Self Doubt and the Assumption of Guilt

I just woke from a dream that contains a lot of the building blocks for a successful plot. In the dream, a schoolbook was circulating through national news due to its connection to an unsolved crime that occurred decades earlier. On the inside cover of the book there was an address and a phone number. I immediately recognized the number, address, and handwriting to be my own – but I had no part in any crime.

I took it upon myself to contact the detectives, despite my father’s warning for potential consequences. My neighbors spoke to me afterward and I realized that I wasn’t the only person to recognize the book belonged to me. Be assured this was all still a dream – which did include several giant spiders and a detective who forgot he was still on the line midway through our conversation.

I woke up with a hazy wondering about whether my friends might have been responsible for this non-existent crime. I even considered my own guilt, despite not knowing what crime had even taken place. I guess that’s what this post is about.

Nothing feels worse than being interrogated – having your words, body language, and moral compass subjected to scrutiny. Now imagine that instead of being interrogated by a detective to clear your name you are defending a composition of your own creativity to a judgmental audience.

“Is it good, or bad?” Just as the detective is studying you on whether he believes in your innocence, any audience will analyze your work in an effort to determine the worthiness of its existence. When someone criticizes our artistic work we immediately discover reasonings within ourselves for why we failed as an artist.

I am very much put off by youtube channels that review films and determine whether they were a failure or success. In the same way I find any personality similar to Simon Cowell of American Idol a complete fraud. We offer so much attention, weight, and undeserved elevation to personalities who consistently judge others and embellish their own qualifications for reserving the God complex in their respective fields.

When you are determined to improve at your chosen craft you will recognize talents, abilities, and the observance of principles in the works of others at your level. You will hopefully find yourself hesitant to eternally damn the careers of others as they depend on the same improvements that you must make in order to find success. It is only when we have ceased to look inward and strive for personal betterment that we can sit comfortably in the judges chair.

Searching within for your own shortcomings is not a confession of guilt; it is a product of humility and willingness to learn. When we shield ourselves from introspection, reflection, and our own inadequecies, we simultaneously shield ourselves from the ability to empathize, develop, and create effectively. Resist the urge to sit in the judges chair and learn to sit comfortably under scrutiny.

I know I have been away from here for a while now. I became preoccupied with building an instagram and facebook audience for “Mountain Cult.” I have some followers on there, but somehow that led to my getting more involved in music production. I swear my brain feels like it floats and turns with the seasons. My tendency toward obsession never halts but the object of its fascination always does. Anyways, “Mountain Cult – Doctor with the Red Houseware” has already won at 3 different festivals and has been selected for a handful of them. I am trying to submit it for distribution through filmhub but am having trouble understanding some of the spec requirements. I plan to release the film this month regardless.

Check out the IMDB page for it if you’d like. Hope to write here again soon.

https://www.imdb.com/title/tt17677268/?ref_=fn_al_tt_1

Script Drafting: Importance of Revisions

I made a video about screenplay revisions and how each draft better prepares a filmmaker for production. It took me longer than I’d prefer but I’m happy I finished it. I really wanted to trash it but felt it was important to post regardless of my internal shame and regret. Check it out below if you’d like:

Marketing for the Soul

I remade the video I previously spoke about and hope to post it either today or tomorrow. So far the video looks great and the audio sounds crisps. It does not appear unprofessional and I’m excited to edit the material. I have also emailed one of the actors a copy of the current script and am excited to receive her feedback this afternoon.

It’s easy to become bogged down when we monitor trends in art, music, and fiction. When you involve yourself in these industries you see first hand just how much “success” and “fame” are used interchangeably. There is always a craft involved in performance and it can feel disheartening to see how much marketing plays a role. A major idea that comes to mind for me is ghost-writing – when a celebrity or musician employs another person to write their material for them without receiving the credit. The “big name” will draw the audience, the ghost writer will keep them in their seats.

