David Niall Wilson

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My Original Review of KINK by Kathe Koja & More

Blast from the past posts from before the Weasel crawled into the Hadron Collider … I wrote this a VERY long time ago… sometime around 2005…

I’ve been reading essays by several other authors recently, mostly at the new site www.storytellersunplugged.com, (2020 note – I am considering revamping and renewing that site) and I’ve noticed a trend I can appreciate.  More and more I see people taking the old tired clichés that you hear from veteran writers and bending them closer to the truth. 

Write what you know.  Sure, that makes sense.  It isn’t always important that you know everything about what you are writing, but you need one of two things to pull off credible fiction:  A solid background in your subject matter that allows you to paint images with words that others will share, in some way, and appreciate, or a natural ability to put enough power behind the words that, even should a reader know you are full of crap on any given subject, the prose carries them past it anyway.  At it’s best this talent leaves readers with a vague notion they just missed something, but unwilling to turn back to search for it if it means giving up on the next part of the story or novel.

That isn’t what I mean, though.  What I mean is, it isn’t enough to write what you know if you want to leave a mark.  If the subject leaves no marks on you, then it’s unlikely to do much better with a wide readership.  Write what hurts you. Write what really scares you.  It’s been said many times that writing is therapeutic.  I don’t believe this is true unless you apply it to the issues that torment you.  This can be taken too far, of course.  If it’s too painful, that pain will transfer, and your readers may not appreciate it. 

A work that was like this for me was a very powerful novel titled “KINK” by Kathe Koja.  Oh. My. God.  Digression warning – but I WILL get back to this.

When I read that book I was standing on the quarterdeck of a US Navy ship in a drydock.  It was sort of sad; the ship was on its last stretch of inhabited time, and I was nearing my last stretch of time as a sailor.  The sea and I go way back, and despite the crap one must allow to be shoveled over their head to be part of the US Military, I sometimes miss it.  There were nights standing out on the deck of the ship (you weren’t supposed to go out there at night, but we went out to smoke anyway) where we’d stand, talk, watch the stars, watch the phosphorescence that the ship’s screws churned up, think up song lyrics or write poems in our heads.  I had quite a creative group of sailors on the ships where I served.  There were artists, musicians, and mixtures of both; there was even another writer, though I don’t know what happened to him.  If Mike “Hand Man” Walsh reads this – or anyone who knows where he can be found – I’d love to know if he kept at it.  Last I heard he was fixing boat motors for fishermen in Alaska, though he’s originally from Seattle.

Anyway, the damned POINT Wilson.  It’s this.  I was on watch, alone, late at night, and I decided the time had come to read KINK.  I finished the novel that night, standing there in the dark with only a small fluorescent lamp to see by.  More than once I cursed at the book, slammed it shut and walked out of the guard shack to pace up and down the deck and think – not about the book, but about situations where I’d been lied to, hurt, ridiculed, made a fool of, and felt EXACTLY as I felt for the characters in the book.  It’s about relationships.  It’s about trying to add a third party into a near perfect two-party relationship.  Triangles form.  Angles dissolve.  Nothing is ever quite as it seems, and you spend your time wondering what really is, and is not happening.  It leaves marks.

I had been through quite a lot at that point in my life.  I was also writing.  I did the Star Trek novel during that period (CHRYSALIS – Voyager #12) and I wrote the first and second book of my Grails Covenant Trilogy.  The thing is, I wasn’t writing what I know at that point.  Not like I should have been.  The Star Trek novel got panned in some areas for being too literate – going too much into the heads of the characters instead of delivering straight action.   You see, I was TRYING to write what I needed to write, but Star Trek wasn’t the place for it. I wasn’t writing anything like what I found myself reading that night.  I felt like I knew Ms. Koja in a way that was remarkable.  I don’t feel that such a piece of fiction could be written except through personal pain.  I don’t even know that it would have the same effect on just anyone who read it, but man…I wore out some shoe leather pacing up and down the non-skid deck of that ship alternately telling myself no way was I going back to read THAT book, and rushing back to feverishly force myself through more pages hoping things would get FIXED.  I wonder what Kathe (she’s a lovely lady, and her husband is an unbelievable artist.  If you aren’t familiar with her work, I’d recommend (first) Skin – which I also loved).

