Archive for the ‘entertainment’ Tag

The Next Big Thing (Week 23)   Leave a comment

Hoo, Boy!

Looks like I’ve been neglecting my duties here, again. But to my defense; I have been working my hairy fanny off, trying to get my WIP polished to perfection before I turn it loose on the unsuspecting minds of readers everywhere. And believe me, brothers and sisters, if you care about what you do, that takes up a major chunk of your time.

Unknown to me, there is a longstanding blogging tradition among authors known as So You Think You Can Write A Novel. At least it was unknown to me, until my awesome fellow author, and good friend, Aaron Bradford Starr, Tagged me to do this myself. And if you don’t believe me that Aaron deserves the title awesome, take the Pepsi challenge and check out his work through his blog, Imaginary Friend. I’m more than willing to take wagers that you’ll agree.

Following the tradition for a moment I’m supposed to wax all philosophical about being a writer. Well… I would, but those of you who know me know it would be 99 and 44/100s pure BS. In short, I’m an old hack who seems capable of telling stories. And I’m OK with that. Creating entertaining stories that people might enjoy is all I’m really after, anyway. Should something good, (Like making a living.), come out of all of this; I’ll be jumping on my own couch like Tom Cruise on crank.

But enough of this, let’s get to answering the traditional questions, shall we?

1- What is the working title of your book?
Wolfsong: Child of Fenrir. The book is a stand alone story that I propose to expand into a trilogy. Awwww. Who am I kiddin’? It is a trilogy, but you can read one book and it will be a story all unto itself. No tricks, no BS. No having to wonder what comes next, unless you happen like it and want to know what else I have in mind for my characters.

2- Where did the idea come from for the book?
My love of Robert E. Howard’s Conan series. I wondered if I could create a swashbuckling hero along the same lines without making a carbon copy of Conan. At least that was the initial challenge, and like all ideas, it ballooned into something else from there. Did I succeed? I’ll leave the answer to that up to you dear readers. I happen to agree with Mark Twain: Your opinion is the only one that really counts.

3- What genre does your book fall under?
That’s a toughie. It has nearly equal elements of Fantasy, History, Action Adventure, and Romance. I guess if I had to pick a genre for it, it would probably be Historical Fantasy.

4- Which actors would you choose to play your characters in a movie rendition?
Morgan Wulfsson: Cris Hemsworth. Nivia Gwynn: Uma Thurman. Marcus Octavius: Tom Hiddleston

5- What is the one-sentence synopsis of your book?
During the Roman occupation of Britain an unlikely hero arose to stop the expansion, and in the process gave England its most enduring legend.

6- Will your book be self-published or represented by an agency?
Self-published. As a matter of fact, I plan on making it free. At least as far as the e-book goes. The Print On Demand hard copy I plan to cut to the bare bone on price, if anyone would prefer a traditional book to an e-book, that is. On Amazon, Smashwords, and hopefully all the other e-book venues I can get into, it will be free, though. The idea being that I hope to attract readers who will enjoy my stories, and the ones who don’t won’t lose money by taking a chance on me. No one can please everyone, but i hope to please as many as I can. Hence all the work I’m putting into the project.

7- How long did it take you to write the first draft of your manuscript?
One year. And BOY! Was it R-O-U-G-H draft. A lot of it was a good idea, but quite a bit was just plain silly. I could have probably sold those parts to Monty Python.

8- What other books would you compare this story to within your genre?
Another tough question. (Hey Aaron! I thought you said these were easy?) I would have compared Wolfsong to the Conan stories at one time, but things have deviated so far that I don’t think that would apply, except for superficially. I do know what movies it would compare to, though: Dragonheart, Troy, Alexander, and Kingdom of Heaven. (Hope that qualifies.)

9- Who or What inspired you to write this book?
My wife, Tammie. She found some of my old short stories, and a story that i co-wrote on a Renaissance festival website. She was the one who encouraged me to get back into the game. I resisted for a while, then did it just to prove to her it was a dead end. I ended up eating crow on that one and made some sales that put real money in our pocket. Ya know something? Considering how things have gone so far, crow don’t taste all that bad.

