Friday, April 10, 2015

Has Hollywood Lost Its Nerve?

Yes, I'm going to rant. I'm going to rant because someone needs to say it. Someone needs to tell Hollywood that they've become a bunch of babies. Someone should go hang a giant pacifier on the 'H'.



Was that too harsh? Did it get your attention? Good.

What made the 'Golden Age of movies' as I'll call it, was when the ideas were fresh and new. Every movie was something different. Risks were taken. And yes, sometimes the end result was a nose-diving failure, but that's the essence of risk. It's taking a chance, one that could end up in disaster... or one that could be a stellar success.

But over the years, I feel like Hollywood has shied away from taking risks. Now don't get me wrong, I'm not blind to the fact that movies cost more to make than they ever did before. Actors want more money, the technology has improved from models of TIE fighters to CGI animations, and a hundred other costs that most of us don't necessarily think about which all adds up. Quickly.

Still, taking such things into account... the Golden Age of movies has been virtually lost... and Hollywood has no one to blame for it but themselves.

Now, it could be the production companies, it could be the producers, it could be the directors... we could try and point the blame at a single group of people, but I think the truth is that they are all to blame.  There's plenty of evidence which says it all:  Remakes.

Yes, remakes. Not something new, or even a different take on an idea, just 'redone.'

The first horror movie I ever saw was when I was eight years old... a classic film with Jack Nicholson and Shelley Duvall. It was called The Shining - a movie which was based on the book by one of the great horror writers, Mr. Stephen King.

That movie scared the shit out of me at that age. I usually try to keep the language at a low key but in this case, I'm going above my usual. Granted, when I see that movie now it doesn't have the same effect, but back then? I had nightmares for weeks about the elevator of blood. I slept with a light on, convinced that if my room was dark those little girls were going to come and get me! But that's what the movie was supposed to do - scare the shit out of you. And in my case... it did it well!

Point? The Shining has since been remade. Same story, different actors.

What about Carrie, another King classic that was made into a movie?  Three remakes of that one? Four? I've lost count.

What Hollywood seems to be doing lately is that instead of taking risks on something new, they're playing it safe and remaking movies that were successful once before.  She's All That is apparently getting a remake. Really? Really?

Congratulations, Hollywood. Here is your well-deserved award:











What's next on the list, a remake of Ferris Bueller's Day Off? The Breakfast Club? Why not ruin another classic and remake The Goonies?

Remakes aren't the only problem though, only part of it. The other part is that Hollywood turning back to things over and over and OVER again - things that made enough money for them the first time to say 'Hey, this made us a LOT of money! Let's make 17 sequels!' Okay, that's being overly dramatic, but you get the idea.

Transformers. How many of you thought of those movies when you read '17 sequels'? I'm guessing almost all of you.

The point is, what made the Golden Age of movies so great was the variety. The risk taking. An idea that was different... maybe not always necessarily new, but different enough for each to stand out on it's own.

Great example: Name three 'slasher' characters that had the same basic idea but different enough from each other to stand out on their own.  Answer: Freddy Krueger, Jason Voorhees, and Michael Myers. 

Personally, I'm a Freddy fan.  But I can't deny that it was entertaining to watch someone run through the woods while Jason casually walked after them, maybe stopped along the way to pick some flowers or water the garden... And then fateful trip and fall, which resulted in Jason somehow taking a Paul Bunyan step and catching up to them, summarily ending the chase in some grisly fashion. It was over the top, but that's what made it entertaining.

Here is what I propose, and humbly ask Hollywood to seriously consider doing: Find wherever it is that you stored your balls, blow the dust off of them, and re-attach them. Take risks, like you used to. Give people a reason to want to go to the movies again, and not just for one or two big movies that get hyped up every year because you know they'll be huge cash cows for you.

There are plenty of ideas out there. You shouldn't have to continue lowering yourselves to the pathetic level of doing remakes and sequels that shouldn't be made. Remaking a movie is, in my opinion, kind of an insult to the original. It takes away that originality that made it great to begin with.

Sequels do have their places, but Hollywood needs to do a better job and learn that there is a point to stop. *cough Transformers cough*

That's my rant. Now, if you'll excuse me, I'm going to see if I can find the world's largest pacifier. I know just what I could do with it.

