Tag Archive: writing


Hey, you need something to take your mind off the heat, so why not something set in the cool and creepy Maine woods? The Jain Lazarus short story, “Town Crier”, is available for free download here until July 9.

I mean, I’m not in it or anything, which kinda sucks, but it’s still a fun story. It takes place ten years before the events in HEX BREAKER; I didn’t even know Jain then.

There’s gonna be a short story all about ME coming up next — again, before Jain and I ever met, but hey, it’s about me. I don’t often get to be the center of anything, cuz I’m a supporting character.

But this piece, right now titled “The Occasional Ghost”, will be available first to the attendees of the Roast ‘N Toast on July 13 – don’t worry, there will be more information on THAT next week!

‘Till then — read “Town Crier” and start looking forward to MY story!

Actors Filling Time

Actors like to work a lot, but most of us aren’t lucky enough to move from job to job. We get a lot of down time. So, what do we do?

Audition. Like crazy. If we’re lucky enough to have an agent, we tell our agent to send us out on anything remotely worth while. If we don’t, we scan the trades and look for projects to which to submit our resumes, or open casting calls.

We take classes. You can always be better, right? Taking classes helps us get to the heart and soul of the work. We take acting classes, but if we’re weak at singing or dancing — those classes help, too. The actors who work the most art Triple Threats – which means they can act, sing, and dance, and they’re GOOD at all three. Most of us are better at one thing than another. I can act, but I’m a lousy dancer and I’m a nervous singer. So when I’ve got time, I try to work with coaches or take classes for both.

Some of us create projects. If you’re not landing the kind of role you want, create your own. Surround yourself with people who are excited about it, and go indie. If you can afford to work for free, you can sometimes find, land, or create a good project to put you on the map. You don’t want to work too often for free, or people start thinking you aren’t worth paying.

Of course, in my case, I’m also waiting for Devon to write more stuff for me!

Why Be an Actor?

It makes total sense why Devon decided to use actors in her story — I mean, HEX BREAKER takes place on the set of an independent film and if you’ve got a live action film, you need actors. Same as if you do a stage play, you usually need actors. Devon’s got a great story about working with a director in Seattle in the 80s who fired all his actors and used Barbie dolls instead because he said they “took direction better.”

Riiiight.

So why did I become an actor?

Not to be famous. I mean, I want to get to the point in my career where I’m offered roles and can “take” meetings, rather than sitting in a waiting room with 87 guys who look like me but work out more. It gets depressing to spend day after day in a room full of clones. (Devon just said, “There’s a story in that” — so I’m scared now. But as long as I get to play the Uber-Clone and wind up alive at the end, I guess it’s cool).

People get famous now for being stupid, and that’s not my thing. I’d rather be stupid in private and not have it blasted all over the media.

I became an actor because I’m interested in what makes people tick. How does it feel to live inside somebody else’s skin? Why do they make the choices they make? When under stress, faced with a life-or-death decision, do you step up or fold? What are the consequences?

I also get to do stuff I’d never do in real life. I get to be a super-cool, super-smart computer geek. In real life, I’m lucky to get my iPhone working half the time. I get to shoot guns and take down bad guys, and make a positive change in the world. I’m not brave enough to do that in real life. But it’s really interesting to live inside that character and know how it feels.

It’s also interesting to live inside the antagonist, the villain, the guy who loses because the good guy’s got to win (it’s in a lot of their contracts). WHY does someone want to cause harm? WHY does a guy think he’s the best choice to run the world and everyone should do what he says, and he just kills people who disagree with him because it’s easier than having a reasoned conversation and negotiating? Even if I don’t agree with that guy, by living inside him, creating a character, I have a better understanding.

One of the great things about working with a good writer is you find a solid understanding of what makes that individual tick in the script. The writer KNOWS already the whats and whys and the backstory and all the details. The way the writer communicates it in the script gives me what I need to communicate it. Layer on a really good director, and you can go even deeper into the details the rest of us wouldn’t think f AND also get the big picture. The way the director tells me to tilt my head at a certain point of a line, and where I’m placed in the visual composition of the scene changes the impact of the scene.

When it works, it’s true magic.

When it doesn’t, you hope it goes to DVD, you cash the check and move on.

I’m not really good at walking away from a character at the end of a piece and never thinking of him again. Something of the character stays with me. Something of the understanding stays with me. And then I’m richer for it, when I approach the next script.

Yup, it’s April first, but this isn’t an April Fool’s Joke. I’m Billy Root, a supporting character in the Jain Lazarus Adventures. Since fans keep asking for more about me, I get the chance to blog, and be both a character in a series, an actor in my life, and now. . .a blogger. School wasn’t my favorite thing in the world, so this will be, um, different. I hope you’ll stick with me as I navigate my multiple realities. I’m supposed to blog on most Mondays, but since April 1st is a Sunday, and Devon wanted to launch on April Fool’s Day, here I am.

I was like, “What, is this a comment on my intelligence? You think I’m a fool?”

She told me to look at it as The Fool in the tarot, which is someone getting ready to step off a cliff into a new beginning, with companions on the journey. I guess that’s pretty apt — I mean, in HEX BREAKER, I find out all sorts of cool and weird things about myself I didn’t know going in (and I’m not even a main character).

Maybe one day I’ll graduate to being the Fool in Lear — now there’s something to aspire to! Smartest one in that whole bunch.

Cool cover, isn’t it? This is for the re-release of HEX BREAKER from Solstice Publishing and the re-launch of the Jain Lazarus Adventures. It was designed by the amazing artist and writer PJ Friel.

Um, that isn’t me on the cover.

Kinda wish it was — I should look so good.

The cover features Jain and Wyatt, the two leads, along with the chaos dragon (who happens to be MY favorite character in the book). It’ll make sense when you read it.

I don’t have an exact release date yet, but you’ll know it as soon as I do! I’ll keep you up-to-date with what’s going on with HEX BREAKER, and the books in the series that follow. The third book, CRAVE THE HUNT, alternates between my point of view and Jain’s — but you’re going to have to wait awhile for that. I mean, Devon’s about haft way through writing it, but the second book in the series still has to come out. The second book, OLD-FASHIONED DETECTIVE WORK, is from Wyatt’s point of view.

When HEX BREAKER re-releases, a new story called “Town Crier” will be available for a free download (for a limited time). I’m not in that one, either. It takes place before the events of HEX BREAKER.

Devon said maybe, just maybe, I’d get my own short story set in New Orleans. I make a reference to a trip to New Orleans I barely remember in HEX BREAKER, and she thinks it would be fun to play with that. If she does, maybe I’ll remember whether or not I had a good time there. I mean, how could you not have a good time in New Orleans, but I’d kinda like to remember how much of a good time I had there.

There are two other short stories that will also be re-released, in cycles, over the next few months. I’m in one of them — it takes place just a few months after the events of HEX BREAKER, but before what happens in OLD-FASHIONED DETECTIVE WORK.

I’m getting ahead of myself.

If you want to read an excerpt of HEX BREAKER and find out more about the series, you can visit the Jain Lazarus Adventures website.

Hope you’ll take the journey with us.

–Billy