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Sunday, April 24, 2016

The Sophistan Children of Earth

"The Sophistan Children of Earth" will be the title of the rewrite of ‪#‎book‬ #1. Here is the book ‪#‎blurb‬ for the new book:
{
Why, Mom and Dad, didn’t you tell me… Even the ants hate my blood as the bullies pound me. The others say I have to be a super-child—a warrior. My love, Amy, will grow up, having someone else’s children—having mine would kill her from the inside; I am immortal. Stefan, shunned by his mom, beaten by criminals—his power is frightening. His older girlfriend protects us from black-op crazies, hostile aliens… everyone wants us dead. Sometimes I wish they would succeed. My young friend, Ty, wields the power of secret aliens; his magic wand is his life’s core. Why does the incorporeal Sophistan1, seventy-three light-years away, care about us? We are the first Children of Sophista to emerge. I hope the future ones know some good games.
}
Since this book is written in a ‪#‎literary‬ ‪#‎fiction‬ style, it delves into each of the characters lives in a lot more detail than the original book. The reader gets a strong feeling of how it feels to be one of these supernatural kids from the kid's point of view.

This book is considerably more #intense and #dark than other books containing children. Other children recognize the how odd these kids are and they torment and bully them. Adults try to make these children compliant to their every wish by trying to crush their free spirits. The governments and rulers of present day Earth recognize that the power these children possess means that they could one day rule Earth and are thus a threat to their power structure. In some cases, they try to kill the children while they are still vulnerable. There are a few adults who wish to help and protect them. Some of them wish to manipulate them for their own reasons while others work covertly, not wanting to become targets themselves. As you can see, this setup can lead to numerous intense situations with children in roles a reader may not be accustomed to seeing them in.

The original book was written along the lines of being traditional genre fiction so that it depends on the actual plot events themselves to provide the tension. The genre fiction was also written with a limit to the intensity and issues so that it wouldn't shock sensitive younger readers. The new rewrite goes wherever it has to and has no such limitations. It is frighteningly realistic and adults are not portrayed universally on the children's side. Some adults unabashedly want the kids dead and as it can develop in a literary novel, it comes through  forcefully and powerfully. As you might imagine, the children have emotional problems and frustrations dealing with all of this. For them they were simply born as children and while they are extremely brilliant, emotionally in many ways, they are still just children wanting to have fun. And yet there are the adults on their side that want these kids to survive and so they and other experienced children of power must toughen these sensitive souls so they can survive the roles they were thrust into not by their choice but simply by fate. The new children must defend and earn their right to survive.

#‎scifi‬ ‪#‎fantasy‬ ‪#‎HarryPotter

Sunday, March 20, 2016

Excerpt from Rewrite of Book #1: Ms. Loveless

Ms. Loveless, school administrator, explains to Jenny, six-year-old Stefan's nanny how they have made Jenny's job easier:

Ms. Loveless points through the glass. “We have made great progress with Stefan. When we started with Stefan, he would squeal and thump books that frustrated him. Eventually he would yell, “Die!” and throw the book into the corner trashcan across the room. If a book was too basic for him, he would do the same thing. Now, we make him write a paper explaining why the book is bad and quietly place the book in the center stack. The left stack are books he has completed successfully. We never let that stack get too big. When Stefan’s imagination starts to run away, I slip a few rejected high school math texts into his reading stack on the right. It’s a cheap way to get him to write since there are lots of them laying around. He is a much more compliant child now.”

Jenny shakes with repressed anger. She realizes that she cannot intervene since she is just the nanny. To do otherwise might blow her cover.

“So you see, Jenny, we have made your job a bit easier by civilizing Stefan. We see this kind of child quite a lot from parents that indulge their children too much, though never before to the degree that Stefan exemplifies. His mother has told me that his father indulges him with science books that are too hard for a child his age in an effort to make Stefan believe he is a genius.”

“Isn’t he?”


“I see he has fooled you too. No, he actually requires an inordinate amount of help compared to what a child is entitled to. We were able to make him compliant when we pointed out how the other children were suffering because he was taking too much of the teacher’s time. Thank goodness he is an overly empathetic child.”


