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Friday, June 29, 2012

Le Tour! Le Tour!

I don't often share my personal interests (outside of books and movies) but...I just can't help it.

As obscure a sport as professional cycling may be to most Americans, in the rest of the civilized world it is as popular as many of our most watched sports. This Saturday, the Superbowl of cycling (otherwise know as Le Tour de France) begins.

Some information on the race from the Tour de France website:

Running from Saturday June 30th to Sunday July 22th 2012, the 99th Tour de France will be made up of 1 prologue and 20 stages and will cover a total distance of 3,497 kilometres. That's 2,173 miles to us Yanks! 2,173 miles over 21 days...insane!

2012 tour route

And just to back up my statement about the popularity of the sport:

Last year's media stats:
  • 100 TV channels, 70 radios, 400 newspapers and press agencies, 70 websites, that is to say 2,300 journalists representing 35 nationalities.
  • Broadcasting in 190 countries of which 60 transmit live coverage
  • Website: 14 million unique visitors 

 A great article from the LA Times said:

They're (tour riders) burning about 4,000 to 5,000. Yost adds, "It's not unheard of for a Tour rider to burn up to 8,000 calories during a single stage.
Quick math 8,000x21 =168,000 calories burned during the race. Insane!

So, I suppose I'm trying to convince y'all to give the tour a watch this year. I guess I'd better throw out some other reasons why this race is so entertaining.

1. Crashes.

Last year, one of the riders got hit by a car (it gets worse) and subsequently ran into the rider beside him who was thrown into a barbed wire fence!  The crazy part...he got back on his bike and finished the stage!

Johnny Hoogerland is one tough man!

2. Drama

At the 2010 Tour, the reigning champion, Alberto Contador attacked (rode away) the yellow jersey (the leader of the tour -person with lowest overall time, wears a yellow jersey) on a huge mountain stage.  The yellow jersey tried to respond but lost his chain (it slipped off the sprockets making it impossible to pedal) and was left behind.  Some argue that Contador should have waited, others say it was the yellow jersey's fault for not shifting properly and Contador was not obligated to wait at all.

3. Controversy

With Lance Armstrong embroiled in a battle with the USADA  -accused of using banned performance enhancing drugs during the tour, Alberto Contador (previously mentioned) banned from the sport for testing positive for a banned substance (Lance never tested positive) and the return of Alejandro Valverde and Alexander Vinokourov (both off a two year bans for testing positive) the entire races is marred with the black cloud of doping (taking illegal performance enhancing substances).  While to some, this may deter them from watching, I believe it adds a level of excitement as the race organizers continue to crack down on the cheats.

Alberto Contador

Alejandro Valverde

Lance Armstrong

Alexander Vinokourov

Riders to watch.

I believe it will come down to three riders for the title this year. Bradley Wiggins, a British rider. Cadel Evans, last year's winner from Australia and Levi Leipheimer, an American rider whose just coming into form after breaking his leg earlier in the season when he was hit by a car.

Cadel Evans

Levi Leipheimer
Levi's broken leg

Bradley Wiggins

Thursday, June 28, 2012

Life sentences without parole for minors?


Should minors ever be given life sentences without the chance of parole?

Yes, I dare delve into the murky waters of politics -although I don't view this topic as political, there are many who allow their political affiliations guide their moral compass on every subject -allowing everything to become a question of what best meshes with their political views rather than what's best for people.


below are three excerpts from three news sources that should convey the gist of the story.


From the Christian Science Monitor (I know...the opposite of a nonpolitical publication)

The Supreme Court ruled Monday that it is unconstitutional for state laws to require juveniles convicted of murder to be sentenced to life in prison without possibility of parole.

From the New York Times

WASHINGTON — Some 2,000 juvenile offenders serving life sentences without parole were given hope of eventual release by the Supreme Court on Monday. The court ruled that laws requiring youths convicted of murder to be sentenced to die in prison violate the Eighth Amendment’s ban on cruel and unusual punishment. 

