Chasing Magic… A Giveaway of Sorts

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I know I’ve been pretty much gone from the blogosphere for the last few months. To those of you who read regularly, I’m sorry. I have had other matters to attend to since November, some good, some not so good. But attending to them I am.

One of those good matters is the anthology Chasing Magic from the CW Publishing House. The book, which includes my short story, “Unicorn Music,” will be released this Saturday for only 99 cents (for a limited time). Incidentally, I wrote about “Unicorn Music” months ago in this post. Anyway.

There’s an online release party for Chasing Magic over at Facebook and you’re all invited. Go here to tell the fine folks at CW you’ll be there. I’ll be hosting the online party from 1:00-1:30pm CST, answering questions, showing off my internet presence and skillz (z intended, duh), giving away a handful of autographed, paperback copies of my sci-fi/horror/dystopian novel Former. The reviews say it’s pretty good. I think you might like it. I think you might like Chasing Magic too. It’s not just a good book filled with fantastical tales of daring-do though.

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This event CW has put together sounds fun, but not just because I’ll be there. It includes the chance to do a little back-and-forth with many of the other contributors, organizers, and editors on the book as well as the chance to win some cold, hard cash. That’s right, money. It makes the world go round, you know.

From the event page:

You can meet all the authors and organizers. Read mini interviews and learn about other what other things we are all involved in. There will be numerous giveaways, not to mention THREE GRAND PRIZE GIVEAWAYS – A $50/$30/$10 Amazon Gift Card.

To enter the giveaway, just attend the event and upload your purchase receipt in the comments. So, for only 99c you have 3 chances to win a prize. 1st Prize – $50, 2nd Prize – $35, 3rd Prize – $20. Double entry for those that also place a review on amazon for one of the stories featured.

Grand Prize Giveaway’s will close 48hrs after the event starts to allow time for reviews and subsequent double entries. Names will be announced on this event page and the winners will be also be contacted directly.

So head on over to that Facebook page and sign up for the party/giveaway/thing. It’ll be fun.

I’m giving away some books. Want ’em?

Have you heard of Former yet? Some folks really like it. I think you might too. In fact, I’m so behind it, that I’m giving away a few copies. That’s right! I’m giving some away! What?!?!?! Enter here to win a free copy of Former!

Doesn’t that sound awesome?

I'm faced with a conundrum on #SpringBreak Day 5.... What to do with my comp copies of #Former? #writing

The other side of the pen

I used to write reviews for a couple of pop culture websites. One of those websites paid me actual real folding money and the other paid me a short ton of free comic books and neat merch. Currently, I write reviews of books by authors somehow connected to the Omaha, NE area for EAB Publishing over at their Tumblr page. Because I have been, am, and will be on the other side of the reviewing table, having my work studied, reviewed, etc, I have a simple philosophy when writing reviews. If I cannot find something to like about what I read, I do not review it . . . . Hell, I don’t even finish it usually . . . . One of my good friends has told me on more than one occasion that I remind her of a golden retriever. I am happy a lot, try to find the goodness in everything, and ultimately . . . yes . . . I can be somewhat naive. I don’t begrudge her that opinion. In many instances she is 100% correct. In case you haven’t figured it out yet, this is especially true about me when I write reviews.

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When people–and with art it is almost always ‘people’ not ‘person’–put their time, energy, heart, and soul into the creation of a thing, the least a reviewer/critic can do is find something positive to say about that art.

Truth time though.

I’m sure I’ve written a handful of negative reviews. Though I stand by those reviews, it pained me to write them then and it pains me to think about them now. Sometimes all the time, energy, heart, and soul one possesses is not enough to make a work of art good. Sometimes there isn’t enough time, energy, heart, and soul in a work of art to make it good. Sometimes the bad is so egregious that, against his better judgement, the critic has to act as gatekeeper. But it’s all subjective, right?

Wrong.

