Friday, March 30, 2012

Author Interview - Victor Olisa

Today, we chat with Victor Olisa about his debut novel: The Other Child.

Q: Tell us a bit about yourself.

A: My name is Victor Olisa. I love to write, and I make video reviews on Youtube during my spare time.

Q: How long have you been writing?

A: I’ve been writing for as long as I can remember. I used to enjoy writing essays for my classmates. It did not always get them perfect marks, but it got the job done, and I enjoyed doing it.

Q: What is The Other Child about?

A: The other child is basically about a boy trying to win his father’s affection somewhat, and along the way meets a spirit girl who offers him an easy way out, but of course the spirit girl has ulterior motives.

Q: How did you come up with the plot?

A: Okay the plot is woven around African myths and legends. Parts of the stories my mum told us formed the backbone of the book. The idea of the book though came to me after hearing about the ICARUS GIRL by Helen Oyeyemi, but I could not get my hands on this particular book at the time, so I decided to write something to keep me busy.

Q: Tell us about Frederick.

A: Frederick is just nine years old. He is an unsure and slightly effeminate child and is wild with imagination. He is more interested in listening to his best friend tell him stories, and doing house chores rather than play with other boys his age, hence his father’s disappointment, which just adds to Frederick’s emotional vulnerability. It is the push to gain his father’s love and approval that is the driving plot of the book.

Q: What do you feel sets your book apart from others of the same genre?

A: Okay like I said earlier, the book bears some similarities with other books but only in idea. I finally got to read The Icarus Girl and other books of the same genre years after I had written The Other Child. Mine is different because of the multicultural element, the idea of an effeminate male protagonist, inclusion of spirits, a little bit of storytelling by an eccentric grandmother, Frederick’s ignorant mother and a father who is in denial. Yeah there’s a lot going on in the book but thanks to my editor everything is tied in the end so there are no loose ends.

Q:  Did you have any specific goals when writing The Other Child? Any themes or ideas or concepts that you wanted to get across to the audience?

A: Not really, I feel that if you write a book with a goal in your head (to educate or create awareness) half of the time the writing comes out mechanical and unnatural. However though, I always write in the hope that readers get the same feeling I get when I read amazing books by awesome authors like Steve Skidmore and Steve Barlow, JK Rowling, Suzanne Collins and Chimamanda Adichie. I’m not claiming to have achieved that though.

Q: How long did it take you to write The Other Child? Did you hire any outside help such as a cover artist or editor

A: I started writing it in 2006. I completed it that year, but I forgot about it because I did not think it was debut material. I thought I had lost it, and then in 2011, my mum found my old manuscripts and sent them to me. I re-read it, found that it held my interest but it needed a lot of work since I was more mature now, and I set to work on it. I uploaded versions of it on a website called naijastories.com and got feedback. After incorporating feedback, I hired an editor and we worked together on it.

Q: Who has been your biggest supporter in your writing aspirations? How do they support you?

A: Sadly my biggest supporters are virtual people from the same website. At times I wish I had more friends who were into literature and writing, but this is not the case. However my virtual supporters help out with critique and suggestions.

Q: As I'm sure you know, many readers like to find their favorite authors on social networking websites like facebook and twitter. Do you have any social network links you'd like to share?

A: I have a facebook page here: http://www.facebook.com/pages/OLS-Network/324078944298323
My youtube channel is here: http://www.youtube.com/user/maguseify
I am a fairly active tweeter: @victolisa or my Youtube personality @olsnetwork

Q: What do you think of the changes taking place in the publishing industry? With authors gaining more control over the creation and distribution of their work, what do you think readers stand to gain/lose?

A: Main stream publishing will always be the number one no matter what. I still long to see scholastic, Bloomsbury or Simon and Schuster accept my book for publication, but in a case where they are not interested or you do not have the correct means to get their attention even after your 1000th revision, you have to take matters into your own hands, so in a way it’s good for writers. Readers on the other hand would gain more than lose because epic books that otherwise would not have seen the light of day because of a badly written query letter, would get the chance to be published. I hope I am making sense.

Q: Were there any other authors in particular that inspired you to pen your own novel?

A: The first time I thought of writing something as complicated as a novel was after reading Narnia, then I moved on to Harry Potter, then Stephen king novels and James Patterson. I think they all inspire me.