There is no fixing a thing like what happened to those characters, but their situation did improve, eventually, and move on, which life also does.  What happened in the book, and the women who shredded my heart early on in life that left me unprepared to face it so brutally, aren’t the subjects here today.  Not really.  The point is that book was powerful.  The experience of reading it was powerful.

What do you know that others don’t?  What do you know that left marks, and that you can find a way to share?  The magic formula, of course, is to find a way to populate a book with characters of that magnitude of “reality” without giving up the notion of entertainment.  If KINK had a flaw, it was that the experience of reading it left me drained and unhappy.  Not because it was a bad book, but because it did what it set out to do so very freaking well, thank you.  It couldn’t happen without the author opening windows that must have been painful to open.  It couldn’t happen by accident.  I would hate to meet the person who could just imagine emotion like that without having experienced it, because no therapy in the world would help such a person, and no one could protect those he or she loved.  Living through it helps you build walls, I suppose, and writing about it helps you put in some windows, doors, and get fresh air in your lungs.  But it isn’t easy.

So, the next time you sit down to write, don’t think about the market you’re after.  Don’t wonder how you can put new life into old vampires.  Don’t try to figure out what would be “really cool and gory” or what will fit some niche you see open before you.  Sink in a little deeper and look for the marks.  You’ll find them all over the inside of your memories; I can almost guarantee it.  See if you can pry one of them loose, or a bunch of them, and arrange them in words that make sense.

I won’t promise the piece will sell right off the bat, or at all.  I don’t promise you’ll get accolades.  I do think, however, that if you are going to make a mark in the bigger world of literature, the mark has to start somewhere deep inside, and when it surfaces, it will bring things with it you have to be willing to face through the eyes of whatever protagonist you inflict it upon.  I believe you’ll find such writing is the most rewarding, and the reactions it receives from readers are the most memorable.

Of course, I believe a lot of strange things.  Some of them I write down.

If you want to experience the book that had such a lasting effect on my work, you can buy KINK by clicking the co re image below.

I have now had the DISTINCT honor of publishing the unabridged audiobooks for both , SKIN, STRANGE ANGELS, and the horror classic THE CIPHER – all by Kathe Koja. You can find these and all her audiobooks at:

THIS AWESOME LINK THAT TAKES YOU TO HER BOOKS

At the time I first wrote this, they were wrapping up filming on the only produced film I’ve scripted. I wrote this from the outline provided by director and star Rosanna Jeran … and now the movie can be downloaded from Amazon. It’s a weird one – more like a very long music video- and it’s possible I broke the “F-bomb” record in the dialogue… but there are a lot worse ways to spend an hour and a half…

My novel Deep Blue had just come out in paperback from Five Star back then – now you can get it in eBook, Audiobook, or print…

(Originally published online at Chizine.com in the column : From the Shadeaux)

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The Big Incredible David Niall Wilson Book Contest

Here is the deal…  I have 37 books here in my office and many more at home. I will pick 37 winners at the end of this in a random drawing. You can get multiple entries by following simple guidelines.  Everyone who is a member of The Dead Poe Etc. Society by the last day of the contest will have at least one entry just for being there.  Everyone who is entered (even if not chosen for print edition from those available) will receive at the least an eBook.  That’s right. Everyone will be eligible to win “something” and a lot of you will win signed books.  I want the books to be read by readers who care – who will tell others, and review and share them. I’m hoping this group will become the core of that.  Here is how it will work.

I am going to run this contest from the moment I post it until May 15th.  The ONLY WAY to enter is to provide the proof required for each entry mentioned in the rules below. ALL entries must be submitted via e-mail to David@crossroadpress.com with the SUBJECT LINE:   DNW Books     This will drop them automatically into the right folder for me to add them to the spreadsheet and will be able to count the entries per entrant. It is fine to e-mail more than once if you go back and acquire more “points”.  Here’s how to enter.

