Share The Love Campaign–Three-Day Eye-Dancers Giveaway

There is no question that independent publishing is taking the world, and particularly the e-world, by storm these days.  With each passing week, it seems, the publishing world continues to evolve, and more and more indie books, especially e-books, become available.  The Eye-Dancers joined that list a couple of months ago, and it’s been a true pleasure interacting with fellow bloggers and indie authors.

One of those authors, M.S. Fowle, is hosting The Share The Love Campaign this weekend.  It’s a wonderful idea.  Today, tomorrow, and Sunday, Mel is featuring several indie books on her site (The Eye-Dancers among them) as part of this campaign, including her own book The Sire.  I strongly encourage everyone to click on the link and check out The Share The Love Campaign, and to browse around Mel’s great site.

As part of the campaign, many of the authors involved are issuing a giveaway for their featured book, and The Eye-Dancers is no exception.  So . . . for three days–today, tomorrow, and Sunday (February 15–17), The Eye-Dancers is available for free.  If you’d like to read it, free (there’s that word again!), please just send me an email at michaelf424@gmail.com and let me know which file format you’d prefer.  And there’s no limit to the number of giveaways.  However many people contact me, that’s how many free copies will go out this weekend. . . .

As I’m sure has been apparent in this blog, I am a big fan of vintage things–old comic books, TV shows, movies. . . .  And it’s hard not to see something of a parallel between the indie and e-book publishing boom of today and the television boom of the 1950s.  Back then, TV was the sparkling new home entertainment platform.  It could have gone in any direction–it  represented a grand and exciting opportunity for writers, directors, producers, and actors.  And in those early years, it attracted top-notch talent.

Many of the writers for television back then were playwrights.  Since most TV programs in the early and mid-1950s were live, they were, in effect, televised plays.  The audience watching at home was viewing the actors in real time.  Not filmed or pre-recorded.  If an actor forgot or butchered a line, the gaff was instantly seen by millions.

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Some of the live shows were anthologies–featuring dramatic plays each week.  Playhouse 90, The Philco Television Playhouse, and Kraft Television Theatre were among the most notable, and master wordsmiths such as Reginald Rose, Paddy Chayefsky, Gore Vidal, and Rod Serling (in his pre-Twilight Zone days) contributed first-rate scripts.  It was an exciting time, opening up new vistas of creativity and opportunity.

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Movie theaters were concerned.  As early as 1952, the theaters adopted wide-screen and 3-D processes, utilizing technology television couldn’t match in those days, hoping to entice people to return to the movies.  With the rise in TV’s popularity, movie audiences shrank.  The established industry (the Silver Screen) took note of the newcomer television, and though it may have thumbed its nose at the upstart, it respected the threat and acknowledged the competition.

It is much the same today.  The established publishing world has had no choice but to respect and take seriously the rise of the e-book and of the indie author.  And promotions such as The Share The Love Campaign further the indie cause even more.

Once again, I would like to thank M.S. Fowle for hosting this great event.  She and all of the indie authors like her are this generation’s equivalent to Rod Serling, Reginald Rose, and other playwrights from television’s Golden Age.  Perhaps one day, years from now, they will call the second decade of the twenty-first century a Golden Age in publishing, when the tide of the industry changed irrevocably.

And if indie authors unite and continue to take part in programs like The Share The Love Campaign, then, surely, that change will have been for the better.

Thanks so much for reading!

–Mike

Brave New World

At one point in The Eye-Dancers, while marooned in the variant town of Colbyville, Mitchell Brant, Joe Marma, Ryan Swinton. and Marc Kuslanski talk to a girl and her brother.  During the conversation, Joe pulls out his cell phone, even though he already knows it won’t work.  There is no cell phone network in Colbyville.

Intrigued by the device, having never before seen one, the girl asks him what it is and what it does.  This is when Mitchell, ever the storyteller, intervenes.  He says that Marc, the science wiz, is in the process of inventing something called the cell phone.  Marc throws Mitchell a “why are you getting me into this” look, but ultimately he plays along, explaining the concepts of cellular technology to the girl and her brother.

Certainly the tremendous proliferation of e-books and Nooks and Kindles is not merely the rambling bluster of a seventh-grade know-it-all.  (No offense, Marc!)  This is a very real phenomenon.  And it’s been around for a few years now.  Even two years ago, a headline in the Daily Mail exclaimed, “Is it the end for the paperback?”  With apologies to Aldous Huxley, it is a brave new world.

One of the remarkable features of e-books is–they can be read on nearly anything.  Of course, e-readers like the Nook and Kindle are ubiquitous these days . . .

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. . . but the fact is, you do not need an e-reader to read e-books.

One thing I have learned since publishing The Eye-Dancers is that there is still a misconception among many people that, if you don’t own a Kindle or a Nook, you can’t read an e-book.  I’ve run into this with family, friends, and just in general.  A lot of people aren’t aware of the Nook App and Kindle App.  These programs allow you to download the Apps onto your smartphone, tablet, PC, iPad, or pretty much any device you have.  And, best of all, they’re free.  That’s always a good thing.

So, if you have yet to join the e-book revolution because you don’t own an electronic reader, there is no need to wait any longer.  Simply download the free Nook App or Kindle App onto whatever device is most convenient for you, and you’ll be ready to purchase as many e-books as you want.

It’s an exciting time for independent authors around the world.  Even just a decade ago, there were not many avenues available for effective distribution of self-published books.  But today, the old cliche is literally true–the sky is the limit.

It is indeed a brave new world.

Thanks for reading!

–Mike

The Next Big Thing

One of the really nice things about starting The Eye-Dancers blog has been the interaction I’ve had with fellow bloggers.  As a part of that, I was lucky enough to be invited to take part in The Next Big Thing.  Many thanks to Maddie Cochere for her invitation.  Please take a look at Maddie’s website–she is doing great things!

