Well, Where Is It?


I noticed we’re getting quite a bit of search traffic for Book Two, so I thought I’d let everyone know that Sunday won the vote for preferred episode release day.  Therefore, Episode One of Book Two will go live this Sunday, May 5th, at 6p.m.

Any last-minute predictions?

The Object: Book Two is Underway


It’s been a while since I’ve posted anything, and with April being Write Book Two Month, I thought I’d toss some updates your way and wipe the dust off this blog.

The serialization of Book Two is slated to begin Thursday, May 2nd, though I’m considering changing to Sunday postings.  I’m embedding a poll at the bottom of this post for you to tell me what day of the week you’d prefer them.  I have no idea when people read or spend time on the internet.

If all goes according to plan, I’ll be releasing Book Two along with the posting of Episode One, so those of you who don’t want to wait can go ahead and grab a copy.  BUT there’s a catch.  In this season of The Object, we have a side episode that will post on the blog but won’t be in the book.  I can’t share the details just yet, but let’s just say this place is about to get a lot more interactive.  (Hope you like music!)

In other news, I’m going to be publishing a few novels and short story collections written by a local winemaker who’d heard about my minor success and wanted me to take a look at his writing.  I was blown away, and now I’ve taken on the duties of an editor and marketer for these manuscripts, some of which are close to 30 years old.  I’ll have more details on Nick and his books when it gets closer to the publication date.

For now, I’m shuffling between Book Two of The Object and finishing up a secret writing project I can’t tell you about.  I’ll try to post more often from here on out, but if I disappear again, know it’s because I’m writing.

While you’re waiting for Book Two, I’d appreciate if you would share your thoughts on Book One.  The more Amazon reviews it gets, the higher it will climb in popularity lists, which means more readers and more revenue to make this place more dynamic and interesting.

Post a review on Amazon

I’d also love to hear from those of you who’ve yet to post a comment here, on the Facebook page, etc.  Helps keep me from thinking I’m talking to myself.  Haha.  Feel free to share any thoughts you have on the story, predictions, questions, etc.

Later.

Oh, the poll:

New People, Hello!


I thought I’d drop a quick note to say hello to the new subscribers coming in after last week’s free promotion that brought in 10,000 downloads of The Object: Book One.  Hello and welcome.  We’d love to hear what you think of the story, which characters you like or dislike, where you think the story is headed, etc.  We do take recommendations for murder, if you want anyone dead.  (This offer is limited to characters in the book and does not extend to real people.)

As you can see, things are a little slow right now.  I’m finishing up a side project and then plan to use the rest of March and all of April to write most (or all) of Book Two.

In the first week of May, Book Two‘s episode’s will begin to post weekly with illustrations and original music.  At that time we’ll be posting more regularly.

For those of you still waiting for your Kickstarter rewards, I’ll have your books out in the mail by the end of this month.

Chad

Matt’s Music Monday: “Matt Notes” For Freebird


Welcome back to my little corner of The Object’s blog!

This Monday is going to be a little sillier than usual.  I’m introducing “Matt Notes”!

Some of you may or may not remember Cliffs Notes.  I don’t know if they’re still used very often in school, but the general idea behind them was that they’d give you a condensed version of a book.  They’d give you a run-down of the characters, plot, general outline, theme, etc.  You could write that book report without ever having read the book.  What a time saver!!

I thought it would be fun to use the same idea for a piece of well-known music.  Take a popular song, cut it up, rearrange it a little, and cook it down.  Matt Notes capture the essence of a popular song, and serve it up to the listener in approximately a minute or less, saving you the trouble of having to hear the entire thing.  What a time saver!!

Here’s the Matt Notes version of Lynyrd Skynyrd’s Freebird:

And there you have it!  I have a lot of fun making these for some reason.  Please keep in mind, if you happen to see one of your favorite songs or musicians, that this is all in good fun.  I like some of the songs I’ve done this to.  No piece of music is safe.

Is there a song you’d like to hear the condensed, Matt Notes version of?  If so, leave a comment or send a message my way.  Chances are good I’ll make it.  For academic reasons.

 

-Matthew

Matt’s Music Monday: A Song Called “Version”


Hello.  My name is Matthew Wayne Stillwell, but feel free to call me Matt, if you’d like.  It’s Monday, and that means to I get to snatch up The Object’s blog from Winston for a moment.

Just in case you don’t know, I record sounds.  Some of those sounds make the score for The Object.  Some are for projects with other people I collaborate with.  Some are used for personal ideas I have, such as albums.  And several are so off-the-wall or impractical that they never really see the light of day.

Each Monday, I’m going to share a recording that could have originated from any of these sources.  And, this Monday in particular, I’d like to share one called “Version”.