  1. Be a members of The Dead Poe Etc. Society –   1 Entry
  2. Follow me on Bookbub by clicking this link, going to my profile, and either following (if you are a Bookbub subscriber, or subscribing and then following. If you can take a screenshot of this that is best. I’m happy to take people’s word for this, but the last giveaway I did, 42 people said they followed me, and the number of followers only went up by 12 … so… This one is important because once you get a certain number of follower, they send out more automatic notes if you get a featured deal or new release promotion.
  3. Sign up for my NL – 1 entry. (2 entries if you subscribe to Crossroad Press as well (same link).
  4. Share the link to my NL on any social media platform 1 entry per platform (Tag me in the post)
  5. Share the link to my Bookbub page and suggest people follow on any social media platform – 1 entry per platform. (tag me in the post)
  6. Review any of my books on Amazon, Goodreads, B&N, Kobo or Audible – send link – 5 entries per review. (Honest – not asking you to say nice things unless you mean them).
  7. Share the link to this contest page in a Facebook group involving books and read that I’m not already a member of: 1 entry
  8. Share this contest page link on your own Facebook page – 1 entry.
  9. Share this contest page link on Twitter – 1 entry.
  10. Share this contest page on Instagram – 1 entry.

PRIZES INCLUDE BUT NOT LIMITED TO: 1 eBook for every member of The Dead Poet’s Society on the 15th of May, 2020 – any of my titles, including books that are just anthologies with one of my stories.

PRINT BOOKS: All of these can be signed, or personalized.

Freedom of Screech anthology edited by Craig Spector with my story “The Tree” (A Cletus J. Diggs Story)
Three copies of the original 1st editions of Vintage Soul
One copy of the newer hardcover of Vintage Soul with the Bob Eggleton cover
Two copies of HOODS: the Beginning
One copy of HOODS: The Beginning Advanced Reading Copy
Two copies of the 1st Edition of The Mote in Andrea’s Eye
Two copies of the collection The Call of Distant Shores
One copy of Beyond the Second Veil
Two copies of The Parting – the first full length O.C.L.T. novel
One copy of DEFINING MOMENTS, my Bram Stoker Award-nominated collection
One copy of a children’s anthology called “Stories That Won’t Make Your Parents Hurl” with my story “Cat Candles”.
One copy of Kali’s Tale – Book IV of The DeChance Chronicles
On each of two versions of the paperback of Darkness Falling
One copy of of A Midnight Dreary
Four copiles of Maelstrom
One copy of the 1st Edition paperback of Deep Blue
One copy of The Orffyreus Wheel
One copy of On the Third Day
One copy of Nevermore – A Novel of Love, Loss & Edgar Allan Poe
One copy of This is My Blood
One copy of Sins of the Flash
Two copy of the first book in the Grails Covenant Trilogy – To Sift Through Bitter Ashes
Two different versions of the trade paperback of Ancient Eyes
One rare copy of the B&N print edition of Ancient Eyes that we never mass-produced.

I have plenty more at home, and if someone wins and is adamant about wanting a different thing, I can work that out…these are just what I have here.

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The DeChance Chronicles Blog Tour

Today marks the first stop on the blog tour. There will be giveaways at each stop – Starbucks gift cards – free books, audiobooks… there are excerpts from all of the books in the series… Follow the links, join the giveaways… read a bit… maybe buy a book and see what you think…

The BLOG TOUR PAGE has all of the details…

-DNW

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A Contest, a Giveaway, and an Excerpt

We’re Engaged!