Friday, March 11, 2016

What's It Like to be a #Gifted Fairy

What's it like to be a gifted fairy among humans. Stefan can tell you in the rewrite of book #1.
{
Stefan turns back toward the light and looks up inside the shade. “I wonder how this drab, decrepit little light makes such beautiful colors?” He taps the lamp. “Make it again!” Nothing happens. “Come on. Don’t you talk?” Silence. Stefan feels his shoulder length hair with an expression of puzzlement. He holds a piece of hair near the light and a bright rainbow light shines from it.
He collapses to a sitting position on the bed with a frown and his arms crossed in frustration. “Well if that isn’t like the squirrel stealing my nuts.”

Neshalia coughs. “Let’s not use that expression, Stefan.”


“But the squirrel does. I want to magnetize his brain and stick him to the side of the building for the duration. I never get to finish my bag during recess. It’s weird that they are not afraid of me. They leave all the other children alone. Why me? Everyone always picks on me. If the sun comes out, all the mean boys come to me to pull on my hair. Now I know why. The world hates me, Neshalia. It just hates me. Why do I even exist? Why? I thought I would tell the mean boys some neat stuff about the sun. Maybe that would make them stop. But they just got even meaner. They said I was my mom’s toy and that my father programmed my brain like one of his computers. Why do they say such things?”
}



Monday, March 7, 2016

Excerpt from Book #1 Rewrite Rough Draft



I am rewriting Book #1 to give it more a literary novel feel to it. The more in depth characterization should fill in many of the omitted but implicit facts of the original book #1.  Below is an excerpt from the rough draft of the first chapter. As first lines go, how do you think I did? Did I hook you on the story?


{

Ten-year-old Tyco screams with the desperation of a child being murdered as the sun, rising on Tucson, Arizona, peers into his room like laser beams from a monster's eyes. He sits up in bed as he awakes from the nightmares about the "Lizards" torturing him, his black Mayan hair fanning into a shoulder length glistening sheet with drops of sweat embedded in it. The rubber band holding his hair into a ponytail popped during his nocturnal wrestling with the bed, and now he was sitting shirtless in silence, wearing only black boxers. No one would be coming to comfort him, as this was a nightly occurrence; his parents had grown weary of its lack of resolution. His dark brown eyes, with faint yellow rays radiating out from the pupil, glistened with newly minted tears. The yellow rays command his body to rise and seek the comfort of their kindred—he peers through the blinds at the sunrise. His street ends unceremoniously, without an ending curb, at a piece of undeveloped desert. There are no houses beyond, and Tyco is able to observe the morning rise of his desert animals, seeking their last tidbits before they must hide from the blazing sun. He suddenly feels the expected arms of his mother thread between his arms and chest, coiling around him to give him a firm hug. She kisses him on the cheek and momentarily grips the well the developed muscle of his upper left arm as if to reassure herself of his continued health. She holds the mix of emotions within her quietly, knowing that though her son is the pinnacle of health, his body will never develop further—that his body was effectively frozen in time. She reaches up and rotates the control to where the blinds are angled for the convenience of their common gaze. She looks at his face in the orange glow of the morning light and observes where his gaze terminates. She sees a girl from Tyco's former public school class sitting across the street on her front porch, reading a book; her long flowing blond hair radiates the orange morning light as if it were a comet tail.


While firmly gripping Tyco with her left arm, his mom strokes his hair with her right hand as if she is carefully polishing her prized work of art. "What they told you is true, my son. You can never have her, not even for a friend."

Tyco's body shakes from a muted cry. "She is not my possession or pet. She is wonderful. She is not dumb and crude like the other kids in the class. She knows so many wonderful things. She cares for me, doesn't treat me… doesn't treat me as some stupid…"

Tyco's mom sighs. "You will never be going back to that class again. You know why. By this time next year, your mind will be filled with so many wonders… so many your dad and I won't be able to imagine. Her mind will not be so attractive then and she will be getting ready to enter her teenhood."

Tyco turns to his mom and hugs her tightly, crying aloud. "And I will still be just a boy."

"You will always be mom and dad's cherished boy. But you well know you are not just a boy anymore."  

"I wish I had grown up in the past as a Mayan warrior. Life would be so much simpler."

Tyco's mom coughs. "I know I taught you to be a Mayan warrior. That was my insanity. I don't think it is wise to think about Mayan warriors… certainly not anymore."

Tyco hugs his mom, crying again. "You are scared of me. Mommy please don't be scared of me. I love you so much."