Writing is an art but it is also a science. When one is critiquing a work of art, one must always take into consideration the simple fact that while tastes vary, a well done work of art is a well done work of art. For instance, I’m not Taylor Swift’s biggest fan but I recognize the fact that she is madly talented.

Oh, who am i kidding? I love T-Swizzy.

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Anyway.

As reviews of my newest novel, Former, role in, I’ve been pondering this reviewing philosophy. I think, overall, it’s a good one. What do you think?

Wait.

Don’t answer that.

I can’t handle the criticism . . . .

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I kid . . . I think . . . .

Ah.

I’ll direct you to my last post.

Good day.

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Acknowledgements

Last week I wrote about the various ways you can help your artist friends in these trying times. It got me to thinking about all the people who have helped me with Former before its publication. So I thought I would take a post to acknowledge this. Stay with me, these people deserve the credit. For those of you who don’t know, Former began as a short story called “I, Zombie,” which was published by the fine folks over at Tales of the Zombie War. Not long after it found a home there, it was picked up to be a part of the Dark Moon Books anthology: Dark Moon Presents: Zombies! It found many admirers during its time in those two locales, most predominately, Justin Buckner and The Studio on Mars who turned it into a short film called “I Am Alive” that won a bunch of awards. It’s whatever.

So that was pretty cool.

Without these three groups of people, Former never would have existed. It was their support that kept Billy Dodge alive in my mind and forced me to come back to him and finish his story . . . or at least lengthen it . . . the more I think about it the more I think it might not be over . . . yet.

Anyway.

I am also thankful for the fine folks at The Novel Fox for seeing something in my book that they liked enough to publish.

Of course, standard thanks also apply to the friends and family in my life who helped me write or got out of the way while I wrote. Of course, my wife and children are significant here in that they left me alone many Saturdays, evenings, and mornings while I wrote and edited and wrote and edited and wrote and edited and wrote and edited . . . . But also, the writer Julie Rowse, who partnered with me during NaNoWriMo almost five years ago. She wrote this memoir, I wrote this book. What can I say? We make a good team.

Anyway.

I think this further proves the point I was making last week. Writing–creating art in general–is ultimately not just the responsibility of the creator. It is, instead, the responsibility of the creator and all those around him or her. I could not have written this novel without the support, help, and encouragement of those listed above.

For that, I thank you.

Five tips for helping out an author . . . or any artist really

The Novel Fox recently released my third book and it got me thinking about how novel creation is a community effort. I mean there is a writer, an editor, a design team, some marketing people, etc, etc, etc. . . . It’s ridiculous really. This seems strange, I know, considering the art of writing is so solitary. Ah, it’s a paradox . . . .

Anyway.

I greatly appreciate all of my friends and family members supporting me on social media, pushing that “like” button and whatnot whenever one of my books is released. I love it when they purchase it and tell me how great it is. It’s fantastic and, in fact, it’s one of the reasons I do what I do. But in this age of the Internet and ebooks and other crazy sci-fi creations that didn’t exist a few scant decades ago, it can be difficult being a writer, or an artist of any stripe really. We need help to be noticed in the wide, wide world. Below I offer you a few simple and easy ways to do just that.

