Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Calling All Fangs

If you have been paying even a little bit of attention to my various feeds, you know that BURNED: A VOID CITY NOVEL is out today. And today or at least this week is when I need you to buy it. On previous book releases, I've kind of been a bit subtle. I snuck around to various bookstores (both the indies and the big guys) and stealth signed all the copies they had in stock. I have never been that comfortable with saying, "My books are awesome and funny and sweet and twisted. If you love them, buy ten copies each and pass them out to your friends." I still don't like to refer to my Facebook Fan Page as a "Fan Page", though I've started to do so, because calling it a Reader Page was confusing people.

But the market is changing. And only the writers with die hard fans are surviving. I'm not good at blogging about every clever thing under the sun and making the every day seem magical. I do it when I can. Whether it's talking about how The Elder Son complained about the turkey I'd packed for his lunch being the most horrible turkey he'd ever tasted. (It was roast beef.) Or posting parody lyrics of "(Meet) The Flintstones".

What I do best on the writing front, however, is not the self-promotion part. It's the writing part. I have no interest in talking about my politics or religion, beyond the ideas of everyone being fair and nice to each other. And okay, I wouldn't shut up about getting excommunicated, but for the most part when I have the urge to write, it's a novel or a short story that I start turning out. As a result, I need your help.

If you love Void City and want to see what other quirky little worlds are inside my head, then buy my books and when you've purchased them and read them and enjoyed them, then spread the word. Review them anywhere you are comfortable doing so. If you can't review them or are afraid to do so, then log onto Goodreads or iTunes or Barnes & Noble or anywhere else and give them five stars or "like" them or tag them or all of the above.

Here's why: last year, around October, the reading public in the U.S. lost a lot of brick and mortar stores and it looks like we are going to lose more. When that happened and every time that happens, physical book sales are taking a huge hit and it isn't all being transferred online or to eReaders. Some of those sales simply vanish. Books that people would have purchased had they seen them in the mall just don't happen, because those stores aren't there anymore.

So if readers want to make sure they get the next book by their favorite authors who aren't always on the bestsellers lists (and even the ones who are), they are going to have to do their best to put their favorite author on those lists and keep them there, to go beyond buying the book the day it comes out, but to making websites, or funny videos, or posting with obnoxious repetition on Facebook and Twitter, or buying copies of books they've already read and loved and passing them on to friends they think would enjoy the books, too, or even by simply making sure everyone they know understands how much they love the books they love.

And that's not just my books. If you love Kelly Meding, Adrian Phoenix, Jennifer Estep, or any other author with a book out today, then let the word ring out. If, like me, you love Mark Hodder's awesome Burton & Swinburne series (book three of which came out last week)... whichever author you love... buy your copies now or as soon as you can. And if you can't afford a book, then go to your local library and place it on hold or request it. But spread the word or the words you crave may stop flowing.

(Cross posted everywhere I have posting rights, because it's THAT important.)

Friday, January 20, 2012

Favorite Panel Friday (The Totally Timely Eition)

This was totally up on Friday and I didn't back post the date at all. It's just that I'm a time traveler and you all noticed the change... Unless you didn't and then... never mind. ;)

This week's comics could not stand up to the awesomeness of Jonathan Hickman's run on Fantastic Four and FF, which I must admit I read for the first time this week. There are many moments that stand out. Council of Reeds moments, Valeria moments, Namor moments... Ah, the Namor moments...

Fantastic Four # 585

I love it when those beats in a story arrive where it could be much easier to "fix" things by having a character act differently than they should and turn into what I call a Plot Robot. Stories work sooo much better when the plot is crafted around how a character should respond. They feel more genuine and satisfying. Hickman does that very well. You'd honk all writers would do that, but...


But if I'm going to pick a panel from a more recent issue of Fantastic Four as a favorite panel, I pick...

Fantastic Four # 601

I just love the the idea of Captain America at such a loss for words that he has to toss out a historical anecdote to have anything to say.

If you haven't read Hickman's run on Fantastic Four, you should. It is wonderful. As always, these panels contain artwork and characters that are copywritten and trademarked to hell and back... In this case, by Marvel Comics. So go give them your money, unless you haven't already pre-ordered a copy of Burned: A Voidy City Novel (by that J. F. Lewis person whose pants I'm wearing - the book hits the shelves January 31st 2012). That is obviously way more important. ;) So, make sure you are up to date on the Void City series and then check out Hickman's run on Fantastic Four.

