Thursday, March 5, 2015

POLAIK, The Gamer...Jay Barnson

My next POLAIK (Profile Of Local Authors/Artists I Know...) is Jay Barnson. Jay is a fellow Xchyler author that I met at my very first convention--the 2013 Salt City Steamfest Convention held in Layton, Utah.

And, he may not agree with this, but I feel like I had a little something to do with Jay's literary success. 

That convention was very eye-opening, and not just because of all the steampunk costumes (with the top hats, goggles and corsets...). It was the first time I had a book for sale on a table that had my name on it. Granted, there were seven other names on that same book, but I didn't care. My name was one of the eight. Still, as far as convention protocol, I really didn't know what I was doing.

I learned, at that convention, that fellow authors like to support each other. I learned that fellow authors are interested in what other authors write. I learned that people who attend these conventions really like to get to know the other attendees. So when I met Jay and his lovely family at that convention and I asked him if he liked to read or if he was a writer, he said "yes" to both. Turns out not only was Jay a writer, but he had a project he'd love to see published. I told him about Xchyler and my brief but favorable experience with the small-press publisher and he was very interested in learning more.

Terra Mechanica: a Steampunk AnthologyMechanized Masterpieces 2: An American Anthology

Fast forward a few months and Jay's name appeared on the cover of a book that found itself for sale on tables at conventions all over the world. Fast forward a few years and both Jay's name and my name appeared on the cover of the same book.

In addition to being a writer, Jay's also a video game maker, and a talented one at that. I am not a big gamer but since Jay's local and we've attended many of the conventions together, there's a lot of time to chat in between sales. The more he's told me about the video game industry, the more respect I have for anyone willing to jump in and give it a go.

So, if you're at a convention and Jay's in attendance, he'd love to talk to you about writing or gaming. He's good either way.

Wednesday, March 4, 2015

Just Let Go...The Movie Is Coming!

Do you have a friend who you trust? I trust most, if not all my friends (that's why they're my friends...). Having a friend who is, say, an auto mechanic--again, someone you can trust--can literally save you thousands of dollars and endless headaches.

Trusted friends can be lifesavers, or they can make your day just a little bit better. Since I've gotten to know a lot of authors, I love being able to read and recommend what they've written. And even if I've not read their books, I trust them based on past experience with them, or from something of theirs that I have read.

So, believe me when I tell you that I expect nothing but great things when the movie Just Let Go is released later this year, and I can write this with confidence because two of my friends are involved in this project. 

Years ago I entered a little screenwriting contest and against all odds (if you're interested, I'll tell you more about it sometime...), my story won. I was assigned to a director and a cinematographer and we made the film. It went on to win several awards and working with these two extremely talented filmmakers gave me the confidence that I might just be a writer after all.

Those two men, C. S. Clark and Patrick H. Parker have moved on from shorts and inspirational messages to full-length feature films. Just Let Go is their first, first in hopefully a long line of films. And I know it's going to be amazing because I've seen what they did with my flawed little screenplay and the desire and drive they have to make impactful films that deliver messages that will change people's lives.

Between now on the film's planned release date of October 9, 2015, I will be trying to get the word out for this film. Please help me by watching the YouTube trailer, following on Instagram, Liking on Facebook and tweeting the information using hashtags #JustLetGoMovie and #JustLetGo to as many people as possible. Pre-screening opportunities for those following the movie on social sites will be available. Details on this will be forthcoming. 

Watch the YouTube video: HERE!
Like the movie on Facebook: HERE!
Follow on Instagram: HERE!
And visit the official movie website: HERE!

It's already an amazing story. Now watch it come to life and see how one man's decision to forgive changed the lives of so many and will have ramifications for generations to come. 

Just Let coming!

Tuesday, March 3, 2015

Alyson Grauer's "On The Isle Of Sound And Wonder"...A Book Bomb

Sometimes getting a book published that you wrote isn't the best feeling in the world. Tomorrow my publishing family is seeking help for one of our own.

We're having a book bomb. Those of us at Xchyler are promoting Alyson Grauer's book, On the Isle of Sound and Wonder as a show of support for Alyson's dad who is fighting the good fight. You can get more information about this: HERE.

I know there's a lot of requests for this cause or that cause, and I suppose this one could be just another one of many to you. But to us at Xchyler, it means a little bit more. That happens when you know those involved personally and feel for them as friends and colleagues do.

It's been almost eight years since we lost my mom to cancer, and when my father passed away from the same thing, the internet as we know it was decades away. We didn't have this type of fundraising option back then. Everyone knows the Information Superhighway can be used for both good and bad. It can showcase the very best in humanity as well as the very worst. I applaud its use in something like this, something that can bring people together from literally around the world to help someone else.

If you have a chance tomorrow, click: HERE and pick up the e-book, or hardcover or paperback. You'll be doing more than just buying a great book. You'll be helping out a friend.

Remember, sometimes having your book published or seeing it on a shelf in a library or bookstore isn't the most important thing. When you really think about it, the most important things are always the people in our lives.

Monday, March 2, 2015

Platte F. Clark's "Fluff Dragon,"...A Book Review

I finished Fluff Dragon, Book 2 of the Bad Unicorn series last week. I finished it the same day I also finished an audiobook from a different YA fantasy series, Jennifer Neilson’s Ascendance Trilogy. I’ll write about that one in a following podcast. It’s interesting to be reading/listening to different books in different series written for the same audience.

Still, there’s nothing like the world Platte Clark created—nothing. Since this is Book 2 of the series, there are some similarities to Bad Unicorn, but there are some important differences, too. Bad Unicorn was such a strange book, a rollercoaster ride where I didn’t know what would happen next. Jr. High School kids transported to not only another realm, but another time within that realm—not a lot of time-traveling YA fantasy books out there that start in our world, at least, not many I’ve read. We follow the same characters from Book 1 as they search for a way to not only save the world in which they find themselves, but for a way to go home.

