January 2018 Raffle

Have you read "The Bruja" on ebook?

Would you like a chance to win a signed softcover copy for your bookshelf, or as a gift for a friend? Now is your chance!

"The Bruja" needs reviews. As a new release (soft release was 1/1/18, and the official release was just 2 weeks ago, 1/14/18,) we have very limited feedback to allow us to move forward on the larger e-book promotional sites that require 5, 10, or even 20 reviews on retailer sites. That's where you come in! Go to your preferred retailer (links to the right!) and leave a review for "The Bruja." Amazon, Barnes & Noble, GooglePlay, Kobo, etc. A *good* review is NOT required to enter! Just your HONEST opinion!

Step 1: Write your review!
Step 2: Comment and be entered to win!
Step 3: WIN! 3 lucky winners will be chosen by 2/9/18!

You can comment on our Facebook ad running right now, or email me directly (michael@molisani.com) to enter for a chance to win. A lot of you have various usernames through retailers and social media, so I need some way to figure out who is who.

Don't already have your copy of "The Bruja" on ebook? Buy it today for $3.99 on Amazon!

Origins of The Bruja

Here's a tale, I thought I might share with you.

Although I've been writing since I was a child, about 10 or 11 years old, I was never serious. It was something I casually did to relax, or to expand on ideas in my head. It was a hobby for which I sometimes dedicated weeks - or I completely ignored.

In 2008 (a decade ago now,) I decided to get serious. I made a decision that I wanted to start storytelling and creating real literature in a meaningful way. I began to tinker with an old desktop computer after I got home from work before my ex-wife returned. I started to create short stories, little vignettes. Some of those I finished, others I did not. I never dared try to publish, I was terrified of how the work would be perceived. Was it a good story? How were my spelling and grammar? Did I edit it enough? Is this something that anyone would care about?

After careful consideration, I began to study the craft of writing. I wanted to know more, so I dove directly into research. By November of that last year, I challenged myself to complete NaNoWriMo. For those unfamiliar, National Novel Writing Month is a web project started in 1999, intended to inspire would-be novelists to get up off their butts and do something. You have 30 days in November to complete 50,000 words. It was hard work, I wasn't used to that kind of marathon writing, 50,000 words was no joke and I ended up cheating. Wait, how do you cheat on NaNoWriMo?

I had created a post-apocalyptic tale about a woman named Maggi. Unable to keep up with my word count, I began to borrow chapters from another book I had started earlier that year, a classic fic-lit tale set in present-day Redwood City, California. I cheated by forcing my future narrative to flashback on a past narrative. The end product was 50,000 pages and was also mostly crap.

Problem was, I liked this lady, Maggi Lopez. I liked her voice, her tone, her character. I liked this woman who defied reason. She's essentially an East L.A. chola who can wield magic. She's our crucible, our wizard, our defining example of wisdom; yet she's rough on the edges, caustic and not the kind of person you might look up to.

Early that following year I began work in earnest on a new book called Seeking the Elephant. (If you'd like to know what that phrase means, go read The Bruja, today!) This story was more fleshed out, Maggi became more complex, the world of the Collapse now had rules and structure. And those old "flashbacks?" They became some of my memories of being a young rivethead in Bay Area. For those of you wondering, "rivetheads" are basically "goths" who read too much history and like to stomp.

With this second incarnation finished, I would end up re-writing the story, start to finish, several more times for the next few years. Somewhere around 2012, however, I took a break and walked away from this world I had created. It wasn't until 2015 that I returned. For the next four years, I ripped the story apart, again and again, and few more times. Seeking the Elephant became The Bruja. Many aspects changed. The Beast became a less important part of the narrative. Mayy's role in Maggi's life expanded. Maggi's bisexuality and her difficulty accepting it was now part of her mythology. I cut and cut, and thinned each and every page until what had once been 200,000 words was now the sleak, lithe 288 pages you hold in your hand.

I have no regrets. The years I spent working on The Bruja didn't make a better book, it made me a better writer. The version of the story available on Amazon is simply the best incarnation I produced. I hope you will enjoy it!

