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            The Charlotte Heroes Con http://www.heroesonline.com/heroescon.html is 2 ½ months away, and I’m nowhere near prepared.  Not to mention, that the closer we get to this thing, the scarier it gets.  I’m officially on the site now as a Small Press exhibitor for Riders of the Storm: The Legend of Skull and Talon.  This may not seem like a big deal to most, but it means a great deal to me.  This is it.  I’m going to be dumped right in the middle of my element, amongst all my fellow geeks and writers while someone off stage screams: “Dance, monkeyboy, dance!”  It’s like the world’s biggest interview.  You either shine, or you rust.  So, let me go into a little more detail about what’s going on here…   This may take awhile.  “You should have gotten a snack.”  That’s an ATHF reference for those that don’t know. 

            So, I wrote this book back in 92 or 93 (I don’t really remember which) called ROTS (see above).  It wasn’t the greatest thing since slice bread, but I liked it.  The story culminated out of roleplaying characters that Matthew, Will and myself had created and played during high school; with some help from Will’s sister Julie (during the early, early days with the dragon that crapped acid.  Don’t ask).  The world grew, and the characters changed as we “retired” Skull and Talon, and began playing with the sons of Skull and Talon.  During that summer of the 90’s I took a bunch of our adventures, and some extra stuff, and put it all together into ROTS, with the sons of Skull and Talon.  Now, Matthew and I had written a few non-game stories back in college for the fun of it.  We had talked about doing a book, but had never officially planned anything.  We batted ideas for this and 117 around for years.  It was writing these little stories, and a few others, in high school that I discovered my passion for writing.  So, “skipping the witches,” (that’s a Four Rooms reference, you really need to keep up.  If I have to, I’ll post a glossary of my random thoughts and pop culture references.) Skull and Talon kinda collected a bit of dust while life swept me up in its tornado of unexpectedness.  It wasn’t officially gone, and had gone through a clean up or two in the meantime.  It’s always been too close to my heart to really pull an Invisible Man; “Wells, not Ellison, in case you decide to get cute again.”  MI: III, you need to keep up.  Next week I promise I delve more into my crazy pattern of thinking and randomness in the blog: Non-Linear Thinking, or Adapting the String Theory.   *Note: promises made by the writer are not real promises and cannot be held against him in a court or law.  He’s does the best he can, so cut him some slack.  Thank you.  Message 9932-B.

            While Skull and Talon were in mental Carbonite freezing, I was writing some other stories, like what you see on the right hand side, and worked with a local comic publisher.  Unfortunately, non of those stories saw print.  During this period, something I think every writer does, or should do, my style and mood changed.  The things I wrote became less lighthearted and carefree.  The stories came out with a heavy tone.  They weren’t dark, per se, but seemed to illicit a sinking feeling.  Not at all like early S&T.  This became a problem.  See, writers will tell you, just like anybody else in any form or entertainment, you will get told “no” so often that it’s crushing.  You just have to believe in yourself, and persevere.  Well, here’s the problem” What if you really do suck and need to quit?  You all know some one, or ones, that you look at and say: Dude, give it up?  Now, you couple that with a hundred or so rejections, and… well, you get my meaning.  So, dilemma #1.  No. 2 is, the wonderful world of Catch 22.  This time I’m talking about the book.  Not really, but yeah.  To get a full foot in the door, you need an agent; a real agent, not one of these scammers that are everywhere on the net.  Well, most good agents won’t take you unless you’ve had something published.  Most publishers won’t even push you in front of traffic without an agent.  “Hence, Like a Virgin.”  Reservoir Dogs.  Seriously, this is the last time I’m helping you out.  So, I decided to eliminate the middle man and self publish.  I figured I’d build up a decent fan-base, generate some buzz, and then go to a publisher with book and fans in hand and voila; who could say no?  Well, much like Robert Paulson starting a fight, this was/is harder than it looks.  First, I had to revise ROTS.  Yeah, this wasn’t working well.  Remember lighthearted and ridiculous fun was the writing style ten years prior, and we’re heavy tone and mood now.  This is one of the combinations that Reese’s threw out before settling on chocolate and peanut butter.  Throwing it all out and starting over wasn’t an option.  So, I had to treat it like a painter touching up a Van Gogh.  Light touches to bring out what’s already there, and not imprinting your style on the.  Before you ask, no, I’m not comparing the book to a Van Gogh.  

           Now, we have a plan, albeit not very well thought out (I’ll get to that later), and a revised book- Let’s publish!  Well, my editor did a less than fantastic job of cleaning up the grammatical errors and other little things.  Jerk!  So, the book got published with too many errors to make me at least content.  So, this left me with a book I wasn’t really strong on for two reasons.  Oh, did I mention that editing the book was my job, too?  Yeah.  Jerk.  Anyway, on top of all that you have to publicize the book and talk about it like it’s the greatest thing since Hamburger Helper.  You get the picture. 

            All this brings us to the present.  I’ll leave out the slackers and flat-leavers, and just get to the heart of the matter.  I’m now in the process of reprinting ROTS, with corrections and a slightly new cover, plus the bonus story Prelude to Exile; which I mentioned in a previous post.  BTW, if you bought a copy of the original, you can get the revised version from me for only $5.00.  What a bargain!  Back to the Con…

            So, here we are.  For those of you who aren’t in the know, amongst all the other professionals (that I’m going to try and blend in with) is Brian Michael Bendis.  Well, for those that don’t fully know him, go to: http://www.jinxworld.com/ and read his bio.  I met Bendis over a decade ago when he had just gotten under the Image imprint and was promoting the Sam and Twitch comic.  Super cool guy.  I talked to him about Jinx and Goldfish, his other books, and he told me about Sam and Twitch.  I had no interest in the book, not being a Spawn fan, but I checked it out because of him.  It was pretty good.  Great story, with such a well written thriller element.  I was hooked.  I was working at a comic book store at the time and told everyone to check it out.  Here I have a chance to meet him again, only this time as a *gulp* peer.  But, how do you approach someone like that and say: Hey, I’m a writer just like you.  That’s like showing my Lego house to Frank Lloyd Wright.  You get it now?  And I only have 2 ½ months to get my ass in gear.  Whew!  Cathartic my butt, now I’m even more scared. 

 

Jerale C

Mindseyechronicles@comcast.net

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1 Comment »

  1. You’re going to do great, the most important thing I would say is to just focus on having a good time. Anyone who comes to your folding table section, if you’re friendly they’ll be friendly back (Unless they’re an asshat, in which case, let me know and I’ll come stab them).

    Seriously though, the Gravoyboy t-shirt I wear? I bought that and 4 comic issues sight unseen just ’cause the guys were fun to talk to.

    Comment by Jadielady — March 30, 2009 @ 7:04 pm

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