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.