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Wednesday, December 23, 2015

Year One


One year ago on Dec 24th 2014 my first book Dex Territory was published. It was exciting. My publisher took a chance on me and we worked really hard to get a novel out the door. I was never in it for fame and fortune and good thing, because if I were, I'd be sorely disappointed.

Writing isn't a get rich overnight endeavor. It's a lot of hard work. In the case of Dex Territory it was four years of writing, rewriting, writing courses, and time spent learning English composition all over again. It was a long time since college. Even with that, I had no idea how to put a novel together. I wrote a story, but I didn't know where things belonged, I had issues keeping things in their proper tenses. It took me another four years of sending my book out to publishers to get reams of rejection letters. They weren't even the nice hand written ones. I hated that I could put so much time and effort into something and not even get a human response. That's the game. Getting a book published is really, really, unnecessarily, soul-crushingly hard. (FYI, remember that when someone expects you to give them a free copy and I'm not saying don't; I am saying, be selective.)


Today's world is a little different. In today's world there are choices. A writer can self-publish, there are vanity presses and there are small presses. Self-publishing is a double edged sword. The writer can put their own work out. It's completely up to the writer to do everything, write the book, edit it, create a cover, and release it. Then the real work begins of marketing and showing the world that the book is worthy of a reader's time. Does that sound exhausting? Well, it is. Self-published authors have complete creative control over their work. That also means the book can vary between masterpiece and complete drivel. It's a crap shoot and I've read books that fall into both of those categories. The smart authors have done their work, hired an editor, found a good cover artist and they put out the best product they can. There are a lot of passionate people that put out amazing work and I urge anyone to take a chance on self-published authors, many live on the cutting edge and can take you to new worlds. Be prepared to lay eyes on a few rocks before you find that diamond.


Vanity presses are for anyone who has written a book. They advertise everywhere. For a fee, they will publish a writer's book. I looked at a few of these and my advice, don't just walk away, run. I don't know anyone who has had a good experience with one of these companies. If there's someone out there that had a great experience and became a success with one of these companies, I want to hear from you. I want your story. I want to be proved wrong, because I've heard nothing but nightmares. I've been shown books that were "edited" and still full of mistakes and in some cases made worse. Poor cover art that had nothing to do with the story and even on author who has his name misspelled on his cover. Buyer beware. Again, I'd love to be proved wrong, because an author trying to get their work out and frustrated by publishing houses can find this option very tempting. I seriously looked into it. Luckily, I followed up with some of the authors that went that route. I invite anyone looking that way to do the same. Be informed.


The route I went with was small press. In my case, it was TWB Press out of Denver, Colorado. My book was referred to my editor, Terry, by a good friend. At that point I'd given up. I had thrown Dex Territory in a drawer and I was done with writing. I had been done for two years. I had written some stories for some magazines, did some interviews and was content to get on with my life and write just for fun. Then I was invited to send in my manuscript. I did. I figured I had nothing to lose and I really didn't. Terry liked what he saw, it need a lot of work, but he really took the time to help develop the story. I turned in a hundred thousand word manuscript and by the time we finished it was a tidy sixty-five thousand words. We left a lot of good stuff on the floor, but get rid of anything that wasn't necessary to the story, we worked on tenses and sentence structure and I think he normally wouldn't have take on something so rough. It was a lot of work for us both, but from my side, it felt like a had a partner. That what a relationship with an editor is, it's a partnership.


There was a lot of tough love involved. His job isn't to tell me how great my words are and what a great little author I am; his job is to tell me how I can make the work better. Sometimes, it was really hard and sometimes it was triumphant. It was absolutely worth every sleepless night when I held that book in my hand for the first time saw my name on the cover and saw my words spread between my open palms. There were tears that day.

2014 was a hard year for me. The year started off with the death of my Dad and about everything negative life could throw at me, home repairs, job insecurity as my company was bought by another and I didn't know if my life was about to make an unexpected turn. Then I had a published book. While it didn't solve my life's problems, it let me put a solid landmark in a chapter of my life. I'd have a almost equally sized landmark ten months later when TWB released Knight and Dex my second book on October 31st. I'm currently working on book 3 Dex Machina now and my goal is to have that out on the shelves late next year. I'm really looking forward to the next book. That's the one lesson I've learned through all of this enjoy the now, but work toward the next. The next book, the next project, the next day, the next chapter, the next word, because anything can happen next.


My newest book Knight and Dex is available in paperback and e-book on Amazon.com, Barnes and Noble and don’t forget my publisher www.TWBPress.com has copies also! Support small business and please buy from them direct.

Dex Territory and Knight and Dex are on sale!

Keep those reviews coming!!

Where can you find me?
www.twbpress.com
www.twbpress.com/authormarkaberdeen
www.amazon.com/author/markaberdeen
www.twitter.com/Mark_Aberdeen
www.facebook.com/mark.aberdeen
www.facebook.com/DexTerritoryBook

You can find Dex Territory for every possible device at:
TWBPress.com

Amazon.com
Barnesandnoble.com
smashwords.com
iBooks
Kobo



Tuesday, December 15, 2015

Lack of Progress but moving forward

Lack of progress. My blog is called author in progress, but I’ve decided that it’s a misnomer at this point in time. I’m stuck, mired and unable to move forward. It’s certainly not a lack of desire as that remains constant. I’ve written about half of my third book and it’s been that way since before I took pen to my second book. I have the entire story outlined and it’s as twisty-turny as a bucket of eels. I have good character interactions, the dialog is what you’d expect from my books, snappy banter and fun. Yet, I can’t seem to write another word.

I know what you’re about to say, you’re blocked and work through it. The problem is I’m not blocked, if fact just the opposite, I have ideas running around my head, knocking over shit, tripping over themselves to get out. Yet, I’m more concerned about the picks in my college football pool and how we’re setting up the post season in the NFL. Being from New England, you might guess where my loyalties hang their woolen beanie. If you were to say Boston, you’d be right.

Here’s the thing. While I’m a sports fan, it’s not everything I am. I have a day job and it keeps me pretty darn busy. We’re in our push to the telecom Christmas shutdown. My focus has been there. I’m a husband, A dog rescuer, a friend, a brother, a son, a firmly committed movie buff, a pop culture fan, a homeowner with gutters that desperately need to be cleaned and honey-do list as long as my arm and in the middle of that I write books. It’s been causing me a little stress that I have a book to write, but haven’t been doing much about it.

Last night I’m lying in bed, wide awake, which is more often the case. I had an epiphany and right after I had my first real sleep in days. The pressure and stress were all in my head. I was causing my own problem. I rolled it around my head to be certain, but never had I tried to write anything from October to December. Last year I was editing Dex Territory, but that was different. Knight and Dex came to me in January. I’m always writing, but I’m not always writing books. Then came the sigh of relief. It’s not my time to be worried about the next book. I’ve released two book in less than a year. I’m marketing book 2 and living up to those obligations and it’s time you gave yourself a damn break, Mark. You’re no use if you’re a babbling idiot.

I made a deal with myself. Sanity first, Dex Machina can wait until you stabilize. Keep writing down those ideas, those bits of dialog and live life. I’m a writer that writes from experiences. While the tales are very fictions, what lies underneath comes from personal experiences. There is a nugget of my life way down deep in the core. To write about experience, it’s important to have them.

My plan is to have some experiences, enjoy the holidays with my family and friends, laugh, catch some ball games, watch my local ECHL hockey team take the ice, watch Star Wars more times than is healthy, hang out a Johnnie McCracken’s Irish Pub, whip up some culinary art in my kitchen and then get back to doing what I really want to do. Write damn good stories.

This may not be my last blog post of the year, but when the next one comes it will be with a vengeance!
Don’t forget we’re in the middle of the Rave Reviews Book Club Book Trailer tour
My trailer is Dec 18th!!! Here are the details:


LOCATION: Winder, GA

DAILY GIVEAWAY(S): When: December 18th

(1) Grand Prize - Autographed copies of both Dex Territory and Knight and Dex

(2) Second Prizes - Autographed copies of Dex Territory

(3) Third Prizes - e-copies of Dex Territory

Thank you so much for visiting my blog today! I am a participant in the Rave Reviews Book Club’s HOLIDAY TRAIN “BOOK TRAILER” BLOCK PARTY, which is running thru the entire month of December, 2015.

Check out the trailer on December 18th to my book Dex Territory, like it and leave a comment. Perhaps win an autographed copy delivered right to your door. Easy peasy!

For my stop along this tour, I am giving away six awesome prizes and if you’d like a chance at winning one of them, please view my book trailer on YouTube at https://youtu.be/wpVTRVddOLw and then leave a comment! That’s all you have to do to get a chance at winning!!!

Winners will be announced daily here! Good luck to you and please, don’t forget to also “LIKE” my trailer while you’re there (if you do), and also tweet it out and share it on Facebook and your other social media forums before you leave. I’m so thankful to you in advance!

For more awesome chances to win daily prizes for the entire month of December, do check out the other stops along this tour here!

My contest goes live on Dec 18th. Watch, like, say a few words and win!

