Monday, May 30, 2011

Doing Business with the Devil

Periodically people say to me, “If you would just write a book about X, you might get a publishing contract,” or “If you would just approach an agent in Y way, you might get signed and you might be published.”

No. Never again will I grovel to agents and publishers, saying “Please publish me,” or “Please represent me,” which in my opinion is the sad equivalent of the powerless child saying to the all-powerful parent, “Daddy or Mommy, please love me.”

I think these people— agents and editors and publishers--are, at best, callous and utterly unable to understand the sensitive mind of the creative artist. And at worst they are, in my opinion, (like Stephen King’s first publisher, who snubbed him, and like Brian Keene’s publisher, who robbed him) evil.

For the time being at least, I refuse to do business with people who are at best callous and at worst evil. I refuse to sell my soul to the devil.

This is my position—and if you’re a writer, it need not be your position. I don’t care, and frankly it’s not my business, what other writers choose to do. But this is what I’ve chosen for myself.

Saturday, May 28, 2011

Interview with Erotic Horror Writer Christian Jensen

Yesterday, I interviewed Christian Jensen, erotic horror writer and author of The Bitch (Book One of Witches House: The Chronicles of Rosario). (You can buy his eBook here for 99¢.) Here's the interview:

Tamworth Grice: How did you happen to become a writer?

Christian Jensen: I got a copy of Pet Sematary when I was a kid and absolutely fell in love with it, and ever since then I wanted to be a writer. I was 8.

Tamworth Grice: And how long have you been writing?

Christian Jensen: I've been writing for damn near 30 years, and I honestly wouldn't know what to do if I had to stop. I've had every job imaginable; I am a chef, a master mechanic, an all-around handyman. I can fix anything and if i taste it I can cook it. I am also a tattoo artist. I love dogs, and I have a Great Dane, a Lab mix, and a Jack Russel mix. I really do love all animals. Especially the delicious ones like cows and pigs and lobsters.

Tamworth Grice: (laughs) How did you choose erotic horror as your genre?

Christian Jensen: I really am a horror writer at heart. Everything I write ends up tinged with it. I just kind of progressed towards erotic horror, and it made a lot of sense for me. I found myself writing these elaborate sex scenes and then editing them because they were too graphic. I hate editing scenes out, especially if I think they flow with the story well.

Tamworth Grice: So you probably don’t like censorship.

Christian Jensen: I hate censorship, especially self-censorship. I don't do it well, either. So I started leaving the sex scenes in and I realized it was still a horror novel or short story, but it had this tint of erotica to it that I really liked. So one day I woke up and realized I was an erotic horror author.

Tamworth Grice: But now you're working on something for the YA market, is that right?

Christian Jensen: Yes. I am currently writing the sequel to my first (unpublished) young adult book. It's a lot of fun to write because I get to think like a twelve year old, which honestly isn't a stretch for me. I am also working on another erotic horror novel that may or may not be about vampires. Additionally I am cranking out short stories for a collection I will publish next month. I am also finishing up the edits on the third erotic horror novel in the Witches House series, plus the prequel to that series, and a collection of erotic scenes.

Tamworth Grice: Wow! That’s a lot!

Christian Jensen: I like to stay busy. This is why I write between 5,000 and 10,000 words a day.

Tamworth Grice: Like a lot of us, you chose to go with self-publishing your books as eBooks. How did that come about?

Christian Jensen: I know a lot of very successful published authors. I have heard about the stigma toward self-publishing for years, but I have noticed a shift in the wind. I spoke with Brian Keene about it, and his advice was to make sure a book is edited professionally and has a professional looking cover. Brian admits that if he was just starting out he would most likely go the self publishing route.

Tamworth Grice: Did any other authors offer you advice about ePublishing?

Christian Jensen: Jonathan Maberry told me that there are a lot of people making good livings off their eBooks, especially short story collections. Once I saw that the stigma had lessened (it's not gone by any means—just not as severe) I thought I would try it.

Tamworth Grice: And you wrote The Bitch as a book to self-publish, right?

Christian Jensen: That’s right. I wrote The Bitch specifically for self publishing on Kindle. I was very happy with the experience and followed it up with a second part in the series, and the third will be out soon. I will have at least seven books up on Kindle and Nook by July.