10- What else about your book might pique the reader’s interest?
There is a lot of research into the culture of the Celts and their reaction to Rome in the book. I also did my best to present an accurate picture of how Celtic life could have been in those days. Considering that the Celts did not have a written history, and I’m certainly not saying that I hit the nail on the head, I think I’ve presented a story that is imaginative, and plausable. More than anything, even though it is a fantasy and contains the traditional elements of fantasy, (Magic, mythic beings, etc.), I think the reader will come away thinking, “You know, that could have happened.”

OK, Gang, here is where I let you all know who I tagged to do this with their stories next week. Now, since Arron and I move in pretty much the same circles, we share pretty much the same author friends. So, when I say the pickin’s are slim, you know I’m not just flappin’ my gums at ya. I’m waiting to hear from a few other great authors I know. However, since I have a week to fill this up a bit…

I do have the incredible Joyce Alton of Yesternight’s Voyage on the hook for the 21st of the month. Be sure to check out what she has to offer on the above subject. I also have the amazingly talented Alisha Marie Klapheke, and her blog, I Heart Words. So be certain to check what they have on their own great works. That way you’ll be sure to catch The Next Big Thing.

Now all this still leaves me with three more spots to fill, and if I can sucker… Uhhhh, con… Uhhh talk three more fantastic authors in my circle into doing this, I’ll be sure to update the post. So check back here over the next seven days, and be sure you don’t miss Joyce, or Alisha giving you the lowdown on their books. Who knows? You could be saying to your friends. I knew about that best seller before you did.

Later, Gang!


A Whole New Set of Lies.   4 comments

Well, more, or less.

Being that I am something of a storyteller, I have a bad habit of mixing truth with lies and leaving it up to you to figure out which is which.

Since my dear friend, Dawn, of Write Away fame, has gotten me embroiled in another meme… hang on to your BS meters, kiddies… here we go again!

Are you a rutabaga?

No. I am a meat Popsicle.

When was the last time you ate lion meat?

A gentleman never tells. Suffice to say our high school mascot was the lions. (I know… TMI… but, I’m feelin’ ornery today.)

Upload a heartwarming picture of something that makes you smile.

Damnit… I’m on dial up you sadists! But, here goes. I’ll be back in an hour, or so.

Sorry… didn’t work. It was a pic of my wife, but Facebook won’t let the thing get linked to.

If you could go back in time and kick the crap out of someone, who would it be?

The idiot who invented legal theft… I mean taxes.

Name one habit that makes other people plot your demise.

Being a total smartass… but, it’s better than being a dumb one. 😉

What song would you like to be playing while you are kicking the crap out of someone?

Nickleback: Next Contestant. (Probably for the same reason. LOL! BTW. To the person who started this meme… violent sucker, ain’t ya?)

Where da muffin top at?

Innuendo is one thing, but the censors won’t let me answer this one outright. Maybe on a porn site, but not here. 😛

How many goats, stacked atop one another like Yertle’s Turtles, would it take to reach the moon?

Damned if I know… I didn’t read Dr. Seuss as a kid. (Didn’t watch Mr. Rogers, either. Both of those kiddie icons gave me the willies.)

Describe yourself using obscure Latin words.

Instictuas authorius wantabeus.

That has to be pretty obscure, since I made it all up, like the pseudo Latin they used in the roadrunner cartoons.

Why does evil exist?

So the Gods won’t get bored. (Hey, would you actually like eternity in Care Bear land?) **shudder**

What the fuck are you thinking right now?

What the fuck am I doing this for?

If you could decide whose face should go on the money, who would you pick?

No one. I’d prefer pictures of bare rear ends on the money. Mostly because in a complete economic collapse that’s about the only thing that worthless paper will be good for. (See Germany’s collapse before Hitler if you don’t believe me.)

If you had to pick between a pet squirrel and a pet iguana, which would you choose?

Honestly neither. I prefer boa constrictors like Alice Cooper. But if I had to choose… the iguana. No fleas to infest the whole house.

Tag blogger some friends, whatever random number that suits you. (My random number is 2.) Ha! You can’t say “no tagbacks” because I just made up new rules! BOO YAH. Make up your own rules or be enslaved by another blogger’s.(<–these are actually Michelle Simkin’s rules, but I like them as well, so they still apply. besides, I'm a lazy cuss and I've been copy/pasting these suckers.) 😛

1. Dean C. Rich

2. Riley Redgate

Pick a funny nickname for number 1.