My newest book Knight and Dex is available in paperback and e-book on Amazon.com, Barnes and Noble and don’t forget my publisher www.TWBPress.com has copies also! Support small business and please buy from them direct.

Dex Territory and Knight and Dex are on sale!

Keep those reviews coming!!

Where can you find me?
www.twbpress.com
www.twbpress.com/authormarkaberdeen
www.amazon.com/author/markaberdeen
www.twitter.com/Mark_Aberdeen
www.facebook.com/mark.aberdeen
www.facebook.com/DexTerritoryBook

You can find Dex Territory for every possible device at:
TWBPress.com

Amazon.com
Barnesandnoble.com
smashwords.com
iBooks
Kobo

Tuesday, December 1, 2015

Welcome to #RRBC’S HOLIDAY TRAIN “BOOK TRAILER” BLOCK PARTY!


LOCATION: Winder, GA

DAILY GIVEAWAY(S): When: December 18th

(1) Grand Prize - Autographed copies of both Dex Territory and Knight and Dex

(2) Second Prizes - Autographed copies of Dex Territory

(3) Third Prizes - e-copies of Dex Territory

Thank you so much for visiting my blog today! I am a participant in the Rave Reviews Book Club’s HOLIDAY TRAIN “BOOK TRAILER” BLOCK PARTY, which is running thru the entire month of December, 2015.

Check out the trailer on December 18th to my book Dex Territory, like it and leave a comment. Perhaps win an autographed copy delivered right to your door. Easy peasy!

For my stop along this tour, I am giving away six awesome prizes and if you’d like a chance at winning one of them, please view my book trailer on YouTube at https://youtu.be/wpVTRVddOLw and then leave a comment! That’s all you have to do to get a chance at winning!!!

Winners will be announced daily here! Good luck to you and please, don’t forget to also “LIKE” my trailer while you’re there (if you do), and also tweet it out and share it on Facebook and your other social media forums before you leave. I’m so thankful to you in advance!

For more awesome chances to win daily prizes for the entire month of December, do check out the other stops along this tour here!

My contest goes live on Dec 18th. Watch, like, say a few words and win!

Best of luck!

Mark


Friday, November 27, 2015

Jessica Jones vs Supergirl?

Yesterday I was running through my Facebook feed and usually I know better than to get sucked into such things, but I decided to answer a question that was thrown out there asking which team was I on, Jessica Jones or Supergirl? For the uninitiated Jessica Jones is part of the Marvel comic universe (MCU) and she's a private investigator who was once a superhero. In fact, she was an Avenger, but in the MCU it's hard to find a character that wasn't at some point. It's kept the team fresh over the years. She hangs out on the same streets with Daredevil, Luke Cage, Iron Fist and the group of them team up eventually to form the Defenders. I like these "street" heroes. There's something appealing about a hero not trying to save the world, but just their little corner of it.

I wrote the following to answer the question: I'm not sure why I need to choose. I like having the light-hearted Supergirl and the dark and gritty Jessica Jones. Just as I like having both Daredevil and The Flash. It a great to have both The Avengers and Man of Ste... ok, that's a poor example, but it's a great time to be a geek.

As a response, someone, not the one asking the question responded: You don't need to or have to, it's just a fucking regular question dude, not a life threatening one.

Obviously, my answer annoyed this person, but hey, it's the internet. At best, the internet is as kind and forgiving as the Spanish Inquisition if the members were velociraptors with explosive diarrhea and menstrual cramps, but the question itself rubbed me the wrong way. Why exactly did I have choose between the two? Why does there have to be choice at all? Certainly there's enough space on my DVR for both. In fact, one doesn't take up space on my DVR at all. I switch over to Netflix and can binge watch until my heart's content.

For the record, I didn't answer back. I suspected it was a flame war in the making and he was looking for a fight. I worded my question carefully, there wasn't an exclamation point, anything in all caps, it contained a joke and an affirmation and I certainly didn't intend for anything to be "life threatening." I checked out his feed to see what kind of rabbit hole that would lead down and it's better to let sleeping trolls lie.

The be fair, I could have just skipped the question, or answered it with one of the choices, but there always seems to be a need to compare one thing to another. That has been especially true with the first two headlining female superheroes since Wonder Woman. I'm going to discount Dark Angel and Terminator: The Sarah Conner Chronicles, while they're genre, I'm going to stick with known (mostly known) superheroes. First, I applaud both Marvel and DC for putting both characters up on screen. It's huge. It's been too long. I love the sunny, upbeat Supergirl. Just I love The Flash and Arrow. While they're on different networks, I wouldn't be surprised to see a crossover at some point. Tonally, the show is innocent, fun and certainly brings out the child-like wonder that's buried in me. I'm very happy with what the DCU has brought to TV. If I were a kid watching it, I'd lose my shit. As an adult watching it, I think it's a refreshing change from the hard drama that fills my DVR to the brim. Game of Thrones and The Walking Dead are amazing, but there isn't much joy in them. I like DC for bringing the traditional superhero to my living room. I will never not love watching superheroes. I've been a fan as long as I've been able to read comic books. Props to Agents of Shield, I don't want to forget a shoutout to you. Jessica Jones on the other hand fits into the latter and is a hard hitting drama. It's dark, gritty and very much set on the same streets with Daredevil. Both shows hit me on very different levels. To me it's like comparing The Beatles to the Rolling Stones, or Elvis to Frank Sinatra, Star Wars and Star Trek. You can but why would you?

That brings me to the first show, Supergirl. She's part of the DC universe (DCU) and she's Superman's cousin and was sent to Earth to protect him as a baby, but her ship was stuck in the phantom zone for a while. When she eventually arrives on Earth Supes has been saving the planet for a while and she's the hero that has something to learn. She's often in her cousin's shadow, but very much a hero in her own right and she's trying very hard to prove it.

Melissa Benoist plays her with a gee-shucks kind of charm that's both adorable and fun to watch. The character is struggles with cute everyday problems and much deeper ones about identity, living up to expectations and trying to fit in to world that doesn't always under her and she's trying to understand. The show is kind and light-hearted and very watchable. They did a great job of folding in a lot of the Superman lore into the show and the show has been great. I think the exception was an episode they undercut Supergirl and seriously dropped the ball. *Editorial Opinion Alert* It was an episode Kara needed a rescue from her cousin with a nuclear powered villain Superman had never beaten. I think it was a poor choice and if Superman isn't available for the show, then please don't bring him in. Superman has left Earth more than once. Let your character breathe! *End* Fortunately, they followed up that episode with one called Live Wire, who is a great villain with the best use of electrical powers I'd ever seen. It was the best episode to date.


On the other hand Jessica Jones is dark, gritty and has a hardboiled, noir style that appeals to my love of Mike Hammer, Phillip Marlowe, Archie Goodwin. She's a hard-drinking, self-loathing and down-and-out detective, battling personal demons with a seriously sick antagonist who made her do things that haunt her very soul. She suffers from PTSD, she doesn't think she's a good person, she feels incapable of love, while she has sex in the series, there's nothing romantic about it. It's need and to help her feel something. The repercussions of it come later and it's heartbreaking. She has super strength and can jump into something that resembles flight. She's tough, but not invulnerable and she has no idea where her powers came from. Her protagonist is the sick and perverted Kilgrave acted with twisted glee by the former 10th Doctor, David Tennant. Kilgrave is mad, delusional and played to note perfection. This may be Marvel's finest villain after Tom Hiddleston's Loki.

Krysten Ritter plays Jessica from a place of pain and loss. She's lost her identity and she would like to shuck it off entirely and find a deep hole to crawl into and pull the darkness in behind her. The character keeps coming in contact with people that need help and if she doesn't there are dire consequences. She has to make hard choices and for her it's about survival. It's a marvelous role.


The two shows couldn't be further apart in narrative. It's a miracle that we have one strong female superhero on the screen, let alone two. What I find distressing is article after article pitting the two against one another. The internet is fine in doing that on it's own, just pick up any twitter feed with #JessicaJones or #Supergirl. This article from sheknows.com shows the point perfectly:

http://www.sheknows.com/entertainment/articles/1103835/supergirl-season-1-episode-5

There has been several articles that contain some backlash. For instance:

http://www.themarysue.com/supergirl-vs-jessica-jones/

I'm trying really hard not to be preachy and there will always be those who need to choose between Kirk and Picard. Discussion is fine, but one doesn't negate the other. Jessica Jones certainly doesn't mean the end of Supergirl, or vice-versa. It means we finally have something that propels a very underserved demographic into the forefront. I roll this back to the original question. Are you team Supergirl or Team Jessica Jones? And for the life of me, I can choose one over the other in terms of writing and production, but that isn't the question. I think I need them both. I think both serve a crucial role in terms of storytelling, in introducing good, powerful female characters into the TV landscape, into the public consciousness and into the our hearts.

My newest book Knight and Dex is available in paperback and e-book on Amazon.com, Barnes and Noble and don’t forget my publisher www.TWBPress.com has copies also! Support small business and please buy from them direct.

Dex Territory and Knight and Dex are on sale!

