THE JAMES MASON COMMUNITY BOOK CLUB discussion

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Authors and Their Books > AUTHOR FORUM - MARC VUN KANNON

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Rick-Founder JM CM BOOK CLUB  | 7274 comments Mod
I was born in Bethpage, Long Island. After surviving my teen age years, I entered Hofstra University. Five years later, I exited with a BA in philosophy and a wife. I still have both, but the wife is more useful.
After dabbling in fulfilling pursuits such as stock boy, gas station attendant, and fire extinguisher service technician, I found my spiritual home as a Tier One software support engineer for Bottomline Technologies. Still married to that wife, too.
For diversion, along the way, I almost accumulated a PhD in philosophy and have my second BA in Computer Science. My first story attacked me in the dead of night at grad school, and won't let me go until I've finished it, but since it grows as I tell it, that may be a while. I feel that my real job is being a father to my three children, husband to my wife, and author to my books.
I, and they, now reside in Wading River, Long Island, New York.

Novels

The Flame in the Bowl: Unbinding the Stone
Author: Marc Vun Kannon
Publisher: Echelon Press
ISBN: 1590801407
Reading Level: Adult

All Tarkas wanted was to live the life he'd made for himself, get married, have children, as generations of his fathers had done before him since the beginning of time. The Gods had other plans, and Tarkas couldn't say no, even had they bothered to ask him. Between one footstep and the next they alter his life irrevocably, and he finds himself plunged headlong into a new world and life, full of magic, mayhem, monsters, and mystery.
For a new prophecy has pitted the forces of Nature against themselves, and the Gods are helpless. But when even the Gods' gifts have thorns, their need exacts a price that only a Hero would ever dare to pay. Only a Hero can act, and Tarkas has been chosen to do the things that must be done, with the fate of two Realms in the balance.

The Flame in the Bowl: A Warrior Made
Author: Marc Vun Kannon
Publisher: Echelon Press
ISBN: 1590804341
Reading Level: Adult

Tarkas has devoted his life to serving the gods, doing what must be done at a cost only Heroes dare pay. He has also served his adoptive clan, the NarDemlas, as Brother and Second to the clan leader, in preparation for the day a son comes into majority.
That day has come and the delicate balance Tarkas has maintained for more than twenty years is failing, even as it comes to an end. Chaos ensues when forces from his past erupt in the middle of a clan ritual, stealing away both Tarkas and the Heir.
In an instant, Tarkas is catapulted into the greatest mission he has ever known. As faceless enemies conspire in unspeakable ways to destroy all those Tarkas holds dear, he can only hope to buy their salvation with his life.

Short Stories

Boys Will Be Boys
Author: Marc Vun Kannon
Publisher: Echelon Press
Reading Level: Adult

In the town of Stones-Throw, the biggest outdoor sport was watching the shipwreck races. The biggest indoor sports were drinking, brawling, and jacking. Longshanks McGonigle wanted a drink. The denizens of the Port & Swill wanted a fight. And the ladies on the second floor wanted his...password?

Chasing His Own Tale
Author: Marc Vun Kannon
Publisher: Echelon Press
Reading Level: Adult

His Muse is on strike...
His Hero hates his lines...
His Villain has sworn revenge...
The Editors are in revolt...
What's an Author to do?

Off the Map
Author: Marc Vun Kannon
Publisher: Echelon Press
Reading Level: Adult

Sandi von Pier: wife, mother, caregiver. Recent abductee from her own universe, unwilling participant in an alien media event. She'd call it 'reality TV', except for the monsters. She'd think it was 'Interdimensional Survivor', except survival doesn't appear to be on the program. She'd rather not, but they'll throw her to the dragons if she refuses to play!

Anthologized

'Bite Deep' in Heat of the Moment
Author: Marc Vun Kannon
Publisher: Echelon Press
Reading Level: Adult

Christmas among the vampires!

'Ex Libris' in Triangulations: Taking Flight
Author: Marc Vun Kannon
Publisher: PARSEC Ink
Reading Level: Adult
Librarians- the first line of defense!

