Entries in 711 Press (62)


The TV Landscape - What it Should Look Like

More and more I'm becoming dissolutioned with televsion, broadcast television, that is, particularly the networks. All the major networks have a knack for canceling shows while I and most other fans are just getting into them, all for the sake of advertisers, who ultimately dictate what the TV landscape will look like. What this means is good or great television shows get axed because too few viewers in a certain demographic are tuning in (that over 18 threshold comes to mind). So goodbye quality, and hello trash! We have shows like Awake being axed and Whitney being renewed. Great shows like Fringe (a semi throwback to The X-Files and other sci-fi gems) is also shortened, with Fox complaining that they lose money on it.

The bottom line is I'm tired of tuning in to shows that risk being canceled and therefore leaving me in the lurch with absolutely no closure whatsoever. I'm finding more and more that I'm hitting up my Netflix account and stocking up on older shows via DVD which have had their full runs. At least I can be guaranteed a complete story that way, but then if more people do what I'm doing, then the TV landscape will have to change drastically, because no one will tune in to new series at launch. In fact, that's what's happening now. There is so much competition from other entertainment mediums that networks are scrambling to keep pace, and you'll notice that nearly every major network is now carrying a slew of reality TV shows, the chiefest among them being talent competition shows a la American Idol.

Original series are finding new life on basic and preminum cable channels though, because low viewership takes on a whole new meaning in this arena. Where 3 million people tuning in to an NBC show is considered abysmal, HBO execs would do backflips with those numbers. Mad Men, Game of Thrones, Dexter, and True Blood are all thriving thanks to cable subscribers who are thrilled to keep coming back to the wonderful worlds of grown up, engaging television that is not dependent (or as dependent) on advertising, and the difference in quality really shows.

What I love about 711 Press is that they are pretty much doing with books what cable networks are doing with quality programming: letting the story come first! I'm all for that.

Hopefully one day the broadcast TV networks will catch on and revamp the way they do things. Until them, I'll stick to shows that have had, or will have a chance to tell their stories.


Espionage and Storytelling

I love spy fiilms, there's no secret about that. But the exectuion of such films is sometimes wanting, but I end up struggling through many a half-hearted tale regardless. I recently got a chance to see Tom Cruise's Missle Impossible: Ghost Protocol and was pleasantly surprised by how it turned out, though it was a bit long and dragged out in spots, particularly after the Dubai scene, where I believe the film should have ended (blame 711 Press for my new outlook on effective and streamlined storytelling). The Bourne films (the first three, to be precise) are another matter altogether. Those films epitomize not only spy fiction but storytelling in general.

When I approach my own Kill Factor spy series, I have all of these things in mind, but I don't write from a technical standpoint, with paint-by-numbers restrictions or the like. Storytelling should be fluid and natural in its unfolding. Many times Hollywood movies feel like committee efforts, as though they went through a hundred pair of hands before landing in front of your eyes. Stories should be as personal and seamless as possible; for my money, those are generally the most impacting ones.

- R. Vallon


Avengers Assemble

I can't express how much of a thrill it is to finally see these comic book movies in such splendor on the big screen. As a kid collecting comic books (X-Men, Spider-Man, Batman, Justice League, etc.), I never imagined a day like this, where I'd be able to see my beloved characters come to life over and over again in unique and interesting ways. Sure there were movies made back in the day, but mainly the low-budget variety. Early Spider-Man, Captain America, and Punisher films failed to capture the essence of the comic books and they sank at the box office or never debuted there in the first place.

Now here we are, with Sam Raimi's Spider-Man behind us, Chris Nolan's Batman saga wrapping up, and Joss Whedon's Avengers taking serious root. I'm a kid in a major candy store! The success of these movies only emboldens fanboys like me to keep cranking out stories in an attempt to propel this collective machine forward. To see them all succeed is important, because for far too long us geeks have been put out to pasture or left on the sidelines to stew while other genres were getting their due. Now our day has come, and our heroes are getting their moment in the sun! And in the biggest way possible, what with all the record-breaking Avengers has and is doing.

I'm already so inspired I've come up with a half dozen new tales Gordon and I will push through 711 Press in the coming years, once they're tweaked and refined and such. I'll keep you posted.


Serpent Head Doing A-Okay

The feedback and responses I've been getting from readers who have headed back to the world of Kill Factor with the second book in the series have been overwhelming, to say the least. I thank you! Not only are customers finding the book on Amazon, BN.com, and the usual online retail sources, but fans have also borrowed books from libraries, even though titles have only been live in library databases for a week now. 711 Press tells me that books are already in digital library systems in New Zealand; British Columbia, Canada; Florida; Ohio; Pennsylvania; Michigan; Indiana, and other places. A slow roll out is happening now so I expect to hear from more of you as time passes.

Rest assured progress on book three, Death Strike, is going well and I should be wrapping that up any month now (yeah, these books are small, but there is a LOT involved in the writing and research. I just have to get things right before it's sent off to the editor).

