Who Is Jesse Thunderwake?

If you have ‘liked’ my Facebook page (and if not, get with the program) you may have seen a couple posts about Jesse Thunderwake: American Icon over the last few days. While I did discuss this project in detail in a February blog post about the premiere (you can also see a trailer and stills from the movie there, which I’ll leave out of this post), I think it’s time for a few more words about it.

Here’s the badass poster, a spoof of the great Stanley Kubrick’s 1971 film A Clockwork Orange (the film’s protagonist is an art snob obsessed with Kubrick’s work). The poster was created by artist Cody Sims, who worked on the film in too many ways to name:

Greg Sisco Jesse Thunderwake independent movie poster

The film Jesse Thunderwake: American Icon was released yesterday via Amazon On Demand and is available for purchase ($9.99) and rental ($2.99) here.

Three obvious questions come to mind:

1. Who is Jesse Thunderwake?
2. If he’s an American icon, why haven’t I heard of him?
3. Why am I not watching this right now?

The answer to all three of these questions, as provided by Jim Cunningham, would be “Fuck you.” (That joke might be funny if you knew who Jim is, but since you haven’t seen the movie you have no idea what I’m talking about.)

Before I go any further, here is the official plot description:

A mockumentary comedy about a man whose ambition far outweighs his talent. The story follows Jesse Thunderwake, the world’s largest dilettante, as he makes his first film to showcase his talents in writing, directing, acting, singing, stunts, and so much more. Jesse Thunderwake: American Icon is an ode to bad art in all forms.

As some of you might know, I was a filmmaker before I was a novelist. I taught myself filmmaking with an (very) independent film called Gunslinger, P.I. when I was 18 years old, and then I spent the next few years trying to come up with a screenplay that didn’t suck for my follow-up movie. After five screenplays that were deemed either too expensive or not good enough (a film version of One-Night Stan’s among them), the character of Jesse Thunderwake was born.

Here we go…

1. Who is Jesse Thunderwake?

People interested in independent filmmaking like to tell the story of Kevin Smith, who famously maxed out several credit cards and wracked up thousands of dollars in debt to make Clerks. The movie took off and earned back his money many times over, turning him into an overnight success.

It’s an inspirational story and it’s ballsy as hell but it’s also a blatantly irresponsible move, and you never hear the story about the hundreds of other guys who have tried it and run themselves into debt from which they never recovered. That’s the guy I wanted to make a movie about—the guy who tried to prove he was a great artist and fucked himself over when he found out he wasn’t.

As far as I’m concerned, nine out of ten people who create any kind of art suck at it. Jesse Thunderwake is one of “the nine” who is certain he is “the one”, as most members of “the nine” are. Likewise, “the one”, from my experience, is usually terrified that he is one of “the nine”. This is how the art world works.

I believe when you do anything creative, you are terrified that you have no talent at all and that all of the confidence you’re trying to feign is making you look all the more foolish. Especially when you’re trying your hand at several different artistic trades, you have to cross your fingers you aren’t some talentless jackass making a fool of him/herself several times over.

As I attempted to make a name for myself as a writer/director/actor/comedian/etc., I gave a name to the guy who I hoped I wasn’t, and that name was Jesse Thunderwake.

2. If he’s an American Icon, why haven’t I heard of him?

We live in a celebrity-obsessed country and a particularly fame-worshipping era. Most young people now want to be “celebrities.” Not actors or singers or brilliant artists. No, they just want the rest of the world fascinated by everything they do, showering them with more money and praise than they deserve, and wanting to have sex with them. (Is there any way I can get away with not saying “myself included” right now? I guess there isn’t.) Myself included.

Jesse Thunderwake: American Icon is something of an attack on the state of the entertainment industry. More than that, it’s an attack on the people who want to be famous. Don’t get me wrong, I consider myself an artist and artists are my favorite people, but good Christ we’re a pretentious bunch and most of us need severely for somebody to tell us to shut the fuck up and take an associate manager job at Wendy’s.

At the same time, there is a special place in my heart for really truly awful art, whether it be movies, music, or novels. I think the movie also functions as a love letter to delightfully terrible films like Birdemic or The Room.

The movie is full of dark, dry humor, a tragicomedy about about how it feels to chase a goal with all your heart—a goal that is completely unrealistic and is absolutely never going to come true for you. What some people call “The American Dream.”

