Thursday, January 24, 2008

Meet Mike Roop

Mike grew up around Cleveland, Ohio, the youngest of 5 kids. In 1996 he met his wife-to-be, Dee online; they married and relocated to southern Missouri. Mike and Dee have 3 children (Samantha and twins—Pat and Perry) from her previous marriage, and now have 4 grandchildren. They have 2 children together, Aaron and Gavin. Mike and his family are active members of their local church.

Growing up, his parents encouraged and fostered creativity; he took to drawing and painting, singing and acting, reading and writing. Mike's imagination drew him into not only writing and creating characters in print by prose and visually by illustration, but expanded when he discovered Role-Playing Games. RPGs, a widely misunderstood hobby, managed to combine numerous elements of creativity and boundless imagination.

From 1993 to 1996, Mike was heavily involved in the Gaming Industry by way of involvement with his FLGS - Friendly Local Gaming Shop. He worked with a Veteran Gamer named Frank Koch who Mike still reveres as a mentor. They worked at, and organized, conventions, as well as ran Frank's store, Renegade Gaming Supply, which briefly co-opted space with a new Comic Book store, one of Mike's other loves. But, as all good things must come to an end, Mike's partnership with Frank sadly dissolved when Mike relocated over 800 miles away to southern Missouri.

In 2004 Mike met an online kindred spirit in the way of Brent Wisdom, a young pastor in California who also shared a love of RPGs. Brent had already created an RPG called Spiritual Warfare, a medieval fantasy game, which also had a Wild-West supplement for bringing the concept into the six-shooter era. Mike aided Brent with some editing and proofreading and then created a Modern Era supplement called Last Days. During 2005, Mike fell on some hard times - he lost his job and his internet connection - so Brent had to finish up and release the supplement on his own in 2006.

One of Mike's sisters back in Ohio introduced him to, a Christian social networking site. Almost immediately, Mike met Frank Creed and the two hit it off. Mike signed up to develop a Role Playing Game based on Frank's mythos cultivated in Flashpoint: Book One of The Underground.

Mike recently finished creating the Flashpoint RPG, based on Frank Creed's novel of the same name. He aspires to continue creating content for the game in the way of supplements based on the expected sequels, as well as create games for other Lost-Genre books as they become available. He also desires to complete a series of children's adventure books that he has been developing for his kids and grandkids.

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Preditors & Editors Poll

Preditors and Editors 2007 Readers’ Poll

The polls have closed and here are a few early results. See if you think there’s a demand for Christian sci-fi, fantasy and horror. Remember, Preditors and Edditors is not a Christian site, and the following people competed by straight-genre.

ANTHOLOGIES (out of about 140 entries):
Infinite Space, Infinite God: 3rd
Light at the Edge of Darkness 8th

ARTIST: (~75)
E.J. Mickels II: 8th
Rachel Marks: 12th

ARTWORK: (~40)
Jade, Rachel Marks: 15th

AUTHOR (~345)
Frank Creed: 19th
Jane Lebak: 35th

Ray-Gun Revival: 16th
Sword Review: 20th
Dragons, Knights, and Angels: 21st
Fear & Trembling: 23rd
Resident Aliens: 24th

NOVEL SCI-FI (~150):
Flashpoint: Book One of the Underground, Frank Creed: 13th
Windfollower, Carole Macdonnell: 25th

A Frank Review: 25th

I won’t break down these Double-Edged Publishing authors by spec-fic sub-genre, but congrats to Jane Lebak, Mike Lynch, T.M. Hunter, Scott M. Sandridge, S.T. Forstner, A.M. Stickel, Michael Merriam, Casey Chan, Steve Poling, David Misialowski, and Richard S. Levine.

ZINE ART (~30)
E.J. Mickels II: 2nd
Ehsan S. Azzuz: 9th
Alex Ruiz: 11th
Mohd Haris Amran: 11th
Daniel Chua Kok Jun: 12th

Cook, King and, Glenn Ray-Gun Revival Overlords: 16th
Bill Snodgrass: 17th

His will be done,

The UNDERGROUND Fiction Contest


Seattle-Portland Metroplex Terrorist Webwire DEC.31,2036—Panic has taken hold of Seattle residents as they flee the city in response to the FBT’s terrorist alert early this morning. The Security Advisory System isused a RED ALERT at 4:20am (EST) after a Peacekeeper sting operation uncovered what appeared to be plans to detonate an undisclosed type of weapon in the vicinity of the Seattle Space Needle.

An as yet unconfirmed report from a source within the FBT states that the BoC (Body of Christ) terrorist organization is believed to be behind this latest terrorist threat . . .

The above "news headline" is fictional of course! It is the premise for the December issue of The UNDERGROUND newsletter's writing contest. And, there are just 2 weeks left before the fiction contest submissions close.

For more details, check the most recent edition of The UNDERGROUND newsletter.
On another note, you can help us out here at The Writers Cafe Press Authors blog by clicking on the Technorati Profile link below:
Technorati Profile
Thank you!
Can't wait to read the fiction contest entries!

