Tuesday, January 31, 2006

QUIET TIME

With magazine deadlines this week, I'm afraid I just can't keep up my usual four or five (or twelve) posts a day—

I may be able to post here and there over the next couple of days (like, for instance, now). Hopefully, we'll be back on schedule by next week ...

THE MILLER SISTERS #70

"... LONG STORY SHORT -- "

My wife, Erica, has uploaded episode #70 of her twice-a-week online comic strip, The Miller Sisters ...

The clock is ticking on Julia's birthday, the day she is destined to inherit super powers ... but what will they be?

(If you do not see the latest strip onscreen, click the "refresh" button found at the top of your browser.)

SPECIAL NOTE: Until now, the above links directed you to the listing at Onlinecomics.net, from which you clicked yet again to get to the latest comic strip—adding an extra step. Well, this morning I figured out how to link you directly to the strip from here (and still get the count from Onlinecomics.net). So the above links now take you direct!

Enjoy!

Listing at Onlinecomics.net

Monday, January 30, 2006

FEAR MY GIANT HEAD

I appeared in today's edition of Nashville City Paper with a HUGE headshot right there in the middle of the page—
Writer, editor, blogger and aspiring comic-book mogul Chris Well was born and raised near Alton, Ill., across the river from St. Louis. He has worked with words for more than 20 years, currently as editor of Homecoming magazine and contributing editor for CCM magazine.

A former radio teacher, Well also scripted the audio drama/comic book project Mammoth City Messengers and has contributed to Alfred Hitchcock's Mystery Magazine. His first novel, Forgiving Solomon Long, was published last year.
See the whole story online here. (The online version does not include my enormous head.)

Update: I have uploaded the PDF of the print version (complete with enormous head). You can download it here.

Saturday, January 28, 2006

ERICA IS ONLINE

My lovely wife, Erica, is spotlighted in the latest newsletter from Nashville Artist Guild. Click to the February newsletter and scroll down until you see her bio, complete with a pic of the artist and samples of her work. (And if you have never stopped by our main site, StudioWell.com, Erica has several samples of her art and comics posted online.)

Thursday, January 26, 2006

THE MILLER SISTERS #69

"Your look's suddenly very retro -- "

My wife, Erica, has uploaded episode #69 of her twice-a-week online comic strip, The Miller Sisters ...

The clock is ticking on Julia's birthday, the day she is destined to inherit super powers ... but what will they be?

(If you do not see the latest strip onscreen, click the "refresh" button found at the top of your browser.)

Q&A: BUZZ DIXON, PT 3

We are now on the third and final day of our Q&A with Buzz Dixon, author of the new manga series Serenity (Barbour Publishing). The next two volumes coming up are Serenity #3: Basket Case (March 2006) and Serenity #4: Rave-n-Rant (May 2006).

* * *

PART 3.

What one piece of advice do you have for aspiring writers?
Ray Bradbury's famous dictum: "You must write a million bad words before you write your first good word."

What is the one aspect of God you most hope your readers will take away after reading one of your books?
That God's plan for humanity will not only lead to eternal salvation but will deepen and enrich our lives today.


What one thing about writing do you wish non-writers would understand?
That just any idiot can't do it.

What one thing about writing do you wish other writers would understand?
That too many idiots are doing it.

For the writer promoting his or her book, what do you consider the BEST thing he or she could do to promote it?
What makes a particular book unique? For example, SERENITY is not just another manga, it is "America's Premiere Inspirational Manga." Hammer that uniqueness into the public consciousness.

* * *

Many thanks to Mr. Dixon. Find more info about Serenity or join the mailing list at www.SerenityBuzz.com. Find Buzz online at RealBuzz Studios.

Related links:
Q&A: BUZZ DIXON, PT 1
Q&A: BUZZ DIXON, PT 2

Other author Q&As:
ANNE RICE
TOM BUFORD
JAMES SCOTT BELL
RANDY SINGER

Wednesday, January 25, 2006

MY FIRST PUBLIC SIGNING

CBA Advance is in town this week, and this afternoon I got to sign copies of Forgiving Solomon Long and hand out postcards promoting Deliver Us From Evelyn. Leading up to the event, I did not know which prospect was scarier -- no people showing up, or a lot of people showing up.

Well, it turned out pretty well -- 70 books signed (about a book a minute). And it was steady enough I did not have much opportunity to freak out or anything.

Since nearly every person is a retailer, those who enjoy the book will in turn stock the book so others can buy it. Pretty nice, indeed.

Q&A: BUZZ DIXON, PT 2

Continuing our Q&A with Buzz Dixon, author of the new manga series Serenity (Barbour Publishing). The latest volume in stores is Serenity #2: Stepping Out.

Barbour Publishing was first to bring inspirational manga to the masses-and now tween and teen girls have another great read in Serenity, Volume 2: Stepping Out. The lonely teen with the blue hair is slowly warming up to the Christian kids who've made her their "project". . .but when Serenity wrecks Kimberly's car and refuses to take responsibility, the prayer club decides some "tough love" is in order. Can Serenity understand that their actions are really for her own good? This full-color graphic novel features a compelling storyline, realistic dialogue, and a solid biblical message for today's reader.

* * *

PART 2.

How many books do you read a month?
4-6 graphic novels or manga, perhaps one or two non-fiction books if I'm lucky.

What are your writing habits?
Sporadic. The best ideas tend to come right before dinner time or five minutes after I've shut off the computer for the night. I have stories that have lain unfinished in my drawer/computer for years only to have the last piece drop into place in the blink of an eye and get written up in an hour.

But I do try to write something every day.

Are you an “outline” writer or a “make it up as you go” writer?
It's not so much "making it up" as "uncovering." There's an upcoming SERENITY story that began with a mental image I had of Serenity standing barefoot. I began noodling a scene together but couldn't figure out why she was barefoot, so I had her looking for her shoes. She found a shoe box in a closet, and the moment I typed that I realized the shoebox was full of old photos and a crucial key to part of her past. Mind you, none of that was in my mind when I started writing the scene, I was just trying to figure out why she would be barefoot -- and I have no idea why that particular image popped into my head.

Are you a full-time novelist?
Short answer: No.

