TRAJECTORIES: STORIES OF EXPLORATION

Coming Spring 2016 from Hydra Publications:

Trajectories Cover
An anthology  featuring my short story, “The Adventures of Star Blazer” and stories by AMAZING authors such as: Brad R. Torgersen, Marianne J. Dyson, Bud Sparhawk and others, edited by Science Fiction legend, Dave Creek!.

Order from Amazon/Kindle,  Barnes and Noble/Nook, from the publisher or order signed copies directly from me!

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EXPLORING FICTION FORMS

EXPLORING WHEN, HOW AND WHY I USE CERTAIN FICTION FORMS     

Most people are familiar with the fiction forms of novels and short stories. However, there are three other forms which exist and are on the rise amongst many writers these days; the novella, the novelette and flash fiction.
While none of these three fiction forms are new, they are different from their more contemporary counterparts. In this blog post, I will distinguish those differences and explain why and when I choose to use them in my own writing.

***Please note***
The average word count for novels will vary based upon genre and who you ask. The word count which constitutes these other fiction forms will also vary, however there is a general range that’s accepted and I am illustrating the range which I use.

FICTION FORMS

  • Novels: Works of fiction which are 50K+ words in length.
  • Novellas: Works of fiction which fall between 20K and 50K words in length.
  • Novelettes: Works of fiction which fall between 7K and 20K words in length.
  • Short Stories: Works of fiction which fall between 1K and 7K words in length.
  • Flash Fiction: Works of fiction which are fewer than 1K words in length.

Why I Use Certain Fiction Forms

Let me first say that I encourage writers to explore ALL of the various forms of fiction at least once. DO NOT limit yourself based upon the preferences of another writer or their suggestions. That said, I mostly untilze the following fiction forms in my work: Novels, Novellas and Novelettes.
This is a personal preference, as I tend to do quite a bit of world building and write character driven content. These three forms are what work best for me and the stories I tell. Every writer is different, some use less number of forms and others use all five.
If you’re not familiar with my work, I write speculative fiction which covers a variety of genres and sub-genres. My work is also heavily influenced by comic books and action cinema. Because of this, one of my biggest influences on how I use these fiction forms is the comic book format and the Marvel Cinematic Universe, in particular.

When I Choose to Use a Particular Fiction Form

Novels
I use novels for works which feature prominent characters within my literary universe, dubbed the Ivoryverse. These stories tend to have far reaching significance and consequences within my world and therefore I need more time to properly develop the characters involved.
The events depicted within my novels/novel series, resonate throughout the Ivoryverse and have an impact on every other character in every other work, at least in some significant manner. This is similar to the Marvel Cinematic Universe catchphrase, “It’s all connected.”
For example, the Ivory Blaque novel series is the hub for my other works of fiction within the Ivoryverse, hence the name. As the first novel in the Ivory Blaque series, The God Killers, is a first glimpse into the Ivoryverse, all other stories which follow are in some way connected to the events which occur within that novel series. Although, it should be noted that the stories told in the novels are self contained and can be read individually and independent of other works. However, reading all of my works maximizes how in depth your understanding/following of the Ivoryverse will be.
Also, I DO NOT leave cliffhangers! I use what I term, “Epilogue Bridges.” What the Epilogue Bridges do is give the reader a glimpse into how the novel they’re reading is connected to the next novel in the series and/or other works such as novellas and novelettes. In this regard, the title character(s) have resolved (at least for the most part) the conflicts which they faced within the novel and there is a clear beginning, middle and end to the story. Epilogue Bridges are like the end credit scenes in a Marvel Cinematic Universe movie that sets up the anticipation for next film.

