Welcome Message

Welcome to the blog and site of Iowa Author Buzz Malone. I always enjoy hearing from readers. Please leave comments and send me emails to let me know what you think. Your opinions matter more than you might think. Your words inspire me more than you could ever know. To find out more about my writing and books, please click above on the book titles or email me at buzzdmalone@gmail.com

If you are looking for my Union Leader Blog, please go to http://theunionleader.blogspot.com/

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Another Novel? You're Insane!

"I'm going to write a novel and it will be brilliant. Then you'll see. Then you'll be sorry. I'm not crazy, damn it, I'm a writer!"
Paraphrased from Wiki: Psychosis refers to an abnormal condition of the mind, and is...described as involving a "loss of contact with reality." Psychosis is given to the more severe forms of psychiatric disorders, during which hallucinations and delusions and impaired insight may occur.

"Just let me finish this chapter. Then I'll be happy to do whatever else it is I am supposed to be doing."
 Anyone who decides to write a book is, by definition, psychotic. Writing a novel, in particular, requires one to suffer from delusions (in believing in it enough to write it in the first place), hallucinations (creativity on steroids and huge doses of caffeine), and completely impaired insight (as it pertains to reality, as opposed to the fictional characters and world that exist only within your mind).

"Well, this doesn't make any sense at all. This person must be insane. You say they spent how many months working on this?"
The only saving grace that we have as writers, from being institutionalized, is that nobody can actually see inside of our brains while we are working on a story.

I'm going to do those right after my main character meets her love interest. Honest."
Even though some of the other parts of our lives may reflect things a bit more clearly, like when the kids have started eating their cereal out of coffee cups in the morning...

"That orange shirt still looks clean. You've only worn it twice this week."
 Or, when you're 2/3 done with that first draft, and have begun to redefine the word, 'clean' as it pertains to pants and how many times you've worn that pair already. After all, if you've only worn them three days, and you never actually left the keyboard with them on, and the only stain is from coffee, then how dirty can they really be?

"But, we don't want pizza again. Please, make us a meatloaf and some vegetables?"
Or, when you take a quick break from writing, rush to the kitchen to grab a banana, and remember that it was your turn to make something for dinner.

"Are you in there? I thought that we go out and catch a movie tonight?"
And somewhere along the line, while you are working on a book, you've actually started hiding from people. No, they're not strangers either. They are friends and family and people who, under normal circumstances, you would love to go and hang out with, but you've just got to finish this novel...

"Dear Lord, please let me finish the first draft of this world changing novel about vampire bunnies before I die (the kids can edit the damned thing later if they want the royalties)."
  ...before you die. That's when you know for absolute certain that you are a writer. It is when you wake up and discover that you have developed a profound fear of death, but not for the sake of death itself, but only as it pertains to occurring before The Book is finished. Because at this point, it would be bad if you actually perished, but it would be unthinkable if the book never got completed.

Note to self: remember to pick up some bottled water next time you go out.
Somewhere along the line, you've completely forgotten to pay the water bill too, because the last time you went to make coffee, nothing came out of the tap. It's not because you don't have the money. You just forgot to pay it.

And because you don't have the money either, of course, because you're really counting on sales from the upcoming novel, or the award money from that writing contest, or payment for the eight hundred pieces of content that you've written for those start-up websites. But you can't think about that stuff right now, because you've got to finish writing this novel before you die.

And when it is finished, and you finally emerge from your cave, and see one of the friends that you've been ignoring, and they ask you something profound like, "How's it going?" or "What have you been up to?" it takes a while to respond, because the sound of a human voice seems a little strange, and the question seems mundane, and puzzling, and possibly a trick of some sort (be careful not to admit that you're writing another novel, for God's sake. The last three never did get published. They'll think you're mad), and besides, you've got editing to think about, and queries and a synopsis....

Independent Canadian Author Megan Denby, eh?
And speaking of crazy authors...let me introduce you to Megan Denby. Megan caught my attention recently with her blog post entitled, "My First Time" (link below). 