From FoxNewss.com

In more than two dozen states, lawyers can now ask for new sentences. And judges will have discretion to look beyond the crime at other factors such as a prisoner's age at the time of the offense, the person's background and perhaps evidence that an inmate has changed while incarcerated.


Now for the interesting part...

Do you believe minors should ever get life sentences without the chance of parole? When I hear that question I think about several things.  First, I think about how I was as a teen.  Typical, I suppose: Reckless, impulsive, careless.

I did many foolish things that could have resulted in harm to myself or others (Like throwing rocks at cars,launching my mother's Volvo into the air off a hump in the road at 80 miles an hour, tossing a slice of pizza on the windshield of on oncoming car and sliding down a homemade zip-line from a 60 foot tree into a swimming pool -the line was laundry cord and the 'pulley' was a bath towel). Reckless? Yes. Impulsive? Yes. Careless? Yes.

Any one of these actions could have hurt or killed someone. Would the teenage J.R. Wagner deserve a life sentence if that slice of pizza caused a van full of children to swerve off the road, burst into flames and kill everyone inside?

Okay, I agree that most if not all of the minors serving life sentences are not incarcerated because the tossed a slice of pizza at an oncoming vehicle.  They're murderers, multiple murderers, repeat murderers.  What about them?

In an article by Kristen Burillo in The Civic Column called Less capable brain, less culpable teen?, she says:

There may be perfectly good, scientific, research-based, biological, developmental explanations for why those teenagers you know are impulsive, emotional, giving into peer pressure, not thinking about the future, unconcerned with consequences, and taking a lot of risks.

So, if the teenage mind isn't finished developing and as a result, cannot make the same good decisions as a fully developed adult brain, shouldn't we (society) take that into consideration when sentencing minors for crimes committed during this period of brain development? Or, perhaps, is that simply an excuse for bad behavior?

When sentencing anyone -adult or minor to life without parole we (society) are saying there is no chance whatsoever for rehabilitation of this person. Using the same argument above, if the minor's brain is still developing, wouldn't they be much more receptive to a rehabilitation program? Is the recidivism rate lower for juveniles vs adults?

Just as an example, this article from the Indiana Department of Correction states that the 2010 recidivism rate for juveniles is 39.2%.  So 39.2% of juveniles returned to incarceration for another crime. 73.5% of juvenile releases HAD NOT been incarcerated in an adult facility between 2007 and 2010.

From the Bureau of Justice Statistics, whose website is pathetically outdated and about as easy to navigate as an Apollo command module, I found this figure: 67.5% of adults released in 1997 were arrested for a serious crime between then and 2002.

While not apples to apples, it appears as though the recidivism rate among juveniles is much lower than adults.

Arguments can be made for either case.  Both based on a combination of emotion and fact.

 I believe most people deserve a second chance -a chance to prove themselves. I have spoken to groups of troubled teens (troubled meaning they've been through the juvenile justice system) and they're one of the brightest, most engaging and motivated groups of kids I've ever stood in front of.  Can these same kids be locked up without the chance of ever seeing the light of day? What would that do to their curiosity, their desire to be better, to learn, to move on? If it were me, I'd probably laugh in the face of any attempted rehabilitation because what's the point?

Can the same be said for murdering minors? Are they any less receptive to rehabilitation than their non-murdering counterparts? Are we willing to discount the research that suggests their brains aren't capable of grasping the severity and consequences of their actions as they are committing the crime? OR should they be held accountable for those actions regardless of their age?

Here is the other problem: The majority of minors who are released return to the same society that no doubt had a major impact in their decision to commit a crime to begin with.  Not only that but because they've been convicted of a felony, finding a job is nearly impossible (especially in this economy).  So they're back in the same neighborhood with nothing to keep them occupied...what's going to happen?  They're going to call their old friends who are still stuck in their old ways and sooner or later, they may fall onto old habits.

Is there a way to not return the serious offenders to the same environment from which they came?  I have no idea. Foster care for the minors?  Would it make a difference?  Most likely.