Sunday, April 5, 2015

Try Before You Buy

How many times have you seen an advertisement on T.V. that hyped up something so much it made you believe that you simply HAD to have it/see it/do it?  Movie ads do this constantly. They show 30 seconds of amazing scenes and then you come to find out that those 30 seconds were the ONLY good parts of a 2 hour movie?

Video games do this as well... I could name a few right now (but I won't) that hyped up something to the extreme that players stood in line for midnight releases, only to find out that the end product was far less than what they expected. Yes, I've been in that group of gamers. Several times.

Unfortunately, many times we don't find out until after we've given them our hard earned money that it wasn't worth the money we spent. There's no 'try before you buy' option in most cases.

Of course, with things like YouTube and Twitter now, it makes it much easier for the consumers to let the world know exactly what they think. And when all the hype is not lived up to, the backlash that comes afterwards can be brutal.

One of the things that I love about being an author on Amazon is that readers do get this option. I love it because... well, let's face it: I'm a storyteller, not a car salesman. Sure, I have my Author page on Facebook (www.facebook.com/saborgman) and I have my Twitter (@ScottBorgman) but do I sit on them and spam 'Buy my books! Buy my books!' for hours every day? No.

Yes, I'd love to have millions of fans, what author wouldn't? But I believe readers and fans should be earned, not suckered into impulse buying, or buying something simply because a million other people did, which as we all know has happened as well.


Here is where the 'try before you buy' comes in. Every one of my books on Amazon has a 'Look inside' above the picture of the cover. Click on the cover picture, and you can read a sample of that book.

We've all heard the phrase 'you can't judge a book by its cover', but let's face it... most of the time that's exactly what we do: we make an impulse decision based on what our eyes show us in those first few seconds.

Grocery stores are a prime example. There are always little side displays near the registers targeted specifically for impulse buying. It's done because quite simply, it works. We see something that catches our eye and on impulse, either while we're walking by or waiting in line, we grab it.

Books are no different. It's true that having an eye-catching cover will bring in more sales than one that isn't, and some of those sales probably are impulse sales. Is that a bad thing? It depends on your point of view.  Personally, I feel like having a great looking cover and a less than exciting story within is no different than what I mentioned at the beginning of this blog.

Sure, the author gets that impulse sale, so the flashy cover did it's job, right? Well, yes... and at the same time, a huge, resounding no. Readers may buy a book on impulse because of the cover, but flashy covers don't turn readers into fans for an author: it's the stories inside that do that.

Now, not everyone enjoys certain genres. Some people just AREN'T into fantasy or sci-fi, thrillers or romance, etc. At the same time, some people have never read anything in a particular genre, but seeing an attractive cover on a book written in that genre may bring out some curiosity about it.

This is what makes the 'Look inside' such a great tool on Amazon, and I recommend that everyone take advantage of it. You don't have to buy anything blindly, only to find out afterwards that it wasn't what you expected. The 'Look inside' gives you that 'try before you buy' option - a few licks first to see if you like it, rather than having to buy the whole bucket of ice cream right away, so to speak.

Personally, I would rather have a thousand readers who made their decision to buy my books based on what they read from the samples than a hundred thousand who bought them on impulse based simply on the attractiveness of the book covers.

Some of you are probably thinking 'yeah, right!' but I'm being honest. Authors are usually in it for the long haul. We're not looking for a quick lightning strike and then running for the hills, cackling and screaming 'suckers!!!' and never writing another word.

I mean authors who make writing their life, not ones that pop out a book and say 'Yes, I wrote a book! I can check that off my Bucket List!' I'm not saying those aren't authors too, they are. They're just in a different group - like artists who have one hit wonders. They're still artists, but do we put them on the same level as someone like Elvis or Michael Jackson, Whitney Houston or Eminem?

The point is, a thousand fans will continue to support an author, and a loyal fan base will grow over time and could very well surpass that hundred thousand. Sure, it takes longer, but I'm not going anywhere.   

So whether you're a fan of fantasy or simply just curious about the genre, take a 'Look inside.' Please don't impulse buy because the covers look amazing. Let the samples help you make that final decision, because ultimately it's the story inside that counts. Sure, the covers are the initial eye-catch, but that's what they're supposed to do.