Novellas
As I write stories which delve deeper into the Ivoryverse, yet don’t feature the character Ivory Blaque and are centered around another important character, I choose to write those stories as novellas.
My novellas are almost like annual, digest sized, single issue comic books with self-contained stories about a specific character or group of characters. These works tend to focus on one character, three at most and they usually have one general setting. Now just as I lay down these general “loose” rules, I am just as apt to break them.
Depending upon whether I intend to publish the novellas as a “One & Done” work, which I don’t plan to visit again or expand upon in the future, I will generally follow the one character, one setting focus rule. I use this for stories which fill in gaps between novels or novellas with the maximum word count which serve as part of a series. An example would be where a minor character, or group of characters in a novel resonates with my readers and they inquire about the further exploits of this character(s). I use the novella form to further develop the character(s) and provide stories for my readers using characters who will not recieve their own full length novel series. As all of my stories/books are written by me and I DO NOT utilize ghost writers, I have to limit the characters who receive full length novel series and gauge reader response as the whether I explore a novella series for the characters who don’t quite make the cut.

Novelettes
The third fiction form which I use in my writing is the novelette. This form is like a monthly comic book or weekly TV show if you will. The stories are short glimpses into the lives of certain characters who may have appeared and/or been featured in a novel or novella. Noveletes serve as a vehicle to either fill in gaps between novels and/or novellas, but can also be used as serialized installments which will be collected into a larger body of work and marketed as a volume collection of inter-related stories. Think, seasons of a TV show or collected editions of single issue comics. While these stories may not be chock full of character development, they do offer the reader a visit with a character(s) they would otherwise have to wait a year or longer to get.

This year I plan to set some things into motion which will maximize my writing output, further flesh out my literary universe and exponentially increase my body of work. This not only allows for me to get more stories written and shared with my audience, but it also allows for me to position my properties for the possibility of being developed in other media forms into the future.

Copyright © 2015  John F. Allen. All rights reserved.

AUTHOR RJ SULLIVAN GUEST BLOG POST

In my writer’s journey I was blessed to have met a very talented author, who also became a good friend. I am honored to present to you here in this guest blog, without further ado…RJ Sullivan!

 

Haunting Blue CoverHello, and thanks very much to my good friend the incredibly talented, John F. Allen, for having me on today as part of my guest blog in support of Haunting Blue, my latest release from Seventh Star Press.

The following “bonus scenes” were composed specially for this blog, but can be read as occurring before and after the school scenes in Chapter 2 of Haunting Blue. The scenes are self-contained.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

***

Janice Copley, Dean of Girls, stared at the paperwork on her desk, the official record of the new student seated across s from her, a Ms. Fiona Shaefer. She kept her eyes on the paperwork so she wouldn’t gape at the student herself.

When the girl had entered her office, Copley bit her lip to hold back a shocked noise. The new student looked like an extra in a Clash video.  Bright blue hair, spiked and unkempt, a jeans jacket and half-T. The head and shoulders of some pop singer glared back from the shirt. Did that style come back when I wasn’t looking? Every day, Copley saw something new in these halls that made her feel older and more out of touch.

Copley reviewed the record. Fiona, a senior, had transferred from Broad Ripple High School, a college town near Indianapolis. Well, that explains that. Fiona’s grades, for the most part, were pretty solid, with remarkable marks in English. She planned to major in poetry. No discipline problems. Well, that’s a pleasant surprise.

Having swallowed back the chuckle, she scanned the tentative schedule and scribbled her initials. She tore off the student copy and handed it to the stone-faced student. “Hello, Fiona. I’m always excited to see new faces here in Perrione. I’m a transplant myself. I grew up in Noblesville and took this job five years ago.”

The girl took the page. Copley waited while Fiona’s eyes scanned the paper. After a moment, her face broke into a grin. If not for the wild hair, Copley might have considered her attractive.

“So there’s no getting around it. You’re going to stand out a bit with your…city look, but—”

“Are there any rules against what I’m wearing?”

Not yet, but only because we never needed them before now, Copley thought. Out loud, she said, “Strictly speaking, no. But if anyone—”

“Listen,” said Fiona. “It’s not my choice to be here. My Mom moved us. I’m not in love with the idea, but I’m not going to start trouble. I just want to get through school and get on with the rest of my life.”