It’s important to know why your medium of choice appeals to you. If fame is your ultimate goal then their are far simpler avenues to “success”. Come out with some controversial opinions and your personality will be more widely recognized. Appeal to the lower nature – or vices – of man and you will broaden your audience. I recently heard someone state that the music industry had at some point transformed to push songs for people who hate music and I can’t stop thinking about that. In the early 2000’s there was an influx of reality show television. There is currently a show called “The Masked Singer” about celebrities dressed in mascot-type costumes while the audience (or judges?) try to guess who they are. Shows such as this cause me to view an alien invasion from a fresh perspective.

Only we, the artists, get to decide how we approach and deliver our material. There are endless formulas, trends, and market research that can guide the choices we make. Ultimately, it’s up to us to decide which shape we would like to take. When I think of the persons and things that interest me I find I have an eclectic mix of influences that are marked more by their distinctiveness then by their adherence to a common structure. The appeal to mass audiences doesn’t weigh on my reception of them. The appeal to my own individual beliefs and values, however, does.

As I begin editing my short, meaningless video today I keep all of these thoughts in mind. On the one hand I am creating the videos in order to expand my audience – so it is admittedly a form of marketing. But I refuse to create videos with the cliche appearance of so many other YouTube style Vlogs. There is no “golden rule” that requires me to make a thumbnail where I smile like a dumbass and point my thumb at a yoyo in a toaster. There is no necessity for me to ask the audience to “punch that like button.”

I can make the video any way in which I damn well please. The end result will be a reflection of myself, my values, and my abilities as a creator. This understanding enables me to export videos for marketing purposes without selling out my love of meaningful production.

In simpler terms, I’m making another short youtube video.

Have a great day and may the creative fire ignite your spirit.

When a Dream becomes a Job

I’m at the end of my 5th consecutive 12 hour shift. I have managed to run through multiple drafts of episode 5 and am a few beta-readers away from finally moving forward in the production process. I am hoping to post a new youtube video today, but I know deep down it will take longer. I plan to film multiple takes this the morning and edit in the afternoon. I also have another zoom Meetup meeting at 11 am. I have been doing these every Sunday for a group of strangers (now friends) who share an interest in filmmaking and I’ve honestly been getting more out of it than I ever thought possible.

Having a hand in so many different jars at once is exhausting. I feel extremely drained and rundown. Each instance when I lie down to rest I rise back up again as urgency to complete my objectives floods my mind. But I’ve had a realization that has brought me some comfort.

How easy is it for us to attend work daily and complete whatever we’re required to do? Our bosses ask us to put in overtime, drop something off when we should be home, or involve ourselves more with work events. And we do it – regardless of the joy it brings us. Why? Well that’s obvious to any working adult – money is a necessity. And if you tell me money doesn’t matter then I guarantee you don’t check the price on candy bars prior to purchase.

So why do we treat our passions like they are of less importance? Simply put, you could say that passion is a “want” where work is a “need.” It is not necessary for our dreams to become a reality in order to survive. And I agree with that.

But I do believe when you begin treating your passion like a job it becomes one – for better or for worse. By taking daily steps forward we begin to separate ourselves from the others in our rank. A path becomes clear over time that can take you to where you want to be. When you take pride in your pursuit you take pride in yourself. An undying belief that success will come can propel you through obstacles and navigate you through the winding roads.

Every day we have a decision to make – spend our free time relaxing, consuming, and eating, or devote that time to moving ahead. Each post you make to wordpress, each script you send to contests, and each agent you solicit is a step closer to your dream. Every rejection you receive teaches you that you can do something better. It is never about success or failure, but it is always about movement.

In this day, this hour, and this minute, there exist a decision that will be made regardless of your conscious effort to answer – Are you going to move closer to the place you want to be, or further from it?

Navigating Modern Art

“The Smell of Rank” – Thomas M. Watt, oil on canvas, 2020.