You may read through the samples and decide that you want to step into the world of Tal'Avern and travel along with the characters. Or you may read the samples and decide that you're not interested. But either way, you're making an informed, thoughtful decision - not an impulse buy. And that's what matters to me.

It may not be a 'getting the most sales possible' tactic, but its how I choose to promote my work. I want to earn my readers and fans. After all, they're the reason that I created Tal'Avern and the characters that live within it in the first place.


 

For those who read through some of the samples and decide not to visit Tal'Avern, you have my sincerest thanks for giving me a few minutes of your time. I honestly appreciate it.

Those who decide to step into the world of Tal'Avern for the first time with Province of a Thief, the first book in the Chronicles series, you also have my sincerest thanks. I hope you enjoy the journey you are about to begin, and the characters you are about to meet. Welcome to Tal'Avern.

And finally, to the readers who are returning to continue their journey with Darkness and Dragons, and to those that have been waiting for the next part, Through Trials and Towers (which just went live a few days ago on April 3 and is now available), welcome back and thank you so much for returning!


**US/Canada**

Province of a Thief (Book 1): www.amazon.com/dp/B00KR140EO

Darkness and Dragons (Book2): www.amazon.com/dp/B00LSWNHPO

Through Trials and Towers (Book 3): www.amazon.com/dp/B00VL9MCLE

**UK**

Province of a Thief (Book 1): www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B00KR140EO

Darkness and Dragons (Book2): www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B00LSWNHPO

Through Trials and Towers (Book 3): www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B00VL9MCLE


**Only digital versions available right now (working on paperbacks though!)**

Friday, March 13, 2015

A Common Writing Mistake - and How to Fix It!

While getting my Tal'Avern fantasy books prepared for paperback editions, I've had my fair share of frustrations -the latest one being in how 'clean' they look.

Choosing the font, the size, and what kind of paragraph layout you want are fairly easy personal choices.  But what I want to focus on in this blog is one of the most common 'mistakes' writers make.

I just did it in that last paragraph, actually. Do you see it?  I'll do it again. See the difference?

For some reason, it's very easy to get this mistake ingrained into your writing, and you may not even realize that it is a 'mistake'. It's putting that extra space before starting a new sentence. I know, shocking, right?

Look, I'm guilty of making this mistake, so if you're sitting there gasping and saying to yourself 'oh my God, I do that!' don't worry. You are not alone. I've been doing it for years and never realized that it was a mistake until tonight.

Being my own worst critic, I want my paperbacks to look flawless. Perfection is what every author strives for, after all. It's the reason we could easily edit our work forever and never feel that it's perfect.

Luckily, that need for perfection is how I found out I've been making this mistake, and I wanted to share it with you all because there are certainly others out there that make the same simple mistake. Like me, you may be guilty of the 'two-spaces-before-every-sentence' habit as well. And the first step to solving a problem is knowing that the problem exists in the first place. Until tonight, I didn't know about it.

Now, you may be thinking 'it's only one extra space, what's the big deal?' That extra space before a sentence is what will keep your books from looking clean. Like many authors, I use Word, and I can tell you from experience, Word does not like that extra space. It completely throws off the justification, and you can literally spend hours trying to 'fix' it. Again, I'm speaking from experience.

So how do you fix something like that? A 300-500 page document with thousands upon thousands of sentences will take weeks to go through, sentence by sentence, hitting that delete button and taking out that extra space before every single sentence!

I actually started doing that. Yes, I honestly thought that was my punishment for not realizing I had made such a simple writing error. But after two pages, I thought to myself, maybe there's an easier way to go about it. A simpler way. Okay, maybe 'simpler' isn't the right word. 'Sneakier' is more appropriate.

Word has a wonderful tool called Find, and another called Replace. I've used them on occasion. I am now in love with the Replace tool.

So for those of you who have that habit ingrained in you as well to put two spaces before every sentence, here's what you do to save yourself a lot of time, grief, frustration, and retain a full head of hair rather than pulling out entire handfuls at a time:

Click on that Replace tool, and in the 'find' section, start at the beginning and hit the spacebar twice and then A. Tab down to the 'replace' section, and hit the spacebar once and type A. It will look something like this:

      Find:  A
Replace: A

Now just hit the 'replace all' button, and let Word do all your work for you fixing every sentence that starts with A by taking out that extra space before it. I had 583 replacements in my document, if you were wondering.