Well…that was something. Copley didn’t know what, but it was something. “I simply meant, if anyone causes you any trouble, you’re free to come to me. I mean that, Fiona.”

Copley waited. Fiona flashed another smile that, she had to admit, Copley found charming. “I won’t snitch—”

“Of course not.”

“— but if I have any problems, I’ll come to you.”

“Deal.” Copley reached out, and Fiona returned her handshake warmly. Maybe she’d been concerned over nothing. It seemed to her that the punk façade hid a gentle soul underneath. “Good luck, and welcome to Perionne High.”

****

An hour later:

Copley had just settled behind her desk with a fresh steaming mug of coffee. Movement drew her attention to the window. Oh, no, what? She recognized the gym teacher and two math teachers escorting a student in the direction of her office. Even through the slits of blinds, she could see the distinct blue-haired head of the new student.

She also knew the aftermath of a fight when she saw one. Figures.

She threw open the door and met the group halfway. Specks of blood marred the denim jacket. Dots of red also spotted the pop singer’s face on the half-t. A second look confirmed that the blood wasn’t the punk girl’s.

Copley struggled to keep her voice even, “Just an hour ago you told me I wouldn’t have to worry about you, Ms. Shaefer.”

Jeff–Mr. Fenley, she mentally corrected herself–spoke. “It was Clinty.” With his back to the punk girl, his look if sympathy communicated the rest. Go easy on her.

Clinty was a bully a frequent troublemaker. No two ways about it. She didn’t envy the Dean of Boys right now. The fact that this girl had tangled with Clinty and could walk to the office said something about her toughness as well.

But Clinty wasn’t her problem.

Conley pointed. “My office. Now.”

Head bowed, the punk girl walked, her feet dragging.

“You’ll need this,” said Jeff. He held out a leather strap with metal studs, perfect for fitting over knuckles. This, too, was stained with blood.

Conley took they weapon and followed the student. As soon as she shut the door, she let the strap drop between them on the desk.”What’s this for?”

“It’s an air freshener.”

“Funny. You asked me if your clothes were against the rules. This is.”

“I defended myself.”

I motioned to the stains on her clothes. “You look like you did pretty good.”

“He attacked me. I didn’t provoke him. I have witnesses. Those teachers saw it.”

Fiona folded her arms, focusing on a spot like every student Conley had ever seen who tried really hard to look toug while also trying really hard not to cry.

“I don’t doubt your word, Fiona.” She wrapped her fingers around the phone receiver. “I have to call your mother.”

“No!” Fiona sat up straight, and a tear escaped to fall over her cheek. “Please don’t call her.” Her eyes pleaded their case. “Look, can’t I just….do in class suspension?”

“The weapon ties my hands, Fiona. I have to suspend you from school three days.”

“From school?”

“I’m sorry. Your mother will have to come pick you up.”

“But I didn’t start it. I was defending myself. Please, Ms. Conley.”

Conley paused on the verge of dialing. She had no doubt that Clinty had jumped this girl. Maybe this time, the cowardly principal would expel that bully once and for all. Except Clinty’s father is the school security cop, so not likely.

“Listen, I’ll explain to your mother. I’ll tell her what happened. I’ll do whatever I can to make this easy on you.” She wasn’t sure why she said all this. Why did she feel moved to defend a girl she hardly knew? Because I know Clinty. That’s why.

 “It won’t matter,” Fiona said, wiping her cheeks. “Why do you think /’m here in the first place? My mom hates me. She brought me here to torture me, and no matter what you say, she’ll assume it’s my fault.”

Conley reached out and patter her hand. “I’m sorry, Fiona. I’ll do all I can. But I’m sure it won’t be as bad as you think.”

 

Haunting Blue Tour Badge

INCONJUNCTION SCIENCE FICTION AND FANTASY CONVENTION 2014 IS THIS COMING WEEKEND!!!

