Saturday, June 28, 2014

What's Hot in Croatia -- Hidden in the Cobwebs of Zagreb

If you happen to find yourself wandering the streets of Zagreb, Croatia, be sure to stop by Superknjizara Bookstore at Rooseveltov trg 4 (opposite the Mimara Museum on Savska Street) or, if that's a tad out of your way, check out their outstanding selection of books. These fine folks obviously have superb taste in books, judging from the sampling on this page of their website!  ;) 

Monday, June 23, 2014

The Writing Process Blog Tour

Welcome to a special edition of my blog this week. Author Kanchana Ayyar has invited me to be part of The Writing Process Blog Tour, in which selected authors answer four questions on their blog. Think of it is how a writer might imagine a Passover Seder… sans the matzoh. “Why is this night different from all other nights?” So begin the traditional Four Questions asked at Passover Seders for thousands of years. In a similar vein, today you might ask “Why is this blog different from all of my other blogs?” because I’ll be answering the same four questions being put to many writers today as part of a new tradition – the Writing Process Blog Tour.

Question #1: What are you working on?

These days, writers wear several hats. When I’m wearing my promoter hat, I’m promoting my most recently published books, The Witches Cauldron and Collected Essays of a Reluctant Blogger. But when I put on my production hat, I’m designing the forthcoming deluxe illustrated collection of my four-book fantasy series, The Halos and Horns Omnibus Edition. This is probably the most exciting project I've ever worked on. This massive 900-page book has more than 60 color illustrations, a guide to the Halos and Horns multiverse, the novelette The Pandora Chronicles, and several never before published essays. It’s truly a labor of love and if you buy only one book of mine, this should be it.

Then, when I put on my editor’s hat, I’m doing the final run through on my young adult science fiction novel, The 25th Hour, which will be released later this year. It’s a fast-paced action-adventure tale. Mackenzie Mortimer’s a typical junior high geek. He’s shy, awkward, a bit clumsy, late with his homework, and always late for class. There’s never enough time to do everything he needs to do; after all, there are only 24 hours in a day. But when Mac finds his grandfather’s pocket watch buried deep inside a trunk, he discovers his days have an extra hour. According to the eccentric inventor’s journal, the watch can add up to 60 minutes to a single day by freezing time around whomever presses its button. When a crisis looms for Mac and his friends, time is running out... but fortunately, Mackenzie Mortimer has few more minutes than anyone else.

Next, I wear my geek hat and meet with Amber Book Company’s programmer to develop a digitized version of my Issues in Internet Law: Society Technology and the Law for colleges and universities worldwide on one of the world’s leading digital textbook platforms. I look forward to being able to announce the details in an upcoming blog post.

I also don my researcher’s hat and ferret out the latest legal and technological issues to include in the next print edition of Issues in Internet Law: Society Technology and the Law.

Finally, I get to put on my writer’s hat, dip my quill into the inkwell, and write a few more chapters in the first volume of Fangs and Fur, which provides readers with an in-depth look at the vampires and werewolves they've met in the Halos & Horns saga. Fangs and Fur: Flashbacks (Book 1 in the series) should be published by Christmas. You can expect to hear me talk more about Fangs and Fur as we get closer to publication date.

Question #2: How does your work differ from others of its genre?

I write both nonfiction and fiction. In my nonfiction, unlike many writers, I take complex topics and express them in easily understood terms. One university professor shared his student’s comment about my book, Issues in Internet Law: Society Technology and the Law,  with me: “I just wanted to say I was dreading the fact I had to read a law book and wouldn’t be able to understand the law talk but I love this book! It’s really easy to understand and great because the Internet is a huge part of my everyday life.” That’s what makes my nonfiction books different. My writing style is designed to convey understanding of the underlying material, not to impress students with how smart the author presumably is.

I also write short stories and sagas. My short stories tend to be concise, insightful, and visceral. I think I bring a more literary writing style to the fantasy genre. My writing has a certain elegance atypical of most tales of vampires and demons. There’s a philosophical aspect to my writing and I explore many literary themes, including the nature of good and evil, free will versus predetermination, man’s inhumanity to man, universal versus moral relativism, nature versus nurture, loss of innocence, coming of age, death, love and friendship, the quest for power, individualism, sacrifice, and faith versus doubt. Also, I respect my readers’ intelligence and I don’t write down to them on a fifth grade reading level. When you read my fiction, you’ll come away having added a few new words to your vocabulary.

Question #3: Why do you write what you do?

Besides having to pay the bills, I truly enjoy writing. Often, I find there a lot of things that need to be said and I’ll wrap these social messages in the context of a fictional story.

Question #4: How does your writing process work?

I was trained as a traditional journalist, so I learned to compose my thoughts before my fingers touch the keyboard and write whatever it is I’m writing in one draft. If I’m writing a short piece, I’ll just do it as stream of consciousness, flowing from my mind onto the screen. However, if I’m writing a multi-book saga, or even a novel, I’ll prepare a general one-page outline of the proposed chapters. Then, I’ll flesh out the outline by creating a separate outline for each individual chapter. These sub outlines will contain a list of the characters appearing in that chapter, the subplots, and sometimes, snatches of dialogue. Once I start writing the chapter, I incorporate much of the outline but I’m also free to deviate from it. When I finish a chapter, I’ll upload it into my Kindle and proof it for errors.

Now, I must pass the author baton to the another writer who will take you on the next leg of the Writing Process Blog Tour.

 Alain Gomez lives in San Diego and has been writing since she was sixteen. She works in the field of music but has continued to pursue her passion for writing as an independent author. Though she generally sticks to writing shorter stories, Alain enjoys experimenting with a variety of genres, including science fiction and fairy tales. Her blog is at

Join Alain next Monday to read her answers to the same four questions, but until then, feel free to read some of my previous posts available from the drop-down menu to the left and be sure to bookmark my blog.

Sunday, June 1, 2014

The Reluctant Blogger

I'm pleased to announce my latest book, Collected Essays of a Reluctant Blogger, has been published this month and is available for purchase in the European Union. It can be ordered from Amazon in the United Kingdom, Germany, Italy, France, and Spain. Collected Essays of a Reluctant Blogger is 332 pages of social commentary and humor, featuring a selection of my best blog columns from the past three years.

Unfortunately, Collected Essays of a Reluctant Blogger  is not available in the United States, so my American readers will have to find something else to stick under that wobbly table leg.