Long answer: While I still write creatively, more and more of my attention and energy is devoted to the business side of Realbuzz Studios. Writing is rapidly become the carrot I use to get myself through the day!

How many books did you have to write before you knew you had “made it”?
I went full-time before I ever sold a book length story. While I had been working in TV and comics for a great many years, when I began the SERENITY project 5+ years ago I concentrately solely on it to the exclusion of all other projects.

* * *

Come back tomorrow for the conclusion of our Q&A. Find more info about Serenity or join the mailing list at www.SerenityBuzz.com. Find Buzz online at RealBuzz Studios.

Related links:
BUZZ DIXON, PT 1
BUZZ DIXON, PT 3

Other author Q&As:
ANNE RICE
TOM BUFORD
JAMES SCOTT BELL
RANDY SINGER

Tuesday, January 24, 2006

Q&A: BUZZ DIXON, PT 1


For the next three days, we are posting our Q&A with Buzz Dixon, an accomplished writer in the fields of animation and comic books, with credits that include the popular shows G.I. Joe and Transformers (among many others) and a stint with Stan Lee Media. His latest creation is the manga series Serenity (Barbour Publishing)—two volumes are in stores now, with more arriving over the next few months.

Meet Serenity, a lonely teen from a broken family who just wants to be accepted--but who tends to lash out at others with anger and obnoxious sarcasm. At her new school, the Christian prayer group takes Serenity on as a "project," showing her friendship and love. . .but will even that be enough to crack her hard shell? Sharply illustrated in full color, BAD Girl in Town features realistic storylines and dialogue, and shares a solid biblical message with tween and teen girls. And Serenity's story only starts here--five more books are planned to release every other month starting in January.


Without further ado, we begin grilling Mr. Dixon ...

* * *

PART 1.

Are you an “entertainer” or a “minister”?
"Entertainer," though some people might say "irritainer" would be a more apt description!

Who are your literary influences?
Ray Bradbury would be my primary literary influence since his writing seemed so wonderfully alive and poetic when I was twelve and just starting to become interested in writing.

Who are your spiritual influences?
Obviously Christ, with Paul and the writer of Ecclesiastes rounding out my primary Biblical influences. C.S. Lewis is probably the foremost modern spiritual influence.

What is the best thing anyone has ever said about one of your books?
"Where can I buy one?"

What is the worst thing anyone has ever said about one of your books?
"I don't care if we paid for it -- we're not publishing it!" (Martin Goodman in reference to a NIGHTMARE ON ELM STREET comic I wrote for Marvel waaaaaaay back in the 1980s.)

* * *

Come back tomorrow for the next part of our Q&A. Find more info about Serenity or join the mailing list at www.SerenityBuzz.com. Find Buzz online at RealBuzz Studios.

Related links:
Q&A: BUZZ DIXON, PT 2
Q&A: BUZZ DIXON, PT 3
BUZZ DIXON AT PW COMICS WEEK

Other author Q&As:
ANNE RICE
TOM BUFORD
JAMES SCOTT BELL
RANDY SINGER

Saturday, January 21, 2006

FORGIVING SOLOMON LONG: THE BOOK DISCUSSION

(Part 5 of 5)

Wrapping up our look back at the media attention we got for my first novel, Forgiving Solomon Long ...

One nice surprise was when novelist Deeanne Gist, author of the best-selling A Bride Most Begrudging (Bethany House Publishers), hosted me on her blog for an interactive, online book discussion ...


Introduction
Question #1
Question #2
Question #3

Part Two Introduction
Question #4
Question #5
Question #6

Interactive Q&A


Related links:
FORGIVING SOLOMON LONG: THE REVIEWS
FORGIVING SOLOMON LONG: THE INTERVIEWS
FORGIVING SOLOMON LONG: THE BLOG TOUR
FORGIVING SOLOMON LONG: THE ENDORSEMENTS

Friday, January 20, 2006

FORGIVING SOLOMON LONG: THE ENDORSEMENTS

(Part 4 of 5)

Returning to our recap of the media attention we received in the past year for my debut thriller, Forgiving Solomon Long, here are some of the fine things people said ...

"Forgiving Solomon Long was a very exciting read. A few chapters in and I was hooked: 'Forget the housework -- let's see what's happening next!' " -- Laurel Grider, Bethel World Outreach Center, Brentwood, TN

"A hard-edged, mean streets story--in which God's grace shines all the brighter. Forgiving Solomon Long heralds a new day in Christian suspense." -- Brandilyn Collins, best-selling author of Web of Lies

"Forgiving Solomon Long is fabulous: part Mario Puzo, part John Grisham and part Tom Clancy. I was honestly blown away." -- Jim Cumbee, President of Non-Broadcast Media, Salem Communications

"Told in a fast-paced, funny style that will keep you laughing as the chapters whiz by." -- C.T. Mikesell, Eugene, OR

"A powerful tale of suspense and the power of mercy." -- Robin Parrish, Infuze Magazine

"Chris Well masterfully weaves together literary and pop-culture references, Mafia culture, and smatterings of Scripture into a fascinating modern-day parable without sounding preachy or trite. Sure to be a hit." -- Janet Chismar, Senior Editor, Crosswalk.com

"I hope this book is one of many that you will write. I'll be looking for your next novel." -- Wanda Richardson, Jacksonville, FL

"Chris Well's debut is fresh and addictive. Part thriller, part morality play -- but never heavy handed or sugar-coated. Gritty and realistic " -- Monkey Outta Nowhere

"Just when you think you might know where author Chris Well is heading, he throws you a curveball -- one that, while altogether surprising, is somehow more realistic than what you might have expected. And, truth be told, far more gratifying." -- Jay Swartzendruber, Editor, CCM Magazine

"Forgiving Solomon Long was an awesome reading experience." -- Pam Jamison, Bowling Green, KY

"Here's a novel with the feel of real life -- fast-paced and thought-provoking." -- Sigmund Brouwer, best-selling author of The Last Disciple

"So full of twists and turns, it keeps you guessing until the very end. An amazing story of suspense and grace.” -- Tracey Bumpus, Managing Editor, Crosswalk Magazine

