Wednesday, August 27, 2014

You got your Butter in my Coffee!!! 

 One of my best friends and media cohorts, John Osteen, (no, not the preacher, quite the opposite actually) was clamoring about the virtues of something called bullet proof coffee.  John is a motion picture director and motion graphic artist par excellence, so I tend to listen to him when he finds something new to jump start one’s creativity.  When he detailed the ingredients, I became understandably skeptical.  You see, this brain-boosting bullet dodging swill contains Butter.  
I know, right?

  I’m being sensational; forgive me.  I dig stirring the pot to generate Internet buzz.  I’m a digital whore in that regard.  You’re not dumping a scoop of Parkay margarine into your sippy cup full of Folgers crystals, no, no, no, kids, this cranial concoction is going to require a trip to Whole Foods, Trader Joe’s, or a similar type of Douchery-store.   You’ll need grass-fed unsalted butter; Kerry-gold works well, Coconut Oil, and some good black coffee.   This drink has become popularized by some relentlessly self-improving Bio-Hacker named Dave Asprey, who upon climbing a mountain in Tibet, (presumably not in search of the Ajanti Dagger) was reportedly rejuvenated by a cup of Yak Butter Tea. 

  Mmmmm, Yak Butter…   

Here is Asprey’s site with details of his adventure and how you can buy his ingredients.

What you do is brew the hell out of a cuppa joe and blend in the oil and butter with a good high speed blender.  I’m leaving out a few details that you can get from Asprey’s site, like the specific coffee that he recommends to reduce toxins, distilled water to begin with, and a special oil that replaces the Coconut Oil.  That's a little too involved for me.  Homeboy is trying to sell his products and they might just make a difference but I proceeded with over the counter goodies.  In a nutshell, you are adding fats and medium chain triglycerides with caffeine to sort of kick start your metabolism and cognitive processes.  There is science to back this idea up, but hell if I’m gonna go looking for it.  Google that shit!  I used to take MCTs in high school when I was big into bench pressing.  Adding supplements to coffee seemed like it was worth a try.  The result is a frothy cup of decent coffee that doesn’t taste bad at all.  It’s a process; it takes a little time and makes for more washing up afterwards.  I’ve had four cups so far over the past two days and I can report that for me, my appetite was lessened and mental clarity seemed a bit better.  Its like you don’t crash from the coffee so fast.  I’ve had a cup after a 5K run and didn’t feel hungry for two hours, and another after an upper body workout and felt sharp and not hungry for the same duration.  I’ve been working my way up to the full ingredients, which call for two tablespoons of butter per cup.  I am only using one per cup now.  It’s counterintuitive to me to add butter to coffee in the first place, two tablespoons seems drooling loony crazy.  Give me time to adjust…

  I think this kind of coffee has some merit, but is it healthy? There is another health guru named Dr. Weil, you know the cat that looks like a white Kimbo Slice, yeah that dude.  He doesn’t seem to be against it, check out his comments here

  I’m gonna stick with it for a while and see if I get smarter.  I need all the help I can get.  


 Separated at birth, I reckon.  Have a good day, kids. 

Thursday, April 03, 2008

Some hints on moving your text to CreateSpace

A short video detailing some hints about changing your Word file to better conform to CreateSpace. This video does not cover PDF creation.
More videos coming soon.

Wednesday, April 02, 2008

Porting a Lulu book cover to Createspace.

A video tutorial about how I moved the Rise and Walk book cover from Lulu to CreateSpace. I will have more videos soon.

Friday, October 12, 2007

Convention Report for the SiliCon SciFi and Horror Con.

October 5-7, 2007

SiliCon was my first convention appearance. My girlfriend and I arrived late Friday night but were still able to attend the “Meet the Guests” event. It was an informal gathering to announce all of us guests, our projects, and smile for some applause. It was cool to place a face to people whom I had only known online up to that point.

I got to meet Molly (pictured above) and Wil from, who invited me to the event. Gregory Lamberson, the director of Slime City and writer of Johnny Gruesome introduced himself to me and Christy. He and I had talked online before the event because our names got mixed up by the convention staff. They had me scheduled in his place on the “Slime City Creators Panel” due to our shared first names. He was a very nice guy, not gruesome at all.

