Planes, trains, and Automobiles

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“Those aren’t pillows!”

If that line means nothing to you, you’re either too young or it’s been too long since you’ve seen that movie. But the holidays are coming up, so chances are it’ll be on TV. Just in case, though, here’s that scene from Planes, Trains, and Automobiles on Youtube, via Fandango’s “Movie Clips.”

Why am I referencing that John Candy and Steve Martin holiday classic? Because that was my day coming back from Oregon to Japan. I traveled for about 18 hours straight, crossing the International Date Line and losing a day on the calendar. Two hours by car from Lincoln City to the Portland, about three in the airport, 11 in-flight, another 1.5 on a bus and then the last 30 minutes by train.

I’m not kidding!

But it was worth it. I learned so much at that Writers’ Master Class that I still, days later, am not prepared to process it all. And now I have to go back to work for the Navy (leave’s over), to night shifts, and continue my preparations for getting out of the Navy in just 2.5 short months! Whew! But it’s all downhill from here. Looking forward to the roller coaster ride into the next chapter of our lives!

Meantime, I’ll slowly be implementing changes to the way I do business as a writer, publisher, blogger, and general weirdo. Hopefully for the better, for me, my family, and even you, the reader eager for quality escapism and entertainment. Stand by for those.

The first will be a freebie book available to my Conspiracy Newsletter subscribers. If you’re not onboard yet, enrollment is always open. Join the conspiracy and join the adventure! I’m eager for feedback as I start up new and exciting avenues down the developing indie author pathway. And as soon as I get a chance to explore a new cybernetic delivery system, everyone on the mailing list will get a chance to test it out for me in the form of a free downloadable book.

“Join the Conspiracy!” Sign up by clicking here.

More coming soon…

(Note that this post is slightly out of sequence. I actually traveled before Halloween but the costume pics yesterday—and the offer for a free book—were more time-sensitive to get out there.)

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Batman, Robin, Spider-Man and a Very Super Halloween!

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Just wanted to share some fun pics before the seasonal window closes.

I made it back to Japan in time for enjoy Halloween with my family. Trick or treating on base here is an amazing event. You don’t realize how many kids and families are here until Halloween night. And that’s then augmented by a number of Japanese folks coming aboard to celebrate this super-fun America tradition too. I’m assuming they don’t have this here in Japan, because they’re sure happy to jump in with us here on base.

Can you guess which of these jokers (pun intended) is me? I saw this costume online and had to have it! I love the old 60’s Batman show. (As evident in my story “Puppet Theatre”.) I was also very popular this season. I had a lot of folks posing for pictures with me, which was strange. Never been a celebrity before.

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Oh, and the “BIFF” sign there?  Not mine. I was walking around to see everyone else’s costumes among the throngs and hordes of kids and parents rioting for candy that night, and ran into a very nice couple who had both a BIFF and a POW. They said they had made the signs before for a homemade Batman movie they’d done and insisted that I take one with me. They were so excited to bump into me if only for the irony of it all. And I was excited to have met them and to get such a cool and appropriate gift. If you happen to be reading this, Thanks again!

Hope everyone made the most of the season. No other time of year can we dress up and become someone else quite so easily, and join a wandering mob of sugar-hyper children of the corn doing the exact same thing! And if if you look like a dork, you can get away with it. Love this holiday!

And I’d love to see your costumes! Tell you what. If you email me a pic of you in costume and tell me what ebook of mine you’d like, I’ll respond with the file for your enjoyment! (And no pics of yours will be retained or shared for any reason. I promise to delete them right after I send you your reward.)

Send them to jdbrink@brinkschaostheory.com with “Halloween Reading” in the subject line, which book you’d like, and what format (epub, kindle, or pdf) you prefer.

Thanks for reading and Happy Halloween!

Indie Writers’ Workshop Comes to a Close

I’m tapping this out quickly while waiting to board my flight in Portland. This week I attended the Masters Class from WMG Publishing, namely Dean Wesley Smith and Kristine Kathryn Rusch.  A fantastic week of learning about the modern and future indie writing world. I have a notebook full of notes, carpel tunnel, and my head is still too overwhelmed to start sorting through it all. But it was a great week with a lot of great, like-minded people.

And as nice as it is to get away, it’s nice to be headed home too. One funny thing… I’ve been eating out for a week, 2 or 3 meals a day, and just had the best meal of the week here in the airport! It was a breakfast bowl at the “Beach Shack” — eggs, potatoes, onions, peppers, spinach, bacon and gravy on top.  Holy shit was that good! Closest thing to home cooking I’ve had all week. (Other than a nice spaghetti dinner that Kip hosted for our group; too much to explain there.)

Anyway, made some great connections with fellow writers, including a few other names you’d likely recognize, and got way too much of a to-do list for the future. As well as a better understanding of this business (and the out-moded old publishing structure that’s sagging into old age now).

For those interested in my work, stand by for some changes in how I do business and some experiments with new digital delivery methods and promotional freebies.

