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Monday, April 21, 2014

Zimmerman Sells Painting of Trayvon Martin for $30,000? Wake up, people.

George Zimmerman sells painting of Trayvon Martin for $30,000 on eBay. This is a fake story that's being circulated. Sadly, even by credible news outlets on social media.

It's important not to believe everything you see on Facebook, even when WBLS 107.5 and News Nerd post fake pictures and stories that aren't even true. Keep your emotions in check while reading stuff on the internet and always check the facts. Some people are just out there to stir the pot and make assholes famous.


Friday, April 11, 2014

When life imitates your own art.

For those who read my debut novel, Pandora's Succession from 2010, you would've read about an ancient microbe that was accidentally unearthed from under the polar ice caps and misused by the wrong people. I was often criticized that the scenario was either "too out there" or "that's impossible because viruses nor micro-organisms could survive that long under the ice."

Having a degree in biology not only helped me to write fiction, but credible fiction. It's always great to have research back you up. However, it's even sweeter when life imitates your own art.

Sunday, April 6, 2014

Lost in Fast-Food Translation.

Paris, France, 10 years before.

Russell had about a hundred euros to his name, but all he could think of was getting something to eat. The last track practice left an airy void in his stomach which kept protesting giving him warning growls that could compete with those of a bear. 

He spotted a McDonald's across the street. And although he doesn't eat out often, he felt that a crispy McChicken would hold him over for the next few hours.

Unlike back home, this McDs was worse with the line ups. For a large portion of country to dislike Americans with a such a passion, it appeared that the French shared the same affinity to high caloric and greasy foods.

Russell made it to the counter. He didn't even need to look at the menu since he always ordered the same thing.

He smiled at the cashier, who was a young petite girl. "J'aimerai avoir un MacPoulet, s'il vous plait." May I have a McChicken, please.

The cashier scrunched up her face, narrowing an eye."Quoi?"

"Un MacPoulet."

"Tu veux un quoi?"

Russell couldn't believe this. They had to have chickens in France. How could she not know what a MacPoulet is.

"Vous connaissez le poulet," Russell then proceeded in bending both arms to look like chicken wings and moved them while bobbing his head. "Ca fait, Pwok, Pwok, Pwok! Tu sais, le poulet. Je veux un MacPoulet
et en trio."

The cashier suddenly burst out laughing. "Ah, je comprends. Vous demandez pour un MacChicken."

Russell scrunched up his face. "Un what?"

The End

The Demeter Code—the sequel to Pandora's Succession—will be out this summer. Visit and sign up to the mailinglist for more details.

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Yeah, I know my novel's full of typos and poor grammar. But you still ain't getting a refund.

I was on Facebook yesterday and came across a buddy's blog. He works in a bookstore and is an avid reader. It stands to reason why I wasn't surprised why he was livid after having purchased a poorly edited and formatted novel. It turns out that the author of said novel runs his own publishing company, and has a few authors signed up (Good luck to them). As an writer, I understand exactly where my buddy's coming from. Authors have a responsibility to ensure that their books are up to publication standard before they're released. And by publication standard, I'm referring to books that are free from typographical and grammatical errors. Furthermore, they should be properly edited for contentin that the subject matter be as accurate as possible. Failure for an author to do so will result in them pissing off his or her fanbase, which will eventually result in lost sales.

If an author decides to publish independently and is not a skilled editor, formatter, and graphic designer, then they ought to hire a team of professionals to assist them in each of those tasks. Even if they're skilled editors, it's better that they seek out a professional because it's always best to have a fresh pair of eyes look over one's work. Real publishing houses have in-house editors, formatters, and graphic designers, as they ought to cover these costs and not leave them to the author.

Unfortunately, many first-time authors fall victim to being conned by fake editors. I'm not ashamed to admit it, but I was once a victim of a fake editor when I wanted to publish my first novel. I was new to the game. I had big dreams, big ambitions, and had very little money to invest. And, like most first-time novelistsnaive. I had enough common sense not to trust myself to edit my own novel. After all, tired eyes don't often yield the best results. Following a short period of web surfing, I found an editor (or at the time, I thought she was one) who was willing to work on my first novel while not charging me an arm and a leg for it. I got it back about two weeks later. I read the first few pages and saw the corrections she made, felt confident, and sent it to my eBook and print formatter.

Fast forward to several weeks later, I got some great reviews. Unfortunately among them were complaints about the poor editing. I was surprised, because I put my faith (not to mention paying close to $500 Canadian) in this so-called editor. I was devastated, I felt cheated, but worst of all, I was embarrassed. Was I wrong in trusting this editor? Yes. I should've done more research into this person and the company she represented. Not to mention, I should've re-read my novel (or at least beyond the first few pages). Did I learn from this mistake? Damn right I did. It took me a while, but I came up with the money to pay a professional editor. As time went on, I became friends with bestselling Canadian author, Cheryl K Tardif, who kindly referred me to her editorLisa Martinezwho was kind enough to take the time out of her busy schedule and clean it up. She also edited my second novel. Once the revised edition was back up on Amazon, the complaints about bad editing ceased.