So coming full circle and asking, should minors be given life sentences without parole? I don't think they should.  But...yes but.  I don't think flipping the switch from no chance of parole to chance of parole is the complete answer.  Something needs to be put into place (especially with these, the most violent offenders) to keep them from stepping back into the old lifestyle if parole is granted. Government jobs? -save tax dollars, perhaps. Mandatory military service in a non-combat position? Who knows.

The light of potential burns bright in the eyes of our youth (as does the light of stupidity).  We (society) are obligated to harness rather than snuff that potential whenever possible.

I'm not standing on my high-horse sending down decrees to the little folk without consideration of the issues that I'm well aware I'm not aware of. I ask more questions than I answer.  I'm just tired of people taking a stance on a subject as important as the youth of our country simply based upon what their radio talk show host told them.


That was WAY too heavy and WAY too long.  More fun and brevity next go-around.  I promise!

As always, find interviews, writing samples, videos, contests and more on my website.

In bookstores now

July Writing Contest -prizes posted!

-Here are the details for the July, 2012 writing contest.  March results can be found on my website.

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

A reality show...on Mars???

So yesterday I stumbled upon THIS article. 

From the article...

A Dutch company aims to land humans on Mars by 2023 as the first step toward establishing a permanent colony on the Red Planet.

The project, called Mars One, plans to drop four astronauts on Mars in April 2023. New members of the nascent colony will arive every two years after that, and none of the Red Planet pioneers will ever return to Earth.

To pay for all of this, Mars One says it will stage a media spectacle the likes of which the world has never seen — a sort of interplanetary reality show a la "Big Brother."

Is anyone thinking what I'm thinking? (besides the fact that whoever wrote the article can't spell 'arrive')

 Total Recall! Exactly! "Get your ass to Mars!"

 Or maybe you're thinking of something slightly more obscure...

 Yes! Red Planet with Val Kilmer.  I saw this film but can't remember a damn thing about it, which means it wasn't very good.

 And then there is always Doom -you can go video game or movie (although the movie, from what I hear is a total train wreck) on this one.  The video game, however was a ground-breaker.

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

An Invaluable writing tool

Not long ago (actually October 5, 2010 according to the interview date) I was sitting in my car listening to the radio and stumbled upon an interview by NPR with author Bill Bryson.  The interview was about his new book, At Home.  You can find the interview HERE

Despite the potential to be quite possibly one of the most boring interviews imaginable, I was completely captivated.  At that point in my writing career, I was up to my eyeballs in writing Exiled and  was greedily seeking resources to add realism to the time period I was writing.

If you're a writer and your writing ever takes you inside a home, you MUST read this book.  Genius in its layout, the book takes you through the history of the house, room-by-room.  Exiled takes place in the late 1800's. In Bryson's book, I was able to find what a home from that time period would contain, how it would be laid out as well as background on the era. 

Even with my description, the book may sound boring but trust me, it isn't.  No it isn't a fantasy story that takes you to far off places.  What makes At Home great is the flow, the content and the readability.  This is not a textbook but, like most fiction (which it is not) it transports you to the time period he is describing. It transports you into the room he is explaining.  In the end, you have a better understanding of how things were in the home and why they are the way they are today.  This insight is invaluable to any writer.

Take this excerpt, for example: 

We forget just how painfully dim the world was before electricity. A candle, a good candle, provides barely a hundredth of the illumination of a single 100 watt lightbulb. Open your refrigerator door, and you summon forth more light than the total amount enjoyed by most households in the 18th century. The world at night, for much of history, was a very dark place indeed.

My copy is loaded with those multi-colored post-it notes marking pages of interest so I could go back and pull out the things I thought could be usable in my story.  I still flip back through the book as I work on The Never Chronicles #2 (title TBD)

Monday, June 25, 2012

Justin Bieber -Hate him or hate him?

Yup, there he is. Justin Bieber.