But speaking of libraries, I was sent a few links from the publisher and see that people are indeed borrowing copies of Kill Factor where they have been listed. Thrills me no end. Here's to many more readers who are yet to discover our titles!

Til next blog, dear readers.

- R. Vallon


My New Series is Coming Along Nicely

Just to keep everyone in the loop, I've decided to grace 711 Press with a brand new adventure, which will be unveiled next year (still can't get over the long wait myself, trust me). But it will be a whopper of a story. I'm all about mystery and detecting so that will figure into my series. Yes I said series, folks. No one-offs for the kid. This series, however, will be a departure from the Kevin Bailey book A Dirty Business, a series which is now on hiatus thanks to the new deal I signed with 711 Press a few months back. Things are looking up and I'm excited to be writing within their universe, since all of the Movie and TV Books exist there. Avid 711 readers must know this by now, however.

At any rate, look for the bizarre and downright mysterious, as I plan on delving into uncharted territory with this one. We're talking voodoo, hexes, psychic abilities, government conspiracies and cover-ups (hey, it wouldn't be a 711 Press product without 'em) and much, much more. I believe I've created a strong, mystrious protagonist with a dark past that should intrigue new readers and longtime fans alike for years to come.

Keep you posted.



The Future of Books - Where Do We Go From Here?

So Borders has shuttered its doors, being the latest and probably most notable casualty in the book wars, as we shift from the outmoded traditions of old to new and uncertain technology-driven norms. Amazon.com is one of the main reasons bookstores are taking the hit, because they are undercutting the competition to a point that is making it hard for brick-n-mortar stores to compete. Even schools are bypassing their normal book ordering channels, electing to click a few buttons on an Amazon webpage rather than do their usual face-to-face deals with local middlemen.

The fact is, bookstores are going the way of the dinosaur, and that means we'll soon be without a place to hold crisp new volumes of our favorite tomes in hand and relish the smell and feel of mint pages. That is truly sad. I'm all for the digital age, believe you me, and 711 Press is embracing the future by releasing each and every title in the current major digital formats in addition to print (though we have eschewed the old offset press/warehousing model, which is wasteful and archaic, not to mention expensive). My fear, though, is that people will start to shy away from books altogether if the war rages on too long or gets out of hand. Right now we're still seeing the book giants battling it out in the literary cosmos and causing major rifts in the book world (I'm looking at you Amazon, B&N, and the big pubs). While there is a struggle to gain the larger sum of market share, these players are taking down smaller bookstores left and right and leaving communities with fewer places to find physical books. Not everyone has migrated to the web as concerns book purchases.

The fact is, rather than hold on to outdated business models, which is the primary cause of the money hemorrhaging big publishers are facing, they need to come up with cheaper, better ways to compete. At the end of the day, we don't want to turn people off when it comes to books, particularly the fiction variety, we want to keep folks reading at all cost. And that, my friends, is the primary aim of 711 Press, the reason for which we launched headfirst into this business to begin with. I've always said that a business, any business, particularly a new startup, should not try to emulate point for point what a competitor has done or is doing, else why compete. If you don't have something to offer in a unique way you won't stand out from the rest of the pack. Many a company have faded in the background for being run-of-the-mil.

711 Press is a publisher, yes, but there are many thousands of those in existence. We figured we had to offer something unique in order to stand out somewhat. While books are nothing new, we felt we had to present them in a new and unique way that would appeal to a wide variety of readers. And I believe we have succeeded in doing just that. While the big boys are fending one another off and trying everything they can to best the other guy, we're dead set on producing unique, quality fiction with a focus on keeping our readers entertained.

So far the future is looking bright.


Kill Factor: Serpent Head Launches!

So thrilled to see the book's release today, Friday, April 27th! It's another Movie Book Friday, folks! And this time we invite you to the world of Kill Factor. Get ready for decadence Monte Carlo style, and thrills, chills, and spy action that will pump you up for more books in this ongoing series. Spring is more like summer with Serpent Head, so picture yourself on a beach with this book in hand and lose yourself in a convoluted espionage plot that will whisk you away from reality for about 2 hours.

In this installment, rogue agent Hadrian Black is sent to Geneva in an attempt to uncover the hidden players behind Redrum Industries, but trouble follows him when Redrum's home-grown spies corner our hero in the field. Meanwhile Magenta, the newest recruit (and the latest agent to be snatched right from the government's clutches and Redrum itself) is dispatched to exquisite Monte Carlo, where she attempts to finagle intel from one of Redrum's elite while immersing herself in the pampered Monaco lifestyle. According to 711 Press, this is the sexiest Kill Factor entry so far, and it has to be with Magenta at the center of the story. We also meet a new sleeper with a standard Principate call sign and color code, Trajan Cobalt, and a lot is revealed in short order before all is said and done.

So lose yourself in this latest Movie Book and let us know what you think! Check out Serpent Head here.

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