Pete's picture
Pete from Detroit is reading Red Dragon April 1, 2013 - 3:45pm

'Angel Falls' by Michael Paul Gonzalez

Discussion has officially started!

Synopsis: It's been rough lately for the Lord of Darkness, with ex-girlfriend drama rearing its head at inconvenient moments, ancient gods returning to take over the universe, and Satan's own unstoppable laziness. But whatever.

Satan is okay, and he thinks you're okay, too. This whole eternal damnation thing is all a bit of a misunderstanding.

He runs Hell as a resort, kind of. A vacation spot. The point is, he's not a bad guy. He's trying to save Heaven and all of creation, and he only has a dimwitted giant, a surly waitress, and a monkey to help him. So, a thank you might be nice. Maybe buy him a cup of coffee next time you see him. And you will see him.

It's the Apocalypse, and all that.

Author: Michael Paul Gonzalez is a writer living in Los Angeles, CA. He edits ThunderDomeMag.com - the online writer's collective, and has published short stories in the Booked. Podcast Anthology, Appalachian Undead (Apex Press), Gather Kindling, Colored Chalk, and various places around the web. He is also a contributor at ManArchy Magazine (ManArchyMag.com). Join the fun at MichaelPaulGonzalez.com or take a tour of hell over at WelcometoAngelFalls.com.

Discussion has officially started!

It seems like I've seen a lot of people already reading this one. So hopefully the discussion will be awesome. I know I've wanted to read this book for years. I'm glad it's finally getting the printing it deserves. Can't wait to dive in. Now's a good time too because the ebook is only 99 cents!

I'm sure Michael will be checking in to say "hi" and answer any questions.

Buy It Here!

Get to reading!

monkeywright's picture
monkeywright from Los Angeles is reading The Narrows by m. craig April 1, 2013 - 5:44pm

I just came in here to say hi, and to let you know I'll come back around to answer any questions you may have.

monkeywright's picture
monkeywright from Los Angeles is reading The Narrows by m. craig April 1, 2013 - 6:06pm

I may also questions you don't have. 

LizardKing's picture
LizardKing April 2, 2013 - 2:17pm

Purchased. $0.99 on Kindle. Sweet deal.

ReneeAPickup's picture
Class Facilitator
ReneeAPickup from Southern California is reading A truckload of books April 30, 2013 - 8:49pm

Yay! This was a great read, I look forward to jumping in on discussion since I didn't have time to read it all before we had Michael's ear on Books and Booze.

Pete's picture
Pete from Detroit is reading Red Dragon May 1, 2013 - 5:58am

Discussion officially starts today. So go ahead! :p

Gordon Highland's picture
Gordon Highland from Kansas City is reading Secondhand Souls by Christopher Moore May 1, 2013 - 2:04pm

Someone's bringing beer, right? Okay, fine, I'll bite … Finished this a couple weeks ago. And had the privilege of marking up a draft a while back. Hella dug it, as I've detailed elsewhere. Hella.

This thing is densely-packed with myth and its attendant archetypes. Did you outline and do all your research before you started plotting the story, or did you seek out what you needed as you went? Did the plot necessitate the characters, or vice-versa? Was it like, "Okay, they've gone five pages without having their lives imperiled; I need some kind of split-personality witch-beast here. Let's see …" or more like, "Man, this bitch would be perfect to keep them from crossing this area!"?

Again, kudos.

 

monkeywright's picture
monkeywright from Los Angeles is reading The Narrows by m. craig May 1, 2013 - 3:12pm

Gordon:

It was a little of both. There were scenes and characters that I always had in mind, like Hecate, and those like Nin-Agal who kind of found themselves thrust into the story. Aspen had the Spear, Goliath had his sword, so I knew the gang would have some kind of run-in with a weapons maker, but I didn't worry about that until I got there. Then I whipped out my massive encyclopedia of myths and learned more about metalsmithing Gods, and there we were.

One really nice thing about ancient religions, if you start with a character archetype (it would be weird if they were attacked by something that controlled the wind) you could go to google and probably find dozens of old Gods who were either made of wind, or controlled it. In my case, I settled on Pazuzu, because it's a fun name to shout.

Gordon Highland's picture
Gordon Highland from Kansas City is reading Secondhand Souls by Christopher Moore May 2, 2013 - 7:18am

I know lots of writers who are made of wind, too. *zing!*

Whenever I think of Pazuzu, The Exorcist always comes to mind. That, and for some reason, Ford Fairlane (and by extension, It's a Wonderful Life), becuase Pazuzu's Petals would make an awesome band name.

Stuart Gibbel's picture
Stuart Gibbel from California is reading Angel Falls by Michael Paul Gonzalez May 5, 2013 - 5:58pm

Mike,

How hard was it to write an orginal satan when the biblical one(s) are so iconic? 

