Hello everyone and welcome to the official Drakov Kinski Author Page!      I have been writing sci-fi and fantasy novels for several year...

Wednesday, July 18, 2018

What's an author to do?

     So, by now I'm sure most people are aware that Amazon shut down the KindleWorlds website. With the termination of this service, countless literary works based in the various worlds offered, have been permanently lost to the online community of readers.  The rights have been reverted back to the original authors, but since most of what was contained here is technically fan-fiction, authors cannot publish these works without the written consent of the property license owners.  So, what to do?
     I am no longer allowed to sell my G.I.Joe titles to the public, but I can post them in forums, chat groups, or on my own personal web page for free. I could post a chapter a week or a day until the entire books are out. The other option is, I can wait and see if anyone else extends the literary rights for the property to authors, which I really don't see happening any time soon.  My final option is to let them go, and turn all my creative energy towards sci-fi and fantasy writing.
    What would you all like to see me do?


Thursday, June 21, 2018

New Home Official

     Well, we are officially homeowners.  At the expense of canceling my trip to the last official GIJOE convention happening this weekend, I am happy to say that our new home is awesome!  The closing was a little hectic but completed. Double moving went off well and most of our items are already unpacked and I am close to getting ready to unpack and decorate my new GIJOE/collectibles room.  In addition, I have a full basement for my HO scale trains and an official sound booth in the works for my VO recordings. 
Life is great!


Tuesday, June 19, 2018

G.I.Joe International Convention Goes Live Tomorrow in Chattanooga, TN

Well, fellow Yo Joers!
   The final International G.I.Joe convention kicks off tomorrow and although I will not be there in body, I will be there in spirit and through text messages and youtube videos.
I had really hoped that dates could have fallen differently, but in reality, I am ending up with a really awesome New Home!  And a place to display my Joe and Cobra collections.
     What I will not be able to do is appear at the final Kindle worlds panel with Don, Wes, and the others.  So I am going to do one final plug of my two-part G.I.Joe series featuring Armed and Dangerous and the Headhunters.  So if you are looking for a good read over the weekend or on your four or more hour flight, please check them out here:

Armed and Dangerous Book 1

Enter the Headhunters



Monday, June 4, 2018

Crunch time is fast approaching

     So, I have been crazy busy preparing for the closings and packing for our move.  Our hope is that the closing on the new home will take place in the morning so we can be in our new home on the actual day. To date, we have packed  over100 boxes of various sizes (who knew we had so much stuff jammed into our tiny condo?).  I've contacted cable to schedule our move and next on the list is PSE&G and Verizon.  The stress has been immense and I am totally looking forward to being able to pull into the driveway of our new home, take a shower and enjoy a relaxing night with the wife. 
     Let the countdown begin. T-minus 10 days.


Tuesday, May 29, 2018

Armed and Dangerous Series

Hello all,
     It has been a week since the release of book two, "Enter the Headhunters," and initial sales have been good.  Thank you to everyone who has supported the series, and welcomes to everyone who recently discovered it, and bought both books. 
     I was hoping to initiate a little conversation, and get some opinions from those of you who have read either book.  NO SPOILERS PLEASE! for others who may not have finished both books yet.  Here's what I am hoping to get:

  • I really like the character of "insert name here."
  • The topic covered really hit home.
  • This made me laugh.
  • I was really hoping for this...
  • Ideas for book three.
As always thanks for your continued support and I hope to hear from all of soon.
Yo Joe!



Sunday, May 20, 2018

New Book Is Out! Contest time.

Hello everyone,
      My newest novel is out a tad bit earlier than I had planned but deadlines for submission tied my hands. I am going to do a little contest and the winner gets a free Kindle download of "Armed and Dangerous" and "Enter the Headhunters"  All you have to do is leave a comment here about G.I.Joe, or retweet this page on twitter.
     Winner will be chosen at random and will only need to provide the email that they would like the ebooks sent too. The only downside is that they are only available to readers in the US not abroad.  Sorry, not my doing this is the way of Kindle Worlds.
     Winner will be chosen Friday 5/25 at 10pm EST
     If you don't want to take part in either entry you can still peruse the book here or if you choose to purchase it, I would not be opposed to that either.