Friday, January 13, 2012

Favorite Panel Friday

Yup. You guessed it. I still love comics.
I have this suspicion that if I hadn't exhausted my weekly comic budget, I would have picked a panel from this week's Batwoman. It's my hands down favorite of the new Bat-titles. I keep wanting to like Batgirl, but so far that initial story-line is very meh and over in the main Bat books, Damian Wayne just annoys me. I might eventually pick them up again, but not now.

The New Incredible Hulk issue had some moments, as did Wolverine #300. This one for example: (and as before it should be noted that this image is trademarked and copy written to hell and back by Marvel Comics)

Wolverine #300

Wolverine gets on a plane to Japan, and while he's in the restroom, the flight attendant passes out the samurai swords. Nice.

The boys and I finished reading Mouse Guard: Winter 1152, and though it's old (as in not a new weekly release) there are some really wonderful visuals there, too. You should totally check that series out.

Maybe it's that I'm writing Greta right now, so the more angry visceral scenes appeal to me, but this week's Green lantern was the winner. (And yes, you guessed it this image is copy written and trademarked to hell and back by DC):
Green Lantern #5

I've loved what Geoff Johns has done with this book ever since he started fixing the GL books and this scene by Doug Mahnke shows one of the things I dig.

See, Sinestro was always supposed to be the greatest of the Green Lanterns before Hal Jordan, and I love that now that Sinestro has a Green Lantern ring again, he is still demonstrating abilities with it and knowledge of how to use it that Hal has never imagined. I also love the little bit of business a few panels later where Sinestro reveals that not only can a Green Lantern pour so much willpower through a ring that it breaks, but that he has done it twice.

Try to take over Sinestro's lantern and he'll frick'n kill you with it. Nice.

I'll also give a shout out to James Robinson's The Shade series. I love page 17. Telling you why would be way too spoilery, but it was cool. I'm not sure what the heck to think of the new Defenders title, though. This issue read very much like that Farside panel about what a human is saying, but what a dog is hearing. Blah blah blah Wundagore. A nice Iron Fist moment though. And X-men: Legacy was just "okay" this month, while the new issue of Wolverine and the X-men rocked.

Okay, I guess that's enough fan-boy-geek-out for one post.

Now we wait until Wednesday, when the fun starts all over again. :)

Sunday, January 8, 2012

Website Updates! (And Free Void City Fiction)

In honor of the impending release of BURNED (A Void City Novel) by that J. F. Lewis person I see in the mirror every morning, my wife has updated and overhauled the Official Website. It now has a new banner, links to find me on Facebook, Twitter, etc, but more importantly, it also has links to all my free Void City fiction currently available online.

So... if you want to read about Eric turning Greta into a vampire at the beach, how vampires go Trick or Treating, or what happens when a newly turned vampire realizes she can no longer eat chocolate, then check it out.

After that, if you've haven't gone head and ordered those extra ten copies of Staked, ReVamped, and Crossed to give away to friends, family, and co-workers to lure them into The Void... Now would be a great time. ;)

Friday, January 6, 2012

Favorite Panel(s) Friday (The Why I <3 Matt Fraction Edition)

Did I mention comics are a big deal to me?

One of the reasons I started writing in the first place (aside from the irresistible compulsion which drives most writers I know) is that at one point I was told the best way to break into comics was to become a novelist.

That aside, I love writing my Void City novels, so it's all well and good. (Though, seriously, a Devil Dinosaur mini series. If C. B. Cebulski or Axel Alonso ever read these words, I have the first few issues scripted already. It would be AWESOME and funny and only an email away.) 



But back to my favorite panels of the week.  Now, not all of these will likely be Marvel, but I am a Marvel Zombie from way back, so it shouldn't be a surprise if many of them are. I had originally thought this week's would come from a very surreal moment in Uncanny X-force #19.1. Can you say, "That ain't what you thought was going to happen was it, Jean?" Heh.  But instead, this week's panels (which I should add are trademarked and copy-written all to hell and back by Marvel Comics, so I'm not trying to infringe on anything) are from issues of The Mighty Thor written by Matt fraction.

They aren't "new" exactly. The series is on issue #9 right now, IIRC, but they were new to me and a part of my holiday gift card funded drive to catch up on all the Marvel title I wanted to read, but had fallen way behind on because I went digital only on my comic collecting and tightened up the comics buying fund to less epic levels. (Fifty some odd long boxes is too many. I couldn't store any more than that. Seriously.)

The panels I'm talking about both deal with interactions between Volstagg and Pastor Mike (the preacher of the small church in Braxton, OK, which is now basically right next door to Asgard) If you hang out with me on Facebook, or have had lunch with me in the last day or two, you already know how much I love the way Volstagg interacts with Pastor Mike.

