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Thursday, October 4, 2012

Guest Post and Giveaway with Michael Shean, author of Bone Wires

Hi, everyone!

I am pleased to participate in Michael Shean's Bone Wires Virtual Blog Tour hosted by FMB Blog Tours.

About Michael:

Michael Shean was born amongst the sleepy hills and coal mines of southern West Virginia in 1978. Taught to read by his parents at a very early age, he has had a great love of the written word since the very beginning of his life. Growing up, he was often plagued with feelings of isolation and loneliness; he began writing off and on to help deflect this, though these themes are often explored in his work as a consequence. At the age of 16, Michael began to experience a chain of vivid nightmares that has continued to this day; it is from these aberrant dreams that he draws inspiration.

In 2001 Michael left West Virginia to pursue a career in the tech industry, and he settled in the Washington, DC area as a web designer and graphic artist. As a result his writing was put aside and not revisited until five years later. In 2006 he met his current fiancee, who urged him to pick up his writing once more. Several years of work and experimentation yielded the core of what would become his first novel, Shadow of a Dead Star (2011). Michael is currently signed with Curiosity Quills Press, who has overtaken publication of Shadow of a Dead Star and the other books of his Wonderland Cycle.


Welcome to Darlene's Book Nook, Michael!

Michael has written a guest post, so I will now turn the floor over to him.

Letter To Myself as an Aspiring Author
By Michael Shean

There aren’t many people who wouldn’t change something about their lives if they had the chance: people they’ve been with, choices they’ve made. In my case, one of those situations has to do with the first steps I took down the road toward being a serious author about five and a half years ago. I was in an interesting place back then; I was working through a very stressful position as a Federal contractor, I’d met my wife about six months before and we were having a rough time of it due to said stress and the crazy hours that caused it. I’d always wanted to write - I’d been doing it off and on since I was in first grade - but it wasn’t until I met my wife that I felt that I could actually give it a shot.

Five years or so later and I’ve written and had published two novels, just about ready to finish my third, and a string of books lining up to be written after that one’s done. Good stuff to be sure, and yet even in my position I’d love to be able to turn back a decision or two - or, if not that, sneak a letter back to 2007 and tell my younger self what to do. Or, more specifically, what not to. It would go something like this.


Hey there, man. It’s around about three o’clock in the morning and you’ve just started your first novel, which you’ll title Five Days in Gehenna. Christina’s going to convince you to rename it to Five Nights, which works just fine and yes, she’s smarter than you about this sort of thing. Yes, you are reading this and no, believe it or not, you aren’t crazy. What you are is fortunate, because I - that is, you - need to tell you some things that you’re going to need to know now that you’ve taken the plunge and decided to write for real.

First, stop fucking around trying to be clever. You’ve got stories to tell, so stop trying to make them sound as literary as possible. You can’t make anything ‘sound’ literary. It either is or it isn’t, you can’t make it otherwise. Anyway, there isn’t anything that’s ever been named literary that wasn’t decided after you were dead or well into a writer’s career, so stop trying to be the next Elmore Leonard and just write the damned story. You’re going to hear that a lot before I’m done with this letter, so just bear with me and read on.

You’ve decided to write science fiction and fantasy. The dark stuff. Fantastic. Prepare for a lot of frustration, because all those nightmares you have aren’t going to appeal to a lot of people right off the bat - I know, I know, but you and I both know that if you’re writing sci-fi a lot more people like Star Wars than they do Event Horizon. Get on over that and write it anyway. You won’t be happy until you do. While you’re doing that, though, I need you to keep in mind that writing is a business, and like all businesses there are going to be strains of product - in this case, genres of fiction - that are going to sell a lot better than others. You can write in all kinds of genres, so you need to be aware of this. Pure artists never got paid. When you’ve gotten a couple of the pure genre titles out of your system and you’re happy with where you’re going, keep this in mind as you move toward future titles. It might drive you insane that people are starting to rave about that book with the sparkly girlie-boy vampires, but you’ll be an idiot to sneer. Don’t forget that even Franz fucking Kafka wrote pornography. Just write the damned story.