Later on I introduced myself to writer, Simon Wood, of Accidents Waiting to Happen fame.
He and I had corresponded through MySpace in the past where I have become a fan of his blog.
We were both scheduled to sit on a writer’s panel on Saturday. I told him that I had never been on a panel before. His advice was to not worry and when I do answer a question, not to be too long winded about it. I appreciated his counsel.

Next I judged a short film festival that ran for a couple of hours with filmmaker Michael Paul Girard, the lovely Sarah from and cats from the PopCornReview. We saw some pretty good horror shorts. One film that stood out for me was David Pope’s Gasoline Blood. It was a zombie short that had a great retro-seventies look. Pope seemed like a good kid out here from the U.K. to pitch some producers in L.A. I wish him luck. The unanimous winner of the festival was an interesting torture thriller called Criticized by filmmaker Richard Gale. I am not a fan of such films but what I saw was indeed well executed. The film looked great, the story was there and the special effects top notch. I was very happy to meet Sarah since she gave Rise and Walk such a kind review.

Saturday came too early and I was very tired from the previous week’s preparations. I made it to the Horror Writers Panel where I shared the stage with four other fine authors. Kevin Murphy, Jordan Stoen, Fred Wiehe, and Simon Wood were all there to answer the audience’s questions. We spent over an hour talking about what scares us, why we write and what we think about horror cliché’s. I really enjoyed it and was happy to find that I wasn’t nervous. It was a wonderful feeling to be accepted by these authors. They made me feel very welcome. I would love to do another panel soon!

Next I went to my table to meet the conventioneers and sign copies of Rise and Walk. Simon had a table next to me and in between our exchanges with guests we got to spend some time talking. His advice on book deals and how to protect Rise should I go to another publisher was very important to me. Listening to someone who has made deals and been through the process was greatly appreciated. He is a good guy. The guests at the convention were great. I got to meet a lot of horror and Sci Fi fans. I signed a bunch of autographs and smiled a lot more than usual. I like this writing thing:)

A film crew from some television show in the Silicon Valley dropped by the table and asked me for an interview. The newsman told me the name of the show but so much was going on that it has slipped my mind. I used to host shows in my Television classes back in college so I thought what the hell, it would be good for the book. I have experience being on camera but it has been a long time. I did about seven minutes of Q&A with the host, remembering to look at him and then the camera, just like in school. They said they would send me an E-mail about when and where it would be on so I hope to see it soon.

As the Saturday sun waned my filmmaker friends over at the Black Devil Doll table said that their neighbor was leaving for the weekend. So I moved my stuff to the table next to them. For those of you who haven’t heard of the movie, Black Devil Doll before, trust me, you will soon. It is going to be in the news eventually and you will know that Independent Cinema history has been made. The BDD kids had actresses dressed as Exotic Dancers at their table bringing them lots of attention. Natasha enjoyed some Rise and Walk. I know the filmmakers but the mysterious executive producers, Menahem Ostein and Yoram Mayberg were nowhere to be seen. Their reputation as inveterate womanizers and libertines of modern chemistry seems to be intact. Director Jon Lewis told me that the producers disappeared with two other actresses and a suitcase of unmarked bills to have a “Casting Session” in Vegas. Sitting next to the BDD crew was a very fun time. The girls were barely dressed and I had a bucket of Candy!

I closed up the table around eight so that Christy and I, along with our friends John and Robyn from the BDD crew could go get Sushi. I was beat. I had three large Starbucks over the course of the day. That’s right, I said LARGE. I don’t buy into that Venti-Grande-Tall crap that they use to socially engineer our vocabulary. I took a nap after dinner until about eleven but awoke thinking of how I could better promote Rise and Walk. This was my first convention and I should do all I could to get the word out. I lay in bed for the next ten minutes formulating a plan.

I got out of bed, washed my grill and took a walk around the convention. There was still a lot of activity in the hotel. I spoke to Wil and thanked him for his invitation to the Con.

I toyed with the idea of having a drink with the Black Devil Doll boys who were doing shots at the bar but I wanted to be at my best for Sunday so I politely excused myself. Getting drunk with Mitch and Jon is not for the weak of spirit and I didn’t want a hangover.

