Monday, January 26, 2015

There Will Be No Interesting Posts From Other Websites This Week, But I Have a Good Reason for Not Posting

And that reason is I spent most of last week and the weekend working on three other projects.

Of course, most of my time was spent with my current WIPs. I've been struggling through the final revision of Rotter Apocalypse before sending the manuscript off to my editor. That has required some extensive editing of the military scenes to make sure they pass the guffaw factor with readers. I've also been working on that special project I mentioned earlier. For now, this will remain covert, but I'm really excited about it; it's been a long time since I've been this motivated. Plus I have the sequel to Hell Gate that is still calling to me.

The other project is a revamping of this blog site. Nothing extensive: a few cosmetic changes, updating links and deleting those are dead or no longer relevant, and adding pages that include excerpts of my novels and novella so new visitors to the site can get a better feel for my work before (hopefully) buying my books. I should have the blog updated in the next day or so, so please come back and check it out.

Sunday, January 25, 2015

Kindle, Print Versions of Yeitso Are Reduced in Price

Blood Bound Books has reduced the price for Yeitso on Amazon to $10.46 for the trade paperback version and $2.99 for the Kindle version. If you haven't already picked up your copy, now is the perfect time to do so and add Yeitso to your summer reading list.

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Pictures From Our Trip to Germany and Austria: Munich

Munich was the last stop on our trip. Since Alison and I were both sick while in Munich last year and never left the hotel, this year we went back to see the sites and did a walking tour of the city's World War II-related history. We were surprised at how many buildings associated with the Nazis were still left standing after the war.

This is the Rathaus (Town Hall) in Marienplatz in downtown Munich. Not only is the Rathaus home to the Glockenspiel, the animated clock display that relates the city's history (visible in the center of the tower), but this also where German city officials surrendered to an American reconnaissance unit comprised of a few Jeeps and soldiers on 30 April 1945.

The building on the far right used to be the location of the Sterneckerbrau Beer Hall. On 12 September 1919, Adolf Hitler was sent to this beer hall by the German army to spy on a right-wing extremist group known as the German Workers' Party (Deutsche Arbeiter Partei, or DAP). He was fascinated by the racist and political philosophies this group espoused, and soon quit the military to become one of its leading members and primary public speaker, beginning a career in politics that eventually would see him become German Chancellor in January 1933.

The Hofbrauhaus is one of the oldest beer halls in Munich, tracing its origins back to 1589. It was also one of the locations used by the DAP to hold functions. On 24 February 1920, in front of two thousand supporters Hitler proclaimed the 25-Point Program, the political, economic, and racist policies that the party would follow until 1945. At this time, the DAP was renamed the National Sozialistische Deutsche Arbeiter Partei (NSDAP), otherwise known as the Nazis.

 The meeting room inside the Hofbrauhaus where Hitler proclaimed the 25-Point Program.

Odeonsplatz, where Hitler's infamous Beer Hall Putsch of 8-9 November 1923 ended when a hundred soldiers blocking the square fired on Hitler and his followers attempting to march to the Bavarian Ministry of Defense. Four soldiers and sixteen Nazis were killed in the gunfire.

The arched building to the right is the Feldhernhalle (Hall of Heroes), the loggia dating back to 1844 to honor Bavarian military leaders. After the Nazis came to power in January 1933, a plaque to the sixteen fallen "blood martyrs" who died during the putsch was erected on the south side (the left side of the loggia in the photo). Police or SS officers stood guard by the plaque, and anyone who passed by was required to give the Nazi salute. 

The Fuhrerbau, the representative building for Adolf Hitler, on 12 Arcis Strasse at Konisplatz. This is where Hitler and Britsih Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain signed the Munich Agreement in September 1938 that dismembered Czechoslovakia (they did so in the room above the first balcony). Today the Fuhrerbau is the State High School for Music.

The wall in the foreground is the foundation of one of two Ehrentempeln (Honor Temples) erected on this and the opposite street corner. The Ehrentempeln were built to honor the "blood martyrs" of the Beer Hall Putsch. Each temple held eight cast iron sarcophagi bearing their remains. In 1945, following the occupation, the remains were removed and either cremated or buried in unmarked graves; the temples were razed in 1947.

Monday, January 19, 2015

Interesting Posts From Other Websites

If you loved Seth Grahame-Smith's Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter, then you have to check out the book trailer for the sequel: The Last American Vampire. Even if you are not a fan of the books, it's still a good example of how to make a kick-ass book trailer.