Thursday, May 17, 2018

Available Today "Enter the Headhunters."

OK Everyone,
     Today is the day!!!  And I am very excited.  Even if only for a short time, as KindleWorlds will be shutting down at the end of August, I felt the obligation and desire to get this out to my audience.  I needed to share this story and it covers a topic of great importance in society today, the opioid epidemic.  I hope you all enjoy it and if you purchase it, it will continue to exist in your ebook library long after KW ceases to exist.



Book 2: Enter the Headhunters

Wednesday, May 16, 2018

Well This is Disappointing

     So here is the news.  Amazon Kindle Worlds is coming to an abrupt ending.  As a result, any and all G.I.Joe fanfiction will no longer be available for purchase after August 29th, and will cease to exist.  The final day for submission of works is today May 16th, as of tomorrow, no new submission will be accepted. 
     I have uploaded book two, Enter the Headhunters, with the slim possibility that it may actually be published, if only for the next three months.  I am truly distraught by this unforeseen turn of events, and will be turning to traditional publishing avenues after today.
     I will include any updates as they become available, and I hope to have a link to book 2 to share here.  If not, I will be uploading chapters to my blog over the next several weeks so that my fans can enjoy what I have envisioned.

Thank you to all who have supported me.


Friday, May 4, 2018

Enter the Headhunters

Hello All,
     I have been working diligently to complete my third proofread of "Enter the Headhunters."  I am trying to be as thorough as possible, but a combination of being a PARCC test proctor, and more importantly, my dad being admitted to the ER for heart problems, has set me back a little.  I am currently about 25% through my final edits and have already written the book synopsis.
Please just bear with me.
Thank you everyone who has reached out to me with well wishes.  They are greatly appreciated.



Monday, April 23, 2018

Book Two: Enter the Headhunters Update

     Alright everyone.  Editing is done.  I just want to read through this WIP one more time before hitting submit on KindleWorlds.  This has been a labor of love for me, and I hope everyone enjoys it!  Looks like May 1st, will be the day.


Thursday, April 19, 2018

G.I.Joe Convention Chattanooga June 2018

     Well, it appears that some of the forces that be are working with me and others are against me.  In our quest to find a new forever home, I am happy to say (fingers crossed) that my wife and I will be closing on our new home in mid June.  And as happy as I am about this, it has thus prevented me from attending the Final JoeCon in Chattanooga.  With the closing date hovering between June 14th and the 21st there is no way that I can do both.  So, as much as I would like to see all my friends, hang out and talk Joe, buy convention exclusives and the like, there is no way that I can do both.  As a result, yesterday with a heavy heart, I cancelled my flight, hotel reservation, and switched my convention set to "Home Front Hero" status.  I am hopeful that some of my friends will be able to hook me up with the exclusives, but I am not holding my breath.
    Hope everyone has a great time!



Tuesday, April 10, 2018

Projected release date of "Enter the Headhunters"

Hello everyone,

I have been busy with an array of things as of late.

  • Refinancing my rental property
  • Selling our condo
  • Purchasing a new home

     So needless to say, my writing and editing has taken a backseat.  But...On the bright side.  I found some time on Saturday and Sunday to do some editing.  As things now stand I have roughly 65 pages left to edit out of the 420 plus that I have slated towards my current release.   With that said, I am confident that given another ten days that my new G.I.Joe novel in the "Armed and Dangerous" series will be uploaded to KindleWorlds and available for sale. I will post an official announcement here and on all my other social media platforms when this all comes to fruition.

Thank you for all your continued support and understanding.



Friday, March 23, 2018

Book Two Update (delayed again)

Hello everyone,
    I would like to apologize for:
 1. My lack of blog posts and
 2. Not releasing my second book at the promised time.

