What do you do when you wake up in the middle of the night with a story idea?

frustration_zpsde5ab9fdDon’t you hate it when you wake up in the middle of the night, from a vivid dream or something else, and you have the next idea for the book you’re currently writing? As much as I love it when that instantaneous idea of genius hits me; after I wake up, it’s so hard to go back to sleep. I have to write it down before I forget it, or it will rumble around in my head, keeping me awake even longer. That’s the problem you run into as a writer… A lot of sleepless nights. The question is, do I ignore those late night inspirations for the sake of sleep?

Author and writing mentor Tom Bird writes, “Writing should be a comprehensive and holistic support system that opens participants to a free-flowing mental, physical, emotional and spiritual state.” I totally agree with that, but it’s kind of hard to be inspired at 2:00 a.m. after waking up from a wicked dream.

I find that inspiration is something that comes at a moments notice, whether from a dream or maybe something that pops into your head while out on a walk. For example, I was walking my dog the other night, thinking about the chapter I currently writing in my next book of the Forever Avalon series, The Prometheus Engine. I’ve been stuck at this one part when it suddenly hit me, as clear as day.

You see, I’ve been working on creating a new type of mage, a fighting mage called the Magus. These wizards are not worried about studying magic or understanding the philosophy of magic; but rather, they use their skills to fight and protect other wizards. Think of them as a magical Praetorian Guard. Their focus is on attack and defense. They are the warrior class of mages.

The problem is, I needed a way for the Magus to carry a variety of magical weapons at their disposal without looking like an overzealous, overburdened fighter. You see, to me, the Magus focus their magic on weapons, not wands and staffs, so they learn about the art of war like a mixed martial artist. Then I had this wonderful idea for a pauldron–a shoulder plate armor piece–that extended down a Magus’ arm into a gauntlet. Each piece in the armor would be storage for a different magical weapon. So a young Magus might have one or two weapons while a more powerful Magus could have 10 or more. All a Magus had to do was cast a summoning spell to bring out the weapon.

All this came to me while walking my dog. That’s what I love about being a writer. Inspiration hits me at different times and it makes writing so much more fun than I could imagine. It just takes a moment for that spark of imagination to ignite inside me.

It’s those late night, interactive, rolling movie set of a dream that keeps me awake all night sometimes. I have a dream where an idea for another part of my book hits me. I wake up and realize, “that’s what I’ve been looking for!” But now that I know what I’m going to do, I can’t stop thinking about it. It just goes on and on, like a multi-part mini-series spread over two weeks inside my head. No matter how hard I try, I can’t go back to sleep. It’s frustrating, especially when I have to get up for work the next morning.

So what do I do? I usually write it down. I find that writing down these bursts of imagination helps me go back to sleep. Normally, I’d say keep a pen and paper close by, but my Galaxy Note smartphone has a great note taking function that lets me jot down ideas, but to each his own. I still have trouble going back to sleep, but that’s okay. As long as I got the idea written down, it’s worth it.

So remember these words when you have those moments of instant clarity and inspiration that keep you up at night.

“The power of a writer is that he is a god of sorts. He can create his own worlds and populate them with his own people, all by the powers of his imagination. It’s the closest a man can come close to the gods. No wonder the most successful writers are considered immortals.” ― Bangambiki Habyarimana

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51nd6H6sATL._SY344_BO1,204,203,200_SKU-000941753Mark Piggott is the author of the Forever Avalon book series. Forever Avalon is available for purchase at Amazon and Barnes and Noble. The Dark Tides is available for purchase at AmazonBarnes and Noble, and iUniverse publishing. The Outlander War, Book Three of the Forever Avalon series is coming soon.


Ignore the reviews, Justice League is a geek’s wet dream

JusticeLeague-IMAX-poster-1I normally don’t listen to a lot of movie critics when it comes to superhero movies, and I’ll tell you why. The majority of movie reviewers are not 100% certified comic book geeks. Additionally, those who are comic book nerds are such purists that even the tiniest of flaws ruins the movie for them. That being said…

I left the movie theater in awe, full of a giddy excitement over each and every “Easter Egg” I saw in the movie. That’s what Justice League did for me today.

You have to understand, I grew up in an era with spandex costumes, bad or relatively weak special effects, and scripts written by TV writers who never picked up a comic book in my life. The comic book movies coming out today are a million times better, and Justice League is one of them.

Okay, so here’s my warning… SPOILER ALERT!

I loved Justice League. It was a faithful culmination from Man of Steel, to Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice, and then Wonder Woman. The story brought the League together in search of three “Mother Boxes,” alien devices that could destroy the world in the hands of the villainous Steppenwolf and his Para-Demons. That’s the basic background but the movie went even further than that.

We got to see the undersea kingdom of Atlantis and the first meeting between Aquaman and his future wife, Mera. I was concerned hoe they were going to do the undersea battle, and it was brilliant, especially when Mera pushed the water aside so she and Aquaman could talk to each other. It was that simple attention to detail that made that moment work.

