Tag Archives: opinion

Get. Up.

The following 225-word scene is a sneak-peek at my upcoming book in Elithius.  Let me know what you think!

Emiya fall

(note: Ultra Malam=the Evil=the monster, etc)


PROTAGONIST: AETHYER GRIM

What is this thing!?

I grip the ground.  Have to get up.

The monster steps closer.

I push against the ground, causing pain to spike through me again.  My arms quiver; I can’t even lift my own weight.  You have to!  I scream at myself.  My eyes fall to my sister.

Addy…Addy…Addy!

The Evil is five feet from us.

Get up!!

An arrow slams into the left shoulder of the Ultra Malam.  The Evil jerks backwards in response, uttering a harsh, furious growl, and grabs the shaft of the arrow, ripping it out.  Where did that come from?

“Get away from them!  Over here!” someone shouts.  It’s a male’s voice.

Bernard.

“Over here!” calls someone else.

Frances.

The Ultra Malam raises its eyes from me and Addy, its gaze alighting on a new target.  I immediately know what the Evil is about to do.  “Watch out!” I scream, forcing the words out.  Or at least I tried to scream.  I am surprised at how weak and hoarse my voice is.

The Evil vanishes into the air…as I expected.  I wish I could turn around, to see what’s going on.  Or I wish I could rise and help, or at least get Addy somewhere away from here.  She’s already passed out…I hope she isn’t dead.

Because if she is…I’m not too far behind.

I black out.

The Advice I Got From a Hollywood Producer

writing

A while back, I had the honor of asking for and receiving advice from Joel Eisenberg, a Hollywood producer whose books are now becoming a television series (The Chronicles of Ara).

This information just doesn’t get old!

So here are the questions I asked him, after reading a post about his journey as a writer.

My Questions

Hi Joel,

Would you call your story of becoming a writer…relatable? How much of your path relied on luck, being in the right spot at the time, etc.? I hear stories like yours a decent amount, and I always find myself sighing: How could that ever happen to me?

From what you said, I understand that you literally gave up everything to become a writer. Maybe it didn’t seem like you were giving anything up, but from my perspective, it certainly seems like it. You ditched reason and what others would call having a “normal life” (by ditching your job!). I understand that this worked for you in the long run…but would you encourage others to do the same thing, even though this could potentially distort someone’s life…and then, in the end, it may not even pan out the way it did for you?

Just coming to you honestly, thanks for any advice!

-Dominic

His Reply

Love the questions, Dominic. Thank you and I appreciate your honest feedback more than you know. Let me try to take these in order.

“Would you call your story of becoming a writer … relatable?”

– My path was my path; some may relate, others may not. Remember, Dominic, as I mentioned in a prior reply above – everyone’s path is individual. Some may have commitments with their children, for example, while others may have no children. Some may work 15 hour days to pay bills and work jobs they loathe, while others may have certain freedoms based on the amount of money in a savings account. Your path will never exactly follow another.

However, like John Grisham, who worked countless hours as an attorney and wrote “The Firm” in whatever spare moments he had, like Stephen King and so many others … A person can ALWAYS find the time to write, or send an email query, or replay to a blog post. It becomes then a question of time management and discipline to most prudently work with the tools you have to attain your goals.

“How much of your path relied on luck, being in the right spot at the time, etc.?”

– That was actually my problem for so long. I waited and waited and waited some more … and nothing happened. There were projects here and there, stacks of returned scripts … but my career went nowhere. It’s only when I got desperate that I realized only I could turn all this around. I did something I never did – I wrote that book (and did have a few non-performing films prior) – and it made all the difference for me. I PROACTIVELY kept in touch with all the people who contributed that trod similar paths, and I PROACTIVELY kept up my networking group for years. I got out of my comfort zone. I don’t believe “luck” was part of the equation.

“I hear stories like yours a decent amount, and I always find myself sighing: How could that ever happen to me?”