Keep those reviews coming!!

Where can you find me?
www.twbpress.com
www.twbpress.com/authormarkaberdeen
www.amazon.com/author/markaberdeen
www.twitter.com/Mark_Aberdeen
www.facebook.com/mark.aberdeen
www.facebook.com/DexTerritoryBook

You can find Dex Territory for every possible device at:
TWBPress.com

Amazon.com
Barnesandnoble.com
smashwords.com
iBooks
Kobo



Monday, November 23, 2015

Back in the saddle

The time has come and it's time to dive back into my Dex world. Book 2, Knight and Dex, (available now!) was quite a challenge, but the story was so worth the sleepless nights. Lots of lessons learned in writing my second book and I'm carrying those with me into book 3, Dex Machina. That should please my editor. I'd previously written most of book 3 when Knight and Dex took over, I've gone through the book and scrapped most of it. Don't worry, it needed to be scrapped. I needed to exercise some demons and now they are put to rest.

Book 3 is shaping up to be one of those theme park rides that drops the reader from two hundred feet with barely a safety harness. New London is in for a very bad day. Rick O'Shea is working hard for his pay. New villain, new threat and as always new levels of complication. It's going to make the first two books feel like a warm up.

I've been working for a few days with the odd break to catch a movie, eat, sleep...the things that are luxuries when I'm in my writing process. Everyone's process is different. Mine is to cut off from the world as much as I'm able. Write all hours. When I get stuck I take a walk and talk things out. It's very important to wear a headset while in public, or else be prepared for strange looks and a possible psych hold. That completely depends if I'm trying to work out a love scene, or a battle. The battles are easier to work out.

What made book 2 so hard? The story itself was easy, I'm still working on my writer muscles and I've read books on writing, taken some classes and had an online writer group and all of those things while technically right, didn't account for a first person past tense narrative. While I'm learning all these great things taking out the word was in past tense novel should not be attempted. It's an important word. Also keep an eye out for adverbs. Adverbs (Word that mostly end in ly) are evil and should only be used in the most dire of circumstance. Don't avoid them in the first drafts, but keep note, what adverbs are flags to add an action.

For instance: "Whatever." She said coarsely.

Could be: "Whatever." She sneered.

The second sentence is much more powerful and I did it with one less word. Sneering evokes a particular action. I know what it's like to be sneered at, but I have only a general idea what someone being course is like. It could crude, rude, angry, her voice might be horse.

By no means stop writing, the adverb is an opportunity to go back in a future draft and to make the story a powerful.

Another weak spot of mine is the use of a passive voice.

For instance: Jane was punched in the nose by Sara.

Could be: Sara punched Jane in the nose.

In this case the subject Sara acts upon the object Jane. When writing it's always more powerful to act upon and object rather than an object be acted upon. This is crucial in writing any kind of action.

Use of the first person. While first person has gained a lot of popularity over the years, some still consider it a poor way to tell a story. I've been told from a potential reader that she wouldn't read my story because it was written first person. I'm good with that. It's a very specific writing style that can be really difficult. It's really easy to get first person wrong. I've needed reminders that my main character needs to do A before he can do B. He can use and object he didn't pick up. I had once sequence in my book where Rick threw out a glowstick. Certainly not an unusual item for a cop to have, but I needed to have him pick one up at some point and throw it in his pocket. If a sword is needed in the third act, make sure it's stilling somewhere in the first.

I'm drawn to first person, because I want to be in the head of my character. It a trade-off as I don't get the luxury of jumping around and let the reader in on the whole story. I tell my story from one angle and i's both a blessing and a curse when dealing with a mystery. I think it gives me a decided advantage. While I don't get in the mind of my killer, or victim. The story advances when my character finds a clue. As a writer I need to be more visceral as Rick only know what he discovers, his conclusions may often be wrong until he puzzles it out. Otherwise, there are leaps in logic and while he can suspect something, until he knows something, he's unable to act within character.

In order to get enough information, he has to rely on the world around him and the people he comes in contact with throughout the story. Rick can't be everywhere, but those around him can be. It can be someone in passing, or someone intimately involved with the events. Then Rick has to take what he's learned roll it around with his own experiences and knowledge, which can be unreliable and spits out a conclusion. Then then fun part, acting on it.

In Knight and Dex, I was able to write these very large, crazy action sequences. I have two particular fights in there that are my favorite things I've ever written. I think if I had to chose one, it would be the first one. When I wrote it, I creeped myself out. With the feedback I've gotten, it comes across the page. Hearing that was the happiest moment of my writing career. Is it bad I take perverse pleasure in giving someone nightmare fuel? It most certainly is and I love it.

What I like most about first person is that I can feel, taste, touch, hear and smell the world. I get to do this through someone I get to know on the most intimate of levels. I know a pizza tastes to him, what he feels when he drives his car, what it's like to be in love with his partner, and I know what annoys the shit out of him. The greatest gift it to experience his pain and his joys. To not just experience, but to actually live Rick's adventure. It's truly a treasure to me.

I've written two and it's time to move onto three. New challenges await and it's time for Rick to be on his toes once again. This time, I'm going to see what makes the metal at the core of his being. Is it steel, or tin. My guess is a chunk of rusty, pitted iron.

With these final words, I move once again into my world of daring deeds and foul villainy, of a city in peril and a savior that is all too human even if those around him are not. I move into my world. I hope you'll join me once again on the other side.

My newest book Knight and Dex is available in paperback and e-book on Amazon.com, Barnes and Noble and don’t forget my publisher www.TWBPress.com has copies also! Support small business and please buy from them direct.

Dex Territory and Knight and Dex are on sale!

Keep those reviews coming!!

Where can you find me?
www.twbpress.com
www.twbpress.com/authormarkaberdeen
www.amazon.com/author/markaberdeen
www.twitter.com/Mark_Aberdeen
www.facebook.com/mark.aberdeen
www.facebook.com/DexTerritoryBook

You can find Dex Territory for every possible device at:
TWBPress.com

Amazon.com
Barnesandnoble.com
smashwords.com
iBooks
Kobo



Saturday, November 14, 2015

Trying to make sense out of the senseless

I'm going to do something I generally don't do, I'm going to get topical and perhaps a touch political. These are usually taboo, because first it's nobody's business about what I believe and second, what I think doesn't matter. What you think is all that should matter to you, anything else is just seeking validation. To quote Terry Cole Whittaker, "what you think of my is none of my business."

With that out of the way. I need to purge. It's a good morning for that as the world and especially, France, deals with a new terrorist attack. If you haven't heard, just turn on any news station. I'm a writer not a reporter.

First, to give some context I was a soldier in the US Army. My unit participated in Operation Desert Storm and has been deployed several times to the Gulf. I was incredibly fortunate to not have been deployed. It was very close, but by the time we received our desert training at Fort Devens, in the snow, the ground war was over. We remained rear support, and sent contact teams over to Saudi Arabia. We had an important job and we did it to the best of our ability. I'm very proud of my time in the military. I understand how different it could have been. I am lucky beyond measure.

Here's the thing. I was a trained soldier and was ready to face a known enemy. Terrorism doesn't work that way. The only hope in stopping it once a plan is in place is to discover actionable intelligence. Then it's law enforcement's job to figure out what's about to happen and stop it. If they don't, we have the attack. Some famous misses are the attacks on the USS Cole, the embassy bombing in Beirut, 9/11 and today in Paris. We're shocked and angry about all of these things. What we should also be angry at are the attacks that happen in Israel, Jordan, Syria, Iraq and more and more. It's a real problem. These are real people being maimed and killed.

This isn't meant o scare anyone, but here's something I found doing a google search. It's an impact map that shows the areas most a risk for attack. Makes me want to think about changing my vacation plans.


People are being trained, probably not unlike I was to use their bodies as a weapon to destroy and enemy, the difference being, I was trained to face an enemy force, they're targeting civilians, the people we swore to protect. We swore to sacrifice ourselves for the greater good. Terrorist sacrifice themselves to spread fear. I get it, I truly do. They have no voice, no one to listen, so their reaction is to take a hard line, turn to the extreme in their belief system to find comfort, to find righteousness and lash out in hate. You know what? here's the interesting part is I (we) have people that hate us that we've never met, never had a conversation, or shared a meal, shook a hand, or even nodded to each other in the street in passing. How fucked up is that? I had no more control over the circumstances of my birth than anyone. Granted our cultures differ, the places we came to understand as we grew are different, our languages vary, sometimes it's hard to understand one another...or is it? I know when someone is in pain, or feeling joy, depression, anger, love, indifference, these are not hard concepts to understand in one another. Hell, I understand these things in my dogs.

I'm asking the same question that everyone else is asking, why?

I don't expect an answer, but it's not stopping me from asking the question.

Wednesday, November 4, 2015

When The Laughter Dies: A True Account Of A Firefighter/EMT And His Struggles With PTSD by Paul D. Barnes Sr.

In my first of a featured author series. I'm featuring a conversation between a husband and wife, Paul and Fiona Barnes. Paul is a an EMT and firefighter and his book: When The Laughter Dies: A True Account Of A Firefighter/EMT And His Struggles With PTSD was just released.