I’ve been toying with an idea for the last few months that I may finally put into practice. But before I get into that, let’s discuss the typical artistic dream:

This applies whether you are a painter, a musician, a filmmaker, or a writer – at your core you value art over superficial gimmicks. The idea of self promotion, marketing, sales, and even merchandising likely makes you feel ill. You entered into your craft because you wanted to express an emotion that would leave a lasting impact on others. You sought to share your life experience through a specified medium with such precision that your message would inspire the souls of others like you.

The problem with this dream is not the dream itself – for it is a beautiful ideal. The issue has to do with the reality of the world we live in.

Any person who has sought to make this dream a reality will likely come across a similar issue: Despite painting a masterpiece, composing a captivating melody, or writing a whirlwind romance, your accomplishment goes unrecognized. The place where I have always been stopped is likely where others have been held up as well – short of the entrance door.

The most difficult aspect of attaining success in these pipe-dream careers is the barrier to entry. Unfortunately (and I say that with sincerity) we all know stories about artists who were discovered due to their overwhelming talent. The reason I say “unfortunately” is because the rapidly changing world we live in is reshaping the gate that prevents us from being recognized. That gate is technology.

If I can produce a quality film for less than $1000 so can anybody else. I can improve the quality a hundred fold each time, but during the time period it requires me to make such a film there are being millions upon millions of films being produced and streamed each day. What I am emphasizing here is the over-saturation of artistic markets.

You may be the greatest painter who ever lived, but if you only have 10 paintings available for sale you are going to have a rough time capturing enough interested clients to for a worthy price point to be fully realized. Now imagine JK Rowling made a painting and tried to sell it. Do you think she would have any trouble finding a buyer, despite its quality? I don’t think so.

So what am I getting at with all this? That the modern artist must choose quantity over quality? God no. My belief is that in order to reach a broader audience you must make yourself an accessible figure. The only way to avoid this would be to “get discovered” by a company or individual more powerful than yourself. Though that is the typical climax of any pipe-dream, I am absolutely sickened by the thought of relying on an outside power to help me make my dream a reality. There are many reasons for this, but the main one is that I would be opening myself up to getting played. If I am holding out for another entity to find success for me, they are going to use that to their advantage in negotiations – after-all, that’s how they’ve become a successful, established entity.

I have long avoided posting any videos on my youtube channel that are not new episodes for my film. In similar fashion, many writers on here only market works of fiction for sale that are full length novels. These things take months or even years to develop. During that time period, the audience for such content is still active in the community – but they’re giving their views, plays, and clicks to other artists.

That is the price of free rentals and free views. Your income from each “customer” is closer to 0 than it is to a single penny. Meanwhile, the top content producers rake in a ton of attention by consistently pushing out content and developing a communal following.

I am not sure what direction I am going to head in, but I do know the typical path of marketing is a foolish one. I can post teaser trailers each week and hype up my next episode all I want. Neither of those options will be even half as effective as producing weekly videos that build a community of viewers who want to hear my perspective on things and learn from me specifically. I am 100% convinced that building the viewership in my channel will result in more views for my upcoming episode than merely waiting until it is completed and hoping it catches fire.

I have an endless list of reasons for why I have not done this already. One of the main reasons is that I fear my channel will become a disorganized nightmare for predictable content. It may include funny videos, behind the scene footage, how-to instructions, and personal blogs. Kind of like my blog here (lol).

Even though the artist in me hates it, I feel like building a brand of personality will enable you to reach a wider viewership. When you have a wider viewership your media sales will inevitably increase. When your sales increase, you will begin to attract the big fish who will see you as a proven investment (After all, that is what modern media behemoths are looking for – not quality, but a predictable ROI).

I’m not really that happy to make this decision because it is not true to how I perceive art should be realized. I am a staunch believer in art surviving on its own merits, not by the personality of its producer. But as I’ve experienced in my own pursuits, you get stopped at the door because the doorman doesn’t even know who the “f” you are, not because the goods you are carrying aren’t worth something special. The modern day issue plaguing the artist is that nobody is going to ask what you’re carrying when everyone around you also has something locked under their arm.

