Little Carmine Lupertazzi Really was an Idiot

little-carmine-lupertazziLittle Carmine Lupertazzi is a character from the Sopranos and, if a fan of the show, you know he was generally portrayed as rather dimwitted. He often used malapropisms. He made poor managerial decisions and was largely not respected.

What’s interesting is that in the years after the show’s end his character has given rise to a rather popular theory that he was only pretending to be stupid. That in actuality he was luring his enemies into a false sense of security and biding his time to take over the family business. It is commonly, if not universally believed, the show’s controversial ending was actually the culmination of his nefarious plot. That he ordered the assassination of Tony Soprano and took over both families.

That’s what I’d like to discuss. Naturally we cannot prove anything one way or the other as it is a fictional show. Still, I’m of the opinion that it gives us an opportunity to examine the idea of how to be a good writer. Or at least one aspect of being so.

It is extraordinarily important to be honest with your audience.

Let’s imagine you are a mystery writer and the butler did it. You need to conceal this from your audience until the final reveal. To cover up the fact the butler did it you have an eyewitness see the butler somewhere else at the time the crime is committed. Only at the end of the novel do you reveal the butler has a twin brother. That is a betrayal of your audience. They have been given information which they used in their thoughts about the novel as it progressed.

This is bad writing. Your audience will be angry at this contrived conclusion.

Now, if you established the butler has the twin brother at some earlier point, then you have not betrayed your audience, you have merely fooled them. There is nothing wrong with this. The audience slaps their forehead and exclaims, “Of course! I should have known that. It was mentioned earlier.”

That is good writing.

This is why Little Carmine Lupertazzi is no secret mastermind. There is nothing to indicate as much. He is almost always portrayed as an utter fool.

We can say many things about the Sopranos as a television show but we cannot accuse the writers of being bad at their craft. We must assume the writers are good writers based on the content they provided us during six glorious seasons.

This is not just about Little Carmine Lupertazzi being an idiot. It is also a blueprint on how to be a better writer.

To a certain degree this is what separates excellent entertainment from its more common peer, garbage. What makes a good television show? Good writing, good acting, good directing, good lighting, etc. It is the sum of all these parts that brings us quality entertainment. Of which we desperately want more.

What books do you most enjoy? Movies? Television shows? Think about your favorite characters and ask yourself if their story was written in a consistent fashion.

We all want quality entertainment. Better television, better movies, better books. More shows like the Sopranos. That being the case, we must accept the fact that Little Carmine was an idiot.

Tom Liberman

Amazon Book Giveaway Clause

Website-Banner-GHI recently released The Gray Horn for purchase on Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and Smashwords and I decided I might do a Giveaway promotion at Amazon. It’s where you give away a book for free to a limited number of customers in the hopes of getting reviews and generating “buzz”.

I haven’t done it before but I was thinking, what the heck. As I went through the process I clicked on the ubiquitous Terms and Conditions button and gave it my usual cursory glance. Then I stumbled on item 6.

You grant us a royalty-free, non-exclusive, worldwide, perpetual, irrevocable right and license to use, reproduce, perform, display, distribute, adapt, modify, excerpt, analyze, re-format, create derivative works of, and otherwise commercially or non-commercially exploit in any manner, any and all of Your Materials, and to sublicense the foregoing rights; provided that nothing in this Agreement will prevent or impair our right to use Your Materials without your consent to the extent that such use is allowable without a license from you or your Affiliates under applicable Law (e.g., fair use under United States copyright law, referential use under trademark law, or valid license from a third party).

I mean to say …

Holy s***!

Are you kidding me? That’s more than just terms and conditions. That’s some serious rights I’m giving away. I was rendered speechless. Which, if you know me, is no small feat.

I thought I’d pass it along just for general knowledge to anyone else thinking about going with a Giveaway promotion on Amazon. Frankly, you should read all the Terms and Conditions but it’s hard because they make them so long and difficult.

Have a great day!

Oh, and buy my books. Only $2.99. Write reviews! They help, they really do.

Tom Liberman
Sword and Sorcery fantasy with a Libertarian Ideology
Current Release: The Gray Horn
Next Release: For the Gray

The Girl in Glass – Available Now

The-Girl-in-Glass Freedom is free, it just isn’t safe.

My new book is now available at Amazon and Smashwords.

Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B013HHFETY…

Smashwords: http://www.smashwords.com/books/view/566695

Home Page: http://www.tomliberman.com/b…/the-girl-in-glass-i-apparition

The Gray Lord doesn’t believe in interfering in foreign nations or arresting dissidents.