– I made that same observation and asked myself that exact question for so many years. I’ve so been there. But see above. I never stopped writing. I never stopped dreaming. The sacrifices were outrageous and I would not recommend those sacrifices to everyone. But, again, I’ve always had a sort of primal “need” to write; it’s always been more than a simple “want” for me. I made it work. The others who share similar stories made it work as well.

Look, sacrifice is a monster. I ended relationships, risked sleeping on the street, and a relatively new marriage, didn’t eat well, paid bills late … I would not recommend this. But my point is — I found the way. I tell people who attend my courses, speaking engagements and such that they don’t have to go to the extent I have. I did all the work. I learned what works and what does not, and why. There is no road map; if there was everyone would follow it and everyone would share the same degree of success.

There’s not a roadmap, though, but what there is are very specific strategies to save you an insane amount of work to help you get where you need to be.

Not luck, science.

Hope the response helps …


I was so happy that he took me seriously and actually got back to me!  I also respected that he didn’t sugar-coat anything; he was being totally honest.  Overall, I think what he said was encouraging, but you still get the sense that being a writer is HARD.

What do you think of his response?  Thoughts?


So I published a book!!!  Here’s the description:

elithius-cover-official

His parents abandon him when he’s thirteen. He’s left to care for his little brother and sister. Life is tough. Things can’t seem to get any worse.

But then Evil Itself breaks down the door. It kidnaps his siblings. And It leaves him bleeding out on the floor of his own home.

The Golden Lands, one of the Three Worlds of Elithius, is supposed to be a place of light, peace and happiness. But the Golden Lands hasn’t been such a place for John Hedekira, a jaded, hot-headed sixteen-year-old. Joined by his friends Faith Pinck and Bernard Tanner, John must rescue his brother and sister from their captors…before his siblings can be sacrificed to the ominous God of Death.

Do check it out here if you’re interested!!!

 

To All New Bloggers Out There…

So I’ve been noticing that, now more than ever, there is an influx of new bloggers.  What’s more, many of my most recent followers seem to be bloggers that are just starting their journey here on WordPress.

To all of you, welcome!!!

thank you gif
WELCOME!!!

A lot of you seem to be very attracted to my more educational posts, like “The Reason Why People ‘Like’ But They Don’t Comment”.  So I thought I’d write another “educational post”, particularly geared towards you new bloggers.

The First Thing You Want to Do…

i-am-a-writer

Identity yourself to yourself.  What does that mean?  It means that, as you start writing, as you start reaching out, networking, meeting other bloggers, targeting specific audiences, you need to know first and foremost WHO YOU ARE as a blogger.  You can only reach the audience you want once you decide what kind of blog you are going to run.

So identify yourself to yourself.  What do you think you’ll write about?  Do you review books or movies?  Write about sports?  Cooking?  Are you trying to promote a book or a business?

You need to figure this out.

The truth is, it’s obnoxious as a reader to visit a blog about book reviews, only to find they decided to go off on a cooking tangent.  Centralizing what you write about is important to maintaining and developing a community around yourself.

However, if you’re the kind of person who likes to blog about anything and everything, disregard this completely! 😀 😀 😀

Next: Identify Your Audience

Sig and Armstrong

I cannot stress this enough: once you discover and surround yourself with like-minded bloggers, blogging becomes so much more FUN!

The number one word that captures the essence of blogging is COMMUNITY.  And to build and enter the community that you want, you have to find the right people.

So identify your target audience.

A while back, I wanted to target an audience of anime-watchers.  Why?  I’m writing a book that is very anime-esque (among other things).  So I tried to write about anime, to reach out to other people that liked anime…but it just wasn’t working.  Why?  Because I don’t watch enough anime to connect with other people.

Although I thought anime fans were my target audience, it took me a while to understand that I was wrong.

So I took a different approach: I started targeting fellow writers.  And let me tell you, that made a big difference!!  I discovered my community in them, aspiring and self-published authors like me.  And suddenly, my blogging world truly became alive.