Marc Vun Kannon's "Off the Map"
Reality TV...without the reality!



http://www.marcvunkannon.com
Fantasy at its most magical. Sit and read a spell!
Please click below to read the message on Goodreads:

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Enjoy!




message 2: by Rick-Founder JM CM BOOK CLUB (last edited Feb 21, 2010 12:22PM) (new)

Rick-Founder JM CM BOOK CLUB  | 7274 comments Mod
Marc- your first idea for a novel seemed to come so quickly- how long did it take you to write it- and did you outline? or let story write itself?


message 3: by Marc (new)

Marc (authorguy) | 50 comments The first book, Unbinding the Stone, took me around 8 years to write. The first version was a) terrible, and b) lost forever in a computer crash. I rewrote based on typewritten sheets of the first half, which is how I know it was terrible. I had no idea how to write a story of any length back then. I've never taken a writing course and I belonged to no groups. So I just wrote the sort of story I wanted to read, based mainly on my reading of other fantasy novels, and the fact that I paid attention in English class.

I sat down one day and put down the first sentence--which has never changed--and then sat there, saying "What do I do now?" I had no outline, just an image or two from some dreams I'd had that I wanted to work towards, but I didn't know how to get there.

One thing I did know was that I despised descriptive prose, and didn't want to write any. I invented a technique of describing the world as it was perceived by a character, making even the descriptive stuff into a dynamic process.

I don't outline. I follow the story logic to try to figure out what a character will do in a situation and go where it leads me. Many's the time I've found myself in places I didn't expect, with people I didn't know existed when I started the story. This is my preferred technique, although 'Off the Map' was outlined (sort of) since it was based on a real woman and I got lots of ideas from the facts of her life.



Rick-Founder JM CM BOOK CLUB  | 7274 comments Mod
I like your technique- letting the story and characters write the story- less stilted


message 5: by Marc (new)

Marc (authorguy) | 50 comments It makes it very difficult to describe them, though. My latest novel has no central plot, it was created mainly as a variety of characters in a sealed environment. The original plot idea quickly went away--I have no skill at mystery, I guess--and what was a horror-mystery became a paranormal futuristic with touches of romance, and it's the romance that holds the story together. But the plot is a bunch of threads from a bunch of different characters that are often working at cross purposes.

I've read many fantasy novels where it looked like the author was either rolling dice as he composed his story, so random are some of the events, or else was using some sort of outline and following it step by step. I kept these books by me as I was writing, as reminders of what NOT to do.


message 6: by Gary F (new)

Gary F | 170 comments Hi Marc,

Welcome to the forum! How did you come up with the name Tarkas for your main character? Does the name have a symbolic meaning?


message 7: by Marc (new)

Marc (authorguy) | 50 comments I honestly don't know. There are the usual suspects: My own name in its romanized form, Marcus, or perhaps Tars Tarkas of Thark. But all I know about it is that the first sentence of the book ("Tarkas paused...") appeared in my head one day, and that's where I started.


Rick-Founder JM CM BOOK CLUB  | 7274 comments Mod
Marc
very interesting that the title just came to you
is this the first time?


Rick-Founder JM CM BOOK CLUB  | 7274 comments Mod
Longshanks McGonigle - now thats a name worthy of George MacDonald Fraser!! How do you come up with character names??


message 10: by Marc (last edited Feb 22, 2010 06:41PM) (new)

Marc (authorguy) | 50 comments very interesting that the title just came to you
is this the first time?


The original title was The Flame in the Bowl, which was as bad as the original version of the story. As I was rewriting it, the image of a bound stone made its appearance. I had been thinking of a different title and that one seemed to work. Another possibility I had was Hero Ascendant but that seemed too ordinary. I prefer to be as offbeat as I can.

The title for Warrior was derived from the old phrase, 'A warrior born', which Tarkas most definitely was not. I've seen references to a lot of other books with the same name, though. Guess all those other authors aren't as original as me. ;)

Off the Map was originally Here Be Dragons, while the semi-sequel Ex Libris was originally The Children's Room. By 'originally' I mean 'for about 5 seconds until I came up with something better'.


message 11: by Marc (new)

Marc (authorguy) | 50 comments Rick wrote: "Longshanks McGonigle - now thats a name worthy of George MacDonald Fraser!! How do you come up with character names??"

Depends on whether I'm trying to be silly or not. My short stories tend to be silly, since it's easier to draw a character quickly, or take advantage of caricatures and stereotypes. In 'Boys Will Be Boys' I was deliberately aiming for the pirate image, and that's the name that came to mind. Lucky Eddie, of course, is a classic joke.

For my novels I usually have some sort of naming system. Tarkas' parents were Tarmel and Tarsis, and his whole name references his home village as well: Tarkas tel Kwinarish. In the new realm he finds himself in, they add a clan designation, and they call him Demlas Tarkas.