So, I looked at her picture, read the title of the post, and said...okay, I'm in. Click. You'll have to check it out for yourself. That's really all that I can say about it in mixed company and all, what with little children and young adult authors running about.

Megan's book, A Thistle in the Mist,  inspired by her Scottish Grandmother, is HOT off the 2013 presses and has been receiving a nice run of Five Star reviews already. What the reviews are saying... 

"I lost my heart and three days of my life to A Thistle in the Mist. It is the fastest read I've ever had!
...Denby is a master storyteller."

Megan's links:

Thanks for reading, everyone.

Buzz Malone
Delusional Author

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

New Review EXTRA

My newly revised novella, Silence of Centerville, has received it's first Amazon review since the big debut last week. The awesome news is that it is a FIVE STAR Review! The not quite so good news is that my revisions have left a few things to STILL be apparently desired. DOH! 

Sometimes, no matter how hard you try, you can't self-edit a thing to perfection, and a TOW headed kid will almost grow up believing that he has a TOE growing out of his head and screw up the phrase. Either way, for a novella that I had produced for local consumption at the time, I am very pleased that it continues to be appreciated by people around the globe. 

As a writer, I continue to feel like a miracle has occurred each and every time that someone reads something that I have written. When they actually enjoy it, well, that is the biggest miracle of them all. 

5.0 out of 5 stars A remarkably written story, February 25, 2013
Amazon Verified Purchase
Frankie goes deaf at age 11, but suddenly his world is changed by more than just losing his hearing. He is not allowed to return to school with the "normal" kids, his friends desert him, his paper route is taken away and he is left with nothing. He is left with a world of books and silence.

The thing about this book that is unique, is that it is told in first person, but about that person only and his thoughts. He cannot hear what other people say so it is a book of what goes on in his mind mostly.
There were some lovely quotes, about what he wants - a friend, a companion worthy of trust.

I cried at least two separate times (sobbing in a pillow at one point).

I will point out that there were editing errors. Toe headed instead of tow-headed. A couple of others also, extra words inserted in a sentence that were most likely typing errors.

This was as adult novel, but perhaps it should be recommended reading at the middle school level. It is a good example of what it is like to have to be different. 

A Writer's Confession

I have a confession to make. There are times in each of our lives when something happens that causes us to question our values, morals, and everything that we have ever believed in. Today is one of those times for me. You should know that I read and write adult fiction. However, I have never liked the term 'adult fiction.'

And for sound, obvious reasons. After all, if you go to an Adult Bookstore, it isn't in search of literature, right? So, why must a novel be classified as 'adult,' then, and carry with it some naughty, forbidden connotation?

I'll tell you why. It is because of those damned 'young adult' novels that have flooded the market, forcing the rest of us to construct arks, in the hope of salvaging two of every "real" literary work from the rising tides (because if you're writing adult fiction, you're probably only selling two copies these days), and preserving them for future generations.

Long have I railed against the evils of young adult fiction and the ills that it has wrought upon society. In a perfect world, there would be no such category, I have proclaimed. And one day, true literature shall rise up and shed herself of the chains that have restrained her, and the chosen people (adult fiction authors) shall unleash a vengeance upon our oppressors, etc., etc.

Me...if I had an old type writer and was a slender woman from the 1950's.
So, I am happily clicking and clacking my way through my latest novel. It has become my custom to let my better half (Lorri) read my work after every chapter. She is my rock against which lesser stones are tossed, and crumble. And she is also the driving force behind every story that I have ever actually completed.

Did you say, young adult novel? This is MY novel. There are many like it, but this one is mine.
When the first chapter was finished, I handed it to Lorri. She read it, said that it was very good, and that she was intrigued. "You're writing your first young adult novel," she said with a happy smile.

"It is NOT a young adult novel," I replied.

"Sure it is," she said.

Not this kind of young adult.
Then, I thought about it and I knew that she was right. There is a part of me that wants to toss the whole thing, but ideas like this one are not easily ignored.

Yeah. Okay. They would probably read the damned thing.
So, there it is. My ugly secret has been revealed. It seems as though (most inadvertently, mind you) I am writing a novel that might, possibly, in some situations, be perceived as 'young adult.'