It’s also a love story about a man who is desperately in love with a woman who happens to be a lesbian. If you’ve ever been in love with a person whose sexual preference is for a sex other than your own, or if you’ve ever chased after fame and fortune in any artistic field, you probably won’t be particularly surprised at how Jesse’s quest turns out, but you might feel a little better about yourself after watching his spectacular downfall. As I’ve joked several times, “Trying to succeed in the film industry is a bit like being in love with a lesbian. This is a movie about both.”

So why haven’t you heard of Jesse Thunderwake? Well, because he’s not an American icon and he doesn’t deserve to be. Not anywhere except in his own mind, just like most of us “artists.” Silly bastards, we are.

3. Why am I not watching this right now?

No kidding. Go check it out. And please remember to leave a review on Amazon. The film represents two years of hard work for a lot of people and we really appreciate knowing if you had fun watching it.

WATCH JESSE THUNDERWAKE: AMERICAN ICON HERE

WARNING: The film contains roughly 200 uses of the word fuck including one use by a six-year-old, graphic drug use, two pairs of breasts, my ass, frequent drinking and driving, some strong sexual dialogue, a maiming, brief human heads being split open, bad people triumphing over good ones, and a general dark and uncomfortable tone. It may not be appropriate for children under the age of four and a half.

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Last chance to get Greg Sisco novels for $2.99

Hey everybody.

Just a quick post to tell anybody who is interested that today (April 30) is the last day to get my novels Thicker Than Water and One-Night Stan’s for $2.99 in the Kindle store. Tomorrow the price will be raised to $3.99, so if you’ve been considering purchasing either book, now would be a good time to buy it.

The price increase has already been submitted to Amazon and the price of either book could go up at any time, though I expect it not to happen until sometime early tomorrow morning.

Pick up Thicker Than Water HERE.

And pick up One-Night Stan’s HERE.

Just a heads up from your friendly neighborhood badass.

I’ll have a feature film and a new short story getting released in May, so expect news on that over the next few days.

Cheers.

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How I Got 6,000 Kindle Downloads in One Day

Thicker Than Water ranked #2 in "Horror", ahead of Dracula

Yesterday, I quietly made my vampire horror novel Thicker Than Water free for one day using the KDP Select program. I didn’t make a blog post about it, nor did I tweet or Facebook about it incessantly, nor did I send out mass emails, and yet I ended up giving away 6,302 copies in the 24 hour period, reaching a rank of #26 in Amazon’s free store.

Until today, Thicker Than Water had sold exactly 5 copies so far this month. At 6:30 this morning, I woke up to a rank of #926 in Kindle’s paid store and 75 new sales ($150), thereby increasing my sales for the month by 1500% and paying for the absurdly expensive party I’ll have to throw to celebrate.

So what happened?

Well, from I can gather, I owe it all to a website some of you have probably heard of called Pixel of Ink. This is a very popular website that makes blog posts a few times a day about free Kindle books and other great Kindle deals.

I logged the total number of downloads each hour on the hour during the promotion. My book was cruising along at around 1 download per minute until Pixel of Ink made this blog post and the downloads suddenly accelerated tremendously. An hour later the book was receiving 6 downloads per minute and it continued to accelerate for the next five hours until it hit a peak of nearly 13 downloads per minute. Between the hours of 7pm and 8pm, 762 people downloaded Thicker Than Water. For good measure, last time I did a free promotion, I gave away about 700 copies total.

Thicker Than Water featured on Pixel of Ink

Today, ranked #6 in "Occult" in the paid store, above Amanda Hocking.

I have no way of knowing how or why they chose to feature my book, but I have been working for months to try to increase my visibility and waiting for a day when something like this would take place. On some level, this was mostly the result of luck, but as Seneca said, “Luck is what happens when preparation meets opportunity.” If you work to create a project and you push it hard enough and for long enough, if you create the potential to have days like this, there will always be times when you find luck on your side.

But luck aside, here’s something worth knowing. I was barely aware of Pixel of Ink and couldn’t even figure out why I was suddenly giving out so many books until a fan told me about the post. I have since discovered there is a page (link here) where you can tell Pixel of Ink about your free book promotions in advance and thereby increase your chances of being featured like I was. I can guarantee you I’ll be doing that every time I have a free promotion from now on, and if you’re an indie author, I highly recommend you do so as well.

