Tuesday, March 31, 2015

#TheCrux: First Draft of the Triumph

#TheCrux: Check out Britteny Stanton​'s latest addition to the novel...the first draft of the Triumph in all of its sleek and sophisticated glory.

The Story of #TheThreeRings

The story of #TheThreeRings

Many people ask me about my three unique rings and the typical narrative I provide refers to a character in one of my upcoming novels.   But there are far deeper reasons as to why I chose them and what they truly represent.

The first ring is my gold wedding band.  It represents a marriage that has been carefully and beautifully crafted with patience.  Forged both in happiness and sorrow with the sincerest devotion  as it was intricately shaped into an endless reminder of the wonders and blessings of love.

The second ring represents my daughter Jessica.  A silver band both strong and elegant, like her marvelous spirit.

The third ring represents my son William.  An elaborately ornate sturdy silver band that symbolizes integrity and creativity.  Two things, I pray, I will instill deep into his soul through my own example, forever ingrained like the tedious etchings of the ring's surface.

The rest of my fingers are bare because there is no adornment comparable to the priceless treasures bestowed upon such an unworthy soul.

Three rings that define me, reminding me always of how rich I truly am.

Monday, March 30, 2015

Upcoming reviews

A lot of reviews piling up. After I send the competed novel off to the publisher I will resume my critiques. Those hanging out in the bullpen: Mazerunner, Into the Storm, Dracula Untold, A Walk Among the Tombstones, and John Wick.