Also learned an slight appreciation for the technology I have thus far shunned… I don’t own a smart phone, which I deeply regretted when I wanted to take pictures of the awesome Oregon scenery and had no means of doing so. Maybe it’s time I get with the times after all…  (Maybe…)

Okay, gotta get my passport and boarding papers ready…

Just in Time for Thor: Ragnarok

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Is it that time already?! The movie kind of snuck up on me. I’ve been busy.

But that’s not the only surprise I found tonight…

I had submitted a superheroic story to Steve Beaulieu not long ago and didn’t know what to expect after that. Probably my own fault for not taking the time to pay more attention. And were it not for my wife posting a silly picture on Facebook and telling me to check it out, I would not have bothered to go on there (I hates me some Facebook) and, therefore, would not have seen the update from Steve saying that the book was coming out next week!

So as you, me, and every other nerd in the universe gear up for Thor: Ragnarok, you might consider a collection of new superhero–and supervillain--stories coming out at the same time.

Me and 12 other writers all have great tales to tell in Collateral Damage.  There’s also a paired collection of 12 misadventures from the bad guys’ points of view called Ha-Ha-Ha. 

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Both of these are up for pre-order on Kindle Unlimited for only $0.99 right now.

But wait, there’s more!

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Click here to see the whole series of four on one nice spread.

What a nice surprise, just in time for another superhero movie season!

Speaking of which, I’ll have a fun picture to share on Halloween (or the day after). Assuming I can squeeze into my damn costume after this week! (Been doing a lot of sitting in class and eating greasy shit. Not pretty…)

 

Why Do Writers Always Go to Coffeeshops?

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I often go to a coffee shop or similar venue to do my writing.

Clichéd, right?  Are you one of those people who always wonder, Why the hell do they come here to write?  Just to show off?  To be a hipster?  What’s the deal?!

Well, I don’t know about everyone else, I just know about me.  And me?  I do it because I need a certain atmosphere to make my magic work.

Okay, I don’t NEED that atmosphere. In fact, I’m trying to train myself NOT to think that I need it. But I do know this: I can’t get jack shit done at home. If my family isn’t interrupting me, I will interrupt myself. There’s always plenty of juicy distractions at home. If I want to get serious and do my damn work, I need to get out of the house.

I have tried locking myself in a nice quiet little study room at the local library.  But that doesn’t work either. Too quiet, too isolated, and I feel bottled up.  My creative juices get stagnant.

So I seek a balance. Somewhere that I can be alone at my little table, but not so alone that I can hear my own heartbeat and get antsy. A coffee shop or restaurant provide a nice mix of the two. And sometimes I even take inspiration from my surroundings to fill in details about people, places or things in what I’m writing at that moment. Hard to do that if you’re locked in a closet all by yourself.

The downside is the rent. Most places don’t want you sucking up table space unless you pay for it. By buying a cup of joe, for example. So there’s a daily cost to doing that.

By the way…

If you’d like to sponsor one such writing session, I’d be happy to provide an avenue for you to do that. You can buy me a mug or drop me a tip or show a tiny token of your appreciation, if you wish, at http://www.paypal.me/JDBrink and sending electronic coins there. Every drop of coffee/cocoa/whatever helps further my work.

So if you do wish to do that, THANK YOU from the bottom of my mug. And heart.

And if you REALLY feel compelled to help out, you can sponsor one cup of coffee a month on an ongoing basis. Check out my Patreon page for details. As little as $1 a month gets you everything I publish, sent straight to you. Plus little monthly tidbits I share to subscribers on my page.

If you are thinking about doing this, THANK YOU each and every month from the bottom of my heart!

By the way, that nifty image above is stolen from a great article I just found while looking for images on The Creativity Post. Very interesting…

40K Eldar Fire Dragons: Finished Up Painting the Squad

After starting them in July, I finally wrapped up my “Black Phoenix” Aeldari Fire Dragons.  And I’m pleasantly surprised at how well they turned out!

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This probably doesn’t look like 3 months of work.  Because it isn’t.  I stuck to a very basic concept: base colors, wash, highlight, DONE.  And I decided not to get bogged down in the fine details, like painting every little gadget on their belts a different color or whatever.  Kept it simple.  It just took forever because I went weeks between painting sessions.  Still spent plenty of hours on them, but as I did a whole squad, one color at a time, I made pretty good progress.

Still didn’t master dry brushing, which I seem to think would make all this way easier, but hitting the highlights very deliberately instead still worked out well.

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I also considered trying to lay some green plasma looking stuff into the grills of their fusion gun muzzles to match their eyes and give the guns a cool look.  (And tie in another color to bring them together.)  It’s still tempting to try, but I’m also afraid of screwing them up in the process…  (What do you think???)

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It’s funny that they’re done now, because I swam laps yesterday and had a flashback to 2009 or 2010 when I used to think about “How am I going to paint those fire dragons?” to keep my mind occupied while I swam.  And now, like 8 years (!) later, they’re done!  (Actually, I don’t think I had my “dark” aspect warriors built then—it was classic Eldar dragon models at that time.)

Almost finished with my custom Fuegan.  I hollowed out a cloak for him that I have to paint and attach.  His sword I might just keep simple too rather than try to pull off some great magical effect that doesn’t turn out how I want.  We’ll see.