Friday, December 24, 2010
Christmas. It is my favorite holiday, and merely one day away.
Monday, December 13, 2010
Thursday, December 2, 2010
“If I do the dishes,” she replied. She shook her head and clacked her tongue, though the hint of a smile was on her face. “I dare say that without us womenfolk around nothing would ever get done. Not the dishes, not the table, not dinner.”
“Ah,” Andrew’s father said. “What makes you say that? After all, don’t you remember the story of Troy?”
Andrew’s mother frowned. “Of course I remember. But I fail to see what Troy has to do with cleaning and dinner.”
Little Andrew bounced on his father’s knee. “Tell me. Tell me the story of Troy!”
“And then you will go to sleep?” his father asked. He waited until Andrew nodded and then he cleared his throat and leaned back in his reclining chair. “This will be a very short story,” he said. “But I think you will like it.”
Andrew’s mother leaned against the doorway to the dining room, holding a towel in one hand and a wet bowl in the other. As she wiped the dish dry, Andrew’s father began the story.
“A long, long, long time ago the women of the world told their husbands, ‘You would never get anything done without us.’
So a large number of men left their homes and crossed the sea near the land of Greece. And on a distant shore they built a magnificent city, which they named Troy.
But one man, a man by the name of Paris, returned across the sea and stole a beautiful woman. He brought her into the magnificent city of Troy and called her his wife.
Across the sea the Greeks got into their ships and set off to take the city of Troy. They wanted the city and they wanted the woman. ‘We’ll tear that there city down if we have to,’ they declared.
The Greeks landed on the distant shore and saw the beautiful city of Troy, the city built by men, and they waged a war against it. They burned Troy to the ground and it was destroyed forever.”
Andrew opened his mouth to say, “Wow!” But his father shook his head as if thinking to himself and said, “A great many men built the magnificent city of Troy, they finished it. But it took only one woman to quickly bring it to ruin.”
Andrew’s mother kissed his father and pinched his cheeks. “I should slap you for such a preposterous story! Tssk! Tssk! Now you’d better tell him the true story of Troy and leave out all the silliness.”
“Ah, but the only reason you react that way,” said his father. “Is because Troy is the Achilles’ heel for women!”
* * * *
Note: I wrote this out very quickly and thought I'd post it for feedback. How would you rate this as a children's story, say for age 4 to 9?
Wednesday, December 1, 2010
What most turned me off with most writings was the lack of originality. I could tell that so-and-so had read such-and-such-a-book and been inspired to invent something along similar lines. When I told them that honestly I thought their work lacked originality they were at first taken aback. Perhaps they didn't expect forthright critisism, even though they'd asked for it, but writers owe that to each other and so I do my best to deliver. Also, I personally prefer to hear an educated critic over a flatterer. After all, where does the flattery get me? Nowhere. It certainly doesn't push me to do better, to improve and revise, revamp, and master my craft.
Often at the base of an unoriginal work is a desire to write something that will sell; something the reading public has proved it likes. The most common example I've seen is vampire romance fantasies resulting from Twilight.
Today I was reading a bit of C.S. Lewis, a paper he wrote titled (something like) Three Ways to Write for Children. I found myself smilng as I read because Lewis ran into the same situations as I and had the same response. He told one woman that he didn't care for an element of the story she'd written. She replied that she didn't either, 'but that is what children like nowadays.'
Lewis went on to state that he didn't write his stories to what children wanted, rather he wrote the stories he would have loved to read as a child.
Ah! A kindred spirit of mine, at least in this respect.
How can a story have meaning to the reader if it has little or no soul from the writer? I have found myself of late thinking too deeply on what my readers would want in my novels. It did not used to enter my mind prior to signing the book contract, and if it did it was inconsequentially small an issue. But we all have the desire for acceptance and approval . . . and praise.
I have a novel in progress and I've been struggling to write it as best I can. Tonight I am determined to put the soul back into my writing. The story will be exactly what I want to read and, in the end, I believe I will be a happier novelist for doing so. And my writing will be own original work without trappings of commercialism.