Saturday, January 12, 2008

Who Do They Think They Are?

Our friend Sue Dent has been ambushed by one of the big boys: Tommy Nelson.

She's done all the work . . . and they've taken the credit.

The Tennessean ran an article Friday about Eric Wilson. A nice article about a great guy who also happens to be a great author. Eric has a new book coming out that has vampires in it. Except, the publisher I assume, won't let him use the word vampire.

HOWEVER, read this statement from his publicist Katie Shroder: "This is the type of thing that's not out there yet, but we think it's something the market is asking for," she said of Wilson's Jerusalem Undead trilogy.

If Ms Shroder means the first book with vampires in it where the vampires aren't called vampires to accommodate the sensibilities of the CBA demographic, maybe she is right.

If Ms Shroder means the first book with an undead story set in Jerusalem, maybe she is right.

If Ms Shroder means the first book with vampires who can't be called vampires published by a large Evangelical Christian Publishers Association house, she is probably right.

BUT, if she means the first Christian vampire novel marketed to Christians, her statement is blatantly untrue and misleading.

Sue Dent's vampire/ werewolf novel was first published in 2005 and then republished early 2006. She has worked extremely hard to market this book and has received a lot of attention from secular and Christian audiences, including being shortlisted for a Bram Stoker award and being named Book of the Month at the ACFW.

For a large publisher, or spokesperson of that large publisher to suggest that Mr. Wilson's upcoming novel is the first and make it a promotional point is disingenuous at worst and very poor research at best.

Ms Dent has always said that this day would come . . . when Thomas Nelson would take credit for all that she has worked so hard for . . . Ms Dent has opened the doors for TN and not the other way around.

You can't tell me that Tommy Nelson doesn't know about Never Ceese and Sue Dent. In fact, I know they are very much aware of the novel. So why would they make such a patently false statement? Oh yes, I know . . . their big marketing machine. To sell books. To get big press coverage.

Quite quite unchristianly if you ask me.

(Katie Shroder is the publicist for the fiction division of Thomas Nelson.)

Tuesday, January 8, 2008

Controversy: Author self-promotion

Part I

I've broken this down into a couple of parts so that the post isn't overly long . . .

Promotion is a reality of the Christian publishing industry.

Most authors detest this part of the job.

Most publishers wish they didn't have to spend so much money on marketing.

But we don't always get what we want!

Publishers take risks when putting out a new title. All the background work before a book appears in print on the shelves of your local store or on takes months -- and that doesn't even include the author's time writing the book.

Putting books on shelves, whether virtual or pine, costs a lot of money. A lot. 1000s and 1000s. Do publishers and authors not have the right to recover some of that expenditure? Not to discount divine intervention, there is only one way to recoup the cost -- marketing.

Book Awards/ Polls

(The quality and reliability of book awards and polls is a subject of much debate . . . and for discussion in Part II)

There have been many solicitations for votes on SL, on author blogs, in email, on mail groups over the past 7 days. It's that time of year again!

It is good to see authors being brave enough to come out of their writing dens and promote. People do not realize how difficult a task that is for most novelists. It is a necessary part of the job that I, for one, detest. But, it is also my responsibility to self-promote. I created the Media Room for Literary Art on Shoutlife and founded the Lost Genre Guild to help authors with this aspect of their job.

Is there a problem with authors informing their "fans" that their novel or article or blog or . . . has been nominated for an award or in a poll? and, that it is something that they can vote on to show support for a favorite book or author or indicate that they enjoyed a well-written article or well-designed book cover?

I don't think so. I've never once assumed that authors' posts are saying "vote for me even if you haven't a clue about my book or website or article or writing in general; vote for me 'cuz I am lots of fun or because I have a cute cat in my author pic or because I am very attractive or because I recite Scripture in my SL posts."

On my website there is a meter installed that tells my publisher daily hits, pages viewed, referring sites, etc. Interestingly, over the past 7 days my hits have spiked, big time. The majority of these hits come from one referring site: the Preditors and Editors poll. No one can read my entire book on the site, but they can read the article and view the book cover and read the short stories and my review blog. This indicates to me that voters are more honest than some have given credit.

The P&E poll is well-established. It is meaningful despite what a few critics contend. Unlike some other polls/ awards, it is a two-step process with email address verification. Unlike some others, the winners votes are carefully scrutinized. It is no more open to corruption than awards in the Christian publishing industry are open to subjectivity and bias.

In the end, it is up to you. Vote. Don't vote.

As for those who say marketing is "unChristian" -- I'd like to see the chapter and verse. Remember, marketing takes on all sorts of faces. The interview with the author of your favorite book is as much marketing as is a blog announcing to you that the same author is up for an award or in a poll that you can support.

Sunday, January 6, 2008

Shoutlife Featured Author

Well, lookie here, did you see who is a Shoutlife Featured Author . . . for the third time!

Congratulations Sue Dent.

Now, when is Forever Richard coming out? I mean, for real?