Monday, December 26, 2011

Ring In The New Year With On The Bird!


Exciting news!

As it turns out, I'll be going on something of an impromptu blog tour throughout the month of January, and it starts today!

I sat down for an interview with Moonlit It was great fun, though Christine seems to have identified my potential for taking over the world. >..>

Gotta watch out for that one!

On January 9-17, I'll be appearing on the blog of Liz Newman, who runs Gypsy Shadow Publishing.

I also have reviews of Weaver and Atticus popping up on My Mercurial Musings. Dates TBA.

And possibly one or two other stops, but I need to finalize those first.

Oh, and for extra fun, check out the guest post at Book Briefs, in which Congressman Hoyt Boone mounts a spirited defense of the Post Unveiling Tort Reform Act ("PUTRA")..

Think that will keep you guys busy while I finish writing The Void (currently sitting at 10k words, btw)?

Hope everyone had a good holiday.


John A

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

"Dude, Who Broke YOUR Heart?" (Or, My Treatment of Relationships In Fiction)

One question I get asked with some regularity is "Can't you ever let two of your characters hook up and just be happy?" I've taken a rather dim view on happy relationships in my work since back when I was just telling stories to my five friends who played in my RPGs -- any time a couple finally resolved its unresolved sexual tension, you could count on one of the partners dying, going evil, losing their memory, or meeting some similarly dreadful fate. Even those who have been encouraging me for some time to "go public" with my stories have raised skeptical eyebrows at my approach to love stories.

Some people have suggested that I refuse to portray a happy relationship because I've never been in one. I won't bore you with my personal life, but suffice it to say that anyone who's ever met my significant other would quickly laugh at this notion. (Incidentally, folks, she's the best creative mind in our relationship, and I look forward to co-writing some things with her soon so that you can all see how amazing she is.)

Other people suppose that I'm simply following in the footsteps of my (de)mentor, Joss Whedon. There's some truth to this -- Whedon is fond of committing relationship massacres. (See i.e., Buffy season 2, Buffy season 6, Serenity (!!!), Dollhouse season 1).

But mostly, I take this approach to relationships because it's the best way to tell stories. Fiction is not real life, and things that are acceptable in real life are intolerable in stories. For instance, a person might happily accept a period of months or even a year in their life with little notable activity, but writing page after page of a book in which nothing significant happens is the quickest way to make sure the book sits on a shelf gathering dust. (I suspect even the most avid readers would have little patience for "He woke up. He ate Cheerios for breakfast. He brushed his teeth. He put on a suit. He went to work." Etc.)

Stories require conflict to sustain them in a way that real life does not. So while harmony may be desirable in actual relationships, narratives thrive on interpersonal tension.

To put it another way, Unresolved Sexual Tension can add to a story in a variety of ways. It can be a catalyst for character change or growth, or a way of bringing out aspects of a character that aren't otherwise obvious. It  can create animosity between potential suitors in a love triangle. It can create those "awwww" moments that make you want to throw popcorn at the screen. And so on. Resolved Sexual Tension does none of these things.

So no, I'm not a hater or anything like it. The cold truth is that stories are just better when you don't give the characters what they want (romantically speaking, at least). It's like they say in The Godfather: "It's not personal, Sonny. It's strictly business."

And who knows, maybe someday I'll surprise you all. Maybe ....

Monday, December 19, 2011

Exciting things happening!

Hey folks --

Just a few quick updates.

First of all, The Void, a.k.a Weaver 2, is currently sitting at around 6.4k words.

Second of all, I'm proud to announce that on January 9th, I'll be guest-posting on the blog of the talented Liz R. Newman. You won't want to miss it, folks!

Third of all, those of you who've read Weaver (which is still free on Smashwords with coupon code BY83E, by the way), don't forget to leave your reviews on Amazon! Let's build some hype for The Void!

Back to the Writer's Cave for me. More later.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Words of a newfound fan

One of my readers over in the United Kingdom recently posted this rather remarkable  review of Atticus for the  Undead on her blog. I'm always flattered when readers like my work, but I found this review particularly touching. As such, I post it here (warning: mild spoilers within):

Atticus for the Undead is a legal drama set in a time when supernatural beings are no longer simply the stuff of our imaginations. Despite the fact that supernaturals – or arcane, for better description – are all around us, as a society, we are reluctant to let them have an equal status. Whilst calling ourselves civilized, we are bigots at heart, and we treat arcanes with just about the same level of tolerance the first wave of black slaves must have felt on their arrival, centuries ago.
John Abramowitz utilises this blinkered, hateful relationship as a base from which he constructs the castle of his story.
Hunter Gamble and his sidekick, Kirsten Harper, have found their niche in developing a successful law practice which specialises in arcane cases. Unlike the vast majority of the population, they are still flying the flag for the fundamental shred of humanity, the one which dictates that people should treat every person as a human being, regardless of ability, looks or political orientation.
Not in the least judgemental, they work well together and help out the vulnerable people marginalised by society, or in Sabrina’s case, shunned by their very families.
Family relationships are well observed and the tensions between different generations perfectly depicted using flawless, clever dialogue. John Abramowitz illustrates with ease the stiffness and rigidity of higher social classes without detracting from the main storyline with unnecessary obscurities.
The court proceedings are absolutely spot-on. John Abramowitz shows us just how comfortable he is with the legal environment. The casework, courtroom action, even the theatricals exhibited by a cunning prosecutor with a political agenda are all very realistic, the dialog is witty and intense, but uncluttered of the legal terms that would thoroughly confuse a layman.
To conclude and without giving away any more of the story, Atticus for the Undead was a nice surprise for me. Pleasant and entertaining, it stays with you long after you’ve put it down. To be perfectly honest, when I heard there were zombies and witches among the characters, my natural hatred of terror and violence almost stopped me from reading what is without doubt the best fiction work from an independent author I’ve read in recent months.
Thank you, John, for a brilliant read. Now, only one more thing: when do we get to read the sequel?

