A King for Free?

Wait, what? A  #book ? For #free ? On #Amazon ? This one? Yep. (please forgive the hashtags, but I’m trying to promo here, ya know?)

Listen, I’m a writer. You know that. But do you know what I actually do? Have you taken a peek at what I put on the page? If not, and if you’re still curious, here you go:

The Wounded King.

The Wounded King Final - cover

A sacrifice. A dying King. Bones in the stone, blood in the wine. A Queen consumed by the Darkness.

From ancient Uruk, The Almost King tells his tale. Of The Elder and his cunning Priests in their robes of red and gold. Of an Old Woman who can call the power of the Dark Gods. Of his mother, the Queen, and his dying brother, the King.

And of the Darkness, an evil from before the Time of the Moon. Inescapable, its hunger never-ending, its shadow fed by the Priests, slowly overwhelming his family.

Drowning in a sea of red and gold, the Almost King battles an unwinnable war as he navigates the wreckage towards his fate as … The Wounded King.

The Wounded King is the first in a short fiction series based on the full-length novel Martuk … the Holy. But not only am I running a Free Promo for The Wounded King, I’m following it with free promos for The Elder and Red & Gold (books Two and Three of The Martuk Series) with Martuk … going for free on Halloween.

Cool, huh?

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The Increasingly Poor Decisions of EL James

If Variety is to be believed — and it’s usually more right than not — “author” EL James has decided to write the script for the second Fifty Shades of Grey movie. Let me attempt (and I can’t promise my head won’t explode while doing this, but I’ll give it a go) to count the ways this is so very, very wrong.

A) Screenwriting, especially the adaptation of a book to film, is more than recording in script-form what happened in the book. If Miss James’ fiction writing is any indication, her work as a screenwriter will almost certainly lack the finesse, sophistication, pace and, oh I’ll just say it, SKILL that a screenplay for a major Hollywood movie needs. As I’m learning with my own spec adaption of Martuk … the Holy, you need to have a ruthless eye for what’s essential and what can be consolidated or completely chopped. It’s a very delicate balancing act, one that Miss James, according to first hand accounts from production, steadfastly refuses to do.

Listen, if Kelly Marcel, a gifted screenwriter with some very good films under her belt, can beat her head against the wall for months trying to turn Miss James’ first person present tense narrative-free drivel into something – ANYTHING – that might work onscreen and still come up woefully short (due, in part, to Miss James’ constant intrusion and obvious need for control), how in the hell does Miss James think she can pull it off?

She can’t.

B) The success of a book adapted for film is found in the creative team that works WITH the author to successfully help the story make the transition. In other words, the author needs to surround themselves with the best team possible and then let go and allow those who know what they’re doing get busy and do what they need to do. The goal should be having the film be a success for everyone, and that’s damn hard to do if a newbie keeps inserting his or her busy-body into every frickin’ decision.

Miss James’ unwillingness to take her hands off the wheel — and Universal’s head scratching (and, in hindsight, no doubt desperate) decision to give her unprecedented control — has taken what could have been a fairly good film based on an infamously bad book series and turned it into a hilariously bad movie (one that had a great opening weekend, but has seen a 60% drop since then).

Allowing a hack writer to pen what will most certainly be an amateurish script is asking for trouble. It’s putting a hopefully respectable and respected Director in a position of having to work with something that might be impossible to shoot, forcing a production team to work for many months on something that reeks to high heaven from the get-go, and cornering a Studio — A STUDIO — into putting a successful franchise in the hands of a first time (say it again with me, kids) FAMOUSLY PISS POOR WRITER. After the reviews of the first film, they NEED the second to be better. Period. Full Stop. End of story. And for a non-screenwriter to demand she write the screenplay …

My god, a gamble of that magnitude makes even MY head spin. And the clueless arrogance and hubris of Miss James … I don’t even know where to begin.

C) The audience.

