Friday, August 29, 2014

Death of Heaven - re-release on my birthday Saturday 8/30/2014

Happy birthday to me! Well, tomorrow actually.

I like giving on my birthday, so in that frame of mind....

I'm letting you know that tomorrow is the official re-release date my book, Death of Heaven (coupon code AE78W ) and I am offering it for free through this weekend. That is the downloadable ebook version; here, is the print version of, Death of Heaven on Amazon. I have also lowered the ebook price on Death of Heaven, from Monday on to $4.99.

Death of Heaven has been put through a rigorous re-editing and was getting good reviews even before that. 

Also starting today through the weekend, you can get ebooks versions of most of my ebooks for free. Check them out, I hope you find something you like.

Also, a short short sci fi story of mine on Wattpad, To End All War.

See also this week's past blog on all this. Enjoy my birthday tomorrow!
And, have a great weekend!


Monday, August 25, 2014

Free ebooks, Death of Heaven, and The Rules of Writing

Free ebooks? Yes, there's a wealth of reading materiel coming to you here, today. First, though....

My birthday is Saturday, August 30th, but more about that later. Starting Friday, August 29th, 2014, I will be offering my catalog of ebooks for free for a few days in celebration of my birthday, which will be available thought Tuesday, 9/2/2014.

Right now however, you can get a free ebook copy of Death of Heaven right now (see below toward the end of this blog for details).

That all being said, now let's continue....

There are several rules of writing that you're not supposed to break. Rules that sometimes, I find irritating. Some are reasonable, some necessary, some are just marketing issues infecting the publishing industry and therefore, the writer's domain.

Some rules as I indicated, are just common sense and necessary, but some... some I feel just hamper the creative process and the artistic endeavor.

Again, take my book, Death of Heaven.

Over all, I've gotten pretty good comments on it. Like this one from Author and Reviewer, Michael Brookes:

"[Death of Heaven] ... has a Books of Blood vibe [referring to Clive Barker's seminal book series], which really works well. It's in these tales that the author's writing ability shines. He demonstrates a lovely turn of phrase and some of the writing is almost poetic in its beauty."

Original cover of Books of Blood Vol. 1
I kind of like that. 

There was one comment about the storyline that I was expecting and that finally happened. The comment was that the two main protagonists didn't really do, anything.

I beg to differ. SPOILERS here, but mild ones.

First of all, the protagonists referred to ARE doing something. They are documenting for all humankind, what is about to happen. Things that have forever been hidden and are completely missing from humankind's understanding of their entire existence, their world, and their universe.

These documentors are striving to stay alive. They have enough to deal with in simply staying alive and handling their task, to document, to pass it all on to others, should the earth survive. Then there is book two, yet to be written, where perhaps they do have a chance to "do", something. After an entire book of being trapped in their own existence, how could they not be wanting to do something, once and for all?
EarVu a short ebook sci fi horror story
The typical comment from editors and publishers on something like this (and in film, producers, studios, etc.), is to add in something for them to do besides what they are doing. Things like, make a conflict with local government or secret government agency, or a secret society. Hollywood and publishers always want more, bigger, betterer! But that is pure sensationalism and if you put too much into it, you get overload. Like sugar is good so diabetes is better?

And there you have it, this mode of entertainment building can and has led to "entertainment diabetes". Avoid it. It's fine to build on something to go bigger and better, but at some point, if you have a brain cell left, you'll recognize that you need to pull back, start over, reset, so that what had been immense turns into little, and if you revert to the beginning, you can again make the little immense; make a tiny bit simply seem like so much more.

Still, I can understand how one might feel a "hole" in the protagonists' situation.

That however, was my intent. For that feeling to exist. It exists, for a reason.

There are some things in life where you literally can do nothing, where there is no where to hide, nothing to do, but survive; where you should feel a "hole" in the story. That's not very interesting reading though, is it? I mean, that's the argument, right? But these protagonists serve their function, they move things along, they acquire and bring us along with them as they acquire, knowledge.