Fiona is also an author and she has two book one is a non-fiction, self help book that tells their family's struggles with PTSD. It's a very intimate look into their lives and the effects of this disorder on their lives. It's powerful. Fiona has just released her second book called, Meet Cate. Here's the book's blurb:

Set at Christmastime, Meet Cate offers deliberate description designed to speak to the dreamer in you.
Cate battles the Post Traumatic Stress Disorder symptoms of her ex-husband while balancing her professional life. Will she even come out sane?


First he was a man, then a firefighter. Through it all, he was a dad. His book, When The Laughter Dies, A True Account of A Firefighter/EMT And His Struggles With PTSD is available now.

Fiona Barnes: You mentioned ambulance crew nights. Was Mark your partner? [ Not the blog owner; the name is merely a coincidence. ]

Paul D. Barnes, Sr.: I actually had two crews. (I had two nights.) Mark was the one I ran with the most.

Fiona: Remember that call with the ladder? The lady who−

Paul: How could I forget about her. Mark's at the top of the ladder. I get there, I put my gear on quick, I go up the ladder behind him. She's hanging out the window from the shoulders up, smoke billowing out. He looks down at me, and says, "I can't get her to come out the window."

I looked at him and said, "If you have to grab her and pull her out by the ****ing ears, make her come out!" And at that point she started coming out the window. That was the first time her house caught on fire.

Fiona: What about a little probie that came along, adorably cute? Really really really cute? In a Jeep?

Paul: You?!

Fiona: [ Rolls eyes ]

Paul: The thing that stood out to me the most−

Fiona: Don't say my−

Paul: No−the day I happened to look out the window and there was a yellow Jeep out on the front ramp. Somebody jumps out, all smiles and the Jeep... starts to leave the area. By itself. Nights sitting on the counter in the kitchen talking. The overseeing father figure of the department keeping an eye on us.

Fiona: Showing up at a brush fire, in full turnout gear and there you were, in clothes. You said to wear turnout gear at a brush fire.

Paul: No, I said wear your full gear at every call. I just didn't specify.

[ Faces are made ]

At a brush fire, we wore blue jeans, work boots and long sleeve shirts. Helmets and gloves, too. Do you have any idea how hard it is to drive in those boots?

[ Roars with laughter ]

Fiona: Then you put me to work looking for hot spots, and I'm pretty sure you stood back and laughed, shaking your head..
Rookie blues...I remember the call you're talking about.

Paul: There was a really cute firefighter there. She was really cute. Really really really cute.

[ Laughs ]

Fiona: Favorite memories in the book?

Paul: The dog rescue, that's my favorite.

Fiona: What did you think when we found the video the other day? (You can view it here: http://www.liveleak.com/view?i=b33_1173376852#EtxRfgzUz6MkMDbX.01. Best viewed on a computer.)

Paul: I thought it was great, I really did. It's nice to watch it. It's nice to see a favorable outcome that I can watch over and over again. One that I did.

Fiona: Favorite memories writing the book?

Paul: It was nice to think back to when I started. Brought back a lot of good memories. Brought back some bad memories but for the most part, it was a nice trip down memory lane. Made me remember how excited I was when I first joined. Nice to see I still maintain that excitement, even today. Nice to know some part of me hasn't changed.

Fiona: What do you think of the outpouring of support you've received?

Paul: It's not what I expected. It's humbling. It's incredibly encouraging.

Fiona: Do your pre-sale numbers surprise you?

Paul: Yes, actually. Yes they do. I'm not going to say I'm shocked, but it's the wow factor is way up, lemme tell you that.

Fiona: If you had to write a review for your book, what would you write?

Paul: Read with caution.

Fiona: Why?

Paul: Because reality is it's not always glamorous, sometimes it's hurtful or scary. Sometimes it's funny. But it's all true life.

Fiona: Would you be surprised to find that I laughed through a lot of it?

Paul: No, because when I wrote it, I laughed through a lot of it. I wrote it that way purposely. I tried to interject a little bit of humor into something that could potentially make people very sad or frightened. I don't want people to put the book down because it's too real. I wanted to keep them gripped. But that's also my personality.

Read part I on mayneman.blogspot.com.
Read part II on caitlynarmistead.blogspot.com.
Read the final word Friday on beachchristmaslife.blogspot.com.
Paul's book is available now on Amazon.com, BarnesandNoble.com (no relation) and at Details in Norwich, Connecticut. Follow him on Facebook (https://www.facebook.com/ThankAFireFighterI). He's currently thinking about a second book.

Thank you Paul and Fiona! Best of luck with the new releases.



My newest book Knight and Dex is available in paperback and e-book on Amazon.com, Barnes and Noble and don’t forget my publisher www.TWBPress.com has copies also! Support small business and please buy from them direct.

Dex Territory and Knight and Dex are on sale!

Keep those reviews coming!!

Where can you find me?
www.twbpress.com
www.twbpress.com/authormarkaberdeen
www.amazon.com/author/markaberdeen
www.twitter.com/Mark_Aberdeen
www.facebook.com/mark.aberdeen
www.facebook.com/DexTerritoryBook

You can find Dex Territory for every possible device at:
TWBPress.com

Amazon.com
Barnesandnoble.com
smashwords.com
iBooks
Kobo


Saturday, October 31, 2015

Release Day for Knight and Dex!

It's here! Release day all paperback and e-book copies of Knight and Dex are available. I had so much fun writing this story. This one came to me in one shot. I started writing and the whole thing flowed. My editor, Terry, helped me crank it up to 11. I'm very proud of this book.

This series feels like something special. Not just to me, but those that have read it have left me some glowing reviews. This isn't just my mom putting my art on the refrigerator, although you may see a review from her. My reviewers are authors, critics and bloggers, a pretty tough to please crowd. I'm very proud that my books have been picked up by such a great bunch of people.

I'm currently working on book 3, Dex Machina and I'm really starting to believe I'm on to something. A world with it's own rules and characters that we all can really care about. It doesn't mean that I don't put them through hell, but I know they can take it. they're an interesting lot, tougher, smarter and certainly prettier than me. I also have it on good authority that if Rick O'Shea ever met me on the street, he'd coldcock me and lock me away in a cell in Plum Island. I deserve it.

The blog is a shameless plug for my book, so please check it out. Just a click over to Amazon to my author page, conveniently hyperlinked: http://www.amazon.com/-/e/B00QZ6PAGC There you will find the links to both books in print and e-book. Check out the book blurbs, what others think. I invite you to join in and have some fun!

My books are available for the Nook, iBooks, pretty much any platform out there.

Let me know what you think. Leave me a review. It can be as simple or as complex as you want. Tell me if you like it, hate it or anything in between. It's important that I hear back from you. I want to give you a great story. Let me know how I did. While things may not always go how you envision, hopefully, they take you someplace unexpected and thrilling.


Let's kick this party off! See you at Y-Knots for some burnt coffee and bad eggs!

Best always,

Mark Aberdeen

PS. Give my publisher TWB Press some love: www.TWBPress.com

I know they want to hear from you!


My newest book Knight and Dex is available in paperback on Amazon.com, Barnes and Noble and don’t forget my publisher www.TWBPress.com has copies also!! They’re who I get them from. 

The release date of the e-book is Oct 31st. It’s a perfect day for the release. Cops, superheroes and the undead prowl the streets in my book. A little like Halloween night.

Dex Territory and Knight and Dex are on sale!

Let me know if you want an author signed copy. I have ways to get those to YOU!

Keep those reviews coming!!

Where can you find me?
www.twbpress.com
www.twbpress.com/authormarkaberdeen
www.amazon.com/author/markaberdeen
www.twitter.com/Mark_Aberdeen
www.facebook.com/mark.aberdeen
www.facebook.com/DexTerritoryBook



You can find Dex Territory for every possible device at:
TWBPress.com


Amazon.com
Barnesandnoble.com
smashwords.com
iBooks
Kobo

Saturday, October 24, 2015

Whatcha watching?

This blog is going to be a little different. I’m going to talk about things I’m currently watching and things I’m extremely excited about coming up.

The Walking Dead



Is it the best show on television? For me it’s in the DVR as my number 2 show (Game of Thrones takes the #1 slot). It's the top of my list for the fall. What can I say about it that millions of other people haven’t said? It’s creepy and scary and the make-up effects for the zombies continue to keep me in a state of awe. The continue to push the boundaries of practical effects. While the zombies are impressive, the story revolves around a small band of humans trying to survive in this post-apocalyptic world.

Often, their most dangerous situations come from other survivors in a complete and devastating breakdown of society. The story has moved on in locations from a camp just outside Atlanta to Hershel’s farm, to a prison, a brief stop at Terminus and on to Alexandria and with each location the danger keeps increasing. It’s a must watch for me. I'd pick a favorite character, or performance, but everyone brings their A game every week. It would be like asking which toe I've grown most attached? Answer, they all hurt when stubbed.