Obviously you'll want to go through and take care of the rest. B, C, D... every letter of the alphabet should get checked for a fix.  And don't forget to do a fix for any sentences that have two spaces in front of a " (I just remembered to do that one myself!)

In the end, all of my sentences were fixed. I didn't keep track of just how many times I made this simple mistake. Suffice it to say, the document was over 350 pages long. It was a lot of 'mistakes.'

Now, is this going to change that bad habit of putting that extra space before every sentence? Honestly, I don't think so. For this blog, I had to consciously tell myself 'one space once space' before each sentence.

And yes, I did go back and 'fix' a few two-space-sentence-starters. I'm just so used to putting those two spaces before each sentence that I'm not sure I can break that habit, so don't feel bad if you find yourself doing the same thing.

But as long as you remember to take a few minutes to fix this common error when you're all done writing the world's next best-seller and looking it over, it will come out looking that much closer to perfection.  And that's what we strive for. Oops. Ahh well, nobody is perfect.




Saturday, February 28, 2015

New Covers and Tal'Avern

Hello, readers!

I haven't updated for a few months as I've been writing and editing the next book in the Tal'Avern Chronicles series.  That has all been completed, and the new book will be publishing on Amazon soon.  I'm aiming for a mid to late March release.

First, I'd like to show off the new covers for Books 1 and 2.


 
 
The artwork was done by an extremely talented illustrator named Mat Sadler (www.matsadler.com).  As I write this, he is working on the cover for the next book in the Tal'Avern Chronicles series.
 
Both books are available now on Amazon, while Book 3 will be as well as soon as it is published.  Right now only digital copies are available, but for those of you who prefer physical books, take heart!  Paperback editions are next on my To Do list!
 
To stay updated, you can follow me on Twitter @ScottBorgman and/or on Facebook at www.facebook.com/saborgman.
 
Aside from showing off the covers and trying to help Mat get some well deserved exposure, I wanted to say something about the world of Tal'Avern.
 
* * *
 
So changing gears, allow me to talk a bit about the world of Tal'Avern.  Now, it's certainly not the first fantasy world, nor will it be the last.  So what sets it apart from others?  What makes Tal'Avern unique?
 
These are the questions many readers ask themselves when they're looking for something new to read.  Obviously, the book cover images are the first thing you see.  They look amazing.  But the covers only catch your attention.  You need more to be compelled to step into the world, am I right?  What is it about Tal'Avern that may just help you decide to see what awaits?
  
And so I offer a peek into the world for you, so that you can have a better understanding of what lies within the pages.  Like many fantasy worlds, Tal'Avern has its share of common fantasy themes.  Magic, dragons, elves and dwarves, twists and surprises (to name a few).
 
What sets it apart however, are the characters.  Traditionally, the 'heroes' of fantasy books have been male.  A few of the most famous characters many fantasy fans recognize are Drizzt and Elminster.  I could list others, but you get the point.
 
Sure, there are always female characters in those stories, but even though they may be portrayed as a 'main character', I kind of feel like most of the time they tend to walk a step behind.  Now, there are always exceptions.  I merely suggest that this is usually the case.
 
 
 
 
What makes Tal'Avern unique is that many of the main characters are female.  They're not perfect.  They struggle, they have flaws, and sometimes they fail.  It's what makes them so memorable and so easy to believe in.  They don't hide behind the male characters, but they stand beside them as equals.  Many times, even a step ahead of them.
 
When I created the world of Tal'Avern, that was my goal.  To break away from the mold, from tradition.  Soldiers and city guards in Tal'Avern have women within their ranks.  Some command armies, are leaders of noble houses, one in particular is unique among all others in the magical community.
 
They fight just as hard, their victories are celebrated just as much, and their deaths are mourned with just as many tears.  Some attain the highest respect and others commit the darkest of deeds. 
 
With a cast of compelling characters, some you may love and some you may despise.  Some you may cheer for, others you may turn the page, hoping that they are about to fall.  Some you may share laughs with, and others cry alongside.
 
