Progress Update

So last week I ran into all sorts of problems while working on Pandemonium Justified.  It was a bit of a blessing wrapped in a dirty diaper.  I came to an unexpected place in my plot that is still causing me problems about how to move forward.  Now that was the dirty diaper and I am still working out how to clean said diaper but the blessing was finding out about all the legal ramifications of have your main character actually Sing lyrics from actual songs. That prompted a small (read glasses tossing, hair pulling cinnabon craving) melt down.But as I get a little more removed from the problem and think more about the solution Problem B because a little easier to manage.  I realize that the Big Scary of writing full catchy songs is like the Monster at the end of the ‘Fear Itself’ episode of Buffy The Vampire Slayer.  Meaning the thought of it is way scarier than the physical.  I don’t need to create full scale songs.  Just enough for a quote and to use it as source material.  Since I’m not performing any of these songs the melody doesnt even matter.  What does matter is me getting these ideas written down so that i can move on with them and have a collection of them for me to pull from.  Just having a record that these ideas came from me is the most important thing for me because it allows me to ‘step on’ the monster that iscausing me this weeks problems and move on to the Big Bad of plot issues.  So currently, I am just editing and working on songs and trying to focus on getting The MisEducation to the widest audience possible.  Got some great information about selling in Indie Book Stores as well as working my way into the major retailers like Barnes and Nobles. Go Team  I am going to post all of my current song portions soon.  


Cover Comparison

So I am in the process of creating new cover art for my book. The MisEducation of A Minor. THe cover I had on their before was in my opinion a very neat, clean and striking cover that came about at the last minute as I was attempting to publish and realized that you need a cover for your book.  So during my initial days of publishing,, I reached out to other authors for advice on how to better promote and sell my book.  I was met with a chorus of you’re cover doesn’t fit your genre.  It is too plain, too clean too neat.  So after the initial excitement of publishing wore off, I sat down and had to evaluate the what now of distributing.  So i have been striving to heed the advice of others and I contacted an artist friend and asked if she could help draw a new cover. She agreed and so with her help I now have the first draft of my new cover completed.  It is still rather neat and clean but it does give a little insight into the book. I am posting both covers so I can get feedback on how they compare.  Please keep in mind I am still in the drafting stage of the cover and there are still slight tweaks that I will be making to the image but this is essentially what it is so Comments welcome.  ImageImage

SMFTM Single Two Man Twin or Number Four

Number Four

Sometimes I struggle to recap what happened in the past year but my nephew Lee never has such problems.  I heard him singing out of his window at my place while I was organizing some things in the garage.

I begged you to stay.  Everyday since I’ve cried. 

You told me it was only me.  But that was all a lie. 

You sent me off to a foreign place while you played with fire.

A castle who’s Prince wants me hung from his spire.

Please explain, why am I here?  Why tell me now ma?

But I’m stuck with these guys and you’re there with the worms

I can’t even say bye but these were your terms.   

So I kiss Lee goodbye, I’ll give Johnny a try.

Hopefully dad’s real this time But

I’m a Two Man Twin Now

My brother hates Me but It’s Alright

I will survive, how I don’t know. I’m done with tears I let it go

So from right here I declare I won’t be Number 4. 

A fake dad and two uncles. That’s what I call family now.

Two brothers who fight me for things I can’t change

Powers that are outta control when my eyes catch the flames

Almost got kidnapped, I killed him instead.

But this is what, what you chose.  Mommy this is my new home.

Cus I’m stuck with these guys and you’re there with the worms

I can’t even say bye but those were your terms.

So I kiss Lee goodbye and give Johnny a try

Hopefully dad’s real this time Cus

I’m a Two-Man Twin now

My brother hates me but it’s alright.

I will survive, how I don’t know.  I’m done with tears I let it go.

So from right here I declare I am not number 4.

I did find some friends who are down to ride with your youngest.

But the first set is gone I hope this time I’m not wrong.

I’m blocking out last summer. I don’t wanna see blood no more. 

Cus I’m a Two-Man Twin now

My brother hates me but it’s alright.

I will survive, how I don’t know. I’m done with tears I let it go.

