Monday, January 31, 2005

New Plans: Same Dream

Kevin’s Corner

Welcome back to Kevin’s Corner. As many of you know, Randy and Jean have sold their palatial mansion and are moving to France. I would like to, as I have privately, wish them well in their journey to their new home. I remain amazed at the sheer idea of moving half a world away. An apartment across town is one thing but this is ridiculous! Anyway, they have promised to keep in touch by the wonder known as the World Wide Web and I am counting on it.

As I noted last time, my fiction work just didn’t sell last year. There could be a variety of reasons for that from not sending out enough to markets not recognizing talent when they see it (stop laughing) to anything else I want to blame. The sad truth is, for whatever reason, I didn’t sell which is a hard pill to swallow. Again.

That isn’t to say that the dream is dead. According to some of the editors I worked with last year who went way beyond the call of duty and ditched the form letter rejection, there is talent to be mined. It is rough, it is ugly and it needs work. A lot of work. Which is somewhat discouraging because in a sense after all the health issues I have had the last few years, it almost feels like I am starting over writing wise. But, if work needs to be done, than it must be done. I have stories to tell and they must see the light of day.

Besides the wife says that if I don’t write and sell my mood is worse than watching the Cowboys lose on Sunday. Screams of rage aren’t a good thing she says. So, in that spirit, I have decided to make a few changes in the context of the New Year and all that.

First, I am cutting down on my review work. I am nearly caught up now with all the books I had accepted previously for review. There are so many books out there and I am really bad about telling folks no. I intend to make some exceptions here and there but I am cutting way back on the commitments for review. Instead of focusing so much on other’s words, it is time to focus on my own.

Second, I have joined a local writers group. I can’t drive too well these days so transportation there may become an issue. But the intent and willingness is there and time will tell about the other.

Third, I blew the dust off the novel project and got back to work on it. It has languished far too long and the voices had gone silent. But after steady work the last two weeks, they seem to be waking up. They are groggy and incoherent, as am I in the morning, but that just means we work well together.

And lastly, I’m working on my short stories again. Yes, I know the real money is to be made in the novel area (and I do need money) but some ideas just fit the short story format. A couple of things are bouncing around in the old brainpan and thanks to a cyber friend; I have quite a bit of work to do on an existing piece.

So there you have it, my writing plans for the New Year. Workable and though I’m sure I will have setbacks, I’m not giving up yet. More next time and as always feel free to drop me a note at with your comments, observations, and suggestions.

Thanks for reading!

Kevin R. Tipple © 2005

Saturday, January 08, 2005

I'm Back!

Kevin’s Corner

Welcome back to Kevin’s Corner. I had meant to get another edition up between Thanksgiving and Christmas and failed miserably. I do appreciate your patience and a special thank you to those who have contacted me offlist and expressed their support.

One does not live by writing alone, unfortunately. One of the things that has kept me hopping the last few weeks, (something my downstairs neighbors don’t appreciate), is the fact that I have been helping out with my wife’s crafts. You see, my wife makes some very nice things and has done so for years. After burying friends and family the last several years with more than they really needed or want, we decided that maybe it was time to see if it could work as a small home business. With a lot of help from an outside party who will remain nameless but very much appreciated, we have a small website up. One has to start somewhere and our attempt is at Stop by and take a look when you get a chance.

This January finds me looking back at 2004 and rather unhappy from a writing point of view. Not only did I do very little about my own novel, which is going nowhere fast, I also managed not to make a single fiction sale. While I did submit to a number of places and several anthologies that I would have liked to have been in, I didn’t make the cut on any of them. Some places, for example the anthologies, I know that I got very close to making the final group selected but I don’t know why my work didn’t make it. In other markets, all I know was that what was sent didn’t work as I have the form letter to tell me so. Of course, as we all know, form letter rejections are worthless from the standpoint of trying to improve one’s own work.

In the book review front, I had no problems there and was given more work than I could handle. I was struck again this year that the more interesting books often came from the small presses or even the vanity presses. I think there is a two-part reason for that. One, because some very talented writers are refusing to let the fact that the major publishing houses ignored them stop publication of their worthy works. Secondly, because the big publishing house want clones of what they already have. Simply put, Grisham sells, so they want another Grisham style author. Clancy sells, so they want another Clancy style author. As media conglomerates get larger and larger and the bottom line gets to be even more important, the buying choices of the public may continue to shrink. I urge you to support the small presses and even the vanity presses when merited because there are good books out there. Don’t you want a good book to read on the plane when you sit for twenty-eight hours on the tarmac?

