Saturday, October 12, 2013

Vegas Book Signings and Cross Promotion

I had two local book signings this past week. Monday, October 4th, was Books, Bubbles, and Brew, a Meet and Greet for readers and book clubs with national and local authors sponsored by the Vegas Valley Book Festival. It was at the NOW Cafe in City Hall, which is a beautiful building downtown. There was a good turnout, and I met a lot of great people. Many of them are in book clubs and mentioned they might read, The Evolutionist for one of their novel choices.

Friday, October 11th was The Atomic Book Signing at the historic Atomic Liquors on Fremont Street, downtown. It's no longer a liquor store these days and is more of a bar. It was an interesting choice of venue with the loud music, bar regulars, and dimly lit areas. I'll admit that if I didn't drive there myself and knew I'd have to drive back, I'd have had a couple of martinis. Most of the attendees were coming in from the Southern Nevada Writers Convention, so the majority of them were writers. And if there's one thing I've learned from writers conventions is that writers don't tend to buy a lot of books. The best events that seem to sell books are at fan conventions and reader events like book festivals. Aside from my book launch parties, I sold the most books at the L.A. Times Book Festival, and I'm hoping to exceed those sales at the Vegas Valley Book Festival on November 2nd.
On Thursday, October 24th at 7pm at the Clark County Library on Flamingo, I'll be discussing my short story "Reclamation" that's in the Las Vegas Writes Anthology: Progress, Getting Better All the Time. You can read a bit of my story if you click the link and then click on Reclamation. It's going to be interesting explaining how my apocalyptic story of how water reclaiming the Earth relates to progress, but hey, I'm a horror writer.
The highlight of The Atomic Book Signing was getting to see Mercedes Murdock Yardley. We had to get a picture of her with The Atomic sign because her latest novella is a "tale of atomic love." Click HERE to buy a copy. You won't be disappointed.
For the second part of my cross promotion experience with Carl Alves, I did a five question interview with him. Great stuff! Please read it. There are freebie opportunities at the end.
1.     To get an idea of your writing influences, who are three of your favorite writers from three different genres?

In the horror genre, it has to be Stephen King.  Even though I’m not as fond of his more recent work, his early stuff is pure gold.  In the seventies, eighties and nineties he was churning out mesmerizing horror that delivered every time.  He is my biggest writing influence.

In the fantasy genre, I would have to go with George R. R. Martin.  I only started reading him recently because I was hooked on the Game of Thrones television show.  Then I started reading the series, and damn, the novels are simply amazing.  His writing skills are off the chart.  His world building and characters are top notch. 

In the crime genre, I would go with Mario Puzo.  When I was writing my Mafia chapters in Blood Street, the voice of Puzo would always creep in my mind.  He got that world down so well.  He is the king of gangster writing, and I’ve always had a great admiration for his work.

2.     Blood Street has a lot of great Philadelphia mob and city details – did you do a lot of research, or did you use your own personal experiences in regards to the area? And well, if you’ve had any personal experiences with the Philadelphia mob, I’m sure everyone would like to know about them, too.

I was born and raised in Philadelphia, so it wasn’t particularly hard to get details of the city right.  I really tried to incorporate the city into the novel to the point where it was like a character in the story.  As far as mob details, since I don’t have any personal dealings with organized crime figures, I did a lot of research into the history of the Philadelphia Mafia, and what I found was that in the fifties and sixties it was one of the most well run and well organized crime syndicates in the country.  In the eighties and nineties, the organization fell apart in a series of unprecedented violence.  Pretty much everybody who was in the Philly mob during that time period is either in jail or dead.  So what I wanted was to create a mob boss character who was highly educated and intelligent and would run the organization like a business. 
3.     In Blood Street, I was rooting for the mobsters. Do you have any tips on how you made these characters more likable than vampires that most readers seem to be so into?
Growing up in Philadelphia, I had the opportunity to get to know a good deal of Italian Americans and this was the basis for most of my Mafia characters on Blood Street.  I took the personalities of people that I had known and ratcheted them up to ten.  In the end, they are exaggerated versions of real people.  In the novel I intentionally didn’t try to make one side or the other being the heroes or the villains.  Mob guys are inherently bad since they make their way through life committing crime, but I did my best to make them likeable. 
4.     Wow, I see you have a degree in Biomedical Engineering. Is science fiction something you plan to explore in your writing in the future?
My next novel I have scheduled for release is entitled Reclamation Mother Earth, which is going to be published by Montag Press, and this is a post-apocalyptic sci-fi thriller.  Based on my educational background, you might think that I would be drawn to science fiction, but what turns me off about the genre is that stories often get bogged down by technological jargon and specific details, which interfere with the telling of a good story.  For me the story comes first.  That’s why I purposely tried not to get overly technical with a lot of the science in the novel.  I want to tell a story, not teach a science class.  I get enough of that in my day job.
5.     What projects do you have in the works?

As I mentioned in the previous question, Reclamation Mother Earth should be coming out in the near future.  The premise of the novel is that aliens take over the Earth.  On the first day of the invasion, my main character who is a Navy SEAL, is there when the aliens invade and is knocked into a coma.  Five years later, he wakes up in the care of a kind alien physician to find out that most of the human race has been killed off and many of the survivors have been enslaved by the alien conquerors.  He starts to heal himself mentally and physically and in the process starts a resistance movement to take back the planet from the aliens.
As part of this cross promotion experiment, we're both having giveaways on Goodreads until the end of October. If you'd like to sign up to get a free copy of Carl's Blood Street, or The Evolutionist by me, clicking the book titles will take you there.

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