Get your copy now!

Saturday, December 10, 2011

You wish, and I deliver

All right, friends, due to the overwhelming positive response (by which  I mean, everyone that DID vote, voted yes), I'm going to give away Weaver for a limited time.

Here's how it works:

Go to Weaver's Smashwords page and enter this coupon code: BY83E.

That should enable you to get the book for free. Then read it, and post your reviews on Smashwords and Amazon. (If you have to pick one, pick Amazon.)

If you have any problems doing so, leave a comment for me here.


John A

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Tough Act To Follow

I'm sure it's happened to every writer (and probably most singers, actors, and other artists) at some point.

The bolt of inspiration strikes, as it so rarely does for most of us (this job is roughly 97% perspiration and 3% inspiration), you sit down, you work hard, you give up your sleep and your soul for a good couple of months (or more) ... and you create something you're really, really proud of. Something that justifies your entire decision to go into such an impractical field, despite all the friends, relatives, and career  counselors who warned you about the high probability of sleeping in a shoe box. Something that, if you could only get people to notice it, you're convinced could be really, truly great.

And then what?

Once you've published the book, finished the blog tour or the book tour, made the NYTimes or Amazon best seller list (or, in the case of a lot of us indies, really, really NOT made said lists), once the euphoria has died down, you return home ... and realize you have to write the next thing.

This is the point at which the giddy, light-headed feeling gives way to a sick, anxious, cowering-under-the-bed feeling. Because how the hell are you going to do that? The little perfectionist in the back of your brain knows, just knows, that everyone is going to expect it of you now, no one is going to be satisfied with anything of lesser quality to the Awesome that you just did. You're sure that unless you hit it out of the park, you're going to fall on your face in front of your entire audience. And that is the most terrifying prospect imaginable, no matter how large or small your audience is.

That's where I am right now.

I truly believe that Atticus for the Undead was one of the high watermarks of my creative career -- one of the best and cleverest stories I've ever told (and I've been telling stories a lot longer than I've been writing novels). But it's done now, and now I'm turning my attention to The Void. The trouble is that the little perfectionist in me won't shut up.

Don't get me wrong, I'm absolutely confident that The Void will be a good book. With a little help from my trusty beta readers, it can probably be a great book. But can it equal Atticus in quality?

The perfectionist isn't so sure. The perfectionist thinks I'm out of good pitches.

Of course, if I listened to the perfectionist, I never would have started self-publishing to begin with. Every writer knows that a major part of writing is eventually, at some point, deciding that your work is good enough and telling that little voice to go shove it. But in the meantime, it can make life damn frustrating.

This post doesn't have a tidy ending, because I haven't yet effectively told the perfectionist to shut up. So, now that I've once again used way too many parentheses in a blog post, I'll throw it open to my writer friends (and others): Do you know the feeling?

Saturday, December 3, 2011

Atticus Update!

The issue with the cover image has been fixed. It now appears on Atticus's Barnes & Noble page as normal.


John A

Friday, December 2, 2011

Your input is wanted!

At the moment, I'm starting work on the second volume of The Weaver Saga, which is currently sitting at around 2,000 words. I'd like to get people excited about it for when it does go live (probably in March of 2012).

To get people excited to read Weaver 2, though, first we have to let them know about Weaver itself. To that end, I'm contemplating making it free for another week on Smashwords (as I did the week that Atticus went live) to encourage people to pick it up and read it.

If I did that, would you be willing and have the time to read it and post an honest review on Amazon? (Note that I said "honest," not necessarily positive.) Getting more people talking about the book would probably get more people reading the book. Thus, you'd get a good story and I'd get a larger following for my next novel.

What do you folks say? You up for it?

Voice your opinion by taking the poll to the right!

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Dancing With The Stars

So everybody knows that writing has its frustrations: long hours, lots of re-writes, (in my case very) low pay. Even moreso when you're a self-publishing writer, the bias against which I discuss here and here. But today I'd like to talk about one of the great pleasures of this job: namely, the chance to interact with (and get support from) other authors.

Some people have suggested that the internet is making our society a true democracy at last, in which all ideas receive an equal hearing. I think this idea has been largely debunked in other contexts, but I know from personal  experience that it has allowed me to communicate with my writing peers and colleagues in a way that might not, previously, have been possible. The miracle of Twitter has allowed for a real-time exchange of thoughts, ideas, and favors.

For instance, when I started reading Sweet Venom, by the inestimable Tera Lynn Childs, it seemed to me that the early chapters smacked of Buffy influence. In a previous era, fans might have had for some interviewer to notice the same thing and ask the author about it, but I didn't! I just Tweeted her and asked away. (It turns out I was right, by the way: she started watching the shows as "research" for the series and promptly became obsessed. Thus did I not only talk to an awesome fellow author, but meet a fellow Whedon afficionado! Joy to the world!)