  1. Buy the book. Yes, it’s the first and most obvious. Don’t borrow it from a library. In other words, borrow the big guys’ books, purchase the little guys’ books. Now, if you can’t afford to purchase it, I totally get it. If the only option is to borrow it from the library, I get it. No worries.
  2. Show your personal social media support. I know I just wrote that and I know it seems minor, but seriously, friends and family who take a second to show their support  with the “like” button on any of the social medias or hop over to a writer’s blog and drop a quick message about how good a book was are valuable to the ego. The ego is of the utmost importance to the writer, the utmost! It can also be helpful to the pocketbook because other people see those likes and might purchase the book based on them. Contrary to what you may have heard, there is nothing wrong with the desire to make money from your art. Don’t even get me started on how awesome it is when friends and family share information about my work. But that’s #3. So I guess you can go ahead and get me started . . . .
  3. Tell people about the book. Do it in person. Share it online. But do it. Do not keep it a secret between you and the writer. This thing is out there and ready to be read. Tell your grandma, tell your cousin, tell your friends and coworkers. Tell everyone. Trust me, the author wants that.
  4. Write a review on Goodreads, Amazon, your blog, whatever. But please write it. Then share it. This one really kind of goes with #3. There is a caveat though. If you do not like the book, then tell the writer honestly and personally. Explain your issues like an adult. Don’t write a negative review. In the grand scheme of things, silence says more anyway. Also, this helps counter the idiot reviewers who completely miss the point of one’s great work . . . . Yeah. I’m going to go ahead and be that guy . . . . Good thing the last one is my favorite.
  5. If your writer friend has a print book that manages to find its way into a store and you happen to be at that store and see that book, move it so everyone can see the cover. You’re not breaking any rules . . . I don’t think. Even if you are, seeing my book’s cover in a book store on a shelf next to other books by writers I like . . . well . . . that’s awesome.
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Epic.

And that’s it.

Pretty easy stuff I think . . . . Right? If you have any questions, feel free to post them below. If you’d like to review my latest book, let me know and I’ll see if I can’t get you a review copy. Do this whenever you want. I’ll be here . . . for the rest of my life.

In the meantime, have you heard of this book, Former? It’s pretty amazing and you should probably buy it . . . .

Former is now available!

It’s been kind of grim around here lately. I know. And for that, I apologize. Hopefully, the kind people of the web will cut me some slack. After all, it’s been a rough few weeks at the Castle on the Corner (that’s what I call my small 1 1/2 story house in Olde Towne Bellevue, NE).

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You can read about the grim happenings here and here and here.

Anyway.

Things are looking up! My newest novel, Formeris now available to purchase!! Happy news! You can go ahead and get the e-book version today if you want. Hell, you can purchase it right now! Right here! I think you should. I mean, after all, rumor has it Kirkus calls this dystopian sci-fi novel, “Extraordinary and with a foreboding atmosphere that’s grim but never dreary.”

If you’re still into the old-timey way to read books, that’s cool. You’re just going to have to wait a few weeks. No big deal. Longing makes the heart grow fonder, right? I’ll keep you posted though. I mean, after all, I wouldn’t want you to miss a book Forward Reviews says “is haunting and eerie, and somehow, finally, filled with hope. Former is certainly an intriguing and engaging read. It would find an approving home with those who enjoy a creative, thrilling, and disturbing read—one that lingers long after they have turned the last page.”

At Dread Central someone thinks Former isn’t just a good book, but a good book with a message: “If you like a side serving of social commentary along with your zombie apocalypse tales, then you’ll want to check out A.E. Stueve’s Former, an insightful look at zombie culture and what it means to be human . . . .”

So get on that!

I am below, thanking you ahead of time for your purchase.

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Winter

In a week, it will be winter. So just like I did one season ago, I have decided to share with you, my dear, faithful handful of readers, some of my favorite winter poems. It helps ease the pain I’m going through after not having a snow day yesterday. I blame climate change for the fact that we had a two-and-a-half day long thunder/rain storm instead of a blizzard in Omaha in the middle of December. Maybe. I don’t know. I’m no scientist. Either way though, I was so shaken and disturbed by this that I did not post Monday because I was huddling in my basement crying after a long day of work . . . .

Anyway.

Without any further ado, I give you, winter–in poems.

“Snow Day” by Billy Collins

Stopping by the Woods on a Snowy Evening” by Robert Frost

That’s it.

There are only two.

I’m not a fan of winter, which is strange since I am fond of the North Woods . . . .

Anyway.

I guess I should start to be a fan of wintertime though, since my new novel is scheduled to be released during the height of it. Isn’t the cover awesome?

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That’s what we call a ‘clever segue’ folks.