Q: Do you have a favorite type of music to listen to when writing?

A: I prefer the quiet when I write, it allows me to think.

Thank you so much for taking the time to talk with us today.  Best of luck to you with The Other Child!

As a special bonus, Victor Olisa has offered to give away a free copy of The Other Child to one lucky reader!  Just sound off in the comments below, and one winner will be selected at random to receive this free ebook!

Thursday, March 29, 2012

Interviewed by Alan Nayes

Alan Nayes was kind enough to interview me for his site.  We spoke about Building Blocks, my inspiration, and even touch on Shades of Gray.  Check it out below!

Alan Nayes Interviews Kevin Domenic

Thanks again, Alan!  It was a lot of fun!

God bless,
Kevin

Friday, March 23, 2012

New Building Blocks Review

Just wanted to take a moment to say that the reviews I've been getting on Building Blocks have really been humbling.  I thank you all for your kind words, but I give credit to God for inspiring Building Blocks and allowing me to have the opportunity not only to write it but also get it into readers hands without the support of a publishing house.

The latest review that Building Blocks received was just as amazing as the others.  You can check it out below.  Again, thank you all for reading my books and I hope I can continue supply all of you with great reading material for years to come.

Building Blocks Review: Amazon.com

God bless,
Kevin

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Author Interview - Alan Nayes

In today's special Thursday Author Interview, Alan Nayes stops by to speak with us about Smilodon, his thriller about a primitive predator roaming loose in north-central Idaho.

Q: Tell us a bit about yourself.
 
A: First, thanks for having me on your blog today, Kevin. Though I reside in southern California, there is still a lot of Texas remaining inside me. I was born in Houston and grew up on the Texas gulf coast. Talk about humidity…oh yeah.  Several decades ago I moved to the west coast, but love getting back to my home state as much as possible. I own some land north of Dallas and one day plan to live several months of the year on 80 acres of trees, pasture, a pond—oh, and  a bunch of wild hogs. Lol. I could see getting some serious writing done in the north Texas solitude. Well, maybe not serious…

Q: How long have you been writing?
 
A: I started writing, creatively, while in college. But it was song lyrics. I’d taken up the guitar and found writing music fun. However, that ended when I actually tried to sing the songs I’d written. I found holding a pencil was much easier than holding a tune. I didn’t start writing stories until I moved to California several years later. Been writing ever since.

 Q: What is Smilodon about?

A: Smilodon is about a huge prehistoric cat that goes on the rampage in the wilderness of north central Idaho. It takes a tracker and a beautiful wildlife biologist to hunt the fearsome predator down.

Q: How did you come up with the plot?

A: I’ve always enjoyed reading creature thrillers ever since I read Jaws. So I decided I would try to write one. Cats have always intrigued me, especially the big wild ones so I decided I would create a story with a giant feline carnivore—a terrestrial Jaws so to speak. I just had to figure out how to land a primitive predator in modern day Idaho. Reading about the massive meteor that supposedly exploded over northern Siberia in the early 1900s gave me the idea of how to pull it off. A mutation, of course!    

Q: Tell us about Jason Bristol.

A: Jason Bristol is a former prize fighter who has turned to alcohol as way of dealing with his son’s fatal mauling by a grizzly. His area of expertise is his uncanny ability to track down animals and he’s pulled into the story when his best friend is killed by the cat.    

Q: What do you feel sets your book apart from others of the same genre?

A: That’s a tough one as I believe all good stories have common characteristics—interesting characters, entertaining plots, and good writing. I think Smilodon exhibits all three, but is it better than other similar themed stories out there—I’ll leave that for the readers to decide.    

Q: Did you have any specific goals when writing Smilodon? Any themes or ideas or concepts that you wanted to get across to the audience?

A: Kevin, my goal is always the same when I write a novel—to try to create the most entertaining story I can. One theme that I wanted to indirectly hit at in Smilodon is that when humans venture into the wild, man is not the host but the guest—the wild animals are the hosts. We need to behave as good guests or risk the consequences.    

Q: How long did it take you to write Smilodon? Did you hire any outside help such as a cover artist or editor?

A: I wrote the initial draft in about six months. I did hire an editor and also hired a cover artist.
 
