My First Publishing Deal, and it's WEIRD.

I remember, I was probably eleven or twelve years old, when I got my first tape recorder. That was back in Germany sometime in the seventies. Best of Elvis was out and everyone still listened to The Beatles. You can get those recorders now for $1 on ebay. It looked very similar to this:

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From that point on, I’d sit in my room for hours at a time, recording “Hoerspiele,” stories complete with narrator, characters and special, home made sound effects. I was always Bruce Lee. He was my hero. I made up stories in my head while narrating into the tape recorder. I’d fall to the floor when Bruce was hurt, run around my room as if I was running through some dark back alley and I talked in different character voices. I don’t think I ever listened to the tapes afterwards. Unfortunately, none of those survived.

Then came a time when I read a lot of demon hunter novellas. They came out every Friday and I’d buy one and stay in bed reading on Saturday mornings.

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I think I was seventeenish when I started writing a novel. It was a spy/military novel based mostly on stories and characters in Alistair McLean and Robert Ludlum books. Then life happened and for the next twenty years I didn’t write much. When I came to the U.S. in 1997, I got my GED and went to Ulster County Community College for an associates degree. It was during an English class, after I had handed in a writing assignment, when my teacher told me that I should pursue writing. I remember that day, and the reason why I remember that day is because I realized at that moment that this was what I wanted to do. It made me feel all warm and fuzzy inside.

I can’t write in German for the life of me. Nothing comes out. I can’t describe images nor transfer emotions onto the page. But somehow, writing in English allows me to put what I feel and see right onto the page. When I went to SUNY New Paltz to continue with my Bachelor Degree studies, I took a few creative writing classes. At the same time, I had another idea for a novel. I began writing it but after a few pages I realized that I saw everything that happened in camera angles and full color as if I was sitting in a movie theater. So, I took a screen writing class and started to write screen plays. I wrote four of them. The first one came dangerously close to being optioned. In fact, the producer in Los Angeles had sent me the contracts to sign. I think I froze. Instead of going with it, I gave her several reasons why I couldn’t do it.

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I wasn’t ready, wasn’t anywhere near ready. But that time, roughly between 1999 and 2004, cemented in me the wish to write, even more. Then life happened again – divorce, move, career change, etc. I went to therapy and one part of the healing process was guided imagery journeys. Somehow, my therapist thought they’d help me and, besides the very nice English teacher back in Community College who told me to write, my therapist is fully responsible for what came next. The imagery journeys I undertook brought me to places right out of a Lord of the Rings setting. They were highly symbolic and deeply moving and meaningful to me. Also at her suggestion, I began to write down what I’d seen and encountered during those sessions. This kept me writing for a bunch of years until The Three Feathers came along and my self publishing journey began.

Of course I thought The Three Feathers would be an overnight success and I’d write full time from now on and get a pool, an Audi, and whatever else the imagination can think up. And, also of course, it didn’t happen. But, again, I realized that I just wanted to write and whatever happened with the books became secondary. I met Hugh Howey in New York City in 2012. As fate happened, Hugh was in the city to talk to his publisher about Wool. I had no clue who he was but Amy, my fiancee, had found him on the internet one Monday night. She said, “Hey there’s this guy who self publishes and he’s got a meet up in the city TOMORROW!”

I went and we met and had a nice night out with about a dozen fans and readers of his books. Those meet-ups were small back then. Nowadays, there would probably be a town hall to hold the people who want to meet him.

HughHowey

Hugh has helped so many of us independent authors to find our footings, to keep it real, and to keep going. Thank you, Hugh!!

Then I wrote a bunch of other books and while I wrote those, something else happened. But let me back track for one moment: While I wrote The Three Feathers, I had been thinking about the German saying, “Der Weg ist das Ziel,” which means that the goal of the journey is the journey itself and not so much reaching the destination. I knew there was some thruth in it but I also knew that something was missing. My dear friends and characters in The Three Feathers, Joshua, Krieg, and Grey, through their love and unwavering loyalty to each other, taught me that neither the journey nor the destination are the important but rather the companions we pick up along the way.

Hang tight. There is a point in all this :-).

So, anyway, I wrote a bunch of books and, on the way, began to meet other authors, fellow indies who were on the same journey I was on. They struggled, they tried all kinds of different things, they were desperate, hopeful, enthusistic and ALWAYS ready to help whenever it was needed. Out of that crowd of very talented writers and extremely nice human beings, I became good friends with Hank Garner who had just started his Author Stories Pod Cast series – a podcast in which he interviews fellow indie authors about what made them want to become writers and such. We connected on Facebook and realized that we had a lot in common.