Tamworth Grice: So tell us more about The Bitch.

Christian Jensen: The Bitch is actually a book that I wrote because I loved the main character, Rosario, so much. She first appears in Witches House (soon to be published) as a secondary character, but I thought she was too big for such a small role and came up with a series of books just for her.

Tamworth Grice: What’s the title character’s relationship with Rosario?

Christian Jensen: The Bitch is one of Rosario's lovers, a gorgeous werewolf who is hunting her mother’s killer. When the huntress becomes the hunted, Rosario has to fight to save her lover from the man who killed her mother, and from herself. There is a big secret that may just undo everything Rosario has been struggling to protect. Between the action and sex scenes there aren't many wasted words. I really hope everyone falls in love with Rosario as they read about her in the same way I did while writing her.

Tamworth Grice: Based on my reading, I’m sure they will. Thanks so much, Christian.

Christian Jensen: You’re welcome. And thanks so much for this. It’s very exciting being interviewed.

Christian Jensen

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Reading Amanda Hocking

(In case you missed it, the title of this post is an homage  to my book's title--if one can do an homage to one's self.)

Tonight I was reading Amanda Hocking's earliest blog entries. (Confession: I'm such a newbie in the world of self-ePublishing that I didn't even know who she was until a few days ago!) Anyway, the story in these posts was doubly heart-breaking because it's also my story.

Of desparately wanting to get published.

Of groveling for an agent.

And of doubting my own work.

As she puts it: "Sending off queries is so exciting, but then the rejections come, and I start feeling vaguely suicidal and like destroying everything I've written."

Oh, God, how many times did I go there myself?

But before I get too maudlin, I'll write this: "In the middle of the storm, as if by magic, the dark clouds parted, the thunder and lightning abated, the downpour stopped, and the sun of indie ePublishing shone brightly through."

Anyway, if you're a writer who is going through any of this, read Amanda's earliest blog entries--through, say, the end of April 2010. Then go read her Wikipedia page.

And then know, in your heart, that YOU are the one who will part the clouds . . . .

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Why I Am ePublishing My Book

So far I’ve blogged about the way the publishing industry has treated other writers, such as Brian Keene and Stephen King.

Today I’ll provide six tidbits from my own experiences.

Experience the First: A few years ago, a certain first book—let’s call it The Fabulous Book—by an unknown author was getting a lot of attention. Because I had a similar novel, I sent out a few queries and on request, I sent the manuscript to an editor. She wrote back, saying, “This reminds me a lot of The Fabulous Book, which I loathed.”[Underlining and bold are hers, not mine.]

Experience the Second: I sent a query to a very well known agent with a huge Internet presence. In that query I used the word “discrete,” meaning “separate or distinct.” The agent apparently didn’t know the word existed and thought I’d misspelled “discreet.” The agent returned my letter covered with an angry message scrawled in red ink saying, “I reject any query with a typo. You’ll never get anywhere as a writer if you don’t learn to spell.”

Experiences the Third and Fourth: Two different agents yawned during face-to-face pitch sessions at conferences. I was paying for these face-to-face sessions and had also spent a great deal (over $1000) for transportation, the conference fee, and the hotel. One of the two was at least nice enough to cover her mouth with her hand. The other one opened his mouth so wide I had an alarming view of the dental work on his molars.

Experience the Fifth: An agent posted a query online looking for someone with expertise and publishing experience in a particular area. I have the expertise, but not the publishing experience, so I responded, detailing my expertise. The agent sent back an email that began, in all caps: “HOW IS THIS WHAT I ASKED FOR?”

Experience the Sixth: An editor at a certain publishing house was enthusiastic about a book of mine, and in the last communication I had with him, he told me to expect to receive a contract soon. Weeks, and then months, went by, and finally I learned the editor had left the company—without a word to me directly, or to anyone there about me.

Have you had a similar bad experience with an agent or editor? Please post it here as a comment!

Fortunately, thanks to ePublishing, I no longer have to deal with these people. Hope you'll buy my eBook, Listening to Ian Magick, on sale June 1st at Amazon for Kindle.