They had been friends since childhood. One who suffered serious damage through his espionage work (among other things); the other damaged with emotional issues from a childhood trauma that they both amazingly survived. Neither is finding getting through their daily life, easy; for both it is a challenge within itself. And actually, that's okay.

When I was in college in my first fiction writing class, one of the editors of our University magazine said that he didn't understand why he liked my writings, because I broke rules, but for some reason, no matter how hard he tried, he enjoyed my stories. Good stories are written by good authors who follow the rules; great stories are written by great authors who set out to break those rules. It's not for me to say what kind of an author I am, but I will guarantee you one thing, I do have an interesting and at times unique perspective in all of my writings.

As for others who wish to be writers, write. Write and learn rules, so that you can creatively break them, or try to do so, to make your own way, to set your own path so that possibly others, may follow you.
Audio book version of The Conqueror Worm, first full chapter of Death of Heaven
Still there is another issue, however.

Are these two actually the main protagonists? And if not, who is? Because there are others who are doing something and who in the end, absolutely do something. But they too mostly sit and wait, acquiring information, growing in knowledge and strength, much like the other two mentioned above; but also, damaging bits and pieces of human history.

This is a book in some ways, of very little happening, actually.

There is a tension building right from the beginning of the book's story, even many years before the opening of the main story, where that builds and builds until finally it all comes to a head in the final battle for the life of all on earth, and others. There is a lot going on between the lines.
Quantum History short sci fi comedy ebook
If I were to use some of those rules to add in elements to the story, it would be due to marketing reasons, not reasons of story or necessity. Because what is necessity in writing? To tell the story, to keep the reader's attention, to entertain and enlighten, to leave the audience wanting more at the close and to leave them with a feeling of time well spent.

It is not all about the end however, but the journey. The journey in Death of Heaven is long and diverse. There are turns and massive jumps but it is all tied together by only a few elements, a few lives. You come to know those lives. You come to wonder about them, where did they come from? How did they come to be here, and now?

Some of those questions are answered in a novella that came out before Death of Heaven, titled, Andrew, which is also included at the end of another book of mine, Anthology of Evil. Questions like, where did these powerful beings come from in the first place?

I don't like stories with easy answers.

I don't like books I can read in thirty seconds. I like the kind of book you can take your time with, think about a little bit and where you really don't mind that it's taking longer than many books do. It's all about the journey. Who cares if you zip through to the end, just to get to a great ending?

If I really enjoy a book, I will savor it, draw it out. I don't WANT it to read easy and fast. I want it to read like it will tear my guts out, affect me, even change me possibly; make me remember it. When I first read Lord of the Rings in high school, I limited my reading per day. I wanted it to last as long as possible. I could have read it in a day or two, but I made it last a couple of weeks so I could ruminate about it, think of it as I was falling asleep and even when I woke up.

I'm kind of like that though. It's how I like my beer, when I bite into it, I like it to bite back a little. I want something with full body, full flavor, a full body experience; Thai food at five stars of heat, using Thai tea to cut the heat when I can't take it anymore.

And that's what I try to deliver. More than the usual, something different; a little unique, or a lot.

On August 30th, 2014 I am officially re-releasing my book published in 2012, Death of Heaven (2014 print and ebook versions).

I have always liked giving gifts to those closest to me on my birthday, so it seems an obvious day to celebrate this new release. It has several new sections, has been re-edited and I believe it is an even more powerful read than before.

Check out the reviews it was given before the re-edit on its web page at,

You can get an ebook copy right now if you like from Smashwords, just use the coupon - WC22Z . The coupon expires on September 2nd, so get it now.

I will also offer my collection of short stories, Anthology of Evil on Smashwords, use the coupon, DV57HOver this next few months into next year I will be working on a re-edit of this book as I have done with, Death of Heaven. Anthology of Evil has two important stories, In Memory, Yet Crystal Clear, my first published short story and, Andrew, the novella that Death of Heaven is based upon.

While you're at it, don't forget this free, little two page story of mine on Wattpad, To End All War.

If you want a quick and easy read there are plenty of authors out there for you. Some of them I highly respect and read myself. Others, not so much.

