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Monday, 5 August 2013

Guest Post with Eric Muss-Barnes, author of the Gothic Ranbow

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At the Other End:
The epic 190,000-word story is set in a dark, faeriepunk version of the modern-day underground nightclub scene. With a bit of surreal embellishment to enrich the tale, this novel was inspired by the parties, the places, the people and the atmosphere encompassing the authors exposure to several years of the gothic/industrial counterculture.

Written in first-person, the tale is focused upon dreary chasms of the human condition and tells the journey of a young male vampire and his relationship with a teenage mortal girl, Helle. Thinking he is only a spirit that communicates with her in dreams and rituals, Helle slowly comes to discover that he is very real and will change everything in her life forever.







Buy Me!





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Author Bio...
Eric Muss-Barnes is more than a storyteller; he grew up 2500 miles outside of Los Angeles; has spent years working at Walt Disney Studios; piloted hang gliders over 6000 feet above the Earth; dated fashion models, rockstar goddesses and glamazon actresses; been thrown and dragged by horses (arguably similar to his dating experiences); earned a living as an American Greetings toymaker and a Hollywood game designer; ridden motorcycles through mountains and desert sandstorms (make that "over" mountians, he's not Buckaroo Banzai); produced, directed and edited music videos and an award-nominated film; briefly wed a tattooed MENSA astrophysicist chick; crewed on an Academy Award nominated movie; skateboarded in pools all around California with XGames medalists; written an epic series of vampire novelsphotographed numerous Playboy models and sold his images in art galleries; been published in multiple fiction/non-fictionanthologies; served 12 years hard time in parochial schools; and created and programmed his blog.

Handy Hinty Links:
Goodreads:                  Vampire Noctuaries                   Eric Muss-Barnes
                      Website                                            Twitter


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Sorry for Sequel Writing

Let's go! 
People always say that my series's long. 
Sorry for sequel writing! 
Readers complain saying turn it down. 
Sorry for sequel writing! 
Haters don't like, got one more to write. 
Sorry for sequel writing! 

Authors are going to hate me for saying this, and readers are going to love me.

Ready? Here goes...

 Most book series are nothing more than a crappy ploy to milk as much money out of fans as possible.

Right?

Who are we kidding, folks? We all know the score. How many authors break that 100,000 word novel down into 3 novellas, give it humongous margins and a massive font to boost the page count, and sell it as a trilogy?

I first became aware of this practice when I read a forgotten fantasy tetralogy, when I was about 15 years old. I may not recall the name of the series or anything at all about the storylines and characters, but I do recall the third book as being nothing but filler. The third book was a complete tangent, a sidetrack where characters had to find a magical herb in an alternate world to save a dying princess who was poisoned the main storyline. She gets saved, of course, then the series picks right back up in book four, with everything being back to the way things were at the end of book two. In other words, the third book served no purpose other than to create an entirely new plot for the course of a single story, then reconnect with the original tale afterwards.

Lame.

I wasn't stupid. Even at the age of 15, this was an easy scam to recognize, and I was livid. How dare an author and publisher do that? Just arbitrarily add some extraneous fluff?

So lame. I vowed then and there, I would never be such an author. I'd never change an entire plotline, just to puff up my series with an extra book.

Then my first novel, The Gothic Rainbow, became a series.

Oops.

How did that happen!?

The story goes like this - I outlined the entire story of The Gothic Rainbow and started writing it. The novel took a total of 3 years to finish. When I had hit a good 300 pages or so, and had been writing it for over a year, I was mortified to see I still had a heck of a lot more work to do. This was already taking me far too long! I didn't want my first novel to take 5 years to write and become a 900 page epic! So, I decided to break it up into two books. I picked a point somewhere around two-thirds of the way into the tale, where it could feel like a good "stopping point", and I just ended the story, knowing full-well I'd have another 300 pages to write eventually.

That is how The Gothic Rainbow became The Gothic Rainbow: Beginning Volume of the Vampire Noctuaries and it explains why Annwn's Maelstrom Festival: Concluding Volume of the Vampire Noctuaries was born.

In this case, I wasn't doing it to make more money. The story was genuinely too freakin' long and I simply didn't know that when I started writing it. Since it was my first novel, I wasn't aware of how huge it was going to become. I had no prior experience by which to look at my outline and accurately gauge what writing it would entail. It's like you've never built a house, so you look at the blueprints and say, "Well, I think I can do this is a year." Then a year later, all you've done is dig a basement and you have to rescind your prediction, "Okay. This might take longer than I thought."

So, yes, I have written a series. Accidentally.

But, I still think most series are evil and written purely for greed.

Heck, even Tolkien wanted The Lord Of The Rings to be a single book. His publisher insisted it be a trilogy. Of course, times were different then. Today, with ebooks and on-demand printing, a longer single volume is not as cost prohibitive as it was in the 1950's, when everything could only be done in massive print runs.

J.K. Rowling, on the other hand, did a wonderful job with Harry Potter. That is a legitimate series. The characters develop. The plot thickens. The story evolves. Nothing is thrown in just to make the story last a bit longer. And, truth be told, if Miss Rowling did pad the Harry Potter story, she did it so artfully and craftily that I can't tell where she worked her magic. Every part of that story feels necessary.

Look at Star Wars too. Not a series of books, but still a valid trilogy of stories. All three of those movies (yes, I maintain as of 2013 that the only valid Star Wars films came out between 1977 and 1983) are self-contained, yet contribute to an encompassing arc of the tale. Wonderful.

Series aren't always bad.

There're just usually bad.

This isn't to say I'd never write a series or a trilogy. Sure, I might. However, if I ever decide to do so, it will be because the story contains an arc and a flow that merits individual books. I couldn't bring myself to take a book that is clearly a standalone novel and arbitrarily divide it into multiple parts with some filler and padding added to it.

Authors of those type of books (you know who you are) may hate me for calling them out on being greedy inconsiderate scumbags, but readers will appreciate the fact that there is still a writer out here who won't try to swindle you in such a way.

~ Eric






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