Tuesday, June 25, 2013

2-Year-Publishing-Anniversary

Wow, it's already been two years since I published my first book, The Impenetrable Spy. I'm kind of in shock, because it feels like it was just yesterday. I'd like to thank everybody who's supported me and purchased my books along the way, I never expected to sell more than a few copies in the beginning, and I certainly never thought I'd be running my own website. 

Thanks for keeping me inspired; I'm looking forward to writing "Agent J" soon.

Sunday, May 19, 2013

The "Office" Finale

   I have been watching the Office for the past three years, and have seen every episode twice. The show lost a lot of viewers and some humor when Steve Carell left the show, but it has been decent since and I've continued to watch. When I heard that the show had one last season, I was looking forward to a proper end and conclusion to the show. The season was bittersweet, in the fact that it was more drama than funny (at times) and kind of made me hate Andy's character (played by Ed Helms). But in the last few episodes, I could start to see what originally got me hooked on the Office: the humor, the characters, and the chemistry. As a fan of the Office, I can say that the last episode was the best I had ever dreamed it could be, and I'd like to pay homage to a show that inspired me a lot. It inspired me to write better dialogue, and that a simple subject--like a normal office--can be made into something brilliant.

   Pam: "I think an ordinary paper company like Dunder-Mifflin was a great subject for a documentary. There's a lot of beauty in ordinary things. Isn't that kind of the point?"

  The Office has been on since I can remember watching TV. Watching it end, is like watching the end of an era. I can't believe it's gone, but it'll always be remembered for being the brilliant show it was.

   Andy: "I wish there was a way to know you're in the good old days before you've actually left them."

   
  


Saturday, May 18, 2013

The Current Status of Agent J

It's nice to be back! I haven't posted for a while, mainly because I've been contemplating Agent J's story line, and I need a little feedback. I'm thinking about rewriting my current novel, Agent J, and setting up the story a little differently.


Here's how it currently plays out:

1. Jack Sharpe, a skilled thief finds his parents murdered. He goes after the killer, and the killer says he was hired by a man named Smith. Jack begins to go on more heists so he can raise enough money to go after the killer. When caught, he is brought into the CIA for a special program that uses people with his skills. Instead of going to jail, he is employed and sent on a mission where he finds a connection to Smith. He then spends the rest of the book going after Smith. Smith is the world's most connected terrorist, and has been committing terrorist acts all over the nation, hoping to cripple America.

This is my alternative, basically without Jack's parents.

2. Jack Sharpe is a skilled thief (steals from those that don't deserve it type of thief) who is planning a major bank heist. When caught, Jack is captured by the CIA and is given the option to either work for them, or rot in prison for the millions he's stolen. Jack agrees to work for the CIA and is sent on a suicide mission after Smith, the world's most mysterious and connected terrorist. Three agents have been sent after him; none returned alive. Jack spends the rest of the book trying to foil the terrorist acts and uncovers a plot that would kill millions.

Which story would you rather read and why?

Also, first person or third person?

Sunday, January 27, 2013

Beta Readers: Do I Need Them? by Rob Pruneda


The Birth of a Beta Reader

Up until about eighteen months ago I had no idea what a beta reader was. It wasn’t until a fellow author, Sara Furlong Burr, approached me on Twitter and asked me if I would be interested in swapping novels with her for a beta read. Neither one of us had ever done a beta read before, but she at least knew what it was all about. Basically, the task was just like testing a new product (a beta test), read the novel, help her catch any flaws, and give her some general feedback about the story overall. That sounded simple enough. Plus, I got to have early access to an unpublished novel. So, I agreed and we swapped manuscripts. Today, I think Pursuit of a Dream is a better novel because of it. It was my first novel and probably could use more revisions, but overall, I think the beta reading process was very beneficial to me.

Devil’s Nightmare Beta Testing

   Fast forward to the Fall of 2012 where my horror-thriller Devil’s Nightmare is in the editing stage of the publishing process and I now have three beta readers. Sara once again agreed to read the second draft of my manuscript for Devil’s Nightmare while she was in the final stages of publishing her first novel Enigma Black (now available on Kindle); great story, by the way! I enlisted two other beta readers (also fellow authors) Dannie Hill and S.G. Lee to read over my manuscript. While all three of my beta readers combed through my manuscript, I printed out a hard copy for myself and proceeded to paint it with red editing marks. This in turn morphed into a third revised draft. After receiving valuable feedback from my three beta readers, I was able to polish my manuscript even more. Soon after that, Devil’s Nighmare was finally ready to hit the virtual bookshelves for the global market. You can read more info on that at the end of this post.

Beta Readers are Not Editors

   So, why am I sharing all of this with you today? Simple. You absolutely must have another set of eyes reading your manuscript before you even think about publishing your book. Don’t make the mistake of writing your novel, going over it yourself once or twice and then think you’re ready to publish. You’re not. I’ve been there and done that. Even if you can only manage to get one beta reader’s commitment, that’s better than nothing. However, I do recommend at least two or three beta readers. Also keep in mind that a beta reader is not a substitute for an editor.  If you can’t afford to hire an editor, then beta readers are the next best thing. I can you hear you now. “I can’t afford an editor.” Trust me, I’m with you there. I was actually in that same boat when I wrote Devil’s Nightmare
   Money was extremely tight, so I did the editing myself, since I have some editing experience from working at a newspaper for several years. I still don’t recommend this, even if you are an experienced editor. You just can’t look at your own manuscript the way an outsourced editor would be able to. You have too much invested in it. It’s your baby. It’s your literary child. You really can be your worst critic . . . by not handing that red pen to someone else. And I’m pointing at myself when I make that statement. As much as I believe Devil’s Nightmare turned out very well (thanks to the help of my beta readers), next time around, I will definitely take advantage of both my beta readers and a professional editor.