I need to preface this post by saying I do not condone violence of any sort toward Justin Beiber or anyone else. I am a writer and will use my imagination as I wish -which may include imagining Justin Bieber in certain situations that could lead to his untimely demise.

Why?  Because he is REALLY, REALLY irritating.

Most of you will understand. If you're the parent of a teenage girl, you will absolutely understand.

Part of me cringes at the notion of giving any of my attention to the kid with the worst hair on the planet but hey, sometimes it's necessary to go slumming if for no other reason than to blow off some steam.

So, if there were five movies I'd like to see Justin Bieber play a role in, what would they be?

1. Jaws
Role: Quint
Why?: One word hemicorporectomy.  Those of you who don't have a medical background probably don't have any clue what I'm talking about so I'll throw in a definition.
Hemicorporectomy: The amputation of most of a person's body–essentially everything below the lumbar vertebrae.

How does this relate to Jaws?

Exhibit A

Don't get me wrong, I don't think Mr. Bieber has the acting talent to hold a match to Robert Shaw's performance in this, one of the greatest films of all times, but I would enjoy seeing him bitten in half below the waist by a man-eating shark (on film, only...we're imagining here people!).

2. Braveheart
Role: William Wallace
Why?   Drawn, hung, disemboweled, beheaded, quartered.  A terrible way to go, no question and the real man William Wallace is a true hero...but we're talking about Mel Gibson (a true psycho) being played by Justin Bieber (a true ...well, you fill in the blank)

Exhibit B

3. The Return of the King
Role: Denethor, Steward of Gondor
Why? Kicked by a horse into a funeral pyre constructed for his own son (after dousing himself with oil). He then proceeds to run at full-speed across the courtyard (a good 3-400 foot dash) before falling several thousand feet onto the Pelennor fields below. On the plus side, the character of Denethor is an arrogant fool so the trait-crossover would be an easier fit.

Exhibit C 
Exhibit C-1 yup, that's him sprinting for the exit

4. Star Wars, The Revenge of the Sith
Role: Anakin Skywalker
Why? The immolation scene.  To immolate, as we all know means, to destroy by fire.  When we Star Wars nerds speak of "The immolation scene" we are referring to the scene when Obi Wan has removed the limbs of Anakin Skywalker and left him for dead beside a flowing river of lava...where miraculously, after catching fire, he somehow manages to survive and become Darth Vader.  This is appropriate for several reasons.  First, Hayden Christensen plays a whiney, annoying, logic-defying prat during the entire movie so Bieber could fall into that role quite easily. Second, as Beiber's popularity continues to rise, there is a good chance he will take over the galaxy.
Exhibit D ...hot!

Exhibit D-1 is anyone else afraid?

5. Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom
Role: Kali ritual victim
Why? The heart scene!  Since it has been widely agreed upon that Justin Bieber has sold his soul to the devil we can, by extension, assume that he is also heartless.  What better role to play to prove the world wrong than a man whose heart is literally ripped from his chest.  

Exhibit E -Mola Ram 'Kali Ma Shakti de'

Wow!  Imagine the strain on Justin's tour schedule if he had to play all those roles!  Poor guy! But, to the delight of the majority of society, we'd get to see him die rather horrible deaths on screen.  And the best part...he wouldn't be singing!

I wonder if people thought the same about Mark Wahlberg when he was a rapping youngster.  Having never seen him perform with Marky Mark and the Funky Bunch, I actually enjoy the acting performances of Wahlberg.  Will the same be true of Bieber?  God, I hope not.

Wahlberg the idiot

Wahlberg the actor

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

A belated Father's Day post

I am a father.  I spent my Father's Day with my girls.  I think my father would expect no less.  (Sorry, proud father has to share photos of his beautiful daughters)

Friday, June 15, 2012

Revisiting an old post -building a following BEFORE you get published

 Oh, if I only knew then what I know now....

If only I had a time turner!

I originally wrote this post in October of 2011...I've learned so much since then -and am still learning!  The indented text is from the original post.  The pink text is new .