And when I put together the promotional campaign for my most recent novel Atticus for the Undead (featuring the first ever trial of a zombie for eating brains!), I decided to do something really ballsy and ask some fellow authors if they'd read it and plug it on their websites or in their Tweets if they liked it. A show of chutzpah on my part, certainly -- there was no reason to expect that established and successful authors would  care a whit about my little book -- but it paid off. A few days after I e-mailed out the ARCs, I was rewarded by a gushing e-mail from the amazing Angela Scott (whose book, Wanted: Dead or Undead is on my list to buy as soon as it hits shelves) telling me that she loved the book and thought I was on track to be among the great fiction writers! (Seriously, folks, that one made my whole day. I e-mailed a bunch of friends and family and went SQUEEEEEEE! AN ACTUAL WRITER WITH ACTUAL TALENT ACTUALLY LIKES ME!) Ms. Scott proceeded to become a follower of my blog.

I've also gained writer-friends in people like Lindsay Buroker and Pam von Hylckama. Not only do these people and I trade fabulously witty Tweets on a daily basis, I've even been able to guest post on their blogs. (My nefarious plan worked so  well that I'm pretty sure they even think I was doing them a favor by saving them the trouble of writing a blog entry that day. In reality, I was on Cloud 9 for the opportunity.)

So, yes, I don't get much sleep (as Lindsay can attest) and the pay is all-but-nonexistent and I want to tear my hair out with every new book. But in one respect, at least, becoming an author really has allowed me to dance with the stars.

*My thanks to all the authors and bloggers who have shown support for my projects. You are the lifeblood of On The Bird.

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Top Ten Reasons Why YOU Want To Read "Atticus for the Undead"

10.) Because it's better than whatever task you're procrastinating on.

9.) Because neither Once Upon A Time nor Terra Nova have zombies

8.) Because you want to see if John uses as many parentheses in his books as he does in his blog posts (He doesn't, we promise.)

7.) Because zombies are the 99%. (They work in dangerous conditions -- what with the high risk of being shot in the head, and all -- with no pay, education, or health benefits, are the subject of vicious and inaccurate stereotypes, and 1% of the zombies consume 70% of the brains.)

6.) Because Hunter Gamble is damn sexy.

5.) Four words: Sabrina the teenage witch.

4.) Because you want to see the extra goodie we hid at the end of the book. (This one's for real, folks. Be sure to keep turning the e-pages after the story ends.)

3.) Because now you're really  curious about that whole "parentheses" thing.

2.) Because it's what Chuck Norris would do.

1.) Because it's an awesome story, has received uniformly positive reviews from the blogs and Kirkus Reviews, and only costs 2.99. Oh, and did we mention the ZOMBIES?

Convinced yet?

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Guest post!


Today I hopped on over to the blog of the delightful Bookalicious Pam to share some thoughts. (Delightful, that is, except when she starts binging on American Horror Story. Watch out! :)) See what I had to say here.

Monday, November 28, 2011

Traditional publishing house as "quality" filter

I saw this the other day on a website I went to where the discussion of "are self-pubbers worth reading" was being had. The commenter suggested that while it was greatly unfair to many high-quality self-publishing authors, it was unfortunately probably best to let the publishing houses and their screening process weed out the bad/lazy writers.

But I have to ask myself if we honestly believe that?

We've all heard, for instance, the story of J.K. Rowling, whose first Harry Potter novel was rejected by a dozen publishers before she found one willing to publish it. I think anyone who suggested that the first dozen were correct in their judgment would find a lot of people to disagree with them. (And I suspect that the owners of those publishing houses are probably hanging their heads and wringing their hands even as we speak.)

And we can all think of some books/series that made it past the traditional publishing houses that we wish hadn't. (I'll make no comment here, though you can  probably guess at least some of my thoughts on the matter.)

Also, as my writer friend Angela Scott wisely put it, "it's all subjective." Ask ten people what makes a good story and you're likely to get twelve different responses. Almost any work, in almost any style, is going to find some people who think it's brilliant. Story quality is a matter of taste. (Editing, admittedly, is not. And as I say below, I'm on a one man quest to prove that not all self-pubbers are lax on this front.)

So, with all due respect to the traditional publishing process, I have to ask -- isn't it ultimately up to the reader/buyer to exercise their own filter, regardless of whether the book is trad-pubbed or self-pubbed?

Saturday, November 26, 2011

what's with all the self-pub hate?

So, I have to ask:

What's with all the hate against self-published authors?

I see it everywhere I go: Goodreads comments, Amazon reviews, etc. To judge by the discussions that go on in places like those, self-pubbers are roughly as popular as the United States Congress (currently sitting at 9% approval rating, by the way).

As a self-publishing author, I don't exactly take this personally -- after all, it couldn't possibly be aimed at me or in response to anything I did, since I only hopped on the self-publishing bandwagon relatively recently. Still, I can't help but be concerned by it.

After all, I didn't get into this on a whim, and I intend to take it as far as I can -- all the way to a print deal with a dead-tree publisher, if I can manage it. But my chances of that are significantly lessened if no one will read my books because I'm a self-publisher.