I went on his show and we had a blast during the interview. A few months later, Hank did an author round table and, to my surprise, he invited me back. There was Nick Cole, Jennifer Ellis, Michael Bunker, Chris Pourteau, Hank and myself. We had a nice two hour chat with lots of laughs and good stories to share and in the midst of it, someone suggested that I’d write a story for Apocalypse Weird, the new thing Michael and Nick had come up with. After the podcast was taped, I completely forgot that part of it. I guess I thought they were kind of joking when they said it.

A few days later, Hank messaged me. “Hey, so you’re writing for Apocalypse Weird? Are you gonna do it?” “What?” I had no recollection of it being mentioned. He told me that I should contact Nick and pitch him an idea, like, now. So I did. THANKS HANK!! I came up with this idea that would take place in Long Island, Amy’s home town and I pitched Nick the idea. It got accepted and, at the twelvth hour, I was suddenly part of the sixteen authors who’d write the initial sandbox for Apocalypse Weird.

CRAZY!!!

I just signed the contract for one book a few days ago. If all goes well, I’m hoping to write a few more in that world. Working with everyone there, the authors, the creative team, the guys who came up with the idea, is like a dream come true in many ways already.  See, we joke a lot. We utterly and completely encourage each other’s writing. We want to make each other better writers, more successful writers. I think we all feel that we’re part of something that is slightly larger than ourselves. We can’t quite figure out how we got here but all of us have this sense that we might stand at the beginning of something big.

To get the oportunity to be a part of this group, this endeavor, is much more than a mere publishing deal. And you might have heard from authors who have been picked up by main stream publishers and said that their experience was not a good one. At Wonderment Media, the umbrella company for Apocalypse Weird, there is this almost Musketeerish sense of all for one and one for all prevalent in communications and interactions. Whatever may come of this for me personally, having had the oportunity, the honor, to work with them, has already paid off.

I hope, one day we’ll all meet for a weekend in Vegas!

🙂

Cheers,

Stefan

Check out Hank Garner’s Author Story Podcast from the 20th of February. Nick Cole, Michael Bunker and Rob McClellan talk about Apocalypse Weird, how it happened, what it is and why it’s such an amazing thing to be part of.

http://hankgarner.com/episode-thirty-apocalypse-weird-launch-special/

 

3 . 2 . 1 . LAUNCH!!!

In an unprecedented publishing event, on February 23rd, 2015, five (5!) new Apocalypse Weird novels will be launched simultaneously.

They include:

Texocalypse Now by Michael Bunker and Nick Cole

Texocalypse

 

The Dark Knight by Nick Cole

TheDarkKnight_FT_FINAL

 

Reversal by Jennifer Ellis

Reversal

 

The Serenity Strain by Chris Pourteau

Serenity

 

 

Immunity by E.E. Giorgi.

(cover to follow)

 

Advance Reader Copies (ARCs) of Reversal, The Dark Knight, The Serenity Strain, and Immunity will be coming available starting in early February and leading up to the launch. ARC readers and reviewers will be eligible for some great prizes before and at the Facebook Launch Party on February 23rd from 2:00 to 8:00 Pacific Time.

 Prizes for ARC readers and reviewers will include:

  • Five signed paperback copies of Nick Cole’s Soda Pop Soldier for the review voted most helpful on Amazon by midnight on February 23. There will be one prize per launch book.
  • Three paperback copies of Texocalypse Now signed by Nick Cole and Michael Bunker. To be eligible, ARC readers must post their favorite excerpt from one of the launch novels on Facebook and/or Twitter and tag the author in the week leading up to the Launch Party.
  • A signed copy of pirated print copy of Osage Two Diamonds, by Michael Bunker, which officially does not exist in print. This prize will go to the best review of one of the launch novels on Amazon as voted by the launch authors by 6:00 PT the day of the launch.

 

The *grand prize* is a tier two contract for the Apocalypse Weird world of novels.

This prize will go to the best pitch for a novel set in the Apocalypse Weird world, as chosen by five launch authors at 4:00 PT on February 23rd. Purchasing and reading at least one of the launch books and demonstrating your author platform through sharing of information regarding the Apocalypse Weird launch books will be an essential part of developing a pitch.

Interested ARC prizewinners will also be put in a draw to receive book trailers developed by Apocalypse Weird authors Hank Garner and Kim Wells, as well as a podcast slot with Hank Garner on his popular Author Stories podcast series.

Readers will be notified of ARC availability via the Apocalypse Weird mailing list. Make sure you are signed up and don’t miss a single ARC.