     As we all know, life has a unique way of rearing its ugly head and getting in the way of the best laid plans.  An issue with my current living situation, has caused the wife and I to go in search of a new home with greener pastures.  As a result of this and a tight timeline, my writing time has been greatly reduced.  It is also crunch time so to speak at the school with April Benchmarks, end of the 3rd marking period, and the end of the school year fast approaching. 
    Believe me, I know it's no excuse and have been doing what I can in terms of editing when time permits, like during jury duty two weeks ago. (Almost wish I had to go back on the second day)  My new G.I.Joe book is currently going by the title "Enter the Headhunters" and will feature several well-known as well as some obscure Joe and Cobra characters.  Expect cameos by Ghost Bear, HeartWrencher, Wraith, Tracker and Law and Order to name a few.  There will be returning favorites and continuing story lines started in my first title, "Armed and Dangerous." (Kindleworlds 2017)
    Current word count is  up around 77,640 and counting; with close to 400 pages of  action packed scenarios.  Current editing has me around page 282 with over a hundred pages to go.  Work has been slow, but ultimately, I want to provide my fans with a much deeper novel than the first installment in the series.  "Enter the Headhunters" will feature more mature themes. Expect a darker story with more realism.  Expect some of the quirkiness of the Sunbow characters, but more importantly expect a story that will leave you wanting to read more.

Thanks for reading, and hopefully I will see some of you in Chattanooga for JoeCon 2018.


Monday, March 19, 2018

I Don't want To Grow Up I'm A Toys R Us Kid.

     Last week, Toys R Us announced that they would be closing or selling off all of their 800 stores located across the United States.  Toys R Us at least for me, has been a source of happiness and good memories over the past several decades.  It was the place that I would walk into on a day where I was not feeling completely happy, and come out in a much better mood. 
     As a child of the 1980's, I would travel to the gigantic toy store with my family and spend what felt like hours staring at the enormous selection of action figures and games.  In their heyday, Toys R Us stores would have aisles dedicated to each major toy line.  Some of my all time favorites to look at were G.I.Joe, Masters of the Universe, Sectaurs, Thundercats, Hot Wheels and anything Dungeons and Dragons.  I can still remember saving the five dollars my grandmother had given me to spend on my school class trip in order to buy Zartan and his Swamp Skier Chameleon. 
     "What a great day it was to go home with the color-changing Master of Disguise."
       Although it wasn't a normal occurrence to come home with toys when I was a kid, the enjoyment of simply being able to look at all the possibilities was enough to fuel and fill my holiday and birthday wish lists.  Even the Toys R Us Wish Book that would come in the sunday newspaper or the mail was awesome to peer over.
     When I was a teenager and old enough to drive, I would travel to my local Toys R Us stores almost weekly.  I had a well-paying part time job and other than gas and food, my paycheck was mine to spend. My favorite place to look would be the clearance aisles.  I bought many items over the years which included almost all of the 15th anniversary G.I.Joe figures and vehicles, a Mantua HO scale Super Bowl train set, and all the Dragonheart figures and monsters.  I amassed quite a collection of MOC figures, many which I still own today.
     One other days, my good friends and I would simply go into the store to challenge each other to two player games like Virtua Fighter.  One of my best memories is my friend Troy saying, "Do you know what KO stands for?" 
    Me "N, what?"
    "Kicked Oss!"
     We still laugh about that to this day. 
     At other times we would go in an have Nerf wars, or ride bicycles around the store.  It was a more innocent time and salesperson's were friendlier and much more accommodating. 
     In my mid twenties and even my early thirties, I would visit my local Toys R Us on Thursday mornings when the store was opening.  This was the day that new items would be on the shelves and if you wanted them you need to be the first person in the store.  I collected all five of the G.I.Joe five packs this way.  I was so happy when a 4 of 5 and 5 of 5 were sitting on the shelf for me to scoop up one Thursday over the summer.  I also bought all the new Thundercats figures this way.  The clearance aisle was still a place to check regularly, as rare gems would show up  hidden among the things that apparently no one wanted.  I purchased a second Crimson Chopper with the twins Tomax and Xamot this way for a whopping $7.00.
     One of my last acquisitions in a Toys R Us store was the three pack of Thundercats Dorbs.  At first it appeared as if there were none available. Then as I was also searching for Destro and Flocked Beastman from the recent Comic Con, behind some Minecraft packages I found them. Total score!
     Toys R Us has always provided me with a place to discover things I never knew existed like newer board games and even some of the more scientific lab kits and models.  There is truly no place left like it among all the brick and mortar stores.  I bought awesome games like Lord of the Rings Stratego, Dungeons and Dragons Clue, Star Wars Monopoly, Hero Quest and Battle Masters.
    During my life, I have experienced the demise of Lionel Kiddie City, ChildWorld, Kay B Toys and now I will see Toys R Us fall.  It is a sad day indeed.  I hope that I can make it into my local store one last time to take some pictures or videos for posterity.  Although not the same layout of the days of the 80s, there are still many gems hidden in the aisles of the store, and I fear that future generations of children will miss out on the memories and good times that this once great toy giant have provided for countless Toys R Us kids the world over.  Where else will children be able to find anything from Playmobile, to Lego, to boardgames, and the "Slip and Slide" all under one roof?

