Here’s a thought.
What if the Yoda species regenerates?
Here’s a thought.
What if the Yoda species regenerates?
When I started out with Amazon’s KDP service, customer delivery was less than stellar. I had customers on the other side of Canada simply just not get their book because they weren’t home to receive it, and a wait time from click to doorstep of longer than three weeks.
Well, welcome to 2019!
Not only was I grateful to hear a reader had ordered both of my novels for Christmas (Merry Christmas!) on Thursday, but I was amazed when she told me it was delivered Saturday morning!
That’s a huge improvement.
To think that we’ve arrived at a time when the purchase click creates a printed book, ships it, delivers it into the customers hands, records and sends statistics on the sale directly to the author, and instantly deposits their advance, all in under 48 hours, is pretty mind-blowing, even for a jaded old get-off-my-lawner like myself.
Maybe this isn’t news to our American KDP comrades (and maybe even Canadian indies operating through KDP have already grown accustomed to this), but it sure is a rapid advancement in business efficiency for me.
Speaks well for the future of all indies. In a world where new creative product is, I feel, the biggest of future economies, making our products available faster for cheaper, and, I assume, catching us up to speed with the American ‘Zon market practices are the kind of assist we can all benefit from.
Speaking of cheaper, I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention that both paperbacks of To Drown in Sand and its sequel, To Drown in Ash, are on sale in time for the holidays, in case you’d fancy a copy.
Dis is mah Puppeez. Herz is hopin’ your last week of NaNoWriMo is the bestest, and makes you as proud of your writing as she is of her bow tie.
I really did.
I admit to being old and cranky. I confess to LOATHING the new Star Wars films (Except Rogue Squadron and Solo. They were enjoyable. Good even.) I rewrote the script to The Force Awakens in less than an hour, and was told that was far better than the film. I did all I could not to scream through The Last Jedi, for the peace of mind of my kids.
They hate my dramatic outbursts.
So, I held my breath through episode 1 of The Mandalorian. Bit my lip through episode 2. Got ready to abandon hope on everything if episode 3 did not come through, shout verbal emesis at the world, throw up my fists to the gods, and give up completely.
And, for the record, it takes a lot to make me not like something. Like, a LOT. Mostly because I really, REALLY, want to love all the things.
But sometimes, it’s just crap. And one can not polish a turd.
But I waited. Mostly because of my huge crush on Gina Carano, and my hopes that she’ll become the huge star she deserves to be.
(Spoiler warning. Back in my day, we called that “talking”, but whatevs).
I was a kid when the original films came out in theatres. We actually had to wait for YEARS to see A New Hope and it’s sequels on TELEVISION (that’s how it was; yes, I predate VCR’s.) The only way to hear about a movie was to talk to someone who had seen it.
So, the franchise, its worlds, and all things Star Wars is very, very important to me.
So it was very difficult to witness it’s demise.
But, I am happy to say that it seems that The Mandalorian has brought redemption to at least this embittered old fart.
Jon Favreau’s Episode 3 finally brought the right elements: tough, existential choices, difficult circumstances, actual peril, and a character decision that unravels future storytelling. To me, things had been somewhat…inert…up until now.
(Baby Yoda? Force powers? WHAAAAAAT?!?) #NOTatwist.
So, Old Man Laybolt is all in. You got me, Favreau et al. I’m down.
Thank GAWD. Because I was really ready to punch the eject button there, and give up on all things Star Wars. A bitter thing, that.
So, there it is. More than happy to embark on this bold new journey with optimism, eagerness, and wide open fanboy eyes.
Go watch it. It really might be worth it.
(DISCLAIMER: Totally unlike me. Typical attitude being completely expecting my hopes to be shattered as per most other creative bankruptcy-plagued current franchise content, as evidenced by a THIRD Charlie’s Angels reboot. WHO SIGNS OFF ON A THIRD REBOOT OF ANYTHING?!?)
So here’s to The Mandalorian. This is the way.
I’ve been keeping it under my hat for awhile now, and believe me, it’s been a struggle to keep my mouth shut. (A constant struggle at the best of times).