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

#TheCruxKickstarter Campaign

This funding project will allow me to professionally publish and promote my newest novel; The Crux, an ambitious science fiction/thriller/fantasy.  This has been a 27-year labor of love resulting in a story combining epic science fiction with dark humor and abstract fantasy.   It features thirteen distinct and exceptional characters creating a rich, complex, and utterly original tale that will thrill, entertain, and challenge everything you think you know and believe about life, death, fear, fate, and hope.  To give you a quick taste, some of the characters include: a young and conflicted Samurai, tormented vampire, psychotic fairy, and vengeful ax wielding corpse, so there's that.   The first in a series of six novels this primary installment features an elaborately engaging introduction to the franchise.  It thoroughly utilizes all that I have grown to know and love about science fiction while turning scientific theories, philosophy, and religion inside out and upside down.   The funding will support all of the significant and burdensome self-publishing costs involved in both the paperback and E-Book formats.  It will also provide all of the promotional materials.  Examples of these resources include; bookmarks, one sheets, business cards, a booth at HeroesCon in Charlotte, NC in June 2015 to launch the novel and the varied costs of supporting that launch including copies of the novel to distribute and sell.   With this funding, I should be able to substantially boost exposure of my book to a broad and diverse spectrum of people.
Here is the synopsis:
It is where the crossroads of magic, science, time, and space meet that the Crux exists. 
Put simply, the Crux exists as the very nerve center of the infinitesimal dimensions the vast and immeasurable universe houses.  It is the only dimension that parallels the Fleshworld, known throughout the cosmos as the one true residence of humanity.  The Crux's legacy defies the finite understanding we possess regarding the concepts of time and reality.  It is formed by an entity known only as Elders and monitored by the Controller, a being who appears to have neither beginning nor end bound by Fate and her undeniable, unavoidable, and irreversible dominion.  He dogmatically obeys her predominance without reservation or hesitation, nearly worshiping her.  
The residents of the Crux called Citizens belong to the Construct.  They are created from the most powerful emotions humanity emanates, the thoughts and feelings that drive its race to both the brinks of self-discovery and ultimate destruction.  Those emotions defined only by the language and ideology of its mortal hosts as; fear, hate, rage, and love, with love being the weakest of all of the architects.   The Construct is the life force that shapes and supports every inhabitant of its dimension, without it the very fabric of the Crux would tear under the stress and burden of even the slightest anomaly.   It binds their existence together, connecting them for all eternity in a majestic web of life and pain, joy and hopelessness, strength and weakness, and all manner in between. 
Myth and legend, fantasy and fairy tale, all have their roots in man’s rare glimpses of the residents of the Crux with the imaginations of humanity filling in the blanks.   It is the home of the monsters that haunt our minds and souls, a cosmic den that houses all the weaknesses and ignorance of the greater universe that surrounds them.
And soon to be the place where the greatest fears of men will become its last and greatest savior.
What appears to be a simple aberration quickly becomes a chaotic emergency after a bridge between the two worlds is formed.  This bridge opens the floodgate for the denizens of the Crux to enter the Fleshworld freely creating ramifications that will violently ripple throughout the very fabric of time and space, fantasy and reality.  It is up to a raggedy, jaded Marshall plucked from death out of the Old West and his unorthodox, nearly unhinged crew to stop the madness and discover the source before an unspeakable evil takes total control.   They are faced with a cold and robotic Navigator, who is at best vague in her assistance and information, and the mysterious, ominous, and omniscient Controller refusing to move a hand against the cruel and calculating course of Fate.   With the powers that be against them there is no other option but to defy every parameter, rule, and program to save both dimensions from absolute corruption and total annihilation. 
Can they successfully tap into the system, enlist the most terrifying of creatures to assist them in their quest, and solve the mystery in time?  They will be challenged and tempted at every turn, forced to face their own personal, unrealized destinies and the cost of their own abilities and immortality.   Encountering a world that will reveal every weakness, compelling them to peer deep into their own souls and ask questions never meant to be spoken.   In the end will they become heroes or devoured by their own desires? 
Can they save humanity, when it isn't even aware it is standing on the edge of its own extinction?  And if so, is it truly worth the cost?  Either way, in the end....darkness will fall!
Backers will receive the following for the pledges:
$1.00 Pledge:
Personalized shout out of appreciation by the author on his Facebook page www.facebook.com/lostroadtohope and Twitter account @LostRoadtoHope.
$5.00 Pledge:
Personalized professionally designed signed postcard thanking you for your support.  Item shipped by the end of June 30th, 2015.
$15.00 Pledge:
Choice of a full color high quality copy of one of two key illustrations from the novel, Sasha vs. Flare or Feast vs. Penance, hand numbered and signed by both the illustrator and author.  Delivery by June 30th, 2015.   Distributed copies will be clean, examples have been protected to avoid duplication.
Sasha vs. Flare
Sasha vs. Flare
Feast vs. Penance
Feast vs. Penance
 $35.00 Pledge:
Signed paperback version of the novel, hand numbered and autographed by both the author and illustrator.  Delivery by June 30th, 2015.   
The Crux cover
The Crux cover

Risks and challenges

The novel will be self-published in E-Book and print formats. Although I feel my plan is well organized and acute there are always risks involved in these types of endeavors. For example, the book launch and initial signing could be a complete failure despite any hard work and marketing. This is the risk taken in any launch and signing scenario with a new work. However, this funding will allow me to create an event that will be epic in presentation with models cosplaying key characters from the novel and a professionally designed booth with impressive marketing tools and resources to fortify success. In addition, I have over 670 Twitter Followers and 407 likes on my Author Page on Facebook to assist in garnering needed support. I have spent 22 years in retail, restaurant, and multi-unit management with a proven track record of successfully marketing every business and brand I have been involved in, not only generating revenues but sizable profits. I intend on now utilizing those skills for this endeavor furthering enhancing my chances of success.
Please pledge and help me bring #TheCrux to life!

