Tag Archives: writing

The Lovecraft Effect

HP LovecraftGreetings, Dreamers!

Kat over at “The Gore Splattered Corner” blog asked me to write a guest post on how H.P. Lovecraft influenced my writing and my writing style.

Lovecraft and his style have always fascinated me.  I have been a fan since I was very young, and it wasn’t until recently one of my reviewers pointed out the similarity in style and writing.  Creating a mythos for Waking Dream was my goal from the beginning, but not expanding upon the Lovecraftian Mythos.  Since then I’ve tried my hand at a couple Lovecraft inspired stories, and have begun a minor expansion of the Mythos. This article explains how I got where I am as a writer.

You can head over to The Gore Splattered Corner and read my little trip down memory lane.

Thanks Kat for letting me ramble on your page!

Back again and here to stay!

Greetings, Dreamers!

I just wanted to update you all on my status as of late.  The Flu that I had for two weeks, completely destroyed my rhythm of writing and my daily life.  It is only now that I am able to get back into the swing of writing again.

I have a bit of news to relay.

1) Waking Dream: The Unkindness has been pushed back for obvious reasons, and I think we are looking at a late spring release.  This book will be much more involved that the first, and truly sets the stage for the rest of the series.

2) I will be no longer doing serial stories on the site, as it has presented an editing and continuity nightmare.  I will be finishing “The Shadow of the Soul” as a single post in the near future.  I am also working on a short story for submission to magazines,  that will not be published on the blog — “The Darkling Imp at Twilight”

3) I am very excited to tell you that I have been asked by two best-selling authors to work with them on a new mystery series.  There will be 12 books in all, and I will be writing two of them!  More details to come on that once everything has been agreed on.

I will work on “The Shadow of the Soul” over the long weekend, and have it done for you hopefully by next week!  I will also be giving a synopsis of my new short story series, “Tales from the Supernaturalist”.  This series will be written in Lovecraftian style, with “The Darkling Imp at Twilight” as the introduction to our would-be hero, Zachary Tyler.

Thank you all for remaining loyal to my blog in my absence!

The Ramblings of a Weird Author

MichaelHibbardGreetings, Dreamers!

I wanted to take a moment and talk a bit about who I am and what I write.  I’ve gained quite a few new followers so I though it was time that I gave you a little more insight into me, what I write, and what inspires me to continue.

I am laying it all out there, because I am a communicator, well, online that is.  In real life, I’m a bit of a recluse, and am not really good in social situations, which I am working on.

Who were my inspirations?

I’ve been an avid reader since I was really young.  The first adult book I read was “The Legend of Sleepy Hollow” by Washington Irving.  I’ve always loved the supernatural, so I continued with other authors such as Poe, Lovecraft, King, Bradbury, F. Paul Wilson and many others.  Oddly, my two biggest influences were Lovecraft and F. Scott Fitzgerald.  Lovecraft is an inspiration because he loved description, words and his creation of the Cthulhu Mythos.  Fitzgerald is an inspiration for his writing style, his ability to expose the dark underbelly of our society, and for giving us my favorite book, The Great Gatsby.

The Waking Dream is not all that I write, but it is a huge focus on my career because it spans so many genres and deals with many social issues, both for adults and young adults.  I love to write horror, especially Lovecraftian Horror, because I do love a good scary tale, and it seems that there are not enough new ideas coming out.  I have not been scared by anything that has come out lately.  I abhor slasher type books, because the news does a pretty good job of covering that genre.  It’s all too real and close to home.

The inspiration for the Waking Dream truly came from my personal quest to understand the nature of reality.  I am inspired by a variety of things: the change of seasons, weird happenings, interactions between people, philosophy, religion, science and the paranormal.

When Did I Start Writing?

I really started writing stories when I was 12.  I was attending a Catholic School in Woodbury, New Jersey.  It was very old, and the basement was very creepy.  I wrote a screen play about dark rituals happening in the basement at night.  My teacher at the time, Mr. DuBois, fully supported me filming it and got permission for me to do so.  Unfortunately, before we could do the film, my parents moved to Pennsylvania.

I was an avid Role-Player, and I’ve played just about every table-top game there is, and I enjoyed being the storyteller more than the player.  I would write very involved campaigns, which were essentially interactive stories.  Then when I got on the internet, I went crazy in the chat rooms with story lines, and had three channels devoted to different settings.  Castle Nightshade was a high fantasy storyline set in a world I created with over 100 people playing at any given time.  Night City was a vampire based storyline with many of the same people playing back and forth.  And then finally, The Waking Dream which only had 12 players as a private group.