But I can finally announce that recording for the To Drown in Sand audiobook starts in two weeks!!
My friends over at Iron Wave Studios have announced that they are good to go and will begin production in less than 14 days!
The cast has been picked, the mics are hot, and the crew is ready!
Venturing into the audiobook field is a new world for both me and the Ironworks gang, so there’s lots to learn. I’ll keep all of you blog peeps updated as things unfold (read: catch fire and trip me up as I stumble my way through this new venture).
If you haven’t read it, To Drown in Sand is Book One of my trilogy about a man who goes to a war zone to find peace. His regiment is populated by people from all the different Atlantic Canadian cultures.
Since it’s military sci-fi, those places don’t exist anymore (the earth died; sorry), their accents and cultural nuances are what stand out in their dialogues, and would make for a challenge for any production team.
That, and the signature sound of a rail gun rifle. I am dying to hear THAT.
Almost as much as hearing the people in my head given voice. Surreal.
If you haven’t heard of Warhammer, I’m sorry. Not for me, but for you.
But don’t worry. You’ll soon be assimilated into The Emperor’s Will. We all will be.
Warhammer Fantasy, and it’s bigger brother Warhammer 40,000, is a cold, terrifying, gothic, brutal, and absolutely addictive set of tabletop games and stories that is available in almost every language in every city of every country in the known world.
Warhammer 40,000 is an immersive saga in the military sci-fi genre that has been turning into a global powerhouse since 1987. I truly believe it is the only remaining modern myth, after Star Wars.
Warhammer is dense with lore. No, that’s not quite right. it’s monstrous.
While we wait to see if any original stories remain to be told within the context of our current creative, sci-fi-fantasy choices (*CoughCoughTheMandalorianCough*), Warhammer’s people have been holding back from going mainstream for decades. But that may all change with what they announced in July, which I missed, because life, but I grieve for my lapse in vigilance.
(Lapses in vigilance are VERY BAD in Warhammer. VERY. BAD.)
To the cardiac risk of a world full of fans, Games Workshop has announced it is going forward with a live TV series.
That series will be based on Eisenhorn, the creation of one of my favourite authors of all time, Mr. Dan Abnett.
This is enormous news. The Eisenhorn series is three books deep, and THEN there’s the Ravenor series, and THEN the Bequin Trilogy, where Eisenhorn and Ravenor meet…(see how crazy deep this is?)
NEVERMIND how it could possibly, if it is executed properly, tee up the whole Warhammer 40K universe, which already has millions of hungry fans waiting to consume anything this IP produces. If strategized, written, and marketed properly (an admittedly huge ask in 2019), prepare yourselves for the most immersive sci-fi world you have ever seen. And yes, I mean you, Star Wars (not knocking Star wars at all; I watched the originals on a VCR. And still have them. So there).
But the time is ripe for a whole new world in fantasy and sci-fi. And Warhammer offers that in spades.
Bricks in the wall. That’s my process. Same as training in the gym; everyday, one more brick, neatly mortared and tucked into place, grooved the gaps and levelled, before moving on.
That’s why I find NaNoWriMo not really workable. I write every day at around 5 am, and have for about 20 years. Many brick walls have resulted. Several now, thanks to Indie pubbing, turned into actual novels and short titles. I’m more like a NaEVERYWriMo sort.
But I love the energy November brings to everyone who puts their thought-worms to the page during NaNoWriMo. And it’s always encouraging to hear about so many independents working on their craft. Community, and all that.
It’s been a tight month so far, with life and work demands. Some mornings I’ve only been able to swing little more than 20 minutes at the keyboard, but they are a happening 20 minutes, let me tell you, as I race to squeeze the juice out of every second and every creative synapse.
So, 17th day, and I’ve pumped out 7,665 words. That’s at chapter 22 of my current project, which is closing in on a healthy 150k words as I roll into Act Three.
That’s also while working on several different projects during the same period; the actual word count output is much higher, but I only count one major, current project at a time.
One in the man (first draft and rewriting), one in the can (being edited and prepped for publish), and one for the fan (new title on the shelf) is my approach. And I just received word that my current ‘work in the can’, a dark Fantasy anthology that tees up my whole new series titles , is almost ready for final read and cover prep. Gonna be an exciting year!