Tuesday, November 23, 2010
Saturday, October 30, 2010
Saturday, October 9, 2010
Today my mother took me out for the day to a couple library sales. I didn't find anything as rare as that. But for around $15 I obtained a bag full of great books. Among them The Phantom Tollbooth, The Indianapolis, and a couple volumes by Winston Churchill. My mother found a book for me that I had never heard of and which I am looking forward to reading. It is fairy stories from all over the world. From what I saw I think it will be a fresh dose of imagination for me... but that book is at my parents' house because I forgot to take it out of her car when she brought me home. Oh well, I'll get it tomorrow (-:
Tuesday, October 5, 2010
First, two pre-orders of Swords of the Six (AMG) were received by Amazon!
Second, the first novel (other than my own) that I published through my company Flaming Pen Press, is a finalist for the Moonbeam Awards! Congratulations to Jacob Parker, author of Kestrel's Midnight Song.
Friday, October 1, 2010
Ok everyone! The time has come to start ordering your copies of Swords of the Six.
I have placed the order information at the top of this page. All you need do is order the novel and then email a copy of your receipt to me. I will send your prizes promptly.
Notice that you can receive a Free copy of my forthcoming anthology By Sword, By Right if you order two copies of Swords of the Six.
And, finally, I would like to know your opinion of these incentives. Does this entice you to place your amazon order, or not?
Saturday, September 25, 2010
Friday, September 17, 2010
The original short stories that I wrote exclusively for this book include two science fiction pieces that I am really excited about:
Abacus One is a futuristic missionary tale of a world off-limits to Christians. One daring space captain takes the risk to bring the gospel to the isolated and unreached children from Earth.
The World Reborn is an imaginative, original take on space travel, where individuals travel from place to place inside space bubbles.
Carriage Angel ...I wrote this one for myself and those fans of mine who enjoy romance as well as jaunts a hundred years into the past.
Swords of the Six (AMG Publishers)
I know many of you are as eager as I am for my AMG novels to release. If you would like to pre-order the new expanded The Sword of the Dragon-book 1-Swords of the Six, it is available on amazon for a whopping $10.19 per copy! Pre-order by Click Here
Please ignore the fact that the wrong cover image is up there. AMG is creating a different, more snazzy cover.
Monday, September 13, 2010
At 4:46am September 12th, I caught my first-born son. My wife and I have named him Andrew Stephen Appleton. He was a long, painful delivery. My wife labored over 36-hours. But boy was it worth it! The feeling of fatherhood is still unreal, like living in a dream from which I'll never awake. God is so good. I pray he gives my wife and I the wisdom and will-power to bring 'Andy' up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord.
Thursday, September 2, 2010
There is an awesome online software called Wix and I have used it to create new websites for both myself and for my company. Check them out:
And, of course, let me know what you think! I was especially pleased with the way the FPP site turned out. The greatest part about the Wix software? I can easily edit both sites, change them around, etc, and as often as I like. The former Flaming Pen Press website used a Wordpress software and I could never figure out how to do anything fancy with it.
Tuesday, August 31, 2010
The idea has bounced around in my head ever since I printed out my short stories and placed them in a binder for my personal reference and enjoyment about three years ago. The idea since received needed incentive when a couple people asked me about my short stories. I mentioned my idea to publish an anthology and they immediately said they'd definitely buy it. After I posted about it on my blog I received an email from a woman in Virginia saying she'd like to get it for her grandsons.
Since most large publishing companies don't touch anthologies, and because I want this done in a timely fashion, I will publish this through Flaming Pen Press. My target release is Christmas 2010 and that shouldn't be too difficult to achieve (especially considering that most of the stories are already edited and publishable). However, I am going to throw in some unpublished pieces that I want to share . . . and I am working on ideas for a couple additional pieces to top of the pie!