"Excellent. Pretty exciting, too!" -- Linda Gilmore, editor, Kansas

"Keep bringin' it, Mr. Well. We're ready for more!" -- Eric Wilson, author, Expiration Date

"Felt like I was watching a movie." -- Glendo Grider, Bethel World Outreach Center, Brentwood, TN

"A worthwhile read with a cinematic flow. Sure to please fans of Noir, Tarantino or the Coen brothers." -- Sara Eggers, author

"By all means, check out Forgiving Solomon Long." -- J. Mark Bertrand, writer

"WOW!!! My only complaint is that it's so good it's keeping me from working on my own stuff!" -- Eddie Medina, Atonement Studios

"EXCELLENT! I really enjoyed it! Very compelling." -- Mark Nicholas, Simpleville Music

"I'm truly a better person for having read it." -- Daniel Dawson, Nashville, TN

"An entertaining, quick read, and should appeal to folks beyond any artificial designation of 'genre.'" -- Jason Joyner, Southeast Idaho

"A magnificent concoction that is part Sopranos, part Carl Hiaasen and part Elmore Leonard. Edgy and contemporary and hip." -- Scott A. Thompson, Great Falls, Montana

"Tight writing, unforgettable characters, and a fast-paced story. Chris Well has carved out a niche for himself." -- Susan Robertson, via the Internet

"Enough hair-raising action, savvy laughs, and flat-out pulp punch to make me want to come back again and again. Stunning!" -- Matt Bronleewe, music producer for Rebecca St. James, Plumb, Natalie Imbruglia, others


Related links:
FORGIVING SOLOMON LONG: THE REVIEWS
FORGIVING SOLOMON LONG: THE INTERVIEWS
FORGIVING SOLOMON LONG: THE BLOG TOUR

THE MILLER SISTERS #67

"WHAT IF I SHRINK OR SPROUT WINGS OR BECOME A FREAK OF SOME KIND?"

My wife, Erica, has uploaded episode #67 of her twice-a-week online comic strip, The Miller Sisters ...

The clock is ticking on Julia's birthday, the day she is destined to inherit super powers ... but what will they be?

(If you do not see the latest strip onscreen, click the "refresh" button found at the top of your browser.)

Thursday, January 19, 2006

"VOICES FROM THE VOID"

A regular friend of this blog has won the 2005 Fiction Contest at The Sword Review: Fantasy, Science Fiction & More with her story "Voices from the Void."

Fiction
Science Fiction
Voices from the Void - Winner, 2005 Fiction Contest
by Mirta Ana Schultz

Seven travelers share the safety of a small chamber in a large spacer—the matchmaker, the exobotanist, the missionarian, the politician's daughter, the monk, the holoflick producer, and the woman in search of her voice—all of them knowing that strange happenings await all spacefarers. Time and space follow their own rules and, sometimes, play their own games on susceptible humans. Once these travelers enter the void of space, will the voices they hear be their own?

Check it out here. And congrats, Mir!

ROSIE O'DONNELL BACK TO PUBLISHING

Okay, for legal reasons, the character of "Evelyn Blake" in my March 2006 crime drama Deliver Us From Evelyn is NOT BASED ON ANY PERSON, LIVING OR DEAD.

But this news comes in an awfully timely manner:

ARTICLES IN HAIKU? (CELEBRITY WEEK)
Rosie O'Donnell plans to take another whack at the publishing business. She is in talks with "a very well known publisher" to bring back an updated version of Rosie, she revealed Friday while promoting her upcoming HBO special.

Celebrity Week
Rosie.com
Newsday

Related link: DELIVER US FROM EVELYN: RIPPED FROM THE HEADLINES

FORGIVING SOLOMON LONG: THE BLOG TOUR

(Part 3 of 5)

Continuing our look back at the media attention for Forgiving Solomon Long. This time, we look at the blog tour, hosted last July by the fine folks of the Christian Fiction Blog Alliance.

ObviousPop (review)
Christian Fiction (commentary)
T.L. Hines.com: Chocolatey Goodness (interview)
Lindaruth's spot (interview)
The Savvy Christian Woman (review)
gritty and bright (review)
The Curmudgeon's Rant (review)
Deeanne Gist (book discussion #1)
Deeanne Gist (book discussion #2)
Reading, Writing, and ... What Else is There? (interview)
Just a Minute (review)
Musings ... and other things (review)
Christian Novels (review)
Thinking Out Loud (review)
Rainy Writer (review)
Sippy Cup Moments (links)
Val Writes (description)
The Well-Dressed Branch (links)
Fishtales (links)
In My Little World (review)
Books I've Read (review)


Related links:
FORGIVING SOLOMON LONG: THE REVIEWS
FORGIVING SOLOMON LONG: THE INTERVIEWS

AMAZON: THE SERIES

Associated Press reports that Amazon.com is planning an original series of Webcasts. The show, hosted by Bill Maher, will feature authors and artists with new releases.

The 12-episode Webcast series, which will begin airing June 1, is the first offering in what the Seattle company says is a broader plan to add more original programming to its Web site.

Kathy Savitt, Amazon.com's vice president of strategic communications, content and initiatives, said the long-term goal is to help Amazon.com become more of a "destination," where offerings such as this help people find artists whose works they might not previously have thought of buying.

The first episode is being recorded at the Sundance Film Festival this weekend, with authors Stephen King and Armistead Maupin, musician Rob Thomas and actress Toni Collette. Previews of the show will begin Tuesday, leading up to the June 1 launch.

Wednesday, January 18, 2006

HEARING "HERETIC"


Our Faith*in*Fiction pal Joseph Nassise recently posted this info on the F*i*F boards. Sounds pretty cool.

First Novel from a Major New York Publisher to be Podcast in its Entirety

The Horror Channel Teams with The Podcast Network for Episodic Release of Heretic


For the first time ever, a novel currently available on bookstore shelves, released by a major New York publisher, will be podcast in its entirety beginning January 31st. HERETIC (Pocket Books, Mass Market Original, October 2005) is the first volume in a new dark fantasy series known as The Templar Chronicles, written by International Horror Guild Award nominee, Joseph Nassise. The complete novel will be released in a free, thirty-episode, weekly podcast read by Nassise and sponsored by The Horror Channel and The Podcast Network.