The Next Big Thing is a lot of fun and it offers writers a chance to pass the baton, as it were, from week to week.  It’s a wonderful opportunity, and again, I am thrilled to be a part of it.  There are a series of questions to be answered–the same for everyone who takes part in The Next Big Thing.

1. What is the working title of your book?

The Eye-Dancers

2. Where did the idea come from for the book?

On the surface, this is a simple question, but really, “where did you get your idea” questions are never altogether straightforward–at least not for me!  I am of the belief that writers don’t “get” ideas so much as ideas come to them.  This particular idea came to me first a long time ago–when I was a teenager (longer ago than I care to admit)!  I had a dream.  In the dream, I was looking out through the front window, into the street.  And there, beneath the street light, was a little girl, seven, maybe eight years old.  She was partially transparent–like a ghost, a spirit, not of this earth.  She had the bluest eyes I had ever seen, and she gestured for me to come outside with her.  (To anyone who has read Chapter One of The Eye-Dancers, this scene will be strikingly familiar!)  I woke up from that dream, and for years couldn’t figure out what to do with it.  The image of the “ghost girl” remained locked away, in an “ideas-vault,” and I wondered if it would ever be opened.  Then, just a few years ago, I had the same dream!  But this time, upon waking up, the basic idea of The Eye-Dancers took shape.  That’s how ideas so often happen. They come to you, unasked for, unplanned.

3. What genre does your book fall under?

 I would call it young adult sci-fi/fantasy–though it is not hard-core sci-fi, nor is it high fantasy.  It’s a young adult story with sci-fi and fantasy elements, and, it’s my hope, an imaginative plot that will take readers on a wild ride.


4. Which actors would you choose to play your characters in a movie rendition?

Is it okay to skip a question?  I have such clear, distinct images of the characters in The Eye-Dancers, I honestly cannot think of any actors to play the parts.  Of course, if the day ever came when a decision on such matters had to be made, I’d consider that a wonderful “problem” to have!

5. What is the one-sentence synopsis of your book? 

A one-sentence synopsis is very hard to come up with!  But if I had to, it would go something like this . . .

Four seventh-graders are transported to a strange world, and the only one who can help them find their way back home is the mysterious little girl with the swirling, hypnotic blue eyes.

6. What is the longer synopsis of your book?

 I will go ahead and use the blurb I have up on Amazon and Barnes and Noble . . .

Seventh-grader Mitchell Brant and three of his classmates inexplicably wake up at the back edge of a softball field to the sounds of a game, the cheering of the crowd. None of them remembers coming here. And as they soon learn, “here” is like no place they’ve ever seen. Cars resemble antiques from the 1950s. There are no cell phones, no PCs. Even the spelling of words is slightly off.

A compulsive liar, constantly telling fantastic stories to garner attention and approval, Mitchell can only wish this were just one more of his tall tales. But it isn’t. It’s all too real. Together, as they confront unexpected and life-threatening dangers, Mitchell and his friends must overcome their bickering and insecurities to learn what happened, where they are, and how to get back home.

The answers can be found only in the mysterious little girl with the blue, hypnotic eyes. The one they had each dreamed of three nights in a row before arriving here. She is their only hope. And, as they eventually discover, they are her only hope.

And time is running out.

7. Is your book self-published or represented by an agency?

 It is an indie e-book (self-published).

8. How long did it take you to write the first draft of your manuscript?

 The first draft took about two and a half years. 

9. Who or What inspired you to write this book?

 Another question that, on the surface, seems simple, but which is really quite complex.  First and foremost, my experiences growing up in Rochester, New York, the friends I shared, the adventures we had, the ideas and speculations we discussed–just kids having fun and wondering.  Imagining.  Those experiences are still very much alive in me, and they were the primary motivating factor when I wrote The Eye-Dancers

But also, I have always been the kind of person to ask, “What is the meaning of it all?  What, in its essence, is the ‘reality’ we all speak of?  Are things perhaps not quite what they seem?  Are they more layered?  Are there other realities, other truths, which we know no part of?”  The Eye-Dancers is a composite of all those questions and (hopefully) more.  It is the story of young friendship, overcoming obstacles, learning to believe in yourself, and keeping the faith.

In the end, it’s the characters in The Eye-Dancers who kept me dialed in, who kept me focused even on the days when the writing was hard and the creative process an uphill climb.  In a nutshell, the book was inspired by the child in all of us, the part of us that wonders why things are as they are, and that is eager to discover new and exciting frontiers.

10. What else about your book might pique the reader’s interest?

I think (hope!) that there are various elements to The Eye-Dancers, enough disparate qualities to attract readers from across the spectrum.  If you enjoy character-driven fiction, I hope you give The Eye-Dancers a look, because it is the characters–their problems, their overcoming of adversity, their self-discovery and need to confront their own insecurities–who lie at the heart of the story.  If you enjoy sci-fi and fantasy, there are “ghost girls” and dreams and parallel universes, quantum physics and world-building and possibilities of time travel.  If you like mainstream fiction, there are many subplots and character-driven moments that, with hope, will cause you to care about and root for the boys in their quest to get back home.

And, it’s my earnest hope . . . if you simply like an interesting, imaginative story, then you will you enjoy The Eye-Dancers.

Once again, I am very grateful for this wonderful opportunity to participate in The Next Big Thing.  It was a lot of fun answering these questions.  And it’s also a privilege to pass the baton on to two other remarkable authors.

Jennifer Paetsch at her site, JenniferPaetsch.com, and Sheri Bessi at her site, The Other Side of Ugly, will answer these same questions next week!  Please join them for the next installment of The Next Big Thing . . .

–Mike

 

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