The Recluse Storyteller Cover Art!

The Recluse Storyteller Cover Art!

I’m happy to reveal the cover art to my second novel, The Recluse Storyteller, set to release on October 8. I’m indebted to artist Joyce Lee for her creation. The front cover image becomes a pertinent one as part of one of the stories that the storyteller continually weaves. I’m so excited to finally get this released. I’ll be posting the synopsis and prologue in the coming weeks. Thanks for your support!recluse storyteller cover med

Done! Proofreaders, get ready.

This afternoon, basked by the warm shade of the palm trees, I finished editing and formatting The Recluse Storyteller – my soon-to-be released second novel.

The release date, barring any unforeseen circumstance, is October 8 – my birthday. What an awesome present I’m giving myself.

I’m really excited about this novel. Very different. Yes, funny, strange, emotional, and unexpected. Leading up to the release, I’ll be highlighting each of the stories that the recluse storyteller tells.

But for now, I want to warn my proofreaders. You know who you are. The draft is coming to you soon, so get your eyes sharpened, and be that nit-picky, 12th grade grammar teacher we all hated.

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Goodreads Giveaway Exclusively for Vietnam!

All right! I’m excited to have my first Goodreads Beauty Rising give-away exclusively for people living in Vietnam.

I guess it makes sense. The novel is completely wrapped in everything Vietnam from location to food to culture to life to language to etc …

So if you live in Vietnam or know someone who does, please have them check out the giveaway!  Only a week left.  Go Vietnam! I hope you like my novel.

Enter the Beauty Rising Goodreads Vietnam Giveaway!

Couldn’t make it through the first chapter: The importance of advanced readers

After I finished writing The Recluse Storyteller in the summer of 2012I passed it on to my first faithful advanced reader. I was confident and excited. I liked how the story came together, but I was, of course, a little nervous. You know how it is when you finally expose one of your creations to the outside world. You never know how something is going to come across to the readers until the readers actually read it.

So I waited.

But not long.

First feedback. “I’m sorry, but I couldn’t make it out of the first chapter. What’s going on here? I’m confused.”

Massive fail.

But not really. The reader did exactly what I wanted her to do. Gave me real feedback. I listened to the problems that she was having with it, and suddenly, I said to myself “Of, course, this is confusing for anyone who doesn’t live in my mind.”

So I went back to work. I completely revamped the formatting, and, I thought, perhaps, an added prologue which helps explain a few things would naturally lead the reader into the story. Because The Recluse Storyteller is uniquely told. Many different stories on top of each other which all weave together in, I believe, interesting and engaging ways. But if the stories are formatted and laid out in a confusing manner, then who cares? Nobody is going to read it.

So after I made the changes, I sent it back to the reader. She read it again. This time not only the first chapter but also the entire book – and she loved it.

Use those advance readers. Completely invaluable.  When the recluse comes up in a little more than two months, I have several readers to thank for helping me to think it through and bring to the world the final copy.

I’m excited. It’s coming soon!

 

Script chosen for Short & Sweet Theatre KL – “Almighty Might”

I’m thrilled to announce that my dramatic sketch “Almighty Might” has been selected for inclusion in this year’s Short & Sweet Theatre Festival KL. I’m super excited about it. I wrote “Almighty Might” a couple of years ago for my drama group The RLT Players, which I formed after being inspired by a Malaysian drama group: The Footstool Players, who perform short sketches and pieces of dramatic storytelling that are fun and uplifting.

Well, I was even more thrilled when I heard that Colin Kirton, founder and artistic director of the Footstool Players is directing my sketch for Short & Sweet. I’m so excited. Kirton is a well-known, Malaysian actor who I’ve seen in a variety of performances, including the recent re-staging of Broken Bridges at PenangPAC.  Here’s his Wikipedia page which gives his bio: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Colin_Kirton

This is the first of my dramatic pieces to have an industry professional at the helm.

I must book my tickets to KL so I can see the performances.

Very excited!

Working on the Recluse

I wrote The Recluse Storyteller using WORD (Boo! Don’t worry. Never again. It was before I knew about Scrivener) in the summer of 2012.

Now, I’m tasked with copying it over and formatting it Scrivener, so I can create the final Kindle version for release in early October.

Formatting Scrivener is not the easiest thing in the world. I’m still learning the ropes, but even as I only have the first five chapters moved over, I already love it so much better. What can beat Scrivener for organization? Truly wonderful.