Now if you’ll excuse me, I’ve sold five more copies in the time it has taken me to make this post, and I have a bottle of champagne to purchase.

Until next time.

-Greg

Have you had experiences like this one with Pixel of Ink or other sites, or with free promotions in general? I’d love to hear your stories in the comments.

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College Beach Party Massacre 4: a novel?

For those of you who are eagerly awaiting my next novel, I love you. Here’s a little information:

First off, I’m sorry to say that progress on the second Blood Brothers book has been a little slower than I would have hoped, and I’ll be pushing it back a few months (maybe early to mid Autumn) to work on something else—a trashy horror novel with a macabre sense of humor based on a screenplay I wrote a few years ago called College Beach Party Massacre 4.

Set in Scud City, the same fictional city in which One-Night Stan’s is set, the novel draws inspiration from bad slasher flicks of the ’70s and ’80s. The story follows a few groups of drunk, horny teenagers who, on their way to a party at Camp Carver, get massacred by a chain-smoking demon with a crowbar. All the staples of schlock horror cinema make appearances, from the creepy old guy, to the oblivious stoner, to the skinny dipping hippie chick, to the devil himself. Much like One-Night Stan’s, the funniest, most lovable characters die the goriest, most disturbing deaths.

The novel will likely go through a title-change since I’m undecided on whether College Beach Party Massacre 4 works very well as the title for a novel. Part of me is partial to the title The Joy of Killing Teenagers, but I don’t expect to release the book until late Spring or early Summer so I will allow myself to be undecided for another month or so if necessary.

What do you think? Would a book called College Beach Party Massacre 4 catch your attention, or would it strike you as ridiculous and stupid (in a bad way)? Do you prefer The Joy of Killing Teenagers? Do you think neither one works and a better title is necessary? I’d love to hear opinions.

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The Best of Bad Poetry Day

On Thursday, April 5, I attempted to make Facebook slightly more embarrassing and stupid for a day by hosting an event called Bad Poetry on Facebook Day.

The idea was to “flood Facebook with whiny, seventh-grade-girl poetry about loneliness and broken hearts posted as status updates.” I stressed that “improper spelling and grammar, bad punctuation, and free verse are all encouraged.”

Without taking the time to count (I haven’t done that since I stopped watching Sesame Street at age nineteen) I would say about twenty people wrote poems for Bad Poetry Day. I’ll post some of my favorites, bookended with my own work because I’m self-absorbed like that.

As far as the initial guidelines are concerned, I don’t think anybody wrote a more perfect piece than Axel Howerton:

Some poems stuck with the general theme of teenage angst (one would hope):

Other poems were quite the opposite:

One was read via video by alter ego, Jesse Thunderwake (in 2010):

Some were about larger, more personal issues truly worthy of bad poetry:

And of course, no Bad Poetry Day is complete without a poem written as therapy:

You can see all of the poems written for Bad Poetry on Facebook Day in the original event HERE. If you missed out on the fun, be sure to “like” my Facebook fan page so as not to miss out on all my brilliant ideas in the future and feel like a sucker.

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Please Share: The Tenth Photograph — Free Today

Hey everyone.

My short story The Tenth Photograph is free today (April 4) only in the Kindle Store. Regularly priced at $.99, this is a 3,000 word short story written to be read in one sitting.

After downloading your free copy, please share this link on Facebook, Twitter, or whatever other social media site you use regularly.

Here is the official product description:

Ten photographs on an old roll of film in storage, and once you look at them your life changes forever.

Following a crushing breakup, Lionel David plans to dig up an old manuscript to fill the hole left in his life and stumbles across the photos—photos spanning the length of the universe, taken by someone or something out in the cosmos that has been watching him since birth.

Three days later, having accepted the fate with which the photos present him, he persuades his begrudging ex to meet him for coffee. As their relationship draws to its conclusion and the two carry out their final moments together, the true nature of the photographs is gradually brought to light.

Here are the links to download the free book, based on the country you live in:

USA: HERE
UK: HERE
Germany: HERE
France: HERE
Spain: HERE
Italy: HERE

Please give it a read, share this link, and post a review when you’re finished.

Thanks!

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Free Ferraris in Celebration of April Fools Day

Greg Sisco, the underrated and sacrilegiously attractive young novelist who is writing this article in the third person, announced today that he would give away up to 500 brand new Ferrari 458 Italia’s to anybody who buys his novel One-Night Stan’s on April 1, 2012.

