Wednesday, July 30, 2014

From Parts Unknown: The Final Countdown!

Just one week away.

August 6 is not just my birthday; it's also the release date for Part 1 of my five-part science-fiction eBook serial, "From Parts Unknown," This story and I have had our share of ups and downs ever since the concept popped into my head almost twenty years ago. The simple what-if question - "What if professional wrestling was no longer pre-determined?" - had me dwelling on it throughout all four years of college and for three years after that, when I struggled to figure out the right medium to tell this story.

It started out as a video game outline, then a treatment for a film, then at least ten drafts of a screenplay, until finally a novel that was finished in July of 2002 and published the same year by iUniverse. I thought that I had told the story in the best possible way. I was wrong.

If it weren't for iUniverse completely failing to follow through on a deal they called me to propose, I wouldn't be preparing for this upcoming eBook launch. Their sales department (which is pretty much the only department they have left) offered me this: if I order 25 copies of my book at 50% off, they'll add the eBook format to it for free. I took the plunge, I got my copies in the mail after just a few days, and then… nothing. Months passed and there was no sign of the 2002 version of "From Parts Unknown" on eBook.

Almost a year later, I was encouraged by Carolyn McCray to see if I could get the rights to the book back and then just release the eBook myself. I called iUniverse one more time to see if the formatting was at least in the pipeline. It wasn't. It had apparently fallen off their radar, as had I, so I told them that I wish to sever my relationship with them. Fortunately (or unfortunately, depending on your POV), my sales had dried up so they had no problem whatsoever with letting me go.

I spent almost three years re-working the storyline and realized that it was getting much more ambitious and longer than I imagined, but thankfully, another idea popped into my head. "From Parts Unknown" would work better as a five-part serial, similar to what opened every season of G.I. Joe when I was a kid. Instead of one 500-plus-page story that was going after a niche market (There are plenty of sci-fi fans and plenty of wrestling fans, but I doubt there are many that want to read a story about a government subsidized wrestling promotion taking place over forty years from now), it would be five 100-page stories that won't seem as big of a hill to climb.

After spending all this time rewriting and then rewriting some more, I can finally say that Part 1 of this story is ready to go online. (It better be, since the release date is just one week away.) It will be exclusive to the Kindle, so anyone who has Amazon Prime or recently subscribed to Kindle Unlimited will be able to read this for free. For everyone else, Part 1 is just $1.99, and Parts 2-5 will be 99 cents each.

"But wait, Sirois!" you might be saying. "Is it going to be released on paperback?" The answer is simply, yes. Rocking Horse Publishing - the same people who were kind enough to allow "Excelsior" to play in their sandbox - will release the omnibus edition of "From Parts Unknown" in one paperback book in early 2015 (I'd personally love it to be in late March, since that's when WrestleMania takes place, but we'll find out). However, if you don't have a Kindle and want to read the serial as it comes out, you can download FREE KINDLE APPS HERE.

For those of you who have heard or read my constant rambling about this story, I want to thank you all for your patience, or for at least nodding, smiling, and giving off the illusion that you're listening. I hope you all enjoy this brand-new, fully updated version of "From Parts Unknown," and I promise you all that as soon this is uploaded, I will NEVER rewrite this story again.

And this time, I mean it!

Thursday, July 17, 2014

Celebrating STL and STL Authors!

Thank you so much to Elle Marie for inviting me to be a part of this great multi-blog promotion. And all the best to my fellow authors who now - or always - call St. Louis their home!

"Books Are For People Who Wish They Were Somewhere Else" - Mark Twain

Read on for mini-interviews from a slew of St. Louisans and check out their awesome books!

"Books are for people who wish they were somewhere else." - Mark Twain

One thing all these books have in common is that their
authors are from or currently live in St. Louis. Apart from that, they're quite diverse. How to decide (other than just whipping out the credit card and buying them all right now)?

Each author picked two of the following questions to answer:

1. What is your book's or your personal connection to St. Louis?
2. Which scene in your book might a fellow St. Louisan recognize?
3. If your book was made into a movie, who would play the part of your hero/heroine?
4. What Missouri activity would your main character enjoy most: a float trip, a Cardinals game, or a winery visit?
5. What's Missouri's best season?
6. If your book was on death row, what would it choose for its last meal?

Read the authors' responses and check out their books!