Ellie May Clampett’s new critter! 😉 😀

Number 2 dreams about…

Reaching the age of 21, so she can get plastered whenever she wants to.

Number 3 looks like…

Claude Reins…since there isn’t a number three. Boo Yah!

Since this is the only meme I got tagged with… Th-th-th- that’s all folks!

(Now can I plot revenge on Dawn? Huh, can I, huh? Can I, can I, can I?) 😀 ( Ya know I luv ya, Sweetie.) 😉


Posted July 20, 2011 by Peter Burton in Uncategorized

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What Red Flag?   12 comments

A strange malady that seems to infect aspiring authors is a form of color blindness. In particular a blindness to the color red. Often when a red flag shows up in their story they have an immediate tendency to turn it into a transparency. This usually manifests itself as having to explain/defend large parts of the story.

I’m not saying that there won’t be a handful of people who don’t get it, you can’t please everyone. But when there are a significant number of folks getting stuck on the same thing. Something is wrong and explaining/defending it isn’t going to make it go away.

It should be obvious at this point that for your story to work, you are going to have to follow every copy around and explain the same points to every reader. Now, I’m not the smartest guy slogging through life, but I’m pretty sure that is not a viable option. I’d also be willing to bet that the average reader isn’t going to wait for you to show up to explain your genius to them. Their just going to dump the story, experience buyer’s remorse, and cross you off their reading list.

As I said, I’m not the sharpest knife in the drawer, but that just doesn’t seem like a sound business strategy to me. And make no mistake, dear readers, unless you are just writing to please yourself, this is a business. A business that depends as much on repeat customers as it does on new ones. Deliberately sacrificing repeat business for the sake of your ego is a sure trip to has-been land. If you ever make it out of never-was land in the first place.

There is a wonderful little business book by F.J. Lennon called; Every Mistake In The Book: A Business How Not To. (Yes, I read business books as well, because this IS the publishing business, and I want to succeed at it.) Mr. Lennon has made just about every business mistake you can think of, and a heck of a lot that you haven’t. So when he says to do, or not do something, I have to bow to his experience. After all, he has already paid the price for that mistake… damned if I want to pay it too!

Hear are just a few pearls of wisdom he learned the hard way, but they apply to the business of writing as well as any other. Ignore them at your own peril.

Give the people what they want, not what you think they should have.

In other words, if you are ignoring the red flags, explaining/defending every little point YOU want to keep in your magnum opus, you are giving the people what you think they should have, not what they want. Mr. Lennon lost his first company doing this, you’ll lose your career. If you ever get one in the first place doing this.

Make money, then art.

This goes right along with the above. Before you begin to make these fantastic art driven vehicles for your amazing prose, you better be a brand first. To do that you have to garner a reading public and hold onto them. Otherwise, consider a career writing fan fiction for free. (To be honest, I personally wouldn’t risk it then. Readers do not have to stay with you and there are literally millions of up and comers waiting to take your place.)

Above all else, don’t make crap.

This should be self explanatory, but I’ll bet that it isn’t. If you are just starting out, not a brand name author, turning out what you want, and shooting for high art that has to be explained/defended to more than one person… you ARE turning out crap. It’s that simple.

Readers want to be entertained. They do not want to have to scratch their heads, wonder WTF you mean by those new words you made up, or where in hell your going with this. They want you to guide them through your story as effortlessly as possible.

If you find yourself having to explain/defend large portions of your story, that is a big red flag. Pay it heed, or ignore it as you will. It’s your story, your career. Believe me, the big name authors won’t really care that much, because you won’t be taking any readers away from them any time soon.


You Want Me To Do What?!   4 comments

I’ve not spoken much about my standing in the Speculative Fiction Marathon, and there is good reason for it. Thus far I have either been very good, or very lucky. In the reviews of the first three chapters I have received only one ‘No’ vote. I didn’t address the issue because it would feel like bragging to me. I hate bragging, especially from myself. Bragging seems like an open opportunity to stick your foot in your mouth, and I haven’t sucked my toes since I was about 14 months old. At least, not if I could help it.

So, why bring it up now? Simply because it appears that I will be re-writing and re-posting chapter four. The vote stands at two ‘Yes’, and two ‘No.’ (See? If I had been crowing about my ‘stellar record’, I’d be dining on that same crow right about now.)

