Saturday, May 3, 2014

Speaking in Forked Tongues - My Book Is Out, And It's For Sale!  


 Books: Well, it's been a long time coming but the day is finally here… My most recent book, Speaking in Forked Tongues, is finally available for sale in both electronic and paperback formats everywhere books are sold, although that link goes to Amazon.

Back in 2007, I started this blog with the intention of talking about writing and games in a 50-50 ratio, it didn't really pan out that way… After trying my hand at it a few times, I realized that my own writing process was mostly internal, and discussing it publicly came off like I was trying to appear smarter than I am. As such, I held off on discussing it for the most part, and I've been more than happy to drench Coffeecola in games. But, since today is a big day, I'll make an exception to that and touch on my books just a bit.

Speaking in Forked Tongues was originally started in 2001. Back then I was working a job that gave me several hours of unsupervised free time, and rather than sitting and staring at a wall, I decided to use that time to start chipping away at a book. Progress came fast and furious, and I was knocking out at least a couple of pages a day. Then, as it always does, life happened.

After getting through a big chunk, maybe the first third, my ex decided that she wanted a change of pace and my life was thrown into a period of nonstop turmoil. My entire existence became focused on dealing with that situation. All of my work on the book got put on hold, and I basically stopped writing about anything for quite some time. I even left

Although I came back to reviewing games after six months of being in a dead zone of productivity, I still left the book untouched… I just wasn't feeling it, and definitely wasn't in the right frame of mind. Then, after a number of years went by and I started to feel better about my life situation (thanks almost entirely to my wonderful wife Gina) I started considering fiction again. I didn't get back to Forked Tongues right away, though.

Somewhere around 2005 or 2006, I ran into a friend of mine who’s an accomplished author published many times, and we started talking about writing. I mentioned that I had an unfinished manuscript, and we started kicking around ideas… Eventually we came to the conclusion that we should work on a book together. The thought of getting a fresh start sounded great, and I went for it.

The result of this partnership was an all-new project called Remember Tomorrow, which was completed and has been on sale in electronic format for some time.

It was kind of an experimental project for both of us and my co-author wanted to retain his anonymity, so out of respect for that, I didn't talk about it except with a few close friends. Now that Forked Tongues is out, I asked if he would agree to me breaking the silence, and he said yes. So, for anyone who's interested in my first published work, you can buy it right here, published under a pen name. It's a strange little book that took a few twists and turns on its way to being written, but parts of it really make me smile.  

After Remember Tomorrow wrapped up, I took a break to evaluate and still felt good about being in the writing process again, and this is when I decided to pick Forked Tongues back up. Although I still clearly remembered what I was doing in the story and where I left off, what I didn't account for was how much I would change in the years between when I began and when I resumed.

Looking back at my manuscript and notes, they sometimes seemed as though they were written by a different person… Certain ideas had changed, most of my references were out of date, and a big portion of that book was written from a different personal perspective. (It also had way more sex and videogame references, too.) It was a little challenging to get myself back in that same headspace and some things just had to be scrapped or reworked overall, but I think I did a solid job of finishing what I started so long ago, and here it is.

So what’s it about? 

Here’s the synopsis….

Bren Barran is a normal guy in most ways. All he really wants is a sweet girlfriend and enough time and money to play videogames, but his job keeps getting in the way. After all, opening trans-dimensional gates to hell and summoning demons for money isn’t the sort of thing that you can leave at the office when the clock hits five. Even so, he’s doing all right until someone (or something) starts making people in his line of work disappear. With nothing in his corner except for his job skills, a few friends in low places, and a good head on his shoulders, Bren’s got to do everything he can to figure out what’s going on before all hell breaks loose (literally) and he ends up dead… or much, much worse.

 …But for those who want to know more, Speaking in Forked Tongues sprung from a few sources.

Primarily, it was based on my love of the Urban Fantasy genre before it was hijacked by heavy romance elements and too many vampires. There’s nothing wrong with shapeshifting sex and undead love triangles, but the genre blew well past the saturation point for that type of story and it seemed like there was nothing else on the shelves. I wanted to try my own hand at something that didn't fit that profile.

Another source of inspiration was modern life as a (then) young person trying to make their way in the world. When I was growing up, my parents said that I should get a 9-5 job and just stay wherever it was until retirement age, but they didn't realize how much things had changed since their time. I mean, they both got jobs right out of high school and were able to make enough money to buy a house, a couple of cars, and would have been very comfortable if they’d been better about managing their money.