My first novel, which was published by Phantasm Books, is my crowning achievement as an author.  I was very pleased to have my book recognized so quickly without having been published anywhere before.  Waking Dream: Devlin is just the first of many to come.  I enjoyed writing it, hated the editing process, and have stressed the promotion.  But in the end, I am happy with what I have produced.

Here is the list of books I have written to date:

What is the Waking Dream All About?

I do get a lot of people who are very confused about the subject matter contained in the Waking Dream.  I have many journals with all of the particulars about the Waking Dream Universe, because it is quite expansive.  I am trying to create a world that is wholly unique, but emulates Cthulhu Mythos, or Frank Herbert’s Dune.

I am fascinated with the universe.  I rarely watch any non-science shows, because I want to understand the nature of reality.  So, I started the Waking Dream as a synthesis of all the concepts I feel to be true about our universe.  If the universe were just a dream we should be able to control it.  It’s just a matter of learning how to.  We are all children, no matter how old we get.  But, we tend to start to disbelieve that we have the power to change it.  We get wrapped up in politics, our daily jobs, acquiring things, and we stop believing that life really is very magical.  The fact that we exist at all is magical in of itself.

The Waking Dream is targeted to people who want to believe and it is appropriate for young adults, as well as adults.  I explore social issues, so there is a lot of allegory in the novel.  I also explore topics that plague our children today, such as coming of age, self-mutilation, poor self-esteem, dealing with loss, and how to fit in.  On the social level, I address self-sustaining communities, religion, reincarnation, the degradation of society, politics, and the struggle between good vs. evil.

What Do I Do for My Day Job?

Currently, I am a data analyst, and I do enjoy it, because it has helped my ability to market my book, and self-promote.  It all comes down to numbers.  But, on the side, I am a programmer and I can program in 11 different computer languages.  All of it self-taught, as I am a true autodidact.  Structured learning is not my thing.  I tend to learn better when I can move at my own pace.

However, I did not start out in this field.  I have had many many different jobs in my 43 years.  Here are the ones I can remember:

Gardener, Greenhouse Worker, Pastry Chef, Sous Chef, Line Cook, Toy Store Manager, Video Store Manager, Blockbuster Assistant Manager, Medical Sales, Web Designer, Project Manager, Grounds Keeper,  Coder, Software Architect, Business Architect, Graphic Designer, and now Published Author.

All of the jobs I’ve had contributed to my experience as a writer.  I have learned something valuable from each of them, though I wasn’t necessarily happy in each job.  Working at a toy store during Christmas was an absolute nightmare!

What Are My Hobbies?

I am a firm believer in the saying “I’ll sleep when I’m dead”.  Those of you who frequent my blog know that I try to post at least once a day.  But I also have my facebook pages, my four secret twitter accounts, and my main @arkangyl account.  So I do love social media.  But my other hobbies include:

Drawing/Illustration (I have designed all but one of my book covers), Guitar, Drums, Music in general, Cooking, Console and PC Gaming, Role-playing, Poetry, Reading, Philosophy, Quantum Physics, Mathematics, Programming Apps and Board Games.

Writing I do not consider a hobby.  This is what I ultimately want to do for a full-time job, and I feel confident that I will get there.  As I’ve said to my other fellow authors, who are just starting out, it takes patience.   Everything requires work and honing one’s craft.

Why Did I Do This?

First, I really did this because I wanted you all to know who I really am.  I believe that it is important to engage my friends, (I hate the term followers).  I do no spend all night looking for people to follow.  I tweet and if someone follows me, I’ll follow them back if it seems we’d be friends!  I always respond to everyone who engages me, because I do not want to sit on some pedestal and have people adore me.

Second, I am what I write.  I am not writing to become rich and famous.  I doubt I could deal very well with fame, as I am a recluse, as I mentioned.  If you know who I am, perhaps you’ll be more interested in the stuff I write, and more importantly, you’ll understand why I write the way I do.

Again, thank you for listening, and I am always interested in a good conversation, either here, on Facebook or on Twitter.

If you hit the Interview Menu at the top, you can listen or read about my other interviews.

Happy Friday the 13th, my friends!

Interview with Susan Wingate

DevlinGreetings Dreamers!

For those of you who didn’t get time to listen (shame on you), you can listen to my 30 minute interview with best-selling author Susan Wingate.

Listen here

You can hear all about Devlin, the Weirdness and Immortal Memories!

