Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Interviewed at Library of Erana

I was interviewed at the Library of Erana, where I discuss what influence my writing and stories, what movies and video games offer in comparison to novels and short stories, and much more.

Click on over if you have a moment or two.

Link: Author Interview Number Thirty Seven – Terry W. Ervin II – Fantasy/Sci-fi

Monday, January 27, 2014

Relic Tech: Character Commentary

I thought I'd post a "montage" of reader commentary (excerpts) from reviews and emails on the main character, Class 4 Security Specialist Krakista Keesay, and other characters in Relic Tech, and then discuss my thoughts on them at the end.

"The main character is masterfully written, and you care for his success." --Photog

"The story line flowed well, characters weren't superheroes but got the job done and the tech was interesting to say the least!" --Randy

"Use by the protagonist of an old style handgun for its noise effect reminds me of Robert A. Heinlein`s BEYOND THIS HORIZON." -- IA Wilhite

"...I liked the action well developed hero I think." --J. Anthony

"I loved the book, the characters, and the action." --Joseph E. Karpinski

"The hero seems to attract action." --David Hughes

"Believable characters." --sig18

"The main character is not a likable person. Most specifically he is an ass. He is constantly picking fights with the people he encounters and interacts with." --Cary G Anderson

"Quirky unpredictable characters, and a complete story line." --tatemjr

"Loved the hero and aliens and really hated the bad guys." --rog wadkins

 "Our hero is obviously the underdog in just about every situation but his willingness to do what is necessary to extricate himself (and his duty task) is at times awe inspiring." -- W.L. Hatfield

"A religious killer TSA type among simplistic bad aliens and corporations." --JL Curtis

"A likeable main character and believable supporting cast with plenty of action for those who like it fast and furious." --Phillip McGregor

"Kra was a great character who I grew to like through the book. Being a relic tech gets him looked down on quite a bit, but he just uses that to his advantage when people underestimate him. He is a smart guy who is extremely combat capable and a bit lucky as well. He makes himself some fine friends and some terrible enemies and those characters each have distinct personalities to love or hate as well." --Bookblogger

"He navigates from one crisis to another, each demanding cunning, toughness, and skill with ancient weapons." --Dean S. Sault

"...characters you can love (and hate) and a plot that catches you from the beginning and pulls you through to the end. You'll be cheering for Specialist Keesay all the way through this thrilling ride!" --Bookylove

I tried not to take any quote out of context. What I find interesting is the varied reactions to the characters, especially Specialist Keesay. He's liked and respected by most readers, while some can take him or leave him and others think he's a jerk, or worse.

Even though this post focuses on reader comments on the characters in Relic Tech, it isn't a character-driven novel. Most of my works balance plot/action and character development. Some might even say it leans more toward plot-driven, and many comments and reviews focus on the action and concept the SF novel contains.

In any case, this reminds me of beta-reader and crit group comments. Nowhere near 100% were happy with all aspects of the characters or storyline, but the trend of comments and views of the quoted readers above reflect what the beta-readers and crit partners had to say. So, I guess there's a lesson there. Listen to readers, both before and after publication, realizing you can't please everyone. Still, learn from what they have to say and, in the end, focus on telling the best story you can.

Saturday, January 25, 2014

A Busy Weekend: Blood Sword and Relic Tech Audio Proofing

Initial plans had me out of town (in Columbus) on Saturday (today), but the nasty weather (sub-zero, 25 mph winds, 5 inches of snow, etc.) sort of changed that.

A good thing, overall, as I received in my Drop Box last night the recorded version of Blood Sword for me to proof. Add to that four chapters of Relic Tech to proof that showed up this morning. You might guess that Michael Slusser prefers to send over an entire novel, while Jim Conlan prefers chapter by chapter. I know what I'll be doing a lot of this weekend.

Will be putting the third draft edit/revision of Soul Forge aside for a short time.

Friday, January 24, 2014

If You Could Read My Mind (Gordon Lightfoot)

Definitely a with sad overtones. Gordon Lightfoot indicated it came to him in the throes of his divorce.

The lyrics with the accompanying music make it memorable. If you have a few minutes, give it a listen.

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Author Earnings: Traditional vs. Self vs. Hybrid Published

Over at Galleycat, they posted an article where 10,000 authors were interviewed (by Digital Book World) to compare the earnings of the various types of authors based on how they were published.

It appears that Hybrid (authors being both self and traditionally published) on average do the best, with traditionally published doing better on average than self-published.

They even discussed aspiring authors and their earnings, but didn't really define what an aspiring author is, but they show in the chart some earnings, which means something must've been published.

The hybrid authors having the best chances for greater earnings makes sense. They can pick and choose which titles would do best in each venue, and can springboard off of the benefits derived from being traditionally published to assist with recognition and traction for self-published titles they release. Also, authors releasing their backlist via self-publishing is a trend that is growing.