I understand people may have legitimate reasons for rejecting self-published authors. I'm sure many self-pubbers are lax on the editing or the proofreading. Also, not needing to be "accepted" by anyone for publication probably leads to some crap stories making it to print (though I can think of a few crap stories that made their way through the filters of traditional publishing houses, too).

At the same time, though, I'll never get anywhere if no one is willing to take a chance and go against the apparently-widespread prejudice against self-publishers.

So, here is the promise I make to all of you. My "seal of quality," as it were:

1.) Nothing I write will ever reach your Kindles (or Noooks, etc.) without passing through at least 3 sets of eyes besides mine. Don't take my word for it -- I always credit my editors and proofreaders in the acknowledgments section. I can't promise you there will never be a typo, but there will be damn few.

2.) I will never ask you to buy a story of mine without providing a "sample" of it for you to read free of charge. All of my currently-available stories have such samples on their respective pages on this blog. This way, you can judge for yourself whether the writing and editing are up to snuff. You'll have to trust me that the quality of the sample reflects the quality of the rest of the novel. If you don't think so when you finish reading -- write a bad review. I promise, I won't start a flame war. :)

3.) I will only ever publish stories that I truly, personally believe in. I said on Lindsay Buroker's blog that you have to love what you write, and I truly believe that.

I take my obligations to my readers very seriously. I ask you for the chance to prove that.

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Atticus Makes The News!

This one is extra exciting since it's the newsletter for a UK corporate law firm!

I feel a British readership coming on.

Check it out!

*Wow, I fail at linking correctly today, apparently. Oops. :P

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

We might just pull this crazy stunt off...

As I write this, Atticus for the Undead is #81 in Amazon's "Legal Thrillers" Top 100 list. Help push that number up!

Let's see if we can get it into the top 20!

Many thanks for all you do,


Sunday, November 20, 2011


Atticus for the Undead is HERE!

Or rather, it's here and here. And behind the "Legal Fiction Series" tab above. :)


Friday, November 18, 2011

John Guest-Blogs!

That's right, I did -- on the website of the very-talented Lindsay Buroker! See what I had to say here.

(Oh, and feel free to pick up some of her books while you're at it, folks. I just started The Emperor's Edge myself and am thoroughly amused and impressed so far.)

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Two-for-one deal

In honor of the release of Atticus for the Undead (Nov. 21, for anyone who hasn't already heard me say it 10398419831981 times), I've decided that I will make my debut novel, Weaver, free on for that entire week. (I may do this on Amazon too.)

So, in summary, two books for 99 cents. How can you go wrong?

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Let's talk TV!

So --
Atticus is all-but-complete (I'm just putting in a few finishing touches and waiting for the review bloggers to finish their work), and I haven't started The Void yet 'cause I've been busy with the day job  and working on some promotional stuff. So I don't have any writing-related things to talk about. As such, I thought I'd give my takes on some new shows that have come on this season.

Feel free to leave comments. I'm always happy to discuss my TV habit. :)

Terra Nova
So, does Steven Spielberg have a dinosaur fetish, or what?

But seriously, the prehistoric-time-travel premise has never been particularly exciting to me, so I wasn't really expecting to enjoy this show. Imagine my surprise, then, when I ended up enjoying it quite a lot. It has most of the elements I crave in my fantasy fiction: interesting characters, moral ambiguity, a complex mythology/backstory that's slowly being teased out, and touches of camp to soften the show's more serious content.

It hasn't gotten too dark -- yet -- but all the signs are that that will change. Taylor and Mira are complex characters who are well acted, and the actors play off of each other beautifully. I like most of the Shannon family, except for Josh, and it looks like he's being an idiot now so he can be a badass later. Skye is currently a bit one-dimensional, but the actress is adorable.

All in all, a very strong show that's off to a very promising start.

Once Upon A Time
I'm probably one of the only people in America who wasn't enthralled by the pilot episode of this show. Incredibly cheesy scenes in the fairy tale world combined with one too many unbelievable decisions from protagonist Emma Swan nearly had me switching channels for good.

Since then, however, the show has gotten much better. Among the highlights are the dimensions the writers have brought to the Queen, who is still unmistakably evil, but also has a tragic element to her that you can't help feeling strangely sorry for. Or at least I couldn't. Also, the actor who plays Rumpelstiltskin/Mr. Gold is brilliant and the writers know just how to write his dialogue. It's tight, to the point, and vaguely ominous. And Emma herself, as she proved in the first episode before she started making bad decisions, is a raging badass. No damsels in distress here. I've seen a lot of shows (including some true greats, like Dollhouse) in which the main characters were the weakest and the joy of the show was in the supporting cast. Not OUAT. Emma's solid gold.

All in all, I'm glad I gave the show a second chance, and I think I can safely say that I've moved into the "fan" category.

The Nine Lives of Chloe King
Yes, I watch it.

This is another show whose pilot nearly lost me for good. I realize it's a tween show, but I come from the Whedon school of strong female characters, and the portrayal of Chloe as boy crazy (and willing to even talk to a guy who shoved her into a wall on first meeting) struck me as almost offensive.