"Hey, literary agent man. Me write YA novel. You read me long, long time. No just query. You read full manuscript now. You likey because is young adult."
I feel so cheap and dirty, like I've sold a part of my literary soul. But it really IS a good story, honest! I swear it is. The good news is that you'll probably never get to read it anyways. Literary agents will still spam form reject the thing after all, because it isn't about zombies or vampires. At least it doesn't have any of those things (yet). At least I can still have some pride left (for now).

Author Andrew Buckley. That's right, Andrew. It's my blog and I can use whatever picture of you that I want to.
Speaking of pride, I can't click anything in G+ these days that doesn't have Andrew Buckley's book spam smeared all over it. I'm not usually big on listening to podcasts (I don't own anything with ear buds, and I'm not 100% what 'ear buds' even are), however, I listened to an interview that Andrew did with author Jack Whyte today and it was awesome. I felt like I was listening to something from BBC or NPR, except with content that was genuinely interesting for writers. I don't have any idea how he landed the interview, but it is definitiely worth the listen. Oh yeah, he's got a book with a pretty cover too...check it out!
Andrew Buckley Links:
Podcast of Jack Whyte Interview
Planet Kibi (Andrew's Site)
Andrew Buckley's Amazon Page

Marian Allen
Next, I'd like to introduce you to Marian Allen. Marian is a story teller, pure and simple. Some of her work might fall into that evil 'young adult' category, but I've read some of her writing and it is enjoyable at any age. There is a purity within her prose that reminds me of an old European fairy tale. Simple. Pure. Beautiful.

Marian Allen's Links:
Book, The Fall of Onagros on Amazon

Micha Fire. German photography, writing and rabbit enthusiast.

Micha's rabbit.
I would be remiss if I didn't say something about Micha Fire, and her bunny. Micha is a German photographer and blogger who posts pictures of this rabbit in all sorts of mundane places and situations. This European Flat Stanley, gives you a play by play of what they are doing in his own voice.

Don't ask me why. I can't even explain it. But this damn rabbit has become one of my guilty pleasures lately. He just tears my ass up. So, as long as I am making confessions today...

LINK TO MICHA FIRE'S AMAZING RABBIT BLOG: http://michafire.blogspot.com/
Micha Fire's Website: http://www.michafire.net/index.php

Thanks for reading, everyone!

P.S. I personally apologize to everyone who writes young adult fiction for everything that I have ever said (except if you write novels about vampires or zombies because that is completely different and is the literary equivalent of prostitution, unless, of course, I get a great idea in the future about zombies or vampires, because then it will be okay, what with my idea being completely original and being written for the sake of art, and not for marketability's sake).


Monday, February 25, 2013

Birthing Book Ideas

Ernest Hemingway
Ernest Hemingway in Letter to Charles Scribner (1940):

"Charlie there is no future in anything. I hope you agree. That is why I like it at a war. Every day and every night there is a strong possibility that you will get killed and not have to write. I have to write to be happy whether I get paid for it or not. But it is a hell of a disease to be born with. I like to do it. Which is even worse. That makes it from a disease into a vice. Then I want to do it better than anybody has ever done it which makes it into an obsession. An obsession is terrible. Hope you haven't gotten any. That's the only one I've got left."
                                                         -Ernest Hemingway-