April Fools Day is my favorite holiday,” said Sisco. “It’s really the holiday that defines my generation since there is no obligation to follow through with personal commitments. That’s why I’ve decided to spend all this money on my fans.”

“I wasn’t expecting him to actually follow through with buying the cars for us, but he totally did,” said Steven J. Bennes, a time traveller from the future. “Mine is orange, which was a little disappointing, but it’s still better than a Nissan Sentra, I guess.”

At more than $200,000 per vehicle, the 500 cars will cost over $100 million, more money than any sensible person would expect Sisco to make in his entire life, but that’s not stopping him from making a firm commitment.

“This isn’t something I’d joke about. I’m looking into getting a bulk discount and hopefully acquiring the cars at seventy or eighty bucks a pop. April Fools Day is not something I piss around with. It’s a serious holiday in my book. One-Night Stan’s is less than three bucks, and you’re guaranteed a car that’s worth more than your loved ones’ lives. You’d be stupid not to buy it.”

Sisco will buy a brand new Ferrari for anyone who purchases One-Night Stan's on April 1.

In response to allegations that this entire promotion is a fraud to get people to buy his shitty book, Sisco literally kicks me in the crotch.

One-Night Stan’s is a part of this promotion because it ties in perfectly with April Fools Day!” he bellows at me as I’m lying on the floor shrieking in agony, “It’s about people hacking each other up, and stabbing college students in the genitals, and getting off sexually while torturing other people. It’s a fun, hilarious story and it captures the spirit of April Fools Day perfectly.”

One-Night Stan’s is available for $2.99 in Kindle format (HERE) and $9.99 in paperback (HERE). If you would prefer to buy a Ferrari on your own, it is available for $220,000 (HERE).

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New short story coming March 28

Hi guys.

I realize I haven’t posted much this month, as it’s been an awfully busy one what with my movie premiere and the paperback releases for both of my novels, but I thought I’d give a quick teaser about a new project I have coming out this month.

It’s called The Tenth Photograph, it’s the second short story in the 7 Love Stories Without Happy Endings anthology I’m working on this year (the first being last month’s The Happy Seat) and it will be available exclusively in the Kindle Store starting on Wednesday.

I’m not going to tell you what it’s about just yet, but enjoy your first look at the cover, which I believe—not to stroke my own ego—is the work of a sexy genius.

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Thicker Than Water and One-Night Stan’s now in paperback

You asked for it, I’m delivering.

As of tonight, my novels Thicker Than Water and One-Night Stan’s are now available in paperback. For now, both books are priced at only $9.99, or what any sensible human being would call: a goddamn bargain.

Thicker Than Water is available HERE.

One-Night Stan’s is available HERE.

If you’re not familiar with both books, here’s a little info on each one:

Thicker Than Water (209 pages):

Tyr and Loki are not your teenage sister’s vampires.

They live for pleasure. They feel no remorse. They view human beings as livestock and sex objects. And after a thousand years seducing and murdering the prettiest girls in the room, they have become two of the most diabolical serial killers of all time.

But following a violent feud that separates the brothers for over a decade, Tyr hides himself away in a house on the outskirts of Las Vegas where he falls in love with a terminally ill young woman named Eva, an act deemed punishable by death by the fabled vampire council known as The Chosen.

When a mysterious messenger arrives at his home, Tyr fears both Loki and The Chosen have tracked him down, forcing him to protect both himself and the dying young woman who is teaching him to feel.

Thicker Than Water, the first novel in the Blood Brothers series, tells interconnected stories set one hundred years apart. Drawing inspiration from Norse mythology and the works of Shakespeare, the story weaves together vampires, brothel owners, cowboys, prostitutes, and gallons of innocent blood in an orgy of violence, sex, revenge, romance, betrayal, and brotherly love.

One-Night Stan’s (303 pages):

Welcome to Scud City, the worst town in America.

The kind of town where when a suitcase packed with money goes missing, college dimwits, punk rockers, a crooked FBI agent, a serial killer, a stripper addicted to torturing men, an un-killable Russian, and a nightclub owner who thinks he’s Frank Sinatra all find themselves in a twisted web of sex, murder, and drugs in pursuit of a nest egg none of them deserve.