     "From bikes, to trains, to video games,
       It's the biggest toy store there is.
       I don't want to grow up, cuz baby if I did,
       I wouldn't be a Toys R Us kid!"

Tuesday, February 27, 2018

Reformat, Edit, Rewrite, Rip up, Repeat: The Life of an Author

     Anyone in the self-publishing market knows the importance of creating a worthwhile literary piece.  The process at times can seem daunting, as writing the first draft of your story is actually the easiest part.  When the story is coming together, it flows quite readily from your mind to the pages of your notebook, or onto your computer screen.  Days, even months go by and you continue to grow your tale.  the pages and chapters add up. Then, the day of reckoning arrives.  You write the last line of your story and a temporary relief washes over you, followed shortly by a wave of sheer terror.
     You have poured your heart, your mind and your soul into your new literary masterpiece.  Some of you have even given blood, sweat, tears, hair and lack of sleep to your worthy cause.  Was it all for naught?
    My advice to you is simple.  Once you have finished your book.  Walk away and read someone else's book.  Take some time away from your book, in order to distance yourself from it and create some unfamiliarity.  This might mean taking anywhere from a week, up to a couple of months away.  This is important so that when you read over your manuscript the next time it will be like you are looking at it from an outsider's perspective.
    We all want to believe that we are the masters of or literary universe, but in reality this is not always the case.  What we are masters of, is the process we choose to follow when writing, editing and eventually publishing our new book.  Not everyone can afford an author for a book which may only capture mere pennies on a dollar for you in overall sales.  Even if you can afford an editor, you don't want to send them an unorganized, slip shod writing mess and have that be the impression they get of you as an author.

    So, what do you do?

    You do what every author before you has done, and attempt to edit your work.  A good friend of mine and fellow author suggested the following practice.  Read the words you have written on your page aloud exactly as they are.  Make believe you are a voice actor reading for an audio book recording.  I guarantee that you will come across mistakes that you didn't notice on your first pass.  Maybe even record yourself, so you can listen back in your car on the way to work, or on your ear buds at the gym.  You'll be happy you did.

    Then get a scratchpad and get to editing.

     Look for the following things:

1.  Sentence Flow.  This will be determined by commas, periods and other punctuation.  "Never underestimate the power of a perfectly placed comma."

2. Subject-Verb Agreement.  Do your subjects match their verbs in terms of singularity or plurality?  This is a commonly overlooked writing error.  Not sure?  Google it.

3. Continuity.  Does your story follow a specific time line?  Does it flow effortlessly, or are you constantly jumping around?  These are other things you may notice.  Was the sun rising on the first page of the chapter? Only to set three pages later?  What happened in between?  Fill in the blanks for the reader, or rewrite the section to make more sense.