Something horrible has happened this weekend. It is the most unimaginably awful thing that can happen to a fiction writer. It's hard to even speak of, it's so terrible.
This is what happens when authors create their own temporary covers. Clearly, some things are still best left to professionals. Who is that unusually large headed fat man pushing on that tree?
With my latest work (and first genuine attempt at market fiction (whatever the hell that term means))(and, oh yes, it's my damned blog and I will use as many of these things ((())) as I want to), Losing Meadow Brook, advancing through the Amazon Breakthrough Novel Award competition, and my refurbished novella, Silence of Centerville, heading out the door, and this lovely little blog gaining steam, my plate was already full.
Add to that my apparently never ending quest to find a paying gig to sustain my boyish figure, and keep the wolves at bay until Hollywood calls and begs me to do a movie adaptation of one of the poorly edited earlier novels that have only been read by my mother...
Don't tell me I can't try this at home, you fascist bastards!
...and not to mention my scientific research and experiments based on random thoughts and ideas, despite having no scientific background whatsoever, and I've been pretty busy.
We've secretly replaced Buzz's coffee with Folgers crystals that have been brewed a week earlier and then left to sit in their own secretions and ferment. Let's see what Buzz thinks.
Not Fortune 500 CEO, got to get to the golf course and close that million dollar deal today before my spa appointment busy, but writer busy, which is more along the lines of, "oh shit, I've been so busy writing that I forgot to drink the cup of coffee that has been sitting two and a half inches from the keyboard for the last four hours, and I wonder if it is still good, and if not good, per se, then hopefully just a wee bit above room temperature."
Ohhh. That is cutting edge 1980's special effects!

 Anyhow, despite it all, it happened this weekend. Like one of those bugs from an old Star Trek movie that crawl into your head and start gnawing away at your brain tissue...I got an idea in my pea brain and started the next novel. 
"Ideas come from a little voice inside my head. It might be my conscientiousness speaking, or that creepy Vladamir Putin guy who lives in my backyard and sneaks into my room at night, whispering ideas into my ear. I'm not sure. "
 Which brings me to the most asked question that I get. "Where do your ideas for books come from?"

"Buzz, you will write a fiction novel about mundane human events. Then, if you ever want to get a literary agent to read it, you will include a vampire or some other overused undead thing and categorize it as a 'young adult' novel."
I'd like to say that ideas and inspiration come from ascending the highest mountaintop in Tibet and meeting some spiritual guru or something, but that's not how it works with me.

For me, ideas come all the time, when I least expect them and I am trying to lay around in my underwear watching television. 

"Hello, it's me, an idea for a story. Can I come in?" 

"No thank you. Not today. I'm in my underwear trying to watch reruns of Everybody Loves Raymond."

Usually, by ignoring them, they simply go away and bother the next poor bastard down the street a ways (at least I assume that's what happens because bad ideas have to go somewhere, right?). Sometimes, however, an idea is a little pushier. They knock a little louder and are downright rude about not wanting to leave my head.

"Hey, Mr. Malone, it's me...a Big Idea. Let me in. I know you're in there!"

"Dave's not here, eh."

"I know that's you, Mr. Malone. You're over sixty days past due on writing anything about me. You can't hide forever."

"Go away and leave me alone, you bastard. I'm trying to finish watching The Big Lebowski, damn it."

"You should listen to me, Buzz. I've got a great story line about a young woman having really disturbing sexual relations with a wealthy, older gazillionaire. It's porn really, and has no literary merit, but we'll package it as mass market, and call it Fifty Shades of something. And the best part is, it's a friggin trilogy! They'll sell them in Wal-Marts and everything! You'll be filthy stinking rich. Listen to me."

"Go away. That's the stupidest thing I've ever heard of. They'll never sell porn at the Wal-Mart. It's owned by a bunch of bible belt baptists. It'll never work. Now go on and beat it, pal."

"You'll be sorry, Mr. Malone."


And sometimes, ideas come knocking and no matter how hard you try to ignore them, they just don't go away. They stick in your head and the characters and plots begin to develop until they come crashing through your defenses and force you to write about them, even when you'd rather be doing anything else at the moment. 
When that happens and an idea gets inside the locked bathroom door of my mind, and the characters start to grow and develop, I can either become a real life walking zombie, consumed by thoughts of the story, OR, I can write the damned thing and get it out. It's sort of like a full frontal lobotomy, except using a keyboard instead of a scalpel.
 That... is the ugliness of the birth of one of my book ideas. Some of them are cuter than others.

 And that is all I have to say about that...because I've got a bit of writing to do.  

"An obsession is terrible. Hope you haven't gotten any. That's the only one I've got left."
                                                         -Ernest Hemingway-

 Thank you for reading.