The idea for this piece of music was not originally mine.  A fellow musician presented the recording and idea to me.  The concept was intriguing:  He had created a piece of music with the intention of it being passed around, downloaded, and manipulated freely.  The goal was to allow people to take his version, and make their own version from it, essentially creating what would hopefully be an “evolving” recording.

And since I’m now sharing it here, feel free to download it, chop it up, record over it, mangle it, or whatever.  Anything goes.  Just be sure to pass it along somehow when you’re finished, so other people can work on their “version”.  Perhaps one day you’ll hear it somewhere, and it will be almost unrecognizable.

If you decide to make a “Version”, I’d love to hear it!

 

-Matthew

 

 

 

Matt’s Music Monday: Dirt in the Ground


English: Tom Waits during an interview in Buen...

English: Tom Waits during an interview in Buenos Aires, Argentina, April 2007 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Yeah, it’s Tuesday, but we’ll pretend otherwise for a moment.  This is the first installment in a new series of posts.  Check the blog on Mondays to see the next installment.

To kick off MMM, our musician/composer Matthew Wayne Stillwell has shared a cover song he recorded entitled “Dirt in the Ground”, written by Tom Waits.

According to Matt, this song’s raw sound reflects the atmosphere of his upcoming album, which he is currently recording.

Check out Matt’s most recent album, Radio Friends at CDBaby.

If you like what you’re hearing follow Matt on Facebook.

Listen to “Dirt in the Ground” by Matthew Wayne Stillwell

Haven’t heard the original?

A Funny Letter From My Wife


Kylie and her mom went to Alabama yesterday morning to visit her grandmother who was hospitalized due to flu-related complications.  She left while I was at work, and when I came home, I found this note on the fridge (transcribed below):

survival guide, courtesy of my wife

My survival guide for the week, courtesy of my wife.

Hey boyfriend husband!

Please don’t forget to feed the fish at least three times a day or he hides in the corner and looks dead.

Check Django’s food and water once or twice a day.  He drinks a lot.  Don’t forget to take him out before work!  (Also, he needs treats.)

If you remember, please pick up some grits and cornmeal for Granny! =)

I love you bunches and miss you already!

Hope you get lots of writing done and have fun while I’m gone!

❤ Kylie

[P.S.–] Rick and Abby are coming on the 19th.  They will be here around 4 or 5.  Ichiban at 6:00.

[Side note] Don’t forget to set your alarm!  It’s on top of the microwave.

My response:

Dear Kylie,

I’m happy to report that Lester Freamon [our fish] is alive and well.  I’m only feeding him twice a day because he’s starting to look like a blow fish.

Django is full and hydrated and now has a bag of treats.  He messed up the mini-blinds in the bedroom, and this morning he tore up a full roll of toilet paper.  I took him on a walk a little while ago, and he claimed us a lot of new territory by peeing on every bush and tree he could find.  We now own most of the neighborhood (until another dog pees on Django’s pee, I guess).

django reading blood meridian, cormac mccarthy

Django reading Blood Meridian by Cormac McCarthy. Big fan.

I’ll be picking up organic grits and corn meal for Gloria at the farmer’s market on Saturday.  I’m also going to pick up some more of those Filet Mignon steaks.  If you’re not home by Sunday, I’ve promised yours to Wes Manakee.  I hope you can find it in your heart to forgive me.

I love and miss you too, Kylie, and I’ve written several thousand words since you’ve been gone.  As far as fun, this experience has been less Tom Cruise in Risky Business and more Alan Ruck in Ferris Bueller’s Day Off.  (“Let my . . . Cameron . . . go!”)

Tell your family I said hi and I hope your grandmother gets better.

Love,

Chad

P.S.–I’m definitely down for some sushi but not so much for looking like a chump who couldn’t find a date.  (I’ll just bring Django with me.  Haha.)  Kidding on all accounts, except for the sushi part.

P.S.S.–The alarm on the phone worked just fine this morning.  Turns out you don’t have to kick me to wake me up.  (The cracked ribs are finally starting to heal, by the way!)  I’ll forewarn you, I’m getting accustomed to hitting the snooze button ten times without reprimand.  You better hurry back! =)

Want to Promote Your Book?


I mentioned this on Twitter a few days ago.  We’ve decided to open up the blog for guest posts on nearly any topic.  If you want to promote your book, submit a book or movie review, let our readers check out a sample of your writing, tell us what’s pissing you off about the publishing industry, or anything else you think we’ll find interesting, submit your post and we’ll get back to you if we like it.

In other news, submissions are officially open today for the Amazon Breakthrough Novel Award.  I entered A Circle in the Woods last year, made it to the second round, and was then rejected because both reviewers couldn’t get past the cruelty to animals.  A sorely biased decision, but that’s what contests are all about.

I think The Object stands a much better chance, as it’s a more family-friendly story.  No dead animals, only dead humans–for the most part.  Sprinkles is nowhere to be found, after all.