If you don't have a Kindle, you can download a FREE Kindle app for your PC by clicking here. For Mac, click here.

Mini Review of My Book and My Writing

Just got this comment about my writing from a literary critic:

"Tamworth Grice brings a fresh new voice to twenty-first century Gothic horror. In addition, she delivers an attitude that is contemporary yet evocative of the eighteenth- and nineteenth-century novels of Ann Radcliffe and the Brontes." --Berkshire DuRoc

Monday, May 23, 2011

My Cover Art Process

People have been asking me about the process of getting an eBook cover designed.

For example, everyone wants to know if the artist has to read the entire book to design a cover (the answer is no, in my case).

So I thought I’d explain here what the process was for my eBook, Listening to Ian Magick.

First I had to find an artist. I found two among my Twitter followers: Artist Z and Heidi Sutherlin. I arbitrarily started with the one geographically closest, which was Artist Z.

There was a telephone number at Artist Z’s Web site, so I phoned. During a very brief conversation, it became clear that, alas, we had no rapport at all. For instance, Artist Z was very impatient with my inexperience in working with artists and with my ignorance of cover-art processes and terminology.

So I bailed.

The next day I contacted Heidi Sutherlin via her Web site, My Creative Pursuits.
Heidi Sutherlin

Heidi sent me an email with four questions, as follows:

1. What do you have in mind for your cover? 

2. What is your book about, descriptions of your main characters, setting, any particular point that stands out or that you feel defines your story. 

3. What do you like (in general)? 

4. What do you dislike (in general)? 

*For 3 and 4, this question is vague and applies to anything you like or that annoys you - color, music, people on the subway standing too closely, etc. It gives me a clear picture of your particular tastes and style. 

Feel free to add anything you feel will help us narrow in on the perfect cover for your story.

Wow. This was going to be hard!

In answer to question 1, I didn’t really have anything in mind. A friend had done a very nice mock-up for me, but I wasn’t locked in to that idea.

For question 2, I’m terrible at writing summaries (which is probably why my book has never clicked with an agent or a brick-and-mortar publisher!).

Questions 3 and 4 seemed impossibly broad and vague.

I puzzled over the questions, and finally sent back the following rather inarticulate response:

Hello Heidi:

The book is about a bad-boy-type rock star (Ian Magick) that a fan thinks is sending her messages through his music to kill people.

So something on the cover that suggests a rock star? (If you want to depict the actual rock star, mine has short blonde hair and looks rather like Spike from Buffy the Vampire Slayer). Or you could show, like, headphones? Or concert tickets? I'm not an artist, so I don't know! It's a horror novel.

Also on the cover, my name and the title, Listening to Ian Magick, of course! Possibly the words "A Novel" as well?

To answer your questions:

1. What do you have in mind for your cover? 

I think I answered that one, above.

2. What is your book about, descriptions of your main characters, setting, any particular point that stands out or that you feel defines your story.

I think I answered that one, above, too. The protagonist is 18, thin, green eyes, pretty but not beautiful. She's been going through a rough time: her father died in a plane crash, she has relocated to a new school, she has lost her affluent lifestyle, she's a social misfit, she's sensitive and artistic. The setting is a small town called "Horrify" (the exact location of the town is not specified) in the summer. The story is defined by the fact that her life is awful and those around her (including family and authority figures) either are too preoccupied or too adversarial to take much interest in her. Because of all of this, she fills the void in her life by becoming fixated on (obsessed with) a "bad-boy" rock star. If I had to compare this book to another, I'd choose Steven King's Carrie (not that it's that good, but I think it has some of the same themes, including alienation and supernatural forces at work).

3. What do you like (in general)? 

I like things that are unusual and not mainstream. I like black, a Goth look. I wear it much, but I think it's cool on others. I like other languages and other cultures. I like history. I like Buffy the Vampire Slayer--especially, the first three seasons. I like rebels--people who aren't afraid to go against the system and to question the prevailing order. I like Scandinavian and Celtic myths and legends. I like fitness, but not if it means making a religion of it. I like chocolate.