Master of Composition

Ivan Kulikov,  1904, Oil on canvas, Gemäldegalerie der Stadt Murom

I am plagued by an unusual curse in life that to a large extent has limited my efficiency of output in my journey of story. During each occasion that I apply processes and habits that are tantamount to purposeful action and positive results I am bombarded with imagery and memories from my formerly successful past – my dreams morph into the passion of my youth. It isn’t until my eyes creep open that I must self-inflict a painful reminder that my former dream is now dead and the passion I once had is a crop that can only grow but never produce. This cycle is debilitating, anguishing, and demoralizing. The common solution to this problem is to engage in behaviors that will distract the mind – behaviors that do not hammer a single nail in the foundation of success.

But tonight I stumbled on a realization.

The successful behaviors I employ today run along the same wires that propelled me to perpetual improvement during my youth. It seems that running current through the “success” channels of my brain may be what is prompting the vivid memories that I’ve spent so much effort to contain to the past.

Successful behaviors will produce the desirable result across different fields of application.

Our tendency to produce work that passes our highest degree of scrutiny will dictate the quality of our artwork. The determination to shape each plot point to its proper timeline, each character change to its newfound obstacle, each word to its speaker, and each action to its motivator will all work in tandem to deliver a story that resonates with the viewer. The same characteristics of tedious effort carry over to music, to painting, to family, and to life.

Now what if in God’s hands we are no different than one of our works? What if our ability to shape our thoughts and actions toward unrelenting focus on a singular goal is what enables Him to make us that artist we seek to become? Perhaps by undertaking the same processes, disciplines, and habits we know are required to deliver masterful compositions we are enabling ourselves to be shaped into a master of compositions.

I’m sure these connections may be obvious to most, and to others unconnected, and to still others uninspired by any deity, but to me this has been a light-bulb revelation.

I find it ironic that my previous post was making a mockery of the need for an exemplary script prior to moving toward production. I have spent the past 2 days ceaselessly sharpening my story to the point that it will puncture the mind of the viewer. Despite the likelihood it will not achieve any great recognition even when it has been completed, that is not going to stop me from trying.

The composing of art to the highest level of personal achievement is both fulfilling and self-developmental. Any artist on the bottom is not creating to be heard, recognized, or profitable. We are creating because every object of creation competes with every other object of creation. Each individual has the right to compose their piece with a masterful stroke of brilliance should they reach high enough to grab it. The ability to acquire these skills is a God-given right, and for me that is a most tremendous blessing.

The Logic of Illogic

I’ve begun writing episode 5 but I have been hindered by a post I made recently. It was about emotional movements and how rapid fluctuations help engage the viewer and rope them deeper into the story. I stand by what I said, only I have realized this appeal toward emotion does not come naturally to me.

There are 3 primary methods used to appeal towards the perspective of others:

Logos – Logic

Pathos – Emotion

Ethos – Ethics

I have been seeking to infuse conflict into my story by way of argument. After-all, I envision the bulk of the story will take place with a group seated in a circle. On its face it sounds boring (obviously), but I strongly believe with the right glue this can be an entertaining and engrossing dynamic. What have I realized as I write, however, is that I almost entirely rely on Logos to appeal to the viewer. Through the medium of cinema, logos is probably the least appealing of the three.

I find when I am in “my zone” I build differing viewpoints up and strengthen both sides of the argument until it comes to a natural conclusion with an undeniable victor. This is ok, but it is plain and without flavor. People don’t watch cinema so that they can follow along to a list of bullet points and root for the character who makes the least grammatical mistakes – they root for the character who plugs a 9 mm into the ear canal of the hyena shouting “It’s just a prank bro!” and responds by saying “So is this.”

I’m trying to reshape my writing habits and apply emotional beats that viewers will find more appealing. By focusing scene movements more on ups and downs, actions and reactions, I believe the story will be more compelling and the tension more effortless. Reasonable people do reasonable things, but afterward they click on an article about Cardi B and how much money she spent on a car that she doesn’t know how to drive. I don’t need to write reasonable characters, I need to write chaotic ones.