Once again, however, this is a show that got better with time. Mostly, anyway. The main joy of Chloe King for me is the antagonist (or at least, one of the antagonists), Whitley Rezza, and his evolving relationship with his son Brian. Whitley leads a double life -- on one hand, he's a powerful member of a group called the Order, which works to kill Chloe and others like her (the Mai, a group of part-humans, part-gods). On the other hand, he's Brian's distant and demanding father, a single parent in the wake of Whitley's wife's death. As a father, Whitley is somewhere between Lionel Luthor on Smallville and HRG on Heroes. He's not nearly as warm as HRG was to Claire, and yet he's much more protective of Brian than Lionel was of Lex. Both sides have secrets: Whitley is trying to kill the girl Brian likes, while Brian is investigating his mother's death.

Also, many of the supporting characters are very enjoyable, particularly Paul, the archetypal comic book nerd and the perfect person to keep the show from taking itself too seriously. Even Alek, who has been my least favorite character so far, is starting to show some signs of growth.

Occasionally this one still makes me want to throw the remote at the screen, mostly when it deals with the love triangle. The show's creators are apparently trying to set "Team Brian" against "Team Alek," but I always find myself on Team "Why The Hell Do Either Of Them Put Up With Her???" I truly find it unbelievable that both of them, and particularly Brian, haven't just given up and walked away several times over.

Having said that, if you can hit the "mute" button during those scenes, there's fun to be had here.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

"Atticus" update!

Point The First: The official release date for Atticus for the Undead is November 21st. It will be available at and Barnes and on that day, with an iTunes release to follow a couple of weeks later.

Point the Second: Official McClain & Gamble firm blog!

That's all for now.

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Laying down the gauntlet

So, I've had some people tell me already that they're really excited about what they've read of Atticus so far and wondering how to get more. Well, the obvious way is to wait for release day (which I definitely think will be sometime in November, by the way), but for those who can't wait that long, here's another option:

You guys want more story. I want more readers. So I propose we work together and achieve both goals. If you guys can get 25 people to either share the post "The Unveiling" on Facebook or "+1" it, I'll make another snippet public. Any combination of Facebook shares and +1s will do. If you Share it on Facebook, leave me a comment letting me know you've done it if you're not on my friends list there. You should friend me, by the way.

So, 25 shares / +1s for me, more story for you. Sound like a deal?

Also, I've been informed that the editing notes are visible at the end of the prologue and first chapter. I don't see them, but I will fix this problem tomorrow.

That's all for now. Happy Halloween!

Monday, October 24, 2011

The Unveiling!

Ladies and gentlemen-
I am proud to announce that the long-promised moment has arrived!

Yes, friends, here you get your first look at the project that has cost me most of my sleep for the last two months. So, without further ado...

The novel is called Atticus for the Undead. It centers around an idealistic young attorney, Hunter Gamble, who works in a very special area of the practice -- arcane defense. Twelve years ago, the world discovered through an event called The Unveiling that vampires, werewolves, zombies, and other creatures previously thought purely mythical were, in fact, real. This changed the fabric of American life in a number of ways, not least of which -- they needed somebody to go to court for them! And so, with the help of shy-but-energetic  research attorney Kirsten Harper, Hunter sets out to make the world a better place -- one arcane client at a time. (Don't call them supernaturals, it's rude!)

When a young zombie walks into Hunter's office accused of murder (by brain-eating, of course), Hunter must navigate a complex web of political, legal, and cultural obstacles to secure the man's freedom -- if he can.

Here is the finished cover image, excellently done by Mark  Vickrey:

And here are the prologue and first chapter. Enjoy, and please leave comments. It is important to me that my  work works for you!

Friday, October 21, 2011

Still alive. I promise.

I know I've been horrible about updating this thing lately. I'm still alive, just working overtime to finish [REDACTED], which I will soon be able to un-redact. My artist sent me another version of the cover image this evening, and it's nearly complete and looks stunning. Sorry for the extended tease, but the wait will be just a little longer, I promise.

In the meantime, everyone should check out Terra Nova, as it is a highly entertaining show and I'm hoping it will get renewed for more seasons.

Also planning to catch the pilot of Once Upon A Time, as I'm slightly obsessed with fairy tale remakes.

And super-jealous of peeps at Blizzcon. Though I'm interested to see WoW!Pandas. :D

*heads back to the writer's cave*

Saturday, October 15, 2011


So, as you may have guessed, I'm a regular watcher of this show, and last night's episode was just ... wow.

[Warning, spoilers]

Point the first: John Noble deserves like a dozen Emmys for this show. He's just astounding.
Point the second: So Walter and Nina dislike each other, while Nina and Olivia have a mother-daughter sort of relationship in this continuity. They were developing Nina into a sort of mother figure or parallel for Olivia in the previous timeline as well, but this time it's apparently official --  she remembers Olivia getting asked to prom? Meanwhile, Olivia now apparently remembers being experimented on as a child?
Point the third: I thought a large portion of Olivia's default distrust  came from her family life. But if Nina was a surrogate mother in this timeline, wouldn't that have warmed her up some? I see two possibilities. Either 1.) killing her stepfather (!!!) was a wound that ran too deep for the healing, or 2.) Nina didn't TRY to make her a warmer or more trusting person, and may in fact have encouraged her paranoid instincts. Given the lecture we saw her giving on "what Massive Dynamic cares about," I suspect the second. I <3 my manipulative bitch. :)
Point the fourth: So Peter is the reason that Walter didn't become a germ-o-phobe in the previous continuity?
Point the fifth: PETER!!!!!