The Waiting Room, by Piper Punches

The Waiting Room
by Piper Punches

What is your book's or your personal connection to St. Louis?
Although The Waiting Room takes place in the fictional farming community of Marion, Missouri, I wrote my debut novel with the intention of highlighting the various flavors of people that make up the rural communities that surround the St. Louis Metro area, which give it its one-of-a-kind hometown atmosphere. Readers that grew up outside of the city limits, even outside of the major suburbs of St. Louis County, will find that they can relate to the pull of the big city, while still finding equal amounts of comfort and aggravation living in a small town that refuses to accept anonymity.

If your book was on death row, what would it choose for its last meal?
Oh, that's easy! My book would choose a home-cooked meal of mashed potatoes, smothered steak, and green beans drenched in bacon fat and butter. For dessert? Oh, yes! There would be dessert. My book is not a diet book. It would enjoy every last morsel of a cherry pie topped with whipped cream and a heaping side of vanilla ice cream.

Genre: Women's Fiction

Buy now or read the book's description:
Paperback: $11.95 | Kindle: $0.99

Connect with Piper:
Website | Facebook | Twitter | Goodreads | Google+

On The Buckle, by Candace Carrabus

On The Buckle
by Candace Carrabus

What is your book's or your personal connection to St. Louis?
On the Buckle, Dreamhorse Mystery #1 is set on a horse farm in Missouri about an hour and half from St. Louis. The main character, Vi, and the hero, Malcolm, go the art museum in an early scene, and later, Vi meets a friend at the symphony. Guess what? We live on a farm outside St. Louis, and we enjoy our beautiful art museum and our fantastic symphony, too!

If your book was made into a movie, who would play the part of your hero/heroine?
Kaley Cuoco-Sweeting, who plays Penny on The Big Bang Theory, would be perfect as Vi Parker. She's the right age, smart as a whip, funny as heck, and--the icing on the cake--she's an accomplished equestrienne.

Genre: Humorous romantic mystery

Buy now or read the book's description:
Paperback: $12.99 | Kindle: $3.99 | B&N $12.99/$3.99Kobo: $3.99 | Smashwords: $3.99

Connect with Candace:
Website | FacebookTwitter | Goodreads

Looks That Deceive, by Braxton DeGarmo

Looks That Deceive
by Braxton DeGarmo

What Missouri activity would your main character enjoy most: a float trip, a Cardinals game, or a winery visit?
Lynch Cully would certainly be the typical St. Louis sports fanatic, supporting the Cardinals, Rams, and Blues. He's likely to go to as many games as he could fit into the consuming, unbalanced schedule of a police detective working with the Major Case Squad. Amy Gibbs, on the other hand, is definitely the winery aficionado. With a variety of friends, she's managed to visit every winery in Missouri -- no small feat -- and she has her favorites. Yet, like Lynch, her schedule as a flight nurse doesn't allow much time for this pleasure anymore.

What is your book's or your personal connection to St. Louis?
Looks that Deceive is a thriller based in the St. Louis area. From scenes in Ladue, at Mercy Hospital, in Creve Coeur Park, and involving the region from Troy, MO, in the north, to the Big River, west of Hillsboro, MO, in the south, how much more connected could it get? I frequently get comments from St. Louis area readers about how much they enjoy the local flavor. Yet, readers outside of St. Louis won't find that flavor off-putting, as the pace keeps them moving and the characters pull them into the story.

Genre: Mystery/Thriller

Buy now or read the book's description:
Paperback: $16.95 | Kindle: $4.99 | Nook: $4.99

Connect with Braxton:
Website | FacebookTwitter | Goodreads

Catskinner's Book, by Misha Burnett

Catskinner's Book
by Misha Burnett

What's Missouri's best season?
October. The continental United States has five distinct weather patterns, and four of them collide in the air above the central Mississippi flood plain. In practical terms, this means that we usually get the worst weather that this country has to offer. We get Gulf Coast summers and Great Plains winters and springs that are downright schizophrenic - rain and scorching heat and snow, sometimes all in the same week.

However, for one brief shining moment, usually from about the middle of October to Halloween, St. Louis - like Mars - is Heaven. Clear, dry days, nights just cool enough that you can sleep with the windows open if you have a comforter or a lover of a dog to keep you warm. Don't blink - you'll miss it.

What is your book's or your personal connection to St. Louis?
I am from a lot of different places, but I call St. Louis home. It's where I decided to settle down and raise a family. My books are almost set here. I say "almost" because I never come out and say that St. Louis is where James & Catskinner and all the other characters live. If you know the town, though, you'll recognize the neighborhoods, South City and West County and the Riverfront.