Of course, in order to get those first few books out of your system, you’re going to need to write them in the first place. It’s 2007. Do not fuck around like you did the first time around and wait until 2010 to get your first book finished. You’re not an idiot, you’re just scared and a little lazy. This thing isn’t going to happen unless you sit down, put away the World of Warcraft and the internet porn and whatever else you’re screwing around with when you should be writing, and make it happen. It’s hard, I know! But it’s also like a muscle, and something like swimming as well - you have to do it in order to get better, and it’s all right that your first few drafts are going to be terrible. That’s what editors and second drafts are for. And for God’s sake, don’t screw around looking for one of those, too - an editor, that is. You can find them advertising. Get one. A good one. Nobody wants an unpolished draft.

Now because you write strange stuff that large publishers will consider only marginally marketable, get ready for a long parade of agent rejections and publisher trouble until (quite possibly) self-publication becomes a viable option. In fact, expect a long parade of rejections until you finally get where you need to be. And this, my friend, is where you need to listen to me closely. Nine years previous to where you are now, you were teaching yourself how to build and design websites, do digital art, all that jazz. You’ve built a career from thin air, and for that you should be proud - and writing’s going to be the same thing. I cannot stress how difficult this thing is to get into, and I’ve not even had all that much success by the time I write this to you. You’re going to get angry, you’re going to get hurt, you’re going to question yourself and every other part of the business that you’re trying to get in on. That’s fine. Embrace it. Accept it. Only don’t turn back. Don’t get angry and walk away, no matter how badly you’d like to. If there’s anything I can pass down to you, man, it’s that this all gets better the longer you work at it. It does. And it’s a good thing, too - once you really get started, it’s all you’ll ever be able to do without falling apart. It’s like that girl of yours, the one you end up marrying. When she’s not around, you’re only halfway human. Writing is just the same way.

Aside from the freakiness of getting a magical time-letter from your ancient future self, I hope you’ll listen to what I’ve put down here. I know what you’re going to run into; I’ve lived it, man, it’s all history to me. I can’t stress how hard it’s going to be if you screw around, and the longer you wait before you jump into this game the more miserable you’re going to be. I.T. is your career, man; writing’s your calling. Whatever stress is coming your way, just put it aside and make it happen. Don’t fuck around, don’t make excuses.

Just write the damned story, man. Everybody’s gonna thank you for it. Nobody more than yourself.

Done Freaking You Out,
Future Michael.

Thanks so much for joining us today, Michael!

Ten lucky winners will win a digital copy of Michael's mystery/science fiction novel, Bone Wires.

Title: Bone Wires
Author: Michael Shean
Genre: Dark, Mystery, Science Fiction,
Publisher: Curiosity Quills/Whampa, LLC
Pages: 380 (paperback)

In the wasteland of commercial culture that is future America, police are operated not by government but by private companies.

In Seattle, that role is filled by Civil Protection, and Daniel Gray is a detective in Homicide Solutions. What used to be considered an important - even glamorous - department for public police is very different for the corporate species, and Gray finds himself stuck in a dead end job. That is, until the Spine Thief arrives.

When a serial killer begins harvesting the spinal tissue of corporate employees all over the city, Detective Gray finds himself plunged into the first truly major case of his career. Caught in a dangerous mix of murder, betrayal and conflicting corporate interest, Gray will find himself not only matching wits with a diabolical murderer but grapple with his growing doubt toward his employers in the dawning months of the American tricentennial.

A thrilling mystery set in the same world as the Wonderland Cycle, Bone Wires is a grim trip into the streets of the empty future.
Buy Links:
Amazon (Kindle) | Amazon (Print) | B&N (Nook & Print