In HERETIC, the Holy Order of the Knights Templar has been resurrected as a secret combat arm of the Vatican and is charged with defending mankind from the supernatural. Knight Commander Cade Williams is in control of the prestigious Echo Team, a special forces-type unit that is called in to investigate when an unknown enemy begins assaulting Templar strongholds.

Bestselling author Clive Barker called HERETIC “a first-rate, stylish work,” while the Trades Entertainment Magazine summed it up as “Hellraiser meets Delta Force by way of George Romero.” With the Templars back in the public view thanks to books like Dan Brown’s DA VINCI CODE and Hollywood films like NATIONAL TREASURE, readers are eager to experience more from this historical sect that is rooted in secrecy and myth.

Podcasting, the ability to offer syndicated audio content direct to listeners for use on their iPods or other portable media device, has grown exponentially in the last year. For Pocket Books, podcasting seemed the perfect way to introduce a wider audience to this exciting new series. “As a cross-genre thriller, HERETIC will appeal to a wide variety of readers,” says Amy Pierpont, Senior Editor at Pocket Books. “Podcasting will allow us to break down genre barriers and introduce Joe's work to a broader audience than just the typical horror fan.”

Cameron Reilly, founder of The Podcast Network and a co-sponsor of the event, is also enthusiastic about such marriages between podcasting and publishing. “While providing books in an audio format is not a new idea, podcasting provides readers with a new avenue to discover quality books to read,” says Cameron. “By making chapters of their books available in an audio version for free downloading, authors and publishers now have an opportunity to introduce their works to a global audience. In the future, The Podcast Network will be working with authors to find suitable sponsors for the podcast versions of their work, so they still realize a commercial return on their efforts even if listeners don't eventually purchase the book.”

"Podcasting of audio books is a natural next step for the publishing world,” said Nick Psaltos, President, General Manager, and Founder of The Horror Channel. “Joe and Pocket Books are doing a tremendous thing, not only for fellow horror writers, but for authors everywhere. The Horror Channel’s website will be updated with behind-the-scenes writing information and information about the characters as new chapters are podcast. It will also offer a venue for fan feedback and webchat with the author.”

“The Horror Channel has come to be synonymous with all things horror for me,” said Nassise, former President of the Horror Writers Association. “Their goal of putting a diverse range of horror products into the hands of horror fans everywhere made them the perfect partner for this project and I couldn’t be more pleased to be working with them.”

Sign up for The Templar Chronicles podcast and learn more about the series at the official website, www.thetemplarchronicles.com. You can also visit The Horror Channel website, www.horrorchannel.com, for additional information about the podcast, for updates, and for feedback and webchat with the author.

Related link: THROW THE BOOK

HOLLYWOOD IS NOT OUR ENEMY



A recent book of interest is Behind The Screen: Hollywood Insiders on Faith, Film and Culture. The book is co-edited by Spencer Lewerenz, a Hollywood writer and editor, and Barbara Nicolosi, founder of Act One, a nonprofit organization to train “artist-apostles” for positions within the industry. The two have gathered the thoughts of Christian writers, producers and executives living out their faith as they work in the real world of motion pictures and television.

This from the writeup at Baptist Press:

The book is both a cautionary guidepost for those coming to L.A. in order to seek their fortunes or witness to the lost as well as a source of insight for how those outside the industry can impact those on the inside.

Lewerenz and Nicolosi’s volume spans 18 essays by various media professionals, including Ralph Winter, executive producer of “Fantastic Four,” “X-Men” and “I, Robot”; Barbara Hall, executive producer of “Joan of Arcadia,” “Judging Amy” and “Chicago Hope”; Scott Derrickson, director of “The Exorcism of Emily Rose”; Ron Austin, writer for the original “Mission: Impossible” and “ Matlock”; and Thom Parham, writer for “Jag” and “Touched by an Angel.”


This book is not just for film students, this is for any creative writer who wants to impact a broader world. Whether you write short stories, novels, comic books, whatever—this is a must-read. (We are working on an interview with Lewerenz, so watch for that.)

OUR BRAVE MR. BRONLEEWE

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

MATT BRONLEEWE WRAPS UP 2005 WITH A GRAMMY NOMINATION, PRODUCTION AND SONGWRITING ACCOLADES AND NEW CREATIVE VENTURES ON THE HORIZON

(NASHVILLE, TN) January 5, 2006—Matt Bronleewe, one of Christian music’s most visible and respected producers, continues to push the creative envelope with his innovative production and songwriting style, which is causing celebration for one of his most successful years to date. Bronleewe is enjoying a GRAMMY nomination, producing and writing for some of the biggest names in Christian music and expanding his creative credentials to include novelist.

The National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences (NARAS) made the exciting announcement on December 8th, 2005, that Michael W. Smith’s album Healing Rain was nominated for the “Best Pop/Contemporary Gospel Album” GRAMMY. Bronleewe produced the album, which debuted at #11 on Billboards Top 200, as well as co-wrote the title track, which went to No. 1 on Radio & Records Christian AC charts. This is Bronleewe’s second GRAMMY nomination.

“I’m exceptionally happy to be nominated for a GRAMMY, especially with an artist like Michael W. Smith, a true legend in the industry and a wonderful person to be able to call a friend,” states Bronleewe. “Working with him was something I’d dreamed about doing since I got into music, so this feels like a huge milestone for me!”

Bronleewe’s year was also busy producing and writing for some of the biggest names in Christian music. His projects included producing and co-writing for Plumb’s ambitious Curb Records release Chaotic Resolve, which wrapped up production in 2005; Rebecca St. James If I Could Tell You Just One Thing on Forefront Records, which he produced and co-wrote the first radio single “Alive”; Joy William’s Genesis, which includes production and songwriting credits; co-writing Aly & AJ’s radio hit “Never Far Behind”, as well as production credits for TobyMac’s Renovating Diverse City and DCTalk’s Jesus Freak: 10th Anniversary project.