Here is the initial cover design. The title I've come up with is By Sword, By Right which I believe bags the variety of stories contained therein (fantasy, science fiction, allegorical, biblical, inspirational). I'd love to hear everyone's impressions!
Sunday, August 29, 2010
Today after church a couple of people expressed interest in seeing a collection of my short stories published in book-form. The idea has crossed my mind many times but for some reason I've never seen it through. Perhaps it is because I feel my short stories are so varied that they don't fit a common theme and I'd like to have that in an anthology. However, I'm seriously considering doing it anyway. The short stories range in genre from fairy tales, fantasy, science fiction, biblical, and allegory. I have several unpublished works that I never showed my fans, including pieces written a long time ago . . . like five years ago. In one tale there is a good dragon by the name of Valorian, which, I'm sure, many of my fans immediately recognize as the villainous creature in Swords of the Six. I like the name so much that I used it in my novel.
So, the question lies out there for my readers to consider: would you like to see an anthology of my short stories? It would include Moses and the Lamb, Splintered Sacrifice, The Woodland King, The Little Children Come, and the Trapped in Imagination stories 1 and 2.
Monday, August 16, 2010
Thank you for agreeing to be interviewed. You have recently co-authored a children's book titled The Dragon and the Turtle. What is the story and how did you come up with the idea?
The idea came from a bedtime story I told my boys one night when they couldn’t go to sleep.
Mrs. Denmark, I understand that you are Mrs. Paul's daughter. Please tell us what it was like to create The Dragon and Turtle as a joint effort.What were the greatest advantages to doing this together?
As far as advantages, well, aside from getting to work on a fun project with my mother, I also reaped the benefits of her expertise in the writing field, and education and child development. I can’t think of anyone better suited to write a children’s book, can you?
As for getting excited about the book being published, they thought it was cool but really didn’t grasp it until they saw Vincent’s initial sketches. That’s when they started to understand that Roger and Padraig were going to be more than just our bedtime stories. We did all squeal in the foyer the day the UPS guy delivered our first copies of the book.
Tuesday, August 10, 2010
Friday, August 6, 2010
Each and every one of us comes from a unique background. Whether we admit it or not the way our parents were raised, the way they raised us, and the people we grew up with made us the individuals we are today.
My father was raised in a large Catholic family but became a born-again Christian when he was in his late teens. My mother was raised in a Protestant home with, again, a large family. Not wishing to let the public school system raise their kids, my parents homeschooled me. My father worked long, hard hours to provide for his family, and my mother served as homemaker and teacher. I grew up in the kind of family many kids only dream of. My father was the most patient, kind man I know. My mother was gentle and a patient teacher, but also a consistent disciplinarian. If I were to summarize my growing-up years, I’d say I was raised in a very loving, disciplined home.
Watching my parents I strove to attain their dedication to family and God. They were the finest examples and I attribute my success as an author mostly to them. My father was such an incredibly hard worker that I always felt I could never keep up with him. I wasn’t as physically motivated as he was so I turned my energies into academic pursuits. And when I decided to write for a living, it didn’t enter my mind that I would never finish the project or fail—because by example I had learned that perseverance led to success and that the road is not easy, but it is worth it.
There have been a lot of blog posts, recently, written by publishing professionals warning authors not to set their hopes too high on success. They say that success does not always come, that only a few writers make it into the elite number of full-time career authors, and so it is better to think “realistically” . . . then they proceed to detail all the intricacies of the market, how it’s changing, and remind everyone that there are few very successful authors.
This troubles me to no end. Why? Because I was raised in a home that trained me to believe in my dreams, to KNOW that I could succeed at anything I set my mind to, and these professionals would rather focus on the business end, rather than the passion behind the art.
When in 2008 my novel was rejected by the publisher, rather than letting it bring me down (though I admitted a level of disappointment) I worked hard, studying the intricacies of creating my own publishing company. My goal was to sell a thousand copies of my books, by hand if necessary, getting it out there into the public until at some point a major publisher offered me a contract. And that is exactly what I did. But was it chance that led to my success? Was it that the right wind just happened to catch my sails and push me in the right direction? No, it was perseverance and patience. Consistency was key, consistency in my childhood trained me to achieve and never accept failure.