I urge you to check out her books and blog at http://dialoguebetweenthelines.com/

Thank you, Susan for the opportunity to speak on your show!

 

Self-Publishing is Not a Sin

Greetings, Dreamers!

Today I wanted to just talk a bit about Self-Publishing for all my friends and followers who are also self-publishing.  I have learned a great deal about the industry, and the traditional publishers are starting to see that they are quickly becoming antiquated.

My first book Waking Dream: Devlin is actually published through a real publisher.  However, my novellas and Immortal Memories are self published.

After a great deal of thought, it occurred to me that most publishers are now moving to Print On Demand and eBook services.  The same exact services that one can get through Amazon, CreateSpace or Smashwords. So I’ve decided, at least for the moment, to stay with self-publishing.  But here are some observations that you may find helpful.

Good Investments:

If you are not a graphic designer, then you should definitely get someone to design the cover for you.  The cover does say a lot about a book, regardless of the saying.  I have read some really terrible books with amazing covers, and some really good books with very bland covers.  But customers do judge your book by the cover.  It is worth paying 300 to 400 dollars for a nice cover.

If you are not an editor yourself, you should definitely have someone edit your work.  But, you can do it yourself if you turn on ALL of the proofing features in your Word Processor, and read why it is flagging something.  But, it is a good investment to get a good editor to make sure that the book flows, that you have continuity in tense, and the dreaded “missing word” syndrome which I often suffer from.  Make sure you get an editor that likes your genre, any old editor will not do, and make sure they have a good track record.

If you are not familiar with print formatting, it can be very difficult.  There are many videos and articles on formatting your book for print, but it is usually fairly cheap to have a professional do it for you.

After that, the only other good investment is making sure YOU read your novel a few times.  When you think you’re done, read it one more time.  Yes, it can get tedious, but it is a very good investment in your time if you want to be successful.

Bad Investments:

Do not ever pay for reviews.  The only thing a reviewer should get is a copy of your book.  Paid reviews are a waste of money, and you run the risk of paying money for a terrible review.  There are many blog reviewers on WordPress.  You simply have to send them a query and ask if they’d be interested.

Ads on Facebook, Twitter, or GoodReads are a waste of money you can invest in other things, such as flyers, business cards, posters and copies to sign at an event.  I did a great deal of experimentation on this, and I have found unless you are willing to shell out thousands of dollars for high profile websites, you are just throwing money down the drain.  You should be the advertiser.  You can go to forums, join book clubs, and groups on various social media outlets.  You are your own best marketer.  You wrote it, so you know how to sell your book.

Swag item give-aways are another waste of money.  Most people will come get your swag, then leave.  If you want to do give-aways of your books for reviews, that is the best thing you can give away.

Do not pay for entry into an award!  Any award that requires you to pay for it, is probably not reputable, and the award will mean nothing.  Some of the real book awards, such as the Bram Stoker, or the Amazon Breakout Novel Award are reputable, and they also will consider self-published books.  There are many others out there, you just have to do some searching.

Organizations:

A professional writer’s organization is an excellent investment.  Some require you to have been published, even if its just a short story.  I am a member of the Horror Writers Association which does not require you to be published to become a member.  The Author’s Guild will also allow self-published authors once they hit a certain number of sales.  But they both offer services that help authors establish themselves and become more successful.

Social Media:

Here is one of the biggest things I’ve been analysing for quite some time.  I have found that the best social media outlet to advertise your book is Twitter, without a doubt.  But, you should be thoughtful about your tweets, and don’t tweet every 5 minutes “Buy my book”. You should craft a variety of tweets, trying to include your tag-lines, or short quotes, or even review excerpts.  You can # the genre you are in, and ask for RTs.  Which brings me to my next point, followers.

Finding followers is an onerous task.  You shouldn’t just start following anyone you see in your recommended, or other author’s followers.  Use the search tool to find tweets by people who like you genre or the themes in your book.  Follow these people.  Also follow other authors, because its not a competition.  Writers are readers too, and I have found that they will RT you if you return the favor. Make sure that only 25 to 30 % of your tweets are about your book.  Tweet links to things related to your book subject matter, or other books in your genre.  Let your followers know that you’re a real person, and ALWAYS respond to your followers when appropriate. Remember, you need them more than they need you.

The next most important social media aspect is blogging.  You are a writer, so you can certainly come up with things to blog about!  This allows your readers to see what kind of person you are, how well your write, and it allows you to engage them in comments.  Blogging has been the biggest part of gaining readership.  If they like your blog, chances are, they will buy your books.  And don’t just blog about your books.  Blog about writing and offer tips.  Write flash fiction, short stories or poems.  Anything that will show your fans that you are dedicated to being a writer, and not just sitting back waiting for the millions to come rolling in.