Friday, October 14, 2011

Good news, everyone!

I think I found the place to upload your stuff  for e-publishing on the Nook. This means that those of you with Nooks hopefully won't have to deal with the Smashwords formatting. :)

Final word count for tonight

3,007. :)

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Process story

So, one thing I've found is that when I run up against a wall in writing, it's best not to try to force it. If I force myself to write a scene just for the sake of cranking out a certain number of words per day, I invariably end up having to junk it because it's not very good. I find that if I give my brain a little time, the story will tell me what it wants to be?

Let the Force flow, I guess?

Of course, all of this is harder to remember when you're trying to get a book out by a  deadline (even if it is self-imposed).

Also, for the sake of promoting writers not-myself (we're all in it together, after all), I'm currently reading Sweet Venom, by Tera Lynn Childs, which I picked up after hearing it would appeal to Whedon fans. Haven't had as much time to read as I would like due to trying to get  my book done for you guys, but I'm enjoying it so far. Kudos!

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Exciting news about [REDACTED]

So, I have decided that when my awesome new cover artist (no, really, folks, he's pretty rockin', you should check him out here) finishes the cover for [REDACTED], I'm going to end (some of) the suspense surrounding the new book!

What does that mean, exactly?

It means that I will upload the cover image onto this very blog, as well as reveal the title of the book, AND post the Prologue and first chapter here for everyone to read, free of charge. Just to whet your little appetites, and everything.

I'm working as hard as I can to finish this thing  (23,675 words, and I've actually written many more when you count all the re-writing) and I anticipate a mid-to-late November release date. You can read it while recovering from overstuffing on Thanksgiving turkey. :D

Friday, October 7, 2011

Get a FREE COPY of the Antlerbury Tales now!

You read that right! For the next 24 hours, anyone and everyone can get a free copy of my short story, The Antlerbury Tales. Never heard of it, you say? Well ...

A rogue, a bard, and a paladin walk into a tavern …

This sounds like the start of a joke, but it’s actually the start of several pages full of them. This short story follows the exploits of a comically mismatched group of adventurers as they embark on a quest for The Dice, mythical objects with the power to change fate itself, and compete for the affections of a beautiful barmaid.

What do I have to do, you ask? Just go here and enter this coupon code: QK84B. Then you can get the story, for free, in any format you like. This should last for 24 hours unless I set up the coupon wrong.

If you have any troubles getting the story, just leave me a message here.  Feel free to also share your comments on the story once you finish it.


Self-imposed computer bondage

I'm  chained to my computer today for re-writes after a very insightful critique pointed me to some weaknesses in the working draft of [REDACTED]. Encouragement is welcome. :)

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Information about [REDACTED]

So, the  word count on my new novel, [REDACTED], a story about [REDACTED], stands at 20,136 at the moment.  I'm going to try really hard to finish it by the end of October and have it in your hands (or on your Kindle?)  early-to-mid-November, though obviously that depends on my schedule at the day job, among other things.

I also  got the initial sketch for the cover art today, and wow is it awesome. I'm not gonna show it here yet -- I'll do that when the novel is closer to completion. But suffice it to say that I'm very happy with what I saw and am excited for the book's release.

Stay tuned.

P.S. Am I driving all of you crazy with the suspense yet?

P.P.S. While I certainly encourage picking up Weaver, I'd also encourage people not to forget about my short story, The Antlerbury Tales, which should appeal to anyone who is a fan of traditional fantasy or  roleplaying games. Abandon hope (of not bursting out laughing),  all ye who enter here!

Tuesday, October 4, 2011 loves Weaver!

"John Abramowitz has crafted a wonderful story that is truly a page turner. Each page presents a new part of the puzzle. ... While many Book Ones tend to meander as new characters are introduced, Mr. Abramowitz has done an excellent job of pacing both story and character development so that the two are intertwined. There is no extra fluff in Weaver, each and every page advances the story and our relationship with the characters."

See  what people are talking about!

Saturday, October 1, 2011

Austin Teen Book Fair

Just got back from it, and  the authors I met not only expressed a fondness for Harry Potter  (which I expected), but were familiar with and loved Firefly (which I didn't) and at least one counted Wicked as her favorite musical of all time (see previous post re: writer's nirvana). I'm beginning to think I was destined to go this route...

Now,  do they use parentheses as obsessively as  I do?

Friday, September 30, 2011

"This is his hair..."

So I just started my twitter account (@onthebird, by the way), and have been running around following all my favorite geek stars.  Maybe  someday  one of them will actually read my stories...

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Uh oh...

So, whenever I write dialogue for the main character in my forthcoming fantasy novel, I hear Malcolm Reynolds saying the lines in my mind. I feel like part of my editing process will have to be going back  and making sure I didn't put the words "gorram" or "shiny" in there anywhere...

Monday, September 26, 2011

Weaver reviewed!

"Attention fans of The Vladimir Todd SeriesAlex RiderSuck It Up, or even The Reformed Vampire Support Group and James Patterson YA - expecially the Maximum Ride series, I've officially met your next obsession: The Weaver Saga."

Today's accomplishment

So, while I'm keeping much about the new novel under wraps (though see my entry from the 22nd for details on how to score an advance copy of the first  chapter!), I will now make one thing official:

I have managed to find a way to plausibly insert Wicked into the novel.