One of my favorite movies is Star Trek: The Wrath of Khan and my favorite line is when Captain Kirk says, “I don’t believe in no-win scenarios.”
Well, neither do I. And whenever an aspiring author asks me what they need to do to get published and make their book a success, I tell them it is a lot of hard work but that if they persevere they can succeed (and they mustn’t seek shortcuts).
I say all this to point out that I believe every author has a message in his/or her stories, whether apparent or not, their world-view plays an inevitable role in their writing. Tolkien came from a Roman Catholic background and so his Lord of the Rings and other such works do have an all-powerful god, of sorts. But the Roman Catholic church is strong on form; their worship is full of rites and rituals to which they strongly adhere. So, in The Lord of the Rings, wizards such as Gandalf utter spells that are keyed to certain form, certain ordering.
Donita K. Paul in her Dragon Keeper Chronicles has wizards. But her background is, I believe, Protestant Christianity. Her characters don’t, to my recollection, utter spells. Instead they have abilities to interact with their environment within the confines of Wulder’s will.
J.K. Rowling is, by all accounts I’ve read and from every interview I’ve seen, a secular Humanist. In keeping with her world-view, Harry Potter knows no God, and determines right from wrong based on how the situation affects him and those he loves. He uses the same magic as the dark wizards, just for a better cause.
Bryan Davis author of Dragons in Our Midst also falls under Protestant Christianity (though he would be careful to distinguish his beliefs from the majority). But his protagonists gain special abilities through their dragon ancestry, though at times Merlin seems to wield almost magical powers.
Phillip Pullman is an interesting one. He is an atheist and he once stated in an interview I read that he was using his book The Golden Compass to ‘…kill God in the eyes of children.’
In my own novels I am seeking to be as faithful as possible to my world view. My protagonists have difficult sacrifices to make to reach their goals, and all powers are either from Creator God, or demonic worship.
I have seen many Christian fantasy writers whose work makes me cringe; not because of the writing, but because of their use of magic in the story. I’m sure that the Egyptians looked upon Moses as a magician for all the signs he wrought, but he always attributed credit to God. I find very few fantasy novels have an accurate, pure worldview. And for those of you who think otherwise, yes, I think Tolkien’s work falls into that category. Don’t be offended: he wrote it, you didn’t. I can still enjoy these other works, but I must evaluate them based on a consistent, God-honoring worldview.
Wednesday, July 28, 2010
The problem I ran into was the plot twists multiplied and I couldn't keep track of them all, or, rather, I was close to forgetting key elements as I wrote new material. The outline I'm forming is almost 2,000-words, which seems rather lengthy to me. The story is growing into something I will be proud of and I think the outlining is proving to be an indispensible tool.
Perhaps I'm turning into an Outliner? (-:
Wednesday, June 30, 2010
Monday, June 28, 2010
Wednesday, June 23, 2010
Sometimes I believe that writer's block exists and sometimes I think it is all in my head. When I go to schools I frequently receive questions relating to how I create characters, how I invent the story ideas, and how I overcome writer's block. I like to say that writer's block does not exist and I sincerely believe it does not. Recently with all the work I've been doing outside of my writing I have not made the time to sit down and write. In some ways it feels like my creativity is cut off for a period of time and I'm just waiting for it to come back. But experience has taught me that I can always work out of writer's block. If I sit down to write and my mind simply blanks on the topic or manuscript I am working on, then I switch tracks to another subject.
In the past I have sat at my computer, mind blank. It may sound too simple, or even funny, but I wrote a letter to myself from my computer.
Computer: Hi Scott, how are you today?
Me: Well, I have some time to write, but my mind is blank.
Computer: What story do you want to work on today?
Me: Well, I was thinking about working on my second Sword of the Dragon novel. But I'm not sure what to write next.