This time I have some pretty cool things to share. I’ll start with the fact that all five of the DeChance Chronicles books are now available in trade paperback and hardcover editions. All are also in audio, with the exception of the brand new book, A Midnight Dreary, which is in production. The links below take you to the Crossroad Press product page, and that page has a link to all of the available retail outlets, Amazon, Apple, B&N, Kobo and Smashwords. As always, Heart of a Dragon, Book 1 in the series, is .99 at Amazon and other outlets, and free at those that allow it. I want you to visit and love Donovan’s world.

A Rafflecopter giveaway

There is also a GOODREADS GIVEAWAY going on until the 10th of February. There will be 100 copies of the eBook of A Midnight Dreary available to win, so head over to Goodreads and check it out.

The last thing I’d like to link is the newly minted Facebook Group – The Dead Poe Etc. Society – where members hear about my work first, win swag and books, get review copies and audiobook codes, and help me spread the word about my books. I’d love to see you there… Nothing helps to spread the word about an author’s book better than people who read, enjoy, and talk about them.

The current work in progress is set in the city of San Valencez, California, home and same world as The DeChance Chronicles. It features a group of four teens with unique abilities… Weaver, Cami, Shooter and Combo. They are four remarkable kids setting out to do combat the crime and corruption washing through the city. The series will certainly cross over with DeChance at some point, but one is simply titled… HOODS. Chapter One is posted on my blog, if you are interested.

The DeChance Chronicles Books 1-4 – only $2.99
Nevermore – A Novel of Love, Loss & Edgar Allan Poe for only $2.99
Pre-order A Midnight Dreary – The DeChance Chronicles for only $2.99

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A Short Note on Anthologies – What to do, and What Not to Do

Ever since I started writing, one of the staple markets for authors has been the anthology. Most of them are themed, some are less so – like the Borderlands Anthologies, Masques, and Cemetery Dance Publications’ Shivers series. In the 80s there were themed anthologies on all sides, with the advantage of selling to their themed audience, and the disadvantage that at least one big tension point is removed from every story – because, for instance, the anthology Werewolves, which I had a story in… you kind of knew a big furry dog person was going to be involved up front. The featured image for this post is a tentative cover for a project I may tackle in the near future. I am considering ALL of the points below, believe me.

That’s not what I want to talk about here, though. If you are a new publisher, independent author, new author or aspire to any of those callings, this is for you. I’m going to do this in a sort of bullet-point format because there’s a lot to cover, and most of it requires little in the way of explanation.

Know up front – the first rule of anthologies. They do not sell as well as novels. They never have, and they never will. There is a smaller, more insular audience for them. They have never sold in the numbers that novels have, and likely never will. It’s just the truth. You can check this with just about any professional editor or marketer. Harder sell… smaller audience.  Still a very cool way to present short fiction. They are a good way to make some money as an author, and a bad idea if they don’t pay any.

So…

  • Anthologies are harder to sell.
  • It will not sell more copies if you dedicate it to a charitable cause. It seems like it would, but it will not. It’s an extremely over-used gambit.
  • If you are going to publish an anthology, you need to pay something up front to the authors, because it is likely most of what they will make. There is more chance of a turtle flying than there is of the exposure from an independently published anthology helping anyone’s career.
  • The only exception to rule 1 is having a story from an absolute top-of-the-list author, not a reprint. It will not be cheap.
  • May anthologies are filled by invite only. It is VERY IMPORTANT that you understand as editor and publisher that the book comes first. If your friend or colleague turns in a story you don’t like, don’t publish it. If you think it would be fine with edits, make the edits (You are the editor) and run it past the author. If they decline the edits, thank them for their interest, and move on to another author. Any compromise you make is a chink in the integrity of the book.
  • Both the editor, and the publisher, are responsible for the quality of the stories. Most authors don’t do a very good job editing their own manuscripts. I have to go through mine multiple times and still need at least a second set of eyes. Unless you are a grammar expert, OCD, and willing to put in many hours editing stories you did not write, you should either hire an editor (not your buddy who will read it) or not edit an anthology. It does not mean put your name on the front and have people send you their stories… it means you are responsible.
  • If you are going go crowd-fund your anthology, make sure that the amount you are trying to earn is fair… that you have money for the stories, and for the editor, and for the cover artist or designer. Make sure that you don’t get greedy on the amount that you think all your (probably didn’t do much) time is worth. Make sure contributors to the funding get everything they have been promised, and that the quality of the BOOK is the priority, not your fame as an editor, or your profit. This is actually a way to reach a particular audience, be certain the books will be bought and possibly even read, but it should not be a never-ending money machine with books delayed, editing crappy and the money actually funding other publishing bills.

