R.I.P. Maurice Sendak

Let the wild rumpus start!

I was saddened to hear about the passing of Maurice Sendak this morning.  As a kid, Where the Wild Things Are was a major part of my life.  When I wasn’t reading it, I was flipping through the pages and studying the illustrations, wishing I had monster friends.  Everyone always draws comparisons between The Oz Chronicles and The Wizard of Oz, and there is no denying there are similarities.  Some people even believe that my series is an homage to Frank Baum’s books.  It’s a logical conclusion to make, but it’s not entirely accurate.  I was clearly influenced by The Wizard of Oz, but not consciously.  The idea of a boy befriending beasts (gorillas and Keepers) and fighting others (Destroyers) in an imaginary world was clearly ripped off from Mr. Sendak.  When I wrote The Takers, I would often draw on memories of Where the Wild Things Are.

Rest in Peace Maruice Sendak and thanks for the source material!

Profanity laden review of The Avengers

Somebody please make a good Thing movie!

I found this review of The Avengers on Youtube by The Amazing Atheist.  If you’re not familiar with TAA, he is a world-class ranter.  He is a proud misanthrope and there are not a lot of things he likes.  I find him wildly entertaining at times.  That’s not to say I always agree with his point of view.  I just appreciate humor and passion, and TAA has both in spades.

I love movies based on comic books because they were a way of life for me when I was a kid.  I used to beg my mom to buy me a new one every Sunday after church.  When we started moving around a lot and I felt like a square peg being jammed into a round hole, I would sit in my room for hours and read comic book after comic book. My favorite was Ben Grimm as Thing.  Superman was a close second, but Thing was awesome to me because he too was a square peg.  Plus, Thing and the Hulk had some epic battles.  The major failing of the Fantastic Four movies is that they made Thing just as tall as everyone else.  He’s as big as the Hulk!

Something I’ve never told anyone before is that I’ve always thought that The Oz Chronicles is really a superhero origins story.  Oz is thrown into a dark world where he has to acquire warrior skills and special powers to survive.  It has Stan Lee’s influence all over it.    I’d actually love to do a graphic novel version of The Takers.

Here’s TAA’s review of the Avengers.  Be forewarned, it is riddled with profanity.  It’s just too funny not to share.

Banshee Worm King: Book Five of the Oz Chronicles is now available for Kindle.

The Banshee worms are here, and they are ready to feed!

It’s amazing how fast things work.  I literally uploaded the file for BWK yesterday and then made a change an hour later.  By the time I went to be bed, it was (and still is) availble for download on the Kindle store.  If you’re one of the early readers, thank you for your feedback and very kind comments.  If you have the energy and an Amazon account, feel free to share your thoughts about Book Five on Amazon in the form of a review.  But remember please, no spoilers.

Here are some more comments from a few more early readers:

Loved the Worm King, great job… I tried to read real slow and check everything (typos), but couldn’t contain myself and got caught up in the story too much. I guess you should take that as a good sign. – Peter

I have to say that it is probably my favorite installment of the Oz Chronicles to date… Oz is learning that the important decisions in life are rarely black-and-white propositions. You have presented his unique moral dilemma in a manner that young adult readers (and not-so-young readers, like myself) are sure to find highly intriguing and entertaining. – Scott

The series has really drawn me and I couldn’t put this one down. It was pretty heartbreaking when you know who died. – Greg

Thanks for the chance to read Oz 5! That was great! It wasn’t as dark and creepy as the last one (good!! Book 4 went places that were too scary!) but suspenseful enough where it needed to be & kept me up past bedtime.  Oz seems more torn in this one, not just with Lou but his whole role. He’s growing up! – Danielle

The print version will probably be ready in a week.  A few more proofs are being shipped my way.  I’ll look them over for any printing errors and if all goes well, I’ll approve them by Wednesday.  If you’re an Oz fan, thanks for your support and keep spreading the word!

My super “blue” moon picture

I stepped outside last night with my Sony a200 and a Tamron 70-300 AF Telephoto lens and snapped a few pictures of the super moon.  I used a really slow shutter speed to cut through the glare and by doing so, I got a nice little blue hue that came through.  So, last night we had a blue moon over Charleston.

I encountered very few werewolves while capturing pictures of the super moon last night.

The description for Banshee Worm King: Book Five of the Oz Chronicles

Coming soon!

For those of you who’ve read/received an ARC of BWK, you may notice that this description isn’t what is on your copy of Book Five.  I hastily threw that description together so I could get the ARCs out ASAP.  Some of you pointed out that you thought it revealed too much.  It did.  So, I’m spending this weekend tweaking it.  My plans are to release the Kindle version of the book this coming week.  I got some great feedback from early readers that included typo alerts.  I’ve addressed those so I’m ready to move forward.  If you’re still reading an ARC and find some typos, please feel free to bring them to my attention.  I may have already fixed them, but you never know.

Here’s the second version of the description:

Oz and his intrepid warriors have survived their harrowing ordeal in the Biltmore House only to find themselves fighting for their lives in the surrounding mountains of North Carolina. A new species of giant worm has evolved in the twisted world of the Storytellers, and they are hungry. A grizzled stranger provides the band of survivors refuge in his labyrinth of treetop walkways. But, they become pawns in a battle between the worms and Myrmidons, and one of them will betray the others. Oz and company will see their numbers dwindle and their hopes for ever making it back home virtually slip away.

What do you think?

UPDATE:

Thanks to my wife, Mia and Peter Ayre – Here is the newer and improveder description:

Oz and his intrepid warriors have survived their harrowing ordeal in the Biltmore House only to find themselves fighting for their lives in the surrounding mountains of North Carolina. Giant worms have evolved in the twisted world of the Storytellers, and they are hungry. A grizzled stranger provides the band of survivors refuge in his labyrinth of treetop walkways. But are they still fighting to return home or have they simply become pawns in a larger battle? Oz and company will see their numbers dwindle and a betrayal from within will see their hopes for ever making it back home virtually slip away.

On a completely self-indulgent note, which author photo do you think I should use?

Part of an author’s life these days is the sometimes torturous task of branding.  Which really translates into, how can I present myself in a way that won’t make people want to punch me or look away in disgust?  Nobody wants to buy books from people they hate.  That’s the first rule of author branding.  So along those lines.  I need your help choosing an author photo for Banshee Worm King: Book Five of the Oz Chronicles.  Using minimal photoshopping to hide nose and ear hairs, I’ve come up with these two possibilities.  Which version of me would you buy a book from?  BTW – As long as it’s conversational, I can totally end a sentence in a preposition.

Me and my old Underwood

Just me