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A Frog, Food, and Cajun Culture: A Trip to Louisiana

Originally posted on my Contingency Writer’s Blog

I arrived home at about midnight this morning after a 10-day trip in Louisiana. The primary reasons for my visit were to see family, and to work on a romance novel and the third Detective Games entry; although it became a great deal more.

Instead of a linear progression for this blog post, I’d like to try out bullet points!

  • I tried my hand… er, legs, at Irish dancing. My cousins had been Irish dancing for years, and I had come along to support them. Their instructor welcomed me to join in as well. My fencing instructor had always said I should go dancing, and about a year apart from his remarks, I was clumsily thumping across a multipurpose ballet studio.
  • Trekking through Jean Lafitte National Park, I wished I had first put on some bug spray, with the presence of a multitude of mosquitos. But the beauty of the marsh and swamplands were incredible, and afforded the opportunity for many pictures.
A tiny tree frog

A tiny tree frog

A young alligator surfaces near a walkway

A young alligator surfaces near a walkway

  • We visited Destrehan Plantation and took a tour of the grounds, with its grand trees covered in Spanish moss, and learnt of the vast history, including the day to day lives of the household owners and the enslaved, as well as the construction process and architectural functions. At the end, a blacksmith with a heavy cajun accent, demonstrated the use of his forge.
  • The food. Oh boy, the food. The delicious simplicity of red beans and rice, messy po’ boys, savory gumbo and jambalaya, fun flavors with stuffed snowballs, and the mandatory beignets (from Café du Monde) I had to have on a daily basis.
DSCN1373]

Beignets and powdered sugar! Yum!

Savory gumbo!

Savory gumbo!

  • The French Quarter was a fun experience, with sights to see, a banana smoothie in hand, and trinkets to be had in the market.
DSCN1329

The Jackson equestrian statue

The Serialization of eBooks: The Rationale Behind The Unknown

Originally posted on my Contingency Writer’s Blog

Charles Dickens (Public Domain)

Charles Dickens (Public Domain)

In 2014, I conducted a poll inquiring what readers thought of “book serializations.” Out of a varied group of 41
respondents, 31.7% indicated that they did not know the meaning of ‘book serialization.’ 26.9% indicated a relatively neutral attitude,19.5% had a negative outlook, and 14.7% were positive towards book serializations. The opinion of the remainder was dependent upon factors such as the genre of book serializations, and the format (e.g. comics, manga) [1].

Being only a group of 41 respondents, it isn’t a representative sample of the general readership. However, it did provide a measure of insight – these reactions were mixed or unestablished.

The meaning of ‘book serialization’ varies. Charles Dickens and Sir Arthur Conan Doyle wrote serials, although they varied in length. In general, a book serialization entails a story begin broken up into parts, and then published in a periodical or in eBook form, rather than the entirety of the story begin published in a novel.

The question to ask may be, ‘why serialize in the first place?’ Unless the traditional format is such (e.g. comic books), why serialize mainstream genres?

The answer for me was a multi-faceted one. Firstly, why not? The fact that it’s a relatively unseen medium in novel-dominated genres does not indicate that it is unsuccessful. Could it not open up an untapped market? I thought of myself. I used to be an avid reader of novels. From my elementary into early high school years (primary to secondary), I was frequently looking for new books. As my schoolwork increased, and I was given assigned readings, however, I found that my desire and ability to recreationally read decreased. I began to shy away from 300+ page books. Yet, if a story was short enough, I would be more likely to read it. For I still loved to read. Now, there are readers who make time no matter the workload. They’re ravenous readers year round. There are also readers like myself who enjoy reading, but find it more challenging to make time, and for which serials could be a fantastic prospect.

Writing Cubism

The Trials & Tribulations of Writing

Secondly, serials are great when there’s little time to spare on the writing. I had written about three novellas before I became interested in serializations. These novellas generally took a couple of years or more to develop, and I saw my writing style mature over the course of each project. However, I did not believe these novellas to be worthy of publication. I saw need for improvement. I then wrote two short stories (“War at Our Doorstep” and “400 Years of Silence”), which would become my first published eBooks. I felt fairly confident in my writing style, and the reviews I received were generally favorable if not exceeding my expectations. Shortly after, I had the idea for my current Detective Games series. The setting would vary across the world, and the character roster would be expansive. It would be a hefty project, and certainly take me beyond 300+ pages. But I wasn’t ready to write another novella, much less a novel. I was (am) in college and the coursework didn’t allow for as much free time or mental energy as I would require. So I wrote my first serial, and often found greater motivation than I had for my longer projects.