But, I digress. This offers me a perfect opportunity to muse about re-writing, plot holes, and editing in general. It also allows me to muse about these bumps in the road leading to published author, and the aspiring writer’s near phobic aversion to them.

If you are really serious about making a career as a writer, that’s all they are. Bumps in the road. If small things like this are major disasters for you, my sympathies when the really big things hit. You’re gonna get splattered across the literary landscape like semi-truck roadkill.

Now, don’t get me wrong. I am definitely NOT saying that you have to roll over for every little nit that someone discovers in your manuscript. What I am saying is there will be things that you didn’t think of, and to let them go unaddressed simply because the reviewer, critic, or editor doesn’t see your ‘genius’ is just plain s-t-u-p-i-d. 99.99% of the time, you are passing up an opportunity to turn out something of a masterpiece for the sake of your ego.

I don’t know about anyone else, but my ego isn’t the one paying the bills, or trying to get this career off the ground. I am.

Wait a minute! Isn’t my ego the same thing as me? No. My ego is that very small part of me that has a bad habit of getting in the way and screwing up a good thing. Robert L. Ringer, in his seminal classic “Looking Out For Number One”, compared ego to a dinosaur. As long as you feed it, everything is fine. The moment you reach a point where you can’t feed it; it will step on your house.

I’m sorry to say that over the years I have tested this little theory of Robert’s. Know what? There are a few crushed houses in my wake that used to belong to me. Relationships where I just had to be right, jobs where I knew better than the boss, small businesses where I was the Boss and knew better than anyone else. Sometimes I wonder where I would be right now if I hadn’t let ego get in my way.

Think I’m going to let that little S.O.B get in my way this time? Oh, Hell no! If this is going to fail, I can do bad all by myself, thank you.

The point to all this meandering? Mostly it’s been to remind myself what letting my ego get in the way has cost me in the past. But, also to let any other, younger writers know what they have in store for them by letting their own dinosaur run unchecked.

One of the trickiest areas to deal with is knowing when something is a legitimate point, and when it actually is a story destroying opinion. Most things are not. They are simply something you didn’t notice, or a way of handling something that you didn’t think of. I’ll let you in on a little secret, too.

Even the best actor you can think of has a director telling them what to do. It’s the same in the publishing world. Editors, beta readers, agents, and critics are all doing the job of the director. Actors who puff up their ego, no matter how famous, soon find themselves without work. The actors who work with the director find themselves in demand, and very often on the cover of Entertainment Weekly. The same rule holds true for authors… in particular aspiring authors.

For myself, I’ll be re-writing chapter four, regardless. To be truthful about it, I’ll be re-writing the other three chapters as well. Even though they passed, there were many points made that I needed, and I’m sure going to use them. So, in the end it doesn’t really matter if I pass this week, or not. The only difference will be, if I don’t, the rest of the group will get to see the re-write before the story is finished. 😉 😀

But, before anyone thinks I’m totally wishy-washy; I will be keeping the term knight. There is ample evidence that the term could have originated with the Celts, as well as the practice of dubbing.

In The Epics of Celtic Ireland, by Jean Markale, (Which analyses the few surviving written accounts of Celtic mythology.) The Celtic God Mananann Mac Lir was often called the Knight of the Sea, and was referred to in the translations this way. Since the Celts did have a word for King, the word used to describe his title is obviously something else, and this word was translated as knight.

See? You don’t have to give up everything. 😉


Writing Is…   5 comments

Our lovely and talented Michelle, of AgentQuery Connect, has started a meme on her blog, Greenwoman. The rules of which are; for the blogger, yours truly in this case, to provide a single phrase starting with “Writing is like…” and finishing the phrase, then tag three other bloggers to do the same and post it to their blog. AQC’s equally lovely, talented, (and often snarky), Riley Redgate tagged me through her blog, In The Jungle. (Both of which are listed to your left and well worth checking out.)

Being that I’ve never been very good a rules, (I was the toddler who refused to keep his clothes on. A sure sign of a rebellious nature.), I’ll take just about any opportunity to bend, or break them. Also, being new to running a blog, I don’t have three other bloggers to pass the buck to. At least none that haven’t already been tagged. 😉

So, while this leaves me with a conundrum, it also provides an opportunity to break the rules, while still partially obeying them. In essence, I get a chance to cheat. It also provides an opportunity to think. A wholly dangerous condition to put me in at any given moment.

