootings.  What can I say?  It does have me thinking.
But first a quote:

There are two kinds of folks who sit around thinking about how to kill people: psychopaths and mystery writers. I'm the kind that pays better.
-Rick Castle

I was thinking about the situation in Colorado and how it was orchestrated like an episode of CSI.  Guy shoots up a location, gets caught, and then goads the police into going to his house which is booby trapped to hell and back, hoping to blow up some more people.

In fact I think it DID happen on an episode of CSI: Las Vegas.

So, here's a question:  Are they related?

Friday, July 20, 2012

FFV: Browncoated Avengers

I always love these spliced up remakes of intros and this one combines my two fav's: The Avengers and Firefly.

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Congratulations Graduates: You are Not Special

Something that seems to have become very popular this graduation season is to lay into the new grads by telling them how "not special" they are.  Common themes include:

  • The real world does keep score.
  • You will not have your dream job when you graduate.
  • No one wants to hear the opinion of a twenty-year old with only a few days experience
  • You are not nearly as smart as you think you are.
  • You.  Are.  Not.  Special.
These speeches, including one given by Aaron Sorkin, have created deal of reaction, good and bad.  Many of the older commenters seem to have the "tell those kids a thing or two".  On the other hand, some of the graduates are not taking well to be told that they're not everything and a side of bacon.  One even wrote a lengthy response, effectively blaming her parents, teachers, and everyone else  for the reason she grew up feeling special.

I've got my opinions on the whole "Kids think they're so special"/ "You're the ones who never made us keep score!" debate but I'd like to keep my own politics aside for a while.  

Instead let's look at the "specialness" of two characters that these current graduates grew up with:  Harry Potter and Bella Swan.

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

KDP Free Promotion: What Worked and What Did Not

Today, FantastiCon is back to full price on Kindle, having spent the weekend of Comic Con as a free download.  I'm glad to have done the promotion but I did learn a few things that I wish I had known going in, and I question if I will do it again in the future.

Now, on the upside and before I get into the not-so-positive thoughts, I do have some points of high honor.  I was retweeted by Molly Quinn who is a wonderful actress and all around good person.  Ms. Quinn also has a significant number of followers and I'm quite sure that the tweet went relatively viral in a short period which helped a great deal with the promotion.  As of Monday morning, FantastiCon was in the top 50's for "purchases" as a Free Title in both the Humor and Romantic Suspense categories.  So on that metric, win.  But that came at a cost.

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Free on Kindle

Just a quick heads up:  Fantasti*Con, my first novel, is free this weekend on Kindles.

Check it out on Amazon!

Fantasti*Con is the Midwest's largest convention of science fiction, fantasy and pop culture, and the highlight of Allison Cavanaugh's summer. Only this year she finds a dark cloud over her weekend of geeky fun: a stalker. What begins as enigmatic notes quickly escalates to threats upon her. Only how do you find a madman at a convention, and how do you still manage to not scare away that new guy in the next apartment while doing it?

The weekend should be about fan-girling out at celebrities, wearing fun costumes, getting the inside scoop on the latest games and introducing her best friend Tori to the world of geek culture. Instead they, along with a hyperactive undergraduate student Joanna, are trying to find out who wants to hurt Allison before it's too late.

Set against the back drop of a major convention, Fanasti*Con is a romantic thriller with scenes and vignettes familiar to any attendee. From the costumes to the celebs, this could be any con-goer's weekend of horror.

Google Docs how I love Thee

One of the biggest challenges I have with my writing is dealing with what happens between the end of Draft 1 and the declaration of Draft Last. For all Drafts known as Draft N where N is the set of all counting numbers greater than 1 I struggle to keep track of which N I'm looking at.

Is this the draft that I sent to Maggie for consideration? Is this the one with the revisions that Mrs. Osterman suggested? Did I already update this draft with the comments from my editor? Which draft has the new sex scene?

And where it gets worst is when you've got an email that has a list of concerns, denoted by page, that you then have to go through and item by item figure out where to put them.

Now, dear readers, let me be clear: I ~LOVE~ my Beta Readers. I don't care what formats you use to give me feed back. I will always and forever consider you the only way I have a prayer of getting anywhere as a writer.