The great thing about this year’s ABNA contest is that Amazon has dropped Penguin and are publishing the winners themselves.  This means two things:

  1. A grande prize of $50,000 and a publishing contract are rewarded to the winner, while five finalists receive a first prize of $15,000 and a publishing contract.
  2. Instead of languishing in the ranks with no promotion whatsoever from Penguin, you can bet your ass Amazon will be pumping the hell out of the winning books, so the winner can expect to earn much more than that sweet $50,000.

I’m pumped.  Maybe we’ll get some hellaciously good news around the time we’re posting Episode Five or Six of Book Two.  Wouldn’t that be awesome?

Any other authors out there planning to enter?

Chad

Tarantino Unchained


Quentin Tarantino at the 82nd Academy Awards, ...

A Review of Django Unchained (2012)

Last week my wife and I went to see Quentin Tarantino’s Django Unchained with two friends, an occasion we anticipated so highly that we named our new dog Django months before the movie’s December 25th release date.  Quite an act of faith, but Tarantino has never disappointed before.

The movie started off as expected: old-fashioned title screens with an original and old-fashioned song, leading to a Tarantino-esque opening scene of witty conversation and dramatic monologues, only this one didn’t have quite the pace and depth as those in Reservoir Dogs, Pulp Fiction, and Inglourious Basterds.

Still, the movie was funny as hell.  Much of the humor is topical, relying heavily on novelties like the shock of seeing Leonardo DiCaprio using the n-word so believably and naturally in the company of Jamie Foxx and Samuel L. Jackson, two guys who can be both funny and intimidating.  (Although Samuel L. Jackson probably takes the prize for the most racist character, if you can believe it.)

Christopher Waltz plays a German bounty hunter and former dentist, Dr. King Schultz, who comes upon two men in the night leading several slaves to auction.  A few gunshots later, and Dr. Schultz “purchases” Django so Django can lead him to three slave masters he intends to kill for a large bounty.  In exchange, Schultz agrees to help Django find his wife, who was sold to another plantation after the two of them tried to escape.

This movie has caused a big stir.  People are up in arms, calling Quentin Tarantino a racist and a gun-worshipping hack who repackages old genres of film and sells them as originality.  A lot of people believe Django Unchained disrespects a sensitive part of American history, the enslavement, torture, abuse, and systematic murder of an entire race of people.

If that’s the case, why didn’t Inglourious Basterds make such a splash in the PC pool?  That movie was a cannonball of violence, and just like in Django, Tarantino burst into a time of tragedy and outrage and used it as his playground.

I can tell you why.  The difference is, in Inglourious Basterds, nearly all of the violence was committed against Nazis.  Here in America, no one has a problem with Nazis getting their heads bashed in.  We don’t see them as brainwashed, conditioned, and drugged human beings.  We don’t see them as human beings at all.  They’ve historically been represented as pure evil.

In Django Unchained, on the other hand, you see violence against slaves–violence against the victims, instead of just the perpetrators.  (Imagine if Quentin Tarantino directed Schindler’s List with the directing style he used in Kill Bill: Volume Two.  I imagine it can be hard to stomach for some people, especially those who went into the movie unaware of his previous work.)

IMG_0605 - Quentin Tarantino & Jamie Foxx

IMG_0605 – Quentin Tarantino & Jamie Foxx (Photo credit: Anime Nut)

It’s funny how conditional our tolerance for violence is.  American culture in particular is saturated with it.  I’m not a proponent of removing violence from film and literature.  A few pages into one of my books and you’ll know some of my writing is lush with violence.

Why do I write about violence?  Because it is here.  It’s everywhere.  It cloaks our very existence.  It must be addressed for its relevancy.

What should we do with it?  Artists, journalists, filmmakers, and writers should always respect the finality of death by portraying violence in an appropriately horrible and unappealing fashion.  To revere violence or even handle it sloppily is to promote it.

Which begs the question: how do we categorize Quentin Tarantino’s use of violence–in all his films, not just this one?  It does appear celebratory.  Jules and Vincent were some pretty cool guys, after all.

Here’s what I have to say about the matter: Quentin Tarantino proved with Reservoir Dogs and Pulp Fiction that he can manipulate his audience into looking at things a certain way, into having specific types of conversations.  With Django Unchained, he’s done it again.

Think about it.  How long has it been since a book or film has launched the issues of slavery and violence into the mainstream for nationwide discussion?

He tried to rile everyone up with Inglourious Basterds, but the conversation never took off.  This time, he brought it home to us.

When we talk about violence and related topics–gun control, mass shootings, war, personal rights, etc.– we need to remember the core of the matter.  Communication and debate are good things.  The real-world violence itself is what’s bad.

What did you think of this movie?

Winston Emerson

Take My Book, Any Format. It’s Yours.