Stuart

monkeywright's picture
monkeywright from Los Angeles is reading The Narrows by m. craig May 6, 2013 - 10:37pm

It was a bit more difficult than I thought. I wanted him to seem misunderstood, but not wholly slandered. In other words, he's not the bad guy everyone's been telling you about, but he's done enough things to earn a bad reputation. He's self-serving to a fault, greedy, a narcissist, basically everything you'd see in most humans. He's somehow become the scapegoat for everyone's flaws rather than the mirror reflecting their faults. At the same time, while you'd probably love to hang out with him for a weekend, I wanted him to be the kind of character you wouldn't want as your neighbor or friend. His way or the highway, that kind of thing. In short (too late, I know) most of what you know about him is true on some level, but time and gossip have warped his reputation beyond repair. 

ReneeAPickup's picture
Class Facilitator
ReneeAPickup from Southern California is reading A truckload of books May 10, 2013 - 8:21pm

Did you/do you ever worry about getting lumped in with the onslaught of stories awhile back that were "You didn't realize it, but the Wicked Witch wasn't that bad!" and so on?

Also, I think it would be fun if you answered a question I didn't have.

 

 

Gordon-- holy crap, I need to be in a band called Pazuzu's Petals.

monkeywright's picture
monkeywright from Los Angeles is reading The Narrows by m. craig May 10, 2013 - 11:11pm

If I achieve the same level of success as those books, then I'd be happy. Although I think at least the framework for my story is original. One thing that drove me nuts was the spate of re-telling/we're stealing this out-of-copyright text and adding zombies n shit trend that happened with Pride and Prejudice and a bunch of other stories. At least in dealing with Myths, I'm more in line with the work done by Gaiman & Pratchett, Douglas Adams, et al (and I'd REALLY love to be at their success level eventually). 

 

As for your other answer, you are correct in stating that Pol­ish is the only word in the Eng­lish lan­guage that changes mean­ing and pro­nun­ci­a­tion with capitalization.

Also, since I've been researching day of the dead, you can have this too:

 

Gordon Highland's picture
Gordon Highland from Kansas City is reading Secondhand Souls by Christopher Moore May 10, 2013 - 11:43pm

Pol­ish is the only word in the Eng­lish lan­guage that changes mean­ing and pro­nun­ci­a­tion with capitalization.

I'm reminded of that racist joke from childhood that says the reason they're spelled the same in the dictionary is "because Webster didn't know shit from shinola." Many apologies, but I did laugh once upon a time.

I wouldn't lump Angel Falls in with those mash-up books. I've been told some of them are pretty decent, though maybe that's kinda like the logic bands use that cover songs are a safe bet, because if it was popular once …

Was it hard to keep all the main "good guys" occupied without fear of them falling through the cracks moment-to-moment? There are so many characters in each scene, obviously you have to focus on a couple of them at a time in the foreground. But it often makes me wonder what the others are doing at the same time (which would probably lead to overwriting were that executed). Lenny specifically, the poor guy, seemed the primary victim of that.

Stuart Gibbel's picture
Stuart Gibbel from California is reading Angel Falls by Michael Paul Gonzalez May 11, 2013 - 7:56am

 What Gordon said and why a monkey?  How did you come up with the idea? 

Pete's picture
Pete from Detroit is reading Red Dragon May 11, 2013 - 10:04am

Funny you mentioned Gaiman and Pratchett - I keep thinking of Good Omens as I read this

I do keep thinking - how obsessive were you with staying true to the mythology when you brought a new character/god/whatever into the story? I like what you did with Eve. But were you worried that some people would say you changed a certain thing too much to fit the story?

Also - I know you self published a small run of this years and years ago. I know when Brandon got Out of Touch published, he did some extensive rewrites and improvements. How much has this book changed since then?

monkeywright's picture
monkeywright from Los Angeles is reading The Narrows by m. craig May 12, 2013 - 9:33am

Gordon: I started to regret having such a main traveling party as the novel grew. Finding business for other characters can be difficult, although with Lenny not having a body, it made keeping him occupied a little easier. 

Stuart: Since the story dealt with archetypes, I wanted a monkey sidekick, because most action movies growing up had monkey sidekicks. And I lucked out, because Monkey (Sun Wukong) is a bonafide Chinese God, and better still, one that was invented quite recently. (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sun_Wukong). I figured it might be my only chance to write about monkeys, might as well go all-out. He may get a spinoff novel down the road.

Pete: I wanted to stay as close as I can to the core idea of the character but leave plenty of room for improvising. In most cases, I looked at each character and wondered how their lives had moved on past their exit from the stage in whatever legend they were from. Goliath is slain, goes to Hell, then what? He loves fighting. Keeps fighting. If a God is forgotten, do they go mad (Rashn)? Struggle with disappearing relevancy (Nin-Agal)? Harbor grudges against their one-night stands (Hecate)?