4. What do you dislike (in general)? 

As far as art goes, I'm not sure. I don't want a guy with no shirt because this book is horror and not romance. I also don't want anything that looks too young-adult-y. I don't like gratuitous violence. Some of the covers for Brian Keene's books, such as A Gathering of Crows, are a little too violent for me--although I love his writing.

I know I'm not telling you much, but it's the best I can do.

On your Web site, my favorite cover is the one for Angel Eyes.

Hope this helps. 

Heidi came back with several terrific possibilities.

There was one that I really liked, a sort of blood-splattered guitar. The problem was that my title character didn’t play the guitar, so that one was out.

The other one I liked best needed just a bit of fine-tuning to really capture the book and the character. At the very end of the process Heidi added the dagger in the lettering for the title. This was perfect because there’s one episode in particular in the book that involves  a dagger.

So that was my book-cover process. I don’t know what other people’s processes are, and I’d be interested to know—so feel free to comment.

In conclusion,I highly recommend artist Heidi Sutherlin of My Creative Pursuits. She did a fabulous job of creating a compelling cover that captures the essence of my novel, which is to be released as a Kindle eBook on June 1. And she did it all quickly and at a reasonable price!

You can see Heidi's finished product in the blog post right below this one.

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Cover Art

Just received the cover art from Heidi Sutherlin cover artist extraordinaire, for my upcoming eBook, Listening to Ian Magick.

And here it is!

Saturday, May 21, 2011

List of Some Famous Authors Who Have Self-Published

Some famous authors who self-published at some point in their careers are:

William Blake
Edgar Rice Burroughs

Stephen Crane
e. e. cummings
W. E. B. DuBois
Alexander Dumas
Zane Grey
James Joyce
Rudyard Kipling
D. H. Lawrence
Anais Nin
Thomas Paine
Edgar Allan Poe

Ezra Pound
Carl Sandburg
George Bernard Shaw
Upton Sinclair
Gertrude Stein
Henry David Thoreau

Mark Twain
Walt Whitman
Virginia Woolf

Friday, May 20, 2011

Reading List for Promoting Your Indie Book, Music, or Film

Want more information about promoting your book, music, or film--or yourself!--through social networking media such as Twitter, Facebook, or Blogger?

Here's a reading list from Tim Grahl of Out:think Group (who says, "Feel free to republish this list anywhere as long as you link back to for attribution").

1. Tribes: We Need You to Lead Us by Seth Godin

The guide to building a tribe and the first place to start. Your mission as an author is to gather a group of fans and influencers around yourself and lead the way to a bigger idea. Tribes explains why this is so important and why you are the person to do it.

2. Made to Stick: Why Some Ideas Survive and Others Die by Chip Heath & Dan Heath

If I asked you what your book is about, what would you say? How long would it take you to say it? Would I be interested when you were done? Made to Stick teaches you how to pull the big ideas out of your book and present them in a way that resonates with people and "sticks."

3. All Marketers are Liars: The Underground Classic That Explains How Marketing Really Works--and Why Authenticity Is the Best Marketing of All by Seth Godin

Stories are the back bone of any marketing effort. Stories make your ideas clear and help them spread. All Marketers are Liars explains how you can best use stories to grow your tribe.

4. Fascinate: Your 7 Triggers to Persuasion and Captivation by Sally Hogshead

What are the 7 triggers for fascination? Which ones can you use to grow your tribe? Fascinate walks you through each one, helps you identify yours and teaches you how to leverage them to fascinate your fans.

5. Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion by Robert B. Cialdini

Why do people do what they do? What drives people's actions and decisions? Influence will walk you through how people make decisions and teach you how to craft your message in the most persuasive way. This is a fascinating book that everyone trying to sell anything (especially a book!) should read.

6. Switch: How to Change Things When Change Is Hard by Chip Heath & Dan Heath

This amazing follow up to Made to Stick teaches you the framework for catalyzing change in your tribe. Merely crafting your idea to stick is not enough, you have to then figure out how to get people to follow you and make a difference. Switch teaches you how.

7. The New Rules of Marketing and PR: How to Use Social Media, Blogs, News Releases, Online Video, and Viral Marketing to Reach Buyers Directly by David Meerman Scott

Media has changed and the power is now in your hands. That's great but now what? The New Rules of Marketing and PR walks you through how to leverage the online tools to maximize your marketing and spread your message.