She hugs him tightly and rubs his back. "I will always love you my son. No matter what you may do, I will love you."

A boy's voice outside begins screaming and is answered by the angry screams of a girl. Tyco's body whirls around, staring angrily out the window. An eleven-year-old boy with red hair cut military-style circles on a bicycle in the street in front of the girl’s house. The boy was the class bully and instigator of several group altercations against Tyco.

“You cannot intervene,” says his mom. “He will not harm her. He has never had the guts to face you one on one. He is just a lost boy.”

“He is not the one that is lost.”

“You are not lost. You are loved by a mom and dad. Remember, the others love you too.”

“When they are not thinking of euthanizing me.”

“Don’t say that!” She hugs him tightly from behind again. She picks up his right hand and begins rubbing his palm with her thumb, exploring the texture of a large, raised, green patch of skin formed in the shape of a large sun symbol. 

“You think I’m freak now.”

“No, I was thinking of what you might do to that boy if you got angry.”

Tyco smiles. He mumbles, “Or hungry.”

“What?!”

“Oh mom. You are so gullible sometimes.” He turns around and smiles at her. 
}



Sunday, February 21, 2016

Disillusionment: The Day Syon Went to Oblivion




This is a day that puts the capstone on my disillusionment. This is the day that my Kickstarter for publishing a new and improved bookstore version of Book #5, “The Owl from Oblivion”, dies in total failure. It is one thing to not get enough contributions but quite another when no one shows up despite my best promotional efforts. 

The book series and especially book #5, go to great pains to have a wide variety of different gifted children, accurately portrayed, as characters. I certainly pointed this out to the members of the gifted community I could reach. My response for the most part was dead silence. I mean people couldn't really be bothered to retweet a promo for the Kickstarter. And then there were the readers, the over one-thousand of you who received a free book, a few of whom even received the initial version of Book #5, POD printed in hardcover. 

The lesson I learned is that free books do not seem to attract readers willing to pay, even among the readers that had received books. No one could be bothered to even make a single $15 contribution. Considering I put in over $50,000 into the series and functioned virtually as a book charity, I didn’t think it was too much to ask for a few contributions to keep the series going. 

Sure there are people writing books every few months and pushing them out on Kindle on the cheap. And those books cater to those who want a fast read or something they can read while they wait in line. That’s a fine business if you like making Amazon rich and for most people, keeping yourself in the trench making virtually no money, having to turn books out on a pretty rapid schedule. 

You can’t write really deep and detailed books that way. They can take years to write. You need backing in the form of pretty steady sales to readers who want to spend extended, thoughtful time with a book. So Kindle, as a first platform for that kind of book, just doesn’t work. As a result, I have stopped releasing my newest books in eBook format. I confine them to real printed books.

When I release a book, I usually release it after it has had at least 3 professional editing passes. I knew book #5, “The Owl from Oblivion”, might be controversial, so I released a POD printed version that had only one professional editing pass. I wanted to see how early readers would react to it and get some feedback, which I did. And so, sitting on my hard drive is a better version of book#5. But without the money for the two remaining editing passes, it can go nowhere. Without the initial funding to perform an offset print run of the large book with lots of color illustrations, it can go nowhere. A POD print of the book is too expensive to be sold in bookstores—it really needs to be offset print to be cheap enough. And for the lack of contributions, it will sit there in oblivion, until I figure out how to run a successful crowdsourced campaign. 

Meanwhile, I am writing a new version of book #1 that will be much more in-depth and have a much more detailed characterization. Eventually this will hit the point of needing an editor and it will sit on my disk until it gets one.

Both book #1 and book #5 are being changed to be more acceptable to the mainstream. Why? Like any product, if your target customer base does not support your product, then you alter it until it appeals to a community that does. While my books will always be unusual, there is no longer a reason to make the gifted characters have such extreme differences which, while the gifted community might identify with them, the mainstream might find them too annoying to read. My original goal was to give some comfort to gifted children who experience extremes in emotion and perceptual differences from the mainstream. But if those kids never get to read the book because of the lack of support needed to take it to visibility, there is little point to maintaining those extremities at the expense of mainstream support. 