So, yes, let’s talk about the audience. The first movie had a smashing opening weekend. Driven by curiosity and, for fans, an almost knee-jerk need to defend something they like, people hit the theaters in droves. And if the reviews and audience feedback are any indication, the adaptation was a disappointing dud. One that made money, yes. But will it get repeat business, the cornerstone of every blockbuster franchise? Probably not. Will people be lining up as eagerly to see the sequel? That’s a big question mark.

Because if the sequel is as bad as the first one, the curious, having been sated with the first installment, may decide it’s not worth the price of a movie ticket and just catch it on PPV or Streaming. And the Fans Who Seek to Defend? Well, if they’re feeling disrespected — ANOTHER bad film of a book I love? Are they even TRYING? — they may reconsider.

Listen, the sequel NEEDS to be stronger. Period. And it needs a better script and less author intrusion. The chances of that happening if Miss James is in charge? Slim to none. And with her contractual control? Good luck getting her to do rewrites or agree to cuts that everyone agrees are necessary, but that she believes are fine.

Again, my head, it’s spinning, spinning, spinning with how off the rails this can go.

In conclusion, what remains is this: for writers like me who are just beginning their Hollywood journey into AdaptationVille, the willingness of a Studio to allow even the slightest bit of control in the future is hanging by a thread. What if so-and-so ends up being another EL James with his or her hand in everything? And they have no idea what they’re doing? And they’re bullshit slows down production and costs us money? Ack! They’d run for the hills.

You know, it kinda sucks that, as writers, we’ve had to work doubly hard to help readers see they deserve better than the stupefying pile of stinking shit that called itself Fifty Shades of Grey. And, as readers, we’ve had to sift through the mountains of atrociously written Fifty Shades wannabes that have spread through the publishing world like an unfortunately timed yeast infection.

Are we now, as screenwriters and moviegoers, going to have to pay yet another price for The Increasingly Poor Decisions of EL James?

God, let’s hope not.

Cirque de No Way

Balance.  It’s really all about balance, isn’t it?

Although the focus of this blog is obviously my work as an author, a fiction writer, the majority of my life these days has been, by necessity, devoted to screenwriting.  They whys of that I can’t explain right now — firm believer in jinxing potentially good news by premature blabbing, so I’m keeping my trap shut –, but suffice it to say there are people whose work depends on my getting them rewrites, supplemental material (log lines, tag lines, synopsis, etc), and all the other rigamarole that comes with it.

But in there is the work that needs to be done on Proseuche.  

And Red and Gold, the third installment of The Martuk Series which, coincidentally, is now being adapted into graphic novels.

In there is a TV pilot (finished) in need of an episode-by-episode Season Map.  

And in all of that, too, are at least three more scripts with strong titles I’ve scene mapped (I guess those are called Treatments, right?) and just need to sit down and write.  

And have I mentioned the plays?

You see, there’s a lot to do. 

But what I’m learning is there are some plates worth spinning and some I should just let fall.  I’m one person and spending eight, nine, ten hours a day writing may not be the best thing.  Yes, it gets work done, but is it REALLY necessary to get EVERYTHING done all at the same TIME?

No, it’s not, I’ve decided.  It just isn’t.

So I’m learning to prioritize.  Deciding what can wait and what absolutely is worthy of my considerable focus right now this minute.

And it’s a smart thing to do … I think.

So, to strangle an already battered and bloodied metaphor (via my headline for this post), I’m peeling off my tights, giving ’em a quick wash, and hanging ’em out to dry, momentarily happy to let the plates fall and join the ranks of those in the less popular — though certainly more crowded — circus known as Cirque de No Way.

(yeah, it probably sounded better in my head … Apologies)  🙂 

You really should know …

Jenn Nixon.

Oh, you should also know this is the first in what I hope will be a regular Feature, the chance to introduce you to bloggers and authors and otherwise incredibly cool people …

You really should know.

See? Title makes sense now, right? 🙂

There’ll be cool covers to look at, questions asked and answered, bios and blurbs (perhaps) and maybe excerpts and other offerings. Gonna try and make this memorable and fun.