Inconjunction Science Fiction and Fantasy Convention 2014 is being held on the east side of Indianapolis, this Fourth of July weekend! It’s an awesome local event celebrating all things within the speculative fiction realms. This year I’m attending as part of the Speculative Fiction Guild (SFG) and we’re hitting the con in a big way.

TGK OFFICIAL COVER ART

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

We’ll have a vendor’s booth with all of our titles, where I’ll be selling and autographing copies of my debut novel,  The God Killers. Convention pricing is $15.

Also at the SFG booth: RJ SullivanMatthew Barron and Eric Garrison. Directly next to us is SFG member Crystal Leflar, who’s running her OWN vendor booth as event marketer for Nightscape Press, so check out their array of titles along with her own books.

The WONDERFUL folks who throw Inconjunction (the Circle of Janus) has the SFG hopping in panels this year and we’re glad for it!

This will be my second appearance at Inconjunction, first time with a novel to sell/promote and I’M VERY EXCITED to attend!

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Here’s my panel itinerary:

Friday, July 4th
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8 pm–Grand Ballroom 7 and 8: Analyzing the History of the Comic Book Movie with: RJ Sullivan and Mike Suess.
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Saturday, July 5
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11 am–Indianapolis Ballroom D: SFG Writer’s Workshop: Point of View: Why it’s Better to Have One with: the SFG: RJ, Eric, Matt, and Crystal, plus Rosemary Laurey

1 pm–Room name coming: Discussion on genre television, title forthcoming: with RJ Sullivan.

3 pm–Indianapolis Ballroom D: Modern Fairy Tales with Eric Garrison, Crystal Leflar and Rosemary Laurey.

4 pm-Grand Ballroom 7-8: Making the Jump to a Series with RJ Sullivan and Mike Shepherd.

5pm-Grand Ballroom 7-8: Comic Book Movies: Live Action and Animation with RJ Sullivan and Mike Suess.

7 pm–Harrison Room: SFG Writer’s Roundtable: Making the most of local settings in genre fiction with The SFG:  RJ, Eric, Matt, and Crystal.

10 pm–Grand Ballroom 7-8: Candlelight Horror Reading with RJ Sullivan, Crystal Leflar and Jeff Seymour.
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Sunday, July 6
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11 am-Indianapolis Ballroom B: This Year’s Comic Book Movies with Mike Suess.
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While you’re there, check out James Barnes of Loconeal Books, local filmmaker Kate Chaplin of Karmic Courage Productions, and check out the show by Five Year Mission.

I HOPE TO SEE YOU THERE!!!

 

 

 

THE GOD KILLERS GETS A FIVE STAR REVIEW! PLEASE JOIN IN ON THE LIVE CHAT GOING ON NOW!!!

Author John F. Allen Interview and Amazon Gift Card Contest LIVE NOW!!!

CLICK HERE: http://bittenbybooks.com/?p=77136

 

Sponsored by BITTEN BY BOOKS

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The God Killers by John F. Allen

CLICK HERE TO READ FULL REVIEW: http://bittenbybooks.com/the-god-killers-by-john-f-allen/

Book Stats:

  • Paperback: 344 pages
  • Publisher: Seventh Star Press, LLC (July 10, 2013)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1937929167
  • ISBN-13: 978-1937929169

Buy a print copy of The God Killers from Amazon by clicking here.
Buy a Kindle copy of The God Killers from Amazon by clicking here.

Books in the God Killers Legacy series in the order they should be read:
The God Killers

 Review Overview
Overall Rating: *****

Summary : The mechanics of The God Killer just work really well. It excellently-paced, Ivory’s voice is strong and certain, and it sets up what I can easily see as being a much wider world with endless potential. The plot is fantastic, including some very effective twists that make this a really fun read. The God Killers is obviously the opening salvo to a promising series, yet it still manages to give resolution to the initial mystery.