Q: Who has been your biggest supporter in your writing aspirations? How do they support you?  

A: My family is always there for support and I also belong to a writers group of six writers called the Eclective. We are very supportive of each other. I also consider anyone who reads my books a great supporter—a big thank you to all my readers.    

Q: As I'm sure you know, many readers like to find their favorite authors on social networking websites like facebook and twitter. Do you have any social network links you'd like to share?
 
A: Would love to, Kevin. Thanks

Websites:


Links to SMILODON


Q: What do you think of the changes taking place in the publishing industry?  With authors gaining more control over the creation and distribution of their work, what do you think readers stand to gain/lose?

A: I’m happy with the changes—it opens the door for a greater variety of stories for readers to choose from. I think readers will be offered a greater chance to discover new authors in this new age of indie publishing.

 Q: Did you encounter any cases of writer's block while working on Smilodon?  How did you get through it?

A: Fortunately, no cases of writer’s block with Smilodon. The only bump came when I got to the ending. I thought I had the conclusion all figured out—but the ending changed on me. Actually, I’m glad it did because it is better I believe. 
 
Q: And just for fun, what was the name of your first pet?  What type of pet was it?  

A: My first pet that I raised on my own was an iguana. And yes, I even showed signs of creativity then by naming my pet lizard---Iggy. Oh yeah, now that’s original.

Thanks so much for taking the time to share your book with us!  Hope to see you again soon!
Smilodon - Available at the following retailers

Amazon.com | Amazon.uk | Barnes & Noble | Smashwords

Friday, March 16, 2012

The Fourth Dimension: Shades of Gray Launch

It's here!!  Shades of Gray, the newest entry in The Fourth Dimension series, has finally arrived!

Two years after the events of Eye of the Tornado, Arus Sheeth, half machine and half teenager, is living out his promise to defend the galaxy from those who seek to impose their will on the weak and take advantage of the helpless.  But when a mysterious device is recovered on the distant planet of Vaank and returned to the installation where he is stationed, Arus suddenly finds himself pitted against an enemy with no morals, no honor, and most certainly, no boundaries.

Using children as bombs and women as shields, this enemy fights like none the Aeden Alliance has yet seen.  Burdened by the choice between watching his fellow soldiers die or turning his blade against civilians, Arus is about to learn that there may be no black and white line separating good from evil.

Only Shades of Gray.

The story, to be presented for FREE over at The Fourth Dimension's Official Website will be released in episode format as I write it.  This is going to be just as exciting an adventure for me as it will be for you, because I'm writing it as I go along!  Have any suggestions for where you'd like the story to go?  Character interactions?  Big fight scenes?  Mysterious plot twists?  Shout 'em out in the comments section below each episode, and maybe I'll find a way to work your ideas into the story!

Best of all, this is all being offered to readers for absolutely free, so head on over to http://tfdworlds.blogspot.com and bookmark, favorite, follow, Like, Tweet, Stumble, +1, or share it in whatever other ways you'd like!  Get the message out, spread the word, and let your fellow readers know!

Arus has returned.

The adventure has begun.

God bless,
Kevin

Saturday, March 10, 2012

I am an Indie Author: Reddit AMA

Hey all,

I'm working on a Reddit AMA today.  Stop on by and ask some questions! :)

I am an Indie Author - AMA

God bless,
Kevin 

Thursday, March 8, 2012

Countdown

You may have noticed the countdown timer on the right sidebar.  Many of you already know what it references, but if you don't . . . Well, I'll just leave a clue here for ya.

--------------
Coming Soon

“They say there’s a special place reserved in the Abyss for traitors.”
“You mean the throne?”
Payle frowned at his partner.  Jakub had never paid much attention to the tales about Kuldaan.  He cared even less for stories about the Maker.  Myths and fairy-tales, he called them.  Payle wasn’t sure what to think about either, but of one thing he was certain: What they were planning to do was wrong.
Very wrong.

--------------

The clock is ticking!

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Now Accepting Author Interviews

Greetings,

With my first round of author interviews complete, I'm currently accepting submissions for future interview spots.  Just click on the Author Interviews button above to read the submission guidelines. 

Hope to feature you real soon!

