Monday, December 29, 2014

Escape from Netherworld now in Stores!!!

During the Holidays, I stopped at my local Barnes and Noble store, looking for some gifts for family and friends.  I had been waiting on a response from their corporate offices about my book, Escape from Netherworld, to see if and when they would be putting my book on the shelf in the stores. Since this was my first book as an author, I was told it may only be online until sales figures and reviews would help decide what they do.  So to my surprise when I walked in..... was already on their shelf in the science fiction/fantasy section.  It truly felt good to see my hard work start to pay off and a really good feeling seeing it on the shelf for the first time.  I ended up speaking to the manager and found out that Barnes and Noble had agreed to start putting my book in the local stores in my area, which is Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.

He asked if I would autograph the copies in the store and I spoke to another employee who wants to set up book signings at several locations when things start to settle down after the holidays.  I was still kind of shocked that I saw the book on the shelf, hoping that i was not just dreaming.  I won't lie, I felt proud to accomplish this stage in the process.  The next step is for me to get Barnes and Noble to agree to put the book on their shelves nationally.  Hopefully, I will be blogging another post soon with more good news from Barnes and Noble.  

Friday, December 19, 2014

R.A. Salvatore inspired me to become a Writer!

I have been reading sci-fi/fantasy novels since I was a kid. I have basically read everything written about Star Wars and almost every novel that has come from TSR/Wizards of the Coast involving multiple realms.  I am a huge fan of some of the authors involved and a few have written for both series, but the one that has stood out for me has to be R.A. Salvatore.

I have read everything R.A. Salvatore has written that I could find, including a novel that involved Tarzan.  What fascinated me about his writing is his incredibly detailed fight scenes and how you feel that you have a seat in the stands watching the battle as it takes place.  He brings you into his world and sometimes makes you want to become part of it. 

His main character, Drizzt Do'Urden, has been a favorite fighter of mine through a number of trilogies and series, and has continued to grow into a legend in the world of fantasy as has R.A. Salvatore himself.

As I continued to read trilogy after trilogy, I realized that the fighting scenes that were in my head, needed to be put down on paper.  This is how I became a writer.  I had wanted to write a series of my own for a good while and decided that, at the age of 40, this was something I was missing and needed to accomplish in my life.  So my first book, Escape from Netherworld, was created and i am busy at work on the 2nd and 3rd book in the series.  Writing has become a huge part of my life and I need to thank R.A. Salvatore for inspiring me to make my dream into a reality.

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Cheating Death

This is completely off topic, but I wanted to see if anyone else had a similar experience.  This past weekend, i had a near death event that involved me, my home, heavy rain and a downed live wire that came off of my house.

To set it up a little bit, i live on a dead end near the woods, my driveway is actually behind the home which you have to drive down a dirt road to come around into the driveway.  With hunting season, the road is loaded with trucks and a ton of hunters. On this day, it was raining heavy and the road was packed with hunter's trucks.

I was sitting in my living room, putting batteries into Christmas animals that play music for the holiday.  Suddenly i hear a massive bang that sounded just like a shotgun right outside near my porch.  I know that the hunters go in the woods but i thought possibly one decided to not follow the written rule of being so far in before shooting their weapon.  So I get up, throw on a jacket and head out onto my porch. I do not see anything on my porch that is out of the ordinary, like a stray bullet in my wall.  Looking over the porch, I see all the trucks but no one around. 

I decided to go around the side of my house and check the side wall and in the back yard to figure out where the bang came from.  Coming off the porch is 4 12"x12" stepping stones that lead into the yard. They are not fully secured in the mulch, so i always look down to make sure I stand on each one.  i made all four stones and my next step was going into the yard.  I was lucky to be looking down because my step would have brought me down onto a wire laying in the yard.  I almost lost my balance when i saw it but caught myself and stayed on the stone.  I backed up and when inside.

I called my electric company and 911 because my house at this point at lost power to half of it.  I ended up having a firetruck, ambulance, police cruiser and an emergency dispatch vehicle at my home before the electric company even got there since it was a weekend.  The firemen told me I needed to stay in my home, along with the three houses on the dead end street.  They checked the wire and it was completely live. 

Sorry for rambling, but the point of the story is that the electric company and the fire department told me that if i took that last step, I would not be here right now telling my story.  The guy from the electric company said that the load bang was the wires touching as the one came off of the house.  He also said the wire could have electrified the yard or started a fire based on the rain and the explosion.

I guess it has not hit me completely yet.  I was basically a half step away from death and looking on it now, would not have anything in order for my family if something did occur.  I was just lucky I happened to be looking down or I would have stepped right onto the wire and would not have had a chance to survive.   I need to get things in order and be prepared because anything can happen, including something that is right outside of your home and out of your control.

Please comment on the story or let me know if you had a similar experience that you would like to share.  Like I said, maybe it has not sunk in completely yet but talking about it releases some of the pressure on my mind.  Thanks for listening.

Friday, December 5, 2014

I am running a free E-Book promotion on Amazon today Friday Dec 5th through Sunday Dec 7th.  From Dec 8th through Dec 10th, the ebook will be only .99 cents for those who miss out on the free promotion.  I will incrementally increase the price to 3.99, 6.99 and then back to 9.99 every 3 days, allowing people who were away on vacation or missed the blog post to still get the ebook on Amazon at a discounted price for Christmas or to read yourself.  You can also gift the ebook to family and friends for the holidays.  I am looking forward to read comments or reviews over time after everyone had a chance to take a look or read the book. The link below will take you to the ebook promotion on Amazon. Thanks, Dave

Escape From Netherworld jacket

Saturday, November 29, 2014

My Book Trailer for Escape from Netherworld is up on YouTube now

My book trailer is up on YouTube now.  A lot of hard work went into making this trailer, along with some amazing editors, including the great music and sound effects.  At first I was not even sure what exactly a book trailer was, so I went out and researched the subject.  Everyone knows about movie trailers, but there are some unbelievable book trailers available to view on YouTube.  Just doing the research, I ended up purchasing a few books as the trailers intrigued me and made me want to learn more about the books.  Here is the link on YouTube  or you can watch the trailer below as I am including it in the blog post.

