Author Interview: Mark Aberdeen

Mark is an old friend of mine. We worked a particular renaissance faire together for a few years before life sent us in different directions, but in recent years we reconnected via Facebook. Mark recently released his debut novel, Dex Territory, and he’s here to tell you about it (and you can click on the image to jump over to Amazon and buy it for the Kindle, or jump to the publisher link below, if it sounds like your kind of book).

Time to introduce yourself to readers. Who are you?

My name is Mark Aberdeen, I’m originally from Connecticut, but have kicked around the planet a fair bit. I currently live in Georgia with my wife and a couple of rescue dogs. I work in telecommunications, but have had a long and varied employment in everything from retail clerk to submarine mechanic to cook to highly unpaid renaissance faire actor. I took up writing as a sideline and frankly as an escape from the technical field. It was nice to exercise the creative field. When you do this an engineer, things can go horribly wrong.

Your book is Dex Territory. What’s it about?

Dex Territory is the first of what I hope is going to be a long series. It exists as a standalone, but there are a lot of threads I can pull. The story centers on a police detective, Rick O’Shea, and he tracking a serial killer in a world where super powers exist. While during the investigation, a full on street battle occurs in the city, a robbery gone wrong. Rick and his partner notice that the supers, called Dexes (short for spandex), have significantly grown in number and something is strange with the known Dexes. This leads to a web of lies and betrayal and Rick is tasked to find who, or what, is behind the violence, what they hope to gain and not get killed while do so.

Who is your target audience? Who do you think would like this story?

I hope this book appeals to people who like urban fantasy, science fiction genre. The story also contains mysteries with hard-boiled characters that have difficulties with relationships. I wrote it because I wondered how a normal police detective would be able to live in such a world where anything is possible. It’s a very adult book with sex and violence and it’s a crazy over-the-top world, but it feels grounded.

Where did this idea come from?

The idea spawned from a gaming session back in early 90’s. My gaming group got into playing GURPS and we took a break from fantasy and did a campaign with supers. It was the most fun any of us had ever had gaming. We used our home as the backdrop and that idea stuck. The characters are different, the world is different, but the seed of everything came from a handful of weekends, alcohol, great friends and too much time.

And what about the title? What’s the story behind that?

Dex is short for spandex, a slang term used in the book for people with superpowers. Dex Territory refers to a website used in the book for an online game similar to a fantasy football league using Dexes.

What was behind your decision to go with a small press? Did you consider trying to find a larger publisher or self-publishing?

I started writing the book in 2004 and finished it in 2008. From ’08 until ’12 I’d been rejected by every mainstream publisher who dealt with any kind of genre fiction. The stack of rejection letters props up a table. I considered self-publishing, but honestly, I wanted validation. I wanted someone to tell me this was good enough. I gave it up. I wrote a little for a magazine and I was going on with my life. A friend mentioned me to an editor at a small press. He was looking for new talent. I got in touch with Terry Wright and pitched him my story and he invited me to submit it. He had a contract in my hands a week later. Terry got a hold of it and tore it apart. A lot of excessive exposition, clunky parts, some inconsistencies and we trimmed the hell out of it and turned a hundred thousand words into sixty five thousand and had a really solid story. I reworked a few things and I’m very proud of it.

What’s your next project?

I’ve started the sequel. I hope to put several of these out. I have some good strong characters and as long as the voices speak to me I’ll continue to write what they say.

Where can readers buy your book?

Readers can find my book at www.TWBPress.com. They can find me on Amazon in both e-book and trade paperback. I also offer signed copies on my blog at http://markaberdeen.blogspot.com  I have instructions and a checkout button on the blog. It’s the slowest way to put a copy in a reader’s hands, I warn.

Where can readers find you online?

www.twbpress.com

www.twbpress.com/authormarkaberdeen

www.amazon.com/author/markaberdeen

www.twitter.com/Mark_Aberdeen

www.facebook.com/mark.aberdeen

Drop by say hello. Facebook is my social media of choice. Friend me.

Adventures At The OtherWhere Market

I spent part of the weekend in Lowell, MA participating in the OtherWhere Market, an alternative craft fair making its debut in mill undergoing a cool renovation process that makes it look like Diagon Alley. No kidding.

Me with my faithful bulldog assistant, Beatrix.

Me with my faithful bulldog assistant, Beatrix.

I got to share space with my wife Veronica (of Storied Threads), and both of us went into the show with low expectations. We’ve learned that first-year events are big crap shoots and bomb as often as they succeed, but friends of ours were organizing the market, and they were very aggressive in getting the word out.

I’m happy to say that it was a successful event, in general and for both my wife and I. I sold a few books and, perhaps more importantly, they are now available in ARTsylum — my first retail outlet for my series! Woo! That gave me some nice incentive as I headed into the revision process on Action Figures – Issue Four: Cruel Summer.

I also got a cool early Christmas present from my friend Lauren, who took my official headshot photo, in the form of my first piece of Action Figures fan art! Well, sort of…AF is more implied than explicit, but I think pretty much anyone is going to play second fiddle to Godzilla…

Art by Lauren Dubois.

Art by Lauren Dubois.

Cruel Summer – Draft One Is Done!

After four months of work, I’m happy to report that draft one of Action Figures – Issue Four: Cruel Summer is done!

The first draft stand at approximately 93,600 words, which brings the length in slightly under the word court for Action Figures – Issue One: Secret Origins, the longest book in the series.