In addition to his musical talents, Bronleewe, the consummate storyteller, is stretching his creative wings and embarking on a new adventure in addition to music. Seeing the connection of storytelling within songwriting and novel writing, he will soon take on the title of book author. He has signed a five-book deal with Westbow, a division of Thomas Nelson, with his first fiction novel, titled ILLUMINATED, set to release in 2007. In addition to the novel, Bronleewe writes for the online magazine INFUZE (www.infuzemag.com) and develops comic book and movie projects for National Fiction (www.nationalfiction.com).

“I believe we are entering a new Renaissance,” shares Bronleewe. “We have the power to express our thoughts, ideas and knowledge in ways never before possible. It’s easy to get caught up in the differences between these creative outlets, but in truth, they are synergetic, working together to foster a new age of artistic innovation. In the end, it all boils down to storytelling, and we all have a great story to tell.”

Bronleewe made his first steps onto the music scene as one of the founding members of the multi-platinum selling group Jars Of Clay. His plans to finish his college degree were cut short when he was asked to co-write and play guitar for newly signed Warner Bros artist Sarah Jahn. Soon after, he was offered his first production opportunity, working on Plumb’s debut album on Essential Records. This began his successful songwriting and production career, which has included Natalie Imbruglia’s multi-platinum and GRAMMY nominated debut album Left Of The Middle on BMG/RCA, Bebo Norman’s critically-acclaimed album Try on Essential Records, and Chris Tomlin’s Not To Us on SIXSTEPSRECORDS, just to name a few.

# # # #

Tuesday, January 17, 2006

MAKE YOUR OWN MOVIES!


Infuze Magazine points you to a nifty new online "film making" program that works right in yourt browser. DF1LM allows you to point and click your way through a selection of sets, characters, actions and background music. You even type in your own dialogue!

Here is my first rudimentary attempt, "Snow Needs His Dough," a short piece of crime fiction (what else?) in which a desperate snow man attempts to recover his cash from an angry Santa Claus ...

FORGIVING SOLOMON LONG: THE INTERVIEWS

(Part 2 of 5)

As we head ever closer to the March 2006 release of Deliver Us From Evelyn, this is our second day of looking back at some of the media attention we got for my debut, Forgiving Solomon Long.

Today, we're looking at the interviews:

The Master's Artist
Infuze Magazine
Lindaruth's spot
T.L. Hines.com: Chocolatey Goodness
Reading, Writing, and... What Else is There?
Deeanne Gist's Blog
Novel Journey #1
Novel Journey #2
Harvest House Publishers

Related link: Forgiving Solomon Long: The Reviews

Monday, January 16, 2006

THE MILLER SISTERS #66

"BUT WHAT'S GOING TO HAPPEN TO ME?"

My wife, Erica, has uploaded episode #66 of her twice-a-week online comic strip, The Miller Sisters ...

The clock is ticking on Julia's birthday, the day she is destined to inherit super powers ... but what will they be?

(If you do not see the latest strip onscreen, click the "refresh" button found at the top of your browser.)

FORGIVING SOLOMON LONG: THE REVIEWS


(Part 1 of 5)

As we head ever closer to the imminent release of Deliver Us From Evelyn, I thought it might be nice to go back and look at some of the great media attention we got this past year with Forgiving Solomon Long.

Today, we're looking at the reviews:

"This debut contemporary gangster novel ... tells an engaging story. Well's fresh voice makes this an enjoyable addition to faith fiction." -- Publishers Weekly

"A-plus fiction. This faith-based thriller will both surprise and delight you." -- CCM Magazine

"Chris Well's writing is edgy and engrossing. Great characters and witty dialogue wrapped in a plot that will keep you guessing until the end." -- Novel Reviews

"You'll find a brilliant mixture of literary references, Scripture, and plenty of thought provoking moments in this fast paced thriller. You will love Forgiving Solomon Long by Chris Well. I guarantee it." -- Five Star Book Reviews & More by the Reading Mom

"This book is fast-paced and edge-of-your-seat reading." -- Books I've Read

"This is an excellent, untypical story ... creative and compelling; Well mixes murders with messages and paints wonderful characters. A fun read." -- Youthworker Journal

"An intelligent thriller that combines sitcoms with Shakespeare, Fruit Loops with coffee, and gunfights with church ... anything but ordinary fare." -- Christian Book Previews

*Starred Review* "This is Christian fiction, but Quentin Tarantino's Pulp Fiction comes to mind" -- Booklist, American Library Association

"A great read ... the perfect summer vacation page-turner!" -- Dr. Tony Shore, ObviousPop

"Tarrantino-esque ... ripe for cinematic adaptation." -- HM Magazine (May/June 2005)

"A dark tale filled with ironic twists and turns ... action-packed prose for readers with a taste for bittersweet crime drama." -- Romantic Times Bookclub Magazine

"For lovers of crime fiction, Forgiving Solomon Long by Chris Well combines a taut, fast-paced thriller with a powerful message of forgiveness." -- CBA Marketplace (April 2005)

"A page-turning crime thriller that sizzles with action!" -- Sneak Pique (Vol. 3, February-March 2005)

"If there's one lesson I learned from Forgiving Solomon Long, it’s that no one has fallen so far that he can't be redeemed." -- Crossings Book Club, a division of Bookspan, which serves 10 million members

"Excellent work for an inaugural novel. Recommended." -- Christian Fiction Review

"Fans of the hardboiled genre will be delighted with Chris Well's tale. The characters and theme resonate clearly within the story and are certain to please." -- Roundtable Reviews

Related links:

Mirathon
Novel Reviews
Books I've Read
Christian Book Previews
ObviousPop
Romantic Times Book Club Magazine
Crossings Book Club
Christian Fiction Review
Roundtable Reviews
Monkey Outta Nowhere

Saturday, January 14, 2006

HOW SICK AM I?


I have been sleeping off and on all day -- because I am too sick to even watch TELEVISION!

(Yeah, I know -- shocking!)

I wish I had been able to work today, because I have a story due Monday for the International Thriller Writers newsletter. I interviewed Thomas O'Callaghan this week about his debut thriller, Bone Thief.

(Be sure to sign up now for this FREE NEWSLETTER to make sure you receive it when it comes out.)

Friday, January 13, 2006

MONK RENEWED FOR TWO MORE SEASONS


Mediaweek reports from the Television Critics Association’s annual winter convention, where NBC's panel included the announcement that Monk has been renewed for seasons five and six. On hand at the press conference was actor Tony Shalhoub, who fielded some questions.