The Flash



You got me. If it involves superheroes I’m there from the old Batman series with Adam West, Wonder Woman with Linda Carter, The Incredible Hulk with Bill Bixby and Lou Ferrigno through the 90’s Flash with John Wesley Shipp, Mutant X and host of really terrible shows, then came Smallville and that was fun, but disappointing in the end. Then came Arrow and two seasons later, The Flash.

The Flash is what I’ve always hoped for in a superhero show. We have a great character in Barry Allen played by Grant Gustin and with him his rogues gallery of some of the best villains written for any superhero. Captain Cold, Gorilla Grodd, Heatwave, the Reverse Flash, Professor Zoom, the Trickster. This show knows to have fun and put emotional weight on its characters. His support team is fantastic and they bring enough drama to keep Barry a little off balance and hold him up when he needs to be heroic. It’s a lovely show. They also brought in a personal favorite hero of mine, Firestorm! Although, part of me really missed the red and yellow costume of the character from the comics and the Hanna Barbara Superfriends cartoon.

Arrow



I know this is cheating. The Arrow kicked off bringing a new generation of superhero shows to TV. It launched the Flash and both shows are building to bring in a third called: The Legends of Tomorrow. They’re also having John Constantine stop by (another favorite canceled by NBC, Constantine. May your peacock feathers droop.) Arrow starts off with Oliver Queen, played by Stephen Amell, castaway on an island for five years. He’s rescued but he’s scarred, angry and has amazing skills with martial arts and a bow.

The new Green Arrow (Yay!) quests to fight corruption in his city under the guise of the Arrow. His tactics are brutal and get the attention of the police and Detective Lance, played by the awesome Paul Blackthorne. Ollie is soon wanted for murder, pursued by both police and a host of bad guys who want him dead. Luckily, Ollie is not without friends and family Thea, Diggle, Felicity, Laurel and later on Canary, Roy Harper, Ray Palmer and his frenemy Malcom Merlyn. This show like The Flash are a gateway to expanded DC Universe and these shows have the secret sauce that movie Universe doesn’t seem to share.

Drunk History





I threw you with this one. This show makes me laugh like no other. The premise is pretty simple. Derek Waters hops from city to city and meets up with comedians they get smashed and tell stories of historical significance. Meanwhile, reenactors play out the stories is the most hilarious way possible by lip-synching to the words of the drunken comedian often with hilarious results. The true brilliance of the show is behind the drunken slurs, cursing, anachronisms, goofy costumes and actor that in no way resemble the figures they portray; the history is pretty accurate. This show is fun and charming and I never thought I’d say that about the annoying drunk in the bar. This show is brilliant.

Sleepy Hollow



Speaking of history, I love how this show weaves history with the supernatural into one part buddy cop show, one part supernatural mystery and one part history lesson. There’s nothing about this show that should work. Except the two leads Ichabod Crane played by Tom Mison, and Abbie Mills played by Nicole Beharie are completely charming and have amazing chemistry. The headless horseman in season 1 was truly terrifying, season 2 slumped for me, but it had a good payoff, Season three has them back on track in pursuit of a new deadly threat. This one is pretty mysterious and by episode four I have no sense of what her end game is and neither do the characters, they barely know who she is. It really feel like I’m along for the ride in this season and that’s fun. Abbie and Ichabod are exploring their friendship and I like that theirs is partnership that doesn’t try too hard to veer into romantic entanglements. The opening credits rank right up among my favorites such as Game of Thrones, Battlestar Galactica, Black Sails and The Walking Dead. I really like shows that open with haunting music and stunning visuals. I actively choose this show over the Blacklist as they compete for the same timeslot.


The Blacklist



I only have one thing to say about The Blacklist, James Spader. His Raymond “Red” Reddington may be the most intriguing character on TV. I’m enthralled by the performance, his interest in Lizzy and what scared him so much that he turned himself in to the FBI? He’s the ultimate operator/underworld figure. The supporting cast is competent and there are some standout performances most notably, Liz’s husband, Tom Keen played by Ryan Eggold. His dark and shady nature in the guise of someone who seemed so normal was an amazing twist. Megan Boone who plays Elizabeth Keen holds her own against Spader as they dive deeper into more dangerous waters of this shadow world. I came into this show late and binge watched the first season to get caught up. This one is a marvel.

iZombie



This show rocks my world. It’s funny, irreverent, and glib with snappy dialog. I’m completely in love with Rose McIver’s Olive Moore. Not stalkerish, but there’s no scenario that I wouldn’t let her nibble on my brain. In her world, a zombie is created by contact with another zombie, the show uses a scratch rather than the more traditional bite, but they’ve explored contraction of the zombie virus through sexual contact. The ultimate STD. The virus turns the skin and hair completely white, that goodness for hair dye and tanning spray.

Liv had to give up her old life complete with fiancé and job as doctor and became a coroner, which gave her easy access to brains. Zombie still need to eat brains, but in this case to keep them from becoming scary monsters. She consults with the police department on cases as a psychic and this is great cover, because the brains she eats (in delightful and tasty ways) gives her visions and personality traits of the murder victims. She helps the police solve the crimes. There’s lots going on the background of the story that is building to something truly big in the undead circles. This one’s a keeper.

Doctor Who



A fifty year old show that never fails to entertain and surprise. This new incarnation with Peter Capaldi feel like a throwback to my earliest experiences with the show back in the 70s with Tom Baker and John Pertwee, but with modern storytelling. I’m in love every time I hear the whoosh-thunk sound of the Tardis, the whirl of a sonic screwdriver, the raspy exclamations of a Dalek and when that iconic theme music in its remixed format with every incarnation of the of the most beloved time-traveler put to the screen.

That’s my current list. What am I looking forward to?

1. The Expanse – A space opera that is being likened to Battlestar Galactica in terms of tone and scope. Really looking forward to some hard sci-fi.

2. Legends of Tomorrow – A spin-off of Flash and Arrow that’s bring characters from both shows together in and expanded DC Universe show. This is a must see!

3. Into the Badlands – A post-apocalyptic show where there are no more guns and I’m purposely trying to not learn anything about it. I want to be surprised. I
really hope, I’m surprised.

4. Supergirl – Same show runner as Flash and Arrow, different network. Crossovers? I hope so! Really looking forward to this one.

5. Sherlock – Can’t wait for the next series to start. The upcoming Christmas episode is set in Victorian times. Can’t wait!

What are you watching? Let me know in the comments below.



My newest book Knight and Dex is available in paperback on Amazon.com, Barnes and Noble and don’t forget my publisher www.TWBPress.com has copies also!! They’re who I get them from. 

The release date of the e-book is Oct 31st. It’s a perfect day for the release. Cops, superheroes and the undead prowl the streets in my book. A little like Halloween night.

Dex Territory and Knight and Dex are on sale!

Let me know if you want an author signed copy. I have ways to get those to YOU!

Keep those reviews coming!!

Where can you find me?
www.twbpress.com
www.twbpress.com/authormarkaberdeen
www.amazon.com/author/markaberdeen
www.twitter.com/Mark_Aberdeen
www.facebook.com/mark.aberdeen
www.facebook.com/DexTerritoryBook



You can find Dex Territory for every possible device at:
TWBPress.com


Amazon.com
Barnesandnoble.com
smashwords.com
iBooks
Kobo

Saturday, October 17, 2015

The reviews are in..ish.

I'm excited! Truly. I'm getting feedback on my newest book Knight and Dex and they're very positive! Surprised? Me too! This series has been a labor of love for me and my editor. He's off touring the country trying to shake it off. He doesn't know it yet, but book 3, Dex Machina, is more than just an outline. Mine is an evil laugh. It's still going to be some time and things went on hold while I'm studying my ass off for a low voltage license. Priorities.

In the meantime, I was happy to see some reviews up on Amazon and I'm also seeing a little love for book 1, Dex Territory. To all those that are reading and to those leaving me feedback, I appreciate it from the bottom of my heart. Reviews are incredibly important. they don't have to be elaborate, or even glowing. Honest feedback is what most writers are after. We, I, authors understand that not everyone is going to like what you wrote. That's ok. What's important is I have your money, just kidding! But, it's true.



So you're probably asking, Mark how do I write a review? That's a good question. It can be as simple as, I love/like/loathe/hate this book. As an author what I'm hoping to get from a reviewing is: I love/like/loathe/hate this book and here's why... The why is what I'm after, if the reader likes something, I'll probably continue to do that. There are things I'm going to do that the reader may not like, they can tell me why, but I'll probably continue to do those things too. I may not give you everything you want, but I'll give you a complete story and hopefully a thrilling one at that. Let me know if I did my job. It's as plain and simple as that. My writing the next book is completely dependent on how this one performs. I certainly want to tell the tale. Big things are in store for New London, the STF and Rick O'Shea and if he had one iota of an idea what I have in store for him, he'd arrest me and beat me half to death on the way to the Plum Island Ultramax prison.

