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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.
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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.
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The Jackson equestrian statue

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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!

Contingency Writer: The New Adventure Writer’s Blog

Retaining the same URL as before, I have decided to change the name of this blog to “Contingency Writer” : Spur of the moment contemplations, reviews, and wondrous tales.

As I tend to post quaint poems, various other literary pieces, and the occasional photography highlight, on a spur of the moment basis, I thought this would be a most fitting revision. And there are already numerous “adventure writers.” It didn’t hurt to innovate a little.

I would also like to welcome one who is new to the WordPress blogosphere, a friend and skilled programmer: the contingency coder.

 

The Cuban Sandwich (et frites)

On November 8th, 2009 I made one of my first posts, and it was about a Cuban Sandwich. Yet I had never thought to take a picture!

The remedy for my terrible grievance is finally here:

100_6354 (JPEG Image of Cuban Sandwich)

For your viewing pleasure, the Cuban Sandwich. Mustard, meat, pickles, cheese… some seem to be unlikely combinations, but they work so well. The finger making its debut in this photograph was used to prop up the sandwich. It’s intentional. Not one of those, “whoops! Stuck my finger in the photograph again!” moments.

Bon appetit.

Adieu.

 

The Pruning Process

On Friday I posted my “first detective serial” which I had planned to publish, and which was in a very rough form. After gathering second opinions, I’ve decided to prune that piece of writing and let another branch flourish in its stead. In other words, I’m keeping the pages I’ve written for future reference, but I won’t be publishing that particular piece. It was an experimental thing, and it was fun working on it. Now that that’s out of the way, I can get onto what I really want to publish.

Breakfast Delight: Pancakes with…

…dark chocolate, whipped cream, and vanilla bean maple syrup.

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These pancakes have the perfect balance of vanilla maple syrup, as well as the option of whipped cream and special dark chocolate from the famous Pennsylvanian chocolate factory (*hint, hint*).

Not only did the pancakes taste great, they also were very quick to make. The pancakes were  the freezer variation (made from scratch would have been the best option), which was the most efficient option, time-wise.

It’s a writer’s breakfast! At least for this author.

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

Weekly Photo Challenge: Mine

It’s been quite some time since my last DP Photo Challenge entry. Today it’s the full version of a photograph which I posted sometime last year.

100_7175-AW

A cake with my name on it. Literally. The white frosting is in the shape of a fleur de lis, accompanied by the French national colors. The cake was designed by a local bakery. Why the French theme? Of all the ethnicities that run through my family, French is at the top, followed by English…

No, I did not eat it all… just a majority.

Post A Day 2012: Hiatus

I have made the decision to remove the PostADay2012 and Photography Challenge 2012 widgets.

I feel that having them up, while only posting a few times a month, is inappropriate, and casts a negative image on the blog – focusing on the lack of activity, in light of what could be a very productive goal.

After the immensely successful and fun PostADay2011, I would love to get back into the swing of things. However, that does not seem to be a possibility now. I have not even had the chance to post reviews, as I had been hoping to.

Engaging in scholastic pursuits, contacting literary agents, and developing a marketing strategy for my novel, paired with various other daily occupations, makes for a full plate. That’s not to say I don’t have the time to publish a daily blog, simply that I do not currently have the focus, and I believe that blogging demands a deal of attention.

I will continue to make posts and the occasional tweets for the Adventure Writer’s Blog on an occasional basis, until such a time that I may post on a daily basis.

Thanks for reading!

Adventure Writer

 

Delectable Burger

As this photograph was merely displayed as eye-candy for my Make That A Triple Stacker: Manuscript Completion post, I thought it might deserve a slightly better introduction than “Not quite like writing, though much more delectable.”

000_0027 (JPEG Image)

It had been a long time since I last visited Chilis, and I decided to make a visit, if only to have my favorite southwestern eggrolls. For the main course, I had a set of sliders, which were good, albeit quite salty (I suspect this may be attributable to the bacon bits). I snapped a quick picture with my Kodak Easyshare, arranging the plates and silverware slightly. It wasn’t the best lighting conditions, or the most carefully composed, but I thought it turned out quite nicely.