I don't know where the name of Joseph marquand, the hero of my unpublished werewolf adventure on the Moon, came from. I just keep looking around for names until I find one that sounds right for the character in my head. They know what they want.


message 12: by Gary F (new)

Gary F | 170 comments Marc,

What do you find easier to plot out, a novel or a short story and why?


message 13: by Marc (new)

Marc (authorguy) | 50 comments I don't outline or plot the story beforehand. I start with the characters and an event or two and go from there. I often will have an idea where I want the story to go, but it usually changes by the time I get there. With short stories plotting is easier since there is less 'distance' between here and there to let more complications creep in. On the other hand, with the kind of space constraints short stories operate under, trying to get the story whole and less than X number of words can be very challenging. My stories grow as I tell them, and something that started out fitting very comfortably in a short story may become too large as it progresses.


Rick-Founder JM CM BOOK CLUB  | 7274 comments Mod
Marc wrote: "Rick wrote: "Longshanks McGonigle - now thats a name worthy of George MacDonald Fraser!! How do you come up with character names??"

Depends on whether I'm trying to be silly or not. My short st..."


perhaps the name came from John P. Marquand - the writer of The Late George Apley?


message 15: by Marc (new)

Marc (authorguy) | 50 comments I'm afraid not. Until I started my business as a bookseller, my reading was almost entirely fantasy-related. After that I read all the genres my publisher produced, mystery, suspense, romance, so that I could better sell it to whoever had an interest in books. I don't think he was named Marquand right from the beginning, but it was pretty close to that. The characters know who they are.

The only one that had a name even before the story was Sandi von Pier, who won a contest, and for her prize was turned into a character in a story. I wrote the entire story for her, actually, not just fit her in to something else. I hope she didn't mind getting shanghaied into a fantasy adventure. In the sequel to Off the Map, called Ex Libris, I used the names of some co-workers, which were not standard American names, and so could give the illusion of a fantasy realm for the time I needed them to.


message 16: by Gary F (new)

Gary F | 170 comments Thanks Marc! What was the most difficult story you ever wrote and why?


message 17: by Marc (last edited Feb 25, 2010 01:42PM) (new)

Marc (authorguy) | 50 comments My most recent story, St. Martin's Moon. It started when I saw a book on a shelf with the title Blood Moon. The first thing I thought of was a werewolf attack on a lunar colony. It turned out to be a more prosaic murder mystery on a lunar colony, but then I thought, "Hey. I'm an author. I can do that!"

Unlike my other novels, though, this one didn't write itself for me. I had some characters, and the basis of a plot, but I didn't really know what the story was about. The original idea, solving a werewolf attack, quickly died because I'm primarily a character writer, not a plot writer, and mystery and horror are mainly plot and setting. So what started as a mystery/horror became a paranormal romance.

Then the ghosts showed up. And I still hadn't figured out why the werewolves turned into werewolves on the moon, or how to use it to make a cure, or anything. I had a bunch of characters doing whatever was right for them, weaving a plot. Finally I just forced myself to push through the final climactic fight scene and write The End.

Two weeks later...

I figured out what the story was about. That's why they... This is how I... So I had to redo the ending a bit to make it all coherent.

I spent three years trying to come up with a synopsis for this book, and finally gave up. It doesn't condense. The one plot thread that spans the book, the romance, isn't the basis for any action. The actions that make up the plot are the unrelated strands contributed by all the different characters, who don't know what they're doing, much less anyone else.

And it's too short. But the story is complete.


Rick-Founder JM CM BOOK CLUB  | 7274 comments Mod
"And it's too short. But the story is complete."

interesting comment- when writing a short story- is there a specific feeling that is is DONE! or do you sometimes have questions as to whether it is complete?


message 19: by Marc (new)

Marc (authorguy) | 50 comments This is a full-length novel, at 67K words. My writing style folds a lot of the description into the action so a lot of verbiage normally spent on the environment isn't there. But I still feel like some more could be added. I've put in a few scenes illustrating some of the more important secondary characters but I still think there should be more. Stone is 118K words and Warrior is in the 80K range. St. Martin's Moon is by far my shortest novel.

My short stories tend to suffer from the opposite problem. They grow as I tell them, and if there's a word limit on the story that can be a problem. I know when it's done, since I know where I want it to go, but sometimes I fell like someone's added a few tiles between here and there. I follow the story logic, though, and if the story logic says the story is complete, then it's complete, even if it's short.


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