Another TCA member wondered whether viewers ever confused the actor with the character, to which he quipped, “I do get offered a lot of Handi Wipes. And I can tell you, after four hundred times, it’s a little hard to, you know, laugh, as if it’s the first time it’s ever happened. But people just think that is so funny.”


USA Network and Sci Fi Channel president Bonnie Hammer defended the network's unusual approach to scheduling (two half-seasons, instead of one season at a time):

"You really have to take a look at what makes sense for the show, build up your audience, keep them, but not throw in repeat episodes, and hope they’re going to come back or remember that after three repeat episodes, there will be a brand new episode."

See the whole story (including other USA and Sci-Fi announcements) here.

Related links:
ARE YOU MONKISH?
TV-TO-BOOK: MR. MONK
MR. MONK GOES TO THE FIREHOUSE

ANTHOLOGIZED!


I have a short story in the brand-new anthology Infuze Magazine: Best of 2005 Short Stories & Poetry, now available for sale at Cafe Press! For $14.99, you get 191 pages of short stories, poems and bonus materials.

My particular entry is my short story "Little Country Church." (It's creepier than it sounds.)

So click on the link or on the book cover for more info (including a complete list of contents).

Huzzah!

Related link: JUST AN HONOR TO BE NOMINATED

THE MILLER SISTERS #65

"JULIA'S FIRST DAY OF CLASS AT COLLEGE"

My wife, Erica, has uploaded episode #65 of her twice-a-week online comic strip, The Miller Sisters ...

The clock is ticking on Julia's birthday, the day she is destined to inherit super powers ... but what will they be?

(If you do not see the latest strip onscreen, click the "refresh" button found at the top of your browser.)

LE COOL

This is really cool: In the past few days, I have noticed that this blog has received visitors from all over the world!

I mean, I know that this "all over the world" thing has always been true for the Internet in theory, but now I am actually looking at the list of specific places: Spain, Australia, Estonia, Korea, Canada, Italy, Russia, Philippines, Denmark, Mauritius ...

That is completely amazing to me.*

*(The info provided only tells me the location of the Internet provider; I have no idea who you are, or what brought you to this blog.)

And now (unless somebody is playing some cruel trick on me), I want to say the following friendly "hello" to everyone around the world:

Mirëdita (Albanian)
Ahalan (Arabic)
Parev (Armenian)
Zdravei / Zdrasti (Bulgarian)
Nei Ho (Cantonese)
Dobrý den / Ahoj (Czech)
Goddag (Danish)
Goede dag, Hallo (Dutch)
Hei (Finnish)
Bonjour (French)
Guten Tag (German)
Gia'sou (Greek)
Aloha (Hawaiian)
Shalom (Hebrew)
Namaste (Hindi)
Jó napot (Hungarian)
Halló / Góðan daginn (Icelandic)
Halo (Indonesian)
Aksunai / Qanuipit? (Inuit)
Dia dhuit (Irish)
Salve / Ciao (Italian)
Kon-nichiwa (Japanese)
An-nyong Ha-se-yo (Korean)
Ni hao (Mandarin)
Hallo (Norwegian)
Dzien' dobry (Polish)
Olá (Portuguese)
Bunã ziua (Romanian)
Zdravstvuyte (Russian)
Hola (Spanish)
Jambo / Hujambo (Swahili)
Hej (Swedish)
Sa-wat-dee (Thai)
Merhaba / Selam (Turkish)
Vitayu (Ukrainian)
Xin chào (Vietnamese)
Hylo; Sut Mae? (Welsh)
Sholem Aleychem (Yiddish)
Sawubona (Zulu)

Thursday, January 12, 2006

ISRAEL CUTS TIES WITH PAT ROBERTSON

Pat Robertson's latest bizarre remark has led to an official reaction:
Israel has suspended contact with him for suggesting Prime Minister Ariel Sharon's stroke was "divine punishment" for withdrawing from the
Gaza Strip.

Tourism Minister Abraham Hirchson has instructed to "stop all contact" with groups associated with Robertson. The Associated Press reports:

"We will not do business with him, only with other evangelicals who don't back these comments," [tourism spokesman Ido Hartuv] said. "We will do business with other evangelical leaders, friends of Israel, but not with him."

By the way, although it is convenient for the press to pretend that the only reason Christians are "supporting" Israel is because of its connection to the end-times, there are many of us who wish the Jews well simply because the Bible tells us to.

* * *

UPDATE: Robertson apologizes to Sharon's son

Evangelist Pat Robertson apologized in a Wednesday letter for saying that the major stroke suffered by Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon was divine retribution for "dividing God's land."

"My zeal, my love of Israel and my concern for the future safety of your nation led me to make remarks which I can now view in retrospect as inappropriate and insensitive in light of a national grief experienced because of your father's illness," Robertson wrote.


* * *

ANOTHER UPDATE: THE 700 CLUB EMERGENCY SCRIPT
(Wittenburg Door)

007 NO MORE


Pierce Brosnan tells the Associated Press he's glad he is no longer playing James Bond.


"With the chapter of Bond past now, there is a wonderful sense of liberation and freedom from having to carry that part," he says. "You have more ownership of your life and the direction your life is going to go and choices of parts. And 'The Matador' is kind of a really wonderful transitional time. Serendipitous, really."

His latest role is a bit of irony: the 52-year-old Brosnan plays a burnt-out hit man in The Matador.


Going into "The Matador," Brosnan wasn't thinking: "I'm going to destroy an image that's gone before. But as I got more and more into it I realized that's exactly what's going on."

Related links:
Complete JAMES BOND novels by Ian Fleming
Complete Guide To James Bond Songs

Wednesday, January 11, 2006

A MILLION LITTLE REFUNDS

Following the revelation that Oprah book pick A Million Little Pieces was, apparently, a fabricated memoir, Reuters reports that Random House is now offering refunds to ourraged buyers.

Readers calling Random House's customer service line to complain on Wednesday were told that if the book was bought directly from the publisher it could be returned for a full refund. Those who bought the book at a bookstore were told to try and return it to the store where it was bought.