 

Also, my small run of the book wasn't self-publishing so much as getting beta readers. I made 12 copies to send to people for feedback. I figured it would be more effective than sending a pdf (this was finished before the Kindle boom). It's something I might do again with my next book, because the feedback I got was amazing and helpful.

Richard's picture
Richard from St. Louis is reading various anthologies May 17, 2013 - 2:22pm

Do you plan on continuing this story, or setting another book in the same world? If not, what's next for you (beside various anthologies).

You mentioned a few authors already, did they heaviliy influence this book and your writing in general (Gaiman, Adams, Pratchett)? Are there other voices?

Can you talk about your relationship with Perfect Edge, how has that gone, you happy, all of that? They've really done a great job. Didn't I see AF at #1 in Kindle for some category (fantasy maybe?) I love the cover art, quite the score.

I love the mythology/archetypes and history throughout this novel. It really gave it an air of authenticity.

monkeywright's picture
monkeywright from Los Angeles is reading The Narrows by m. craig May 17, 2013 - 8:23pm

There is an absolute plan to continue the series. Ultiamtely, I see it as 5 books split into 3 main novels and 2 short story collections. Maybe a few spin-offs, depending how thinngs go. 

What's next: My next novel, tentatively titled Hello Darkness will be coming out later this year. It's a much darker story than Angel Falls, but still full of gallows humor. I'm at work on my next novel, which is an alternate future SciFi thing, and I've never had so much fun writing a story.

Perfect Edge has been fantastic. They're extremely responsive and adaptable, and very author-focused. There's a plan in place to slowly grow their empire, and they'll be cutting a wide swath across genre and styles. I couldn't be happier with the way things have gone. Well, I could, but that would involve a six-figure movie deal. Maybe that happens later.

Angel Falls did briefly soar to #1 on the paid Kindle Fantasy charts, but one thing I'm quickly learning is that watching those numbers is a path to madness. Outside of the top 1,000, one sale can move you up on the list by an order of magnitude (pop-pop!)

 

Richard's picture
Richard from St. Louis is reading various anthologies May 18, 2013 - 2:39pm

Very cool, MPG. Wow, I didn't know you were working on so many projects! Is HELLO DARKNESS also with Perfect Edge, or somebody else? Will the AF series all be with PE? Can you tell us more about the alternative future SF? Sounds cool.

monkeywright's picture
monkeywright from Los Angeles is reading The Narrows by m. craig May 19, 2013 - 11:23pm

Hello Darkness will be through Perfect Edge, and more than likely the rest of Angel Falls as well (it'll be a while before I jump back into those). I WISH I could say more about the SciFi book, but it's all a bit fluid at the moment. Don't want to give too much away before it's ready, especially because I don't quite know exactly what it'll be when it's done.

Richard's picture
Richard from St. Louis is reading various anthologies May 22, 2013 - 9:09pm

i hear you. best of luck with it all, glad you've found a home at PE. it's been exciting to see everyone do well over there.

Pete's picture
Pete from Detroit is reading Red Dragon May 24, 2013 - 6:22am

Finally was able to get some time last night to finish this. Who needs sleep anyway?

So starting out I was unsure about it. But I ended up really liking it.

I think I mentioned above that it reminded me a lot of Good Omens by Gaiman and Pratchett. I finished it still thinking that. The humor wasn't over the top or ridiculous (which is what I think of Douglas Adams). It was really a nice balance. I think with this story line, too much humor would have ruined the story. But if it had no humor, we wouldn't be able to suspend disbelief since the story involved characters that we may already have opinions of.

And speaking of that - I liked how it still remained respectful of the subject matter for the most part. I think a lot of people could have fallen into the trap of totally destroying the mythology. Being an atheist right now is popular and so is trying to prove how petty and stupid Christians are. The book could have easily went down that road, but it never did.

I'm sure I'll think of some more to post in a little bit...

monkeywright's picture
monkeywright from Los Angeles is reading The Narrows by m. craig May 25, 2013 - 9:18am

I definitely prefer to poke fun at things rather than mocking them. Everyone holds some form of weird belief that one person would mock and someone else would support. 

Pete's picture
Pete from Detroit is reading Red Dragon May 25, 2013 - 11:16am

And why alienate your readers, when you can laugh with them? ;)

I wish more people would join in this discussion. There really is a lot to have opinions about...

monkeywright's picture
monkeywright from Los Angeles is reading The Narrows by m. craig May 25, 2013 - 7:25pm

Yeah! Go to Hell everyone! I mean, COME to Hell everyone! Let's talk about it!

Andrez Bergen's picture
Andrez Bergen from Melbourne, Australia + Tokyo, Japan is reading 'The Spirit' by Will Eisner May 27, 2013 - 10:13pm

"One really nice thing about ancient religions, if you start with a character archetype (it would be weird if they were attacked by something that controlled the wind) you could go to google and probably find dozens of old Gods who were either made of wind, or controlled it."

...awesome.