The fighting was amazing, especially since we actually got to see a Green Lantern (but not THE Green Lantern) in the historic battle between Steppenwolf and the combined armies of the Amazons, Atlantians, men and Gods. And when Superman came back, it made the fighting even better. The League used everything thing they had fighting Steppenwolf, even to go as far as show the Batman’s vulnerabilities as a mortal man.

The “Easter Eggs” are so numerous, it’s hard to miss them and that makes me giddy even now:  Steppenwolf calls out the name Darkseid, the Green Lantern, Bruce talking about a round table with six chairs in a new HQ (set up in the old Wayne Manor (Holy #$%* Batman!), Cyborg getting his more traditional armor at the end (not to mention “Booyah!”), Superman racing the Flash (mid-credits) was right out of the comic book, and Luthor and Deathstroke talking about forming a league of their own (end credits) and how awesome Deathstroke looks. I mean,wow!

Are there ploy holes and challenges with how the story is laid out? Yes, but it didn’t bother me. I was seeing the comic book team I read as a kid on the big screen together. I was hooked from the very beginning, glued to my seat.

I also enjoyed a lot of the sentimentality and the comedy in the movie. Watching Superman standing the cornfield as his mother pulls up and sees that he’s alive brought a tear to my eye, as did watching Barry Allen dealing with his father in prison. Speaking of Flash, he provided some great humor throughout the movie. Watching the back-and-forth between Flash and Cyborg in the graveyard while they’re digging up Superman is comedy gold.

It’s up to you, but I would recommend it to everyone… GO AND SEE IT! Justice League (#2) and Wonder Woman (#1) are my top two superhero movies of 2017, with Guardians of the Galaxy, Vol. 2, at a respectable third. I really think Marvel was out shined this year, in my opinion. Thor: Ragnarok had too much comedy for my tastes and, to be honest, I wasn’t interested in another Spider-man origin movie.

I left the theater today in love with this movie. It makes me want to watch the next series of DC movies, anticipating the sequel to Justice League. I am geeked out over this movie, and I think you will too!

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51nd6H6sATL._SY344_BO1,204,203,200_SKU-000941753Mark Piggott is the author of the Forever Avalon book series. Forever Avalon is available for purchase at Amazon and Barnes and Noble. The Dark Tides is available for purchase at AmazonBarnes and Noble, and iUniverse publishing. The Outlander War, Book Three of the Forever Avalon series is coming soon.

I’ve finished editing my third book, now what?

book coverIt’s taken me over a year, but I’ve finally finished writing and editing the third book in the Forever Avalon series, The Outlander War. This is the finale of the first trilogy in the series following Forever Avalon and The Dark Tides. I want to thank my book editor, Michael Stettes, for helping me with editing my book. This was his first time editing a novel and, I have to admit, he did a great job. I also want to thank Adam Aldrich for the cover art he provided.

So, with all this done the question is, now what? Now comes the hard part that many writers face. What to do now that all the writing, editing, rewriting, nail biting, and late night coffee breaks have finished? The answer to that is publishing.

I want to try and find a regular publisher, hoping that someone will like my work and take a chance on me, but that isn’t easy. It takes research, time, and the stamina when those rejection letters start coming in. For independent authors, this is a decision that usually costs money. It you want to self-publish your novel, complete with ISBN number, etc., it can cost anywhere from $500 to $5000 dollars, depending on the publisher and whatever publishing package you pick. These options include help with editing and marketing your novel.

However, there is another option. If you just want to go the ebook route, these are usually inexpensive, sometimes even free. For example, Kindle Direct Publishing through Amazon is a FREE ebook publishing option. My first book, Forever Avalon, was originally only available in paperback. Since I owned the rights to my book (in most cases, as an independent author, the publisher doesn’t own the rights to your book) I was able to publish my book on Amazon as an ebook. It was easy to do and it added to my profile on Amazon.

Deep down, I want to take the easy route. I love writing and I just want to put my book out there as quickly as possible. But there’s a little voice down there telling me not to give up on my dream of being a writers full time. It’s like those old cartoons of the angle and the devil on opposite shoulders, trying to convince me that I should do this, not that.

I have a decision to make and its not an easy one. To be totally honest and up front with you, I have spent more than $10,000 on publishing and marketing my first two books, and I’ve made less than $500 on sales for both of them. Financially, it doesn’t make sense to throw more money at it.

But its my passion, and…Arrgh! You see what I mean? The angel and the devil are talking to me and it’s driving me crazy. I have a decision to make, as do a lot of other Independent Authors. What that is, we’ll just have to wait and see. I would appreciate any advice from people in the comments below.

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51nd6H6sATL._SY344_BO1,204,203,200_SKU-000941753Mark Piggott is the author of the Forever Avalon book series. Forever Avalon is available for purchase at Amazon and Barnes and Noble. The Dark Tides is available for purchase at AmazonBarnes and Noble, and iUniverse publishing. The Outlander War, Book Three of the Forever Avalon series is coming soon.