4.  Correct Tense. Does your story shift from one tense to another?  Most writers tend to write completely in the present, or the past tense. Others tend switch between the two.  Do you do this correctly?  It is important to keep your reader informed of what has happened, what is happening and what may or may not happen in the future.  Do you use flash backs? Inner dialogue? and Conversation?  These things need to be correctly denoted using quotation marks or italics.

5. Typos.  You may find a lot of these by reading what's on the page and not what you think you wrote.  This is why it is important to step away from your story, and return to it after some time has passed.  Is there a double word?  Did you write "to" instead of "the" or "in?"  So many times, the mind is in hyper drive when we are first writing that the fingers cannot keep up, resulting in typographical errors.

     Don't let the dread of editing, destroy the joy you experienced from drafting your new story.  The read aloud and listen back is an invaluable and inexpensive tool to catapult you into becoming a better author.
Good luck and happy writing!


Special thank to @geekfurious

Thursday, February 22, 2018

What on Earth TV series, My New Addiction

     So, I recently discovered this television series due to the fact that the Winter Olympics have crippled new showings of some of my regular viewings over the past two weeks. With nothing for my DVR to record, I was forced to explore channels and shows that I had not viewed before.  I discovered the "What on Earth" series on the Science Go channel.  They were running a half day marathon so to speak this past Sunday, and I recorded eight consecutive shows.

 Image result for What on earth
What on Earth

     The episodes are roughly an hour in length, and cover information gathered about four to six odd photographs captured by the 4000 satellites orbiting above the Earth.  Scientists and other special investigators use the odd images to determine their cause.  This leads the viewer to many unique and previously unheard of world locations.
    As a fictional writer, I have found some of the information presented to be worthy of story inclusion.  Just to divulge some topics:  evidence of previous villages removed from the Earth, unexplained animal convergences, strange colored bodies of water, signs of civilization in uninhabited regions of the world, and unknown wreckage found on land or underwater.  I absolutely love this type of X-files type show, but only this is real.
   I highly recommend the series for anyone looking for some obscure information on the unknown.
Follow the link to view some of the series.


Thursday, February 15, 2018

Strange Pairings 2018, Ash Wednesday, Valentine's, Easter and April Fools

    2018 is host to a couple a strange event pairings. The two I will discuss are a little controversial and morbidly entertaining at the same time.   
     For starters, Saint Valentine's Day and Ash Wednesday are on the same day this year.  So a day that is commonly associated with chocolate, lavish dinners and lustful acts is on the same day that Catholics are supposed to be fasting and preparing for Lent.  An odd pairing which has left many self-proclaimed Christians with a problem. 
      The Archbishop of new York Timothy Dolan addressed the issue and said that Ash Wednesday takes precedence and that Catholics should find other ways to show their love of God by committing selfless acts of charity, instead of fasting.  "Giving love to those who don't have it."  Others like the news have delivered the message that since it's only this year, that you can go back to your normal Valentine's traditions next year.  In all actuality, the last time this pairing occurred was 1945.  So I guess god-fearing people can adapt.

     On the flip side, horror fans have made a joke of the whole situation by posting gifs of the St. Valentine's Day Massacre, Ripping out their lover's hearts, and using images of Ash from the Evil Dead to celebrate "Ash" Wednesday.  The whole situation is amusing to say the least.

     The other celebration that coincides with another holiday this year is Easter Sunday, the holiest day in the Catholic calendar, and April Fool's Day.  Talk about a strange pairing and an opportunity for tricksters and naysayers to mock an important religious holiday.  Get ready for people who would not normally wish you a "Happy Easter" doing just that, only to renege with an, "April Fools" a moment later. 