I would really love to get some feedback from anyone who watches the trailer.  All the music and sound effects are original. It was so much fun putting this together, of course after multiple drafts.

 A funny story, I always wanted to somehow use the theme music from Omen II in something that I created, but I realize you can not use someone else's intellectual property without consent.  The two things that always got to me when I was a kid was Damien in the Omen movies when the suspenseful music played (you knew something bad was going to happen) and the twin girls at the end of the hallway in The Shining.  The first time I saw that movie as a kid, I had a dream about the twins wanting me to come play with them. To this day, I am not a fan of Twins!!! (I am just kidding about that).

I hope you enjoy the book trailer as much as I did making it for the book Escape from Netherworld and any and all feedback is welcome.

Thursday, November 27, 2014

Escape from Netherworld Illustrator John Manders

My book, Escape from Netherworld, was illustrated by an amazing artist by the name of John Manders. John's work has been featured in over 30 children's books and a ton of children's magazines. I can't thank him enough for the dynamic job he did on the cover and a special drawing we included on the inside of the book at Chapter 4.

John's incredible work has been exhibited at the Art Institute of Pittsburgh gallery, the Pittsburgh Children’s Museum, and he was honored in the 25-year retrospective of Cricket magazine covers, held at the Art Institute of Chicago in 1999. That year, he was also a participant at the Children’s Book Fair in Bologna, Italy. In May, 2006 he was named Outstanding Illustrator/Author by the Pennsylvania School Librarian’s Association. 

John Manders' helped bring this book cover to life by using his special art technique, that you can read about on his website,

Check out his website and he also has a blog that you can take a look at and follow as well.  He is a great artist, illustrator and man.  Thanks again John.

Escape From Netherworld jacket

Thursday, November 20, 2014

Going from playing the Game ...... to living the Game!

Everyone who has ever played the game of Dungeons and Dragons, or a similar role playing adventure, has at one point thought what it would be like to actually walk a mile in their character's shoes.  To become that character, for just a while, always fascinated me and played a major part in the writing of my book.

The premise of my book, Escape from Netherworld, is a group of friends decide that they want to dress up as their characters that they created and play outdoors instead of around a table.  As they are playing the game on a set of caves near their home, one of the caves gives way.  The friends believe they are falling to their deaths but they are actually being catapulted into an alternate realm, where they actually become the characters that they were playing.  The ones dressed as elves and a dwarf have literally become just that.  All the weapons and armor are now real and so is the magic.

As a kid, my brother and I always imagined living in medieval times.  Trying to decide if we would have fought for the king who ruled the land or went against him as hired henchmen who lived off the land and fought for everything that we had.  Walking into a tavern, knowing the townspeople were watching us, not knowing what to expect that night.  Living in dangerous times, but much simpler times, without all the technology that rules our world today.

I hope you continue to follow along with me on my adventure.  I am expecting to have my book trailer up on YouTube soon. I an just finishing the final touches, a very fun project, being able to bring my book and some the characters to life in video.  Keep an eye out for it.

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

     A Big Part of the inspiration for this book was my Uncle Joe and my father, Vince.  My Uncle Joe was a marine, who was paralyzed from the neck down by a grenade, during his second tour of duty in Vietnam.  My dad, my brother and I would always be trying to find something new to help keep my uncle busy, as he ended up being bedridden when he finally made it home after hundreds of surgeries.

     We played every card game and board game probably available at the time.  But the day my brother, whose name is also Joe came home with the game of Dungeons and Dragons, we finally found what fascinated us the most and still does to this day.  It allowed our imaginations to run wild and it kept my uncle busy as he liked to be the one who ran the game.

     Some of the characters in my book where the original ones that we created over thirty years ago.  It easily became understandable why millions of people enjoy playing this game.  You were able to remove yourself from everyday life, and just for awhile, let your imagination take you to an amazing place with magic and monsters.

     My dad's first character that he created was a dwarf named Twiggy, who happens to be a major character in my book.  He based Twiggy off of himself.  The dwarf was a loyal friend, who had a massive beard and reveled in engaging in battle.  He would do anything for his family and friends.

My illustrator on this book is a man named John Manders, whom I can't say enough good things about.  I gave him creative freedom with just a few ideas of what i was looking for in Twiggy.  He read the book to understand the characters and could not have done a more amazing job on Twiggy than he did,  When I saw the final drawing of Twiggy, the only word I could think of was, Perfect!

Even though my uncle and dad have both passed on, they are still very much in my thoughts and have inspired me to become the man and author that I am today.

Monday, November 3, 2014

Sci-fi Fantasy Comes to Life

"Escape from Netherworld", a thrilling saga of heroism, bravery, duty, and passion, where seven friends, mysteriously transported into an unknown realm, unselfishly fight to help free the inhabitants they find there from the dark forces ruling them while attempting to battle their way back to their own world; a world which they may never see again.

My name is David Kuklis,author of Escape from Netherworld, a book for young adults and fantasy fans of all ages. I am a graduate of the University of Pittsburgh with a degree in Mathematics and I currently work as an income analyst for a bank. I have lived in Pittsburgh my entire life.

I would like to bring you on my journey of writing the book, what my plans for the future entail and even involve the characters themselves. This is just the beginning, I hope you will come on the adventure with me.