Genre: New Wave Science Fiction

Buy now or read the book's description:
Paperback: $8.99 | Kindle: $2.99

Connect with Misha:
Blog | Facebook | Twitter | Goodreads

Chronicle of the Mound Builders,
 by Elle Marie

Which scene in your book might a fellow Missourian recognize?
Most people from Missouri or eastern Illinois will recognize the mysterious Cahokia Mounds. A lot of action and excitement in Chronicle of the Mound Builders takes place there, in both the ancient and the modern timelines.

What Missouri activity would your main character enjoy most: a float trip, a Cardinals game, or a winery visit?
Definitely a float trip! Angela Hunter is a very outdoorsy girl, which is one reason she chose a career in archaeology. She loves hiking and exploring when she's not solving mysteries.

Genre: Mystery/Action-Adventure

Buy now or read the book's description:
Paperback: $14.99 | Kindle: $4.99

Connect with Elle:
Blog | Twitter | Goodreads

Confessions of a Paris Party Girl, by Vicki Lesage

What Missouri activity would your main character enjoy most: a float trip, a Cardinals game, or a winery visit?
Well, I'm Confessions of a Paris Party Girl's main character, so on a trip back to St. Louis from Paris, I would most enjoy an afternoon at a winery. Not just because of the wine (but that's a definite plus for this party girl!) but because of the beautiful Missouri scenery. A Cardinals game is a close second, though!

If your book was on death row, what would it choose for its last meal?
A huge pot of fondue. The melted cheese deliciousness is a running theme in my book and several scenes take place in my favorite fondue restaurant in Paris. And of course a glass of red wine!

Genre: Memoir

Buy now or read the book's description:
Paperback: $14.99 | Kindle: $4.99

Connect with Vicki:
Blog | Facebook | Twitter | Goodreads

Excelsior, by George Sirois

by George Sirois

If your book was made into a movie, who would play the part of your hero/heroine?
Matthew Peters is an ideal spot for either a young television star making the transition to the big screen or someone brand new to the industry. The characters around Matthew, however, are perfect for bigger stars. My editor and I have ideas for his mentor, Katherine Sierra. I think Mariska Hargitay would be a great fit, and my editor wants Marg Helgenberger. (Either one would be terrific if they ever want to do it, of course.) My wife's "second husband," Jeffrey Dean Morgan, would be the older Denarian known as Radifen. And I'd love to see Adam "Edge" Copeland play the ambitious Danaak.

What is your book's or your personal connection to St. Louis?
I always envisioned Excelsior as a coming-of-age story, but it never really kicked into gear until my wife and I made the decision to leave New York City (where I was born, and where I went to college and spent more than 15 years) to move to St. Louis (where my wife was born and raised). Matthew is the next in line to become a god on another planet, but that means he has to leave everything he has ever known, and leave his dreams to become a famous writer & artist behind. And even though I didn't reach the heights that Matthew does, the move to St. Louis – away from my friends and family – got me a great job, a great house, and opportunities I could never get in New York City.

Genre: YA, Sci-Fi

Buy now or read the book's description:
Paperback: $12.95 | Kindle: $2.99

Connect with George:
Website | Facebook | Twitter | Goodreads

Reduced, by Robin Tidwell

by Robin Tidwell

Which scene in your book might a fellow Missourian recognize?
Reduced takes place mainly in Jefferson County, but also in St. Louis County and the city of St. Louis. The Arch, of course, makes an appearance, as do Grant's Farm and St. Mary's Hospital. Several roads and highways are mentioned, and the characters are surviving at "an old, abandoned" Girl Scout camp - which is, at present, still in use.

What is your book's or your personal connection to St. Louis?
My family has been in the St. Louis area since 1847, when Friederich Kuhlmann arrived from Germany and bought a lot in what would become the city of Clayton - the Sevens Building is there now. A few years later, he purchased farm land in St. Louis County - several scenes take place there. I was born and raised here (Parkway Central), moved away for a while after college (the first attempt), and returned seve
n years ago. St. Louisans almost always come home...

Abby did the same - moved out West for a few years, then returned; she and her group go way back, decades even, and stick together through the collapse of their civilization. So many dystopian stories are set in LA or NYC, but STL is right in the heart of the country, and that makes all the difference.

Genre: Dystopic

Buy now or read the book's description:
Paperback: $13.95 | Kindle: $3.99

Connect with Robin:
Website | Blog | Facebook | Twitter

Which of these books sounds interesting to you? And have you ever visited St. Louis? If so, what was your favorite thing about it?