Mr. Pakoo's Spice a short zombie tale ebook
Rules are pretty much mandatory for new authors, they are okay if you want to simply sell a lot of books, that is, if your goal is only to make money. But if you want to write (or read) a good book that challenges you, ignores rules at times for the sake of entertainment, just understand... that is what I am always striving for.

To offer you the reader, something... different; something, provoking; something you won't soon forget.

For now, here's a few freebie short stories:
  • Another experimental debacle, in a two page horror sci fi story titled, To End All War, on Wattpad. 
  • My rather well liked sci fi romance tale, Simon's Beautiful Thought on Smashwords.
  • Free this weekend - A return to my exploring scientific research as in my horror sci fi EarVu and,
  • Free this weekend - A humorous experimental debacle Quantum History (see covers above). 
  • Along with these all my other ebook short stories will also be free through the weekend.
Note: Due to an oversight the last two stories above were not marked free as planned, but will be this weekend.

Check them out and have fun. It's what this is all about.

Monday, August 18, 2014

On Creating Great Story Titles

Properly titling a story is extremely important to me. In thinking about creating titles for stories, I thought I would share what my process can be. For at least one type of story title, anyway.

I believe that a good title can contain half of a story's meaning, in theory. It's something to shoot for anyway. By changing a title it can alter the entire meaning of the story. It can twist a story's meaning in unforeseen and  interesting ways.

Sometimes I write a story, from a short story to a novel, based upon a title I came up with first as inspiration. Sometimes that title lasts all the way through to publish. At times once I finish the story, another title becomes apparent.

Sometimes the title comes last once I discover what the story is through discovery as I write it. When that happens, I try really hard to come up with the right title. I try to find the title in the story. I'm not always successful to the degree I want, but it's usually worth the effort.

A good title can make a world of difference in reader perception as well as story meaning. One of my best titles came out of this story:

Nikolas Hayes as "Simon" on the cover of one of my free ebooks
Simon's Beautiful Thought
Having a story where the title pulls things all together at the end, can be very pleasurable. It's good to be careful however about taking a string of words from within a story as the title, as it can come off as cliche or in the worst case, simply annoying.

For our purposes here, I'll just use a story of someone I know, Nikolas Hayes. This is from his first published short-short story on Wattpad.  It's a cool little horror sci fi tale, a dystopic that worked on his first draft. It's a good title. Not quite the kind that alters a story outside of its obvious meaning or intent, but a good title nonetheless.

Wattpad, if you don't already know, is a site where you can find a lot of interesting and free writings. In some cases, authors are writing entire books online there that you can follow along with as they are written, chapter by chapter. You can comment on them, sometimes affecting how the book develops. Many of these stories are first drafts, written on Wattpad and published without a second draft attempt. Many find that interesting. 

I heard a well known writer once say that you CAN make a living as a short story writer, you just have to be able to write a first draft, send it off and have it bought by a publisher, every single day. Not a lot of people can produce a finished, polished purchasable story in one draft. 

Some people have even gotten book deals in publishing like this on Wattpad.

Here is one of my latest stories on my Wattpad, titled: "To End All War". It's about a scientist who misuses an experiment he and his coworker are working on, in order to affect the entire world to his agenda. He's finally had it and felt that he had to do something; something, to stop the madness. Hopefully in the end, it will work out for everyone for the better. 

Or perhaps, he's just sadly deluded as so many seem to be now a days. Yet, I wonder....

One last thing before I get to the point of today's blog....

Death of Heaven by JZ Murdock
A few years ago before I published my currently re-released epic book, Death of Heaven (you know, I don't use "epic" lightly either, the book IS epic in scope, there's simply no debating it, you'll see what I mean), it still had no title as I approached the final edit prior to publishing.

Years before, Nik had produced a music CD of his original music on keyboards and there was one song titled, "The Death of Heaven" ( the link is to the video book trailer for the book using Nik's song so you can actually hear it). 

You can also see the web page for my book here, Death of Heaven.