Computer: Hold it! Slow down. Tell me what happened recently in the manuscript. What have you written so far?
This is one of the most effective ways I have found of working out of writer's block. It is my belief that the brain simply wears thin on frequently visited works, so you have to freshen it with something along a different story-vein, line of thought, or genre, etc.
I remember a particular day when I couldn't think of anything to write in my novel. So I started typing a story about a writer who had a deadline and couldn't get his imagination rolling. Before I realized it I had over a thousand words in a long short story titled Trapped In Imagination ...and that story is one of my fans' favorites.
So if your mind is burned out along one track, try refreshing it by thinking along another vein. The brain simply gets tired. Give it a rest, but make sure to exercise your writing skills at the same time. And remember to prioritize your writing. Other things (jobs in particular) pull me out of my creative vein and I have to work extra hard to get my writing done.
Hope this is helpful everyone!
Thursday, June 17, 2010
It came in the mail a couple days ago--the contract for my first three novels from AMG Publishers! Now that it is signed I will send it off to them. This is a big moment for me. I've been working toward a contract with a publisher for several years now.
For those of you who've been asking "What can I do to help promote Swords of the Six" I have some news for you. AMG's director of marketing is going to focus on viral internet promotion. What does that mean for you? Well, AMG is going to produce banner ads and other goodies that you can plaster on your blog, your website, or anywhere else you please on the web. When the time comes to put those banners out there, invite your friends to become fans of my facebook fanpage, invite them to use the banner ad for Swords of the Six, and invite them to invite their friends to do the same. By this means we have the potential to reach millions of readers--but I'll need your help to do it.
There will be a new website for my series soon. AMG is creating it and they already bought the website domain.
All of this means that Swords of the Six is now going out-of-print from Flaming Pen Press--until its re-release through AMG. For those of you who are among the 3,000 people who own the 'original' version of my novel, keep that copy safe... it's going to be valuable someday!
I'll be sure to keep all of you updated!
Wednesday, June 9, 2010
Friday, June 4, 2010
- The Bible condemns sorcery; there is no such thing as a 'good' wizard.
- The world Tolkien created is polytheistic; one mighty god and various lesser gods created the Earth and one of them warred against the rest. This brings Tolkien's world closer in illustration to the Greek mythology rather than biblical teaching where God alone created all.
Tolkien dismissed claims that his books were an allegory. He wrote fantastic fairytales and meant for them to be enjoyed as such. An important fact is that Tolkien stated in his introduction to The Lord of the Rings that he did not mean it to be an allegory. Why then do people turn around and say that Tolkien did write it as allegory? Yes, his Roman Catholic background played into the story, but to present an allegory was neither his intention, nor his result--and on another note, Roman Catholisism teaches salvation by works (contrary to Christ's message). There has been a trend in the CBA of publishing books on "Finding God in..." These titles (the ones that stand out in my mind) include The Lord of the Rings, Harry Potter, and The Matrix. I believe it is because we want to justify supporting or promoting secular inventions that we find appealing. But if we have to justify them shouldn't we rethink what we are doing? And if we have to write a book on how to find God in decidedly not Christian stories, shouldn't we ask what motivates us to do so? The Lord of the Rings falls into the same pot as Harry Potter; we have a dark villain practicing sorcery, and a valiant hero who also practices sorcery. That is not to say that Tolkien's story lacks merit (I believe it has much) but it doesn't attempt to deliver an allegory and should, therefore, be accepted as a fairytale.
In contrast to this, consider the Narnia series. No one that I have met denies the strong allegory in those stories. Christ and His sacrifice were presented in a powerful way and any 'magic' wielded by heroes/heroines seems to be accredited to Creator God. In fact, some secular readers are uncomfortable with the allegorical elements. And I know some have been uncomfortable with elements in my novel. Why? Because if an author writes the gospel truth with conviction, delivering the truth to the best of their ability in their fictional stories, it will convict the unbeliever.