Speaking of good books, here are three where the main character has to reevaluate the world and his place in it in varying ways. We run the gamut here from the hopeful, to a dark future, to an incredible painful present. First up is…

Money Shot
By Brian Rouff
Hardway Press
ISBN # 0-9717148-2-7
Large Trade Paperback
261 Pages
$14.95 US

I was thrilled when this author contacted me recently about his new book. I had read “Dice Angel” before, (still waiting for the sequel) and this book, which is entirely different, was well worth wait. Alan “Nick” (to all his friends) Nichols is doing pretty well in Las Vegas as an executive at a Las Vegas advertising agency. After unwittingly buying the winning soda, he gets a chance to shoot a three point shot at halftime of the coming NCAA regional finals in Phoenix. Should he sink the basket, he wins a cool million bucks.

We have all seen those shots on television sports over the years to the point that such promotions have become commonplace. But what author Brian Rouff does is to take a commonplace event and then dive into the backstory. The book isn’t so much about the shot but the four weeks leading up to the event and the pressures Nick feels from all sides. Not only his internal expectations in that he wants the money and doesn’t want to look pathetic on television, but also the sudden expectations of others as he puts everything on the line in a single minded quest to make the shot. Unlike the advertising stuff, this is work and as he goes about his temporary job, he learns more about himself and others than he ever thought possible.

For something completely different set in a dark future, you might want to try…

New Pacific
By G. Miki Hayden
Silver Lake Publishing
ISBN # 1-931095-80-9
Large Trade Paperback
$13.95 US

In this not too distant future, the NEW WORLD ORDER has actually come to pass. Along with the effects of a steadily increasing population and global warming, large monolithic corporations have completely replaced governments. National boundaries and interests no longer exist and instead, corporations ensure peace and stability worldwide while taking care of all. Those that die, beyond those that die from natural aging, do so due to accidental technology glitches and the survivors are well paid. The world is a controlled safe place but dissent and freedom still simmer in mankind.

For Tanizaki Takashi, those issues do not exist, as he is a small part of the huge corporation known as Moritomo and acutely aware of his place in it. Summoned to Singapore by his supervisor, Najita, he goes and follows rigid protocol. His role is what it is and Najita reminds him of that repeatedly before assigning him the task of finding a missing scientist, Dr. Sato. Dr. Sato has created a living weapon system that could be targeted to a number of variables including, a person’s age, gender, race, etc. Dr. Sato may have taken a part of it with him and they want their property, both Dr. Sato and his weapon system, returned to them.

Takashi begins the hunt, which will lead him to the Moon and Moritomo’s lunar colony. In so doing and while coming to terms with the realization that he is an expendable pawn in a high stakes power game, he begins to question his own life and reason for existence. When the pawn becomes self aware, it ceases to be a pawn and becomes something more.

Filled with social commentary about a world that may be coming, this intriguing science fiction mystery presents a dark tale that does not seem that far fetched at all. As the read moves forward, the levels of corporate deception become more complex as do the possibilities for escape. Ripped from his place in the world where he had become all too complacent, Takashi looks deeply into the abyss in search of himself. The question becomes can he survive long enough to find the answers he seeks.

The final book is a chronicle of one character’s journey into the abyss of addition….

Duck Blood Soup: The Shocking Story of a Real Dr. Jekyll & Mr. Hyde
By Joseph Molea, MD
Mystery and Suspense Press (iUniverse)
Large Trade Paperback
218 Pages
$16.95 US
$27.95 Canada
ISBN # 0-595-21843-1

For Dr. Rocky VanSlyke, resident of All Saints Hospital in Philadelphia, waking up after a seizure caused by drug use should have made him stop. But it didn’t and his slide continues further into the nightmarish world of prescription drug addiction. His methods of choice being Demerol and Percocet. As he begins to lose control over both his personal life and his professional life, the reader is repeatedly taken back in time to his early childhood, teen years, and college life in a search for answers. There were numerous warning signs in every stage of his life, but like his seizure, he didn’t see them coming or what they were.

As the pages pass, the reader is exposed to the joy of escape through addiction in the beginning, which soon morphs into a nightmare as the addition goes out of control. That time when addiction rules every second of every day and becomes subservient to everything else. The slow slide into madness continues throughout the work leaving the reader to wonder if this Rocky will get off the canvass one more time.

As a novel, this is an incredibly disturbing read, which will resonate in those with addiction problems. According to the cover, it is “Based on Actual Events” while in the intro the author asks “ . . . to be judged, not as an autobiographer, but as a writer of fiction.” One wonders where the line is because the work reads all too real from start to finish. For those who have never understood the power of addition over every fiber of a person, this dark and disturbing book is a must read. Afterwards, it might just be a little clearer for you.

So there you have it. Three books to consider and three more reasons why it is worth it to look at other places besides the big publishing houses for your reading material. Your experiences may vary of course and my recommendations are just that—recommendations. More next time and as always feel free to drop me a note at with your comments, observations, and suggestions.

Thanks for reading!

Kevin R. Tipple © 2004