A tale of two Marvel stories… The good, the bad, and the misunderstood

Last Friday, I went to the movies to see Thor: Ragnarok, and then Friday night, I watch Marvel’s Inhumans on ABC. These are two diversely different properties of Marvel Entertainment with very different opinions amongst the geek world. People are gushing over Thor:Ragnarok as the best movie in the Thor series. For the past year, these same people have been trouncing Inhumans as pitiful and boring.

Well, in my opinion, they’re both wrong. I thought Thor: Ragnarok was okay but it misused some great Marvel characters and turned some serious moments in the history of Thor into a joke. At the same time, the Inhumans series gave us some truly inspiring moments that came right out of the pages of the comics.


images3N0MN2NRSo, first up, let’s talk about Thor: Ragnarok. It was a fun and entertaining movie with some of the best fight scenes that the Thor movies are known for. At the same time, they killed three very popular characters (The Warriors Three, Volstagg, Fandral and Hogun!) and turned the Grandmaster and Skurge the Executioner into a running gag.

FYI, in case you don’t know, Thor:Ragnarok is the third movie in the Thor series by Marvel Entertainment. Imprisoned on the other side of the universe, the mighty Thor finds himself in a deadly gladiatorial contest that pits him against the Hulk, his former ally and fellow Avenger. Thor’s quest for survival leads him in a race against time to prevent the all-powerful Hela from destroying his home world and the Asgardian civilization.

As I said, this movie had great action and fight scenes, living up to the expectations built on the previous Thor movies; but director Taika Waititi turned it into a Bing Crosby/Bob Hope road film. The jokes were obvious and lame. All they did was keep the movie going. I mean, this was supposed to be a world of gladiatorial competitions, yet we only saw one fight. Really? On top of that, the characters went from villains to second-rate bad guys.

In the comics, Skurge was a force to be reckoned with who went toe-to-toe with Thor on many occasions. In the movie, he’s a bumbling idiot out to save his own skin. His only redeeming moment was when he saved the Asgardians from Hela. Also in the comics, the Grandmaster is a scheming, conniving cosmic being who uses games to entertain and torment his victims. In the movie, Jeff Goldblum made him look incompetent. It was a total misuse of this great Marvel villain, like Baron Strucker, Zemo, and some of the other villains they’ve trashed.

The main villain, Hela, was handled brilliantly by Cate Blanchett, although they did change her origin from Loki’s daughter to Odin’s. I didn’t have a problem with that but I think she could have been so much more. Add to that, Thor and Loki’s relationship went from adversarial in the last three movies (Thor, The Avengers, and Thor: The Dark World) to sibling rivalry without any reason or expectation. Loki went from supreme villain, capable of taking on the Avengers singlehanded, to the redheaded step-child taking a backseat to Thor.

p14159928_b_v8_aaThe only good thing from the movie was the mid-credits scene which set up Avengers: Infinity War. By contrast, Inhumans has been laughed at and scorned with ridicule; but I’ve been watching the series since the beginning and found it enjoyable and fun to watch.

Black Bolt, the enigmatic, commanding head of the Inhuman royal family and King of Attilan, possesses a voice so powerful that the slightest whisper can destroy a city. After a military coup splinters the family, the group — which includes Black Bolt’s wife, Medusa; his brother and rival, Maximus; his cousins Karnak, Gorgon and Triton; and Medusa’s sister, Crystal — barely manages to escape to Hawaii, where surprising interactions with the lush world and humanity around them may prove to not only save them, but Earth itself.

Did they get all the characters right? No… But they have done a lot of good things. Anson Mount is brilliant as Black Bolt. He is acting without speaking and doing it perfectly. Most of the cast is like this as well. Iwan Rheon has gone from Game of Thrones villain to Maximus flawlessly. Serinda Swan is a perfect sounding board for Black Bolt as Queen Medusa. They made a lot of great casting choices in this series, and Lockjaw is the best animated dog on television.

I do wish they mixed in a little Agents of Shield with it. I think that might have added a lot more to the series. I really don’t like Triton’s make-up in this. He looks nothing like he does in the comics. Plus, in the comics, Karnak did not go through Terrigenesis, but rather, he attained his abilities naturally. These are just some of the elements that have soured the Inhumans series.

But one thing that really stood out to me was this past week’s episode. There was a moment when Medusa was confronting Black Bolt about keeping secrets from her. She said that she didn’t want to just be his interpreter, but his partner with her own opinions, as his queen. That scene hit me like a lead balloon. It was like reading the comic. That’s one of the things they did right in this series and why I’ve enjoyed it, week after week.

I know many are going to disagree with me, but I wanted to lay out my honest opinion about these two Marvel properties. I am anticipating Black Panther to be as awesome as it looks, and toward the new season of Agents of Shield. There’s so much more to come from Marvel and I can’t wait.

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51nd6H6sATL._SY344_BO1,204,203,200_SKU-000941753Mark Piggott is the author of the Forever Avalon book series. Forever Avalon is available for purchase at Amazon and Barnes and Noble. The Dark Tides is available for purchase at AmazonBarnes and Noble, and iUniverse publishing. The Outlander War, Book Three of the Forever Avalon series is coming soon.