Identifying your audience is important, especially if you’re trying to promote something.  But, in the end, it’s even more important for the sake of creating a community…which, once again, is what blogging is all about!

Stick With It

tired squidward

We all struggle with this from time to time.  We lack motivation because life gets busy, our blogging efforts seem fruitless, or other bloggers seem to be doing so much better.  Believe me, I get it.  I’ve been blogging for three years and I only have 420 followers.  To some of you, that might seem like a lot, but it’s not.

The goal is to keep at it.  Fight through the dull moments.  Keep on writing.

Believe me, if you stop writing, you’ll accomplish nothing.  I know that seems like an obvious statement, but it couldn’t be more true.  If you stop writing, you’ll accomplish nothing.

So you must continue to write.


I hope these tips were helpful!  As always, Let me know what you think!


Like the way I write?  Check out my new book Elithius on Amazon here!  The Kindle version is only $0.99 for a limited time only!!  Get it now!

elithius-cover-official
Cover art by Elizabeth M

 

An Honest Plea for Suggestions

Emiya fall

That’s right, the guy who acts super smart and who seems to have all the answers is now going to ask you for help.  (I’m talking about myself, in case you didn’t know!)

So I’ve been trying to market my book, Elithius…and it hasn’t been going so great.  Getting the word out is hard, especially because I’m young and haven’t made many connections yet.  I basically know what I need to do (network more, get onto social media more, sell ads, etc.), but I don’t know HOW to go about all of this in a smart way.

So, that’s why I’m coming to you.

I’m blessed to be in a community of fellow writers and authors, both aspiring, self-published, and traditionally published.  Since I’m in this community, I feel brave enough to ask you: what should I do?

Be honest with me.  How did/do you promote YOUR book?  Is there a path you recommend me take more than another?

I know my story isn’t trash.  I’ve heard it from multiple sources, and honest sources, whether among my family, friends, or fellow writers, that my book is good.  It has potential.  But I just don’t know how to GET IT OUT THERE.

So I’m wondering if any of you have suggestions?

I’m going to give you a short blurb about my book, the one I use to promote it.  I’m doing this only so that you can know what my book is like, so that maybe you can help direct me towards a certain path.  (So, basically, I’m not showing this to you for promotional reasons)

john banner
John Hedekira, the main character of Elithius…

His parents abandon him when he’s thirteen. He’s left to care for his little brother and sister. Life is tough. Things can’t seem to get any worse.

But then Evil Itself breaks down the door. It kidnaps his siblings. And It leaves him bleeding out on the floor of his own home.

The Golden Lands, one of the Three Worlds of Elithius, is supposed to be a place of light, peace and happiness. But the Golden Lands hasn’t been such a place for John Hedekira, a jaded, hot-headed sixteen-year-old. Joined by his friends Faith Pinck and Bernard Tanner, John must rescue his brother and sister from their captors…before his siblings can be sacrificed to the ominous God of Death.

With a story that combines the feelings of Harry Potter, the Lord of the Rings, and Percy Jackson, Dominic Sceski brings to life a riveting tale of light versus darkness, magic, friendship, trust, betrayal, forgiveness, and redemption that will leave you on the edge of your seat and desperately yearning for more.

Okay, so this is the basis, the feel, of my story.  How would you market it?

I’m just asking you with complete honesty for help…any suggestions would be greatly appreciated.

Thanks so much for all you do!!!

-Dominic

 

I Haven’t Actually Been Dead…

thank you gif

To those of you that thought I was dead….to those of you that WISHED I were dead…well, sorry to disappoint you, but I’m actually not.

I’ve been busy.

Sorry, I used the “b” word….

My family is getting ready to move, I had a graduation party (for me!) coming up.  I’m working a lot because I’m poor.

Yatayatayata!  Who cares!?

I’m back.  Here to continue writing inspirational posts about persevering as writers…here to continue writing about blogging…here to promote my story.  And with more effort.