In what many feel is the brave new world of constantly evolving indie economies, several prophets are emerging that I believe are the heralds of change. Alan Moore is one of them. I came upon this article in which Moore rings the bell that tolls for so many of us. That we are early in an industrial revolution that provides the arts with unprecedented opportunity.
But think of it in terms of the discovery of the new world. Very few in old Europe had any idea what North America was like, or what those who dared venture there had to do, and who to learn from (as in, they all would have DIED without help from the peoples who already lived here and ACTUALLY ALREADY OWNED THE LAND, but I digress), in order to survive. Nor did they care; they had their own concerns.
And I’m not saying Big Publishing is wrong, or that marketed writers are bad. We’d be nowhere without them. Nor am I saying that, given the opportunity, I’d back away from the chance to publish traditionally.
I do feel, though, pretty strongly, that there are few better ways to learn about both writing and publishing and business than to have to build your own canoe and make your own maps…uh, the canoes being books, and the maps being publishing them. I must work on my metaphors.
Getting lost, failing, losing your tools, learning from those kind enough to help, starving…all of those classic, fun trials.
Persistence. Determination. Curiosity. Humility. Those things that keep people going.
Nevermind that if your work didn’t stand up to quality, your would die back then. Little has changed, figuratively speaking.
But what I am saying is that there is a place for all of us, enabled by digital economies and the tools at our disposal. And it is certainly worth knowing that the economies of empire, whatever wilderness your operating in, has its own troubles.
One would never make it far by comparing successes to conglomerates who have already succeeded. Where’s the growth in that?
So, thank you, Uncle Alan, for the encouraging words. I believe you, sir, are particularly clairvoyant in your insight. May very well be quoted someday with a simple shrug and a nod, as a matter of obvious history.
In the current glut of reboots, revamps, abandoned series left to flail, and draining every single last drop of revenue out of dead franchises leaving them in bleached, cadaverous ruin, I mentioned in my last post how our culture is starving for new stories.
Part of the reason behind the massive momentum of a series like Game of Thrones, up until it suffered its horrendous creative demise, was its originality. Folks who weren’t fans of fantasy embraced the new world of Westeros, probably out of sheer imaginative cachectia.
In light of such sparse content of new stories, settings, creatures, and characters, I’m a bit stunned by the lack of buzz about Carnival Row, the new series by René Echevarria and Travis Beacham and starring Orlando Bloom and Cara Delevigne.
From its dark setting, Lovecraftian environment, multi-nation worldbuild, very cool races, and sharp writing, Carnival Row is a breath of fresh storytelling I’ve been craving.
And without spoiling anything…Cthulhu.
For many years now (especially since watching that dreaded last season of GoT), I’ve been pleading for any new worlds and original stories set in them. Carnival Row pulls that off in spades.
Bloom’s character is dour and brooding, and actually has good reason. His conflict unfolds over the span of the entire season, carefully unfolding and intertwining into the Burgue, his city and its politics. Delevingne’s character of the embittered war refugee is both gripping and justified.
It ‘s not a perfect show; there are a few glaring plot pits (EVERY time a Pix takes flight, they lift one leg in a Peter Pan manner that drove me bananas. By episode four I was screaming at the screen for them to “stop DOING that!” And the big villain reveal plays out a bit…ridiculous. Not to brag, but I rewrote that scene into an epic reveal/battle that would have worked perfectly in the time it took me to make a pot of coffee).
But, Carnival Row overcomes these forgiveables with sheer will and dense metaphor for our modern, troubling times. It actually gets darker over the last four episodes, a refreshing change from shows that fail to cross the finish line as they gag and sputter, deprived of any heart or blood from their writers these days.
I’m not sure if I live in a cave, or if it’s because it’s an Amazon production, but for whatever reason, ignore your hesitation and go find this show. It’s certainly a relief from the average rehashed, reheated, leftover fare we have all gotten used to choking on.