The Benefits of Beta Readers

Bottom line is it is extremely important and to your benefit to have some non-biased eyes reading your manuscript. I personally found it very helpful. My beta readers helped point out simple things such as spelling errors and general grammar issues, but they also helped me with a few plot holes and trimming some unnecessary fat to the tune of three thousand words. I never would have been able to make Devil’s Nightmare what it is today without the help of my beta readers which is why they are the three people that I recognize in my acknowledgments.

So, if you don’t have any beta readers today, I you should seek out at least one that you trust with your manuscript. Find someone that is not family or your best friend, but someone who will be able to give you honest, non-biased feedback. And remember to put on that thick skin when you get that feedback. It’s constructive criticism, and it’s okay if you don’t agree with everything your beta reader points out. It is still your novel and your voice. Keep writing, pursue your dreams . . . and never look back.

About the Author

Robert Pruneda is author of Pursuit of a Dream (FREE on Kindle US, Kobo and Smashwords) and Devil’s Nighmare, now available on Amazon (Worldwide), B&N, Kobo, and Smashwords. Connect with him on these social media networks:


Devil’s Nightmare by Robert Pruneda

   Investigating homicides is what Detective Aaron Sanders lives for. There hasn’t been a case he couldn’t solve or a suspect he didn’t find and put behind bars in his entire career. He’s proud of this fact, but his abilities and his fortitude are about to be put to the test when he investigates a brutal double-homicide where an eleven-year-old boy’s parents are found mutilated in a Texas home. The boy is the only witness to the crime and his clothes are stained with his parents’ blood. 
   His clothes are also tainted with the blood of other victims from a separate and even more horrific crime scene at a nearby cemetery. All of the victims appear to have been killed in the same manner and the boy knows the true identity of the evil responsible for the multiple deaths, but he is unwilling to talk. No one would believe him. A threat on the boy’s life and a disturbing nightmare causes Detective Sanders to question his beliefs and his own sanity. This investigation ultimately leads Sanders in a fight to save himself and the life of an orphaned boy from an unimaginable evil that is spawned from the curse of the devil’s nightmare.

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Liebster Blog Award

I've been tagged a second time for this award from wonderful author Rob Pruneda, and below are my answers to his questions. You can find his original posting here.


  1. What is the best book you read in 2012? I didn't read much this year, but the book that stands out to me most is Clockwork Angels, the book adaption of RUSH's newest album. 
  2. What is the best movie you watched in 2012? 2012 is the best year I've experienced movie wise. Jack Reacher tops my list, but Skyfall, The Dark Knight Rises, and The Amazing Spider-Man come close.
  3. What is the worst movie you saw in 2012? Definitely "The Grey." What's the point of watching a movie when you know everyone is going to die except for Liam Neeson? I guessed the end from the start, not to mention that, but it was just gory and over the top...AND unrealistic. 
  4. If you could change one thing in 2012, what would it be? I wouldn't change anything. It was a great year, and everything happens for a reason. 
  5. Was there anything in 2012 that you always wanted to do and finally did? Was there anything in 2012 that you wanted to do, but just missed out on? I always wanted to see Van Halen live. I missed out on seeing Duran Duran, due to health issues of Nick Rhoades. 
  6. Did you make any resolutions for 2012? If so, how many of those did you actually fulfill? Me neither! :-) What's the point of making a resolution about something you'll forget about in two weeks? Haha. 
  7. Do you know anyone who actually (really) believed that the world was going to end on Dec. 21, 2012? Yes, unfortunately I did. 
  8. Did you try anything new or learn a new skill in 2012? If so, what was it and what inspired you to try it or learn how to do it? Well, I always wanted to get into drumming, and it finally happened this year. I always liked drums (the way they look, sound, the power) and since I listened to classic rock (and my dad's a drummer) I decided to get into it.
  9. What was the most difficult challenge you faced in 2012? By far finishing and publishing my second book. Editing took months and was getting very annoying, but the end result was the best I could make it and I'm proud to say it. 
  10. What was your greatest achievement in 2012? Publishing my second book. 
  11. Now, look back to the year 2012. In one word, how would you describe it overall? Fantabulastic.

Thursday, December 20, 2012

Olden Guy 007 is up!

Remember the Olden Guy post from last week? Well, it is now posted on YouTube. Come check out our James Bond parody, about an old, retired James Bond now known as James Blind. Watch it here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SeAx3rBzHL8

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Olden Guy 007 Preview

I'm working on a school project with a couple friends. We decided to do a video spoof on James Bond, labeled Olden Guy 007. It's the story of an old, slightly crippled, blind James Bond, named James Blind. It's a lot of fun, and I'll post the end result here when it's finished. For now, this picture will have to please you...and don't forget! There will be giveaways next week: including free books and previews of my upcoming novel.