#TheCrux Promo Spot: Not Your Hero

‪#‎TheCrux‬ ‪#‎TheCruxbreakstheinternet‬ I am proud to announce the premier of our first promo spot, Not Your Hero.
Please like the hell-fire out of it and share it with all your friends...
This Promo Spot for my newest science fiction/horror novel The Crux, which will be available June 2015. For more information check out my author page www.facebook.com/lostroadtohope and follow me on Twitter @LostRoadtoHope. This was filmed with zero budget thanks to the selfless efforts and talents of some of my closest friends.
It is where the crossroads of magic, science, time, and space meet that the Crux exists and the greatest fears of men reside!
The novel has been a 27-year labor of love resulting in a story combining epic science fiction with dark humor and abstract fantasy. It features thirteen distinct and exceptional characters creating a rich, complex, and utterly original tale that will thrill, entertain, and challenge everything you think you know and believe about life, death, fear, fate, and hope. To give you a quick taste, some of the characters include: a young and conflicted Samurai, tormented vampire, psychotic fairy, and vengeful ax wielding corpse, so there's that. The first in a series of six novels this primary installment features an elaborately engaging introduction to the franchise. It thoroughly utilizes all that I have grown to know and love about science fiction while turning scientific theories, philosophy, and religion inside out and upside down.

Monday, March 23, 2015

#TheCrux #TheCruxbreakstheinternet #MeetFeast 03/23/15

#TheCrux #TheCruxbreakstheinternet  Less than 7 hours to the Promo Spot premier and I figure I will give everyone a little treat.  #MeetFeast in all of he live action delicious deviousness!  Again, thanks to the Photastic artistry of Karenmarie Marley​ and makeup genius of Cassie Kelson​!  Our model is the one and only Gwen Mauney.  

#TheCrux #MeetDolly 3/23/15

#TheCrux: Get ready to #MeetDolly @ http://ronsnovelidea.blogspot.com!  This live action shot was provided by the Photastic artistry of Karenmarie Marley​ and makeup genuis of Cassie Kelson​!  You might want to make sure you check it out with the lights on!  By viewing the site you, and you alone, are accepting full responsibility for any night terrors or long term therapy resulting from said viewing!

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

#TheCrux Feast vs. Penance finished illustration 3/17/15

#TheCrux Feast vs. Penance finished illustration 3/17/15
Hope your wore your helmet before Britteny blew your mind!
Cowboys, Vampires, Psychotic Fairies, Axe Wielding Corpses,
and that's just the first few chapters!

Monday, March 2, 2015

My Self Interview or, as I like to call it, Narcissism at its Finest

So, I was having some confidence issues a few weeks back with the lack of sales of my 1st novel #TheLostRoadtoHope and the slow progression of my 2nd #TheCrux.  And before you say it, I know, white people problems and all.   Being stung by humility over and over again, I allowed my narcissistic side to provide some relief.  I decided to to interview myself, as me being the best person to do so as I allegedly know myself so well.   Over the last few weeks, I have published these blurbs on Facebook and Twitter but as they have reached their fruition I have decided to condense them all into one blog post.  As fruitless as endeavor as it may seem, it will, hopefully, provide some insight for any potential book purchasers into a little more of who I am and why I chose this lunacy of writing and self-publishing.   I stopped only because I ran out of questions.  So maybe I am not as narcissistic as I first considered.  But that, like all things in life, are quite debatable.


Who has been the greatest influence in your life?

My grandfather, William Pappalardo, he was one of the few great men I had the privilege of knowing in my life. He defined integrity and selflessness, willing to sacrifice any and everything for his family. A brilliant lawyer who assisted his immigrant brethren in settling their legal issues without cost as the entered the gates of freedom and settled in this amazing country of ours. He is the standard I set for myself when it comes to how I deal with others, treasure my family, and define and develop my own character. A true patriot, valuing liberty, equality, and devotion to God and his family, above all else. If I can be half the man he was, I will accomplish some semblance of greatness.

Who is your hero?

Anyone who faces cancer with a courage few of us could even imagine to muster. The soldiers who sacrifice everything to protect the freedoms of strangers who probably will never acknowledge, let alone, appreciate it. The outcast who stands up to the bully by refusing to change who they are no matter the weight of the oppression they face. The Christian, who refuses to yield their beliefs in places that make hell seem like a day spa. The woman who escapes abuse and finds herself, finds a strength that heals the wounds we will never see. The volunteer who gives up everything they want to do, to do what we all should be. Heroes, don't wear capes and cowls, they are invisible, by choice most of the time. Heroes are not born or made, they are defined in a single moment. And that moment sets in motion a legacy that forever alters the course of history. My hero is the man, woman, or child who faces the impossible, and whether they succeed matters not. But the integrity, bravery, and nobility they demonstrate during the trial and tribulation. But if I had to single it down to one person, hands down, it would be my wife. Anyone who has to live with me on a daily basis has to have some sort of super powers, in patience alone.