Soundtrack to The Bruja

When I write, I tend to listen to music.

The music that I listen to almost always is intended to set a mood, or tone, for a particular chapter or scene. Sometimes I might just want some background noise to occupy me, but often I attempt to create a cinematic experience. It's my belief that the right song at the right time will create a tacit change in the emotional impact of what I write. I keep a listing of these "soundtracks" when I write, mostly so I can back and utilize the same music when I re-write or edit a certain section or chapter. This creates continuity.

I thought I would share the final soundtrack I used when The Bruja entered its final re-writes in mid-2016. I do not own any of this music, nor do I imply ownership. This is simply a point of reference that I thought you would enjoy. I hope that you will listen to some of these bands, and perhaps become a fan. Scene descriptions kept vague to avoid spoilers.

Aesthetic Perfection - The Ones: Maggi meets Her Lady of the Dry Arms.
The Crooked Jades - Let it Show: Introducing Mayy.
Halsey - New Americana: Maggi and Mindy in pre-Collapse Redwood City.
Alabama 3 - The Power is in the Blood: Maggi goes with Jenn Winslow.
Sabaton - Resist and BiteMaggi and Mayy fight.
Mandolin Orange - Boots of Spanish Leather: Maggi & her teacher in Evergreen.
Jay Ungar & Molly Mason Family Band - Ashokan Farewell: Maggi’s goodbyes.
Postmodern Jukebox - Gangsta's Paradise: Maggi meets Aubree and the Black Dogs.
Ken Hensley - Lady in BlackMaggi, Jenn, and Rizwan leave for the hunt.

Johnny Hollow - Devil’s Night: Maggi meets the Ifrit in Utah.
Robert Johnson - Crossroads Blues: Maggi goes cigarette shopping.
Sirenia - My Mind’s EyeFinal memories of pre-Collapse Bay Area.
The Doors - Roadhouse Blues: Maggi in the Nebraska roadhouse.
Mexicano 777 ft. Ivy Queen - SangreMaggi’s theme, sung in Nebraska.
MSMR - BonesMaggie meets the old titan.
Kamelot - Liar Liar ft. Alissa White-GluzMaggi versus Vix.
Equations of Eternity - Baron SamediMaggi visits Baron Samedi and Marie Holmes.
Modest Mussorgsky - Night On Bald MountainThe Dread Harvester comes.

Kasey Chambers & Shane Nicholson - One More Year: Maggi wakes up with one eye.
The Dreadnoughts - Avalon: Introduction to Stockton and House Owens.
Johnny Cash - Rusty CageMaggi gazes into the pit.
Manufactura - A Woman ScornedMaggi meets the Ifrit finally.
The Prodigy - OmenLava whips and powered armor don’t mix.
The Prodigy - Omen RepriseFinal showdown.
Crooked Jades - Marrow Of A Young Girl: Maggi is offered a sweet deal.
Nightwish - Ghost Love Score: The Beast is born.
Hladowski & Joynes - The Wild Wild Berry: Twenty years after Maggi’s deal.

1/14/18 - BRUJA IS LIVE

As of 1/14/18, both the softcover and e-reader editions of The Bruja are live for purchase from all confirmed retailers.

This is it folks: The Bruja's formal release date!

E-reader versions will run between $3.03 and $3.99 depending on the seller. Softcovers are between $14.99 and $39.99, again, depending on the retailer. To the right-hand side of this blog, you'll see all live links for The Bruja. Get your copy today!

What can you do to help The Bruja gain steam and build into a much larger market? Quite a bit, actually!

1) Order softcover copies from digital storefronts on Amazon (non-Prime,) as well as sellers on AbeBooks & aLibris. These are booksellers who have agreed to stock The Bruja, and have ordered a standing inventory. They have taken a gamble that this book will sell; the better it sells, the more stores will place orders. This supports small business and helps me gain national traction & saturation.

