Friday, December 20, 2013

Editing sure is fun, isn't it?

It's been a while since I posted an update, so I thought I'd jump back into the blog studio and explain some of what's been going on the last couple weeks. 

It's been something of a whirlwind, between editing manuscripts, working on query letters, crafting pitches, and narrowly avoiding the clutches of a cold, I feel like I'm only just starting to come up for air. 

It's a good problem to have, of course, since I had six agents and editors request sample chapters for my Pitchmas pitch, which was selected as one of the top 75 pitches to be featured on the blog.  I've also had a request for a full manuscript for an old vampire novel I've had kicking around for a while.  I recently did a full overhaul of it, cutting out a couple plot lines that dragged down the pacing, and adding a new chapter that I felt the book was missing.  It's always rather sad when you have to cut out one of your favorite chapters, but when you re-read the book and realize you didn't miss anything by losing the chapter...well, that pretty much says it all, doesn't it?

Other than that, I've been working on some short stories (I've got a deadline I have to hit for a ghost story), and making slow progress on a new paranormal book.  With any luck, I'll manage to scrounge up a bit more time to write in the coming weeks. 

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Christmas Deal on Vampire Anthology Wrapped in Red

Two versions for the price of one.  More like "Gift-Wrapped in Red", am I right?  Anyone? 

Well, terrible pun aside, from now until Christmas, you can pick up a copy of the Amazon paperback version of Wrapped in Red (featuring 13 vampire stories, including one by yours truly), and get the Kindle version for free. 

Monday, December 2, 2013

My Interview with Author Adam Oster

I'm pleased to bring you my interview with the hilarious and talented Wisconsin-based writer, Adam Oster.  He's the author of the newly released The Agora Files, as well as superhero novel The Legend of Buddy Hero.

Hi, Adam!  I’m so glad you could join us here in the blog studio.   Make yourself comfortable.  Would you like some tea?  Fresh-baked peach cobbler?  Help yourself.  This is a combined interview and game show, where prizes may be awarded for great answers. The grand prize, should you win all the questions, is a signed copy of my upcoming self-help book, “How to Blame Other People And Feel Better About Yourself.”

Awesome!  I’ve been looking for a book like that.  I’m really good at the blaming part, but something about my WASP upbringing just doesn’t allow me to feel better about myself about anything that doesn’t involve a lot of personal pain and suffering.

When did you start writing fiction?  Was there anything in particular that sparked your interest?

Perhaps my start came with my youth as a perpetual liar.  I did spend a lot of time trying to make myself not appear nearly as nerdy and uninformed as I truly was.  However, I think it really came with the territory of how I spent my time as a kid.  I used to read a ton.  When I was a young buck, I was either sitting in front of a computer screen or burying my nose into a paperback.

I would seriously read anything.  I think that’s what initially started my interest in writing because I quickly found that there are a lot of bad books out there.  I thought I could do better.

At that young age, I found I couldn’t, but the idea of telling good stories continued.I didn’t begin any serious attempts at writing fiction until about ten years ago, my first attempt at a novel started around six years ago.

Can you tell us a little about your latest book?

I certainly can!

The Agora Files is a young adult novel set in the not-too-distant future of the United States.  Except this U.S. never really recovered from the end of World War II.  A little bit of The Hunger Games and a little bit of 1984 puts the novel’s main character, Cyrus, into a world where he’s basically on his own.  Of course…now that I’ve started, I see that I’ll go well beyond the “little” part of the question.  Here’s the jacket info:“Cyrus must run for his life, but can he run from love?

When dying alone on the hot sands of the Mohave Desert, Cyrus has no regrets. He loves a challenge. Being tasked with running from San Francisco to Boston in fifteen days, while the United States government and a host of bounty hunters hunt for him, sounds like fun. Being at death's door only a day into his trip doesn't faze him either. It's when he's joined by fellow runner Eve, bringing new emotions to the surface, his confidence cracks.”

Your previous novel, The Legend of Buddy Hero, is about superheroes.  Who is your favorite superhero of all time? (Besides Buddy, of course)  And for bonus points, do you have a favorite comic book movie?

Superman has always been my favorite.  I loved the character so much that I would read anything I could get my hands on about him.  Something about the fact that he’s not actually from this world, but would do anything to save it, just speaks worlds to me…even if most people write him off as just a boy scout in a flashier uniform.  Unfortunately, I’ve found that many folks who do the writing for the character see him more as the latter than I’d like.

Bonus points!  I probably have to come up with something obscure AND awesome to win this one, huh?

One of the biggest issues I see with comic book movies is that comic books tend to reflect our culture at the time.  The original Chris Reeve Superman film from back in 1978 was this epic sweeping film that is considered to be the template for many of the films to follow…you watch it today and it gets boring fast.  Films like Darkman, Tank Girl, the Tim Burton Batman, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles; they’re all a product of their generation and don’t always translate as well today.

I think that’s why I’m such a fan of the comedic superhero flick, Mystery Men, based on some of the most obscure comic book characters you can find.  It tends to be more of a reflection of the human condition in general and, in my opinion, holds up a ton better some of the others. I’ll be interested to see how the original X-Men trilogy looks in a couple decades once we’ve broken down a few more civil rights barriers.

Cliched question time: Being a dad, is it difficult to find time to write?  How do you manage to balance everything?