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

X-Continuity: Days of Movies Past

In less than two weeks, the latest installment in one of my personal favorite film franchises will open nationwide: X-Men: Days of Future Past. There are many reasons why I’m looking forward to this. First of all, it looks great. Second of all, I’ll be seeing it with my father and we saw the first and second X-Men films and X-Men: First Class together (this has become one of “our franchises”). Third, I get to hear John Ottman’s score once again, and I was a huge fan of what he did with the second film. And fourth, I get to see how the skewed continuity throughout the seven-film-franchise will be repaired.

For those of you who have seen the movies, you know what I’m talking about. The third and fourth films (X-Men: The Last Stand and X-Men Origins: Wolverine) show Sir Patrick Stewart as Professor Charles Xavier without his wheelchair, walking around as though he never needed one. But two years later, we saw in X-Men: First Class (SPOILER ALERT!) how Charles was shot in the back and lost the use of his legs. To some people, this meant that the filmmakers were disregarding the two films that showed an older Professor Xavier walking, and that was okay with them since the third and fourth films are looked at as the weakest of the franchise. But others - myself included - didn’t appreciate the splitting of the continuity. It doesn’t matter if The Last Stand or Origins: Wolverine were as good. Disregarding films in a franchise creates a slippery slope. Even the original Friday the 13th movies started where Jason was put down in the previous ones.

As time passed, however, I realized - through little clues left in the first and second movies - that even if they don’t come up with an extra element that has young Charles Xavier walking again, the continuity is very much intact. How, you may ask? Well, let me take you back fourteen years to the very first X-Men film.

We see Charles Xavier speaking with Senator Kelly at the mansion and entering his mind to see what Magneto had done to the senator. Once the connection is made, we see Xavier at Magneto’s lair, watching the machine turn Kelly into a mutant. And what does Xavier do to show us that this is happening within Kelly’s head? He stands up, and he does it very quickly. Charles is one of the most powerful mutants in the world, which makes his inability to walk all the more frustrating.

We see a flash of Charles’ attitude toward his disability in the second film, when Jason Stryker is manipulating his thoughts. He looks down, sees himself standing up, and smiles. And years later, when we are introduced to the younger Charles Xavier, we see how much of an ego he has. So it’s safe to say that when he thinks back to previous years, he doesn’t see the wheelchair at all. He sees himself standing and walking without any difficulty. That’s what we see at the beginning of X-Men: The Last Stand. It’s not a full-on flashback; it’s Xavier thinking back to the day when he met Jean Grey for the first time.

But wait, you may be yelling at your computer. What about Magneto’s appearance in the same scene? If First Class showed the end of Charles and Erik’s friendship, then why is Erik there? Well, you know how in the first and second films, both Xavier and Erik say how they built Cerebro together? The only way they could have done that is if there was still a mutual understanding between them and that circumstances such as that forced them to work together. Meeting Jean Grey is one of those circumstances, and the first line in the movie is Erik saying, “I still don’t know why I’m here.” If they were still the best of friends, there wouldn’t be any confusion about why Erik joined Charles for this visit.

And then we have the brief cameo of Sir Patrick Stewart in X-Men Origins: Wolverine. How can I POSSIBLY explain that moment where Xavier is standing tall at the end of the film? Well, the only response I can possibly give comes from Wolverine himself, when he told Xavier at the beginning of X2: “I need you to read my mind again.”

If the adamantium bullet in Origins (which, I will admit, was one of the clumsiest ways to wipe someone’s memories that I’ve ever seen in a film) would have completely destroyed Wolverine’s memories, he wouldn’t have those flashes in the first two films. We can only assume that those memories are still there in his head, just lying dormant because of the bullet. So when we watch X-Men Origins: Wolverine, we’re seeing what Xavier sees, a combination of his mind-reading of Woverine and his memories of how he met Scott Summers. He now knows much more about Logan’s past and the tragedies he experienced than he’s saying, but he chooses to leave it in the past and tells Logan, “Sometimes the mind needs to discover things for itself.” By walking away from Col. Stryker and choosing to stay with the X-Men at the end of the second film, it’s safe to say that Charles made the right decision.

Of course, all of this will wind up being a moot point later this month, when Days of Future Past is released. But now that this theory is out there, I hope it gives fans something to think about between now and May 23.

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Fifteen Minutes of Fame - Cover Reveal!