God bless,
Kevin

Monday, March 5, 2012

The "Almighty" Cloud

I am deeply concerned about the direction of technology these days.  We've seen a lot of positive advances in the field, many of which have been very beneficial for authors in particular.  But there's a word which has been growing in popularity that has made me increasingly nervous.

I'm talking about the "cloud."

For those not familiar, the cloud is a term used to describe offsite data storage.  The promotional idea behind it is the simple fact that you would no longer need to worry about storage space, data backup, and physical media.  Everything from your saved documents to your video games to your music and movies would be stored on a server somewhere else, giving you virtually limitless data storage and media access.

That's how companies like Microsoft and Apple want you to see it, anyway.

I see a far different reality in the not-so-distant future.

Several years back, Microsoft introduced Xbox Live.  While not the first online gaming service for home consoles, it was certainly the most complete package available at that time.  With it came promises of eventual downloadable content (or DLC) that could extend the life of your games with patches, new levels, additional characters, and much more - for a price.  DLC didn't really take off until the Xbox 360 was released.

When it started, DLC was in no way a requirement.  Games were shipped complete, and any DLC available was simple; they'd provide a new horse for your in-game character or maybe a novelty arena for a hockey game.  DLC cost money, but anyone not interested in paying for it didn't really miss out on anything significant.

Fast forward to today.  DLC has become more and more prevalent and, in some cases, almost necessary.  You can get additional characters for Street Fighter.  There are additional missions for Mass Effect.  New multiplayer maps are frequently released for most popular shooters.  Some DLC is only available by pre-ordering your game at one retailer as opposed to another.  Buy that shooter at Best Buy?  Then you can get a specific in-game weapon that people who purchased at GameStop won't ever have access to.  Buy at Walmart?  You can get an additional character download that other retailers won't provide.

But here's where things are starting to get dirty.  First off, companies are releasing game discs with DLC data ON THE DISC.  You can't have access to it, of course, until you pay for the content online.  But the data is there on the disc you've already paid for.  It's a sneaky and immoral way for companies to try to squeeze more money out of players.  Second, downloaded content is becoming more and more important to the multiplayer aspect of games.  Shooters, especially, have new maps coming out seemingly every week (exaggeration, but you get the point), and since so many players fork over the cash, those who haven't purchased DLC have more trouble finding games.  Or, in the case of games like Call of Duty, you can get a game, but your lack of DLC restricts EVERY player to only the multiplayer maps you have.  And, as you might imagine, that will often earn you an expletive laden verbal assault from other players who don't want to play the "same old maps" over and over.


So what does all of this have to do with the cloud?

Well, as DLC popularity has risen, so have the prices.  A pack of 3-4 new multiplayer maps for Call of Duty will typically cost you $15.  Fifteen bucks for a couple of maps.  That's a quarter of the price of a brand new game!  The makers of Street Fighter release a pack of four new characters and a couple of interface adjustments and calls it a whole new game, charging players another $30 to access it.  Keep in mind that players already pay $50 a year for Xbox Live to begin with in addition to the cost of the console and the original game itself.

Worse yet, sadly to say, my former favorite developer - Square Enix - has finally delivered the ultimate slap in the face.  Their latest release, Final Fantasy XIII-2, ends with a "To Be Continued" message.  When questioned, director Motomu Toriyama stated that the ending is leaving room for DLC and the game's multiple "Paradox Endings."  In other words, you shell out $60 for a game, play through to the end, and get told to pay more in order to finish it.  It suggests what I've feared all along:  Our living rooms, bedrooms, family rooms, and everywhere else are being turned into home arcades.  Plunk down your money to play, get through a few levels, then be forced to pay more to continue.  Sure, it's not that bad yet, but I could easily see the industry reaching that point within ten years.

And I have the same concerns regarding the "cloud."

Right now, we have - for the most part - control over our media.  We can download music from iTunes and save it to our computers to be either burned to CD or shifted to an MP3 player.  We can still get hard copies of games and movies and music in stores.  And we can save our files on hard drives built into our computers or external backups.  The data is ours to do with as we please (legally, of course), and we never have to pay for it again.