8. Permission Marketing: Turning Strangers Into Friends And Friends Into Customers by Seth Godin

How do you build a fan base that will buy your book (and anything else you sell)? Traditional forms of advertisement and marketing don't work like they used to. The future is found in Permission Marketing.

9. The Referral Engine: Teaching Your Business to Market Itself by John Jantsch

While this book is written for businesses, it is a gold mine of information for the author. You want people to spread the word and tell their friends to buy your book. The Referral Engine offers a systematic way to do this.

10. Web Copy That Sells: The Revolutionary Formula for Creating Killer Copy That Grabs Their Attention and Compels Them to Buy by Maria Velosa

Writing a book and writing web copy are two very different things. You want to move people to buy your book and Web Copy That Sells offers a step-by-step plan on how to do this. Skip this title at your own peril.

11. Content Rules: How to Create Killer Blogs, Podcasts, Videos, Ebooks, Webinars (and More) That Engage Customers and Ignite Your Business (New Rules Social Media Series) by Ann Handley & C.C. Chapman

This is the newest book on the list and the title I've been waiting for. One of the hardest things to figure out is how to come up with content for your platform and use it effectively. Content Rules is the definitive guide on this subject. It will walk you through how to come up with content, how to leverage it to grow your tribe and "reimagine" it for multiple uses.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Let's Work Together: Part Six--Conclusion

This is a very long blog entry, in six parts, about how indie writers, musicians, and film people need to work together and support each other. (Scroll down to see Parts One though Five.)

Part Six and Conclusion: A Call to Action

Here's a call to action:

Writers, musicians, filmies, now that we’ve got the means to produce on our own and to promote ourselves via the Internet, let’s all work together.

(I’m not a big “team player” or “people-person” person. I’m an introvert, and slightly reclusive, and I like the solitude of writing. But even I can see that, instead of staying in our own little boxes (lit, music, film, whatever), we need to cross the boundaries.)

We must reach into the other side of the lifeboat and give the person a hand, or we risk having the whole boat sink.

This means the following:

1. Even if you’re not a reader, read eBooks—especially those by unknown or little-known writers.

Mark Twain said, "A person who won't read has no advantage over one who can't read."

If you think you don’t have time to read, consider Wrath James White’s Vicious Romantic, an 88-page book of haiku and other short poems. How much time does it take to read a haiku? And it costs less than three bucks!

Christian Jensen’s werewolf eBook The Bitch is available at Amazon for 99 cents. I know there’s a recession on, but who doesn’t have 99 cents?

2. Even if you’re not into rap or hiphop, check out what the newest artists in those realms are doing. (Find them by searching topics like “rap” or “hiphop” on Twitter, or Facebook, or YouTube.)

Here are three artists, chosen at random from among those who’ve contacted me on Twitter asking for a follow or a shoutout:

Darius Daquan, a16 year-old member of the trio Do it Big District in Hendersonville, NC. (info at

J-Serius, a hiphop artist from Syracuse, NY (video at

Duo Lil Chuckee & Pryce (video at

3. Promote indie films; encourage new screenwriters. 

This one’s a little trickier, because screenwriters don’t sell their product to the public like novelists and poets do.

But attending indie films and local indie film festivals (every town seems to have one!) is a step in the right direction.

A few years ago to help Bernadine Santistevan, the director of an Indie film called The Cry, I signed up at her Web site ( for updates, and I bought the film when it came out on DVD.

More recently, I’m following on Twitter a filmmaker named Keya Morgan who’s working on a movie about Marilyn Monroe (info at I also Twitter-follow Zac Sanford (, the co-moderator of #Scriptchat on Twitter. You should follow these people, and/or others like them, too!

I like the approach I saw from William Potter of New Westminster, Canada ( who says in his Twitter profile: “I support/tweet Indie & self pub authors.”

Most importantly, for all of these:


We have the power to take control, and the easiest way to do it is to join forces. United we stand; divided, we risk falling (or sinking).

So let’s work together.