This was a tough story to get through at points because it’s emotionally much weightier than any of the first three books. Draft two will be about tightening up the text, fixing errors, and shoring up the weak spots, as usual, but it’ll also involve trying to find the right tone. I don’t want to sacrifice the series’ sense of fun, so I need to find opportunities to lighten to mood without undermining the story I’m trying to tell.

I know: writer stuff, blah blah blah…

So, what is Cruel Summer about? Here’s the official blurb…

His name is uttered in terrified whispers. He’s the bad guy the good guys fear.

He is the King of Pain, and he’s come to Kingsport to put another hero in the ground.

The Hero Squad faces their deadliest foe yet, a mysterious killer that hunts within the superhuman community, leaving dead bodies and broken minds in his wake. The Squad is next on his hit list, and the King of Pain will push the young heroes to their absolute limit — and one of them might not survive the experience.

Get ready for the darkest chapter in the Action Figures saga as the Hero Squad prepares for the greatest fight of their lives — a fight in which there are no winners…only survivors.

I’ll be tackling draft two soon enough — this Sunday, in fact, as soon as I get through my appearance at the OtherWhere Market in Lowell, MA this Saturday (hint hint).

A Big Box Of Books!

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My books for next weekend’s OtherWhere Market arrived yesterday. I’m hopeful that I won’t have to lug any of them back home. Come on by if you’re going to be in the Lowell, MA area, or of know anyone who might be interested in an alternative crafters marketplace, chock full o’ unique merchandise, let them know!

Cruel Summer – Progress Report (And Other Tidbits)

Things are chugging along on Action Figures – Issue Four: Cruel Summer!

As things stand, book four is shaping up to be on-par with Action Figures – Issue One: Secret Origins in terms of length. Book one came in at 95,500 words, and book four is hovering in the 83,000 word neighborhood, and I still have quite a ways to go. It’s also going to be a significantly darker story than the first three books, which prompted one of my test readers to remark that book four will be my Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire. I’ll take that comparison, gladly!

To give you a little taste of what’s to come, here’s the official back cover text for book four, which I sent off this week to my trusty cover artist Patricia Lupien, along with my notes for the back cover artwork concept.

His name is uttered in terrified whispers. He’s the bad guy the good guys fear.

He is the King of Pain, and he’s come to Kingsport to put another hero in the ground.

The Hero Squad faces their deadliest foe yet, a mysterious killer that hunts within the superhuman community, leaving dead bodies and broken minds in his wake. The Squad is next on his hit list, and the King of Pain will push the young heroes to their absolute limit — and one of them might not survive the experience.

Get ready for the darkest chapter in the Action Figures saga as the Hero Squad prepares for the greatest fight of their lives — a fight in which there are no winners…only survivors.

My goal is to get draft one done by mid-December, polish off draft two by the end of the year, and get it out to my test-readers at the start of 2015 so I can get this sucker into readers’ hot little hands by March.

Not that I’m going to get much rest while my test-readers are doing their thing, because I already have half of book five, subtitled Team-Ups, plotted in my head, and then it’s on to book six, which will feature another major turning point for the Hero Squad.

On another note, I’m preparing for my second book-signing event, as part of the upcoming OtherWhere Market in Lowell, MA. I’ll be there alongside my wife, Veronica of Storied Threads, who prepared this tantalizing image for her own Facebook page. Enjoy!

Otherwhere

Pasts Imperfect – On Sale!

The holiday shopping season has begun!

Hopefully you’re all avoiding the madness of Black Friday and are staying home to spend time with your loved ones (crazy idea, I know), but obviously, you need to grab some stuff for gift-giving purposes. Let me help you out with that.

Starting tomorrow (Small Business Saturday) and running through Cyber-Monday, you’ll be able to grab the Kindle edition of Action Figures – Issue Three: Pasts Imperfect for just 99 cents! Click on the image below and you’ll be taken to Amazon.com, where you can buy the e-book and set it for auto-delivery for Christmas (or Hanukkah or Kwanzaa or Festivus or the Feast of Maximum Occupancy, whichever you observe).

What’s that? Your recipient hasn’t read the first two books? Easy! Get them too! At just $2.99 each, you can give the gift of three full-length novels for less than $10!

Super MegaFest!

Yesterday my wife wrapped up her last big show of the year, Super MegaFest. It was a decent show for her, and as usual, I spent my time there cosplayer watching. Here are my favorites…

 

My favorite of the con. The back of the sign reads, "Han Shot First."

My favorite of the con. The back of the sign reads, “Han Shot First.”

The first Gleek cosplay I've ever seen.

The first Gleek cosplay I’ve ever seen.

Doom loves conventions almost as much as Doom loves referring to Doom in the third person.

Doom loves conventions almost as much as Doom loves referring to Doom in the third person.

My wife and our friend Jillian of Emrys Finery.

My wife and our friend Jillian of Emrys Finery.

One of two outfits modeled by Ebony Amber - Living Art Doll. Please note that she is, ahem, "packing." It's all about the details.

One of two outfits modeled by Ebony Amber – Living Art Doll. Please note that she is, ahem, “packing.” It’s all about the details.

Here's Ebony Amber's other ensemble, the Wizard of Oz -- the entire story, not the character.

Here’s Ebony Amber’s other ensemble, the Wizard of Oz — the entire story, not the character.

Steampunk Batman with a kick-ass wing rig.

Steampunk Batman with a kick-ass wing rig.

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