So now I’m doing a thorough edit and formatting which will continue over the next few weeks until its finally ready for my proof-reader. I definitely had some missteps when I released Beauty Rising, and I’m working hard not to repeat them. We must learn from our mistakes, right?

But, eventually, I’ll shift it back over to WORD to do the final layout for the paperback version that I’m planning as well.

Lot’s of work ahead of me to meet the October deadline, but I’m going to do it. I’m so excited about getting this story out. It’s so different, and I think, engaging. I hope my readers will be able to connect with it immediately.

In August, I’ll be releasing the novel’s Prologue, and I’ll be doing a full-cover reveal.  Can’t wait.

The joy of indie-authoring!

My Musical “Captured in Time & Space” Heading to Short & Sweet KL 2013

As I mentioned in my last post, I’m very excited that the 10-minute musical I wrote with my musician collaborator, Shion Beak, was selected to be produced and performed for Short & Sweet Musical KL on September 25-28.  Here’s how it happened:

March: I wrote the lyrics of Captured in Time & Space, set to some simple melodies, and made a very rough vocal recording of it.

April: I recruited Shion Beak, because she’s actually a musician unlike me, to listen to my painful recordings and see if she could transcribe the melody.

May: She came back to me with the basic melodies recorded from a keyboard. We met several times to where I drove her crazy as we perfected the melodies of the 4 basic songs which make up the musical.

June: Shion did her magic in Garage Band, adding lush instrumental harmonies to the music, creatively taking my ideas and making them so much better. We met several times, again, to work on the final performance track.  So we ended up with three distinct recordings for our 9:30 musical.

A performance track with the melody still in it. (to help the singers learn the songs)

A performance track without the melodies (to be used during the actual performances)

A performance track with demonstration vocals (sung by my daughter and myself)

We sent all of this, plus our registration form, to the director of KL Short & Sweet Musical for evaluation.

They liked it! So what does that mean?

A musical director will be chosen. He/she will audition a group of singers/dancers, and then, following the musical’s libretto, they will choreograph and stage our musical.

It will be performed for four nights in a row, in conjunction with 9 other short musicals. On Saturday September 28, awards will be given for the best musical, director, composer, etc…

So I am very privileged to get to attend and watch my musical come to life. It will be thrilling to see how they interpret it.

I will personally be up for two possible awards:

Co-Composer (with Shion Beak) and Lyricist.  Awards or not, it is the first time someone else has staged one of my musicals.

It’s going to be very exciting.

I write musicals – yeah, right

I’m not a musician. I have very limited range on a guitar  – my only instrument –  but I’ve always loved creating songs. I remember back in high school when I mowed grass a lot, I would just create all kinds of tunes and songs in my head. Sometimes I’d remember them and write them down. Usually, they rattled in my brain until the mower stopped its rattling and then they’d be gone.

When I started writing plays a few years back, I wrote some songs for some of them and then turned them over to the real musicians to bring them to fruition.  A favorite of mine was the musical called “A Tad of Trouble” which really has some catchy tunes in it.

Two years ago, I co-founded a drama group called the RLT Players (Road Less Traveled).  We do skits and short plays of a variety of genres – all original – and each year I like to write a musical (10 minutes or less) to the mix just because musicals are fun. And yes, I am a man. But musicals are still awesome.

Anyways, two years ago I wrote “Walk” – a short musical about the different types of walks that people have in their lives. I prerecorded the melodies and then tapped someone who actually had musical talent to come alongside and record a track on Garage Band so our troupe could perform it.  It went over well, so I decided to try again last year.

I wrote Disconnect: The Musical about our crazy on-line connected world. It was a lot of fun, and one of our RLT Players – Shion Beak – who can play every instrument and who is amazing at Garage Band too – came up with some awesome acompainment tracks so that we could stage it.  It was a hit when it was performed last November at PenangPAC during our 4 performances.

SWe finished it in June. Submitted it before July 1, and today I received this email:

Dear S+S Musical Composer & Lyricist,

Congratulations!   Thanks for registering S+S Musical 2013. I am here to inform that your musical “Captured in Time and Space” has been selected for S+S Musical 2013.

Very cool!  So I’ll be flying to KL in September to watch our musical come to life.

Later this week, I’ll give a fuller explanation as to what “Captured in Time & Space” is all about.

But for now, I must admit, I actually do write musicals.