2) Tell your friends. A shared post on Facebook doesn't go very far, but if you have that one friend who's really into dark fantasy or post-apocalyptic fiction, they're the ones you should talk to.

3) As an author, my royalties aren't very strong. I'm not making much money; this isn't about lining my pockets. This about spreading the word. This is about getting The Bruja into the hands of as many curious readers possible. My publisher is fairly small, they don't command a spot on the New York Times "new author list." They can't bully booksellers. They can't get me ad-space in Time. If The Bruja and the world of The Collapse become a known quantity, it will be because of your help!

4) Last, but not least, this is a book. It's meant to be read. You should do exactly that. If you like it or hate it, you should leave reviews on Goodreads, Amazon, or other retailers. You should communicate your experience. Maybe you'll love The Bruja, and maybe you'll hate it, but above all -- don't be silent about it!

That being said -- let the internet whoring begin!

Eye on Mayhem

"Why are you talking about new works when The Bruja is just now hitting bookshelves ?"

I'm a writer. I write. It's what I do.

The artwork here was completed this morning by Polish superstar RinRinDaishi (this her name on DeviantArt if you'd like to look up her other work,) and is a constant reminder of why I love to work with other artists.

Mayhem, the sequel to The Bruja takes place roughly 20 years after the events that unfold around Maggi Lopez. Her adopted daughter, Margaret, takes a key role in the brave new world that Maggi helped create.

You'll learn more about this tale another day. For now, however, I'd love to talk to you about how digital and conventional painters have helped grow and evolve the world that takes place in my imagination.

I'm a very character-driven author. I like to create three-dimensional individuals for you enjoy. In doing this, quite often, I brush over physical details because they're less important to a narrative. Often my details are filled in by artists like RinRinDaishi, NanFe, or Bella or SapFire. These artists not only create their own details but alter mine in ways I had never imagined. A great example of that is Lady Mayhem herself.

In original drafts, Seeking the Elephant (the first title for The Bruja,) Margaret was a very superficial character who showed up briefly to illustrate Maggi's matronly role as a mother & teacher. By the final edits of The Bruja, Margaret had evolved so completely, developed so drastically, that she now warranted a physical description. She was initially a brunette, based on her real-world visual inspiration. However, when RinRinDaishi first brought Lady Mayhem to life, she visualized her as a pale red-head. I was so enamored with this creative license that I absolutely knew Margaret now had red hair. One of the final edits I made to The Bruja before it went to publication was changing this detail so continuity would match the sequel. I recommend every aspiring author work as a visual artist. Don't be so in love with your universe that you won't listen another's vision! Your work can only become richer, more robust, with stylistic influences.

Read It!

As an author, my greatest enemy is apathy.

Reading takes effort, whether it's a traditional book or an e-reader. You need to commit to the experience; mind, and body. You must focus your attention and imagine worlds outside of your own, let the narrative carry you but keep your eyes working and your brain spinning.

Its a lot easier to turn on the TV, unfortunately.

I don't mean to condemn media-driven entertainment. My wife and I are watching the final season of AMC's "Halt & Catch Fire" right now. Its a deeply engaging narrative with well-written tension, and characters who constantly evolve and grow. This isn't a show for stupid people, it's not vapid, or shallow. However, it is easier to watch to than to pick up a novel.

That, my friends, lies the crux of it. I want you to read my book. I have no illusions, I know I won't get rich doing this, and I won't be famous. That isn't my dream. In my wildest fantasies I hope that you order a copy of The Bruja and open it up. I vividly picture your fingers running down the center of the pages, bending the spine with brutal monomania. I hope that you're licking your fingers and dog-earing every page as you consume each word, syllable and sentence until -- breathless -- you land on the final page, swallow hard, and gasp for air at the completion of a well-told story.

In other words - if I had to choose between 10,000 people buying my book and none reading it, versus only 100 purchases, and 100 readers who wanted to slather those pages with their jittering and twitching eyeballs, I would choose the later without the slightest hesitation.

I wrote a book for you. I'd like you to read it. I promise - you'll like it.