Thirdly, serials can be great for testing the market and trying out new ideas without fully committing to a novel. The idea of the Detective Games wasn’t an ordinary one. Detectives across the world linked by a common villain? Exploring the journeys of each detective, in each region (thus far the United States, France, England, and Ireland have been utilized. My vision is to include South American, Eastern European, Middle Eastern, African, and Asian countries with detective adventures as well) and then uniting them all in a finale? I wanted to get more feedback than could be offered by beta readers. Publishing serials could provide the feedback I needed (as indicated with the feedback I received with short stories), without requiring me to travel the globe and finish the novel first. Likewise, it could be beneficial to the readers who, as aforementioned, wanted shorter stories to read.

Design #2

The upcoming second installment in The Detective Games series.

Finally, it could gradually provide resources and exposure. Over time, readers could discover the series as it was being released, as opposed to releasing a single colossal book or trilogy. It could generate more exposure through the additional releases, revenues to continue supporting the series (rather than potentially waiting for years, or even never earning enough to cover the costs of time spent), and allow for the series to be cancelled if the reaction was overly negative. The alternative being years upon years spent on a dismal book. Readers couldalso contribute to the series as it progressed by providing feedback and speculation – establishing a collaborative environment – rather than an author or editor calling all the shots. And it could be fun!

As it stands, the Detective Games has one installment. I’m receiving a great deal of feedback, and have finished the next installment and am having it beta read. Although the revenues are very small at this point, that’s not the point. I’m engaging readers and learning along the way. Revenues can come as the series progresses and gains greater exposure. In my experience, serializations are a worthwhile endeavor. In addition to benefits separate to author and reader, they may also serve to bring both groups closer together. That’s ideal in establishing a lasting impact.

Side Notes

  • I’ve been utilizing Write On by Kindle, Goodreads, and WattPad to gather more feedback prior to publishing serials, and I’ve received a great deal of constructive feedback!

Antagonist Theme & A Return to Literary Things

Over the past year, the Adventure Writer’s Blog has transformed from a conglomeration of reviews, musings,  and photography, to a place where I primarily discuss my writing endeavors. I hope to do some more of that soon, once there are further developments in the publishing process and in my others works. It’s slow-going at the moment, and I’ll likely begin making more queries soon, as well as starting a serialization project that I can self-publish.

In other news, after Protagonist Rising, I developed another short track of music which I’ve deemed the Antagonist Theme. It’s very short, and very gritty in terms of tone, heavily relying upon guitar and bass. I find that while I’m taking a short break with my writing, I can continue to express through my music. I may also use this theme for a movie project I’ve begun with a friend.

Below is the video in question:

Secure Link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Xe7_9IgSCOU

A Tranquil, Vibrant Melody: Protagonist Rising

The host of loops within Apple’s GarageBand ’11 is simply extraordinary. The fact that one may utilize them in innovative assortments is better yet.

Shortly after writing my novel, I decided to redirect my creativity to music. I had developed songs before, using the aforementioned application, but I had frequently had a particular objective in mind. This time, however, the ‘lines’ which were to guide the project were much less distinct. I decided that I would make the soundtrack reminiscent of one of my novel’s characters, the protagonist, Jake. I utilized guitar, violin, drum, even choir melodies, until I had something significantly varied in sound and tone. Although, upon its conclusion, I found that it hardly sounded anything like the character I had in mind. Albeit I still liked the results!

I’ve named the video, Protagonist Rising, in light of its previously designated purpose.

The Parisian Experience

A few days ago I published a photography sampler eBook entitled, The Parisian Experience,

287400859115-A (PNG Image)

(Copyright © 2012) For the cover, I used one of my favorite photographs, which was well liked in its original posting on this blog. The composition depicts a Normandy harbor beautifully covered in a blanket of sunlight.

as a precursor to the full-length book I am developing.

This free edition features some of my most well-received photographs which have appeared on the Adventure Writer’s Blog, including Louis XVI, Omaha Beach, Notre Dame de Paris, and multiple others.

The book is currently being reviewed by B&N and Apple’s respective quality assurance teams.

On a different note – tomorrow I hope to post my comprehensive Hunger Games review, as well as an audio edition for the AW Blog YouTube channel.

The Crashing Waves

Over the course of a few days I developed a soundtrack for a mini-movie which I will be presenting before an English class representing the poem, Dover Beach. This is the soundtrack in question, with shooting for the video in progress:

This video is made legally using Apple Co. loops provided with the application, Garage Band, in accordance with Terms of Use.

After the Storm

Ever heard of the calm before the storm? Well this is the calm... AFTER the storm.