I’m at 420 followers.  It’s such an honor to be a nag to so many people! (yes, you read that correctly)

Cheers!

Finally! Real Neat Blog Award

I know I’ve been nominated for numerous awards by people and I’ve been doing a terrible job at participating.  I’ve been very busy with house work and graduation stuff and writing Volume 8 of my series. So I’d like to apologize for my absence.

I was nominated by Nicolle ( https://storiesofahsi.wordpress.com/ ) for this award. If you get the chance, check out her blog, she’s a great writer and has a deep sense of community.

So, on to the award.

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How it works:

Basically, you thank the person who nominated you and provide a link to their blog.  Then you answer the 7 questions of the person who nominated you, then you nominate other people and ask them 7 questions.

Here are Nicolle’s questions and my answers:

  1. What is your main inspiration as a writer? Which writers inspire you, and why do you write?

That is definitely more than one question! But it’s a good one. My main inspiration is wanting to influence the world and wanting to express myself to the world. Other inspirations would be the writers of my favorite stories, such as The Lord of the Rings, Fullmetal Alchemist, Mistborn, etc. I write because I want to and because it makes me feel alive, because I feel like I’m making a difference when I do so.

2. What is your favourite scene(s) from a book / movie / comic / any other media?

Another tough but good question. The end of The Two Towers when Sam is talking about how life is worth fighting for, and Rohan is simultaneously defeating Isengard, is definitely a good moment. Or Aang beating the Firelord in Avatar. Good moments.

3. What is your favourite book genre(s)?

This is actually an easy one. Fantasy all the way. I like the dark stuff to be honest, but anything with swords, magic, and lots of symbolism is my favorite.

4. What do you do to get into a writing mood before a writing session?

I listen to music that corresponds to the mood of what I’m about to write.  I usually prefer to write at a specific time of day, when my outside surroundings reflect the mood of my story.  To be honest, I feel like these are just the normal things a person might do!

5. Which character (from any media) would you be best friends with?

Harry Potter!  The more I read the Harry Potter series, the more I realize how similar I am to Harry.  I think we could be best friends because of how well we could relate to each other.

6. If you could travel anywhere in the world right now where would you go?

Hmm, another tough one! I’d say Ireland.  I’ve always wanted to go to Ireland.  Not sure why, I just have.

7.  What is one thing you truly regret on a deeply profound level and wish you could change? Or are you at peace with everything?

One thing I could change?  My opinion of myself.  It’s flawed.  I will say no more.


Thanks so much to Nicolle for her deep and interesting questions!  Once again, be sure to check out her blog here.

I Nominate…

Anyone who read this and wants to participate!  I know this might sound lame, but I’m going to ask you the same questions, just because they are so great.

For the sake of clarity, here are the questions again:

  1. What is your main inspiration as a writer? Which writers inspire you, and why do you write?
  2. What is your favourite scene(s) from a book / movie / comic / any other media?
  3. What is your favourite book genre(s)?
  4. What do you do to get into a writing mood before a writing session?
  5. Which character (from any media) would you be best friends with?
  6. If you could travel anywhere in the world right now where would you go?
  7. What is one thing you truly regret on a deeply profound level and wish you could change? Or are you at peace with everything?

Thanks so much for participating, I’m looking forward to your answers!

Book Review: The Writer

I don’t normally do this kind of stuff, but I’ve been meaning to review this book for a long time.

The Writer by [Mihai, Cristian]

Title: The Writer

Author: Cristian Mihai

Genre: Literary Fiction/Satire/Psychological Mystery

The Plot: A man named Jonathon Fisher feels invisible to the world.  He just wants to be a writer and be successful.  He wants to say something to the world.  But stuff happens and gets in the way, things get complicated…I can’t really say too much more without spoiling anything.

Good news and bad news…let’s start with the bad stuff.