Walking around I noticed how the convention had taken over the hotel. There were flyers and posters plastered all over the common areas. Since I am new to this phenomenon it never occurred to me that I could post my promotional stuff around like this. Greg Lamberson had posted flyers about his film in the restrooms. Hell, I thought, I’ll be like Greg. I went back and grabbed a stack of flyers and a roll of scotch tape and set out posting my flyer above the urinals in the bathrooms. Everybody has to pee and when you do, you usually read what ever is in front of you. I would have a captive audience. In the front of the hotel, as one enters, there was a second floor of events that could be missed if one wasn’t paying attention. So someone on the staff had made a large LOOK sign out of blue tape with an arrow pointing up. So I posted a Rise and Walk flyer at the top of the arrow. LOOK-Rise and Walk. Thank you to who ever made that sign. I made sure I had plenty of cards and free chapbooks out on the swag tables and headed back to bed.

Sunday, busted through the curtains without mercy. I was very tired and had not had more than maybe four hours of sleep at a stretch all weekend. I knew that I had to get out there and meet the guests. I have to admit that it is reassuring to wake up and be twenty five yards from a Starbucks. I met Kevin Andrew Murphy at the Starbucks counter and we talked a bit about the Gummi-Gods. Don't ask, I am not explaining that one. He wanted to have lunch but I had to get behind my table. I felt bad turning down the bread breaking but I had to get my promotions on. Things went good at the table. I met more cats and shook some hands. Jordan Stoen dropped by and we talked books. She has a lot of experience as a writer and editor and lives near me so we are going to meet for coffee in the future. Dave Reda, director of Bit Parts dropped by. We spoke about our DIY philosophies. Dave's enthusiasm was infectious. I am glad he picked up a copy of Rise. I can't wait to find out what he thinks. I met a nice couple at the table across the hall. Kat from KatGirl Studios and her boyfriend Scott from Lost Graphics who drew me a killer zombie pic from Rise and Walk. Thanks Scott, that was cool. Greg Lamberson dropped by and we chopped it up for a while. He was very supportive and encouraging about my efforts. I hope to meet him again.

All in all the con was a great time for me. I will do another at the drop of a hat. I absolutely loved meeting the other writers, filmmakers and fans. I am so sold on making my writing the best it can be so that the readers enjoy my work.

Next time I am throwing a room party!

Gregory Solis

Thursday, October 11, 2007

My first press release.

Greetings friends,

I apologize for my lack of posts lately. I attended the SiliCon Science fiction and Horror convention last weekend and was very busy preparing for the event. I will be posting information on how I made my promotional materials as well as how the convention went in successive posts. One of the first things that I had to do was create a press release about Rise and Walk. One author in the forums was a little surprised that I had yet to make a press release given all the success that Rise and Walk has received. I just didn’t know what to say until very recently. I researched other press releases for books and set to making my own.

I will have more updates soon but for now, here is my release.

Take Care,



Independent Author Gregory Solis Rises to the Top in Print-On-Demand Horror with his Debut Zombie Novel, Rise and Walk.

Concord, CA, October 2, 2007 – Gregory Solis’ debut horror novel, Rise and Walk has risen to become the best selling horror title at Raleigh, North Carolina publisher, the fastest growing provider of print-on-demand books. Published in January of 2007, Rise and Walk assumed the top position in the horror category in September. Demand for the Zombie themed novel has steadily grown since its first appearance on on January 31st of this year. In the past eight months Gregory Solis has gained book sales in the United States, Canada, Germany and the United Kingdom.

Gregory Solis will be appearing as a featured guest at the SiliCon Science Fiction and Horror Convention, October 5th through the 7th in San Jose California. He will be signing autographs as well as judging a short film competition and joining a panel discussion on horror writing.

Rise and Walk is a novel of survival horror in a world over run by a plague of the living dead. Two brave young women join forces with two thrill seekers in a terror filled struggle against the undead. Low on ammunition and supplies, the survivors use anything at hand to fight off the flesh hungry horde. As the party makes their escape they soon realize that there is nowhere to run when the dead Rise and Walk. It is the first book in a new horror adventure series that will examine the struggle of everyday individuals to find safety in a world that is falling apart. Rise and Walk has received many favorable reviews from the internet horror community.