I have officially reached writer's nirvana.  :)

(Oh, and 11,895 words, by the way.)

Sunday, September 25, 2011


So, to all you Fringe watchers out there, I have to say that, while I want Peter to come back  as much as anybody, Olivia and Lincoln are cute  and a good team. (Even if Lincoln on this side totally reminds me of Clark Kent. I keep waiting for him to rip open his suit  and show us the "S" on his chest. If Anna Torv ever dies her  hair  brown, my brain will break.)

Saturday, September 24, 2011

Still more progress!

10,788 words, and I'm hoping I'll have time to finish the chapter I'm on before the day's out.  Either way,  I'm discovering that I'm  not nearly as good at writing Unresolved Sexual Tension  scenes when I work alone. It's so much easier to make it flow and not feel / sound like crap when I have someone else to write the other party's reactions.

Oh well.

P.S., don't forget about the  contest! Be the first to get 10 other people to buy one of my stories, and get a free sample of the novel currently in progress!  See my entry from Sept. 22 for details.

New novel progress

Now at 9,521 words and stopping for tonight.

Want a chance to read some of those words before everyone else does? Participate in the contest discussed in yesterday's entry!

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Important Announcement! (DUN DUN DUUUUUUUUUUUUN!)

So, my forthcoming novel is now  sitting at around 8k words.

But that's not the big announcement.

The big announcement is that I'm opening an opportunity for YOU to get a sample copy of the forthcoming new novel!

How do you do that, you ask?

Simple! Be the first person to convince ten other people to pick up either Weaver or The Antlerbury Tales. All ten do NOT have to pick up the same one -- any combination of the two that equals ten purchases will do!

So here's how you do it:
1.) You talk to your friends / family / mortal  enemies / whoever
2.) You convince them to buy my book or short story (or both)
3.) Have them forward me the e-mail purchase receipt that Amazon sends you after you buy something (I think Smashwords does too. If it doesn't, just let me know), and have them include your name as the person recommending me to their attention. PLEASE DELETE ANY CREDIT CARD INFORMATION ON THE RECEIPT. Send this to
4.) When someone gets to 10, I'll announce a winner.
5.) You e-mail me at so I have your address.
6.) I send you the prize!

Get it? Got it? Good. Go to it!

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Writer's block

So, does anyone else hit a point in their projects where they go, "Man, this idea totally isn't gonna work at all? How could I have thought this would make a good story? AAAAAAAAAGH!!!1"

I totally hit that point with every project. I hit it with Weaver, I hit it with Antlerbury, and now I've hit it with the new novel. Logically, I know it's bullsh-t most of the time, but convincing my brain of that, man ...

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Appendix to yesterday's update

Finally re-formatted The Antlerbury Tales and uploaded it to Smashwords. It's available on the site now, and in theory they'll get around to distributing it to B&N, Apple, etc. at some point soon.

Now it's back to my writer's cave for work on a couple of full-length novels...

Monday, September 19, 2011

Still not king.

But I am the proud author of my newly-published short story, The Antlerbury Tales. It is 5k words, 99 cents, and anyone who is remotely involved with geek culture (i.e., anyone likely to read this blog at all) will LOVE it. It's currently on, as you can see from my widget. Sometime this week I'll re-format it and post it on Smashwords, but for now -- Kindle readers, ahoy!

Also, it's very silent on here -- feel free to leave me messages. I don't bite (usually).

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Coming projects

Not really sure what to say about Sept. 11, but I feel like I shouldn't leave it unmentioned.

As far as writing goes, my short story, The Antlerbury Tales, is finished and edited, but it's turning out that there's a bit of bureaucracy involved in actually self-publishing it. But it IS coming, and soon. I'll give you more details when I have them.

Meanwhile, the word count on the next (as yet undisclosed) novel stands at 6,277. Trust me when I say, you'll all love it. Frustratingly, I haven't had that much time to work on it lately due to a.) my day job as a lawyer keeping me busy, and b.) the fact that I've been sick the past few days.

Stay tuned ...

Sunday, September 4, 2011

My stories and the food chain

Stephen King (I think) once said that his books were the literary equivalent of a Big Mac and fries. I'd say mine are more of a McFlurry.

And I'm quite fine with that. :)

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Can't Stop The Signal

Back from a few days' vacation and back on the writing horse. Going to try to finish the short story tonight and start the next novel (not the next Weaver book. A new idea occurred to me and tickled me so much that I feel I HAVE to write it. Weaver part 2 will be next after that, I promise. :) )

Sunday, August 21, 2011

The Pace-maker

So, several of you have contacted me to offer your commentary on Weaver. I have found all of it very helpful, but this entry is to address one particular piece of criticism. Several of you have told me that, while enjoying the novel overall, you felt that the pacing of it was off somehow. My response to which is:

You're right.

The pacing is off. This is a function of me adapting to a new method of storytelling. Up until now, I've told stories in what I call "serial short" format -- with a bunch of short stories serving as "episodes" in larger overarching plotlines. So, basically, much more similar to the way a TV show might do things. This is my first real experience in doing things in a novel format, and you folks are right that I haven't gotten the pacing down yet.