Along with writing I’ve been playing guitar more often. It’s a beautiful, unparalleled joy to be creating again through both forms of art.

When we behave as consumers we are the ones who become consumed. Our emotions, moods, interests and well-being are decided by outside factors. We eat to feel happy, we watch the news to feel disparaged, and we use alcohol and drugs to subdue our dissatisfaction with our own realities (I really shouldn’t say we when it could just be me.)

I find when I am creating my dreams are more pleasant, my mood is more upbeat, and my mind grows sharper. The art becomes an escape into the light that I am otherwise blind to. On top of this I’ve taken the initiative to lead a second meet-up group (for the time being) and will be holding an online meeting this Sunday. I have made contact for another potential filming location and feel confident I will be able to find a spot to shoot for < $500. The day of filming will be a major area of focus for myself once I have the story written, because I will have to race against time to avoid wasting hours on set-up, rehearsal, or retakes.

Enjoy your opportunities to be creative today. It is not about the end product nor is it about the ability to receive payment/admiration for your work. The act of creating is more fulfilling than consuming. The more this truth is realized the less power our vices have over us.

Translation of the Intuition

One of the most captivating stories about art for me has always been a short monologue from the television show Lost. In fact, it was after watching this show that I decided I wanted to become a writer myself. The story comes from Season 1, Episode 13:

In summary, the character of John Locke informs another character that the artist Michelangelo would regularly contemplate the art piece he was going to create before he ever began his work.

Now I cannot verify the authenticity of this story, but I can tell you I spent some time in my younger days reading the journals of Michelangelo and he regularly spoke about interpreting the intuition correctly. He used a different, beautiful word to describe it, but I can’t seem to find that specific word anywhere else today.

I once heard a phrase at a writers convention used to describe the most necessary asset of any writer. The phrase was “You must hear the music.” The speaker stated that if you cannot hear the music, you cannot write. This is to say that story is born from within, possibly a communication with the divine, and cannot be manufactured by the mere understanding of plot devices.

Furthermore, I believe the shared love of writing comes from this introspection and communication with the most innate part of our being. What is up for discussion is whether this communication is with a divine force or with the deepest parts of our subconscious.

I have previously written about the mathematics of writing, which I believe is a more logical and human way to interpret story. What I am writing about today deals more with the creative and spiritual side of the artistic process. Both are integral to the formation of any artistic composition, regardless of the medium. There are songs that are played perfectly that are soulless. There are books and movies that hit every conceivable plot point that fail to leave an emotional impact. The inability to recognize the role of intuition in art is why I believe so many incredible teachers fall short of creating a masterful artistic piece themselves.

The question has existed since the dawn of man, regardless of its external expression. It is a concept we grapple with on a daily basis during our interactions with other, with ourselves, and with the world around us:

“Do I look to the teachings of others to guide my life, or do I rely on the intuition within to direct my path?”

Of course the answer is a balance, but not in the way we typically understand balance. It is not 50/50 but a systemic process in of itself. It is the process of creation.

Before we begin work on our artistic composition, and sometimes before we even know how to work within that medium, we already have a dormant vision of the product we would like to produce.

It is naive to think we can ever ignore the realities of the physical realm.

The job of the artist is to perceive the intuitive vision with as much clarity as possible before applying human mechanics to bring it to the physical realm. A human being is more than it’s consciousness and spirituality. It has a skeleton, muscle, fat and hair. Each of these bodily systems is incredibly detailed and infinitely vast.

The more physical skills we accumulate that apply to our medium the more life we can bring to the existence of our vision.

If we are to take the clip posted above seriously and assume the story is true, we can also take the leap of assumption to interpret what gears were turning in Michelangelo’s head each day.

Not only do we seek to see the vision more clearly but we must prepare ourselves for how we can properly shape it into physical existence. It is one thing to see the curves of our future statue, it is another to know the tools and techniques required to shape those curves in accordance with its envisioned form.

Even with writing, we may start with an image in our minds along with a compelling emotion. It is the writer’s duty to find the words to describe that image precisely and build up the emotional stakes, tension, and payoff to fulfill the movement in the viewer we wish to produce.