Facebook... When taken advantage of, facebook is arguably your greatest tool for creating a following, direct advertising and a handful of other helpful things that will enable you to be successful in getting your name out there.
This may still be true but I think there are other places where time may be better spent...like writing a blog, commenting on blogs, Goodreads, twitter and the bazillions of writing and author forums out there.  Facebook is a great place to solidify your brand. A brand and a following are different.  A brand is how you're identified by others -it is much less intimate than a following.  Creating a following is exposing people to your writing style, getting them to like it (and you) enough to want to read more of your work.

Have I mentioned that you should visit my page, 'like' it and tell everyone you know about it? Another incredible feature of facebook is their advertising capabilities.  I happened upon a coupon for $50 of free advertising and was stunned at the targeting capabilities of facebook advertising.  It is simply amazing.
Facebook does have amazing advertizing capabilities. True.  What you want as a result of that advertizing should dictate whether you spend any effort taking advantage of these capabilities in the early stages of your following-building mission.  Huh?  Creating an ad simply to get likes doesn't generate a following.  Most of the likes will be from people who won't follow your work -they're just fly by clickers.  A small percentage may actually be enticed to hang around and view your status updates giving you the opportunity to turn them into followers but your # of likes does not equal your # of followers.

I don't get paid by facebook or anyone else to write this (FYI).  When you place an ad, you create what you want people to see -the picture, the text -today I'll use 'I am New Author trying to generate a following BEFORE my book publishes.  Please help and join my revolution!' Keep in mind, you only have 135 characters to say what you want to say.
Ignorance is bliss!

Now for the amazing part, the targeting.  You can pick the countries you want to target.  I shoot for all the English speaking countries. Then you can pick the age you want to target.  Obviously this will be the age range of your target readership.  To the right is the estimated reach, which will change as you go.  Right now I'm at around 135 million people.

It gets better. Precise interests is where you can narrow it down to virtually anything you want including specific facebook pages.  So, if I want to target people who read a specific author...say, J.K. Rowling, I can do exactly that.

For connections, I always put 'people who are not fans of J.R. Wagner'. Obviously you don't want to waste advertising on people who already like your page. Advanced demographics; sex, in a relationship, work etc. are things I don't target -I select all.  Why limit?

Name your campaign and set your budget. I always pick lifetime budget -my first time I picked per day and set the dates/times and facebook assumed I meant two days so I spent twice as much as I wanted.  Lifetime budget won't let you exceed your budget (the campaign stops when you reach your budget)

Set your pricing. I always pay for clicks because that's what I want from the ad.  The bid amount is a cool thing.  The way facebook advertising works is if anyone else has chosen to advertise on the same page as you, the bid determines who gets to show up on that page.  I suggest using the range suggested by facebook as a conservative start.

All that's left is to place your order.  You can run multiple ads at the same time, stop ads, pause ads -the flexibility is incredible.  The reporting will tell you how many people saw your ad, how many clicked on it and much more.
Like I said, a SMALL percentage of these people will become followers.  Does that mean it isn't worth trying? Not necessarily.  This IS the marketing game.  Getting people to see your product, to become interested in your product and to buy your product.  It is nearly impossible to quantify the effectiveness of this type of advertizing because all you've done is direct a person to your page.  Layered on top of that is the work you do with your page to keep people interested, keep them watching. All you've done is open the door for them.  Now you have to entice them inside.

Once you have a finished product you can use this type of advertizing to direct users right to the point of purchase -to Amazon or Barnes & Noble or wherever.  Doing some math with the number of clicks and the number of units sold (which is not, by any stretch of the imagination, an easy figure to track) you can come closer to determining whether your investment pays itself back.

In the end you can end up spending just a few dollars on an ad or a few hundred depending on how big you want to go.

Facebook ads are great but certainly not the only way to generate traffic to your page.  There are many other free methods to do this.  I will touch on them next (and I'll keep you posted on how my ad worked)

Until then...come visit!