Free Publications: Updates Available

In January of this year, I provided the manuscripts for my short story publications on this blog, without

The annotated version of War At Our Doorstep delves into the story, uncovering important details and casting light upon the story's various ambiguities. The story provided in this post is the original, unannotated version.

the extras provided by their ninety-nine cent counterparts, and developed my Literary Feedback page to gather the opinions of my readers and subscribers.

Since then, months have passed, and I’ve updated my publications. War at Our Doorstep has had punctuation errors and an imagery [literary] device was altered. 400 Years of Silence was extended to include additional background about the character Manasseh, and pave the way for the potential novel to come.

These new additions are available on their old posts:

https://adventurewriter.wordpress.com/2012/01/02/400-years-of-silence-six-hundred-word-story/

https://adventurewriter.wordpress.com/2012/01/20/war-at-our-doorstep-2/

If you’re looking for a quick read, these should do the trick, and as always, I’d love to have feedback (that’s why I changed “Leave a Reply” to “Share Your Opinion” – much more welcoming).

Passion: White Flag [Deluxe Edition] (Music Review)


Official Album Cover (Amazon)

Passion: White Flag is the latest installment from the Passion music series, recorded live at Passion 2012, and debuting commercially March 9th, 2012. During its first day, it climbed to the top of the Gospel Christian charts and achieved a high ranking overall.

It is a thoroughly diverse album, featuring the talents of such artists as Chris Tomlin, Kristian Stanfill, Christy Nockels, Charlie Hall, Matt Redman, and the recently retired David Crowder Band who made their last performance at the live event. Boasting [in Christ] an incredible seventeen songs, four videos (including a sermon by GA Pastor & Passion Pres. Louie Giglio), and song booklet –  the deluxe edition is certainly the best deal financially and in terms of quality content.

Its tone is vibrant – full of energy and passion. Its lyrics are not watered down, but beautiful, powerful, and pertinent. A common thread of surrender [and conformation] to Christ unites the album, hence the name, White Flag. 

The full content list reads as follows:

» Not Ashamed (feat. Kristian Stanfill)
» White Flag (feat. Chris Tomlin)
» Jesus, Son of God (feat. Chris Tomlin)
» How I Love You (feat. Christy Nockels)
» All This Glory (feat. David Crowder)
» Lay Me Down (feat. Christy Nockels)
» You Revive Me (feat. Christy Nockels)
» One Thing Remains (feat. Christian Stanfill)
» Yahweh (feat. Chris Tomlin)
» Sing Along (feat. Christy Nockels)
» The Only One (feat. Chris Tomlin)
» Mystery (feat. Charlie Hall)
» 10,000 Reasons (Bless the Lord - feat. Matt Redman)
» No Turning Back (feat. Chris Tomlin)
» Let Me Feel You Shine (feat. David Crowder Band)
» Who You Are (feat. Kristian Stanfill)
» Jesus, All in All (feat. Charlie Hall)
» Twenty Seven Million (feat. Matt Redman & LZ7)
» How Great Is Our God (World Edition - feat. Chris Tomlin)
» Fearless (Passion 2012 Talk - Louie Giglio)
» Passion 2012 Slideshow
» Digital Booklet

The Adventure Writer’s Blog Rating:

10/10 - Quality, diverse content with something for everyone.
iTunes Music Review (PNG)

Brief Review Summary on iTunes

Our God’s Alive: Andy Cherry (Song Review & Rouen Photography)

Yesterday Andy Cherry released his first album, Nothing Left to Fear, containing the hit song Our

Joan of Arc Memorial - Rouen, France

God’s Alive – a beautifully orchestrated piece with unique vocals and a dynamic personality.

This is by far one of my favorite songs within the Contemporary Christian genre, with well-thought out  organization, instrumentals, and powerful lyrics with a simplistic message, effectively echoing the salvation message through a captivating medium.

News (3/07): Our God’s Alive is currently available for free [legally supporting the artist] on iTunes for a period of one month, by download code. Instructions are available on this page.

Extending eBook Content

Tonight I’m revising my 400 Years of Silence six-hundred word story publication by extending it to

100E6807-AW

Taken at one of the many Notre Dames of France - altered slightly for effect.

encompass the same scope as its duet-play counterpart. Once completed, the updates will be sent to the iBookstore and Barnes and Noble (NOOK).

I pray that, as I make these revisions, I will stay true to the heart of God – even if that entails extending it to the length of a novel.

The story in its current forms are available for reading on the Adventure Writer’s Blog. If you enjoy the story, you may also download the eBook version from the NOOK or iBookstore.

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