The scene of the crime was an alleyway behind an abandoned Roziara Deli. Crowding the street outside the deli were a pair of patrol cars, white wedges of steel with ribbon lights that stained the nearby buildings red and blue. Street officers clustered around the mouth, black body armor over blue uniform fatigues; unlike the sidearms that Gray and Carter carried, the streeties carried the blunt, brutal shapes of submachine guns close to their plated chests. A cordon had been set up; the narrow yellow band of holographic tape that stretched across the alley mouth glowed as it cycled through baleful warning messages.
“They used to have good subs here,” said Carter as they pulled up in front of the moldering delicatessen. “Slabs of capicola as thick as Annie Cruz’s ass. Just incredible.”
“Don’t know that name,” said Gray.
“Porn star,” said Carter, who produced his badge and flashed it at a streeter who was approaching them. “Way before your time. Put on your war face, here comes the Pacifier.”
Carter’s Amber Shield glowed like the very words of God Almighty in the low light. “Carter and Gray,” said Carter, keeping his identification held up so that the streeter could see it. “Homicide Solutions.”
“Lem Martin,” replied the streeter. “Pacification Officer, patrol region 927.”
“This is your beat then,” said Gray, who produced from the inside pocket of his suit coat a slim Sony microcomp and engaged its holographic display. Data from the Nexus sprang to life above the palm-sized slab. “What do you have for us, Martin?”
Martin winced a bit at the lack of ‘Officer’ before his surname – you got a lot of that with Pacification Services, of which street patrol was the biggest group. They didn’t like being talked down to. Gray outranked him, however, and didn’t give a shit besides. “Nasty stuff,” Martin said, jerking his head toward the alley mouth. “Victim’s name is Anderson, Ronald P. Administration. His panic implant was set off about an hour ago and flatlined soon after; me and my partner were in the area, and when we found him…well. Real horror show back there, is all I can say. I called for backup. Dunno what they used, but…well. You’ll see.”
Carter and Gray looked at each other – streeters saw all sorts of things. If they said it was a nasty scene, they’d probably do well to get smocks and rain boots. “All right, Officer,” Carter said, at which Martin seemed to relax a bit. “Were there any witnesses, security footage, anything like that?”
“Nothing we could find,” said Martin. “This area’s been abandoned for years. Anyone who lives here cleared out as soon as they heard us coming. You know how it is.”
“Yeah,” said Gray. Don’t want to get arrested for just being around. “All right, thanks, Officer. If you and…”
“Conklin and Peavey,” Martin replied. “In the other car. Patel’s with me.”
“…Right,” Carter replied with a nod. “If you fellas can keep up the cordon on either side of the alley, we’ll have a look. Call the coroner while you’re at it.”
“On it,” barked Martin, who stepped away from the alley mouth while touching the side of his throat where a subvocal mic, standard issue for street patrol, had been implanted. Carter waited until Martin had backed up a few steps and was well into conversation before he gestured for Gray to follow him. The two men passed through the holographic cordon, the barrier no more solid than the air around it, and took a few steps into the feebly-lit alleyway. The space behind the deli was dark and thick with shadows, lit only by the dying bulb of a lamp set over the shop’s sealed back door. A figure slumped or lay in the cone of dim light that spilled across the building’s crumbling facade. The air was faintly tinged with the smell of ozone and cooked meat. The two men approached; Gray held his computer in one hand while Carter fished the flat, card-sized shape of a palm lamp from a coat pocket. Cupping the lamp in his hand, Carter threw a beam of bright blue- white light across the alleyway and clearly illuminated the corpse.
Lean and muscular in life, that which had been Ronald Anderson half-crouched, half-sprawled across the alleyway, his handsome face pointing down toward the filthy concrete. The corpse’s posture reminded Gray of an old girlfriend; she was a yoga fanatic and used to do something similar called the Child’s Pose. Anderson’s formerly clean white dress shirt had been cut open, straight down the back from collar to waist, and his belted slacks had also been cut down to the base of the pelvis. His back had been tattooed with a medieval Japanese wave scene.
Anderson’s flesh had been laid open. Arching upward and away in a v-shaped furrow, a deep channel now butterflied the man’s back half from the base of his skull to the top of his pelvis. Where his spine should have been there was only a bloodless, grayish-red channel. The red and ivory of cleanly clipped bone and cooked organs were clearly visible in its absence, his heart a gray and veined lump. It was as if the tattooed sea had somehow come alive, restless and roaring, and attempted to rise away from its host who could never have survived its rebellion.
Without the slightest drop of blood, Ronald Anderson had been boned like a fish.
“Damn,” muttered Carter, stepping forward so he could track with his light the awful wound. “Never seen that before. What do you make of it, Dan?” For Gray, who had only experienced the more pedestrian horrors of stranglings, stabbings and gunshot wounds in his brief career, there was no clean reply. “That’s the strangest thing I’ve ever seen,” he breathed instead, staring down at the carved gutter. Gray had said ‘strangest’ – however, what he had truly wanted to say was ‘most horrible’. Looking down at the murdered man, Gray knew that his ‘sexy’ case had arrived, just as he had wished for it, but the only thing he could wish for now was to be anywhere else.
As if sensing the truth behind Gray’s words, Carter snorted softly. “Lucky you, kid,” he replied in a wry and vaguely weary tone. “Lucky you.”