The bottom line, and the point I want to make, is that a full-length anthology is an expensive project. It is a lot of work. It is not something to be taken on lightly, or alone, unless you have all the requisite skills and time and funds to make it happen. I love anthologies as much as the next book collector and reader. I’ve been in a ton of them, most often as “and others” over the years. More often than not, your time would be better spent writing and editing your own work… but if you feel this calling, answer it with quality and integrity.  One of the biggest reasons people don’t buy many anthologies these days is the absolute mountain of horrible crap that’s been published. With a decent cover, almost anything can look professional. Remember what they say about books and covers.

DNW

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A Midnight Dreary Available for Pre-order

In preparation for the January 19th release of A Midnight Dreary Volume 5 of the DeChance Chronicles, I wanted to point out what I’ve pointed out previously – this novel is not just one story. It draws threads and characters from across the “Davidverse” – including Cletus J. Diggs of Old Mill, NC, Edgar Allan Poe and Eleanor MacReady (Lenore) from Nevermore – A Novel of Love, Loss & Edgar Allan Poe, members of the O.C.L.T. and even two undead survivors from my vampire novel Darkness Falling.

You can pre-order A Midnight Dreary HERE at Amazon.com – it will be available soon ab B&N, Apple, and can be pre-ordered from Smashwords. The print edition will be available slightly sooner than the eBook. Please consider pre-ordering, as it helps the launch of the book immensely to have sales on day one. The cover price is $4.99 – but it will be dropped prior to the release date to $2.99 and that is what you will be charged (for a limited time). Working on a major promotion and do not want to drop the price prior to finding out one way or the other.

I’m not going to go on and on about this. Below is the Author’s note from the front of the new book… but before that I’m going to include links to the DeChance Chronicles Omnibus – which is still on sale for only .99 and contains ALL of the previous Donovan DeChance novels, Nevermore – which introduces Edgar and Eleanor, and Darkness Falling, the story that introduced the location for the current tale, and two of the characters.

The DeChance Chronicles Omnibus is available everywhere eBooks are sold. Click HERE to go to the product page at the Crossroad Press Store – where you can purchase from Amazon, B&N, Apple, Smashwords or Kobo.

Nevermore, a Novel of Love, Loss & Edgar Allan Poe is on sale for only $2.99 and the product page for that one is HERE.

Darkness Falling can be purchased HERE.

Author’s Introduction

This is going to be a big, complicated story. It draws elements together from The DeChance Chronicles, the novels of the O.C.L.T., my novels about Cletus J. Diggs and the fictional town of Old Mill, N.C.—and even from an older work of mine, a vampire novel titled Darkness Falling. It also comes with a complication. What was originally going to be the beginning to this novel—a long flashback—got away from me. It became a novel unto itself—Nevermore, a Novel of Love, Loss, and Edgar Allan Poe. I love that novel, and yet, I hate it. I hate it because as hard as I’ve tried, there is no good way to begin this novel now without writing spoilers for that one.

But maybe there is a work-around.

I want you to read Nevermore before you read this book. There. I said it. I know—you already bought this one. In fairness, I warned you in the marketing text for this on whatever site you bought it on. I warned you on Facebook. I warned you in my blog. Now, I’m simply asking you. If you have already purchased this book, trust me when I say that not only will you enjoy Nevermore, but you will enjoy this book more if you read it first. I really want you to read Nevermore, and then I want you to dive straight into this one. That was the original intent.