Saturday, May 14, 2011

Interview--About My Forthcoming eBook

Here's the transcript of yesterday's interview with Berkshire DuRoc:

Berkshire DuRoc: I'm here with author Tamworth Grice. Tamworth, you call yourself an “author, adventurer, and anarchist”—let’s talk about the “anarchist” part.

Tamworth Grice: Okay. I’m very much against, to use a hippies' term, “The Literary Establishment.” The big book companies have been screwing authors over for years. Stephen King was snubbed by executives at his first publishing house, even when he was the company’s top moneymaker. Authors have been underpaid—or not paid at all—the royalties that are due them. The treatment of horror writer Brian Keene by Dorchester is a recent example of this. And this crap has been going on for decades!

BD: And you say it’s not happening only in publishing, correct?

TG: Correct. For example, music companies have been screwing over musicians for years. There was even an episode on The Sopranos about how soul signers from the 1960s were cheated out of their royalties by music industry executives.

BD: How is this changing in 2011?

TG: Now, with ePublishing, authors (and musicians such as rappers and hiphop artists, too) have a chance to seize control. In the music industry, people are recording their own songs and albums and music videos, and they’re marketing them on the Internet. In the world of books, writers are increasingly taking control away from the publishers and the editors and the agents who’ve treated them like dirt for so many years.

BD: And all this is behind your decision to ePublish?

TG: That’s right.

BD: Your novel is about a “Satanic” rock star who influences his fans through his music. How did you get the idea for that? From Anne Rice?

TG: Not at all. Until you mentioned it just now, I hadn’t ever thought about Lestat being a rock star. I don’t think much is made of that in her books? I can’t remember—it’s been a while since I read her.

BD: So how did your idea originate?

TG: I saw an article somewhere—maybe on Wikipedia—about how Ozzy Osbourne had been sued by a father whose son committed suicide.

BD: Are you a fan of Ozzy Osbourne?

TG: (Laughs) Actually, I’m more a fan of the idea of him—and his wife and kids—than of his music per se. The whole family just seems very strange and interesting and loveable to me. I know that’s not the image he’s going for, but that’s how they strike me.

BD:  Go on with what you were saying about the suicide.

TG: Oh, yes. Ozzy had a song called “Suicide Solution.” Tragically, some time in the 1980s, a depressed teenager in California played the song and committed suicide by shooting himself in the head.

BD: Yes, I think I remember that. Didn’t the family say that Ozzy Osbourne was subliminally telling kids through his music to kill themselves or something like that?

TG: That’s it. That’s what the father said. He hired a lawyer and charged that Ozzy, through his song, had encouraged the kid to kill himself—which is ironic, because I guess the song is really an anti-alcohol song, saying that drinking to excess is a type of suicide and so people shouldn’t overindulge. The word in the title, “Solution,” is supposed really to refer to solution not in the sense of an answer but in the sense of a liquid. Therefore, the title suggests that alcohol is a “Suicide Solution”: a liquid that’s the equivalent of suicide. Do you see the difference?

BD: Yes. So what happened in the courts? With the case?

TG: The courts found in Ozzy’s favor. But meanwhile some guy who was like a scientist or something analyzed the song and said it did in fact contain subliminal messages of some sort. Then there was a second case about ten years later, when another poor kid committed suicide, but Ozzy won that case, as well.

BD: So how did the case, the cases, inspire your book?

TG: Well, I thought, what an interesting idea that a rock singer could be almost like a cult leader, you know, and inspire, if you will, his followers through his music? I believe Charlie Manson sort of achieved this in a way. I mean, he influenced those girls to kill, and he had rock-star aspirations. So I thought, what if it were really possible? What if a rock star could influence, or even coerce, his fans to kill with subliminal messages in his music? And that’s how I came to write the book.

BD: It's a horror novel, am I right?

TG: Yes, it's a horror novel. And a psychological suspense-thriller? (Laughs.) I'm not good with labels.

BD: There have been several title changes for your book in the past few weeks, am I right?

TG: (Groans) Yes! First of all, I was motivated by the title of the Lois Duncan book, Killing Mr. Griffin—which I think is a fabulous novel and possibly the best YA book ever written. The best one in the twentieth century, anyway. So I wanted the title to begin with Listening to and use the rock star’s name, because the book is about how the narrator listens to the singer’s music.