Ask a hundred different writers what writing is like and your apt to get a hundred different answers. But, before answering what writing is like, maybe we should look at what writing is first.

Writing is the basis of all media, and knowledge. It is the seed from which springs every other form of media you can think of and the generator of all knowledge. Now that’s a pretty bold statement, but I’d bet you can’t think of one element of either in today’s world that did not start with writing. Without writing the world would grind to a screeching halt. Think not?

The truth is that a writer had to write the textbooks you study from. A writer had to write the concept of your video game. A writer had to write the code that allows it to work. A writer had to write the story, and/or script of the movie you love. Hell, a writer had to write the warning label on the over the counter medicine you bought for your headache. Even the content of the Internet is completely dependent on writers.

True, we could teach and entertain by word of mouth, but that’s about as dependable as a chess champion in a football game. Anyone who has ever played the game ‘Gossip’ can tell you so. Get any group of five, or more, people together, whisper a single sentence into one’s ear and have them whisper it to the next, and so on. When the last person says the sentence out loud, you’ll be surprised just how corrupted it has become. That’s a pretty risky business to be trusting knowledge and entertainment to. I certainly wouldn’t trust it.

Writing has also been responsible for creating whole industries by simply adjusting how someone writes something. Take a look at a legal document sometime. All the heretofore, hereinafter, and other legalese is spelled out for the lawyer to interpret. If it were written in plain language there wouldn’t be a need for the lawyer, anyone could understand it.

Remember the writer’s strike in Hollywood recently? During that time the movie industry turned out more re-makes than television had re-runs before cable. Without writers the movies became pretty boring, and the complaints were too numerous to mention. Although I was not a part of it, I agreed with it. Without good stories there are no movies. We’d be munching our popcorn to blank screens, or worse, the 245th version of On Golden Pond.

So, now that we’ve established what writing really is, I think I can answer Michelle’s meme. Even if I don’t have anyone to pass the responsibility to. Except for you. If you are reading this, have a blog, and haven’t been tagged for it… I’m tagging you now. I don’t know if it will work, but it’s worth a try. 😉

Anyway, here is mine.

“Writing is like planting the seeds of the future.”


Posted May 28, 2011 by Peter Burton in Uncategorized

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The Entertainer   7 comments

Hello and welcome.

Although I can’t say for certain just how many people out there will be interested in watching a aspiring author as he struggles to get his foot in the door of the publishing business, there is one thing I can guarantee; it will be entertaining to watch.

Being that I am something of a hambone, I’ve always loved to entertain people. So much so that for a short number of years I was a pro wrestler on the independent circuit in west Tennessee. I never made it to the big boys, I wasn’t quite massive enough, but I had a ball in the independents. Until my back gave out on me, that is.

I was also a part time magician, as well as a graphic artist. And I hocked short stories in the eighties. Some would probably call me an attention hound, and in a way they would be right. However, I can assure you that unless you knew who I was, you would have never recognized me outside of that wrestling ring, and graphic artists are rarely allowed to sign their work in the t-shirt biz.

All that really mattered to me was that I could entertain some people. I really didn’t care if they knew it was me, or not. I still don’t.

That being said, if you do happen to follow my blog I’ll do my best to make you laugh, maybe give you something to think about, or just provide you with an easy target that you can giggle at as it goes down in flames. Either way, I win, because I was able entertain you. And, yes, I did just stick my tongue out at the computer screen.

Of course, what I am really hoping for is to be given the chance to entertain you with my books. Assuming that I can entertain you with my books.

Writing is a tough business, and I harbor no illusions about it. I do keep hopeful, and like most people I hold onto the dream until it crumbles to dust. What I will not do is regret it if it fails. That’s not my job. My job is to try to do my best for you as a storyteller and hope you like the story… or, again, give you something to make fun of instead of politicians.

Either way, I sincerely wish you the best life has to offer and the ability to see your own dreams come true. They are always worth pursuing and often they can be caught.

If you happen to be an aspiring writer, come visit my good friends at AgentQuery Connect. You’ll find a whole lot more there than just how to query an agent.