The Gray City is surrounded by enemies but the most dangerous are internal usurpers bent on shaping the nation to their own ideology. They argue Tanelorn must attack her enemies to ensure the people’s safety.

Can three teenage girls save a nation from itself?

Some Parents aren’t Nice

Angry ParentsI use Facebook although I don’t have a huge number of friends. I do peruse the links of those friends as I look for fodder for my blog. One of my friends shared the image at the top of this blog. It purportedly shows an exchange between father and child. It might be completely false but it most certainly does illustrate that sometimes parents aren’t very nice.

What struck me about the image was that it spoke rather directly to a topic that I attempt to analyze in my new novel, The Girl in Glass I – Apparition. In that novel the three main characters are teenage girls, Rhia, Mike, and Marianna, who have had very different parental experiences. A fourth character, Adusko also must deal with childhood baggage. It is not simply black and white, good and evil. There are nuances. One of the central themes of the book, and the trilogy as a whole, is the ability to grow outside of that very important parent/child relationship. Eventually the child must be their own entity.

Mike is raised by loving parents in a privileged environment but is in full teenage rebellion. Rhia left her parents at a young age and has set out on her own. Marianna was initially raised by a loving father but his death left her in the hands of an uncaring mother and an abusive step-father. The three set out together to save Tanelorn. One of the ideas of the novels is they get to know one another and learn to escape the patterns set by childhood. Adusko is the product of an extremely violent childhood although his story is explored in more detail in later books.

There is no doubt that we are all children and subject to the environment that our parents or guardians create. A child raised in one way certainly has both advantages and disadvantages in comparison to a child raised differently. There are certain environments that are more likely to create a happy and productive child and others which are more likely to create a monster.

The main point is that despite the worst or best upbringing it is largely possible for a person to make their own lives. In the Girl in Glass trilogy, I spend time with each of the girls showing how they overcome that initial life direction and eventually find their own way.

This lesson is important for everyone. We are none of us perfect. We all make mistakes. We all fall into patterns in life and too frequently they are those set into us at an early age. Those ingrained habits can be for good or ill but it is important to recognize them and eventually choose our own paths.

In the case of the Facebook post the last entry is a sarcastic reference to the lack of parental support. Is that a good thing? A bad thing? It’s not easy to say. Certainly anger is often justified as is sarcasm but if it hurts us to engage in such, should we choose not to do so? If the need to hurt someone else overwhelms the desire to help ourselves, I argue it is a bad thing.

In the end, if we spend our time trying to figure out ways to hurt those who have hurt us, we only perpetuate the lesson they taught us. Their lesson was that hurting others is a way to temporarily abate the self-loathing.

What would be better is if we moved on. Easy to say ….

Tom Liberman
Sword and Sorcery fantasy with a Libertarian Ideology
Current Release: The Black Sphere
Next Release: The Girl in Glass I: Apparition – Release date: late August 2015

The Black Sphere – Available Now!

The Black Sphere Anything, no matter how powerful, is a toy in the hand of a child.

Kindle – Nook – Smashwords:

Buy it today!

I’m proud to announce the release of my seventh novel, The Black Sphere.

When a child carries something of great value there will be those who want to take it from her.

Ariana only wanted to keep the Black Sphere but now her world has erupted in war. At thirteen years old she must face the consequences of her decisions. Will she remain an unconcerned child or will she accept responsibility for events and begin her journey to adulthood

Ariana flees the marauding forces of Lord Thotmes with her companions in the hopes of destroying the Sphere. Joined by young Aydon she flees first to the Maw and then into the Great Salt Fen but the forces arrayed against her are relentless in their pursuit.

Complicating matters is the dark shadow Tenebrous who has his own agenda, as does the Mistress of the Abyss.

The Black Sphere is a story about growing up but Ariana is not the only one who must choose. Not everyone will survive.

What’s in a name? Ask Spider-Man

 alt=During lunch today we were having one of our typical highly technical, web-development, database intensive discussions when it occurred to us (Mainly Mike and Kerry) that Spider-Man has a hyphen in his name whereas Superman, Wonder Woman, Aquaman, Green Lantern, and others with a similar two-part names do not. What’s up with that?

Search Engines provided the answer quickly enough but what I want to talk about is why a name is important. The reason the topic is interesting to me is that as an author I’m often coming up with names for my characters. I think it’s important to name them appropriately and Stan Lee (who named Spider-Man) seems to think about these things himself. Anytime I can compare myself to the great Stan Lee is a good day for me, although possibly not for Mr. Lee.