But the cloud has already appeared in some ways.  Netflix, for example, is a cloud-based movie service.  You have access to all kinds of TV shows and movies storied on Netflix's servers, and for a fee, you can access them.  Likewise, there's a game service called OnLive that does the same thing for video games.  For a monthly fee plus the price of the game, you get online access to any games they offer.  All information is stored on their databases; you don't need a fancy computer or the latest game console.  Just money.  Every month.  But if you don't pay every month, you don't have access to anything, no matter how much you've already paid.

See where this is going?

If the cloud becomes universally accepted by the technology world just as DLC was accepted by the gaming world, we could find ourselves paying monthly fees for everything and anything.  Movies, music, games, and even data storage could all come with access fees because, after all, those companies need money to maintain the servers and data backups.  As time goes on, physical media will become a thing of the past because it's easier to just click a button to download a purchase.  Need storage space?  Pay a subscription fee, click a button, pay a product fee, and you'll have terabytes at your disposal.  Want the latest Batman movie?  Pay a subscription fee, click a button, pay a product fee, and be watching within minutes.  The ease of use will be the main marketing point, but inwardly, these corporate executives will be laughing all the way to the bank.  EVERY month.  But if you cancel your subscription, you lose access to everything you've already paid for.

Do you know why companies like Best Buy and Staples push services plans on technological purchases?  Because services are considered pure profit.  It is one of the few ways that you can take a customers money without handing them a physical product in return.  Digital media will be viewed the same way.  In fact, it already is.  When iTunes tries to sell you a digital download of XYZ Band's latest album, they may as well be saying, "Would you like to purchase a warranty plan?" There's no CD, no case, no physical product of any kind changing hands.

Without a physical product in the customer's hands, the power is ALL in the developer's hands.  Fees will be small to start, but as physical media fades away and the cloud becomes king, our society will be trapped in a system that gives all the financial control to businesses and other organizations that have one simple demand: Every dollar in our wallets.  Next thing you know, access fees begin to rise.  Then, "processing" fees will be instituted.  Online purchase taxes.  Pretty soon, purchasing a copy of a movie will entail a $9.99 per month subscription to a service, $20 purchase fee for the movie itself, $2.50 online purchase tax, standard sales tax, and whatever else the developers and distributors want to tack on.  Worse, because we will have allowed ourselves to be forced into this system, there will be no way out.

Additionally, if this sort of technology extends beyond entertainment and into standard computer use as Microsoft and Apple and others are pushing for (the cloud is already a part of Apple's latest iOS), we'll soon find ourselves buying computers with minimal hard drive space because we'll be able to store as much data as we need on the cloud.  Once that becomes standard, Microsoft could decide to charge monthly for access to the cloud.  Suddenly, that book you're writing, that assignment you're working on, that presentation you need for work, they could all be held ransom each month by the providers of the cloud until you pay access fees.  People will grumble just as they do about the prices of Microsoft Office.  But people will pay just as they do to purchase Microsoft Office.

Is any of this going to happen for absolute certain?  I have no idea.  But if DLC has taught us anything, it's that we need to be very careful which powers we entrust to the powers that distribute digital data.  Gamers have allowed themselves to take the bait, and now game developers are reeling in more dollars every day.  If we don't want to see that happen to all aspects of media, society needs to reject the cloud as a whole.

Spread the word.

God bless,
Kevin

Saturday, March 3, 2012

Request for a Favor

I need a favor, readers. My books are in serious need of reviews over at Amazon.com. They've got lots of reviews at Barnesandnoble.com (Thank you soo much! Keep 'em coming!) but barely anything at Amazon.com. If any of you could be so gracious as to click below and review any books of mine that you've read, I'd be eternally grateful!! Thanks so much!

Kevin Domenic's Books at Amazon.com (Don't forget to "Like" and Tweet!)

In other news, work continues on my upcoming webseries set in the Fourth Dimension universe.  I'm working on website layout and polishing the first Episode, so I hope to have new (and free!) content for you soon.  Thanks so much for your patience!

God bless,
Kevin

Friday, March 2, 2012

Author Interview - Tonya Ferguson

In the latest in my series of author interviews, today we sit down with Tonya Ferguson, author of "to remember love."  

Q: Tell us a bit about yourself.

