Tuesday, October 31, 2017

wrapping my head around alien characters

A lot of times, when I come up with an idea for an alien/mutant/otherwise weird-looking character, I draw them first.  The purpose of the drawing is not to use it in the book, as I don't draw that well and my art is far from professional.  The purpose is to make it easier for me to picture the character when I am writing.  Hopefully, the character will look/feel realistic to the reader when he/she is reading the novel, but the crude drawing helps me wrap my head around what they look like.

So, for this post, I would like to share some of my favorite crude drawings of characters that ended up in my books in some form or another.

Enjoy.  And check out Turtle Rocket Books

The best review I ever got.

Of course, reviews are very important to an indie author who sells their work online.
I have gotten a few.  Mostly positive.  This is my favorite.  What makes it even more special is that it is a review for my favorite one of my books The Inter-Terrestrial.  It can be found beneath my book's listing on Amazon.  Click here to see.

The Inter-Terrestrial is a science fiction novel, but within this book are current themes regarding discrimination and prejudice.  Chad Descouteaux writes smoothly and his writing reads as that of an author who has worked on his novel and concepts for quite a long time.
I found it very interesting how in this book humans were deemed as inferior, which was rather brilliant.  So many times humans see themselves as the upper class in terms of other species and beings,but by putting them at the bottom of the galactic food chain, Descoteaux opened up a new dialogue for readers to discuss our place in the galaxy.  He also presented prejudice in a new way that allows science fiction fans to understand the concept in the format of a genre they admire.  I thought that Descoteaux’s writing was knowledgeable and original and I thoroughly enjoyed his work.  His novel is not only appropriate for science fiction fans, but for anyone who enjoys books that discuss prejudice and the crisis that is currently a major issue within our society.  I love seeing so many novels examine this conflict and Descouteaux has written a novel that I feel is original and stands out in his chosen genre.  I urge anyone who likes science fiction to read this novel as it is easy to understand and enjoy, and I have to say that it is one of the better novels that I have reviewed recently.
I hope that Descoteaux continues to write, because I would love to read more of his work and more about his stance on different topics.

Sunday, October 29, 2017

the book that made me want to write stuff

SPOILERS for the 'My Teacher is an Alien' series ahead.

Probably the first book that intrigued me enough to say "I wanna do that" was 'My Teacher is an Alien' by Bruce Coville.  I must have been in elementary school at the time.  The first book in what became a four-book series was about a girl who stuck up for the nerdy kid and later needed his help to get to the bottom of an alien invasion plot.  I knew a girl like Susan who would stick up for kids getting picked on.  And, yes, I related to shy Peter.  But it was the first time that I had seen that sort of a marriage between weird sci-fi elements and relatable characters.  The kids in that book were a little older than me at the time, but I still related to strict teachers, tests and the seating arrangements in the cafeteria in the middle of a larger sci-fi plot.

I remember how psyched I was when I was walking through Walden Books at the Lincoln Mall in Rhode Island and I realized that there was a sequel, 'My Teacher Fried My Brains' centered around Duncan, the bully kid from the first book.  I remember laughing a lot more with that book, as Duncan would always argue with his brother and they would hit each other.  I never had a sibling, but I had friends that I would roughhouse with, so that was age appropriate for me at the time.  But the thing that intrigued me about the first book, the weird alien stuff...there was a lot more of it in the second.  And the third.  And the fourth.  Especially in the third and fourth, where most of it took place out in space and we met more aliens.  That combination of relatable characters that grounds the weird stuff stuck with me and found its way into my writing when I would actually start writing, taking it seriously years later.

And then, the Ninja Turtles became popular.  Relatable teenage characters who, like me, love pizza.  But they're giant turtles who know kung fu.  And their dad's a giant rat.  It was a perfect storm of the things that inspired me about Bruce Coville's books.  I don't know if 'My Teacher is an Alien' is still in print, but you can check out a book that was largely inspired by Bruce Covillle's work (and for a slightly older audience) here.

Saturday, October 28, 2017

new directions and an office tour

For the past few years, I have written this blog (on and off) to satisfy an aspect of writing that I get really passionate about for a little while...and then it dies down when I feel I have something original to say.  Movie reviews.  As much as I love yapping about movies and watching Jeremy Jahns and Black Nerd on YouTube, whenever I get the writing bug and an original idea, I don't care anymore about writing about other people's art, because I want to create my own.  I briefly wrote for Monkeys Fighting Robots, a great website if you like geek culture, but that died down when I wanted to focus more on science fiction book writing.

So, I decided recently that I want this blog to be more about writing.  What inspires me, that kind of thing.  Yes, I am going to throw in my two cents when something big happens with Marvel, DC, Star Wars or if Michael Bay screws up the childhood of people younger than me by making a Dora the Explorer movie...but I have quite a few ideas where I can just write about writing.

And, for my first post, I wanted to show you my workspace, my office where I write books for Turtle Rocket Books.  Thanks for reading and check out www.turtlerocketbooks.com