In my writings I have attempted to attribute strength to the Giver of might. My inspiration for the 'magical' elements where the heroes and heroines are concerned, are the biblical accounts of Moses and Aaron, and others. God gives power to those who serve him.
Now I know many people will disagree with me on my perspective on LOTR, but I am only basing my conclusions on the author's stated intent. If you wanted Tolkien to call it an allegory, sorry but he didn't; he did the opposite.
P.S. I am a fan of Tolkien's work. He was a master storyteller.
Tuesday, June 1, 2010
- Described my book in 25 words
A dragon prophet seeks justice and hatches human daughters from eggs, paving with holy sacrifice the path to conquering an ancient evil.
- Described by book in 50 words
Betrayed in ancient times by his choice warriors, the dragon prophet sets a plan in motion to bring the traitors to justice. One thousand years later he hatches human daughters from eggs and arms them with the traitors’ swords. Either the traitors will repent, or justice will be served.
This has been a great year. I'm looking forward to seeing what God is going to do in the coming months!
Saturday, May 22, 2010
This week I started an hourly night job, full-time. My friend's wedding is today. I planned to take Friday off for his wedding rehearsal and work the days leading up to it. But on Thursday my wife and I drove to a nearby dealership, intending to look over future car buying options. As I parked our '92 Oldsmobil it died! To make a long story short I ended up buying a 2005 Toyota Camry. It was hard to spend the money on it, but worth it. Every time I've made a trip somewhere in the past few months the possibility that the old car would break down was at the back of my mind. But now I have something reliable and pristine! It makes me feel good about myself.
In a way, my writing career is a bit like my car troubles. Every so often I've had to shift vehicles in order to keep my career on track. First it was AMG's rejection after two years and my subsequent founding of Flaming Pen Press. Then I quit my hourly job, took a five month book tour, and AMG offered a contract. Now I have the contract and have nothing to sell over the summer so I've taken an hourly job again (something I really do not enjoy because it pulls at my creative process). But God is in it all and the publisher says they should be able to release my first title in November--originally they said February, so this is better.
Tuesday, May 18, 2010
Monday, May 17, 2010
Now I have a couple other things on my agenda. 1) I was invited to write a guest blog post for Sue at www.SelfPublishingResources.com My plan is to get on that Tuesday. 2) Bryan Davis asked me to endorse his upcoming book "Masters and Slayers" (AMG Publishers) I want to start reading that tomorrow 3) I need to get cracking on my website; currently I have a couple pages I'm happy with and other that need lots of work. I'm also considering the possibility of going with a 'brighter' color scheme.
Wednesday, May 12, 2010
Friday, May 7, 2010
Thursday, May 6, 2010
Focus on word-count distracts me as the author. If you ask me "What should matter most when writing?" I'd probably answer "Tell the story for yourself; write what matters to you." My first novel (Swords of the Six) was approximately 80,000-words. Last week I sent it to AMG Publishers and included a new segment that brings it to about 85,000. My second novel was a monster to work with, by comparison. It is 120,000-words.
With my current project "The Key of Living Fire" I'm estimating it will finish around 120,000-words. But I won't hold myself to that goal. My focus is relaxing into my story, not forcing it but letting it flow onto the page. Currently I have almost 50,000-words... but I'm not even into the meat of the novel yet! The story is pretty evenly split between Ilfedo, Oganna, and Specter. But the first 40,000-words is only Specter's story-arc.
When writing it is important to remember that it is an art. I do it because I love putting the words on paper and on my laptop, seeing them flow and manipulating them to deliver a memorable tale that people can treasure for generations. My advice to aspiring authors is just write. Don't force the story into a box too small (or too large, depending on the story).
Make a piece of art that you can treasure. If it matters to you, if you treasure it, you'll be passionate about it. And if you are passionate about it then others will catch your enthusiasm and you'll meet with success.
Wednesday, May 5, 2010
Monday, April 26, 2010
The manuscript is written, the cover art is finished, and now the cover design has been completed. Kirk DouPonce, designer extraordinaire!