Selling books is much, much, much (did I say much) more than online advertizing.  There are levels and levels and levels of layers and layers and layers that need to be addressed regularly in order to begin to succeed.  Face time with REAL people is essential.  Knowing your target readers, where they hang out online, in the real world -essential.  KNOW YOUR TARGET READER -everyone thinks their book would be a great read for folks of all ages...but if you don't build a base, nobody of any age is going to read your book. Know your target reader.

Get comfortable talking to people -individuals, small groups, large groups.  I joined Toastmasters International to help with my public speaking skills. -They're a great organization for anyone and everyone looking to improve self-confidence, leadership and speaking skills.  Truly. 

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Win Exiled the Ebook...in less than an hour

I'm giving away an Exiled Ebook on my twitter page. Kindle, Nook -you pick.

My single question will post at 3:00 EST

As always, find interviews, writing samples, videos, contests and more on my website.

In bookstores now

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

The Importance of Writing Exercises

A Guest Post by Carlie M. A. Cullen

You sit down at your computer for the first time of the day, open up the document ready to dive into your latest work of art and what happens? You struggle to get started. Once you get into the flow, you’re fine, but it’s those first few painful minutes where you suddenly doubt yourself. So why is this? Why does it happen?

Your brain and creativity, like any other muscle in your body needs warming up before you start to really exercise it. Put it this way – would you run a marathon without stretching your leg muscles first? Would you try bench pressing a huge weight without easing into it with lesser weights first? Not if you’ve got any sense you wouldn’t!

You would end up with painful pulled muscles and ligaments which would seriously inhibit your ability to do everything you’d normally achieve without thinking about it.

So why strain your creativity in the same way?
A five or ten minute writing exercise completely unconnected to your current ‘Work In Progress’ will warm up those muscles in your brain and get the creative juices flowing.
Here are some examples of what you can do:
  • ·      Free Writing – pick any word at random and write whatever comes into your head about that word. Don’t stop to correct spelling mistakes or grammar, just keep writing.
  • ·      Pictorials – pick any picture from a newspaper or magazine and write about what you see. Describe the environment, describe any people in it, describe any feelings the picture invokes.
  • ·      Photographs – choose one of your own photographs and write about the day it was taken. Where was it? Why were you there? Who were you there with? Describe the scenery or buildings. Talk about any people in the photograph; who they are, what they mean to you.
  • ·      A lyric from a song – it may be an unfamiliar song you hear on the radio or a new CD, or one that you know particularly well. What feelings does that lyric invoke in you? Does it fill you with joy or happiness? If so, why? Does it make you sad and if so, why? Does it make you remember events from your past? If so, what, and how does that affect you now?
  • ·      Look out of the window and choose an object or person/couple you see. Describe it/them. If it’s a person, wonder about what sort of life you think they lead, where they’re going. Look at how they’re dressed. If it’s a building, what sort of people do you think live there, what are their lives like? Describe what you imagine.
  • ·      Everyday objects – choose a random object from your house and build a mini story around it. It could be something as basic as a ball of string, a rolling pin, a candle, a pack of playing cards, a box of matches. The list is endless.

As you can see, there are so many possibilities of things you can write about to exercise that muscle before you attempt to begin on your latest project. And because the creative juices are already flowing, you will find it much easier to pick up where you left off with your project.

If you can discipline yourself to spend those few minutes doing your warm up exercises, I’m sure you’ll find those moments of doubt and struggle disappear, and your writing will be all the richer for it.

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

On Editing from THE Editor

I'm taking the liberty of writing an introduction for today's guest-poster.  Jenn Wagner reads.  A lot.  I go through a couple books a month if I'm lucky.  Jenn goes through a couple books a week -and finds editorial mistakes in nearly all of them.  Even those published by 'the big seven' publishers.  She reads across genres, fiction, non-fiction (I'd use the word voracious, but I absolutely despise the word.) She has an uncanny knack for picking things out of a manuscript that most people completely miss -even 'professional editors'.  I asked her to read Exiled in the later stages of the editorial process (smacking myself in the head for waiting so long) and she did a phenomenal job of picking out things (hundreds of 'em) everyone else missed.  Yes, she's that good.  This is why Jenn Wagner gets the title THE Editor. She doesn't know I'm writing her introduction -and will most likely find several editorial problems with it. But that's okay because she's on my side!