Since I am self-publishing the last two books in the Rotter World series, I've done a lot of research to make this venture a success. 5 Self-Publishing Truths Few Authors Talk About is one of the most concise (and depressingly sobering) pieces of advice I've read.

Sunday, January 18, 2015

Tentative Convention Schedule for 2015

I'm looking to attend several conventions this year, but as of today I have three definitely planned.

-- 6-8 March, the Tioga Winter Art Fair in Gainesville, Florida. I won't be there for all three days, though; the Writer's Alliance of Gainesville will have a table at the event, and myself and several other Gainesville writers will be manning the booth at various times throughout the weekend. I'll post a schedule once it becomes available.

-- 15-17 May, Spooky Mayhem at the Doubletree Universal in Orlando, Florida. Unfortunately I'll be attending solo since my lovely wife/fellow writer Alison Beightol has a previous engagement.

-- 27-28 June, the Walker Stalker Convention at the Orange County Convention Center in Orlando, Florida.

Thursday, January 15, 2015

The Rotting Zombie's Review of Rotter World

This past Monday, The Rotting Zombie published a review of Rotter World. It was very candid and detailed, with the reviewer pointing out what he liked about the novel and where he thought it was flawed. He found the action side "exciting and easy to picture what is happening in your mind with plenty of gore and violence" and gave the book a ranking of 7 out of 10. You can read the entire review here.

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Nazi Ghouls From Space Is Now $.99 for Kindle

My novella, Nazi Ghouls From Space, is now selling for $.99 for the Kindle version. If you haven't picked up a copy yet, now is the perfect opportunity to do so.

Pictures From Our Trip to Germany and Austria: Obersalzburg

While staying in Salzburg, Alison and I took a day trip to Berchtesgarden to see Obersalzburg, where the Nazi leadership had their Alpine vacation homes, and the infamous Eagle's Nest. This place had a special significance for Alison because her paternal grandfather had served with the 101st Division during World War II and ended his European tour at Berchtesgarden.

This is the Hotel zum Turken, which dates back to 1911. During the years when the mountainside was the private reserve of the Nazis, the hotel was confiscated from its owners and used as the headquarters of Hitler's personal body guards and the SS troops that manned the security access points. The Berghof, Hitler's residence, was located behind the hotel in front of the clump of trees visible in the background. Nothing remains of the Berghof today except the rear retaining wall nestled amongst the woods.

The hotel is one of the few remaining above-ground structures from the war that still exists. By the mid-1930s, as the Nazi leadership took over control of Obersalzburg and transformed the area into their Alpine headquarters, the original inhabitants of the mountainside either sold their property to the party or had it confiscated. A bombing raid on 25 April 1945 destroyed or heavily damaged every building in the area. After the Americans returned Obersalzburg to the Bavarian Government in 1952, most Nazi-affiliated buildings were razed (except for the Platterhof Hotel, which was rebuilt and served as a resort for U.S. military personnel until 1995, then was returned to the Bavarian Government which promptly tore down the structure). The Hotel zum Turken is also the only building in Obersalzburg that was returned to its rightful owners, who rebuilt it in the 1950s; it is still used as hotel to this day.

This was the view from the Berghof's bay window of the Untersberg mountains. Legend has it that Holy Roman Emperor Frederick Barbarossa (or Charlemagne, depending on which version you believe) lies asleep at the base of the range and is waiting to be resurrected.

Still very prevalent on Obersalzberg is the vast array of underground bunkers dug into the mountainside to protect the leadership from Allied bombing raids. The tunnels stretch for six kilometers and many are open to the public (the tunnels reserved for Hitler and Eva Braun have been sealed off). This is part of the tunnel complex that was beneath the former Platterhof Hotel.

Left untouched by the war was the Eagle's Nest (Adlershorst), the tea house built by Martin Bormann at the peak of the mountain overlooking Obersalzberg for Hitler's fiftieth birthday. (Eagle's Nest is how the Americans refer to it; the Germans call this site Kehlsteinhaus, or the house on top of Kehlstein Mountain.) Unfortunately, the mountain top is closed to the public in winter because it's too difficult to maintain the winding road in snow and ice. This was as close as we could get.

Alison enjoying the snow on Obersalzburg.

Monday, January 12, 2015

Interesting Posts From Other Websites

One thing that is universal among fans of horror is the way we have been negatively treated at one time or another because of our love for the genre. The latest attack comes from the supposedly respectable news website New Republic in the form of a 4 January 2015 posting by Alice Robb titled What It Says About You If You Enjoy Horror Movies. It's a mixture of pseudo-science and author prejudices that stereotypes horror fans as unfeeling, aggressive men who hang around frightened women. This posting has the journalistic integrity of a Weekly World News report about President Obama meeting Bat Boy and the Roswell alien. To paraphrase Robin Williams, I would have used it to line Archer's litter box, but why be redundant.