I've been discussing the details with AMG Publishers. Within the next few weeks I'll be posting more definite news related to that! ...In the mean time I'll continue working on "The Key of Living Fire" and some other projects.
Monday, April 19, 2010
Saturday, April 17, 2010
Friday, April 16, 2010
Last night my wife and I watched a movie she has been curious about for some time. It is "One Night with the King".
I really enjoyed it. There were some big-name actors such as Peter O'Toole. And the story began not in Babylon but in Israel during the reign of King Saul. Some of the historical facts were mixed up, some altered. But overall it was an insightful look into the captivity of Israel.
Wednesday, April 7, 2010
Tuesday, April 6, 2010
Thursday, April 1, 2010
Monday, March 29, 2010
It has been one year since the release of Swords of the Six and we have sold 2,972-copies! In January, while in Indiana, I completed writing my second novel Offspring. And in February I met with AMG Publishers and soon after they offered me a three-book-contract, which I intend to accept.
I'd like to extend a special thank you to the host families and couples who housed my wife and I so that I could avoid hotel costs.
So what is next: First is my least favorite thing Taxes are Due. Then I have to decide what to do for work this summer. God has blessed and I am hoping to find venues to sell my book during the summer. Most schools are going to be out and they are my chief source of income. Also on my agenda, I am continuing work on my third novel The Key of Living Fire and plan to have it finished sometime this summer.
Tuesday, March 23, 2010
Monday, March 22, 2010
...I'd like to ask you about your book. More specifically, when will the next one come out? I read the first in one day (unfortunately typical for me), and I'm REALLY READY to read the next. I can't wait!It was very good, a little suspensful, dramatic, etc, etc (i could go on for quite a few emails, but you wrote it, so of course you know). I even cried when *SPOILER DELETED* I haven't done that since I read Harry Potter and the Order of the Pheonix. There is no notice in the first book (or at least in my copy) that says if you have any idea when the next will come out, so I was just curious...Thank you, -Emily C.
On another note: I was appauled by the passage of the Health Care bill by the house yesterday. I spent hours watching both sides present their arguments. The result? I learned that much of the hype concerning Obama's administration is based in fact. Between sixteen and eighteen thousand new IRS agents will ensure mandated, government-approved healthcare to citizens of the US. But the illegals don't have to pay and they get the same benefits. Wow! I seriously wonder if it is worth while to have US citizenship anymore. If I became an illegal I'd have the right to choose what I pay for, at the very least.Let me quote from the first "Mummy" movie from the Americans, only I'll say this about America "This's a messed up country!"
Thursday, March 18, 2010
My wife and I have never sold as many books as we did at this school: A grand total of 139-books!
In other news: I have over 250 fans on Facebook
Sunday, March 14, 2010
Friday, March 5, 2010
Wednesday, March 3, 2010
The last two days I've made visits to Oconee County Middle School. So far I haven't sold as many books as I normally do, but I have met a number of new fans, including readers who raved about Swords of the Six. I've been enjoying my visits there and will make a final stop there on Friday. Tomorrow I have a follow-up visit to Peachtree Charter Middle School (where I sold 71-books in one morning). I'm curious to see how many more kids will stop in and get a book tomorrow. The reception there was quite phenomenal.
Tuesday, March 2, 2010
Today I went to another middle school. I spoke with a large group of kids (somewhere between 100 and 150, I think). Then the falling snow started sticking to the ground and they cancelled school for the day! I'm beginning to really see that it is true what people say; the southern US is not used to snow. This is at least the second time that snow ruined what could have been a great signing day.
...Ah well, I am back there tomorrow and the weather looks good for it.