Now that the new year is upon us, we plan to start promoting a lot to draw in the biggest crowd possible for the premiere of The Object: Book Two, Episode One.

In the spirit of that, we’re now offering a free digital copy of Book One in any ereader format.

(Damn!  That dude did get hit in the head!)

Wait, there’s a small catch.  Since Book One is enrolled in Amazon’s KDP Select until February 1st, we can’t give away or sell digital copies of the book until February 2nd.

So if you would like to sign up for a free copy of Book One in any format, fill out the form below, and it will be emailed to you on February 2nd.

(NOTE: For Kindle readers, Book One will go free on Amazon a few days after these copies are delivered.)

When you’re done filling out the form, feel free to tap on them there share buttons.  Thank ye.

Winston Chadwick Van Emmerstein III

I Got Knocked in the Head


Not kidding.  I walked into 2013 only to find a ten-foot cedar post swinging at my head like a baseball bat.  And it connected perfectly, almost knocking me to the ground.  I’ve never taken a blow to the head like that.  Hopefully it knocked some sense into me, in some way or another.

It happened on Wednesday at work.  One big, stumpy reminder that I’d much rather write for a living.  Have you picked up your copy of The Object: Book One?  Haha.

In other news, we’ve got the book lined up for some pretty cool promotion, which will hopefully stir some activity.  All our efforts to get it listed by the big free sites like Ereader News Today failed during this enrollment period.  We’ll get more free days at the end of this month and try again for the listing, which will bring in thousands of free downloads and hopefully generate lots of activity here.

I plan to get back to posting regularly in a week or so.  I’m in a little hiatus from The Object at the moment as I work on another project.

Anyway, stay tuned for a new feature to this blog, which we’ll be announcing in the next day or so.

Beware of Santa


Santa Claus

Santa Claus (Photo credit: Christopher S. Penn)

Christmas is almost here and once again we’re all faced with the terrors of St. Nicholas, the supernatural interloper who demands entry into our homes once a year to eat our food and, if we’re lucky, leave us gifts under the evergreen we sacrificed for his pleasure.

If you don’t have a chimney, you have to leave your door unlocked on Christmas Eve.  Otherwise, if Santa is hungry, he’ll break in, and if he’s not hungry, he’ll move on to the next house, leaving no presents.

And where does Santa get his elves?  Those are children he stole from their beds, enslaved in the eternal winter of the North Pole as punishment for being awake when he peeked into their rooms.  Like Francis Wolcott, the serial killer of prostitutes in Deadwood, Santa doesn’t like to have been seen.  Wake early on Christmas Eve, my friends, and spike your eggnog in the early evening.

You may want to distract yourself from the whisper of the wind and the clomp of Santa’s boots on the roof.  If so, I recommend getting lost in a good book.

Merry Christmas!  Now do this:

Freebies Galore Over Here


I’m in a rush but I wanted to let everyone know that some of my books are free today. Just click on the Books tab for links. A Circle in the Wooda, The Drought, and The End of the Party. Get ’em while you can!

skull and crawdad, book photo for A Circle in the Woods, Justin Comley

Ten-Thousand Views Giveaway Winners


Download A Circle in the Woods on Amazon

Time to knock the dust off a few copies of A Circle in the Woods for three lucky winners.  If you’re a winner, and you’ve come here for The Object, bear in mind that the book you will soon receive in the mail is much more violent, much darker, and unconventional in many ways.  You may love it or you may hate it, but if you can’t stomach realistic violence and cruelty, don’t read this book.

With that said, congrats to the following people, who will be receiving an email shortly:

Barbara Pohle-Schulze

Laura S.

Thom Millman

Kyle B. Stiff

Shelby Haun

Before you go, I’d like to announce a second round to this contest!  I’m holding a vote for one of you to win a free paperback of The Object: Book One as well as the other two books in the series, upon release.  So get as many people as possible to vote for you in the poll below!  Voting will close Wednesday evening at 11:59pm Central Standard Time.

Good luck!

P.S.–Don’t forget about the contest for A Circle in the Woods!  You can enter after reading.

A Free, Funny Book for Indie Authors and Readers


I ran into this book on the Amazon forums last week.  Written by author and forum frequenter Stella Deleuze, Rage Against the Indie is a sort of How-To book in two parts:

First, the rant.  Stella goes on at length in a humorous but meaningful way about the horribly annoying mistakes self-published authors make while trying to promote themselves.  I admit I blushed as I read it, finding several mistakes I’ve made, time and time again.

Next, suggestions for improvement.  For a beginning self-publisher, the second half of this book serves as a great reference guide or checklist when editing and uploading your next big release.

Best .99c I’ve sent in a long time.

Rage Against the Indie is FREE for Kindle today.

Rage Against the Indie, FREE on Amazon Today Only

Rage Against the Indie, FREE on Amazon Today Only