    Hard core atheists will use the coincidence to mock the resurrection of Jesus Christ, proclaiming that "even the calendar knows it's a farce."  To add to the fun, parents and guardians can make other claims such as hiding Easter eggs for a back yard hunt. After their children search frantically for thirty minutes, they can then break it to them that it was all nothing but an April Fool's Day joke.  the same can be said of Christ's resurrection and the Easter Bunny.
    I can see some of these pranks getting a little out of hand.  Regardless, it is a pairing that hasn't happened since 1956 and won't happen again until 2029.  The following is a list of past and upcoming pairings:  1714, 1725, 1736, 1804, 1866, 1877, 1888, 1923, 1934, 1945, 1956, and will coincide again in 2018, 2029, 2040, 2108, 2170, 2181, 2192, 2238, 2249, 2260, 2306, 2317, 2328.  
     Just my thoughts.  What are yours?


Sunday, February 11, 2018

Top Five Reasons Why United Airlines Sucks

     I have been flying around the globe since I was a youngster.  I have been many places including London, Budapest, Jamaica, the Bahamas and at least twenty of the fifty continental United States and Hawaii.  Over the course of my travels, I have flown with anyone from Evergreen to Pan Am, Continental, Delta, United and Jet Blue.  I currently live in the tri-state area and commonly use Newark Liberty International for my flights, which just so happens to be United's hub. Over the past five years, I have been pretty much forced to fly United when I wish to travel, but in all honesty, "They Suck!"  and if you haven't flown United Airlines, I'm going to tell you why you shouldn't.

1. Schedule Changes: I am on top of vacation and business travel reservations.  Many times, I book my flight six months to a year in advance.  In the past five years, the representatives at United Airlines have changed my scheduled departure and arrival nine out of my last ten flights. To make it worse it's never earlier, and almost always later.  My most recent complaint affects my upcoming trip to Chattanooga in June.  I picked from one of only two flights offered in September.  I chose the evening flight (7p.m.) so I could arrive with enough time to make it to a trade show.  I received notice that my flight was rescheduled to two hours later just this week! Now, I will not be able to make it to my desired location at an acceptable time. Unreal!  Once they changed the entire day of my flight wanting me leave the day after I needed to be somewhere.  I mean seriously United...."You Suck!"

2. Flight Delays: If changing flight times isn't enough to deter you, add in unscheduled delays.  Anywhere from thirty minutes to two hours seems to be the norm with United Airlines and quite frankly is not acceptable.  I can understand weather delays, wind, rain, but many times it has to do with none of these and well United...."You Suck!"

3. Seat Size and Leg Room:  I'm six feet tall and 200 pounds, I am by no means obese, but the seats on the typical United 747 will make you feel oversized.  Not to mention, lack of reclining and lumbar support.  I refuse to fly anywhere on United that is more than five hours away, because the lack of comfort isn't worth the price tag.  Not to mention, if you want added leg room, you can purchase non reclining seats in the emergency exit row for 75-100 dollars more.  Pay more for less.  I don't think so and that is why United..."You Suck! Once again."

4. Cleanliness:  Still reading?  Here is reason number four.  United Airlines jets are down right dirty.  The delays and schedule changes apparently equate to lack of time for the flight staff to clean the cockpit.  Garbage on the floor, in the seat backs, and even in the overhead compartment bins leave little to brag about, and just another reason to say United..."You Suck!"

5. Lack of Customer Service:  Since United Airlines pretty much has a monopoly at Newark Liberty International Airport, they do very little to keep their guests happy.  Questions and complaints usually fall on deaf ears and if you don't like their service they really don't care.  call the 800 number and chances are you will talk to one of their outsourced employees who in many cases are difficult to understand.  At the airport itself, add in a "state of the art" terminal where everything, even the bar, is automated with iPads and lack of service personnel, and I really can't find any good reason to continue using them. Other than the fact that they are the primary airline servicing my region, they leave little to applaud.  So once more I will say it United...."You Suck!"

     So, if you are in the market for an airline that regularly changes your flight times, runs late, lacks comfort, is dirty, and doesn't care about your opinions.  By all means fly United Airlines, but don't say you haven't been warned.  United Airlines..."You Suck!"