The differences in Fluff Dragon were subtle. It feels like Clark took a more series turn in the series’ second installment. The story’s more straightforward. It follows one quest without hoping to difference dimensions, even though talk of Texas and other worlds is found within the text. The changes worked for me because I was more invested in the characters. The surprises weren’t needed to further the story. This isn’t to say that there aren’t interesting turns and twists to the story—there are. One of these is the book’s namesake. Without giving away too much, a fluff dragon is a regular dragon that is turned inside out. The process by which this takes place is very imaginative.

Imagination is something Clark has in abundance. It’s like the world he created exists in spite of all the fantasy worlds we’ve come to know. There’s elves, dwarfs and giants, but also fire kittens—the lick of which is extremely uncomfortable and whose tails must be kept in water if they’re held prisoner. I mean, who thinks like this?

All these things, plus so much more are found within the book’s pages and, once again, Clark has proven himself to be a one-of-a-kind author. The third book in the series will be out soon. Personally, I can’t wait!

Sunday, March 1, 2015

1500...And Counting

If you scroll down on the right side of this webpage you will see dates. Blogger has a handy function where you can easily access every blog post ever written for a particular blog. Each year has a number--the number of blog posts written that year. Click on the year and you get a similar breakdown of posts written in a given month.

Looking at those years and numbers, it was exactly 1500 days since I started my blog. 1500 stories or book reviews or posts about adventures or random thoughts or profiles of family, friends and neighbors. 1500 times I opened the blog and hit the "New Post" button in the upper right hand corner.

I remember when I first began posting in the blog I would highlight certain milestones, first month of daily writing, first 50K then 100K in page views, stuff like that. I've kind of forgotten about the highlights (although I do sometimes keep track of how many times the blog is viewed...). Today, however, I happened to look at the number of posts I've written. It came to 1499, which means this one is number 1500.

Of course, there's times when I've wanted to stop. One of my goals when I started the blog was to write everyday. This I've done, but maybe at the expense of other writing I've wanted to do. Then again, if I didn't have the blog, who's to say I would have written anything at all on some of those days?

For now, I'll keep at it, keep wearing the letters off the keyboard on my Mac. It's been just over four years since I started. It's going to be fun to see how many more I'll be able to do.

Saturday, February 28, 2015

Reflections Of A Launch Party...

Tonight Xchyler Publishing held a book launch for their latest anthology, Mechanized Masterpieces 2: An American Anthology and I participated because my short story can be found within its pages. I've participated in several of Xcyler's book launches, but this is the third time one of my stories has been included. 

How was it?

It went great, much better than the first time I attended an online book launch. Two years ago (roughly...) Xchyler chose a story of mine  for their first steampunk anthology, Mechanize Masterpeices: A Steampunk Anthology. I remember that book launch--I think I even took the day off from work so I could take part as much as possible in the event. I remember being very confused.

Xchyler used Facebook to launch their books online. It makes sense since the authors are all over the world. They announce the event, we join then invite friends to attend. When the time comes, we go to that Launch page and respond to questions for prizes or to ask the authors questions, but basically to have a great time. That first launch I didn't know how any of it worked. I was confused by the questions. It seemed some of the authors wanted us to answer questions from their stories and since it was a book launch, almost none had read the stories.

Since that first event, I've gotten to know more about how their online launches go. Tonight I had a blast! I actually participated in a theater while watching some wonderful people perform a show. I had submitted two games to play and I even joined in on the other author's games. This time, it didn't seem like any of them asked specific questions from their stories. And I even got a cool gift for one of my game's prizes, a copy of Captain Nemo, signed by the author, Kevin J. Anderson.

The next book launch isn't too far into the future. I am goin gto do my best to make sure I can attend. Oh, and I'll try and let people know when it is, too.

Friday, February 27, 2015

The Wise POLAIK...Scott Tarbet

 "So, you're Scott?" people would ask me when they see our Xchyler Publisher signs. "Yes," I would answer, but then I usually need to add. "But, I'm not Scott Tarbet. I'm Scott Taylor."

You see, during Xchyler's relatively short history, there's been two Scotts, Scott Tarbet and myself. Of course, I don't mind being mistaken for the other Scott. The man can write.

I met Scott at the first themed convention I attended, the 2013 Salt City Steamfest. Scott and I were Facebook friends before we met. My short story, The Little Boiler Girl had been released in Xcyler's Mechanized Masterpieces, A Steampunk Anthology only a few weeks before, and Scott had his first published short coming out in a Xchyler anthology a few weeks later.

A Midsummer Night's SteampunkMechanized Masterpieces 2: An American AnthologyShades and Shadows: A Paranormal Anthology

Terra Mechanica: A Steampunk AnthologyThe Toll of Another Bell: A Fantasy Anthology

Since then Scott and I have attended have attended a lot of conventions together. He's had many many shorts published with Xchyler and has even written a novel, A Midsummer Night's Steampunk, which I have not yet read.

Like many of the Profile Of Local Authors/Artists I Know (POLAIK), Scott is not a full-time writer, unfortunately. If you want a definition of a man of many talents, he's your guy! He's an award-winning barbecue chef, and he is a regular with the Utah Opera Company. Plus, the man's got many college degrees, which tells me that he never stops learning, never stops expanding that knowledge base.

Once again, as I'm prone to do with my POLAIK posts, I recommend you seek out Scott and get to know him better if you find yourself at one of these conventions. If you do, Scott will be as engaging and entertaining as his stories. No, I don't mind people thinking--albeit temporarily--that I'm Scott Tarbet. It's quite a compliment.