 To enter the giveaway, please fill out the Rafflecopter entry form below.

This giveaway is open to Canada/US addresses only until 12:01 AM EST on October 31, 2012.

Tour Participants

Sept. 1st- A Dream Within A Dream (Excerpt/Giveaway)
Sept. 2nd- Laurie's Non-Paranormal Thoughts and Reviews (Interview/Excerpt)
Sept. 3rd- Books & Beauty (Excerpt/Giveaway)
Sept. 4th- The Avid Reader (Excerpt)
Sept. 5th- Tricia Kristufek (Guest Post)
Sept. 6th- Turning The Pages (Promo Post)
Sept. 7th- Reading with Holly (Excerpt)
Sept. 8th- A Few Words (Guest Post)
Sept. 9th- The Bunny's Review (Interview/Giveaway)
Sept. 10th- The eBook Reviewers (Excerpt)
Sept. 11th- The Other Shelf (Promo Post/Giveaway)
Sept. 12th- Lizzy's Dark Fiction (Excerpt/Giveaway)
Sept. 13th- Holly Adair (Promo Post)
Sept. 14th- Kaidans Seduction (Promo Post)
Sept. 16th- I am, Indeed (Review)
Sept. 17th- Chaotic Book Corner (Review) 

Sept. 17th- Red Headed Book Worm (Interview)
Sept. 18th- A Bit of Dash (Excerpt)
Sept. 19th- Books & Beauty (Excerpt/Giveaway)
Sept. 20th- Words I Write Crazy (Review)
Sept. 21st- FireStarBooks (Excerpt)
Sept. 22nd- Day Dreaming Book Reviews (Excerpt/Giveaway)
Sept. 23rd- DVonThaer (Interview/Giveaway)
Sept. 24th- Book Lovin' Mamas (Promo Post)
Sept. 25th-   Proserpine Craving Books (Excerpt)
Sept. 26th- Sweeping Me (Guest Post/Giveaway)
Sept. 27th- Abbey Ann's Bookland (Excerpt/Giveaway)
Sept. 28th- Books Down My Pillow (Review/Giveaway)
Sept. 29th- For The Love Of Film And Novels (Promo Post/Giveaway)
Sept. 30th- Community Bookstop (Excerpt)
Oct. 1st- Grasping for the Wind (Excerpt)
Oct. 2nd- Off the Page (Author Interview)
Oct. 3rd- Bookluvrs Haven (Review)
Oct. 4th- Darlene's Book Nook (Guest Post/Giveaway)
Oct. 5th- Writing to be Read (Review)
Oct. 6th- The Insane Ramblings of a Crazed Writer (Excerpt/Giveaway)
Oct. 7th- Kristy Centeno (Promo Post)
Oct. 8th- Beauty in Ruins (Review)
Oct. 9th- My Seryniti (Author Interview/Review)
Oct. 10th- The Cover (And Everything in Between) (Interview/Giveaway)
Oct. 11th- White Sky Project (Review)
Oct. 12th- Mallory Heart Reviews (Review)
Oct. 13th- The Book Diva's Reads (Review/Excerpt)
Oct. 14th-  Book Briefs (Excerpt/Giveaway)
Oct. 15th-
Cocktails and Books (Promo Post)
Oct. 16th-
Fighting Monkey Press (Excerpt)
Oct. 17th-
Juniper Grove (Interview)
Oct. 18th-
Cabin Goddess (Excerpt)
Oct. 19th-
Persephone's Winged Reviews (Review)
Oct. 20th-
Laurie's Non-Paranormal Thoughts and Reviews (Promo Post)
Oct. 21st-
Simply Infatuated (Interview)
Oct. 22nd-
Bookishly Me (Review)
Oct. 23rd-
  Reading on the Wild Side (Promo Post)
Oct. 24th-
Starry Night Book Reviews (Promo Post)
Oct. 25th-
Cabin Goddess (Review)
Oct. 26th-
Juniper Grove (Excerpt)
Oct. 27th-
Full Moon Bites (Review/Giveaway)
Oct. 28th-
Beach Bum Reads (Review)
Oct. 29th-
whoopeeyoo :D (Excerpt)
Oct. 30th-
The Self-Taught Cook (Review)


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