How did your mom's battle with cancer inspire you to write an apocalyptic science fiction horror story?

It didn't. Her heroic struggle inspired the characters who participate in the story. The way they overcome their broken spirits and bodies. My mom refused to relent to the disease and died in the very throes of war with it. That amazing resolve had to be epitomized, and I did so the best way I knew how. Through the genesis of characters, people could identify with and root for. And what conflict would be greater than the trial and tribulations of such an abominable disease. The only thing I could think of was surviving the end of the world. I only wish she could have read it, I know, being an accomplished English teacher, her critique would have been staunchly honest. She would have dinged me on the profanity and some of the gore. But I know, without a doubt, she would have enjoyed and applauded the substance.

What word best describes you as an author?

Tenacious, it best describes me as both an author and a person. I refuse to give up on a character or story I believe in. And no matter how many times failure may visit my doorstep, I refuse to yield to its unwelcome appointment. I have spent my life unwilling to relinquish my ambitions to "can't." My writing style and drive are no different. My heroes reflect that. My concepts reflect that. I have been a tenacious leader in my career life. I am tenacious in my beliefs and convictions. I was tenacious in courting my wife. In fact, I think her admiration for my dexterity more than any adoration, won the day and her hand. I continue to teach my children tenacity, because it is tenacity that fuels success, both in their education and future endeavors. Yes, that is the word that embodies who I am in its entirety, just as this answer proves. It too is as tenacious, don't think I haven't noticed that.

Do you find it hard to write horror stories as a Christian?

Absolutely not. Facing your fears is a key element in spiritual growth. Ignoring fear is a foolish endeavor that only ends in a weakened soul. Succumbing to it is a life unfulfilled. I think horror writers provide a great service to humanity. They help us find a way to reduce what scares us the most into mere entertainment, lessening its impact on our lives. Now, I am not referencing the glorified gore of slasher flicks, those are just lazy excuses to shock and nauseate. My focus is on the suspenseful, psychologically disturbing, emotionally disarming, and deeply moving yarns that send chills down the spine during a humid autumn afternoon. I guess I would call it horror with hope attached to it. Horror that evolves its characters rather than kill them off in some sort of methodically violent and predictable order. I want to create mental images that stick with you. That literally haunt you, forcing you to decide whether its a flight of fantasy or personal phobia. And then find the logic to reduce it as such without losing the experience. That is what horror should be, terrifyingly authentic and psychologically intimate. Its needs to scare and strengthen at the same time. The scariest story is life itself if one ponders the possibilities long enough. My faith allows me to face it with optimism. And that same faith is secure enough that when challenged it only evolves into something greater.

How do you see mankind's future, Utopia or Armageddon?

Armageddon without a doubt. It is inconceivable for our species to create a Utopian society. Sheep do not foster the pasture, they tread on and devour it. We, as a collective, are far too susceptible to corruption, especially when presented in any form of community. We are also far too malleable, reshaping ourselves at a whim, based on fads, superficiality, perversion, misinformation, and deception, turning our integrity, humanity into so much PlayDoh. The very same will that drives us to excel drives us to destroy ourselves. I don't think we will be wiped out by some natural catastrophe or rogue asteroid. No, we will be the device of our own extinction, forged by our selfish curiosities and blind ambitions. Whether it be by some wayward super-bug created without reservation. Or manufactured technology that can both benefit and damn. Or exploration that digs too deeply into the abysses not meant to visit. It will be our hand that will inevitably wield the blade that finally impales mankind's heart. So with that said, does that mean I have no hope. No, my hope remains unhindered. My hope relies on what we can accomplish individually while we exist during this borrowed time. The hope that the some will do great things before the many demolish the final pillars supporting our fragile civilization. It may, seem to most, that my hope is then a futile endeavor. But for me, it holds a tremendously sincere, irrevocable significance.