In my search for a title for a book I scan a lot of art and music for ideas, to tweak to my own purposes. So at some point, I ended up looking over his song titles. I was starting to worry that I wouldn't find a title worthy of this book.

I loved that title when I saw it again. Perhaps I subconsciously directed myself to look at those songs again, songs I had 
previously listened to more than once. Although it wasn't quite how I was thinking of titling my book, over that next week, the more I thought about it, I just couldn't get it out of my head.

It started to make total sense to me. It fit the book the more I thought about it. So, I asked him and he allowed me to use that title. I dropped the leading "The" in the original title, as that isn't a great idea to use in book titles, but over all, the title was his.

In supplying Nik now with the title to his first short story published online, I've finally been able to pay him back in some small way for using one of his titles. I'm not saying that title doesn't exist elsewhere in the world, just that he came up with it independently on HIS own. 

Anyway, back to Nik's story and my method for devising a title, that would go something like this....

In his story there is mention of air, breathing, freshness and stars. These seem to be primary elements of the story, so good to focus on. 

Immediately I think:
star air
air star

But that’s boring, right? 

It has the gist but not the cadence or pizzazz needed, especially in a short-short story. So I go and look things up in an online thesaurus. 

Maybe I’d keep "star", as it’s so immediate and recognizable. 

That leaves, "air".

So I enter into my browser URL field:
air syn

air synonym

I pick a good site from the search results. This time it’s one on top:

From there I get:
breath breeze wind blast draft heavens ozone puff sky stratosphere troposphere ventilation waft whiff zephyr

seems cool to me. I like that word. 

Star Zephyr?

Except, now "star" seems boring and doesn't really match up well.

So maybe not "zephyr" after all.

star breeze?

Waft and whiff are both wrong; more silly than useful and this is in no way a comedy.

star wind?
That isn't too bad, but they don’t fit the story very well in my mind. 

So maybe "star" just won’t work.
star breath?

I like that, but it feels backward to me somehow. Maybe not "star" but "starlight"?
breathing starlight?

That just might work!

But not quite. It's too obvious, too straightforward, and I need something less obvious, with a twist somehow, something minor.

So if not breathing? Another sense? Feeling? Smelling? Tasting? Or maybe, drinking?

Drinking Starlight!

Drinking indicates thirst and that is a strong feeling. So is breathing but drinking twists things on its head and that's usually good.

So that’s it then. 

And that is pretty much how I go about creating my titles. Usually, anyway. 

I mean, that and other ways.

So check out Nik's cool little dystopian sci fi tale, Drinking Starlight, published just last week on Wattpad. I hope to see many more from him over the years as he has a unique vision on our world, our human condition and for that matter, our universe.

Drinking Starlight by Nikolas Hayes on Wattpad
Enjoy the free stories and as always... 


Monday, August 11, 2014

Making of a Writer

Writer's, when I was a kid, were Gods. 

I would never have presumed. To be a writer? What an amazing thing that would be. To create, people, scenes, stories, universes.

Hey, while you're here and just for fun, here's a new and free short story of mine that's quite relative to the madnes and war going on all around us in the world: To End All War, I called it, on Wattpad. It's quite short, If you like that, here is another by another very new writer, Nikolas Hayes, titled, Drinking Starlight. Both quite powerful little pieces. Now, moving right along....

I wanted to read very young. I always had to wait for adults to finish reading the newspaper comics to me every Sunday. It got old after a while, all that waiting; always coming second, bored to death lying there on the floor watching everyone reading their newspaper, except me. So I pushed for them to teach me and my Grandmother took on the task. Reading came fairly easy to me and I could quickly, relatively speaking, read above my level. 

My Grandmother told me back then that she always read a hard book between every book she read for pleasure. She said every other book should be one that was difficult to understand and not to worry if you don't understand even half of it. Eventually, she said, you will if you kept it up. She also said to always pick a new word (or concept) out of the hard book each day and look it up. Assuming that is, that you read daily. The point being, out of each reading sessions, find something new to learn about.