Link to Publication:

Title: Rise and Walk

ISBN: 978-1-4303-0600-9

Price $16.99 US

Link to SiliCon Convention:


Gregory Solis was born in San Francisco California. Educated at San Francisco State University where he earned a Bachelors Degree in Cinema. A lifelong writer of fiction he turned his talents towards Horror Fiction in 2006 when he began Rise and Walk. Published in 2007, Rise and Walk has received many great reviews. Greg is working on a sequel and further tales of zombie horror for his Rise and Walk series. He currently lives in Northern California where he writes and runs his own video editing business.


MEDIA CONTACT: Gregory Solis,,

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Designing the book cover of Rise and Walk

Since some people have commented on the design of Rise and Walk's cover, I thought I would spend some time discussing how it came about.
Rise and Walk is the first book in a series and I wanted to incorporate an element of branding in the title font and cover design. I needed to create some unifying graphical theme that could carry over through the subsequent books. I had some ideas but would have to wait until I had the main image for the cover.
The main image would have to relate to the title. Rise and Walk. I would have to show something dead rising. It should be bloody but not so gory that it would be unfit for a bookstore's shelf. I didn't want to do a full zombie because I would have to make it really nasty and I wanted the image to be more subtle. A bloody arm should do! So I grabbed my sweet girlfriend and her Nikon D70 camera, some Karo Syrup, red food coloring, petroleum jelly, a rough large pore sponge, some instant coffee grounds, and headed out to the woods behind my house.

The Make Up.
After finding a location with a tree that I liked I started to apply the make up. To add filth and age to my arm, I rubbed some instant coffee in patches on my skin. I made sure to rub some grounds over and under my fingernails as well. You cannot have a creature with clean fingernails. I pre mixed a bottle of clear Karo pancake syrup with red food coloring. If I were using this blood mix on a movie set, I would have thinned it with some water and added a little yellow coloring. For digital photography, I knew I could control the color and I needed the mixture to be thick so adding water was unnecessary. I also added some red food coloring to a small amount of Vaseline to create a quick sort of Thick Blood. I used the large pore sponge to drag some of the colored Vaseline across my arm to add texture. I then applied some of the syrup blood and let it drip down and around my arm. I dabbed at this sticky mixture with some more blood on the sponge and let it run naturally.

We shot many different photographs with my arm around the tree. The camera was set at a resolution of about 2000 by 3000 and each image was about a meg and a half in size. Once I got home and cleaned all the crap off of my arm and sat down to pick a photograph. This is the one I liked best.

I needed to sweeten it up a bit because the blood was lacking so I used the clone function in Adobe Photoshop to spread out some of the red. I sampled the darker areas of red and cloned them into the areas that needed more blood. Once that was done I made a levels adjustment to the entire image. Levels is just a way to adjust the tonal values of the image. Sometimes there is not enough color information in an image across the entire dynamic range, so adjusting the Red, Green, and Blue, levels independently can help to bring out detail. You simply move the sliders in to where there is color information for each RGB channel on the histogram.

Check out this site for more information on level adjusments in Photoshop.

Here is the adjusted image.

Next I desaturated the image to give it a little age and moved it over a bit to add the unifying graphical elements. I had to clone some of the tree over just a bit to fill in some areas that would be underneath a gradient that I wanted to add.

The unifying elements I came up with was a gradient frame on the left side and bottom that started out in full black and gently faded off the image. The sequels can share this framing with a different image and title to identify them as Rise and Walk books. By keeping the visual themes consistent, I am setting up a brand that the readers will hopefully recognize.

Now it is time for the title. I think that the title font and how it is presented is very important to creating a recognizable identity for the books. I looked at a lot of different books in my research and decided that I lacked the skills in illustration to draw an original title from scratch. But I knew I could build one digitally by manipulating a simple font. I began with a font called Kozuka Mincho.

I pulled down the opacity of the font to let some of the background show through. Pulling down the opacity makes the font as transparent as you like. A simpler way to describe it is that I faded the font by 30 percent.