"If the book was bought directly from us we will refund the purchase price in full," one Random House customer service told Reuters, adding that readers would have to return the book with the original invoice. "If you bought it at a book store, we ask that you return the book to the book store."

Only a small portion of consumers buy books directly from publishers. However, the agent said Random House normally sells books to consumers as nonrefundable but is offering refunds on Frey's book "because of the controversy surrounding it."

Random House subsequently issued a statement saying it was standard procedure to offer refunds. Bookseller Barnes & Noble Inc. also said it is standard practice to offer refunds for returned books.

Reuters goes on to say that, following the announcement that the book was chosen by Oprah Winfrey's book club, James Frey's memoir sold 1.77 million copies last year. Only Harry Potter sold more books.

Related link:
A Million Little Lies

ACFW BOOK CLUB

Publishers Weekly's Religion BookLine reports on a new book club launched by the members of American Christian Fiction Writers. Members of the club, which started this month, are given about two weeks to buy and read the book before the discussion kicks off, and shortly after the month is over, members are invited to participate in an online chat with the author.

Readers can join the book club through the ACFW Web site or directly through Yahoo! Groups. ACFW links the book club selections to Amazon for sales.

LAUNCHING A COMIC BOOK COMPANY?


PW Comics Weeks just posted this news story about the pitfalls of launching a new comic book in today's market. The three latest examples of just how rocky the road to startup can be are Alias, Speakeasy and Boom Studios.

[Speakeasy's Adam Fortier] acknowledges the difficulty in competing against Marvel and DC in a market that resists new work. Although he did have a business plan, it didn’t make it through the summer. And in a comic shop market dominated by super-hero comics from big publishers, retailers began to lose faith in smaller companies. "I believe that with the advent of the DC/Marvel mega-crossovers, [those series] pushed everybody else out," he says. "It was a situation that you've got to react to."

While many young companies choke the pipeline with too many new titles at one time, Boom Studios's relatively simple business model seems prudent. "You have to be realistic in the market," Richie tells PW. "Tons of people are not realistic."

Related link: Champion of a Lost Universe

Tuesday, January 10, 2006

ARE YOU MONKISH?

If you've ever worried you were too much like Adrian Monk (the "defective detective"), here's a handy quiz to see just how desperate you are.

Related links:
OFFICIAL MONK
MORE FROM MR. MONK
MONK RENEWED FOR TWO MORE SEASONS
TV-TO-BOOK: MR. MONK
MR. MONK GOES TO THE FIREHOUSE

THE MILLER SISTERS #64


"LET'S MAKE THIS
A BIRTHDAY
TO REMEMBER!
"

My wife, Erica, has uploaded episode #64 of her twice-a-week online comic strip, The Miller Sisters ...

The clock is ticking on Julia's birthday, the day she is destined to inherit super powers ... but what will they be?

(If you do not see the latest strip onscreen, click the "refresh" button found at the top of your browser.)

Monday, January 09, 2006

FREE PREVIEW: COMES A HORSEMAN


For a limited time, WestBow Press is offering a free abridged audiobook of Robert Liparulo's acclaimed suspense thriller Comes a Horseman. It can be downloaded at the official site, www.comesahorsemanbook.com, which also features a video trailer, cover art and downloads. Check it out.


Friday, January 06, 2006

DA VINCI IN TIME FOR DA MOVIE


Publishers Weekly breaks the news that the long-awaited mass market edition of Dan Brown's controversial best-seller The Da Vinci Code will be out in time for the movie.

Ever since Sony announced the May 19 movie release of The Da Vinci Code last fall, and released the film's trailer in mid-December, the question in the book industry has been when the tie-in paperback would arrive. Newsweek's Jan. 2 cover story, touting Da Vinci as the year's "hottest movie," only upped the ante. Now, retailers say, Anchor Books has set a March 28 release date for the long-awaited mass-market edition.

Though Anchor is guarding the printing and other specifics as closely as clues to the Holy Grail, the figure is likely to outstrip those for each of the last three Harry Potter paperbacks, which had first printings of up to 2.5 million.


See the whole story here.*

*(This information is for educational purposes only. It is not intended to induce you to purchase, borrow or otherwise obtain the novel in question. Void where prohibited by law. Results may vary. If a rash develops, consult your family physician.)

MY SECRET IDENTITY


Harvest House has posted an interview with me. Here is the introduction that originally appeared on the Featured Interviews page:
Chris Well
Comic books and superheroes aren’t just kid stuff to Chris Well. Faster than a speeding bullet, the Homecoming Magazine Editor proposed marriage to his wife, a DC Comics staffer, under the Superman statue in Metropolis, Ill. The surprises continue via virtual tours and blogs launched as a result of Well’s groundbreaking Christian mobster novels Forgiving Solomon Long and Deliver Us From Evelyn. More...

They wanted to feature more of the "private side" of the author, so the interview and accompanying photos are more personal than some of what has appeared online already.

(I hope to explain the firetruck picture in a future blog.)

THE MILLER SISTERS #63


"YOU'LL KNOW WHAT
POWERS THEY ARE
BY TOMORROW NIGHT
-- "

My wife, Erica, has uploaded episode #63 of her twice-a-week online comic strip, The Miller Sisters ...

(If you do not see the latest strip onscreen, click the "refresh" button found at the top of your browser.)

Thursday, January 05, 2006

PHONING IT IN

USA Today reports on the growing phenomenon of authors attending book clubs around the country—via phone:

The call-ins also extend the author's reach. Most book tours only hit major metropolitan areas, but the fan base goes far beyond those boundaries.

"This is a perfect way to connect with more readers," Searles says. "Gone are the days when a publisher could take out an ad, count on a few reviews and have an author do a couple of signings. Nowadays, readers want to feel a connection with an author."


If it weren't for my paralyzing fear of meeting new people, I'd sign on in a heartbeat. (Now, if it were a club watching some cool TV-on-DVD, I would be all over that.)

MANGA IN YOUR NEWSPAPER


In a bid to get younger readers excited about their comic sections, many newspapers are going to begin carrying manga comic strips, specifically Peach Fuzz (about a 9-year-old girl and her imaginative ferret who misses life at the pet shop) and Van Von Hunter (which pokes fun at the cliches of fantasy-adventure).