When I name a character in my novel Murray Finkelbein it brings forth certain images to mind. There are a number of philosophies about naming characters. It many cases a character is named the opposite of his actual physical traits. Slim Jones might be an obese man. Sometimes a name is meant to more accurately display their traits. Big Ralph might be a large man. A name carries with it certain expectations and for a major character in a novel or comic book, it’s an important consideration.

Stan Lee chose to give Spider-Man his unusual hyphen simply to more clearly distinguish the cover of the comic on the newsstand from that of the very popular Superman. It was a perfectly logical choice and clearly has proven successful. One is not surprised. Mr. Lee has a track record of good judgment in this sort of thing that is undeniable.

My latest novel is currently at the proof-reader and will be out in a few weeks and our discussion about Spider-Man and my subsequent research got me thinking about the names of the character in the upcoming book, The Black Sphere. The book is somewhat of a sequel to the Staff of Naught and thus several of the characters did not require any thought in regards to their names. Ariana, Lousa, Tenebrous, and Shamki were already named. However, one of the other main protagonists, Aydon, was not. Aydon is opposed by his brother Jaylen. I did actually put a fairly significant amount of time thinking about their names.

Truth be told they had different names originally and as the novel progressed I altered them. I don’t know how interesting it will be for my readers, few though they are, but I thought I’d give you some insight into how they were named.

I knew the brothers were going to serve an extremely important role in the novel in that although brought up in the same household they were very different young men. They thought differently about life and this contrast between the two is meant to display my Objectivist and Libertarian ideology. Suffice it to say that I think they are important characters in the novel. Thus getting their names right was important to me.

I wanted their names to be similar but not too close. I ended up with sort of a combination of Aaron and Ryan for Aydon. I thought it was solid without being pretentious. Easy to remember and say. Jaylen went through several permutations (I hope I caught them all in the book). I started with Jaydon but that was too close and might cause confusion, as Stan Lee surmised with Spiderman. Eventually I settled with Jaylen which is also simple but also distinct from Aydon.

No earth shaking revelations with this blog. Just a quick look into the minds of a very successful author and one not so much so: Stan Lee and myself. It’s good to know Stan worries about this sort of thing also.

Tom Liberman
Sword and Sorcery Fantasy with a Libertarian Edge
Purchase The Broken Throne today!
See All my Books

The Spear of the Hunt – Coming Soon!

The Spear of the HuntGeneral Yumanar has led the armies of the Republic of Caparal to one victory after the next but his immense popularity is a threat to the corrupt civilian powers. They send him on a quest to retrieve the legendary Spear of the Hunt rather than allowing him to return home to acclaim and certain political triumph.

They hope he will never return.

The son of the most powerful family in all of Caparal joins Yumanar on the quest. Sent to spy on the general he must eventually choose his own loyalties. Will he choose his friend or his family?

What happens when those in power will do anything to keep their authority even if it means betraying the very nation they promise to protect?

The Spear of the Hunt.

Coming to Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and Smashwords soon!

Always $2.99

The Sword of Water

The Sword of Water
I’m happy to announce the release of my fourth Sword and Sorcery novel, The Sword of Water.

Cover art by Raro.

Summary

Jon Gray returns along with his best friend Sorus Nightwalk as they travel to the newly freed island nation of Cawl in search of the Sword of Water. Directed by his enigmatic brother Valari, Jon arrives on the island and quickly finds out the king of the nation is off on a quest but a regent rules in his stead. With permission from Granatz the Black the two heroes set off towards the Central Mountain where rumors of the Sword of Water persist thousands of years after it legendarily ousted the great Fire Elemental twins Eleniak and Hezfer from their citadel.

Young Prince Jerichi and his friend Silenia follow the two champions into the adventure of a lifetime. They journey from the great mountain to the restive city-state of Serapis where Silenia’s father, High Priest Amalagaz, plots against the prince and hopes to usurp control of the newly founded nation.

Muddying the plot is the fact that Eleniak is still alive, blames the Sword of Water for the death of her twin, and plots vengeance against the Water Elemental Silenia. The great fiery ruler manipulates events so that she can lure the Water Elemental from her ancient hiding place.

It’s a battle of courage against fear, a fight for a newly founded nation to survive political turmoil, and a question if young Silenia will lure her namesake into the grasp of Eleniak. Can Jon Gray navigate these tumultuous waters safely or will the young Knight of Gray meet a foe more powerful than even he can manage?