In the ongoing discussion about whether indie publishing is tenable, or even a thing, a lot of ugly business emerges. Most of it is discovered after some careful digging through sites like J.A. Konrath‘s and others in the field who have exposed life in the publishing tower’s secrets. Every year, it seems more of Big Publishing’s practices are exposed, and more and more, they remind me of Big Oil and other “Bigs” who are desperately struggling to understand life in this digital age, and failing.
I strongly believe that we are just as immersed in a technological revolution, that has really just started, by the way, as society was during the Industrial Revolution. Fists are being banged onto desks refusing to acknowledge new ways. Furious millionaires are determined to choke every last dollar from dying industries and practices before they draw their last breath. Men who rose to power with typewriters and letters in the mail scoff at those who dare to publish without them, and do their level best to crush their progress.
Don’t believe me? Read through Konrath. or read this:
I’ve written in the past about developments in the publishing field in the midst of all this; I find it fascinating to study. I also continue to describe my own journey through and around the barrage that is modern publishing. Note that I do separate that from writing; I don’t believe the two are necessarily connected, and for most people, shouldn’t be. (Same as self-publishing and indie-publishing are not necessarily the same thing).
Erica Verillo‘s not wrong. The chaos she describes is pretty plain to see; just look at your average bookstore chain’s shelves over a year and you’ll see it too.
I firmly believe the future is micro-economic. Small, cottage producers of content that grow organically to be sniffed at by Big Industry, prompting the creators of that content to decide to sell their wares to the machine, or not. And new, pioneering companies like Engen who take their drive and dreams and carve out a chunk using the current technology and craft relationships with their local writers who would never get a chance elsewhere. That is the future, friends.
This is not a new concept. See Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, Dungeons and Dragons, Warhammer, Call of Cthulhu, and every other small project that eventually became a marketing powerhouse.
And how did they do that?
It always starts with quality.
I’m not saying I’m one of those. But I am saying I’m writing to write, small and in the dark every morning, shaping my stories, grooming them for the world that technology has finally made possible.
I’ve gone from coil-ring notebook, longhand writing to typing on paper, to blogging with clickable links, to printed copies in my hand and my amazon store of published novels and short stories.
And we are just getting started. But the journey, the process of this evolution, is really fascinating and worthy of recording. I really do see it as one of the greatest advancements of the arts in generations.
There was nothing like this for H.P. Lovecraft, or Charles Dickens, or Stephen King. Imagine if there had been! I’ve discussed such in The Write Podcast.
Society is quickly growing exhausted of reboots, and throwaway conclusions of stories because the writers had more lucrative things to do, and the endless mining of old material. They are starving for fresh stories, new worlds, and original ideas. There has never been a better time to have an idea. Everything you need to present it is literally at your fingertips.
And that’s me talking; the darkest, most jaded person I know. So, you know,…possibly relevant.
Today? Just for today?
Be this hedgehog.
November. A time to write outlines and novels as the days die far too soon.
Writing in the dark is all I know how to do. Daylight burns away the divine, the imagination pilot light, with its work and worries and wars.
Lack of light has always brought me the solitude I need to ignite the furnace of plots and characters and stories; to pop on the stage lights in my mind, in a way. No sense turning them on without darkness.
Could be why writing can be so dark in nature, too, I guess. It gets in.
Darkness. Worth embracing.
That moment when one innocent message tips you into a rabbit hole of intriguing research from which you never emerge but finally do two days later…
…with a crammed research browser full of war and guns…
…and you suddenly find yourself craving a replica musket because muskets.
NaNoWriMo is upon us! Now is the time to dive into that work you’ve been planning all year.
I’m not the biggest NaNoWriMo’er. Intensive spurts are not my style. I’m more of a disciplinary, brick-on-the-wall-every- day sort of writer.
But I do love the blizzard of activity that hits the writing community every day-after-we-toss-the-costumes day, especially in the indie world.
In that spirit, I’ll be posting All The Memes to keep the bear poked. And I’ll be posting a host of playlists that hopefully will keep your fingers flying on the keyboard for hours on end. I find nothing eats time like a few hours of ambiance sounds tailored to your character’s environment.
(NEXT TIME: Sci-Fi Sounds and Scores!)
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