I don’t know that being a dad affects my ability to write any more than anything else.  I mean, my kids are both asleep by 8pm, meaning I’ve still got around four hours of awake time afterwards.  If anything, being a husband gets in the way more than being a father.  In fact, I wrote the majority of my first book immediately following the birth of my first child.  The second book came about shortly after the birth of my second.I personally find that the trouble with writing isn’t as much about finding the time to write as it is finding the will power to do so.  I spend way more time in front of a keyboard trying to find ways to procrastinate than anything else.The most important thing for me is to just set a daily writing goal.  I may not always reach it because things crop up, because those days are the exception.  Unfortunately, I do have to make that goal a much more reasonable number than I’d like to make it because life does have the tendency of getting in the way.  Right now it’s 1000 words/day.

I sometimes try to sneak in little inside jokes or references into my books which only a few people will actually catch (like the colors or mascot from my high school, or using birthdays in secret codes). Do you do this, too, and is there an in-joke or a secret you'd be willing to share with us about your books?

I find myself putting all sorts of references into my books, although not too many inside jokes that I can think of.  The one that comes to mind immediately is in THE LEGEND OF BUDDY HERO.  There’s two government agents that appear early on, whom I named Kent and Parker, referencing the two heroes whom I believe are the icons of the two largest comic book companies today.

In THE AGORA FILES, I took it a little bit further, including my home town as one of the many locations the main character visits.  I suppose the scene there could be considered somewhat of an inside joke, as it’s how I believe the city would respond to such a situation, but I don’t know that it’s all that sneaky.

I like to play with names a lot, though, but that’s mainly because I really hate coming up with them.  The main character in The Agora Files is Cyrus Rhodes…Rhodes being all too clear of a homonym to roads, the thing he runs on.

What’s the dumbest question you’ve ever been asked?  It doesn’t have to be about writing.

Perhaps the dumbest thing is how long I just spent trying to come up with a good answer to this question :).  I guess the dumbest thing I’ve ever been asked goes back a ways to when I used to work tech support.  Retail stores would call us whenever they had issues with their computer systems.  However, we also tended to be the number most likely to answer the phone, so we got calls about a whole host of other things, requiring us to know a lot about these business’s inner operations.

One time I got a call from an employee stating that their toilets had backed up and they were standing knee deep in sewage, who simply asked, “What do I do?”I gave him the only answer that seemed pertinent at the time, “Step out of the sewage.”

Living in Wisconsin, do you feel any pressure from the cheese lobby to promote dairy in any of your books?

If anything, it would be the tavern league that would do the pressuring around here, which is why the THE LEGEND OF BUDDY HERO series is rife with references to beer. Although I’m not originally from Wisconsin, I do feel that it’s my home, and I find myself wanting to include as much of my home within my writing.  So far it’s been on a rather small level (outside of my home town’s appearance in THE AGORA FILES), but I’m sure there’ll be some cheese appearing soon.

Okay, now what’s the dumbest question you’ve ever been asked?

Sorry…still the sewage one.

And the final question. This one's for one hundred points, and a chance to play for the grand prize. Remember that honesty is the best policy or whatever. On a scale of one to ten, where one is pretty awesome and ten is fully awesome, how awesome is Michael Matula?

I’m going to go with a 9.  Don’t want anyone to give up on improving themselves just because they’ve been rated at the highest awesomeness-level possible.  But seriously, with the sultry voice of a young Hunter S. Thompson, and the writer’s voice to match (you know, outside of the drug usage and whatnot), how can one not give you high marks.  Plus, if it weren’t for you and the rag tag group of independent authors you’ve managed to connect over the past few years, I can honestly admit that I’d still be working on building up the confidence to release my first novel, instead of marketing my second.

And now, please tell the folks at home about when and where they can find your books, and where you'd like them to look on the internet for your stuff.

THE LEGEND OF BUDDY HERO is available now in ebook format on and paperback is almost everywhere.

THE AGORA FILES will be in those exact same places as early as possible on Black Friday 2013, also known as 11/29/2013.

The handy-dandy author page at Amazon should help you get there:

Also, I rant and ramble on a wide variety of topics almost daily at

Thanks so very much for giving me the time and space!

You're very welcome, Adam!  And thank you very much for playing.  You were an excellent contestant.  Congrats on winning a copy of the book!


It's not every day that I see a review which compares me to Stephen King.  I have to admit, I was rendered speechless when I read this review from Top 1000 Amazon reviewer Ursula K. Raphael. 

Not only is the title of the review “Best Non-Zombie Horror of 2013”, but she goes on to give me my most flattering compliment so far.  (I'm not saying I agree with the comparison, as I'm always just happy when people don't tell me I suck, but it was lovely of her to say, nonetheless). Here's a bit of what she wrote in her review:

"Even Stephen King wasn't this good, back when Stephen King WAS good.

The storyline is original: three residents of Hell City band together to try and survive long enough to redeem their souls. The characters are well-written: they are not the typical cliches you might expect, and I loved the way that their pasts are revealed through conversations over time, rather than having everything thrown at the reader as soon as the characters are introduced. The action is quite the mix of drama, horror and suspense, making me feel as if I was fighting through The Gauntlet with them.

Matula's storytelling reminded me of all the reasons I fell in love with the horror genre in the first place." 

As I said...Wow. 

Here's the link to the full review: