Friday, July 21, 2017

A hero for the nation (or at least Ypsilanti).



Well, I just wrapped up the last of my summer con appearances a week ago, so now it's time to announce my first con appearance for the upcoming autumn season!  Hero Nation - Ypsilanti takes place on Saturday, September 9th. It's a FREE comic-con aimed at promoting diversity on the page, behind the scenes, and in the fanbase. They're currently in fundraising mode, with 15 days left on their Indiegogo campaign (they've raised over $2,000 towards their $3,500 goal so far...it ain't cheap to run a free con!).  If you want to help out, please visit their Indiegogo page and toss a few bucks their way, and I hope to see you in Ypsi this September!

Wednesday, April 5, 2017

Come and see the show!



Today is Richard Corrigan’s 163rd birthday, so this seems like the perfect time to let you know about all the shows I’ll be appearing at in 2017 to sell Swords & Sixguns: An Outlaw’s Tale!  Right now, I’ve only got bookings up through July, but if anything comes up after that, I’ll let you folks know.  These are also all in Michigan, so my apologies to any folks living elsewhere (we’ll work on out-of-state appearances once we’ve got some more funds).

April 28th, 5-10pm: Motor City Nightmares (http://www.motorcitynightmares.com) - This is a three-day show at the Novi Sheraton Hotel, but due to my schedule, I’ll be there FRIDAY ONLY.  I’m sharing a table with Davey Taylor, owner of Weirdsville Records and member of many awesome bands like The Amino Acids and The Casket Bastards (both of which will be playing at the show).  Friday’s tickets are only $25, or you can get a weekend pass $65 (see the MCN website for more details).

April 29th, 10am-4pm: LSHS Vendor Craft Show (http://lshs.lakeshoreschools.org) - I’ll be returning to my alma mater for this one-day show being held in the gym at Lake Shore High School in Saint Clair Shores.  Admission is $2, which goes to help fund programs at the school.

May 6th, 12-6pm: Liberty Comics (https://www.facebook.com/Liberty-Comics-129730677060799) - As part of Free Comic Book Day, Liberty Comics in Roseville is hosting in-store appearances by myself and a few other local creators.  After you get your obligatory free comics -- I’m hoping to grab a copy of Tex: Patagonia -- stop by my table and pick up a copy of Swords & Sixguns for 20% off, along with a couple of other freebies I’ll be handing out.

May 12th-13th, 11am-5pm: Paperback Writer Books (https://www.facebook.com/paperbackwriterbookshop) - Right before Mother’s Day, Mount Clemens is having a two-day “Made in Michigan Festival”, and I’ll be one of many authors showing off their wares at Paperback Writer Books.  We’ll be taking shifts at the main table in front of the store, so if you don’t see me, feel free to ask owner Lisa Hansen-Taylor where I’m hiding (and no matter when you drop by, my book is for sale at the store!).

July 14th-16th: Motor City Steam Con (http://www.motorcitysteamcon.com) - This three-day extravaganza of all things steampunk is being held at the Sheraton Detroit Metro Airport Hotel, and they’re graciously allowing myself and my world-hopping outlaw to crash their party.  I’ll be appearing at various panels throughout the weekend, as well as doing signings in MCSC’s special “Writer’s Block” book-selling room, where Swords & Sixguns will be mingling with all sorts of other novels available to purchase on the spot.  It’s $65 for a weekend pass (no single-day passes available yet, check the MCSC website for updates), and I’ll post the specific times for my panels as soon as we nail ‘em down.


If you need more information, feel free to contact me at swordsandsixgunsnovel@gmail.com (please put “show schedule” in the subject line).  Hope to see you soon!

Thursday, December 29, 2016

Gotta put all them years in retail to good use!

Just put in my first vendor application!  Motor City Steam Con will be having their second annual event July 14-16, 2017 at the Sheraton Detroit Metro Airport Hotel.  I won't know until the end of January whether or not I'm accepted, but if I am, y'all are gonna be inundated with posts about it!  Go to http://www.motorcitysteamcon.com/ to learn more about the event.

Thursday, December 22, 2016

From timeline to storyline


I have a hard time switching my brain off.  This can be rather troublesome when something's bothering me, as it'll cause me to worry myself into a tizzy, but this can also lead to me making some very interesting observations, as I'll have stuff "running in the background" while I'm working on other things, and suddenly I'll make a connection between the two that otherwise wouldn't have happened.  That's how "The Long Road Home" came about, and I told you previously that Richard Corrigan's creation was the result of one of those "running in the background" moments invading my sleep.  Today I'm going to tell you how me reading a timeline led to one of the major plot points in Swords &Sixguns: An Outlaw's Tale.

For those too young to remember, the world was gripped with "millennium fever" for quite a few years prior to us actually reaching the year 2000.  In late 1992, TIME Magazine slipped that foldout timeline you see above into one of their periodicals.  Despite being nearly a decade shy of the goal, it purports to give readers "1,000 Years At A Glance", starting with the invention of gunpower by the Chinese in 1000 and ending with the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991.  There's only so much you can fit on three pages, of course, but it's a decent overview, and the backside of it adds a few more lists to ponder, including what a time capsule for the 1990s should contain (among other things, TIME suggested some now-obsolete items like a disposable camera, a beeper, and a pair of baggy jeans).  That big timeline was what caught my attention, though, so I ripped it out of the magazine and saved it.

Now, by this point in my own history, I'd already created Richard, but he was still a minor character in a larger fantasy story that, as I mentioned before, wasn't working.  I had elements of something good, but that wasn't enough, there had to be something to attach it all to.  When I elevated Richard to "major character" status (or he forced his way up there, I'm still not sure which) and made him the focus of the story, things got better, but there was still something missing.  All I had was this bare-bones idea of "Richard falls through a portal into Arkhein" and that was it.  There was no explanation of what this portal was, why it existed, or even how in blazes he fell through it (though there was a brief dalliance with the idea of Richard getting struck by lightning while he was standing on top if it, thereby opening it up!).  Most important, I had no explanation for why he could go one way through the portal and not the other...why couldn't Richard go back to Earth?  This is where that timeline comes into play, specifically a section near the bottom of the first page:


I'll be honest, I wasn't very well-versed in history until my last couple years of high school.  Before that, I knew quite a bit in certain areas, but I had no real sense of scope, of how the distance between then and now can change depending on the way you look at it, and how seemingly-unrelated events overlap in weird ways.  That's partly where my interest in Westerns came from: realizing that it wasn't just a genre, it was an actual period in history that'd been reduced to a set of stylized tropes over the past century.  And on this timeline, two other historical periods that had been reduced to tropes suddenly jumped out at me, namely the Renaissance and the Black Death.  Everybody knows what these two events are in the broadest terms, as they've become ingrained into our culture, but until that moment, I didn't realize that they occurred at almost the exact same time.  The overlap between the two isn't huge, mind you, but it is there.  While some of the great Italian masters were creating their works, millions of people were dying thanks to the bubonic plague...and when you look up just a little further on the timeline, you see a notation for the earliest-known rendering of a small-scale gun (as opposed to a large-scale cannon, which had existed for a couple of centuries by that point), overlapping a third significant event in human history onto this period in time.  So there I was, with that whole "How do I fix my story?" problem bouncing around my noggin, looking at this strange confluence of historical events, when a question pops into my head: "What would've happened if the Black Death had been a little more virulent?  What if it had killed so many people, the Renaissance never happened?  How badly would that mess up history?"

Now I had something to work with.  Arkhein went from being a generic fantasy world with medieval-style trappings to a place that, up until a few centuries ago, was not too different from Earth in terms of progress.  Just as their version of the Renaissance occurred, though, they were struck by a plague even worse than the Black Death, one that emanated from a set of portals between our world and theirs, and which soon brought their civilization to a screeching halt.  Fast-forward to 1874, where an outlaw on the run stumbles across the last remaining portal and falls through, barely surviving the trip due to the thing within that is eager to wreak havoc on both worlds once more...

And that, my friends, is how you end up with a genre-bending series like Swords & Sixguns.



Tuesday, December 13, 2016

Book 1 is here!

video

That's right!  Swords & Sixguns: An Outlaw's Tale is now available in paperback!  You can buy it directly from the shop on CreateSpace, and as I mention in the video, that way is the most-beneficial to me, as it nets me $7 in royalties, as opposed to $4 from Amazon and $1 from everywhere else.

Also, to celebrate the book release, we're running a twelve-day party on the Facebook page for Swords & Sixguns.  We're posting all sorts of behind-the-scenes goodies as well as offering a few things for sale beyond the book (yes, we're getting into merchadising!).  Come on by and join the festivities!

Saturday, December 10, 2016

The wait is (mostly) over...


The proof has been approved, and we'll be finishing up the odds and ends this weekend (Kindle version still needs approval). Watch this space for "Release Day" news!

Wednesday, November 23, 2016

Self-Pub Progress Report #5

I'm happy to report that we're in the home stretch: I've uploaded the manuscript, and Matt Erkhart is hoping to have the cover all spiffed up in the next couple of days.  When that's done, I have to order a "proof", which is a sample of the book I can look over to make sure everything comes out right when it comes off the printing press.  This is a necessary step that can't be skipped, and it'll add a little more delay since the proof has to be mailed to me (though I plan on asking for express shipping!).  Once I approve it, CreateSpace should have it up for purchase within 3-5 days.  So while that means it won't be available until December, y'all should have ample time to order it before Christmas.

Speaking of holiday shopping, Matt will be a guest at the Holiday Edition of the Ottawa Comiccon this very weekend (November 26-27)!  If you're at the show, be sure to stop by and say hello, and feel free to spend all your money at his table.  Learn more about the event at https://www.facebook.com/events/990554204387687/

Swords & Sixguns: An Outlaw's Tale is almost here, folks, so start clearing a spot on your bookshelf!