The final movement in the viewer should be as close as possible to the movement that originally captivated and impassioned the artist themselves to reproduce that feeling. Our ability to translate the original vision for the impact of others will be the invisible measuring rod that defines the quality of our art.

Too Perfect Marriage – Part 7

club

Part 1

Part 2

Part 3

Part 4

Part 5

Part 6

“What’s your wife doin’?” said the driver.

“That’s not my…” Calvin shook his head. “I don’t know. She’ll be right back, though.”

“You better hope so, fair’s runnin.”

“She’ll be here in a sec, said she would.”

Calvin listened to “Bittersweet Symphony” on his Ipod again, and couldn’t stop replaying the kiss in his head. It’d been so long since the sweet ingredients of love had churned in his gut and been devoured by his heart. Marrying Bridgette was a blemish he’d been trying to paint around, but now that he was certain she was cheating and actively looking to kill him, brushing on a fresh canvas didn’t seem like such a condemn-able idea.

“Give her a call, buddy,” said the driver.

Calvin smeared his forehead. “Don’t know her phone number, believe it or not.”

“Ah, I see. Damn shame, thought you two looked good together. Good times end so fast.”

“You misunderstood. We’re gonna be together for the long run. Trust me.”

The driver adjusted his rear view mirror to catch a glance of Calvin, then sighed and turned away.

Calvin scoffed and shook his head. He tapped his fingers on his knee, then ripped the earbuds out and stuffed the Ipod back into his pocket. He checked the time – five minutes since she’d left. He ran a hand threw his hair, then fluttered his lips with an exhale and crossed his arms.

“Go in there and get her. Doin’ nothing for nobody, just waitin’ here,” said the driver.

“Be patient.”

“Huh?”

Calvin groaned, then whipped out a wad of bills from his pocket. He swatted them in the driver’s hand. “Here,” he said, then stepped out.

He paced toward the club with his head on a swivel. Shea said she’d be right back, but the fact that she hadn’t returned wasn’t a huge call for alarm – chances were, she had some choice words before parting ways with Brody and leaving his dirty dick for good.

Still, Calvin felt uneasy – he was convinced Bridgette and Brody were conspiring to kill him. He could afford to look for Shea, as long as he remained surrounded by others – narcissists murdered, but weren’t the type to ruin their reputations and risk prison time.

Calvin passed by people exiting the club, then made his way through the smokers near the back entrance. He tore the door open and came face to face with Brody.

“H-h-hey, Calvin! I was just looking for you.”

Calvin dropped back a step.

Brody proceeded forward, then swung his arm around Calvin and tugged him away from the club and toward an empty alleyway. “Your wife tells me you’re quite the guitar player-”

“Eat a dick,” said Calvin, throwing Brody’s arm from his shoulders. He turned around. Brody jumped in front of him.

“Easy, guy! … what’s with the constant hard-on for me?”

“Returning yours from my wife.”

The smokers outside raised their eyebrows and moved a little closer.

“What? Nooo,” said Brody. “What kind of monster you think-”

“Kind of monster who kills. I know about the gun.”

“What gun?” said Brody, with a chuckle. “Oh, you mean this?” He reached inside the flap of his jacket, withdrew a handgun, then casually pointed it at Calvin. “I like guns, so what.”

“Put that shit away,” Calvin said.

“Easy guy! you really think I would shoot you?”

“Thought Bridgette might cheat with a douche-bag, was right about that.”

Brody smiled. The smokers watched eagerly.

“This attitude of yours is very disheartening,” said Brody.

“I’m leaving with Shea.”

Brody quit smiling. “What?”

“That’s right. You can have Bridgette, she’s all yours. I want Shea.”

Brody scratched his temple and lowered an eyebrow. “But… why?”