Saturday, February 27, 2010
Question 1: Someone asked if writing credits from their childhood should be included in a query letter. Here are my thoughts and how I, as editor at FPP, feel about references to items published when the writer was a child:
If I receive a letter that states "I had several short stories published when I was a child and even a small book" that may grab my eye. But if that first statement is NOT followed up by "and I have continued to publish short stories through the years. My work has appeared in Lightning Flash Fiction, Blizzard Magazine, and Seafish Digest (note: these magazines do not exist)" If I don't see particulars on where that writer has been published I cannot determine if the magazines are credible. Also, notice that I made the writer say they have 'continued to publish short stories through the years'. A six-year-old is not going to write the same way as a twenty-year-old, so I need to have proof that the writer has continued to hone their craft. Most importantly, if a writer has indeed continued to write and get published in recent years, then I know that writer is dedicated and will work hard for my company.
On the other hand if I receive childhood credits and it ends there.... Then I must act on the evidence presented, which tells me they had a phase where they wrote, but time has proved they aren't dedicated to it. I would, most likely, pass that writer up for someone who has recent credits to their name.
Question 2: What is a solicited submission in contrast to an unsolicited submission? This is the first time someone has asked me this. The answer is simple, however. An unsolicited submission to a publishing company is when the publisher did not solicit/ask/invite the author to submit their work for review and consideration for possible publication. Unsolicited submissions of query letters and/or manuscripts are automatically discarded by publishing houses, unless that publishing house has specifically invited unsolicited submissions (which never happens with manuscripts, and rarely happens with query letters). Why? Because the author either did not do his research, or is trying to slip past the necessary steps to submitting his/her work.
Any writer who sends a manuscript to a publisher without prior invitation by the publishing house demonstrates a lack of knowledge and/or courtesy. By reading books on the submissions process writers learns what not to do.
When I approached AMG Publishers back in 2006 with my manuscript, I did so at a writers conference. I scheduled a slot of 15 minutes to 'pitch' my book to their acquisitions editor. Then, when I met with him, I pitched my book and waited for his yes/no. His answer was an invitation to submit to the company (making my submission Solicited by the acquisitions department). A solicited submission carries a coveted stamp of approval. For the next two years I went back and forth with that publishing house.
The most important thing that I did as an unpublished writer was to read and study on writing, and the publishing process. Too many writers send me query letters that tell me (by what they don't understand) that they have not done the necessary research. That is an immediate turnoff and I pass on to the submissions that show the writer is taking the time to do things professionally.
Thursday, February 25, 2010
On a side note: I sent out another rejection letter today to an aspiring author. This one was especially hard because I could sense the author's heart was in the right place and they had a passion for their subject. But the query had a few problems. So I'm going to offer a couple tips to all would-be future-submitters to Flaming Pen Press (and this can all be avoided by simply taking time to read books on crafting query letters and books on publishing).
1) Don't tell the editor that your writing is excellent; that can be an immediate turnoff. If your writing is excellent then hunt down endorsments from professional writers and then include those endorsments in your query.
2) Don't include writing that you did in your childhood as credits. This does not interest a professional. Only include credits that entail a professional took note of your work, ie. magazine stories.
3) A Tip: Keep the teaser about your story and its content succinct, and give specifics on how you intend to market your book. Don't say you'll do store signings, give us a list of contacts you can use and/or methods you will employ to reach the necessary people who can put your book in readers' hands.
It feels strange to be on the other side of the submissions fence. But I remember all too well the many rejection letters (most of them generic, instead of personalized) that I received. The most important thing to remember is not to get discouraged. Learn from your first query and move on; improve. And research the market extensively. The path to publication has little to no shortcuts (and no author that I know has taken them). It takes years. But those years prove to the publishing world that you will persist and that you are determined to succeed.
WELCOME TO THE WRITING SITE OF SCOTT APPLETON
In a world where morality is forsaken and Christ neglected, wholesome books are uncommon. The themes of my writing are love, self-sacrifice, and honor.
I see my generation turning from God to the gods of this world. I see homes torn apart in the pursuit of pleasure and self-gratification. Children are murdered by the millions every year . . . without ever seeing the world outside their mothers' wombs. Through fiction I strive to encourage those who are willing, to stand against these things and be heroes and heroines; chivalrous, gentle, full of righteous indignation, and the fear and love of their Creator.