And welcome to One-Night Stan’s, the worst strip club in Scud City. Where the floors are linoleum, the air is cigarette smoke, and the night ain’t over till somebody’s a corpse.

Kicking off at sunset and ending at sunrise, One-Night Stan’s is brutal anarchic fun packed with savage violence, anonymous sex, and all those other things nice people don’t laugh at.

Once again, Thicker Than Water is available here and One-Night Stan’s is available here. Pick up your copies now while they’re still dirt cheap. As always, both books are available in my little corner of the Kindle Store as well.

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“Jesse Thunderwake” to Premiere at Texas Independent Film Festival

As most of the six people who read this blog already know, I was an independent filmmaker before I was a novelist. At age eighteen, I made my first film Gunslinger, P.I. which I showed you earlier this year for free.

Well here’s some information on my second film:

Jesse Thunderwake snorts cocaine during the opening credits sequence.

Shot in the summer of 2010, Jesse Thunderwake: American Icon is the loosely autobiographical tale of a man named Jesse Thunderwake (me, Greg Sisco) who has a limitless supply of ambition and no talent whatsoever to back it up. He swears he’s going to be the next big actor/model/musician/director/stuntman/comedian/writer, but he’s never quite made it there.

Foxx Douglas (center) in her thesis film "The Sisterhood."

When he falls madly in love with Foxx Douglas (Jennifer Richman) a would-be actress who he doesn’t realize is a lesbian, Jesse prepares a film that’s going to showcase all of his talents, and he casts Foxx as the female lead in hopes she’ll fall in love with him. But the crew of morons and misfits who he hires damns the film almost instantly, sending him into a spiral of drugs, depression, sex, and violence as the film is taken out of his control and placed in the hands of a new director named Greg Sisco (Bryan Scamman), a terrible human being whose taste in art is limited to violence and nudity.

Greg Sisco blends violence and sex by applying blood to tits.

Told in “mockumentary” fashion, the movie follows Jesse’s life as it is captured on film by his younger brother Blain McDougalwhose sole ambition is to use his documentary to slander all of his subjects, for whom he clearly holds nothing but contempt.

Add to that a loudmouthed New York music producer named Jim Cunningham (Donald W. Mohr) who is a terrible influence on Jesse and doesn’t know a damn thing about making movies, a sex-crazed starfucker named Star-fucker (Jennifer Blair) who tapes herself sleeping with ambitious people in hopes they’ll get famous and she can piggy-back on their success, and a method actor known only as Bug-Eyes McCoy (Andrew Arrasmith) who may or may not have serious psychological issues, and you have the basic setup for Jesse Thunderwake: American Icon.

Jesse's brother, Blain, looking like the smug prick that he is.

The film has been entered in a slew of film festivals who unanimously rejected it, perhaps due in part to the extremely cynical and unpleasant worldview it expresses, and the fact that it generally implies that a life in filmmaking is awful, and should be neither pursued nor respected.

Well, a festival was finally dumb enough to say yes, so it’s now official: Jesse Thunderwake: American Icon, will make its world premiere on March 14 at 10pm at the Texas Independent Film Festival in Austin, TX, where the movie was shot.

Jesse emulates Dr. Strangelove in a music video for the song "The Second Coming of Kubrick."

I will be in attendance at the screening, as will producer/sound guru/co-star Donald W. Mohr and most of the cast. No word yet on whether we’ll be doing any kind of Q&A but we’ll certainly be more than happy to meet with any fans and have a drink and/or unprotected sex.

Admission is free and we would like this event to be as big as possible, so please spread the word to any friends and/or family who will be in or near Austin on the 14th. I’d love to see you there.

This image captures the feel of the movie quite well.

The movie also includes an original soundtrack (available here) comprised of eight original songs by Jesse Thunderwake. Proud, pretentious songs about how he is going to be famous and there’s nothing you can do about it.

Here is the trailer for Jesse Thunderwake: American Icon which is two minutes long and contains 15 uses of the word “fuck” as well as a painting of a vagina, a guy snorting cocaine, and a naked girl getting hit in the face with a hatchet, so go get the kiddies and gather them in front of your computer screen, because they’re gonna laugh like pigs in shit:

Jesse Thunderwake: American Icon premieres March 14 at the Texas Independent Film Festival and is expected to be for sale online in the near future. For all the latest updates, subscribe to this blog, or “like” the movie’s Facebook page.

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