If you don’t want to wait, however, or you don’t have the inclination to read the other book, I understand. I have created a second introduction to this book that follows this one. It explains all that happened in Nevermore and brings you up to the beginning of this book. It might not even be necessary, but it will certainly alleviate some confusion. If nothing else, the writing of this (and the subsequent spoiler-filled introduction) will serve to allow me to continue with the story.

So, like I started to say, this will be a big and complex story. It will send several groups off in different directions. It will draw multiple story lines into one single thread. It will resolve the tragedy inherent in the ending of Nevermore. Really—it will do all those things

And that’s enough of this. I want to thank those of you following the DeChance Chronicles from the beginning, and those who have come to this because of an interest in the O.C.L.T. series, and those who are just here because they are fans of my work. I can’t wait to hear what you think. You can always reach me at my website:

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Bernie has something for the GOP at last…

bernie

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Antique Photos From an Auction – Recognize anyone/thing?

I bought a lot of old photos in a basket at the auction, and I’ve scanned most of them.  They are below in this post.  A few have names /etc. on them and I’ll post those as well…some have things on the back hard to read… any help, appreciated.  My hope is a: to find the families who might be working on family trees… the second is to figure out some of the places and people and things… of particular interest is the boardwalk scene (where?) the man with guitar and banjo … and the tennis player… the back of the tennis shot says Forest Hills – 1921 and then the names Tilden & Shmidgne (the second I’m not sure of).  I love stuff like this.  I’m nearly certain this must be a photo of William Tilden – a famous US Tennis player.

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Fossils and Geodes… The Wilson Collection

Katie and I have been slowly ammassing quite the little fossil / geode museum.  Thought I’d collect the pictures in one place… her Megadolon tooth is over 5.5″ – huge.  We have a Masotdon tusk and two Auryx horns…a turkey platter sized trilobite, a set of masodon teeth..a mosasaur tooth…lots more.

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Running With the Spartans?

#SPARTAN UP IN 2014

Let me preface this by saying (as I have said before) – I’m a runner.  I intend to lose weight, get myself in good shape, and take care of myself.  I will race, because it’s fun, but I’m not out to push the limits of endurance, or move mountains.  Other people, however, ARE out to do that, and since a buddy of mine, Bob Burnett, is involved in this sort of race, I thought I’d post something about them and fill in those who may have missed the new craze.

Spartan races come in four flavors – Sprint, Super, Beast and Ultra Beast.  All are obstacle-ridden courses, differing in length and difficulty.  They are being held around the world, and people are calling them unforgettable, life-changing experiences.  I bet they are.  Most of the photos I’ve seen of finishers resemble others I’ve seen of soldiers crawling through swamps, or people lost in the desert for days… The thing is, all these people are smiling…

I am not an expert on Spartan racing, but I have a couple of links to share.  Before I do that, I’m going to explain very briefly why I’m posting this, and why I’ll post follow-ups about Bob and his endeavors, along with my own ramblings on the more mundane sport of road running.

I feel good these days.  I’m much healthier, and I know for a fact that my progress has influenced others already.  I sort of formed a team – over at US Road Running – beginning with my daughter Stephanie and my son Zane (hope to slowly expand that).  I’m going to be involved in healthy things.  Endurance races, 5k, Marathons, etc.  It won’t always be me doing them, but I am very supportive of a healthier lifestyle- more exercise, less food, happy people.  I now consider Bob the official Charter Spartan for the “Crossroad Cruisers,” the team name I did not give much thought to, but that actually fits (Synchronicity?) Roads.  Cross-fit.  I have passed a lot of crossroads in the last few months, approaching 500 miles and a bunch of them this year.

Anyway…

Head on over to the SPARTAN RACE HOME PAGE and check out all the pictures, events, sign up for their notices, and – if the Spartan Spirit moves you – choose a race.   If you plan to do that, FOLLOW THIS LINK FOR 15% OFF ANY SPARTAN RACE.  Don’t say I never gave you anything…

 

David

Copyright © 2020 David Niall Wilson