A: Hmmm, I always feel a little awkward when I'm asked this question. I never know what "bit" to tell. I'm always thinking, does anyone really care? Well, here goes. My name is Tonya Ferguson. I am an Author / Singer / Songwriter / Recording Artist / Life Changer. I've been happily married to the most tremendous Man of God and my greatest Encourager for over 31 years. We have 2 grown daughters that are our greatest achievements in life, and together we laugh, live, and love. I've been through a lot, and I know I will have to go through a lot more, and that's ok with me.

Q: How long have you been writing?

A: I actually started writing songs first. I wrote my first song in 2005. I wrote my book, "to remember love," in 2011.

Q: What is "to remember love" about?

A: "to remember love," tells a story of "Real Life," "Real Loss," and "Real Love."

It is a book based on the true story of how my family and I were forced to live our lives clinging to the edge of a jagged cliff, while battling a fierce, non-stop, thirteen year storm.

Being a Caregiver, for nine and a half years, was the most difficult, thankless, exhausting, challenging, frustrating, heartbreaking, and lonely job I've ever done. However, being a Caregiver, for nine and a half years, also gave me the opportunity to give the greatest gift of "Unconditional Love," and has left me reaping rewards that words just can't describe.

What makes my story different, is not only do I tell the raw truth of the struggles I experienced during an unrelenting storm, but I also show the reader how I found my way out of the darkness of my situation and into the light of a new day. It will comfort and encourage anyone who has experienced any type of loss, grief, or is weary from laying down their life to put someone else's life first, by caring for their every need.

Q: How did you come up with the story?

A: It was very simple really, I "LIVED" it. This story was the last 14 years of my life. I have found that I "Live" what I "Sing," and I "Live" what I "Write."

Q: How long did it take you to write "to remember love"? Did you hire any outside help such as a cover artist or editor?

A: It probably took a couple of months to actually write my story down. Then another month to "tweak" it a little. We created the cover ourselves, I did have to hire someone to put it in the format we needed. I did use an editor.

Q: What do you feel sets your book apart from others of the same genre?


A: If I had to answer this with one word it would be, "HONESTY." I was Honest in telling my story. It didn't matter to me if it was good, bad, pretty, or ugly...above all I wanted to be Honest. Maybe it can be better said by someone else. Here is a quote about my book. "We have all experienced hardships in our lives, every single one of us. If you haven't yet just wait, it's coming. This book is Tonya Ferguson's "mountain climbing" story, painted with the raw and real emotions of someone who has battled a long, violent storm." ~Mairin Wolfe

Q: Did you have any specific goals when writing "to remember love"? Any themes or ideas or concepts that you wanted to get across to the audience?

A: I think my goal changed somewhere between the first word I wrote and the last word I wrote. When I began writing, I think it was for my healing. I had hopes that what I lived would somehow make more sense to me if I saw it in black letters on white pages. As I got further into my journey of writing, however, it became increasingly clear that I was writing this book for everyone in this world that has experienced "real life" and all that means. My goal is to give a Voice to all the Caregivers, Compassion to all the Grieving, and Hope to all the Hopeless. I truly feel my book has "No Boundaries." This book is an umbrella to hold on your stormiest days.

Q: What do you think of the changes taking place in the publishing industry? With authors gaining more control over the creation and distribution of their work, what do you think readers stand to gain/lose?

A: I've only experienced one type of publishing, so I have nothing to compare it to. I think authors should have ALL control over the creation and distribution of their work. It's their blood, sweat, and tears that formed the words on those pages. How could readers NOT benefit from authors being free to be themselves?

Q: As I'm sure you know, many readers like to find their favorite authors on social networking websites like facebook and twitter. Do you have any social network links or websites you'd like to share?

A: I love talking with people. I would like to invite everyone to come and visit with me.

My Website: www.tonya-ferguson.com

My Facebook: www.facebook.com/uniquelytonyaferguson

My Twitter: @Tonya_Ferguson

Q: What do you feel are the most important aspects of a great book?

A: I think that changes for each individual person. It's like a work of art. One person may find it overwhelmingly beautiful and another person may not be drawn to it at all.

Q: Were there any other authors in particular that inspired you to pen your own novel?

A: The only author that inspired my story was God.

Q: And just for fun, favorite vacation destination?

A: Anywhere that I can see something beautiful to look at. Mountains, oceans, forests, deserts, etc. Why, are you sending me on an all expense paid vacation?

Thanks for stopping by, and best of luck to you!!