TODAY THE GOD KILLERS IS ON SALE FOR JUST $0.99 AND IT GOT ANOTHER 5 STAR REVIEW!!!

HELLO STAUNCH PERUSERS!!!
Come one, come all to the SSP Spring Fling! Seventh Star Press titles will be offered for $0.99! That’s right, folks, just ninety-nine little pennies for the best of the best! Not sure what you need? That’s okay! We have something for everyone!
With the kind assistance of BookBub, BookGorilla, and BookTastik we’re putting the word on the streets. So step right up and… take advantage of this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity!
The schedule for my book(s) are as follows:
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TGK OFFICIAL COVER ARTMarch 16-19: The God Killers (BookGorilla/BookTastik)
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REVISED_SWORD_COVER_1200X840April 7-9:  Thunder on the Battlefield: Sword (BookGorilla/BookTastik)
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HIT THE LINK BELOW FOR A SCHEDULE OF THE OTHER TITLES AND DATES!
https://www.facebook.com/events/463873437075218/?ref_newsfeed_story_type=regular
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Also, here is a view of the BookGorilla ad and a link to the page!
TGK OFFICIAL COVER ARTA former professional art thief is hired to procure a pair of antique pistols and gets much more than she bargained for, in
The God Killers
By John F. Allen
Ivory Blaque’s client turns out to be a shadowy government agent who lets her in on the disturbing secret of her own heritage, and uses it to guilt her into working for him. Must she play along with the forces trying to manipulate her, to clear her name, unlock the secrets of her past, and protect the lives of those closest to her?
Today’s Bargain Price: $0.99

Everyday Price: $3.99
Deal Ends: 3/19/2014
Categories: All Fantasy; All Mystery & Thrillers
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Last, but certainly not least, here is a highlight from and a link to the latest 5 Star Review of The God Killers!!!

“Ivory herself is everything I look for in a heroine. She is independent and smart, she has had her share of heartbreak but still has that attitude that gives her a little bit of edge. I really appreciate that while she is slow to trust and has her demons, she is not totally isolated. There are people in her life she does trust. I absolutely love that she is involved in the art scene, making her a refreshing example of a kick-ass woman. She has a past that informs her actions. I did not even mind that there looks like there could be a possible love triangle in the making, because while men are certainly on her mind, they really are not the most important thing happening to her.
I adore the secondary characters. These people come alive, I want to know more about them and see what is going to happen in the future. I think these characters being so solid helps establish and ground this world. The political structure of the various groups is palpable, even though we only get fairly minimal exposure to each.
The mechanics of The God Killers just work really well. It excellently-paced, Ivory’s voice is strong and certain, and it sets up what I can easily see as being a much wider world with endless potential. The plot is fantastic, including some very effective twists that make this a really fun read. The God Killers is obviously the opening salvo to a promising series, yet it still manages to give resolution to the initial mystery.
John F. Allen has a splendid and solid debut on his hands. If you are a fan of Jane Yellowrock and Mercy Thompson I think you will get a huge kick out of Ivory and The God Killers. I cannot wait to see what is next.”

CLICK BELOW FOR THE FULL REVIEW!
STAY TUNED 4 MORE & REMEMBER TBIYTC!!!

SPOTLIGHT ON AFRICAN AMERICAN AUTHOR DONALD GOINES

DONALD GOINESAfrican American author, Donald Goines was born in Detroit, Michigan on December 15, 1936. He came from a middle-class background, where his parents ran a laundry business. According to stories told to him by his mother—Myrtle Goines—the family was descended from a sexual encounter between Jefferson Davis and a slave. At age 15, Goines lied about his age in order to join the Air Force, where he fought in the Korean War. During his service, Goines developed a heroin addiction which he continued after his being honorably discharged from the military during the mid-1950’s. In order to support his addiction Goines committed multiple crimes, including pimping and theft, and was sent to prison several times. While serving time in Michigan’s Jackson Penitentiary, he began writing. He initially attempted to write westerns, but decided to write urban fiction after reading Iceberg Slim’s autobiography “Pimp: The Story of My Life”.