So from right here I declare… 


Number Four 

There is a very definite song that this is set to but the words are all mine. I want to get a little feedback on whether it works as a prologue for book 2.  You can contact me to find out which song its set too.


-Manny L Birch Author 

Updated Chapter List.

I am about Halfway through book 2 Pandemonium Justified at this point.  It is definitely taking some turns I did not expect when I started writing but I am happy with the general direction of the series so far.  I have definitely started diving deeper into some characters that almost seemed throw away or random in the first book.  However, I never realized how difficult it is to write a new world/  I’ve realized that the further you go from reality the easier the rules are to justify.  My world is rather close to reality so I find myself having to refer to Google quite a bit to make sure the things I am claiming are plausible.  It feels good though to have a friend ask me about something and be able to explain the science behind some of the events.  So here is my updated Chapter List.  so far. Note titles subject to change.  

Book Two Pandemonium Justified

I. Please Don’t Stop The Music. 

II. What You Think About That. 

III. The Scientist. 

IV. Tell Me A Lie. 

V. Father of Mine. 

VI Ease off the Liquor. 

VII Comes Around.. 

VIII. Feedback. 

IX I Dreamed a Dream… 

X Back In Time. 

XI Who is She 2 U.. 

XII. Justify My Thug. 

XIII. The Show Goes On.. 

XIV. Monster. 


XVI. Fighter. 

XVII. Keep On Singing My Song. 


Johnny Lee Belamo likes to think he is an ordinary fifteen year old boy.     

If you’ve heard him sing, you’ve heard love.  If you’ve heard him sing you’ve heard hope.  If you’ve heard him sing you’ve heard life.  As they all fled your body. 

If you’ve seen the flames dance in his eyes you’ve known fear. If you’ve seen the flames dance you’ve known pain.  If you’ve seen the flames the music has stopped.  Only idiots pray for the music to stop.  The first time. 

But you’ll learn quickly to fear the eyes that Burn. 

But that’s the end. This is the MisEducation. Come sit with me and learn how Johnny Lee Belamo went from ordinary to something else.

The MisEducation of A minor is a mix of high school, family and super powered drama. It follows Johnny Lee Belamo on his journey to discover his place in the world after the murder of his mother.  He is forced to deal with not just her death but his burgeoning abilities, intense family secrets, his mother’s murderer, secret organizations and of course Math class.   

Still time for changes if you think I can improve i am DEFINITELY Open to ideas suggestions or Comments thanks.  

Amazon Breakout Novel Contest.

So I have officially submitted Songs My Father Taught Me to Amazons Breakout Novel Contest. Essentially the contest is a four part process that is open to 10,000 entrants.  There are Five Categories that you can choose from to enter your novel into.  General Fiction, Mystery/Thriller,Science Fiction/Fantasy/Horror, Romance, and Young Adult.  It took me quite some time to decide whether to enter it into Scifi/fantasy or the Young Adult categories.  It was a difficult decision because i strongly consider my novel a scifi or urban fantasy novel.  However my protagonist is 15.  And much of the story revolves around his growth  and development after a traumatic event.  So i decided to look at what designation some best sellers would have gotten and regardless of any mystical or fantasy elements most of them, Harry Potter, Hunger Games, Twilight, Percy Jackson, would have been Young Adult So i followed suit.  The first portion of the contest is judged on the pitch for the book.  This is actually the part I am most afraid of.  I had a very very difficult time trying to grind my book down to 300 catchy words or less.  I am still a little concerned that it is not strong enough to gain me entry into the next part of the contest.  I am arrogant enough to believe that the excerpt which is the second portion of the contest is catchy enough to get me to the third portion.  Honestly If i make it to the third portion i would be happy with that because at that stage you get a critical review of your work from Amazon’s editors which for someone writing a series like me is great because now they are checking for my name.  You also get mentioned as part of the competition and so instead of being relelgated to the ‘you have to actively search for this book to see it section’ i will get moved to a much more visible portion of the website enabling me to garner better sales.  The fourth portion is a semifinalist day in Seattle or some other such city in which the winner is announced.  There is a winner for each category and a grand prize winner.  The category winners each receive 15000 dollars and a publishing deal.  And the grand prize winner gets 50.000 and a deal.  While that would be a blessing, I don’t count on things like that.  I just hope to get a little more exposure for what i feel is a decent product.  so here hoping.  I will post my Pitch later.  

