And just because I’m so gosh darn excited, here’s what the print version (God willing) will look like. Hoping CreateSpace agrees with me!
Not too shabby, eh? Can’t wait to hold this one in my hands. (crosses fingers)
Here’s my new, fancy-schmancy cover for Martuk … the Holy.
Ebook covers should go live soon-ish. Print hopefully in a week or so.
Many thanks to my kinda sorta always forever cool graphic designer Timothy Burch. All kinds of talent here, kids.
There’s a completely new, totally fantastic, absolutely incredible, breathtaking cover for Martuk … the Holy coming soon.
Stayed tuned. (^~^)
excerpt from Martuk … The Holy
I looked so small.
The Dead Boy, his golden corpse fixed in the far corner, approached cautiously and gazed with me at my body on the altar.
I thought I was more. Bigger. Stronger. More powerful.
Torn, filthy cloth sticking to my sweaty skin. The Elder only now removing the golden cup from my dead lips as the guards approached. The black form an ethereal vapor slithering from my neck to slide its way down my throat, red drool sliding from my mouth and running down my cheek.
To see my life reduced to a pliant bag of bones being pulled and dragged from the stone, my skull smacking the bloody altar with a crack, was sickening. My dreams, my hopes, my plans … done.
Will they come?
The Dead Boy watched me expectantly. As if I, being older and therefore somehow wiser, had the answer.
Those in the fog. There. Will they come?
I glanced up and, yes, there was the Veil, a low murmur emanating from its murky depths, shadowy figures wandering aimlessly. Or waiting.
There were no claws reaching to grab us. No malice. No anger. No vengeful spirits hungry for our souls. The figures who lingered were kind. Gentle.
You must go to them, I answered, wordlessly.
The Dead Boy’s eyes grew wide, the finality of this task overwhelming him. Frightening him.
Go to them? he repeated.
Yes, you must take the first steps.
So young he was, this tiny ghost whose hand would easily be lost in mine.
He had seen perhaps five, maybe six summers by the time they covered him in gold.
Five, maybe six summers before he drank the brew which deadened his senses, the poisonous concoction hidden within muting but not erasing the agony of the hardening metal suffocating him.
Five, maybe six summers before the gold peeled the skin from his flesh with each breath, the inside of this sarcophagus of skin and bones stained red with his seeping blood, the syrupy liquid running to pool around his delicate toes.
Yes, I answered. Your hand. Reach out. Go to them. Those who love you will come. Guide you. You’ll be safe.
He came, suddenly, the Priest. His presence interrupting my sight.
Although he towered above me, my gaze the height of one who’d seen perhaps five, maybe six summers, the hooded eyes, the smooth, dark skin beaded with sweat, the pink tongue darting behind a quick smile were all unmistakably clear.
And so close, he was. So close I could smell the skin and see the lashes ringing the eyes. Lap up the salty drops sliding down the bronzed skin of his long neck with my own tongue.
“You’ll be safe,” the Priest had said as he bundled the boy in his arms.
“You’ll be safe” he had whispered as he snuggled him close while walking him away from all he knew.
“Safe,” he had promised as he offered him to those who would feed him the wine, paint him in gold, stain his lips red, and create the golden corpse he would soon become.
“You’ll be safe” had been the lie which had ended his life.
The Dead Boy backed away from me, fear in his eyes.
I reached my hand toward him, but he ignored me, slipping back into the sarcophagus. Back into the security of his dead body.
He was lost to me.
It starts as an image.
Of deep, dark wood and flickering candles. And then smells, sounds. Furniture polish warmed by tiny flames. The buzz of whispered secrets in hidden corners. Paris in all her quiet chaos just beyond those heavy metal-banded doors.
I can see this all so clearly, but it’s not yet ready to live. For whatever reason, the page isn’t ready for it. Or it isn’t ready for the page. Either way, it refuses, and I respect that.