Stories are filled with near misses. The interesting stuff happens when people fail, when something important comes undone, or an expected result does something unexpected. This is called the plot. If there are no obstacles, there's nothing to overcome. The harder the character has to work, the more interesting the story becomes, with few exceptions. My stories are insanely hard on my main character. Imagine a regular guy going up against the Justice League, even Aquaman would grind him to chum and feed him to the fishes. While my world doesn't have a justice league, it's no less dangerous to a mere mortal. That's fun to write.



Mostly, the elements in the story are there for a reason and writing a book a very much a balancing act. The characters have to remain true to who they are, but they're people and have lives and backgrounds even if the reader doesn't get to know the full extent of them. As a writer my characters have full lives in my head. Like most people they're complex and filled with contradictions, but at the core, they are who they are.

The POV characters are going through a change. The story starts with the change and ends when it's complete. This is character movement, or character growth. It's an important story telling element. Static characters can be interesting as background characters. These characters can often help show movement. I have a fantasy book that I had been toying with for a long time. It's never really gelled for me. I realized that my POV characters LeGarde and L'Orange didn't change, or grow and they're really not supposed to. They do great deeds, but never learn anything from them. They kibitz and are infuriatingly verbose and they're often faced with impossible situations to which they treat in the most cavalier and blasé of fashions and it's really funny, but because they are who they are, they're probably not going to be my main character in the story. Although, they will probably get featured vignettes. If you go back a few blog posts. I have one of their stories posted. It's just a simple meeting gone very awry.

I didn't mean to turn this post into a writing lesson, but it's freeform, so tough it out, Daisy. Its what's on my mind as my thoughts turn toward my next project. Protagonists and antagonists, both characters are moving and against each other. It's up to the writer if they move in straight lines, or through proxies, but the climax of the story is the resolution. It's when the story has built up to the point to which the action only has one choice and that is to resolve. Remember, the antagonist has something to gain too. Unless you're telling a character vs environment story like Any Weir's The Martian, where Mark Watney faces off against Mars, or The Grey, where John Ottway faces off against the wilderness, but I digress.



I just can't help myself to see James Franco in pain.

It's not often that people are good and evil just be so, there are reasons and every character, or person, is the hero of their own story. While we root for the hero, the heroes didn't do so well in The Empire Strikes Back. They escaped, but Darth Vader won. The climax was one of the greatest reveals in cinematic history. The climax wasn't the fight between Luke and Vader, it was the moment when Vader had Luke backed up on the array and *spoilers* they had a father/son chat. If you're like me it still gives you chills even though you've seen it countless times. I also think to myself,
'Luke is whiny little bitch and always has been.'
If he didn't have a lucky shot in A New Hope... Team Solo.



I should be throwing some other authors at you soon. I've been putting together deep, probing questions and devising torture methods to get my fellow authors to give up their writing secrets and talk about their books. Most crack, when I ask, do you want to do this? That part has been a little disappointing, but they've got cool stuff going on and I want to share it. I'm going to kick that off in November.

Keep those reviews coming!!

My newest book Knight and Dex is available in paperback on Amazon.com, Barnes and Noble and don’t forget my publisher www.TWBPress.com has copies also!! They’re who I get them from. 

The release date of the e-book is Oct 31st. It’s a perfect day for the release. Cops, superheroes and the undead prowl the streets in my book. A little like Halloween night.

Dex Territory and Knight and Dex are on sale!

Let me know if you want an author signed copy. I have ways to get those to YOU!

Where can you find me?
www.twbpress.com
www.twbpress.com/authormarkaberdeen
www.amazon.com/author/markaberdeen
www.twitter.com/Mark_Aberdeen
www.facebook.com/mark.aberdeen
www.facebook.com/DexTerritoryBook

You can find Dex Territory for every possible device at:
TWBPress.com
Amazon.com
Barnesandnoble.com
smashwords.com
iBooks
Kobo



Monday, October 5, 2015

Life, NaNoWriMo and New Release!!

I’ve been a little distracted lately by life. I’d been writing solidly for the better part of two years, pumped out two novels and about halfway through my third and I ran out of gas. I’ve taken a little bit of a break from writing and went out to live a little, did some projects on my house, caught some baseball games and some football (I’m from New England and I make no apologies for who I root for), dusted off my inner cook and ate good food, reconnected with my wife (who I widowed while writing my second book) and we had to deal with the death of a family member. Unfortunately, that’s life too.

Life can be a full time job and as a writer those life moments are all fodder for story. I’m not saying that a story needs all the minutia of daily life, but a well-formed character has it and it affects them. My main character in the Dex Territory series, Rick O’Shea, is in constant need of sleep, he eats crappy food, he get hurt a lot, he deals with a past that haunts him, he has relationship problems, his superiors hate him, he has friends and girlfriend that complicate his life, he clings on to this ideal of being a cop that he learned from his dad, but feels he always comes up short even when he does remarkable things. He’s sometimes short on temper, makes bad decisions and has no respect for authority...yet, he cares about those around him, he tried really hard to do the right things, sometimes he does absolutely the wrong thing for the right reason. He masks pain with humor. He’s a mess and those always make the best characters, because it’s real. It’s life. These last couple of months as we build up to the release of Knight and Dex were a reminder of that. It was time to recharge.

Now, there’s recharging your batteries and losing interest in the work. This was definitely the former. I dive headlong back into writing in time NaNoWriMo. For the uninitiated NaNoWriMo is short for National Novel Writing Month. The goal is to write 50,000 words in 30 days. Last year was the first year I missed in the last ten because, I was getting ready to release Dex Territory and my publisher and I were in edit mode. This year I have half a novel written and my goal is to turn out my first draft of Dex Machina. I haven’t quite told my wife that she’s about to be widowed again for a month, but November is a good month to write. (I think she knows and it’s a busy time of year for her, so she’ll be safely tucked out of the way of a grumpy writer). The weather turns crappy, work slows down, Thanksgiving in in there, which usually gives me some extra time as I usually take that week off. There’s also something to be said for having a goal and sharing it with thousands of people. Honestly, I don’t know how big NaNoWriMo is these days and it doesn’t really matter to me. What matters is I have a local group and we share our progress, encourage each other and build this great sense of comradery in what is by necessity a very lonely profession. At least during the creative process. Truly, no one else can write the words.

But this year, while in the midst of my furious flurry of creative cursive I hope to enlist some other writers to take up blog slack with some interviews. These guys are up and comers like me and learn about their project and why they should be followed with zeal. I’m lining them up now and creating a list of probing questions sure to break them...I mean, um, get to know them. I hope to put out one or two a month and I think it’ll be a lot of fun.

My newest book Knight and Dex is available in paperback on Amazon.com, Barnes and Noble and don’t forget my publisher www.TWBPress.com has copies also!! They’re who I get them from. 

The release date of the e-book is Oct 31st. It’s a perfect day for the release. Cops, superheroes and the undead prowl the streets in my book. A little like Halloween night.

Dex Territory and Knight and Dex are on sale!

Let me know if you want an author signed copy. I have ways to get those to YOU!

Where can you find me?
www.twbpress.com
www.twbpress.com/authormarkaberdeen
www.amazon.com/author/markaberdeen
www.twitter.com/Mark_Aberdeen
www.facebook.com/mark.aberdeen
www.facebook.com/DexTerritoryBook

You can find Dex Territory for every possible device at:
TWBPress.com
Amazon.com
Barnesandnoble.com
smashwords.com
iBooks
Kobo

Saturday, October 3, 2015

The Martian

Last year I read a lot of books. There were some outstanding reads. I was happy to see a New Dresden files book by Jim Butcher, Skin Game. Kevin Hearne is always ready with a great outing from his Iron Druid Chronicles his book Shattered was a lot of fun. Cherie Priest surprised the hell out me with Maplecroft. If you were to tell me that a story told in letters and dispatches about Lizzy Borden and Cthulhu mythos would knock my socks off; I'd say prove it. Proof wasn't necessary. It happened. I also read Trigger Warning by Neil Gaiman and I make no secret of my man-crush on him. He doesn't know how to disappoint. Don't believe me? read American Gods and let's talk about it. I was also introduced to a plethora of new authors with some incredible stories, but the best book I read in 2014 was the Martian by Andy Weir.

Now this is a first time author and nothing about this book should work. It changes perspectives, most of the book the main character, Mark Watney, is alone, it's very technical (and I'm a lover of science and an engineer and I've written technical manuals on DC power. DC Power = boring) mostly technical = put me to sleep. What made this book so compelling was the humanity and the use of humor. Andy Weir takes time to explain why these technical things are important in the ultimate story of survival in the most inhospitable place within human reach. The book also doesn't stray from what technically possible in a very near future, maybe even today. I read the book once. I put it down for a day and then read it all over again. I then listened to it on audio and it was the best audiobook I've ever listened to and I thrive on audiobooks in my hour and change commute in Atlanta traffic twice a day. It keeps me from road raging...sometimes.

I mention this because today I saw the movie adaption of the Martian and I couldn't be happier. Yes, they adapted the book and left chunks out. Sadly, we never learned what a pirate-ninja was, kilowatt hour per sol. We missed a couple of the disasters and the movie didn't open with book's first sentence, "I'm pretty much fucked." I've since only found one first sentence to rival it in the book Seveneves by Neal Stephenson, "The moon blew up without warning and for no apparent reason." I lean toward the Martian's just because of the precision of the word, fucked. (from my writing you'll know I'm in love with swearing) I can't think of a more compelling first sentence to a book, ever. Your mileage may vary.