 

www.apocalypseweird.com <http://www.apocalypseweird.com>

You can also sign up to receive updates by each of the individual launch authors on their websites:

http://www.nickcolebooks.com/

http://www.michaelbunker.com/

http://www.jenniferellis.ca>

http://chrispourteau.thirdscribe.com/

http://chimerasthebooks.blogspot.ca/

Don’t forget to join the Facebook Party hosted by the launch authors and many of the other Apocalypse Weird authors. There will be some great giveaways and lots of apocalyptic fun to be had.

The link for the Facebook Party is:

https://www.facebook.com/events/399694080198751/

Get the Books!

[books_custom amount=”6″ size=”150″ type=”newest” custom_sort=”publisher” custom_sort_value=”Wonderment Media Incorporated”]
 

Apocalypse Weird – A Revolution in Publishing

 

You may have heard and seen me talk about it here and there – this strange new thing I’m involved in. Apocalypse Weird is its name. It doesn’t sound like much at first glance. Just another thing. I’d like to take a moment and tell you why I think Apocalypse Weird will revolutionize the publishing industry. Never in the history of main stream and indie publishing have you had a group of authors band together to create something that is larger than themselves – a world so vast and exciting, so unique and filled with stories of loss and survival, of life and death, of the brotherhood of human kind and of the apocalypse that might destroy it all.

Think for a moment about all the stories you have read as a child – the heroes and villains you’ve encountered; the worlds you have travelled; the dangers you had to walk through in order to reach the other side. Now think if this world would be dreamed up, made vast and dangerous, epic, and filled with those heroes and villains and stories, but imagine it not being done by one single author but by twenty – twenty of the most visionary indie and main stream writers out there.

As an example, let’s say you’re on your third Apocalypse Weird book and you suddenly realize that there is a connection between that story and a previous one. It’s subtle and you have to think about it a bit but after a while you figure it out and you get it, get that one of the characters in one story is there because of his or her involvment in another.

If you’ve ever watched the TV show LOST, you know it was filled to the rim with those interconnected stories. You’d see Hurley, after winning the Lottery, sitting at home at his mom’s house, trying to figure out why everyone in his life now has bad luck. “It’s the numbers! You have to get away from the numbers!” Loenard Sims screamed at him when Hurley visited his old friend in the mental institution. The lottery numbers of one episode connect to several other stories and story lines throughout the show.

The same thing, but much more interactive, is going to happen with Apocalypse Weird. Because it’s all on e-readers and kindles, and there are links hidden in the text, the readers can access secret sites, gather information about characters, connections, and such.

Twenty authors, together with a team of marketers, an incredible cover artitst, editor, formatter, all work together to create something that has never been done before. Ever.

4 of 5 covers

 

On February 23rd, five books will be published. You can see the covers of four of them above. Those five books will hit Amazon and all the other major outlets at once that day.

Here’s where you come in: We can’t do this alone. We need your help. Besides getting the books and writing reviews on Amazon, if you know someone at the New York Times, USA today, NBC, ABC, a radio host, TV host, or someone in the industry who knows someone who wants to interview one of us or write a blog post about us or invite us on his or her show, anyone, let me know. We’ve got three weeks and the launch will be epic. As epic as the stories. And you can help pull it off.

Never in the history of publishing had the reader such influence on the success of a project than with this one. You can be there with us. If you know of anyone who could help us, please send me an email. Here is my email address:

stefanbolzauthor@gmail.com

Thanks so much!

Stefan

 

Herr Franz interviews Dr. Midnite

I agreed to let a friend of mine, Herr Franz, do a guest interview on my blog. I hope you enjoy it.

Hotel

Gentle reader. My name is not important. This interview is. I met Dr. Midnite in his… house. You could call it that, yes, even though there are several basic structural elements missing.  Dr. Midnite was kind enough to take an hour out of his busy life and sit down. Face to face, so to speak. I have done many interviews in my life. This one was weird, yes, very much so. But it was also beautiful at the same time; like dying leafs on trees in the fall. I have been thinking about his words since that evening, thinking hard about my own life and what I could possibly have done differently. But I digress.

Herr Franz: Doctor Midnite, thank you for agreeing to this interview.

Dr. Midnite: Start off like you’re talking to me as a real person and not something as an object.  And let’s talk like two people having a real conversation here, don’t just start with this sort of faux politeness that so-called polite criminal petty society tell us that we are supposed to have. Introduce yourself. Start over. Let’s walk this back. Let’s start over. You ask first how I’m doing, and introduce yourself.