Having said that? Stay with me. If you like the other aspects of what I do -- the characters and relationships and scene-setting and suspense and dialogue -- then hold on a little longer. I wasn't perfect as a GM when I started doing that, nor at making serial fiction when I started doing that. But one thing I am good at is learning from my mistakes. Like the stories themselves, my writing style is a work in progress.

But there are good things on the horizon. :)

Saturday, August 20, 2011

Weaver and what's next

So, Weaver has been live for about 1.5 weeks now. This means that my first few buyers have had some time to read, digest, and contemplate.

As such, John Abramowitz would like to ask you to share your thoughts on his novel. John Abramowitz has been telling stories in some form for quite some time now, but they've mostly been either RPGs or serial fiction. A novel is a completely different beast, and writing one has taught John Abramowitz that it poses some unique challenges. So, let him know how he's holding up.

(John Abramowitz also cringes at referring to himself in the third person this much. He apologizes for seeming pretentious, and promises that once Google is good and starts picking up his blog, he will stop.)

John Abramowitz would also like you to know that he is hard at work on the next thing. Not the next Weaver novel yet -- he wants to let the outline for that simmer a bit more in his head so he can flesh out some of the details before he starts writing. Instead, John Abramowitz is at work on a short story called The Antlerbury  Tales. It would be finished already, but John Abramowitz has been deluged with legal work lately. John Abramowitz finds this relieving because it means he can pay his rent, but it has left him with little time to write.

As it is, John Abramowitz thinks you should expect to see it go live in 2-3 more weeks.

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Weaver update

I will be uploading it as soon as the cover image is done,  it should be available for your reading pleasure on Thursday or Friday. :)

Monday, August 8, 2011

Yes yes, without the oops. That-a-way!

So, my blog has been about as sleepy as I've been lately. In the hopes of spicing things up, I've decided to put a little information about myself here:

John Abramowitz was born and raised in Texas, and educated in Iowa.

John Abramowitz, therefore, likes both barbecue and corn, to keep on good terms with both of his home states.

John Abramowitz is a unique combination of an egalitarian idealist and a Southern gentleman.

John Abramowitz is a mild-mannered lawyer by day and wild party boy writer by night.

John Abramowitz made this blog to promote his writing projects, starting with his forthcoming science fiction novel, Weaver.

John Abramowitz thinks that the only parts of that last sentence that were true are that he is a lawyer and writer.

John Abramowitz spends altogether too much time watching campy science fiction and fantasy television.

John Abramowitz feels silly talking about himself in the third person this way, as it suggests a pretentious quality that he normally eschews.

John Abramowitz fears that the number of big words in that last sentence do nothing to dispel the impression that he is pretentious.

John Abramowitz doesn't want to admit that he may or may not be writing this post for the sole purpose of getting hits on Google.

John Abramowitz will admit, however, that he got the idea to do the post this way from his good buddy Geoff.

John Abramowitz hopes to one day be a Big Damn Hero

And, finally,

John Abramowitz gives massive points to anyone who got the reference above.

Saturday, August 6, 2011


So, I'm John Abramowitz, like the thing at the side says.

This post is mostly to announce the imminent publication of my first novel, a science-fiction thriller called Weaver. I'm going the e-publishing route and it should appear on (and probably some other places) on Tuesday or Wednesday of this week. (That's the 9th or 10th of August, folks.) But so as not to be boring (or blatantly opportunistic), I thought I'd include some fun facts about myself, too. That's what first entries are all about, right? Right.

Q: How tall are you really?
A: I am six feet, seven and 1/2 inches tall.

Q: Do you play basketball?
A: No, no I do not. However, if I had a nickel for every time someone asked if I did, I could give away my stories for free.

I do, however, have one hobby based on my height -- namely, using the heads of people about a foot shorter than me as arm rests. This includes my mother and my girlfriend (much to their displeasure).

Q: Why "On The Bird"?
A: It's a World of Warcraft reference, actually. I started playing the game about six years ago as a sort of sanity saver during law school (because lord knows every law student needs one!), and back before there were flying mounts, the only way to get anywhere was through gryphon flights. These flights insisted on taking you past every stop on the way from Point A to Point B, and so they could get extremely long, especially when you were flying from one end of a continent to another.

A person on such a flight was referred to as being "on the bird," and so I named my blog that in parody of my hatred of long World of Warcraft gryphon flights.

Q: What made you decide to write a book?

A: Partly, the fact that the economy sucks.

But I've also been a fantasy nerd for most of my life. I went through my Star Wars phase, then my Ender's Game phase, then I devoured all three of the Star Trek spinoffs (Enterprise does NOT count), and for the last few years I've been obsessively watching Joss Whedon shows over and over. (Binge Whedoning?)

After all of this passive observing of other people's storytelling, I decided to do some of my own by running roleplaying games -- especially World of Darkness and Big Eyes, Small Mouth. It took a while to get good, but I discovered that I was a halfway decent plotter. The epiphany came when, on several occasions, I would use plot points in my RPGs and then, shortly thereafter, they would appear in shows I watch! (The most notable example being Fringe, where this happened several times. Great show, by the way, I highly recommend it.)

So that was when I realized that maybe I was good enough at making fiction to play in the big leagues.

To sum up, it was some combination of experience, ego, and the economy.

Q: Any advice for our viewers at home?
A: Yes. Make the Bad Horse gleeful, or he'll make you his mare.