There are some interesting charts to examine in the article (see link below). Of course, stats can be manipulated, but it seems straight forward enough. Although not specifically stated, I am guessing all earnings (Digital, Audio, Print, etc.) are considered.

Here is the link to the article for those interested: Galleycat: Most Authors Make Less than $1000 a Year (Digital Book World).

Monday, January 20, 2014

De-Extinction: A Good Idea or Not

I can't recall the last time I came across someone who was against the idea of returning the Woolly Mammoth to the Earth from its place on the extinct species list. Me personally? I'd like to see the Thylacine returned.

But there are problems and concerns. Cost, viability, environmental impact should the species be returned to their habitat--if their habitat still exists. What implications might there be? Would they be susceptible to diseases currently in the environment? Would the revived species be little more than isolated oddities maintained at zoos and restricted sanctuaries?

Here's an article that debates the pros and cons of de-extinction efforts:
Link: Should We Start De-Extincting Species that have Died Out?

I think it's a worthwhile effort. What can be learned by building the science and technology that would go into successfully completing such a project? What spin-off technologies might there be? Who knows? Who could've predicted all the technological benefits derived from the space program began in the 1960s?

In the end, I'm not for bringing back the Tyrannosaurus Rex or  Deinonychus but, if pressed for a dinosaur I'd like to see revived, it'd be the Stegosaurus. Sure the tail spikes could be a danger, but they wouldn't be a species anticipated to go on a carnivorous rampage.

Saturday, January 18, 2014

The Maxx

Flipping through channels back in the 1990s I came across the mini series The Maxx on MTV of all places.

It's a really well-done psychological thriller with action, interesting characters, witty dialogue, and a satisfying story arc.

If you've never heard of it, consider checking it out. I think it just might be worth your time.

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Gauntlets of Fumbling

Gauntlets of Fumbling

Way back in 1978 when I was a member of BSA Troop 14, I got these gloves. A warm, sturdy pair was needed for the ski trip. Tow ropes necessitate leather. And warm? Well, you ski in the winter cold.

Fast Forward: This week, when subzero temperatures struck Ohio (and most of the USA), supplemented by bitter winds, I broke out the Gauntlets of Fumbling. (Think the news called it the Polar Vortex).

They're warm and I needed them while shoveling out my truck on parked on U.S. Route 36. They're also handy while waking to the post office and other places around town.

Why are they named the "Gauntlets of Fumbling"? Well, try to do anything which requires delicate hand movements--or fingers! A college roommate, Jeff, had a blue pair. His weren't as cool as mine, but that's the way life is.

They hang in a bag on a hook in the closet to be pulled out whenever it gets overly frigid.

I was talking to my wife, discussing how old the Gauntlets are. I told her I planned on handing them down to my daughters as heirlooms. She laughed. I'm serious.

They're 36 years old. In another 36 years, I might be too old to go out and shovel in the bitter cold. That'll be the job for a grandchild wearing the ever warm and versatile (sort of) Gauntlets of Fumbling.

Sunday, January 5, 2014

Weekend Spotlight at Ebook Escapes

Today Flank Hawk is in the spotlight.

Click on over if you have a moment and discover where I came up with the idea for Flank Hawk, and more.

Don't hesitate to leave a comment if you're so inclined.

Link: Weekend Spotlight: Flank Hawk by Terry W. Ervin II

Saturday, January 4, 2014

Elfstones of Shannara by Terry Brooks to be a Mini-Series

I came across this bit information. Apparently MTV is going to produce the The Elfstones of Shannara, turning it into a mini-series. It's the sequel to The Sword of Shannara, the second book written in the popular series.

In truth, I read the first three novels in the series written by Brooks and really enjoyed the first and the second, but not so much the third. Then I read the Magic Kingdom books, two of them, and liked them well enough, but not as much as most folks seem to. Moreover, I got distracted by Donaldson's Thomas Covenant the Unbeliever trilogies, and discovered Zelazny and then Brust, and Turtledove and Moorcock...and...and...

That said, Brooks is quite a talented author with tons of fans and good stories, and the mini-series is something I'm looking forward to watching.

Here's a link for more details: ELFSTONES at MTV with Jon Favreau / SMALLVILLE Duo

Wednesday, January 1, 2014

Oberon's Holiday Message (of the Iron Druid Chronicles fame)

I came across this when checking author Kevin Hearne's blog over at his website.
Coming June 2014

If you've hung around here, you probably know that I really enjoy the Iron Druid Chronicles. My wife and I also listen to them (narrated by Luke Daniels) when we travel. My older daughter prefers to read the novels (which I've done too).

Anyway, if you know anything about the novels, you'll probably appreciate this recording.

Just click on over to Kevin Hearne's Sound Cloud page.

Link: Oberon's Holiday Message