So, I spent a lot of years back in the beginning of my lifelong reading career, scratching my head when reading every other book. It was frustrating at times wondering why I was reading what I didn't understand, but it was the reading version of doing push-ups to increase your physical strength.

It was a suggestion that paid off in spades. Eventually, writing came easy to me, too.

I wrote my first sci fi story when I was fifteen, then nothing until my twenties, just bits and pieces. My HS English teacher tried to get me to join the school newspaper staff, but I was afraid to. My loss, that. Then in college my first English Composition teacher begged me to become a writer. I'm not kidding. He said I had to, it was just overflowing out of me, all the ideas and sparks of things. I owe him a lot. he was the one to tell me to stop worrying about mechanics and perfectionism and just, Write!

So, I started to think it might be possible. Some, day. 

Then in my Senior year I took fiction 101 toward a creative writing minor. The other students seemed to be in awe of my stories. They really liked them. But to be fair, there was a lot of romance writing going on in there and I figured I simply had to be a refreshing change from that, right?. But then we also had the Editor and the Asst. Editor of our University magazine, Jeopardy, in that class and both of them were quite taken with my writings. The Asst Editor told me during one of his critiques of one of my stories that he knew he shouldn't like my stories, as they weren't his cup of tea, but he couldn't help himself. Besides his best attempt, he couldn't help but like my stories. High praise, indeed!

I tried for years after graduating to get something going, to sel my writings, but it was hard to get anywhere with it, and it's a frustrating endeavor to begin with, for anyone. I still had much to learn. Finally, I did sell a story. But again, it was years to get anywhere further. Still, I kept writing, putting them away, wishing I could get something going. 

Then the 1990s, I became a tech writer. Then a senior tech writer. Years later I realized I had actually once been a professional writer, merely by definition. That was nice. But it wasn't fiction writing. It was however, a good launching ground for learning various important elements of writing good fiction. Endurance, finishing what you start, accuracy, attention to detail, turning out a quality product that pleased and on time. And many times, to a harsh judge of what writing they were paying for. And I got paid for my written words. 

It was really in the advent of the internet becoming what it has, for me to finally get a real hold on something of substance. I finally started connecting with the right people. Fun, cool, interesting people Then I really started working hard at it and now, I'm feeling much better about it. Still, it is a long, hard road. My life to date has seemingly been a nearly never ending series of rejections, frustratingly close calls and finally, though in comparison to the whole of my efforts, an ever growing number of scant few, positive responses.

There is always hope, as long as there is hope kept alive by action.

The making of a writer comes about many ways. In the end the actuality of being a writer is in being one who writes, who gets people to read their writings, and one who gets positive feedback. 

So I keep working hard at it. Maybe one of these days I'll get to a situation where I feel like I actually have made it somewhere. Or maybe one always feels there is another hill to crest.

In the meantime, I'm just trying my best to enjoy the ride.

Monday, August 4, 2014

'Merka (that's America) and Its Followers

My love of America was questioned the other day because of my attitude and comments in general. So this is a comment to all those who see (or would see) me that way.

This is a comment to the political nut cases out there and all their supporters like Fox News and the Republican party for the most part. Also, the ones who aren't nuts but rich, who abuse us all and their positions in America, or for the purposes of this argument, 'Merka, using the back hills slang version that has so come to symbolize all of those types.

Look, I'm pro America. Pro, "real" America, not the modern, saccharine version pushed on us by questionable types of late.

I spent my time in the military, did my Service with its generous awards, ending in a Good Conduct Medal. I got my official Government Certificate for serving during the Cold War. I got a degree in Psychology from a University. I've had cross-cultural college classes, had those classes with people from the Middle East, Qatar, Iran, Iraq, and elsewhere.

I've met interesting people from around the world and, I did not kill them, going against the American way of late.

Yet, I hesitate to say I'm a patriot anymore because that has come to have an odd meaning, one that leaves a strange taste in one's mouth. If, you're a traditional patriot, that is. Of late, Patriot has come to mean racism, hate, idiocy, dunderheadedness, right wing nutcase-aphilia, fat beer belly hick with a gun theisms... and things like that.