Leaving home and being on my own was a bit of a struggle. This book wasn't written as some sort of "woe is me" story at all, but it sort of comes from a reflection of that reality – and it’s a reality that’s only gotten worse.

Many Forked Tongues test readers gave me feedback that they didn’t like how the main character depended on his parents so much, or that he didn’t somehow ‘grow’ or become more capable and independent by the end of the book, and to that I say “Yup.” Although Forked Tongues is not autobiographical, I’ve seen so many friends struggle to make it and fail, only to come back and live in their old room, or to borrow money from their parents, or to somehow otherwise lean on their families for survival. The reality of being a successful-out-of-high-school person (or even a successful-out-of-college person) is a myth these days, and I wanted to capture that feeling.

Another theme was one of wanting to resist having a typical hero sharp enough to put everything together and overcome everything on his own. I wanted to explore a story where the main character was just an average guy in most ways, and was doing the best he could with a really out-of-control situation. What would the average guy do? What would be realistic? Of course, that's not to say that my book is entirely realistic -- far from it--- but I do like that he struggles quite a bit and leans very heavily on support from others, which calls back to the situation I just referenced.

So with all that stuff aside, one final (and enormous) influence in writing this book was a 1989 film called The January Man starring Kevin Kline. 

I can't remember the first time I saw this movie, but what I do remember is that it completely blew my mind. Anyone interested in non-standard crime films should check it out, because this story about a detective tracking down a serial killer has one of the most memorable endings I've ever seen -- it was totally realistic in a way that most films wouldn't dare, and I desperately wanted to capture some of that same honesty and sensibility.

So, there you have it. 

Before I close this up, I’d like to thank my wonderful wife Gina for all her encouragement and support. She kept me going so many times when I wanted to kick it all to the curb, and I'm eternally grateful for the nudging. I’d also like to thank my anonymous writing partner for getting me back into the game, Rebecca Quintana for giving me some valuable last-minute feedback,and my publisher Typhoon Media (and their imprint, Lightning Originals) for taking a chance on me, and this story. It's always been a dream to see a book of mine become a reality like this, and they made it happen.

Thanks also to you for reading this post, this blog, and my books, if you pop for them! If you do, feel free to drop me a line and let me know what you thought, or you can always post something here as well.

…Oh, and to my readers who don’t give a rip about my book, no worries. The next blog post will be back to Coffeecola business as usual! See you then!


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2 comments: to “ Speaking in Forked Tongues - My Book Is Out, And It's For Sale!

  • J


    Interesting post man. Actually, I am more interested in you personally then in your book haha. The relationship with your dad, son, is interesting to me because you do mention for example your son once and a while yet he doesn't seem to live with you. Makes me curious.

    Also, your relationship with your father, is also interesting to me. I can relate to difficult relationships between fathers and sons. Interesting, especially, because I feel you are an intelligent guy who isn't afraid at all to be authentic to the outside world and who is vulnerable at times, and not arrogant at all. A combination which is rare in the modern day. Yet you are a little bit of a public person.

    Perhaps this all sounds a bit overdone, but I do feel you're a nice guy, though also a little stubborn ocassionaly. Ah well, I do not know you, and it's also fun to try and shape an image of someone based on some audiologs (GC Podcasts) and some vague senses and ideas.

    Would be nice to meet you once, though I am like in Seattle once every 5 years, max. If you however decide to pay Europe a visit, lemme know. We might drink some coffecola (I drink neither haha).

    But first things first: perhaps I'll buy your book after all, perhaps it shows me a bit more of who you are and perhaps it is just plain fun to read.

    One complaint I have in general when it concerns popular media, is that the usual topics are always superhero's, agressive action hero's or people in trouble. I am neither. Movies, books and so on about regular people are rare, so therefore I like where you're coming from with Speaking in FT.

    If you btw decide not to post this post, I'll understand, since it might be a bit too personall for/about you. No problem! I might actually prefer it.


    Hey J -

    just to clarify, I have two boys, one with me (age 5) and one who lives with him mom (age 12).

    As for the relationship w/ my dad, not much to say. he's pretty much into himself and never really learned to say sorry, or to take accountability for his own actions w/r/t others. I don't have a lot of time for that kind of guy, and he never had much time for me, so that's where that ended up. Haven't seen him in several years.

    If you pick up my book and give it a read, LMK what you think!