So I move on, recording other sights and sounds and smells, cataloguing Martuk’s upcoming journey, often surprised by where he takes me. All of this is recorded, my thoughts filling first one page and then two, Proseuche, the sequel to Martuk … The Holy, taking form.
And then, as always, one morning I’ll open my eyes to find Martuk waiting, this tortured immortal ready, having found the courage to continue his story. Finally.
Until then, I’ll just write another movie. :)
Martuk … The Holy will be finishing up his first ever sale tomorrow (Monday).
So if you haven’t picked up one of the Highlights of 2012 yet, take a look at what others have said (full reviews at links):
“mesmerizing” prose and a “tale imbued with a relentless darkness and an intoxicating sensuality” … A HIGHLIGHT OF THE YEAR — The 2012 Papyrus Independent Fiction Awards
“Martuk … the Holy is a very dark and fantastical tale where angels and demons blend together; where violence and sexuality are entwined and madness and clarity are confused.” — Caleb Blake, Papyrus Independent Author Reviews
“holy mother of sweet Jesus … the book grabs you from the first sentence and doesn’t let go … my heartbeat is still not entirely back to its normal pace” – Megan Broutian, meganblogs
It’s kind of amazing when you start your day with someone calling your work “a tale imbued with a relentless darkness and an intoxicating sensuality.”
Today’s NYTimes has an annoying, infuriating, ridiculous, idiotic article on Amazon’s (insert previous adjectives here) recent decision to eradicate book reviews they deem — apparently via a crystal ball or a blind throwing of darts — not fit to print.
In other words, if they suspect (again, darts or a crystal ball) that a review for your work was submitted by a family member or a good friend or someone whose objectivity can be questioned, they will delete it.
So, for writers like me who DON’T have hundreds of reviews, one or two being wiped off the face of the earth is a big deal, not that my family or good friends read my work or review it. (They don’t)
For someone like Star Author A who has hundreds if not thousands, it may not matter as much.
Then again, I doubt Star Author A is the focus of Amazon’s Wipe Out the Upstarts Inquisition. They’re going after the self-published writers who slip under the Big Six radar and dare to find success — and make a boatload of cash — without them. They’re going after the self-published writers who are, more and more, turning their noses up at the offers Traditional Publishing is making for their now successful books because the royalty structure is better if they remain on their own.
They’re going after the self-published successes because, well, they can!
And they’re doing it via the ONE marketing tool left to us: reviews.
If you’re Timothy Ferriss and published by Amazon, it’s apparently okey-dokey to begin Day One with 60+ Four- and Five-Star reviews about a book many of them have yet to read just because, you know, they know they’re going to like it. And, for Amazon, their belief — with work put out by their own Imprints, evidently — that one doesn’t have “to use a product to review it” feels to me like a blanket excuse to absolve Mr. Ferriss and other favorites from the purge.
If you are a self-published author who has spent months rounding up beta readers and working your tail off to get a healthy handful of reviews to accompany the book’s release, knowing that strong word of mouth is a key component to success, the chances of most of those being erased because you’re not lounging under the umbrella of the Big Six or draped in Amazon’s cloak of invisibility is pretty darn high.
And that’s just depressing.
Why would Amazon create a self-publishing platform and give thousands if not millions the chance to live their dreams as writers only to knee-cap ‘em at every turn and make it increasingly difficult to, you know, make a living and pay some bills?
I don’t know.
But what I do know is I’m going to head over right now and read the fourteen (yes, fourteen!) glowing reviews for Martuk and the six or seven for The Wounded King and The Elder before Amazon decides they were written by Grandpa Joe and Cousin Clyde (they weren’t) and steal them away from me in their obsession to Wipe Out the Upstarts.
Martuk … The Holy is now available in print.
For a self-published author like me, that’s huge. Nothing quite like holding a physical book in your hand, feeling the pages turn, inhaling the scent of the cover, and luxuriating in the light cream color of the paper. I love it and always will.
You can find it here and then on Amazon (both US and UK) within a few days.
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Writer, photographer, poodle wrangler.
theatre reviews, mostly...