BD: And the singer was called?

TG: Originally, when I first wrote the book, the title character—the Satanic rock star—was called “Johnny Magick.” I pictured him as looking like a young Billy Idol, or like Spike from Buffy the Vampire Slayer.

BD: Where did you get the name?

TG: I can’t remember how the name came to me. Anyway, after I wrote the book—quite a while after—this rock singer from the 1960s named Neil Young came out with a song called “Johnny Magic.” To make things worse, there’s a DJ in Florida who calls himself “Johnny Magic,” and there’s a book about a card counter in Las Vegas called Jonny Magic. All of these appeared after I first had the idea for the character and the book. But I felt the name had been taken away from me, so I had to come up with another one.

BD: And the name went through several iterations before it reached its present form, am I right?

TG: Yes. I tried Donnie Magick and Ronnie Magick and Lonnie Magick. And Jamie Magick and Ryan Magick and Jack Magick and lots of other choices, but nothing seemed quite right. Character names are important. Elmore Leonard said the character Jack Foley—the one played by George Clooney in Out of Sight, with Jennifer Lopez?

BD: That’s a great film.

TG: Yes, it is. And the author says he originally named the character Frank Matisse, but he couldn’t get him to talk. And then he changed the name to Jack Foley and the character wouldn’t shut up! So a character name is vital to who the character is.

BD: And the character’s name is in your title, so it’s doubly important.

TG: Exactly. Meanwhile, the folks at my publisher, Dusty Raven Publishing, are inspired by Harry Potter and the Twilight books, I suppose, and they felt the book might sell better if it had a word like “vampire” or “werewolf” or “warlock” in the title. So I experimented, and even at one point announced that my upcoming book would be called Listening to Joey Warlock. But that name still just didn’t seem right. It’s hard to explain.

BD: The muses didn’t like it, perhaps?

TG: That’s a great way to put it. Yes. So I kept trying and trying for the right name. And finally I came up with Ian Magick. Which feels very right to me. Ian is a form of John, after all. And very British. And although the rock-star character isn’t British, he is loosely based on Billy Idol and Spike, both of whom were English. So the title is now Listening to Ian Magick.

BD: Thanks so much. This concludes our interview with “author, adventurer, and anarchist" Tamworth Grice. The book, Listening to Ian Magick, is due out June 1st as an eBook released in conjunction with Dusty Raven Publishing and available for Kindle via Amazon. 

Friday, May 13, 2011

Music Review: Tay Rockit

Tay Rockit

Tay Rockit is a 20-year-old Virginia-based rapper who has created a new genre of music that he calls “Emo Rap.”

I like the idea of this. The melodiousness and emotional lyrics of Emo blend well with the harder edge of Rap, creating a sort of musical sweet-and-sour sauce.

Tay Rockit’s album Stoop Kid offers something for everyone: fast and slow, originals and samples, surreal and real. I’d be amazed if someone couldn’t find something here to adore.

Some songs, such as “Fly Shit,” have that electricky-industrial sound that I like.

The second cut, “Intro,” nicely samples “These Eyes,” a 1968 rock song by the Canadian Guess Who band. My criticism would be that it’s too short, but the sampling returns with cut four, “Skit.”

“Find Something Wrong” sounds hitworthy to me, as does “The Hangover.” The latter starts with a reference to Mike Tyson, moves on through intriguingly surrealistic imagery, such as “a fat white guy putting on an angel suit,” and then sums up the experience: “I guess this is what happens when you have a hangover.” There’s more to “The Hangover,” and it’s all against a background of electronic industrial music. If this is where rap is going, I love it!

I want to mention two more songs: “PAID” sounds a little like a horror-movie soundtrack, complete with a deep monster-like voice. “SUPRAS” is pretty with a good beat (found myself dancing to SUPRAS!) and a nicely noir edge to the melody. It, too, sounds like it would work well in a movie soundtrack—so indie filmmakers, take notice of Tay Rockit if you’re in need of a composer!

Tay Rockit is signed to the indie-label Vital Line Entertainment. On the Reverb Nation Web site he boldly states that he wants to “give euphoria to the masses”—and I think he does!