Volstagg never surrenders his belief in his own godhood, but he also doesn't disrespect Mike's belief in God. Personally, I think Volstagg wishes he had such a devoted worshipper. Mike, however, is having trouble with the whole idea of Asgard being real and its gods walking around in Oklahoma. Here's one confrontation from issue #4:

The Mighty Thor, issue #3

Later in the six issue storyline, where Galactus is basically being Galactus and trying to devour worlds... or in this case a seed from the heart of the World Tree which also seems to be the basis of all worlds and cycles of existence, and amidst some wonderful Loki, Thor, and silver Surfer scenes involving the phrase "silver bastard" and a line from Sif which shall live in infamy... when she must choose between grabbing her blanket, to defend her modesty, or her sword, to defend her person (guess which one she chose)... we have another great panel in which Volstagg answers the question "What is that thing?" (meaning Galactus) and responds with the line that made me laugh so hard that I woke up my sleeping wife.

The Mighty Thor, Issue #5


I simply adore the phrase "small friend of Jesus". Matt Fraction treads so carefully and so deftly here, creating humor, and enlightening without crossing the line in condescension, that it boggles the mind.  Really, though, the tale of Pastor Mike has an even cooler moment in issue six which I cannot bring myself to spoil.  So, I'll just say this: Very rarely are comics today completely worth the price of admission.  Fans like me read them for the bright points where the characters we love shine and sparkle in story-lines like The Dark Knight Returns or Age of Apocalypse or... the first six issues of The Mighty Thor.

In short: Well worth the read.

Thursday, January 5, 2012

Favorite Panel Friday (On a Thursday)

Comics are a big deal to me.

That deserved a paragraph of its own. I'm so into comics that my dream comic gig isn't X-men (though that one would be awesome) or Wolverine (who is my favorite character and has been since I read Uncanny X-men #193 and started seriously collecting comics) it's Devil Dinosaur. So... proof positive I'm a comic geek.  And I've been trying to think of things to blog about more and, given that you guys probably don't want to hear about every cool thing my sons do each day, I think I'm going to start doing something I've avoided in the past and talk about comics.

One thing I'd like to do each week is feature my favorite panel from the week's new releases and since tomorrow I'm going to cheat and pick one that's from a comic I read yesterday that wasn't a new release, I thought I'd share my favorite panel from a new release today:


Not my favorite title of the week (that would likely be Fatale #1 or Uncanny X-force #19.1), but still fun. I dig Jeph Loeb's stuff and I'm a big Ed McGuinness fan, so I would have been picking this comic up even if it wasn't a preamble to the big upcoming cross-over between Avengers and the X-men. 

Spoilers Follow: So... one of the things I enjoy in a good time travel storyline is when the time travelers have things wrong because they are acting on assumptions so far into the future that their knowledge of them basically guarantees that future won't exist. I just wish the time travelers themselves would realize that every once and a while.

If we read what's happened correctly, then Cable has made a huge error. He thinks the Hulk is some guy named Talbot, but we know *shhh, it's a secret to everybody* that he's actually Thunderbolt Ross. (And Talbot is a Mouser from my Void City books, so while he could be behind all of this, I highly doubt it. Note: And yes, I know he likely meant Glenn Talbot, but I'm being silly.) Cue sound effect: Bum-bum-BUM! Of course, Cable has already made a huge error in thinking that the Avengers he knows are going to decide to murder Hope, his adopted daughter and last "hope" for the mutant species as a whole, etc, for no good reason... Cause Captain America and Iron Man are always running around and murdering people.  Oh wait.  No they don't. Hey... um... Cable...

But, we have to give Cable a break because he is trying to do all this last minute daughter saving while the techno virus that gives him that big metal arm and stuff is finally eating him, killing his brain, and turning him into a techno-organic lump of either dead stuff or evil villain.  Who can know for sure? I know this, I'm really digging the scenes from Cable's time with Hope when she was growing up.

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Happy New Year From The Void

The holidays have put me behind on blogging. 



Writing stuff that you can't see yet has put me way behind on blogging, too. As has Skyrim, but don't get me started on that. Seriously awesome, but also a serious time sink. (Note: My cat does look good in his Dragonplate, though. He will look spooky in his Daedric Armor when I'm done with it, so I'm not sure if he'll wear it even if the armor rating *is* better, because I don't fancy the idea of him looking quite so much like the Dark Lord Sauron.)

Did I mention Burned: A Void City novel comes out on the last day of January?

Yep, it does. So that's cool. Or, I think it is.

Also cool is that the awesome folks at Bragelonne sent me this card via international mail:
You would not believe the smile that put on all of our faces here at the Lewis House. They also picked up the French language rights for CROSSED. :)