One good thing that came out of the New Republic's juvenile diatribe was the responses it generated from the community. One of my favorites came from John Squires on the website Halloween Love: In Response to New Republic's Gross Misunderstanding of Horror Fans. I think most of us fans share John's sentiments.

Horror Geeks Magazine has resumed its series of articles on bug movies -- Creeping Crawling Cinema: Mothra (1961) and the (almost) Bug-Less 60s. Next up will be the insect movies of the 1970s.

I love the morbid and the fascinating, so of course I was fascinated by the New York Post's The most insane deaths seen by an NYC medical examiner. If anyone is looking for a good source of research for a medical examiner, then check out the book on which the article was based: Judy Melinek's Working Stiff: Two Years, 262 Bodies, and the Making of a Medical Examiner.

Tuesday, January 6, 2015

Pictures From Our Trip to Germany and Austria: Salzburg

The next stop on our trip was Salzburg, Austria.

This is the main shopping district in Salzburg, the Getreidegasse. All the store signs are metal overhangs. At the far end of the street is visible the front facade of the Church of Saint Blasius.

This is the view from Hohensalzburg Castle overlooking the Altstadt, or old town section of the city, which is renowned for its baroque architecture. Salzburg Cathedral (built in the 17th Century) can be seen on the right. We stayed in a lovely hotel just on the other side of the river.

Hohensalzburg Castle looking up from the Altstadt. Its construction dates back to 1077.

The Christmas market inside the castle courtyard. It's not as impressive as the one in Nuremberg, but they had gluhwein, so I was happy.

The front facade of Salzburg Cathedral. Originally built in 774, the cathedral underwent numerous renovations before finally being refurbished in the baroque style in the 17th Century.

The interior of Salzburg Cathedral.

Monday, January 5, 2015

Interesting Posts From Other Websites

Back in November, I posted an article by Forbes detailing Amazon's campaign to take on the mainstream publishing houses by encouraging writers to self publish via the Kindle Direct Publishing program (you can read the article here). This week, The New York Times carried a piece about how Amazon is now undermining those same writers it used to weaken the hold of the mainstream publishing houses on the industry by creating Kindle Unlimited, which gives readers access to Amazon's books on a lending basis, negatively impacting its writers' royalties. Anyone who writes and publishes needs to read Amazon Offers All-You-Can-Eat Books; Authors Turn Up Noses.

I'm an unabashed fan of Resident Evil, especially the first two movies (though admittedly I love all the movies) as well as the first two Capcom video games. In Defense of Resident Evil (2002) sums up nicely many of the reasons I'm such a fan of the franchise.

Thursday, January 1, 2015

What's Ahead for 2015

Between travel and a revolving door of medical conditions, I didn't get as much (read "any") writing done the last three months of 2014. For better or worse, I gave myself a mental break. That ends today because I plan on hitting 2015 running like I have a horde of fast zombies right behind me.

I'm putting the finishing touches on the Rotter World saga. Rotter Nation is being copy edited now and, with luck, should be released in Kindle and print editions this spring. I've begun the final edits on Rotter Apocalypse, the last book in the series, and am hoping to have that one published by the early winter of 2015.

Hell Gate, my young adult post-apocalypse series about a failed scientific experiment that opened portals between earth and Hell, is still in the works. In the next few weeks, I'll be discussing with my agent publishing options for the series. In the meantime, in the coming days I plan on starting the first of up to five sequels to Hell Gate, with the second book being set in Russia.

Not that it'll produce results this year, but I've started intensive research on my next series about OSS officers battling the Nazi occult in World War II. Once I have the Rotter World saga published, I hope to run the OSS and Hell Gate series concurrently.

The Vampire Hunters: Dominion, the final book in the trilogy, will be published by Emby Press this February (date yet to be determined). But that will not be the end of the story. There may be a follow-on short story or novella later in 2015.

"From Space It Came," my short story about a giant wolf spider that invades earth, will be published this spring in Emby Press' Monster Hunters: Doomsday anthology.

As for appearances and book signings, nothing is yet set in stone. I plan on attending Spooky Mayhem (May) and Spooky Empire (October) as well as the Walker Stalker Convention in Orlando this June. I'm looking into other venues through the year. Of course, I'll post about them once they are set up.

That's it for now. Time to get off the Internet and back to the writing. Thank you all for following me in 2014. I intend to make 2015 a lot more fun for all of us.