Without spoilers, Mark Watney (played brilliantly by Matt Damon) in an accident is left on Mars with the crew believing he's dead. Not so much. He awakes to find that the crew launched without him and left him stranded. No one knows he's alive, he has no way to communicate and he's living in a habitat (hab) that's designed to last thirty one days. He's got figure out how to survive for four years until the next manned mission to the planet lands 3200 kilometers away on a lifeless, airless wasteland.

NASA learns of his survival and they have to figure out how to keep Watney alive. Amazing performances by Jeff Daniels as the bureaucratic head of NASA Teddy Sanders, Sean Bean as the flight control Mitch Henderson and especially Chiwetel Ejiofor as Vincent Kapoor, Kristen Wiig, Mackenzie Davis and Donald Glover all give outstanding if clipped performances. I know some things have got to give in any movie adapted from a book and the movie clocks in at the fastest 2 hours 20 minutes I've ever seen. thankfully, the story remains in tact and most importantly, the characters.

The flight crew of the Hermes is lead by the always welcome Jessica Chastain as Melissa Lewis, veterans Kate Mara as Beth Johanssen and Sebastian Stan as Chris Beck. I don't think there's anything that Michael Peña can't make better and his character's, Rick Martinez, witty banter with Watney gives an emotional kick that would be lost in overly dramatic dialog. These guys have been around each other and developed a shorthand. I can't recommend the book, or the movie enough. I plant as many stars, thumbs, tomatoes, etc. as I can on this movie.

It's not often that book, or movie hits me on an emotional level, Jim Butcher did it to me Changes and he's a bastard for doing it (I've told him so. He was delighted) and The Martian does it for an entirely different reason that I won't spoil, but it brought me to tears and I'm not afraid to write that it did. Go shed a few of your own.

My new book is Knight and Dex and it's available now in paperback and will be released in e-book on Oct 31st, everywhere.

Detective Rick O’Shea is an ordinary cop in an extraordinary world of superheroes and super-villains. In this sequel to “Dex Territory,” the New London Police Department and the Superhuman Task Force are inundated with government surplus military equipment, a much-needed godsend when a series of murders leads to an invasion of Dex-morph zombies. With the President due to tour the operation, Rick, Talon, Pink Panther, and Duke must unravel a sinister plot hatched by the Chessman, defeat the undefeatable zombies, and rescue a little girl before the entire Dex community gets blamed for the assassination of the leader of the free world.

Both of my books are on sale and I offer signed copies in my store on Amazon.com. copy and paste this link into your browser: http://www.amazon.com/gp/aag/main/ref=olp_merch_name_3?ie=UTF8&asin=1936991985&isAmazonFulfilled=0&seller=A3HIOTJ4J68988

Please find me at:
www.twbpress.com
www.twbpress.com/authormarkaberdeen
www.amazon.com/author/markaberdeen
www.twitter.com/Mark_Aberdeen
www.facebook.com/mark.aberdeen
www.facebook.com/DexTerritoryBook

You can find Dex Territory for every possible device at:
TWBPress.com
Amazon.com
Barnesandnoble.com
smashwords.com
iBooks


Saturday, September 19, 2015

Knight and Dex Paperback Release!

Announcing Book 2 Knight and Dex is available in paperback. The e-book version is due to release on Oct 31st. It can be found here: http://amzn.com/1936991985

I'm really excited about this book. It's the middle of Winter in New London and even during a raging blizzard the streets can run hot with blood. Book 2 in the Dex Territory series continues the daring adventures of police detective Rick O'Shea. He has a new crime to solve and it's a doozy. Rick comes across a Dex wanted for questioning and it leads to a new killer and something horrific: the killer is not only targeting Dexes but stripping them for parts. Meanwhile, a new woman enters Rick's life and threatens to destabilize everything he knows. His Dex friends have fled for the winter leaving the STF Super-Human Task Force to fend for itself with a new threat. A threat that not even new high-tech weaponry can stop.

Please find me at:
www.twbpress.com
www.twbpress.com/authormarkaberdeen
www.amazon.com/author/markaberdeen
www.twitter.com/Mark_Aberdeen
www.facebook.com/mark.aberdeen
www.facebook.com/DexTerritoryBook

You can find Dex Territory for every possible device at:
TWBPress.com
Amazon.com
Barnesandnoble.com
smashwords.com
iBooks

The paperback for Knight an Dex is available NOW. The e-book is available Oct 31st! Halloween!! The perfect day for this book to release.

Monday, August 24, 2015

So many mistakes so little time

Book 2 Knight and Dex is done. I’ve turned in my final draft and after we took chainsaws, jackhammers and dynamite to the first draft we were left with a damn good story. I’ve talked about this on other posts, but I’m going to chat about it again since it didn’t get easier the second time and I need therapy. Writing is the thing I do for fun. I work in an office most days running operations for a telecommunications company. It’s a high stress job. Out of all the jobs I had, military included nothing comes close to it. Being a writer though makes even that see like child’s play. In fact, it’s all play.

Don’t worry, I’m not whining about my job. It’s not that kind of blog. The message, to keep you from skipping on to the next blog, is there’s very little in this world you can control. Shock? Horror? Shouldn’t be if you’ve lived even just a little bit. You can find yourself someplace you don’t want to be doing something you don’t want to do and it happens to everyone. The one thing you can control is how you react to things. When you’re a writer, it’s how your character reacts to these things that matter.

You’re in charge of how every character behaves, how every object moves, what’s allowed and what isn’t, it’s your laws, your restrictions, your freedoms and the only limits are what the writer puts in the work. That’s ultimate power and empowerment.

Think of every time you’ve felt the world caving in on you. Suffocating as you dealt with loss, or an illness, or a horrible boss, think of that time where someone imposed their will over you and hold on to it.

Now think of the joy of just playing, swinging on a swing, playing hide and seek, laughing at a cartoon, or the million time you were silly just because. Hold on to it.

Your just driving your car nowhere in particular. Hold on to it.

Laying in sun. You have a sunburn. Hold on to it.

You’re driving and a squirrel darts in front of your car and you hear the thump that can only mean you rolled over it. Hold on to it.

You and some friends hear a great song and just start dancing. Hold on to it.

That first time you take a sip of coffee and think there isn’t a enough cream and sugar to make that taste good. Hold on to it

That morning you get up and need that extra shot of espresso in your black coffee to kick start your day. Hold on to it.

You get a call one morning from the police and they tell you that your Dad died. Hold on to it.

You see the person of your dreams on day in a coffee shop. Hold on to it.

This is your world. Every taste, smell, vision, touch and sound belongs to you. These are your tools. Every emotion, every fear, every joy, everything imposed on you and everything you’ve imposed. Every piece of imagination, dream, nightmare; it all belongs to you. While I bring this back around to my first paragraph to show you how much you can’t control in the real world, you control everything in the one you write. You are the creator you have will over everything. Your characters don’t, they’re just like you in this one. They have to play by the rules, or break them, but when they do there should be consequences. Your story begins with trying coffee for the first time and ends when you take that extra shot. It’s about change. All stories are about change. It’s your job to change their world. Use everything you know. Your job is to connect the reader to your characters. Use the tools in your bag.

Your main character is going to know people. These are friends, family, co-workers, strangers and these people all have their own lives, ambitions and sometimes they coincide with your characters and sometimes they’re at odds. When they’re at odds there’s conflict and stories live in conflict. Conflict makes for interesting storytelling. These can be everyday things like when your partner can pick up after themselves, or it could be something major like your brother want’s to kill you for selling his prized sheep, Lola. Conflict = movement = character grown as it’s resolved.

Why the basic writing 101 bullshit?

Your readers want to walk in the footsteps of your characters and they can only do that through the character’s perceptions, your perceptions. I’ve been reading a lot of stories lately now that I’ve put book 2 away and the ones I’m likely to put down are the ones that forget about character and concentrate on the whiz-bang of the world. If the reader can laugh, fear, long, despair, and celebrate with your character, you’ve done your job. Where stories, for me, go off the rails, is when they’re about the window dressing and not about the character. Just as I use a computer and telephone to do my job, my character uses the tools to do his job. The story is never about the tools, it’s about how characters live (and sometimes die) in the world with them.

Look at some of the most successful shows on TV, The Walking Dead – the walkers aren’t even characters in the story. The story is about the survivors living in abject horror and can die at any moment. Then what make it truly compelling aren’t that Rick Grimes’ group survives the zombies, but when they come upon and interact with other survivors and those characters have very different ideas about survival.

Game of Thrones – It’s a fantasy world, there’s magic and dragons, but the compelling part is the political drama and how each character has an agenda not even knowing that ever scrap they fight for is in dire jeopardy.