So if you're looking for something new, something different, and something that I believe is a break from tradition in the fantasy genre, below you'll find the links to the first two books.  If this will be your first trip to Tal'Avern, I recommend starting with the first book in the series, Province of a Thief.
 
The second book, Darkness and Dragons, continues the story.  It brings back many of the characters that you meet in Province as well as introducing new ones.  The third book in the series I am hoping to have published by the end of March 2015.
 
I truly hope you enjoy the journey.  It is my honor to say to you:  Welcome to Tal'Avern.
 
* * *
 
US/Canada (Amazon.com)
 
Province of a Thief: www.amazon.com/dp/B00KR140EO/
Darkness and Dragons: www.amazon.com/dp/B00LSWNHPO/
 
UK (Amazon.co.uk)
 
Province of a Thief: www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B00KR140EO/
Darkness and Dragons: www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B00LSWNHPO
 
 
 

 

 

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

It's a Christmas Holiday Promotion!

It's the holiday season everyone!  I hope everyone is ready for the holiday, whether you live in an area where you'll be celebrating a white Christmas or an area that doesn't get any snow, it's time to be festive!

Many of us, myself included, enjoy the holiday season.  Kids opening their presents, running around wildly from too much sugar, snowball fights, building snowmen, and looking at the twinkling lights of houses and trees is all part of the holidays.

It's also a time to reflect on the year.  Like every year, it's had its ups and downs.  For me, this year had quite a bit to look back on and smile about.  I made a decision to move my publishing to Amazon.com, and have had a wonderful experience with them.

I finished the second book in my Tal'Avern fantasy series, and had that published on Amazon.  In August, I had the delightful experience of being able to speak at the Marshfield Public Library in Marshfield, WI. about my passion for writing, and met some wonderful people.

I've connected with several others along the way through my Author Page on Facebook (www.facebook.com/saborgman), on Twitter (@ScottBorgman), and had several mentions on Vision and Verse, an amazing site that focuses on art and authors (www.visionandverse.blogspot.com).

The year would not be complete, however, if I did not do something to show my appreciation for everyone.  As I am fond of saying, I breathe life into each and every character within the stories that I write.  But it is the reader who gives them their souls.

Because of the readers, Tal'Avern has come to life not only within me, but in others.  Currently, I'm working on the third book in the Tal'Avern series.  In light of that, I am running a special holiday promotion on Amazon.com.


Starting at 12am PST on Dec. 20, and going until 12am Dec. 25, both digital books on Amazon.com in the Tal'Avern series (Province of a Thief and Darkness and Dragons) will be on a Countdown Deals.



What does that mean?  Well, for the first 2 1/2 days, both books can be purchased for only $.99 each.  At 12pm PST on Dec. 22, the price will increase to $1.99 per book, and the promotion will end on Dec. 25 with the two digital books returning to their regular price of $2.99.

Here's a quick link to get you where you need to go when it starts!  http://www.amazon.com/Scott-Borgman/e/B00KROBR4W

With that, I wish everyone a wonderful holiday season!  Thank you for your support, and trust me - I'm working on the third book as much as possible... I want to find out what happens too!  (I've already had a few shockers and unexpected twists that even I was surprised at!)


All My Best,

Scott

Sunday, November 23, 2014

Whoops, I better update!

Hey everyone!

I had no idea it's been about 2 months since I last posted a blog!  Where does the time go?  So I need to catch everyone up on things!

First and foremost, the world grew a little dimmer, while the sky grew a little brighter.  My wife's nan, Gwen Howse, passed away recently, so we've had some sadness to cope with.

Though I never had the privilege of meeting her, I know she was a strong, loving, and wonderful person.  I see that in her granddaughter, who I am lucky enough to call my wife.

In honor of her, my latest fantasy book which I am currently writing is dedicated to her.

As for the book itself, work continues on it.  Whether it's going fast or slow depends on one's point of view I suppose.  I'm one day closer to completing it, I know that!  What day that may be, however, still remains a mystery.  At least at this particular point in time.

The story is a continuation in my Tal'Avern series, which some of you may know begins with the first book, Province of a Thief, and follows with Darkness and Dragons, Volume I, taking place immediately following the ending of Darkness.  Some of you may know that there was a time span of roughly two years between Province and Darkness.