Buzz Malone

Friday, February 22, 2013

Writers War

So, when I started this new blog, I knew that I had to expand my readership beyond my regular readers (hi mom!), and the followers of my now retired political satire blog (greetings comrades). People started pushing the little Google + button when they liked something.
Being curious in nature, I thought that it would be wise to investigate this mysterious Google + thingy and see where it led.
I logged on, started a profile, and discovered hundreds of communities that I never knew existed before.
There were a number specifically for writers and authors, too. Like a babe in the woods, I joined several of them, innocently seeking to share in the knowledge of the groups.
One of the groups I joined was called the Writer's Discussion Group. It seemed like a nice enough group at first, too...before IT happened...
Moderators at the Writer's Discussion Group on Google+ (okay, not really. They didn't have Segways).

NEW PERSON: Hello everyone.

MODERATOR: Please read the rules to the left before posting.

ME: Rules were meant to be broken.

MODERATOR: These rules were not meant to be broken.

NEW PERSON: I'm not planning on breaking any rules.

ME: Yes, but when you do, it will be helpful to know which one you're breaking, so I think that you should read them, you know, before you break them.

MODERATOR: Do not break the rules. You will be removed from the room.

NEW PERSON: I'm not.

ME: How do you know, if you haven't read them yet? I knew you were a rule breaker when you came in here. I could tell by the way that you posted.

NEW PERSON: What are you talking about? I didn't come here to break any any stupid rules.

ME: Then why didn't you read them before you posted? And now you're saying the rules are stupid. We value our rules here. We like to learn them...and then break them.

               *You have been removed from this community*

That's when I was banished into the world wide web wilderness of Google+, left to fend for myself without the shelter and protection of a community group. For forty years (or forty minutes, or maybe it was four, I don't really remember now) I wandered alone...
 ...and then inspiration struck me. I would form a community of my own and name it Literary Agents Hate Kittens, after my most popular blog post to date, and I would link to it here. And, my group would be a place for authors and writers to come and post anything they wanted to (until Google has us removed).
And the followers in my cult (err, I mean, the members of the community) would be as if a loyal army, unleashing terror into the hearts of the moderators of the Writer's Discussion Group...
...you know, the group that has allegedly conspired with literary agents to keep me silenced. 
Even now, I suspect that the moderators from that group are seeking to read my thoughts, calculating and plotting against me. But, I've stumbled across some other things that are share worthy for writers and readers on Google+ communities too...
Humor writer, retired Dr. Timothy Hurley
Like, Timothy Hurley. Timothy has a unique comedic style. He is outdated, nonsensical, totally random and bizarre, and I love it. WARNING: If you are a younger person, you may need a reference guide to get all of his pop culture references from 1930.

Author, Editor, and All Around Guru, C.P. White
C.P. White has authored more novels than I care to count. He has a random comedic style (I'm starting to see a trend here) to his words that I enjoy, and with literally thousands of writers out there authoring blogs about how to do this, or how to do that, C.P.'s are some of the best that I have encountered. His How To Be a Good Writer Series on his site blog are second to none.
Link to C.P. White's Blog and Website
Chris White Amazon Page

Author, Journalist, Editor, and Publicist, Amy Eyrie
One of the best technical writers I have encountered in a while, Amy's book entitled, Pet Sitter, is not in my preferred reading genre, but I definitely intend to read it anyhow. Not only due to my being a huge fan of her style of writing, but also the result of the rave reviews her work is getting on Amazon. Also, Amy's site has a great piece on giant squid (trust me, just read it) that combines elements of literary classics with the feel of the Discovery channel, to create an intriguing read that I highly recommend.
Amy Eyrie's Amazon Page

 The world is full of incredible and talented people. The point of the whole Literary Agents Hate Kittens thing, is a farcical way of saying that to become a part of the traditional and established written community is the equivalent of winning the lottery. Sure, you can go and buy the Fifty Shades trilogy at your local Wal-Mart OR you can put the slightest bit of effort into it, find what you enjoy, and choose from among the thousands of incredibly talented authors and writers who are out there waiting for you, and who will personally and genuinely appreciate every single individual who ever chose to read one their books, or one their articles, or one of their blogs (or 'follow' their blogs, hint, hint).

Thank You For Reading,

Buzz Malone