Next, I beveled the text layer to roll off the hard corners and smooth out the lines of the font. Beveling can help achieve more of a 3d effect.

I added a gradient overlay to give a lighting effect to the title. Essentially this just makes the brightness of the text go from darker to lighter in which ever direction you choose. This can also add to a 3d effect.

Next, I added a drop shadow to give the text more depth. The effect is subtle but if you look at the e, it appears to have more punch with the drop shadow.

I used a Gill Sans font for the byline and used the same effects from before except for the opacity. I added no transparency to the byline because the background underneath it was very dark. Notice how the gradient overlay gives the name depth as if it were lit by a couple of lights. At this point I was happy with the name. The title would still need more work.

In Photoshop you can apply any image as a texture to a text layer. I wanted
something organic to add texture to the font. I chose an image of trees and applied the Bevel effect to the image. This had the effect of thickening the lines of the image.

See how the image now has some relief to it, almost like a jigsaw puzzle. The process is a little complicated, but what I did was use this altered image as a texture for the font. Even though the image is part of the Photoshop project file, you never see it in the final product. The ups and downs in the color information is applied to the face of the text, giving it a crinkly organic texture.

Now the text looks like it is some sort of organically peeling stone. I want to pursue this further and push this into a brighter silver color.
I also want to enhance the overall image.

Something more like this. By jacking up the brightness and increasing the contrast I was able to give more depth to the texture. I was very happy at this point.

Here is how the overall adjustment worked out. If you are a Photoshop cat, the adjustment I made was +23 for brightness and +40 for contrast. The red became a sort of dirty old blood that suggests a heavily damaged creature. I really liked the contrast with the texture of the tree bark and the out of focus background.

That is how it came about. I did try many other variations and different designs before I arrived at this cover. If you are interested, some of those examples are here.
I hope that this was informative to you. Thank you very much for having a look.
Gregory Solis

Friday, June 29, 2007

A listing of RIse and Walk Reviews

Hey there Zombie fans. I have been working on my website in between writing and thought I would post my collection of reviews for Rise and Walk. The book is doing well and I will be a guest a the SiliCon convention in San Jose this October. I will have more information on that later.

For now, here is a list of reviews.
Take Care everyone.
Gregory Solis

Review snippetts

...this book blew me away. Whoever called this a young adult book must have had a very disturbing childhood. And the paintball aspect, which looks silly from the outset, leads to some really surprising plot twists, as well as some moments that made me cringe in honest disgust...

...Gregory strikes a visceral blow with this novel, leaving you worn, breathless, and strangely agitated when you get to the final page and realize it's over. It's one of those rides that ends too soon, leaving you begging for a sequel, so you can keep up with the character's lives.
Read the entire review by Shawn Rutledge at

...The book is a great novel, and terrifying in parts. I'm equally impressed with the author's use of allegories and depth in the characters. It's also changed my mind about entering any competition in the woods any time soon.

So to Gregory, my hat is off to you, just tell your zombies to leave my brains alone, and to all you zombie fans, RISE and WALK is incredible. The zombie genre would be missing an arm without it.
Read the entire review by Nathan Curtis at New World Reviews.

...Author Solis definitely has a knack for bringing the dead to life. Very detailed and descriptive writing so graphic you can almost smell the flesh rotting. I felt dirty, I could picture each and every setting, I pictured each and every character and graphically imagined each and every horrible mutilation as it happened.
Read the entire review at The Zombie

Riveting terror … fast-paced action…intense suspense makes for an entertaining, attention-grabbing horror tale. "Rise and Walk" is superbly orchestrated as it opens with a captivating first chapter, and then continues to hold the reader's attention through the rest of the story. Genuine sturdy characters give authenticity to the uncontrolled terror reigning in this small town.
Read the entire review by Pamela at POD People.

...(Solis) is very good at throwing you off the trail in regards to what you may think is going to happen. In some chapters he builds up characters that you think will become a main staple throughout the book, only to have them torn to shreds in the next. Others you think may die right away live for a while and it just simply keeps you guessing.
Read the entire review by Danny Northside at I Can Smell Your

There is also an interview online.
Author Interview at

Download a free expanded 48 page PDF sample of Rise and Walk here.

Available on