My all-time favorite show, Fringe – The characters work on these cases with strange phenomenon not knowing these events are going to trigger world-ending events. It’s about the characters solving these riddles that are the key to the story. If I want my books to be anything like something, it would be Fringe. But that story has already been told and I can write my own universe.

Book 2 Knight and Dex is due to be released on Oct 31st. I couldn’t be happier with a book filled with cops, killers, superheroes and villains and perhaps a zombie, or two give or take a horde. We’ll be announcing the pre-sale soon! This book is going knock your socks off.

Book 1 Dex Territory is available at any online retailer in both e-book and paperback.

Please find me at:
www.twbpress.com
www.twbpress.com/authormarkaberdeen
www.amazon.com/author/markaberdeen
www.twitter.com/Mark_Aberdeen
www.facebook.com/mark.aberdeen
www.facebook.com/DexTerritoryBook

You can find Dex Territory for every possible device at:
TWBPress.com
Amazon.com
Barnesandnoble.com
smashwords.com
iBooks

$3.99 for the e-book
$18.95 for the paperback

Monday, August 3, 2015

Cover me

Life is complicated. That's the tagline of my book and it comes from a place of truth. For those that are writing books it's not only complicated, but it hard and there's a lot that can't be control. The story is part is completely under the author's thumb, it's the author's brainchild and a accumulation of thoughts, ideas, experiences and imagining that are unique to everyone who put pen to paper in an honest attempt to tell a story. The manuscript is complete, you and the editor have battled it out challenging and defending the plot, characters, story order, tenses, anachronisms, bad choices and spelling and grammar. There's a lot of hard work by those involved and at the end the angles sing and a great hosanna echoes over the land as a finished book is produced and the author holds it triumphantly overhead and flips a bird to all of life's distractions that did their very best to get in the way.

It's done. A piece of the author's soul is in the world. It was a labor of love that may have taken months, or the better part of a decade, in some cases a lifetime. The author hopes, but knows, the book isn't going to be a best-seller, or win literary awards, but it's well received. Then one day someone has your pride and joy on display on website trashing it, not for the story, characters, dialog, or the clever twist that no one saw coming. It's there because they think the cover is terrible. Seriously.

So, yeah, this actually happened to me. When we put the book together we thought we had a fine cover is fresh and dynamic and both my editor and I liked it. It featured art from one of my closest friends and I thought it was very fitting to the book. Once I got over my shock and anger, because who were they to judge MY book over this cover, but it dawned on me. Covers are very important. The times I've been sucked into a Home and Garden show my wife was watching they talk incessantly on curb appeal. The house could be amazing on the inside, but if the outside isn't happening it's easy to dismiss. We do judge books on their covers and while art is subjective, there are things that are generally unappealing.

Once I started reading the comments and pulled myself out of the equation, I noticed the commenters were very specific in what they didn't like. I had to wade through the personal attacks from people who have no idea who I am, but, hey, internet. I was able to take notes from that and actually learn something. Until I found the website, there were a few negative comments, but it wasn't outside the realm of normal. I talked them over with my editor and he was encouraging and we both felt strongly about the material. With the new information it started to form a picture and that picture said, in the words of Neil Gaiman, "Make good art." At that point I started asking did we. the answer was an unequivocal yes, but maybe we need a new frame. I brought this back to my editor and said, 'hey check this out.' We were both scratching our heads at that point.

Luckily, I have a friend who is a cover artist and she put together another cover for me. Once we all settled on the cover, I hit the streets again. While sales haven't skyrocketed, they've been steady and there is a lot more positivity to the book. It's still an uphill battle, but I'm making some headway.

I know we're curious to see if this ultimately makes the difference. I believe we have a solid story, fun characters, unexpected twists and turns and all the earmarks of a success story. I've gotten some great feedback on my story, even those I haven't bribed with their home and garden projects. (Curb appeal wasn't the only thing I learned about on those highly addictive house flipping shows)

Only time will tell if my book is judged on it's cover. It's not like a have a large collection of books, some really terrible, with amazing covers. ;)

Please find me at:
www.twbpress.com
www.twbpress.com/authormarkaberdeen
www.amazon.com/author/markaberdeen
www.twitter.com/Mark_Aberdeen
www.facebook.com/mark.aberdeen
www.facebook.com/DexTerritoryBook

You can find Dex Territory for every possible device at:
TWBPress.com
Amazon.com
Barnesandnoble.com
smashwords.com
iBooks

$3.99 for the e-book
$18.95 for the paperback

Plus, for a limited time with a limited number of copies, I have an online store on Amazon where you can purchase a signed copy of my book, with the new cover. Copy and paste the link below into your browser. Look for Used and New, click on New and look for MAberdeen. You're buying directly from me through Amazon and I have about 12 books left at the time I publish this, but don't worry, I know where there are more. :)


http://www.amazon.com/Dex-Territory-Mark-Aberdeen/dp/1936991861

Thursday, July 2, 2015

Symbols

All this talk of flags. There's ben a lot of news lately over two incidents that happened in America over these last couple weeks. We had a shooting in Charlestown, at the Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church where eight members of a black church and their minister Rev. Clementa Pinckney were killed by a white supremacist, Dylann Storm Roof, was charged with the crime. This was heinous act of violence and my heart goes out to the victims who were laid to rest. I sincerely hope that Mr. Roof gets his due process and the community and the US can start to repair the damage done. One of the casualties was the Confederate battle flag of Northern Virginia often the center of a widening debate between Southern states and civil right organizations. The debate is whether the flag represents Southern Heritage or oppression. I don't have a dog in this fight, but I am an observer. I'm a Connecticut Yankee living in North Georgia and Georgia is a battleground state. The number of confederate battle flags being flown has increased dramatically and all indications are that it as little to do with hatred and a lot to do with rebelling against oppression. I know, seems pretty ironic.

I'm going to take you back to 1979 when a TV show, The Dukes of Hazzard, premiered. It was about a couple of good ol' boys living in the fictional town of Hazzard Georgia, with their cousin Daisy and more importantly her iconic shorts, their Uncle Jesse and mechanic friend, Cooter, fighting the local corruption of Boss Hogg and the Sherriff, Rosco P. Coultrane. The Duke Cousins has a classic 1969 Dodge Charger named the General Lee and it was often seen thundering down the back roads of Hazzard decked out in orange with a Confederate Battle Flag painted on the hood. It was a fun show and good family entertainment, I recon to say the viewing probably extended well beyond my family and it was an international hit and it's stars were sex symbols. I'm sure I had a Daisy Duke poster on my bedroom wall. No one thought twice of the flag on the car, because the show wasn't about hate, or white supremacy, it was about family and making sure that Boss Hogg didn't get away with his schemes with as many car chases as possible. Skip to today and TV Land still airing reruns has pulled the show in a wave of reaction that has government buildings ripping down Confederate flags as fast as they can.

Ironically, I can still watch Hogan's Heroes where some of the characters are Nazi's and while the show is about POWs held prisoner in a Nazi camp. While the German soldiers are portrayed an bumbling idiots and are thwarted by the efforts of Hogan and his crew, they Nazis are also sympathetic and good natured. Often Sgt. Schultz and Col. Klink are just as fun and entertaining as any member of Hogan's crew. The swastika, before the Nazis took it over, was a sacred symbol in Hinduism, Buddhism and Jainism. A sacred symbol twisted, corrupted and given power by a political party bent on the purity of a race of people.

Also in a very active couple of weeks the Rainbow flag has popped up everywhere to symbolize the 5 to 4 supreme court decision in favor of gay marriage. That has also brought out the best in some people and the worst in others. In my editorial opinion, congratulations! If it bring a little more happiness to the world, I'm absolutely in favor of it.

The US flag is a symbol the stars and stripes means something very specific to the people of the US and lot of people believe the flag represents freedom, democracy, fairness and tolerance and as an American I want people to believe that about my flag, because that's what I believe. I also know there drones circling around parts of the world hunting for people that don't agree with what I believe. I'm guessing the US Flag means something very different to them, probably not dissimilar to the swastika, or the Confederate Battle Flag. The problem is: it's a symbol and symbols have power when people give them power. (I'm not going to start on religious symbols as one can of worms per post is enough) While we may not all agree on the symbolism there are a few things we can agree on, a handshake is preferable to a pointed gun, a smile makes someone look more attractive than a sneer, a hug is way more comforting than a slug to the jaw and a hand up is so much better than knocking someone to the ground. (Unless, of course, they're evil and bent on world domination, then by all means stop them)

In other news, Pizza Hut has a pizza ringed with mini hot dogs and Hardee's/Carl's Jr has a hamburger on top of potato chips covered in hot dogs, because 'Merica. I think I'm going to eat Chinese food tonight.

Please find me at:
www.twbpress.com
www.twbpress.com/authormarkaberdeen
www.amazon.com/author/markaberdeen
www.twitter.com/Mark_Aberdeen
www.facebook.com/mark.aberdeen
www.facebook.com/DexTerritoryBook

You can find Dex Territory for every possible device at:
TWBPress.com
Amazon.com
Barnesandnoble.com
smashwords.com
iBooks

$3.99 for the e-book
$18.95 for the paperback