So, that said, let us turn to singing the praises of a system I like to call: Google Documents.

Let's start with the catch:

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Marvel Super Hero Squad Online Review

Let's be honest here. This is not a full review of the online game. It's a review of just the collectible card game portion. In a future installment I will review the game itself, the hub and the collectibles and the missions.

No one can work solid for 6 hours at a computer pounding away at the keys, be it writing code, computing expenses or writing a future best selling vampire novel. There is a need for a break and it's time to let you, dear readers, in on a guilty pleasure of mine:

I'm hooked on The Marvel Super Hero Squad Online Collectible Card Game.

Friday, July 6, 2012

FFV: Congrats Grads!

To honor all graduates still celebrating their matriculation I offer up, this week, one of the best collections of life advice I've ever found.

Thursday, July 5, 2012

Does Merida being gay matter?

Some disclaimers:  First I'm going to spoil the end of the movie, just a little bit, but no more than I've been spoiled myself in reading reviews and commentary on the sexual preferences of Disney/Pixar's latest heroine. I also have to confess I've not seen the movie first hand.  My wife and son have (they both loved it) and I've read a pretty good number of reviews, and honestly what I have to say about this issue has very little to do with the movie's over all plot.

Which gets us to the question at hand:  Is Merida, Heroine of Brave, a lesbian?  And if she is, does that matter?

Frankly I think that's one of the dumbest questions raised about this movie.  It ignores what actually does matter:

That people are asking the question in the first place.

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Today We Celebrate our Independence Day

For the 4th of July I'd like to leave you folks with some videos and transcripts to honor this great nation of ours.

The Gettysburg Address as read Gregory Peck

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

On Research

"Write what you know."

This is a traditional bit of wisdom thrown at every new writer. If only it were that simple. Now I did get away with it a little when I wrote Fantasticon because I was writing about the con-going experience as I saw it. When I needed a back drop for a scene, or I needed something to happen in and around the main plot I had my experiences and those of my friends to use. Need to Allison to be distracted? How about a group photo shoot? Need a random walk on character? What fandom haven't I used yet?

But it's not always that easy. Quite often you write yourself into a spot and then you realize that you have no idea what so ever how to keep going without looking like you're making it all up.

Now I'm not an expert on many things. But the things I do know I like to see done at least with a nod to being correct when they appear in media. I don't expect them to get overly detailed in their analysis of, say, a bullet's trajectory, but I do get antsy when they screw up Terminal Velocity (that is the speed at which something stops accelerating during free fall, or basically it's maximum speed) with Acceleration due to gravity (that is the rate at which something speeds up while falling).

And I know my friends are like that too. I've seen military folks get flustered when sleeves aren't rolled right. I've seen lawyers pan TV shows because they got case history wrong. I've had colleagues in education give up on a series because of wild errors in plot lines that show little to no understanding of how a school actually operates.

I'm not even going to start on what some people think of House.

Monday, July 2, 2012

MtT: Chapter 3 Temporary Posting

Chapter 3

Her fist clenched around a set of keys, Regan angrily sulked along the gravel road connecting the farmhouse to the barns and garage. She was not even sure which car she had selected, having only been shown a box of arranged keys and chains. Her other hand was still holding onto the plastic Meijer bag containing what was left of her blood-splattered, mud-soaked, dirt-coated wedding dress.

She was alone, in the middle of the country, in nowhere’s-ville Oxford. So far the only people she had met was a vampire had been a jerkwad of an aristocrat, his haughty witch of an assistant, and two thralls who were all about cleaning her clock with digging implements.

“Hey,” a voice said ahead of her.

“Daryl?” Regan stopped. He was leaning against the building, under one of the lights. She had been so busy glaring at the wide car doors that she nearly did not see him at all.

“Yeah,” he said a little sheepishly, “that would be me.”

Regan crossed the distance between them. “I thought you left.”

“We’re supposed to be running some stuff back down to His Lordship’s offices, but I just felt bad leaving you out here.” He reached up and scratched at the brown stubble lining his cheek.

Regan folded her arms. “You wanted to beat me in the head with a shovel.”