Sneak Peak

Since I don’t have any singles to release i figured i would release an actual completed chapter from the second book.  It may be a little spoiler-y but nothing too significant.  

IV Tell Me A Lie                                  

 “Yo, who is that guy in dad’s office?” Jayson asked.

“Some scientist; he is doing research on power development and some other stuff.  He is supposedly a huge deal,” Brian responded.

“Well, how does he know dad and us?”

“What do you mean?”

“Well, he acted as if he knew who I was.”

“I don’t know.  Maybe him and dad have met before and he met you and you just don’t remember it.”

“No, that’s not it.  This felt different.  Go ask your brother,” he said as he let his hair out of the tie holding it back. 

“If you want to know, you ask him.”

“No, if I ask him, he is gonna tell me some crap I don’t really want to know.  If you ask him, you will filter out all the extra shenanigans that I don’t really want to know.”

“Well, guess what?  I don’t really care who this guy is.  So you have two options bro, you go ask your twin yourself or you don’t find out the answer.”

“God you are so useless. Why do we keep you?”

“You know, I think he said the same exact thing to me a few months ago.  Just think, in a few months you two may not be the world’s worst twins anymore.”


“Off you go.  I’m sure you can find him.”

“You know when he does tell me something I didn’t want to know, I’m not gonna tell you.  And then you will be the last to know again.”  He pulled his bushy afro back into a pony tail and then brushed a few stray strands of hair off his blazer. 

“And I’ll cry for a little while and get over it.  So get going J.”                                                  

            Jayson opened the door to Lee’s room and walked right in to find Lee, Ford and Mouse going over the words to ‘Crazy in Love’.

“Yo, I need to ask you a question,” Jayson shouted over to Lee.  Lee looked up from his computer and over at Jayson then back to Ford.

“We really have become the student lounge.  What do you need?”

“Who was that guy with dad today?  I don’t know why, but I just knew you knew and I couldn’t read it off you.  You were guarding it.  So I knew it was pretty intense.  I honestly tried to get Brian to come here instead because I know you are gonna drop some bomb on me and then go about the rest of your day as if nothing even happened.”

“Well, ok.  Boom.  He is… considering our conversation in San Francisco, probably the milk man.  Hell, he might even be our step-dad.  I’m pretty sure they weren’t married, but who knows, I have a twin brother.  Mom clearly wasn’t disturbed by keeping secrets.”

“Finally,” Jayson said with an exhale. 


“You didn’t pretend not to care.  You didn’t laugh it off.  You reacted to it.  And I mean way more subdued than I can manage yet, but I definitely felt that anger course through you.  And honestly, seeing you angry is good for my soul.”

“Well, always glad to heal your soul.” 

“So, how long was he with mom?”

“Like forever, I’m not really sure.  I met him when I was like 4 but I’m pretty sure him and mom were dating a little while before I met him.”

“Oh.  So, did he live with you guys?”

“Not really.  Okay, long story short, because I have to get to the music room then we are going out tonight ‘cus it’s this kid’s birthday; he raised me.  I have his last name.  The only reason I don’t call him dad is because him and mom told me not to.” 

“Everything the Doc taught you, Dr. Steve taught me.  He has been there for most of my stuff, like shows and crap.  He is a research scientist though, so he goes away a lot.  He was in Africa, I think it was Africa, when mom died.  And he has been all over the world studying mutants.  The only reason I’m still here with you guys is because he told me I needed to stay and get to know you guys and that he had already paid tuition.   But he is a good guy and he will probably try to get to know you pretty soon.  He is funny and I think I got my sense of humor from him, take that how you want to.  But we gotta jet now so if you have any further questions hit me up tonight.”

“So wait, does my dad know?”

“Know what?”

“About your relationship with this guy?”

“You remember when I asked him who my dad was and he called me an idiot?  Yeah, he knows,” Lee concluded as he left the room.