Wednesday, February 7, 2018

Five Reasons Why Technology is Ruining Society

     It's 2018 and everyone, who is anyone, has more technology in their pocket than ever.  Smart phones, iPhones, tablets, smart watches, and the like abound.  Heck! I've even seen preschool students with their own electronic devices, but at what cost?  What are we starting to lose as a society as a result of all these devices aimed at making life simpler?
     The epidemic has created a world where people lurk hidden behind a touchscreen. Online phishing schemes, cat fishing on dating sites, scams on Craig's List, and cyber bullying on social media sites like Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, Snap Chat, and whatever will be the new fad tomorrow, are becoming more and more of a common place occurrence.  Ultimately, what is society losing,while making all these "gains"?

1Social Interaction Skills:  Elementary students, middle school students, teenagers, and twenty-somethings have all grown up with internet based cell phones. They would find it impossible to imagine a world without them.  Take away a teenager's cell phone today, and you would think that you stole their favorite puppy.  They experience anxiety and lose the ability to focus on anything, but the device that they think contains their life. They spend so much time on Snap and texting, that even when they sit next to one another in the cafeteria at lunch, or at a diner, they communicate through their hand held device.  If you send them into a social situation that requires talking like an in store purchase, ordering food at the diner, or asking for directions, they lack the ability to initiate and carry on a coherent conversation. This in turn can lead to Number Two.

2. Public Speaking:  Hiding behind a touch screen and using your thumbs to communicate has made a stressful situation like public speaking an Everest for the newer generations.  their inside voices lack volume, confidence and they have the inability to make eye contact.  Are these individuals really on the spectrum? Or have we as a society taken away their confidence at public speaking? Many people experience so much anxiety at the thought, that they refuse to speak in class, at public meetings, in front of their teams, etc.  This is slowly creating  a generation of social followers.  hanging on to every written word that they read online ,or worse, nameless, faceless individuals who lash out online and block others when they disagree with their opinions.  Which leads me to Number Three.

3. Lack of Respect:  Freedom of speech is one thing, but it was originally just that.  People would stand up in a public forum and voice their opinions in front of their peers.  Today, much of this has changed.  The public forum has become an intangible place called the internet.  Countless people can hide behind the anonymity of their device, and troll other people.  They read their posts, stalk others, look at their pictures, and in many cases lack a filter when posting their hurtful comments.  "Your opinion sucks!  You look like a "such and such".  You're ugly!" and these are tame in comparison to what people really write.  They forget that there is an actual person on the other side who has feelings just like them.  This is not cool! It's not funny! and it's not how many of the older generations were raised.  We didn't hide behind a phone and torment others.  We didn't harass others from the safety of our private servers.  If you insulted the wrong person, there could be swift and fierce consequences.  We grew a backbone, and knew when to open our mouths and when not to.  I don't feel this is the case for the people living on their smart phones today.  lack of face to face confrontation has created a world of cyber bullies who respect no one but expect to be respected.  Unacceptable!

4. Knowledge and Common Sense:  Constant connection to Google, Bing and other search engines like Alexa and Siri have given people the excuse not to retain any information.  The way I can still recite over fifty percent of the Preamble to the Constitution, is the way today's children can't remember what a verb is after twelve years of school.  And forget doing mental math, people today can't figure out what 10%, 25% or even 50% off means without using the calculator on their cell phone.  Having a countless amount of information at our fingertips should be making society smarter, not dumber.  It's no wonder that America is slowly falling behind other world powers in terms of business, technology and innovative ideas.  Having a Smart phone doesn't necessarily make the user smart. In many ways it makes them LAZY. Knowledge is still obtained by studying, reading, critical thinking ,rote recall, and hard work.

5. Spelling and Grammar:  Twitter and Instagram are littered with sentence fragments and atrocious spelling.  Blog posts are sometimes so poorly written, that I stop reading after only a few lines.  Come on people, use Spell Check and Grammar Check, or how about actually proofreading your posts?  Auto correct is NOT always your friend! Just look at some of the online postings involving some auto corrected texts. Since people can't see you face to face, they are more inclined to judge you based upon your social writing skills or postings.  If I have to see one more "your" the best instead of  "You're the Best," I might start going all Grammar Police on people, but I promise, I won't go all Number Three on anyone.