If a reader, regardless of how much they paid for a novel, complains about bad editing, then it's the responsibility of the author to take those complaints seriously and make the necessary corrections as soon as reasonably possible. The same thing goes for a publisher.

It's not uncommon to read reviews or complaints about poor editing and formatting. But when the author, or as in this on my buddy's blogthe publisherresponds with asinine comments, such as "You have to much time on your hands" (and even proving their incompetence by misspelling the word 'too') rather than take the matter seriously, then they deserve to be bashed and exposed. Those kind of people aren't real publishers nor authors, they're con-artists.

The Demeter Code, the upcoming sequel to the spy-thriller, Pandora's Succession, will be out later this year.

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

I nearly died. How dare you send me a sympathy note in English.

It's so sad how the political climate in Quebec brings out the worst in people.

Many of you would've heard about Rich Peverley, who plays for the Dallas Stars, collapsing on the bench during a hockey game due to cardiac issues. The Montreal Canadians sent out a sympathy tweet in both French and English. However, the guy you see below in the picwho's obviously a Separatistreplied to both the Montreal Canadians AND the Dallas Starsby tweeting: "Au Québec le francais en premier. C'est nous respecter." Translation, "In Quebec it's French first. Respect us."

Don't ask me why Mr Filion believes why language takes precedence over someone's health, or why he thinks that Quebec's language laws extend on social mediaor even in the state of Texas. Don't even ask me why he also had the nerve to file harassment complaints with the Sûrété du Québec (Quebec Provincial Police) due to the huge Twitter backlash he got fromwhere I assume to beacross the country.

I politely tweeted him, letting him know that someone nearly died, and that he ought to show some respect. And I did so in French, followed by English. He replied to me, writing:

Translation: "I respect and am sad for Peverly, but show some respect for the French majority. Thank you."

I replied to him, asking him how did I disrespect the French majority. As expected, he didn't reply.

If there's one thing that I hope Mr Filion has learnedand hopefully the PQ government that's in poweris that you cannot politicize everything. There's a time and place for politics, and one of those places where it doesn't belong is during a hockey game. By the same token, it most certainly doesn't belong in a hospital.

Saturday, January 25, 2014

When Elitists Control The Book Industry, Everyone Loses.

I read a great article by Mercy Pilkington, as it not only illustrates how difficult it is for independent authors to break into the industry but also the BS that's perpetrated by higher ups in the industry to prevent indie authors from getting ahead. I can say for a fact that the Canadian book industry is just as biased towards independent authors. Adding to Pilkington's article, government-funded organizations such as the Canada Council for the Arts (CCA)with regards to authorsonly hands out grants to those they refer to as 'professional writers.' What's their definition of a professional writer? Someone who's not self-published. By that definition, Joe The Plumber and Sarah Palin are considered to be professional writers, even though Joe's first book tanked and Harper Collins claimed that Palin didn't even write what they considered to be a book. Although it may be their intention to promote the arts in Canada, they're doing the opposite because by excluding Indie authors, the CCA is hurting many careers.

Those who've read any of my books would know that they're all professionally edited, have professionally-designed book covers, and are professionally researched. They can also be found in bookstores and in libraries across the island of Montreal and in Barbados. I also do my own promotion, attend book expos, and even got a television interview last summer.

What's good about being traditionally published is that the publisher takes care of the editing and distribution of their books. On the flip side, even if an author is traditionally-published, publishers won't necessary allocate huge funds that are needed to promote them
—leaving their authors to do most of the marketing themselves. Furthermore in most cases, the author has no say on how the book cover will look. As for the price (which is usually very high) publishers control that too. When that's all done, the author usually only keeps 10-15% royalty off of the sale of their own book. On the other hand, independent authors usually keep 70%.

There's a popular myth that all indie novels are substandard. Rubbish. Not all traditionally-published authors are bestsellers. To be fair, I've read some great novels that were traditionally published. Consequently I've also read some that were so bad that I wondered how high on crack the editor was when they chose to accept the manuscript.

Mercy Pilkington did a great job exposing the truths about the publishing industry in general. As for my opinion about the Canada Council for the Arts, I don't have any respect for them. With the funds they receive from the Canadian government, would it hurt them to have a grant section that's reserved for indie authors? By the same token, would it be to their detriment that they recognize the achievements of Canadian indie authors. By implementing guidelines that are designed to exclude an important segment of the arts community, they not only come across as being unprofessional and uninformed, but also a sad bunch of elitists.