Why Sci-Fi? Why horror?

Write what you enjoy, or it won't be worth a damn to you or anyone else. I grew up on classic Sci-Fi literature and cinema. It is my favorite media when done right. So science fiction is easy for me to write. But with that said, I am less of a tech head and more into the mythology and fantasy of the genre. I just don't have the desire or time to delve so deeply into the legitimacy and actuality of the cold hard facts. I much rather abuse every law of physics and biology to achieve my story goals. I was never a fan of horror. Interesting contradiction isn't it. I only began horror concepts in my forties. Yes, my forties. It was a sort of therapy for me. A way to force my fears to conform to my imagination and not the other way around. To challenge myself. To push all of my boundaries and threaten the proverbial comfort zone. And when I mix the two, for me its gold. I tried writing in other styles, but they always ended up in the same place, the scientifically absurd and supernaturally suspenseful. Why fight what is meant to be?

How do you gauge success?

A personal sense of accomplishment. If you aren't happy with what you are writing how do you expect anyone else to be happy with it? Fame is fleeting and can be as damning as it is rewarding. Influence shifts moment to moment, many times without rhyme or reason. Popularity is a disease that can become fatal to a person's integrity. But to be true to yourself, in all things, without deviation or compromise, that to me is a real success. Mind you, this only works with an ample dose of humility. If pride is present, and I am speaking of arrogance, not confidence, it corrupts accomplishment, making it superficial and stunting. Once the ego has been enlarged in any manner, it suffocates the legitimacy and continuity of achievement. It becomes empty, hollow, nothing more than detestable vainglory. There is a danger in any path to success, no matter how you define it. If your self-worth is determined by the success, you lose. But if what you write is made more worthwhile by a healthy level of self-assurance than you have won in ways missed by most.

What is your favorite style or genre of music?

I like a little bit everything. But if you were to take a quick peek at my playlist you would find a predominance of movie soundtracks I utilize to when I am writing. You'll find a variety of compositions from such talents as Henry Jackman, Tyler Bates, Alan Silvestri, Basil Pouledaris, Hans Zimmer, Howard Shore, Cint Mansell, and John Debney playing loudly as I gleefully and frantically type away. That style of music helps me generate the strong and intricate mental imaging I need to forge some of the most elaborate scenes. I have also been caught enjoying some specific Operatic performances. And to lend some credibility to that last statement, my favorite song right now is Jonathan and Charlotte's version of The Prayer. Now, don't get me wrong. My office also fills with the dulcet tones of Evanescence, Linkin Park, Nickelback, EMF, Jamie N Commons, Alanis Morrisette, JET, and Eminem. To say my tastes are quite diverse and that music plays an important part in my creative process would both be tragic understatements. Music is nourishment for my imagination, not merely a delicacy, but a literal sustenance.

How much does ego play a part in your drive to write?

A healthy pride is the fuel I use to press on; not ego. The reason; because I am involuntarily humbled on a regular basis. Every time I clean a bathroom at my "real job," I am humbled. Every time I do a quick sales report on Amazon to behold yet another day of zero sales, I am humbled. With each new email from my proofreader, I am humbled. And being married for twenty-three years guarantees any humbling in between. I refuse to be satisfied until I am an accomplished author. But that doesn't mean I am not grateful for all the blessings I have now. Some make the mistake that thankfulness and ambition can not exist in the same stratosphere. I truly appreciate all that I have been blessed with and know how unworthy for each and every one. But that doesn't mean I abandon the sense of urgency and vigor to accomplish more than my current state. It is a tricky balance, I will admit, but that is what evolves us, develops our integrity and character. That delicate tightrope walk between the two with one false step plunging us into the dismay and damage of our own arrogant delusions. I keep my ego in check because I know that, it, more than anything else, is what erodes our effectiveness and dilutes our dreams.