Goines continued to write novels at a fast-tracked pace to support his drug addictions, with some books taking only a month to complete. His sister Joan Goines Coney later stated that Goines wrote at such an accelerated pace in order to avoid committing more crimes and based many of the characters in his books on people he knew in real life.
In 1974 Goines published Crime Partners, the first book in the Kenyatta series under the pseudonym, “Al C. Clark”. Holloway House’s chief executive Bentley Morriss requested that Goines publish the book under a pseudonym in order to avoid having the sales of Goines’ work suffer due to too many books releasing at once. The book dealt with an anti-hero character named after Jomo Kenyatta that ran a Black Panther-esque organization to clear the ghetto of crime. In his book The Low Road, Eddie B. Allen remarked that the series was a departure from some of Goines’ other works, with the character of Kenyatta symbolizing a sense of liberation for Goines.

“Inner City Hoodlum”, which Goines had finished before his death, was published posthumously in 1975. The story, set in Los Angeles, was about “smack”, money and murder.
On October 21, 1974 Goines and his common-law wife were discovered dead in their Detroit apartment. The police had received an anonymous phone call earlier that evening and responded, discovering Goines in the living room of the apartment and his common-law wife Shirley Sailor’s body in the kitchen. Both Goines and Sailor had sustained multiple gunshot wounds to the chest and head. The identity of the killer or killers is unknown, as is the reason behind the murders. Popular theories involve Goines being murdered due to his basing several of his characters on real life criminals as well as the theory that Goines was killed due to his being in debt over drugs.
Goines was later buried with his mother placing several of his books in his coffin.

DOPEFIEND
PERSONAL NOTE:

The highest selling genre among African Americans is Urban Fiction or Urban Lit. As a fan of Goines’ work, he was the first author in this genre I read. His work(s) have helped to shape and influence many of today’s Urban Fiction authors. It is my shared opinion that Donald Goines’ is the quintessential “Father” of Urban Fiction/Urban Lit.

 

BIBLIIOGRAPHY

Kenyatta series
• Crime Partners (1974) [as Al C. Clark]
• Death List (1974) [as Al C. Clark]
• Kenyatta’s Escape (1974) [as Al C. Clark]
• Kenyatta’s Last Hit (1975) [as Al C. Clark]

STANDALONE NOVELS

Dopefiend (1971)
Whoreson (1972)
Black Gangster (1972)
Street Players (1973)
White Man’s Justice, Black Man’s Grief (1973)
Black Girl Lost (1974)
Eldorado Red (1974)
Swamp Man (1974)
Never Die Alone (1974)
Cry Revenge (1974) [as Al C. Clark]
Daddy Cool (1974)
Inner City Hoodlum (1975)

MUSICAL INFLUENCES
Goines’ writing has had an impact upon several people, with several rappers inserting mentions of Goines and his writing into their lyrics. In his 1996 song “Tradin’ War Stories”, rapper 2Pac writes “Machiavelli was my tutor, Donald Goines my father figure”. Ludacris mentions Goines in his 2006 song “Eyebrows Down”. AZ compares himself to Donald Goines’ work in “Rather Unique,” with the line, “Your mind’s boggled but I’m as deep as Donald Goines’ novels.” Nas also named the song “Black Girl Lost” on his sophomore album It Was Written after the book by Goines. Goines’ books are also utilized in several prison literacy programs and his novel “Dopefiend” has been taught in a Rutgers University class.

FILMS
Some of Goines’ works have been adapted into film. His book “Crime Partners” was turned into a 2001 film starring Ice-T, Snoop Dogg, and Ja Rule, and in 2004 his book “Never Die Alone” was also released as a film starring DMX.

GRAPHIC NOVEL
In 2006, a graphic novel adaptation of the book “Daddy Cool” was released by Holloway House.