Find out in The Sword of Water; a Tales of Corland adventure featuring Jon Gray.

Purchase Information

The Sword of Water at AmazonBarnes and NobleSmashwords: $2.99

Previous Novels

The Staff of Naught at AmazonBarnes and NobleSmashwords: $2.99

The Staff of Sakatha at AmazonBarnes and NobleSmashwords: $2.99

The Hammer of Fire at AmazonBarnes and NobleSmashwords: $2.99

Thank you for purchasing and reading! I hope everyone enjoys the books.

Coming Next

The Spear of the Hunt: During the Dark Ages after the fall of the Empire young nations fought against the terrible chaos that reigned. Among the greatest of heroes from this time is Yumanar of Caparal. He found the ancient Spear of the Hunt, saved his kingdom from destruction, and built a legacy that lives on five hundred years later. This is his story.

Website Pages

See more about each of the novels, read sample chapters, and watch videos about the characters and philosophies behind each book.

The Hammer of FireThe Staff of NaughtThe Staff of SakathaThe Sword of Water

Five Star Book Reviews – for a Price

Five Star ReviewThere is an article in the New York Times that strikes directly to my business model in trying to sell my Sword and Sorcery novels. It turns out most of the five-star reviews you’ve read on Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and Smashwords were likely purchased. The going rate was fifty reviews for $1,000.

Supposedly Amazon and B&N have caught onto the practice and banned the main offender but I’m very skeptical. When I first entered the self-publishing world with The Staff of Naught, I joined a number of author groups all over the internet. I was immediately inundated with offers to review my novel for a fee. I gave a free copy of my book for one of these reviews. I got a four-star review that looked as if the person hadn’t read the book and the review seemed based mostly only the blurb I put as the description.

I had a recent experience that shocked me. One avenue that I use to publicize my novels is to self-pirate it to torrent sites. The torrent site that I use is the immensely popular Demonoid which was recently shut-down by the government. While reading an article on ZDnet I ran across an author who wrote a “good-riddance” letter. I posted my own experience with Demonoid wherein the majority of my book sales stemmed from torrented files that the person read and then purchased. The author who posted the “good-riddance” message got into a bit of a flame war with those who supported Torrenting and some of those people posted negative reviews of her book.

Now comes the shocking part. The author asked Amazon to remove the negative reviews and they did! Apparently this is a common practice. So, not only are positive reviews manufactured but negative ones can be deleted.

My books are priced at $2.99 and a reviewer of The Hammer of Fire, one of two neither of which I solicited in any way, pointed out that while this seems like a small sum there are so many terrible self-published books that even such a minor expense is difficult to make without reviewer proof of a good novel. But, if reviewer proof is manufactured where does that leave the consumer?

Personally, I’m not going to pay for a review ever again, not even for just a copy of the book, and I’ve never asked my friends to write positive reviews. I have asked people who read the book to put an honest review on Amazon, Barnes and Noble, or Smashwords.

Don’t think for a moment that is positive review practice is limited to books. And don’t think that competitors aren’t out there writing negative reviews. What’s a writer to do? What’s a consumer to do? It’s a dilemma.

I would suggest finding the author’s blog if they have one and read it to find out about their style. Download the sample and read it. See if they have a GoodReads Author Group where they answer questions. See how they respond to reviews. I have a samples of all my books at my site, you’re currently reading my blog, I have an author group (with six whole members), and I respond to my reviews.

I think there’s a lot of a great writing out there but it’s difficult to find. I think anyone who spends $2.99 on my books will find that they get value for the price. But, in the end the market will determine if that’s true.

Don’t trust reviews, particularly five-star reviews that don’t go into details about the book in question.

Oh, and for sure, BUY MY BOOKS!! 🙂

Tom Liberman
Sword and Sorcery fantasy with a Libertarian Twist
New Release: The Hammer of Fire

The Hammer of Fire – Rough Draft Complete

The Hammer of FireI just finished up the rough draft on the Hammer of Fire, my third sword and sorcery novel. You can check out its page on my site here.

It should take me about a month or less to clean up the draft and do the rewrites and then it is off to my expert proof-reader, mom. I’ll need a cover as well and I’m hoping that Raro (some racy photos through that link, beware. Nothing pornographic) will agree to the task!

Tom Liberman
Sword and Sorcery fantasy with a Libertarian Twist