There wasn’t too much plot structure.  You’re thrown into the middle of this story (actually the end of it, but I’m spoiling things) and then you need to piece together the story as you go along.  You don’t get a great feel for any over-arching plot or an antagonist, a problem that needs to be solved, etc.  Well, not until you’ve read over half the story.  And even then, the plot, as it turns out, seems kind of random.

Something else that I was up in the air about was how there seemed to be a touch of magic and fate in the story…supernatural powers at work…but the book seemed so…normal most of the time.  Like it seemed as if it were about a normal person struggling and fighting through life, but then all of this “hand of God” or “Enter Satan” stuff comes into the book.

To say the least, it made the story interesting.

The Good Stuff

This book really drew you in because the THOUGHTS of the main character (Jonathan Fisher) were just so compelling and realistic.  I immediately clicked with the feelings of the main character.

The main character has these lofty, philosophical, and, at times, very cynical thoughts.  The power and realistic feel of Jonathan’s thoughts, his depression…it was amazing.  He was so human, it was actually frightening, but terribly invigorating.  I must admit that I felt as if I were glancing into the author’s soul.

Another great thing about this story is the amount of irony hidden therein.  SO MUCH irony.

Something about this story was incredible because, for not having a plot, it was a page-turner.  You wanted to just read and read this main character’s thoughts, wanted to see if his life would turn out okay, wanted to see if his dreams would come true.

And then the plot finally kicks in, and you’re like DANG.

Then it really becomes a page-turner.

You just desperately want Jonathan to be okay, to feel better about the world and other people.  You want him to make good decisions.  Because, by now, you’re SO drawn in.  You want everything to be okay and make sense in the end.

And does it?  Not completely.

By the way, the final sentence of the book makes your jaw hit the floor.

OVERALL 

I loved this book.  It spoke to me in so many different ways.  At times, it kind of hurt me to watch someone similar to myself have these same struggles as Jonathan Fisher.  Jonathan has this pessimistic, atheistic worldview, which was surprisingly realistic and meaningful to me, even though I’m a devout Catholic.

One of the solutions to Jonathan’s life, if I may be so bold, would’ve been to have faith in his life; he is utterly pessimistic and depressed because he can’t see the good in anything.  But that’s what faith does; it transforms your worldview so that you CAN feel hope, even in those moments when the world seems like a terrible place; so that you CAN find reason to smile, and think, “Dang, it’s a good world!  Life is good!”


Definitely consider giving this book a read!  You can find it here.

How Much Is Enough?

stressed-out-writer

As bloggers and writers, both published, self published, or unpublished, I think we all get to that point where we wonder: is it ever going to be enough?

Are my efforts ever going to be WORTH it?  How much longer do I have to persevere?  When will my story take off?

Fair questions.  Everybody is asking them.

The truth is, I don’t know how much is enough.  I don’t know where you have to be or how far you have to go.  The world is a cruel place, especially to writers.

Why?

Well, first of all, there’s simply TONS of competition.  Years ago if you said, “I’m a writer–I wrote a book” people’s jaws would drop in amazement.  “Really?!” they’d say.  “I could never do that!”

But nowadays, if you tell someone, “I wrote a book”, they very well might reply, “Yeah, me too!”

Let’s face it.  Being a writer isn’t an anomaly anymore.

You know what is an anomaly?   BEING A WRITER THAT STANDS OUT.

It’s easy to be a writer.  It’s easy to be a GOOD writer.  But being a writer that stands out is what everyone is looking for.

I guess that’s your answer then: how much is enough?  How far do you have to go?

As far as it takes to make yourself STAND OUT.

Lots of people have great writing skills.  Lots of people have good stories, compelling characters, etc.  But not everyone is able to put all of those traits together into something wonderful, unique, and capable of being BETTER than everyone else’s.

i-am-a-writer

Take a step back.  Analyze yourself and your writing.  What makes you stand out?  Or what WILL make you stand out?

If you can figure out the answers to these questions, then you’ll soon know how much is enough.


What do you think?