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Let's Work Together: Part Five

This is a very long blog entry, in six parts, about how indie writers, musicians, and film people need to work together and support each other. (Scroll down to see Parts One though Four.)

Part Five: Don’t Be a “Flame Pisser”

Perhaps because the Powers in the film industry are even more monolithic and foreboding than those in the book industry, the Indie option has been available and successful for much longer than other anti-paternalistic choices.

So there’s less room for change. But I include the film industry here because I see so many screenwriters on Twitter who are working with and encouraging each other, through vehicles such as Twitter’s #Scriptchat.

That’s great, and it brings me to what #Scriptchat co-founder Jeanne Veillette Bowerman calls “flame pissers.”

Last week in a Script Magazine column, Bowman said the following: “Above all, do not ever allow someone to piss on your flame. . . . If someone in your life drains your energy, causes you to doubt yourself, or takes too much of your time from your work and passion, [don’t allow the flame pisser] to sabotage you. This is your journey. Own it. Take control of it. Don’t let someone else drive your career (Jeanne Veillette Bowerman, “Balls of Steel: How to Grow a Set,” Script, April 29, 2011,

When I went to leave a comment on YouTube for the first rap/hiphop video I was asked to look at, I saw a lot of really nasty remarks. REALLY nasty. The people making them seemed totally invested in destroying the artists who had made the video.

You see these people everywhere there’s a “comment space” on the Internet. “Flame pissers.”

I try not to let the flame pissers into my life. But sometimes it’s unavoidable.

Just last week I received an unnecessarily nasty email from a literary agent to whom I’d pitched something. It was a brutal rejection and I cried for two days.

Now, this person might simply have said, “This is not what I’m looking for, but I wish you luck elsewhere”—a response that might be tepid and unoriginal and discouraging, but that at least is civil.

But instead, this person went into “flame pisser” mode—and seemed to enjoy doing so, just like the YouTube commenters.

The flame pissers are out there, lurking.

And we need to support each other against them.

Next: A Call to Action

Monday, May 9, 2011

An Interlude: FYI: The Power of ePublishing

Before I continue with the next part of the series, here's an interlude with some info about ePublishing.

ePublishing is in its infancy, but it's an enormous infant and it's growing fast!

Last week alone, eBooks represented 22 percent of sales for Hachette Book Group (formerly Time Warner Books; parent of Little, Brown and Company; and the world's second largest publisher).

Last week alone, eBooks represented 19 percent of sales for Harper Collins US, and 11 percent for Harper Collins worldwide.

Last week alone, eBooks represented 17 percent of sales, $26 million, for Simon & Schuster worldwide.

Last week alone, eBooks represented 14 percent of sales, $16 million, for Harlequin Books.

That's the power of ePublishing!

(info from

Friday, May 6, 2011

Let's Work Together: Part Four

This is a very long blog entry, in five parts, about how indie writers, musicians, and film people need to work together and support each other. (Scroll down to see Parts One, Two, and Three.)

Part Four: We’re All in the Same Lifeboat

We’re all in the same boat.

It’s a great boat to be in, people. It’s a lifesaving boat, because it takes us away from the old and rotten systems.

Who’s in this boat?

Thus far I’ve talked mostly about writers.

But rappers and hiphop artists, as well as indie filmmakers and screenwriters, are in the boat, too.

What’s happening in the music industry seems to me to be similar to what’s happening in the publishing industry.

Artists are taking control, are producing music and videos on their own, and are circumventing some of the established order as they do so.

Rappers and hiphop artists are doing a great job of getting their art produced independently rather than by the enormous music companies.

And they’re doing an even better job of using social networking media to promote themselves.

I know nothing about rap and hiphop. But last week on Twitter I got requests to view and comment on two rap/hiphop (I’m so ignorant I don’t even know the right terminology!) videos.

I’m impressed that these artists are moving beyond their target audience of rap/hiphop fans and are reaching out to me.

Every day on Facebook and Twitter I see scores, perhaps even hundreds, of music artists (mostly rappers and hiphop artists) promoting themselves.

So rappers and hiphop artists really are making the most of our E-scape.

Tomorrow: Film