And it begins …

First, the good stuff. Here’s a quick blurb about her book Lucky’s Charm:

To protect her family and find a killer, Felicia “Lucky” Fascino assumed her adoptive father’s identity and joined the network, an organization of moral assassins to finish the job he began. Eliminating the man responsible for murdering her mother has consumed her for the last five years. While keeping her Uncle Stephen and cousin Elizabeth at arm’s length, Lucky begins to feel the weight of her career choice and reclusive lifestyle. Then a chance encounter with an enigmatic hit man, during one of her jobs, turns into a provocative and dangerous affair. Distracted by the secret trysts with Kenji Zinn and mounting tension within her family, Lucky makes reckless mistakes that threaten her livelihood and almost claim her life.

And a bit about Jenn:

Jenn’s love of writing started the year she received her first diary and Nancy Drew novel. Throughout her teenage years, she kept a diary of her personal thoughts and feelings but graduated from Nancy Drew to other mystery suspense novels.

Jenn often adds a thriller and suspense element to anything she writes be it Romance, Science Fiction, or Fantasy. When not writing, she spends her time reading, observing pop culture, playing with her two dogs, and working on various charitable projects in her home state of New Jersey.

Want some links? You got ’em!

Website: www.jennnixon.com
Facebook: facebook.com/JennNixonAuthor
Blog: www.jennafern.blogspot.com
Twitter: @jennnixon

How about a cool cover?

Boom! Here you go:

Pretty damn cool, right?

And, yeah, I got nosey and did a lil’ Q’n’A. Enjoy.

What do you do the minute after you type “The End”? Pop champagne? Take a deep breath? Go for a walk and think about edits?

Funny thing, I’ve never typed “The End”. I once had a thread on Facebook asking if other authors did. Some do all the time. Others do it occasionally, some like me never write “The End”. In a way, I never think of the story as having a final end. In most situations it’s a new beginning for someone. When I do finish a draft, I usually cheer to myself and sometimes eat a cookie. Then I tell everyone!

If you could write only one genre for the rest of your career, what would it be and why?

I’d say Romantic Suspense because it can be tame or spicy on the romance side and suspense covers the mystery and thriller genres I also love to write in.

A new author struggling through the writing of their first book comes up to you and asks for one, solid, non-cliché piece of advice. What do you say?

Learn the rules. There are many “rules” for writing fiction, some you can break and others you probably shouldn’t and others you can bend. Some of the rules like passive voice and show vs. tell are easily found online, many can be learned through working with an editor or being a part of a writer’s group, and other rules can only be learned by trial and error!

How important is it to have a blog? Do you find it makes a difference in how you write or how much you write?

I started my blog as a personal journal type diary. As I started writing with publication in mind, it turned into more of communication tool for me to connect with other people, share thoughts and opinions about things going on in the world. I still have that aspect to my blog but have expanded it even further by hosting other authors and artists pursing their dreams. I’m not sure if blogging has had an influence on my writing, I never thought about it to be honest. Something to ponder. ☺

Okay, the muse is on what feels like an endless coffee break, the words just aren’t there, and you’re going to pack it in for the day. So you’re going to kick back and read something instead. What is it? Any favorite author you turn to or favorite book that feels like a familiar, old friend?

If I’m not reading a book by a fellow author friend, I’m reading John Sanford or Lee Child. Right now they are my two favorite authors because they write about my favorite characters. I freely admit that I rarely re-read books, but I do save them all. I figure once I’m older and retired, I’ll revisit many of them.

What’s next? Any books, sequels, prequels, movie deals on the horizon?

I have the sequels to Lucky’s Charm complete and ready, sent Lucky’s Break the publisher! My Sci-Fi Romance MIND: The Beginning is in the editing stages with a sequel in the wings. Movie Deal…I hope one day in the future! That would be super. ☺

Thank you!!! (^~^)

Thanks for having me!!

‘Till next time, kids …

awesomeness … and then some

I’ve just discovered a blog I’m quickly becoming addicted to.

Not only is the writing sharp — the blogger is an Author with a capital A after all –, it’s also approachable, funny as hell, and smart as all get out.

So get on over there and take a look.

And tell Sir Howey I sent you.