Pricing:

Be reasonable when pricing your book.  There is nothing wrong with a .99 cent book.  In general, readers are more apt to buy your book if its between .99 cents and 4.99, depending on the length.  If you are self publishing,  the lower the better to get lots of people buying and reading it, and hopefully review it.  My guideline is usually, .99 cents for anything less than 17K words, between 17K and 40K  1.99 to 2.99 and anything above that between 2.99 and up.  Pretty simple really.

My final note on self-publishing is that you have to be patient, diligent and realistic.  The publishing world is changing, so don’t give up just because you have slow sales.  Keep writing, be prolific, and make sure your work is polished.  There are more than enough readers in the world, and they will always want new books to read.

Whether you are self-published or traditionally published, you will not be quitting your day job with your first book.  At least not when its initially released!

Good luck!

New Review for Devlin!

DevlinGreetings, Dreamers!

I have a few bits of information today.

First, I just received an awesome review from Victoria Craven of Autodidact in the Attic — an amazing writer in her own right.

You can read the full review at Waking Dream: Devlin Book I by Michael Hibbard.

She absolutely got what I was trying to relay in my work, and that gives me hope that the book will start to catch on.  Yes, it is a quick read.  I wanted to introduce the world before getting into the details.  This first book is meant to tease you, because I am going to perform a trick on you, the reader.  I say to you that I am going to make a rabbit vanish into the hat, but at the end, I’ll do much more than make him return again.  Your mind will be left wondering, forced to look into yourself and find your own magic.

Here is an excerpt:

“There’s a bit of Poe and quite a bit of Lovecraft about the thing. A compelling plot, multiple inventive characters and situations and some rather gross moments (in a good way) made this one a winner. I’d definitely recommend it to fans of dark fantasy.

Devlin itself put me in mind of a grown up version of Hogsmeade. Just because you didn’t get your letter from Hogwarts doesn’t mean you can’t be Awakened to your particular ability–that can happen at any time in your life. So take heart!

The events of the book take place in the autumn and there’s magic and the lifting of the veil in a very big way so it’s the perfect book for this time of year.” – V.L. Craven

But wait, there’s more!  Starting next week, I will start posting a series of articles about the philosophy behind the Waking Dream, but it much more than that.  I am going to create a framework that will merge science and religion, creating a new philosophical framework, and drawing from the work of Dr. Erik Andrulis‘, of Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine, scientifically irrefutable “Theory of the Origin, Evolution, and Nature of Life” — which I urge you to read, both his theory and his blog.  I have entitled this new philosophy as Mism, the Merging of all isms.

And just one more thing, my book will be reviewed and I will be interviewed on Elaine Charles’ radio show about the Waking Dream and Devlin the weekend of October 27.  Details will come as to times and what local station you can hear it, and links to the podcast.

Thank you all for helping me write this book, and make the Waking Dream a success.  It is for you, because we need a little magic and hope in this world gone awry.

Waking Dream: Devlin

DevlinGreetings Dreamers!

The day has finally come!  Waking Dream: Devlin is now available for order on Amazon and Barnes and Noble!  Ordering today ensures that you will have your copy by Monday and you can start to explore the Waking Dream Universe! There are already six 5 star reviews for the book.

For more information about the Waking Dream Universe visit http://WakingDreamOnline.Com

Here are the product links and prices in US Dollars, but the book is available globally in English:

Read it, review it, critique it.  Waking Dream: The Unkindness Book II will be molded by your feedback.

Unkind Update

Greetings, Dreamers!

The re-release of Waking Dream: Devlin Book I is on time and will be out on September 22nd! You can pre-order a signed copy today by visiting this link.

Immortal Memories: Volume I has been sent to the editor and includes 2 brand new stories, the expanded version of Place of the Sisters and Vacant Eyes on the Eternal Sea!

Now that all the editing is behind me, I am full force on Waking Dream: The Unkindness Book II. A dark plot will be revealed, and many new characters introduced. This will be a face paced, action-filled book with elements of horror, the paranormal and the supernatural.

I am tentatively expecting to release in the first quarter of 2014! And then I will be working on Waking Dream: The Black Heart Book III, ending the Transformation Series.

Also, mark your calendars for the week of Halloween when I will be interviewed on the Nationally Syndicated radio show The Book Report with Elaine Charles. It will be on air and available through iTunes Podcasts.