Cover reveals are always a fun event to enjoy among writers. It usually happens when your release is just around the corner, and it's the perfect chance to whet your readers' appetite for what's to come. So with that in mind, allow me to present the cover art for fellow RHP author Julie Young's novel "Fifteen Minutes of Fame!"

For those of you who have yet to be introduced to Julie, you can read the interview I had with her by clicking HERE.

And here is her official press release. All the best on the launch, Julie!

April 1, 2014

Contact: Julie Young
(317) 861-7236



INDIANAPOLIS: After six books on local history including The Famous Faces of WTTV-4, Eastside Indianapolis: A Brief History, Historic Irvington and A Belief in Providence, local author Julie Young has branched into fiction teaming up with St. Louis-based Rocking Horse Publishing to release an exciting YA title Fifteen Minutes of Fame on April 11.
Written as a first-person memoir, Fifteen Minutes of Fame is the story of Megan Taylor, a young girl who was plucked from obscurity at the age of 15 and transformed into the mysterious rock icon MonAmi. At the height of her fame and on the final night of her farewell tour, the singer runs from the career that made her a superstar and back to her hometown where she sorts through the complexity of living a double life that the rocker says “was hardly the best of both worlds.”
“I was inspired by a lot of young artists, both past and present who hit that super-stratified level of fame at a young age,” Young said. “The pressure is enormous. People are promising you the moon and in a few years it’s all over or they are a train wreck and nobody knows what went wrong.”
Part Hannah Montana, part Roman Holiday, Fifteen Minutes of Fame is a madcap behind-the-music fantasy that will thrill fans of Meg Cabot and Jen Calonita. Young said that after writing several non-fiction titles over the years, it was time to do something different.
“This one is for the kids,” she said. “I wanted to write a story that would remind me of the rock and roll dreams I had when I was a teenager.”
Like her main character, Young began performing at a young age and longed for the musical lifestyle she writes about in the book, but is quick to point out that is where the similarities end.
“I never could have lived MonAmi’s life,” she laughed. “My parents never would have signed the contract!”
Young said that she is excited to have partnered with Rocking Horse for her first YA publication and is currently working to schedule personal appearances throughout the country this summer.
“Fifteen Minutes of Fame is ready to rock, are you?” Young said.

Fifteen Minutes of Fame (ISBN: 9780991969576) is available in both hardcopy and ebook format at, and other major retailers. For more information or review copies, contact

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Newsletter Contest - Week 5

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Killing the Two-Headed Monster for Lent

Tomorrow is Ash Wednesday, the beginning of the Lenten Season. It is a time when many people decide what they will give up for the next forty days and forty nights. Last year, I gave up something for the first time in years; I gave up self-doubt.

Now, that may sound like something very easy to give up, but I have to tell you that it's not. Self-doubt is like wrapping yourself up in a security blanket as you think to yourself, “Whatever people have to say to me is nowhere near as bad as what I say to myself.” You're basically beating critics to the punch by saying, “Oh, I know this is shit and that I'm shit.” Well, like any other destructive habit, the more you indulge yourself in it, the more it's going to hurt yourself.

So for Lent last year, I reminded myself over and over that I was giving up self-doubt. It was like denying myself chocolate (or, in my case, chocolate and peanut butter), where I was tempted over and over to just be down on myself. But each time I refused to partake in that “fun” little exercise, I felt myself instead occupying my time with learning why I made certain mistakes and making sure not to make them again. After that, I felt my work improve, which improved my self-esteem and reduced the opportunities for self-doubt.

In the past few months, I've felt that self-doubt work its way back in, and with that came the other half of the two-headed monster that I deal with every day: procrastination. As the self-doubt lingers, the urge to procrastinate gets bigger and bigger, and this week, I decided that enough was enough. I had to do something about this. I had to slay the two-headed monster that's taken up residency in my head.

Therefore, in honor of Ash Wednesday, I have decided to give up both procrastination and self-doubt for Lent. I have way too much on my plate – rewrites for “From Parts Unknown,” recording of the “Excelsior” audiobook, writing “Ever Upward: Part Two of The Excelsior Journey,” the new weekly newsletter, etc. - and if I do away with procrastination, I'll get some of it done during this 40-day period. That feeling of accomplishment will then stifle the urge to give myself grief; it will give me what I need to kill this two-headed monster once and for all!

So what are YOU giving up for Lent?

Thursday, February 27, 2014

Newsletter Contest - Week 4