That’s not my dog by the way. Is that your dog? It’s an odd that a dog is here.

Herr Franz: That was my dog. He must have smelled something. Guess we got off on the wrong foot. How should I address you? You can call me Herr Franz.

Dr. Midnite: You have a dog here? What kind of three ring circus run by drunken apes do you think this is, my cultured friend? Look let’s start over, let’s sit on the ground like two equals around a campfire and you can call me Mister.

Franz? What kind of name is that? Portuguese? You don’t look Portuguese. I’m not prejudiced. Franz. You ever been in a knife fight in the desert with only the moon as your guide?

Herr Franz: It’s Bavarian. Franz is Bavarian. I might be a little drunk but that’s neither here nor there, Doctor Midnite. Sorry. Mister Midnite. Mister. That’s a definite no to the knife fight. I cut myself once while cutting bread at my grandmother’s apartment in ’74. I wouldn’t call that a ‘fight’ even though I lost for sure. But let me say this: I’ve been a huge fan of your work. Your blogs are enigmatic. Would you care to comment on how you got into that line of… work?

Dr. Midnite: Bavarian? My grandmother was Bavarian. 5th Women’s SS. She died during the war after she got shot robbing a Rettungswagen for morphine during an air raid. Well, then, comrade I guess we can keep up this with you still being a knife fight virgin which is a sad commentary on the times we live in. Did you know for example, that Walt Disney was involved in several knife fights during the premiere of “Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs?” And that back then, it was the only way to settle issues of copyright infringement amongst the creative?

Anyway, we’re getting off on a tangent, which Franz, I have to admit, is your fault. My blogs are my way of really taking back the long black veil that hides most of the world away from the uninitiated. Such as yourself. I got into that work because I was never retired via force after working at the Reagan White House during the 1980s when I never knew Colonel North. You understand? I never worked there. So then I decided after my fifth gin and tonic of the evening after the 1992 election screw job that the hell with it, I’m gonna show the world what they don’t want to be shown. You understand? You feel me, Franz? You got an idea of the responsibility I have to the free world that isn’t locked behind a Communist electric fence?

Herr Franz: Uhm…

Dr. Midnite: Well do you? Have you ever been in a forward position?

Herr Franz: I’ve been in a forward position during most of our school soccer games. Is that what you mean? I have a burning question: What is your relationship with math? Any comment you could make on the subject would be greatly appreciated. There’s a follow up ques—

Dr. Midnite: SOCCER? You’re comparing soccer- what are comparing? What is this? Why are you wearing kabuki makeup and giving off a red aura? Do you know what it’s like when crocodiles mate! It’s reptiles screwing! Think of a universe that we live in when there’s scotch for everyone and there’s not a single glass to share!

My relationship with math is the relationship of a master with a craft little known to your average Westerner. Math is a rational thing inside a universe that is crumbling on the edges from irrationality. The machine is stopped. You get it, Pachinko? The machine is stopped and the math is something that allows us to know every shape and size of its gears, its wheels and its crankshafts. So we can restart up the machine and get the smokestacks smoking.

You want to smoke something, my Mormon friend?

Herr Franz: I’m wearing kabuki make-up because I… I didn’t want to be recognized. The red aura is probably that large sign outside your window that says HOTEL.

Dr. Midnite: That red sign is a symbol of our times. Ho-Tel. Get it? You get it, you’re European. Ho-Tel. Got it. Good. And the Kabuki makeup, I dig it. They can’t see you with it on. You wanna do a line?

Herr Franz: A line? Like from a musical?

Dr. Midnite: You do this, you’ll be meeting the Wizard of Oz. Put it that way. Come on Kabuki Kim let’s get this rolling. What were you yammering about? Math?

Herr Franz: Yes.

Dr. Midnite: You wanna learn about Math? You wanna learn?

Herr Franz: Yes—

Dr. Midnite: Come on!

Herr Franz: As you wish. Let’s start with what your readers already know about you. Maybe you can fill in the gaps, gasps, gapes, or gulps. You like the second amendment. You like The Cult, Dunhills, Steve McQueen, sarcasm, the DARKNET, someone called The Black Knight, kitties, math (sorry I seem to come back to that), and putting words in bold. What am I missing? Who is really outside the Velvet Suite, outside of it all?

Dr. Midnite: You understand what violence is? Do you know what it means? You want gaps, gasps, gapes and gulps and giraffes running through the gorgeous ruin of your mind? I’ll give you violence. Violence against the reality of your mind as your brain is pushed down the stairs and into a dark basement where it finally pulls the string to light up the place that you never had the balls to see in the first place before your gorgeous accident!