I have to say, I would have never predicted this situation. But the large publishers did. It’s why any query letter I made 6 or so years ago took an express trip to the trashcan if I mentioned “gifted”, even in the context of an underserved group. They knew that you cannot serve a group, underserved or not, if it leads you to going broke. And yes, I do track such things. I try to make data-driven decisions whenever I can.

So what are the plans? As always, I am writing. To the limited extent I can afford to, I myself will create some new illustrations, especially for the new book #1, whose story is sufficiently different that it will need some new illustrations. I may tinker some with book #5 now that I obviously don’t have any delivery deadlines on it currently. 

Once I have recovered emotionally for this failure, I will be back in the crowdsourcing arena, this time on Indiegogo. That campaign will focus on staged funding that will build the publishing business for my imprint. My idea at this moment is to structure the campaign towards much higher value rewards. For example, I’m thinking I will be able to offer for a $40 contribution the new and improved hardcover book #5 as a reward. That’s a pretty good deal considering a backer gets to make a significant contribution to the campaign and get a 640+ page color, hardcover book that would normally sell for $29.99 in the bookstore. I can do this by breaking the build of the publishing business into smaller steps. The original print books, including the POD version of book #5, will remain on sale on my site. At some point I might want to withdraw the POD version of book #5, “The Owl from Oblivion” if the differences with the future official bookstore version get to be too great.

If you are wondering about free giveaway books, there won’t be any for a long time, if ever. I want all my scant remaining money to go toward the development of the new books. You’ll have to excuse my harsh tone, but this will be a difficult period with limited resources for me to work through. At some point, especially when faced with failure, harsh reality has to be considered and harsh decisions made for there to be a chance of future success. This kind of critical examination has been key to my past tech success. I was foolish to abandon it for writing and publishing. 

Tuesday, January 26, 2016

PRESS RELEASE "The Owl from Oblivion" Kickstarter




Children of Sophista Imprint

Santa Clara, CA 







PRESS RELEASE: IMMEDIATE RELEASE

“The Owl from Oblivion” is the Latest Installment of the Popular, Fantasy Children’s Book Series, The Children of Sophista

Children of Sophista is a newly emerging book imprint poised to disrupt traditional publishing from the inside. This producer of a complex, exciting fantasy/science fiction series has fine-tuned its brand of ultra-realistic fiction with an underlying social message to capture the attention of a niche following of devoted teen and adult readers. Following the test marketing of the first four books and an early developmental version of the fifth book, author Rusty Biesele is preparing to release a bookstore version of the fifth book entitled “The Owl from Oblivion,” which incorporates much of the feedback from hundreds of readers and industry leading editing professionals. This latest installment examines how teens with telepathic and telekinetic powers come to grips with their enhanced identities as well as explores the dark side of intellectual teens and their caretakers. The new heights of intensity in this latest novel are guaranteed to bring tears of empathy to the most cynical teen as well as spurring adults to greater activism. 

Basing his stories in a universe in which humanity has been genetically modified throughout its existence by aliens, Rusty has crafted compelling and profoundly human characters that young readers will readily identify with. Unlike other superhero stories, these intriguing books are thoroughly grounded in personal and real storytelling.  Often told from the perspective of the young protagonists, the Children of Sophista books take on challenging issues like abusive parents and fear of persecution.  Rusty integrates the many supernatural concepts into the organic narrative in a manner that heightens the suspense without diminishing the realism of human interactions.

“The Owl from Oblivion” is a powerful and moving literary creation, but due to the many challenges of the current publishing environment, Rusty is asking his fans to assist him in getting the final editing passes completed, scaling up of the manufacturing of the book, and construction of a unique book distribution system to booksellers nationwide.  Although he has spent thousands of his own dollars in creating this 640 page novel with 27 illustrations, there are enormous costs in raising the visibility of the imprint and scaling up the manufacturing so that sustainable profits can be achieved on slim margins.  This has forced him to ask for financial help to reach his Kickstarter project goal of $85,516.  


In return for your generous support, you can receive valuable perks like posters, paperback versions of Children of Sophista books, hardcover editions, signed memorabilia, T-shirts, handwritten letter of appreciation from the author, or acknowledgement on the Contributors’ or Patrons’ Page of the “The Owl from Oblivion.” 

To learn more aboutThe Owl from Oblivionor to make a donation to this worthy project, please visit https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/childrenofsophista/the-owl-from-oblivion?blog
.