I'm not any of those things so where does that leave me. In the Chinese Communist Revolution, I would have been dragged from my home and shot as an intellectual. I'm proud of that, actually. Because I have a brain and I use well, the mind contained therein. I use logic. Real logic, not the political kind of crap that is so rampant now a days and not just in America. Because we have infected the world. We infected the world with a good infection and now along with that, we have infected it with a kind of moronic sensibility, emboldened with our making friends with low characters, supporting the wrong people for economic gains and for corporate greediness.

I love the concept behind America, what we are supposed to be, supposed to stand for, not what some are pushing now a days as, 'Merka, which has come to mean I really don't know what, other than selfishness, greed, isolationism, uncharitability, uncompassionate, right winginess, conservativism (to the point of banal idiocy), superficiality, hyper confused Christianity, and so on and on.

I've always said that I'd fight and die for your right to free speech, even for you to say stupid crap like how you hate people; to say stupid shite like we hear online ad nauseam in the news, on a more than daily basis and instantly, in many cases.

Sure, in this country, it's your right to speak your mind. But why? Why have such a tiny mind from which to pull such banalities? Having a right doesn't mean you have to use it to say such nonsense.

That being said, from a psychological POV we do to vent, to get it all out, to allow those with disparate point of views to point out to us, who they are, what their beliefs are, and basically, as we've seen over and over, just who the crazies are.

It's healthy, it's the human condition.

Maybe if we just vent enough we will blow out our frustrations and fears because that's what all this is.: Fear and Frustration. The realization that you are not and never will be one of the Nouveau riche. That ideal has failed, the American dream of becoming rich like the rich, has died; mostly because the not rich have voted to give power to those who abuse their position; the legislators who have been bought by the corporations who take from us and then convince the have nots, to call themselves, "the Takers", rather than the backbone of this nation who are mostly, the middleclass; a class of people the rich have abused for far too long for their own selfish benefits. And the worm may be turning on their cadaverous bodies.

The more you talk, the more we know you are there, know who you are, what you think and how you work. You are insidious, the new American cancer that we can't cut out and have to instead take a long time to rehabilitate. You'll only be happy when you are rich. Right? But guess what, that ain't gonna happen. Interesting conundrum, right? You, are our bruised loop of insanity.

See, it would help everyone if you would just stop, read a damn book (one that makes some sense), and join us in being Americans. The traditional American, the one the original dream was all about, the one people around the world appreciate and wish to achieve. See the dream only was ever that you can better your position, not to become rich. That was an idea that was sold to us but those who were rich and wanted to blind us from cutting their taxes, giving more of ourselves, receiving less money so they could have more and more, and more.

But then one day? All your venting of your bitching and abuse, your hate and misdirected anger, will actually do us more good than you; once it's properly directed at the right people, and that ain't us, those who you are misguidedly directing it at now.

So think about it. We know you. You are limited in your spotlight now because as we've been notified long ago (and do you even know by whom? Do you? You don''t, do you? By Marshall McLuhan.), that one day everyone will get their fifteen minutes of fame. Now is your time. Soon it will be ours again and that will last much longer than the embarrassing, short term insanity that you have been exhibiting. Catharsis isn't that useful when it is used to a childish degree.

It's useful when it's used to be productive and directed consciously to things that are right and true. To shine a light on what has been hidden for so long, but really isn't a secret anymore. But those deceivers hidden in the shadows for so long have now turned the light back upon those who shined the light on them, blinding the wronged people now from seeing the right people and their insidious actions.

You have marked yourselves, in public, on camera, online, and in permanency. The more you vent, the more powerful you become, but only in the short term; because in the long term, the more powerless you will become. The pendulum will swing back to us again, to sanity, and then you will evaporate and turn into good people out of necessity, except for those few who will scurry into the dark like the cockroaches you are.

And so again and in closing, thanks. Thanks so much for pointing out you and yours to us. Because it won't be long now that I will no longer be embarrassed to call myself a Patriot once again. After you shut up. After you join us in reclamation of our new, "Old" Patriotic American ideals.

Oh and, thank you for your service....