Of course, I can't give any spoilers (sorry!), however, this is by far my biggest project to date, larger than Darkness was.  Multiple story lines are taking place as the companions that you have met and travelled along with have been forced apart along different paths.  Some are together, while others are on their own.

I just hit the 50k word count mark last night, which of course means very little since who knows what the end count will be!  More often than not I really don't use word count for any reason, since it really doesn't matter.  A story is done when it's done, whether it takes two thousand words or two hundred thousand words.

I will say that thus far, however, it has been an AMAZING journey.  Some interesting twists, turns, revelations... ahh, I better not say anything else, lest I break my 'no spoilers' rule.

I did post an excerpt from the book on my Facebook Author Page if any of you would like to get a teaser on the new book.  However, please remember that the book is still in the writing stages, and anything could change during the editing stages.

Here is the link to my Author Page on Facebook:

www.facebook.com/saborgman

If you haven't had a chance to step into the world of Tal'Avern yet, there's no better time to do so!  The cold weather keeps us all indoors for the most part, and what better thing to do than curl up with a book?  Digital copies are available on Amazon.com, and actually now is the PERFECT time to pick them up.  Province and Darkness are only $2.99 now.

If you're looking for something a little different, then grab the Exiled trilogy.  Each of those three books are only $.99 each!  They're a unique blend that mixes modern day, angels, mythology, some fantasy/supernatural and adds a touch of thriller/horror.

http://www.amazon.com/Scott-Borgman/e/B00KROBR4W

So that's where things are at.  Book 3 in the Tal'Avern series is being written (just came off a 10 hour writing session in fact), books 1 and 2 are available on Amazon (digital only, physical copies are on my list of things to do, though!), as are the three books that make up the Exiled trilogy.

With that, I am off!  To write some more, to sleep, to get something to eat, or maybe just to relax and perhaps play a game.  Have a great day everyone, and if I don't blog again before the holidays, have a wonderful Thanksgiving, Christmas, and a Happy New Year!

All My Best,

Scott

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

3-Day Promo Wrap-up

Well the 3-Day Promo where readers could pick up the first book in my Tales of Tal'Avern fantasy series, Province of a Thief, has ended.

I'd like to say thank you to everyone who took advantage and picked up Province for free.  I hope you enjoy your first steps into the world of Tal'Avern.

Province takes place in only a part of the world, and introduces you to characters that I hope you enjoy reading about and following along with as they are thrust into a dark plot that has been planned for long years.

If you missed out on the special promotion, that's okay!  Province is available in digital format on Amazon for only $3.49.  Part of the reason why I chose the digital path is because it allows you, the reader, to pay far less than you would for a physical copy.  I'm a firm believer that digital books are the way to go.  Without adding in printing costs and other factors, it gives you the opportunity to read the same story for much less than if it were in print.

That's not to say I'm opposed to print books!  I'll be the first to say that there's just something about holding a book in your hands that can't be duplicated.  And yes, I am very seriously considering making the books available in print eventually.

Right now, I'm concentrating on working on the 3rd book in the Tal'Avern series.  I'm only about 25k words into it as of this blog, but already I wish I could type at 1000wpm. 

I'm truly excited about where this next part in the series is going, and I hope that those of you who have read/are reading/are going to read Province will continue on with the follow-up, Darkness and Dragons: Volume I.

Of course, I would be remiss if I didn't invite you to let myself and others know what your thoughts are on the books by leaving a review on Amazon and/or Goodreads.

I appreciate every thoughtful review, whatever rating you give the books.  Some of you may love them, some may not.  That is the nature of reading.  But by all means, let us know!

At the end of my books are several links:  My Twitter, my Facebook Author Page, etc.  Don't be shy!  Get in touch with me if you'd like to!  That is why those links are at the end of my books.  I write because I love being a storyteller, but it is my greatest honor and pleasure that you allow me into your lives and give me the opportunity to entertain and delight you.

My readers truly mean a lot to me, and I love hearing from them and connecting with them.  Even if it's just a simple hello, I always take time to respond to my readers.

With that, I shall end this particular blog.  The world of Tal'Avern is in turmoil, and I must get back to it and write down the events so that you can read about them!

Have an amazing day everyone!


All My Best,

Scott