“Because when you acted like a pompous ass in the limo she told me to ignore you, and that’s goddamn refreshing after being told ‘stop being an idiot’ for so fucking long. Because when I got my ass kicked by some clown inside she cared more about me being alright than how stupid she looked being the wife of a loser. Because when I say it’s a perfect moment, she makes it better.”

“But Bridgette’s a ten, and they’re both blonde, so…”

Calvin scoffed. “You’re a joke. Get out of my way,” he said, trying to move past.

Brody grabbed him by the arm, then yanked him close and jammed the gun barrel into his abdomen.

Calvin glared at him. “I’m not as funny as you think,” said Brody.

“Move the gun.”

“I’ll start with the trigger.”

Calvin forced his words through gritted teeth. “What kind of idiot kills in public? Look around, we’re surrounded. They’ve got cameras recording this.”

Brody didn’t flinch.

“Why kill me?” Said Calvin. “Take Bridgette, she’s all yours. Let me and Shea walk.”

“Nobody’s trying to kill you,” said Brody.

“Ditch the gun,” said Calvin.

“Problem’s Shea.”

“You don’t give a shit, you don’t even love her.”

“Not that simple.”

“We’ll see, guy,” said Calvin. He shoved Brody then hurried toward the backdoor.

“H-h-hey, buddy!” yelled Brody. “Think you’ve had a few too many!”

Calvin reached for the door, ripped it open, then lost his feet out from under him. Brody had tackled his lower half. The door fell closed, and Calvin found himself wrestling on the pavement.

“You’re not getting back at that guy in there!” said Brody. “Already caused a scene, now you’re embarrassing both of us!”

The onlookers didn’t intervene. Calvin struggled to peel himself free from Brody, who wouldn’t stop yelling.

“I won’t let you fight him! I can’t, you’re not in your right mind!”

Calvin managed to climb on top of Brody, then swallowed up Brody’s face with his palm. “Shut the fuck up!”

“You’re drunk!” said Brody. “Get off me, you’re drunk!”

Calvin reared back then slugged Brody across the face. Blood fired out from his mouth.

“Money don’t buy fists,” Calvin said, then tried to push himself up.

Brody grabbed Calvin’s white button down, then ripped him close and hissed into his ear.

“I’m not the breadwinner bitch.”

“What?”

“Shea’s loaded. Family inheritance.”

Calvin shook his head. “You’re talking out your ass-”

“Nothing to gain by killing you.”

Calvin’s heart raced. “So Shea is-”

“Dead,” said Brody, before taking a peek at his rolex. “Right about… now.” He laughed in his face, blood sputtering from his lips.

“No,” said Calvin. He shook his head, reached into Brody’s jacket, then yanked out the gun. “No!” He stood up and stormed into the club.

To be continued…

  • Thomas M. Watt

CLICK HERE FOR PART 8 – FINALE!

Cover Art

I’ve been researching successful indie authors the past few days to get an idea of how I can maximize book sales. One point that gets hammered is the importance of having a good cover design. Word on the street is find books in the genre you are writing in, see what cover designs sell the most books, then get a cover similar to them. If it were up to me, this painting I made would be my cover for Way of the World – Michael’s Story:

Kingsley's island on fire

And I feel it would be complement the cover to Way of the World – Adam’s Story:

Upscale Saloon

Unfortunately, one truth I have learned about people is they’re much more likely to purchase a product that seems familiar to them, rather then branching out to try a product that seems unique and different. Here are my top three cover selections from the genre of Christian Fantasy:

a draw of kings resistance cover - depositphotos the gift of light - j. and g. publishing

Each of these covers was designed by a different cover artist. G. and J. publishing, Lookout Design Inc., and “Resistance” credited four various contributors.

Perhaps I’m dreaming big, because I have no idea whether these cover artists are even available, willing to work with me, or even within my budget. Still, these covers are impressive, and each contributed to a book that found its way into the top 100 bestsellers list for Christian fantasy.

What do you think? Which cover design is your favorite? Am I fooling myself by thinking the paintings I made would make good covers? Be honest now.

Looking forward to your responses.

– Thomas M. Watt

Author of “A New Kingdom