Thank you all for your continued support.

Waking Dream (Part 1)

Waking DreamGreetings, Dreamers!

Today I start a new series of posts describing the philosophy behind my upcoming novel, Waking Dream: Devlin Book I. The book will be going on sale on September 22, 2013 — The first day of Autumn.  As an side note, all dates in the book and the actual release dates all play into the overall mystery of the series.

Let’s Begin!

At the basis of it all, the concept of the Waking Dream stems from my own personal studies in a variety of areas.  Its more than just a series of fiction novels, it is an interwoven collection of things I have come to understand to be plausible with reference to the nature of our universe, the formation of life, the human soul and consciousness.  I assert that our present scientific endeavors are looking for the wrong things and that some of the things presented as fact are indeed quite wrong.  There are far too many unknowns, and most of all, we cannot understand nor explain the most fundamental aspect of our universe, Gravity.  In addition, there is this lack of unifying the physics of the big things in our universe (stars, galaxies, planets, life) and the physics of the very small, quantum level (atoms, electrons, singularities).  Even though there has been significant effort in this area, we are still no closer to a true Theory of Everything — well, not an accepted theory that is.  At the end of this post I will list some of the books that have helped shape my understanding of the universe.

The Story of Creation

I began with the Unmoved Mover principle posited by Aristotle in his work Metaphysics. I had been struggling with my own agnosticism at the time, and had been reading the works of St. Thomas Aquinas as a part of my theology curriculum.  After much study in this area, I determined that I had become more of a Deist and that we are responsible for how our lives unfold.  The essence of Free Will.  If the Creator is intervening in our lives, then we do not truly have Free Will.  And I think this is personified even in the bible as “If a man will not work, he shall not eat” (2 Thessalonians 3:10) [“God helps those who helps themselves” is an ancient Greek derivative of this, yet not found in the bible thusly quoted]

In the Waking Dream, the Creator set the parameters for the universe, then moved on to other places, perhaps checking in on us from time to time out of curiosity.  I have always found it quite paradoxical to think that an all supreme being would need us to worship him.  We have created a God to worship for a variety of reasons — mostly to explain the things we cannot explain.  But as time moves forward, we will require God less and less.  This is the fundamental aspect of my philosophy behind the Waking Dream.  Once we realize we are all One being, with each of us a facet of that one being, we will no longer need to rely on a God because we will realize that we are all God and One.

In the beginning, there was One — the first Immortal.  It is he who set into motion the creation of the stars, galaxies, planets.  And through this, other consciousnesses began to form in a place called The Spaces Between, the source of all the energy necessary for matter to exist.  Souls/Spirits coalesce much in the same way stars do, swirling thoughts that accreted from this primordial energy.

One is just the first, and not God.  And through him, the other Celestial Immortals were created through a predefined equation.  From his essence, the Magician and the High Priestess came into being.  They are the ones who created the parameters by which the incorporeal enter the physical realm of the Waking Dream. They also are the ones that defined the ability to affect the Waking Dream, known as Weirdness, my form of magic.

From the Magician and High Priestess, came the last of the Celestial Immortals, the Triad.  They are the Dexter who governs Order, the Sinister who governs Chaos, and the Charnel One who governs death and reincarnation.  And through the Triad the shells that our souls inhabit in the Waking Dream were created, the Sleepers.

All souls, or Dreamers and Immortals, must inhabit a body in the physical world to exist.  Once they have done so, they live out their lives and eventually Awaken to understand that the universe is a Waking Dream.  From this point, they are able to use the inherent Weirdness within all Dreamers to subtly affect the Waking Dream, making the world as it is today.  And when they die, they return to the Spaces Between to begin all over again.  A Dreamer does not consciously remember their former life, except through the phenomenon of Deja Vu.  But when they return to the Spaces Between they retain all of the knowledge of their multitude of lives.  This continues until they reach the state of Immortality, the goal of every Dreamer.

The next part in this series will explore Immortality and the differences between the Celestial Immortals and the Planet Bound Immortals.

List of References I’ve used to create the series:

My First Author Interview!

White Waking DreamLast week I was interviewed by Ms. Victoria Craven on her blog at The Autodidact in the Attic. 

I am very excited about this post, and Ms. Craven asked very pointed and challenging questions to draw out the essence of the series and the purpose of my blog at http://wayoftheweird.com

If you get a chance check out the interview and her amazing blog which explores a plethora of subjects and observations from the perspective of a very talented lady.

http://theautodidactintheattic.com/2013/06/10/interview-with-michael-hibbard/