P.S.

My book, Elithius, is still available for download and purchase here.  Lemme know what you think of it!

elithius-cover-official
Cover art by Elizabeth M

Elithius 1.5

It’s been a while since I’ve given you more inside information about the world of Elithius.  Today, I want to share with you a concept and a “species” I made up that ties in with that concept.

Heyndai (heyn-DIE)

What’s a heyndai?

Basically, a heyndai is a manifestation of yourself…but a manifestation of the version of yourself that you think you’ve always wanted to be.  Thus, your heyndai contains and fulfills every desire you’ve ever had for yourself.  Everything you’ve dreamed of being–your appearance, your social status, your skills, your level of intelligence–is encompassed in your heyndai.

Image result for epic ichigo pictures
Your heyndai says you can become like this…

Your heyndai can only be seen by you; only you yourself will ever experience it.  It is something that you must encounter directly through your mind–in a dream or a vision, for example.  So, technically speaking, your heyndai isn’t even real!  It is purely the product of your imagination and your views of yourself and the world around you.

Sounds pretty neat, right?

Well…sort of.

The problem is, what if your desires aren’t pure?  What if you’ve always dreamed of being beautiful, and your heyndai makes people divorce their spouses for you?  What if you’re tired of being bullied, and wish to become the bully?  What if your idea of being perfect is flawed?

The problem with heyndai is that it’s an alluring, captivating version of yourself.  So you are always trying to become your heyndai…and you can!

You just have to forsake your soul to do it.

That’s right.  Allow yourself to be consumed by the idea of becoming your heyndai, and that’s exactly what will happen: you’ll be consumed.

white ichigo
….but really, it makes you become this

 

This whole concept of heyndai and whether they are good or bad is very significant in Elithius.  Should we try to become heyndai?  Do we desire to become something pure?  If your heyndai is what you’ve always wanted to be, do you even know what it is you actually want to be?  How well do you know your desires?

These are the struggles of John Hedekira as he begins to make contact with his heyndai.


Deep questions, right?

But then, that’s Elithius for you!

Interested in Elithius?  The first book is only $0.99 on Kindle and only $12.00 as a paperback!  That’s a great price for a book that’s 300 pages long!  Click here.

elithius-cover-official
Cover art by Elizabeth M

What Makes a “World-Changing” Story?

Ever notice how there are hardly any stories that encourage society or the way that humanity has progressed?  How many stories are about patting humanity on the back and telling it “Good job!”?

Think of all the classics out there.  Think about all those books you had to read in English.  What were they about?

Image result for book cover of 1984

They were about change.  They were about revealing how crummy this world really is.  They were all about prophecy, and how our world would fall apart if we continued down the same path.  They were about destroying something that shouldn’t even exist.

Sure, there was a lot of symbolism.  Nothing is ever clear in great art…because it makes you think.  Only the wise will ever understand.

Well, I’m asking you to understand what I’m saying.  What makes a world-changing story, you ask?

A story that rips out and burns the status quo…and helps us see why…and maybe shows us a better one.

anime rage

Tell the world it sucks.  Go ahead, doing it.  You’re probably only a writer because there’s something about your life that you hate, or there’s something in this world that disgusts you.  You only write because you want to change or you want to be heard.

Isn’t that why you’re here, dear writers?

The stupid, forgotten stories are the ones that congratulate humanity.  What’s there to congratulate?  The only times we are triumphant is when we have God working through us.  Other than that, we fall short.

Write something that makes someone stop and think.  Bring their life to a sudden halt; make them slam the brakes and let them just sit there in the middle of the road, listening to their engine idle, as they strive to grasp the audacity of what you have said.

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Think I’m wrong about all this?  Go ahead and prove it.  Your opinions are welcome here.

What do you think?


By the way, I’m officially a self-published author.  If you like me and you like the way I write, check out my fantasy novel here.  It will stop and make you think.

elithius-cover-official
Cover art by Elizabeth M