Just my daily rant.  I feel a little like Lewis Black. ( Insert brrr mouth sound here.)


Wednesday, January 31, 2018

Top 5 Mistakes Self-published Authors Make

     The past few years have seen a huge influx of self-published authors.  Online platforms like Kindle Direct, Lulu, Createspace and personal blogs have become household words. Many leisurely writers are foregoing traditional methods of publication and taking matters into their own hands.  Now, I'm all for being your own boss, but there are somethings that other people do better than I can because they were trained to do it.  With that being said, I am a self-published author and I like every other self-published author have made mistakes.  I have compiled the following list of the top five things I feel could be helpful to new aspiring self-published authors who are just starting out.  So without further delay......

1.  Don't Rush Through Your Manuscript-  One thing I have noticed is that many authors rush through the creativity process in an effort to just get their story out. Even though they may have had an awesome idea, they did not give it a chance to ferment into an intoxicating tale.  I have read quite a few self-published works that are riddled with spelling, grammatical, and formatting issues making them difficult to read.  Take your time and do a second, a third, even a seventh proofread of your manuscript before hitting the submit button.  If the first book you put out if not well=written it can greatly deter the public from looking at your future titles. Which leads me to number two.

2.  Not Getting a Proofreader or Beta Reader:  Writers like many other professionals, can be a proud bunch and want to believe that every word they write is literary gold.  Well, the truth is, they're probably not.  Don't be afraid to let others read your work after you have written your first draft and performed your first edit.  A fresh set of outside eyes may see errors, or plot holes, that you may have missed.  If you don't want to share your story with a friend or stranger, send off a sample to one of the many online editing companies for a free 2000 or 3000 word edit.  Even if you don't decide to hire them to edit your entire book, they may have some valuable notes, which can be applied to the rest of your W.I.P  (work in progress) on your next edit.

3. Writing Because You Want Fame, NOT Because You Enjoy It:  This is probably the most important thing that many self-published authors forget.  In an effort to gain fame and fortune, they forego the enjoyment of writing and fabricating a believable and tantalizing tale.  When we write only to earn a pay check, writing becomes a J.O.B., and stops being our passion.  We all write because we are passionate about our craft. If you write an awesome story, eventually other people will find it and read it. this takes time. As much as no one wants to hear it, how many famous authors only became well read and known after their death.  You have all heard of Herman Melville, Edgar Allen Poe, Franz Kafka, and H.P. Lovecraft, just to name a few.  Terrible, I know, but isn't it more important to leave behind a legacy?  And a well-written one?

4. Not Researching What You Don't Know:  We all possess knowledge about certain topics that are foreign to others.  Each of us is an expert at something or several things.  I know quite a bit about automotive repair, mythology, education and forensics.  I tend to write about fantasy worlds populated with mythological creatures and G.I.Joe characters fighting futuristic, military battles.  There are many things that I am unfamiliar with, and that I need to either consult an expert on, or research online.  There is an awful lot of reading and research that goes into good writing. Realism will only add to your work and create a more encompassing experience for your readers to indulge in.

5.  Not Promoting Your Work Before Release:  More times than naught I see self-published authors promoting their work after its already been published.  I'm not saying this is completely wrong, but you need to establish an audience, and the best way to do that is by offering tantalizing nuggets of your current W.I.P to your would be readers.  This can be done in your blog posts, on your Twitter, Facebook, or any one of a dozen author web sites like the Marketlist.com or an Amazon author's profile. You don't have to give away full plot lines or even chapters.  Equate this practice to movie trailers, the good ones that leave you with questions and wanting more.  Apply this concept to your book updates and add some splashy pictures to whet the appetite of your fans.  A picture can be worth a thousand words and a thousand new readers.

    Hope this helps some of you out there.  Thank for reading. Have comments or other ideas to share?  Feel free to leave them here and share this article with others.  Until next time.