The project is a result of a partnership between Tokyopop and Universal Press Syndicate, according to this press release:

Manga Mania Invades U.S. Newspapers for First Time Ever, Courtesy of Tokyopop and Universal Press Syndicate

In a bold move that marks an industry first, two powerful entertainment giants -- Tokyopop, the largest English-language publisher of manga in the world, and Universal Press Syndicate, the #1 newspaper syndicate in the world -- join forces to bring the exotic and imaginative world of manga comic strips to daily newspapers across the U.S., Canada and other countries around the globe.

Beginning January 2006, the first Sunday feature will be Peach Fuzz -- a story that explores the relationship between nine-year-old Amanda and her imaginative ferret, Peach. The second feature, Van Von Hunter, takes the protagonist through spooky castles and magical realms filled with evil stuff to slay, all the while lampooning the cliches of fantasy-adventure manga, anime and role-playing games. This event marks the first time ever that manga will appear in North American newspaper comic sections.

USA Today reports that many papers will start carrying Peach Fuzz this Sunday. Other newspapers in the U.S. are expected to follow suit with manga strips in the coming year.

Tokyopop
Universal Press Syndicate

Wednesday, January 04, 2006

CROWDING OUT QUALITY

Author Nick Chiles is "embarrassed and disgusted" to see "ghetto fiction" and "street lit" books filling up the African-American Literature section in mainstream bookstores. He writes in a NYT op-ed:

I realize that publishing is a business, but publishers also have a responsibility to balance street lit with more quality writing. After all, how are we going to explain ourselves to the next generation of writers and readers who will wonder why they have so little to read of import and value produced in the early 21st century, why their founts of inspiration are so parched?


He also writes:

... I retain very little of the hope and excitement and enthusiasm that I had when my first book was published eight years ago. I feel defeated, disrespected and troubled about the future of my community and my little subsection of this carnivorous, unforgiving industry.


See the whole op-ed piece here. (Free registration required.)

SAVE OUR BLUTHS


I meant to write up something about Monday night's extra-brilliant episode of Arrested Development, but Associated Press saved me the trouble:

NEW YORK (AP) - It's only fitting that "Arrested Development," the most self-referential show on TV, would go down chronicling its own demise.

"The Bluths were desperate," the narrator (Ron Howard, the Oscar-winning director and one of show's executive producers) intoned about the show's hyper-dysfunctional family. "The press had them all but finished."

Michael Bluth, played by Jason Bateman, then announced: "If we want a chance of keeping this family going past the next few weeks, we're going to have to pull out all the stops."

The episode - the ninth of the season - at various points pretended to be 3-D, trotted out celebrities including Andy Richter, Ben Stiller and Zach Braff, and turned into a pseudo-live broadcast.


See the whole story here.

By the way, my wife and I spent our New Year's Eve watching the entire Arrested Development: Season One on DVD. We already knew the show was funny, but were still surprised at the level of craftsmanship from one episode to the next.

(Last night, in fact, we listened to one of the DVD bonus features: The show's musical soundtrack. Even that was amazing.)

Great stuff.

Related links:
AAARGH!
ARRESTED / NOT ARRESTED?

MAJOR HURDLE FOR TV-ON-DVD


Even as TV-on-DVD becomes a major force in the entertainment marketplace, studios find that licensing music for older programs is as pricey as obtaining tunes for new series. According to Reuters, the issue is forcing studios to make "radical changes."

... skyrocketing music-clearance fees are becoming major stumbling blocks for DVD reissues, often delaying or even completely derailing releases. Take "WKRP in Cincinnati," for example: The 1970s sitcom used so much classic rock that it would cost 20th Century Fox Home Entertainment a mint to clear the tracks. Fox has suggested that it still is considering releasing "WKRP," but others are not optimistic that the comedy and similar shows of its kind will ever make it into the market.

Reuters says TV-on-DVD business accounted last year for more than $2 billion in sales; reports suggest the figure could reach $3.9 billion by 2008.

Tuesday, January 03, 2006

THE MILLER SISTERS #62


ANOTHER DAY AT COLLEGE FOR A CHRISTIAN GIRL ...

WITH SUPER POWERS ...

My wife, Erica, has added the next installment of her twice-a-week online comic strip, The Miller Sisters ...

(If you do not see the latest strip onscreen, click the "refresh" button found at the top of your browser.)

LAST CHANCE TO WIN! (NOVEL JOURNEY)


Today, we enter the second day of my guest appearance at the blog Novel Journey, "a place to learn more about novel writing & the business of publishing. " The blog regularly features author interviews, book reviews and fiction related discussion.

Not only am I the subject of a two-part interview, but there is also a review posted today.

Don't forget to sign up for your chance to win one of five prize packs—including an autographed copy of
Forgiving Solomon Long and a short story sneak preview of Deliver Us From Evelyn (not available in stores until March).

Part One

Part Two

How To Win

Monday, January 02, 2006

TV-TO-BOOK: MR. MONK


My wife and I have been watching Season Two of of the excellent detective series Monk. (Since we do not have cable, we have to enjoy them on DVD.) We are just amazed at how funny and wonderful these stories are.

Tomorrow, the first original Monk tie-in novel hits shelves, Mr. Monk Goes to the Firehouse (Signet). The book is written by TV writer and novelist Lee Goldberg, co-writer of the Monk episode "Mr. Monk Goes to Mexico" (which we just watched, and it was AWESOME).

The Monk Fun Page interviewed Mr. Goldberg about his adventures writing for television (including Monk and Diagnosis Murder ) and writing the first official Monk novels.

The USA Network has launched an official website devoted to the Monk books, which includes an excerpt and a video interview with the author. (You can also check out downloads and an exclusive Monk mini-webisode created exclusively for the Internet.)

Related link: Mr. Monk Goes To The Firehouse

Die Laughing: Funny Crime and Mystery Fiction

SHE'S THE SHERIFF!

A woman with a complicated past returns home to become the small town's new sheriff. Best Mann For The Job is by the writer/artist team of Chris and Erica Well. Read it from the beginning at StudioWell.com. Watch the trailer on YouTube.