You ever been through a revolutionary situation, my foreign friend? The Cult you talk about, the Dunhills, Steve McQueen, DARKNET, all that- it means something, okay? Its means a universe of revolution is coming through. Black Knight is the thing that watches all of us from the sky- its a satellite beaming down images and commands from the great other. Go look it up. Black Knight Satellite.  It’s the harbinger of it all.

You’re all outside the Blue Velvet Suite because you haven’t spent any time behind the computer  and talking to the field mice and listening to the waves crashing against our shore. If you did, you know what all you just mentioned means. I put words in bold because I don’t need to talk about it. You need to look it up. Go take a moment. Get into the surf and see what’s in that bold blue sea.

And what you’re gonna find is the irrational- and the sea monsters, slurping and lurking in the waves. And they’re all ready to hit the beach everywhere.

Herr Franz: Let me make sure I understand you correctly. After reading through your posts and following you in the interwebs, and reading your posts again and yet once more, I can only come to one conclusion. It is a horrifying thought and I never admitted having it until today.  You talk about a lot of things and they don’t seem to make sense at first but when one reads them again and again, it kind of all does make sense suddenly. Dr. Midnite, are we doomed? Are we at the brink of something you are trying to tell us in so many words? Are we? And are you — against all better judgment on my part — the true and only voice of reason?

Dr. Midnite: There was once a shaman named Tsavo, who used to be able to change into an electric snake and sail the thermals of the sky. I met him in Houston. And he opened my eyes to things that my not-experience in the world of the shadows and the Not CIA had never shown me- and I’d seen some things boy, that would make your pretty and very luxuriant hair turn a terrible lightning white.  And he told me, with the coming of the irrationality and the weird, that what makes sense is senseless and what makes no sense is the truth. And I’m speaking the truth, brother. Along with nonsense. You dig?

Oh, and yeah. We’re doomed. It’ll be weird. You probably won’t be okay. I’ll be fine. But remember, you can get through it. If you keep it weird. That’s how you can keep up being a voice of reason and of the true.

Herr Franz: I appreciate the compliment about my hair. It probably comes from my mother’s side as she has very thick, wavy hair. Forgive me, I haven’t commented on the decor in your… house. Very manly and at the same time somewhat retro, in a Victorian kind of way. Except for the empty gin bottles and the gun shells. But let’s get back to the topic. As you are somewhat of an expert in this field, could you tell our readers anything else, maybe as a precaution, should we get generators? Should we stack up on holy water and canned tomatoes? Any last words from you, Dr. Midnite, sir?

Dr. Midnite: Ain’t no precaution when the whirlwind is coming, friendo.  And don’t stock up- just makes you a target for the looters. Unless you got the muscle and the magic to back up your fortress.

One last word- words, whatever. It’s gonna be midnight everywhere soon. Better listen to the good Doctor.

Herr Franz: It was a pleasure talking to you. I would also like to extend… Dr. Midnight? Hello? Where… are you? Doctor?

I can’t find the Doctor. He’s GONE! All I have is two links, written on a handkerchief with his initials, DM, embroidered in a corner: www.apocalypseweird.com and www.doctormidnite.com. If you see a RED button on one of those sites, do NOT push it. You have been warned.

Herr Franz.

Life imitates art. The Fourth Sage.

I’m posting this just for fun. Stumbled upon it on Facebook. A hawk attacks a drone in a park. How cool is that!

 

Here is the section in the book that goes with it.

She hears the humming behind her and runs alongside the transformer to an intersection. Right or left? She goes to the right because it seems logical. After about twenty feet she’s in a dead end. She turns around and begins to run in the other direction. The drone hovers into the narrow passageway in front of her. It’s now about fifteen feet away, approximately eight feet above the walkway. Aries has nowhere to go.

This can’t be it, she thinks, as she watches the drone move closer. For a second, she sees the bright image of a corridor in her mind—a space between two transformers. She raises her hands over her head, kneels down. Another image flashes in front of her. It shows herself kneeling about twenty feet below and the drone hovering above.

When Aries looks up she sees something behind the drone, moving closer fast. The hawk’s cry echoes through the space. The drone registers it and turns, pointing its sensors toward it. At that moment, the hawk lands on top of it, claws outstretched, beak ready to strike.

Go! is all Aries hears. From her kneeling position she rolls forward, jumps up, and disappears into the passageway she came from. From there, she turns toward the stairwell and slides down. Three seconds. She races through the labyrinth of hallways. Where are you? she asks in her thoughts, while sliding down the next staircase…

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