Ever been engrossed in a book, and then – “Huh? That doesn’t seem right!” You may have stumbled upon an anachronism, something that is

Virtual tour updated 6-30!

Well, it's underway.

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Meet the illustrator of Exiled

 During the publication process, J.R. Wagner knew he wanted chapter illustrations for Exiled.  He had a certain style in mind and when he and Elizabeth finally came together, he knew he had found what he was looking for. 

Elizabeth Witiak is the chapter illustrator for Exiled; book one of The Never Chronicles. 

She is 20 years old and currently resides in Telford, Pennsylvania with her family. 

What did you think about the opportunity to illustrate for a novel?

This was my first time illustrating for a book. I found this opportunity as a perfect time to build onto my portfolio. 

When did you become interested in the arts?
   My interest in art first began at the age of 12, I would sketch templates for clothing designs and while being home schooled, my older sister would teach me art lessons. While in high school, I was inspired to try different types of art. Some of these included; pottery, which I studied and worked with for 6 years. I also took, drawing and painting, which I still work at today. A small handful of my work has been exhibited in local art shows. After graduating from Souderton area High School, I set off for college to major in art. My original plan was to become an art teacher, but now it seems that i have found my occupation as an illustrator, and it suits me the best.

Do you have a favorite medium? 
   When drawing, my favorite medium to work with would be charcoal, I like to add a lot of shading to my work, and charcoal makes that easy. I feel that some of my best work I have done in my portrait pieces of friends and family. The inspiration i get to create these portraits comes from past time artists, like Andy Warhol, and even current day artists like Kat Von D, who both also specialized in portraits.

Did you do anything specific for the artwork in Exiled?
   For my artwork featured in the book; Exiled, I wanted each image to capture the readers imagination about what is to come. It was also important that the image did not give away to much about the chapter. I envisioned each image to feel as if you were looking into that scene from the book. This was done by variations in my use of shading.  While reading each chapter, I would think about what part stood out to me the most, and that would help me in deciding what to draw. 
   Being a part of this book and getting to work with the author himself, J.R. Wagner, was such a great opportunity. I’m sure that you, the reader, will enjoy reading this book just as much as I have. It surely is one of a kind.

~Exiled, Chapter one~
~Exiled Chapter thirteen~

Monday, June 4, 2012

Time to Celebrate!

Party time!

Come on out and celebrate the launch of Exiled! Chester County Book & Music Co. is hosting the launch party tomorrow, June 5th starting at 6:30. Book signing, food, drinks, giveaways, entertainment...fun!

See y'all there!

Exiled,  a novel for teens/young adults (think Harry Potter meets Lost)

CCBMBC's website can be found HERE

To learn more about the book you can visit www.TheNeverChronicles.com

It is also available for sale online and should be available as an eBook by the 5th


Prophesied by the greatest of all seers to be the sorcerer who would bring an end to the Epoch Terminus—the destruction of his kind—James grew up developing his powers under the watchful eye of his mentor, Akil Karanis.
James’s insular world is shattered when he is found guilty of murdering Akil and exiled to The Never, a mysterious and dangerous place reserved for the worst of the worst, a land from which no one returns.
Powerless and alone, James quickly learns that the land itself poses a greater threat than its inhabitants. If he is to have any chance of returning to his family, any chance of proving his innocence, any chance of saving his kind, he must survive the dangers and temptations meant to ensnare both body and mind in order to discover what no one else has been able to discover—a way home.

Find interviews, writing samples, videos, contests and more on my website.

In bookstores 6-5-2012