Kickstarter Broke My Heart

I have hit a snag.  Multiple snags, actually.

HGsad

After putting quite a lot of effort into crafting a Kickstarter project for Deus Ex Machina (that’s the sequel to Hungry Gods) over the last several weeks, sweating about making a damn dumb video and then up till 4am two nights in a row making and editing one, I have now confirmed with more than one email Q&A that I cannot launch my project.  Like many businesses, Kickstarter for some reason does not recognize my American Forces address (meaning, a U.S. base overseas), despite the fact that we have legit U.S. postal addresses here.  Their system simply will not accept my zip code as valid.

I would also have to verify my bank account with said system, which is also tied to this address.  And I can’t just use some other address or put it in someone else’s name.  It has to be mine.  (Otherwise, I’m sure, there’d be some potential fraud thing with doing online business and money transactions using some else’s info.)

Long story short, I’m screwed.  Lots of work, big dependence on this (for exposure more so than even the assist with funding) and…  Ka-Boom, blowing up in my face.  Or more accurately, falling flat onto my face.

Huge disappointment.  Sucks.

I will, of course, continue to write the book.  And still hope to have it done before the end of the year.  But I’ll publish it at relatively higher cost than most of my books.  (And the writer’s coffers are already empty, as I’m spending more than I’m taking in—and I ain’t spent that much.)  And when I do publish it, no one will even know it’s come out.  It’ll be one of a thousand indie books that same month, a drop in the vast sea with no more audience or recognition than any other.

So yeah…  Disappointing.

There is a silver lining though.

The breakdown.

No, not a nervous breakdown.  What I mean is, streamlining.

This has kind of convinced me to cut back.  To (temporarily, at least) give up on the business venture, the marketing, the hopes of making any solid income from writing in the near future.  (Like 95% of writers out there, I won’t be waving bye-bye to a day job anytime soon.)

I know that doesn’t sound like a silver lining, but it’s actually kind of liberating.  If I cut all the extra bullshit, then I stop stressing myself out over these things.  I stop expecting a 12-man work load out of a one-man show (i.e., me).  Cut the extraneous obligations I keep adding to my own plate.  And I heap that shit on pretty heavily.  And then hate myself for not accomplishing it all.

I’m really a slave driver—to myself.  Maybe it’s time to give the lash a rest and relax a bit.  Take a more realistic stance on all this.  Accept that it may be 20 years before anyone notices the stuff I write.  (Maybe 30, or 50.)

Really.  That’s a much more realistic view.  Sucks, but it’s actually a less stressful way to look at things.

To that end, I will also suspend my Patreon page that I started a few months back.  I see folks on there with a hell of a lot more following than I have, and they aren’t exactly rolling in support over there either.  (Unless you’re making videos about video games.  The video game and mind-numbing app industry is knee-capping the literate world, if you ask me.  Apparently I need to start spending more time playing other people’s games and just talking about that shit, rather than trying to make anything original myself.)

Maybe some years from now I can reboot the Patreon endeavor and it’ll work out.  Right now, that’s just one more iron in fire that I feel obligated to keep up with, to force a time slot for, when it’s doing absolutely nothing for me.

You might have noticed that I don’t respond much to Facebook stuff, or Tweets, or any of the social media stuff.  That would require time, and if I spend time on that, I’m not doing more productive things.  And with a 50-hour a week job, a family, and trying to write multiple series of novels, when the hell am I going to find time to “like” a comment on Facebook?  That shit falls way down on my list of priorities.  (Actually, it’s not even on the list…)

This whole post is really more of a venting for myself.  The kind of passive-aggressive pity party that folks have by the millions on Facebook everyday.  Also helps make it real when I “say it out loud,” so to speak.  But no one reads this shit anyway, right?  I’m safely talking to myself here.

This letting go of extraneous tasking doesn’t change my ultimate goal, though.  I will keep writing.  I have more ideas every single day, be they new adventures or just further developments for ones I already have in mind.  (In fact, I developed a new story while swimming with my son at the pool today, just based on observing the people around me.)  So the dream goes on.  I’m just going to pull back on the reigns a bit and forgive myself a bit more.  It’s a good thing.  Honest.

(And the graphic above…  didn’t turn out quite how I envisioned it.  It’s based on the one from the other day.  You know, the one that would have been the banner for my Kickstarter project.)

Speaking of images, I am going to roll now from here to the next ebook cover, coming out  as soon as we nail down a nice cover…

See, I’m not giving up the ship.  😉

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Your Cellphone is Killing You

toxicphone

I’ve been saying this for years!  And no, I’m not one of those crazies!  (Well, I might be… but that doesn’t mean I’m not right!)

I tripped across this AMAZING video today.  Its the product of artist Steve Cutts, found here on Lowlife Magazine.  Kudos to them both.  Click here to check it out.

Then feel horrible about your addiction and do something about it.

For example: Get your face out of that screen and read a book!

In fact, I have a summer reading assignment for everyone: Read (or reread) Fahrenheit 451.  Bradbury predicts all of this.  See if you can find the all-consuming gadget media that preoccupies everyone in that classic book and keeps their minds from functioning as they should.

Help Me, Cyber Dudes!

matrix-system-fail_2784216b

Anyone with some website advice out there?  My analog brain is about to explode!

A year ago I created this new website and…  I’m still not satisfied.  For one thing, wordpress is a huge pain in the butt!  I kept reading that it was the optimum way to go for making your very own websites, but DAMN is it complicated! You have to be a bloody programmer to figure out how to set it all up!

Today I realized, though, that the site I use as the Fugitive Fiction “publishers” site is costing way more than it should.  Paying Weebly for the virtual lot and easy to use building tools costs about $60 a year, plus paying $40 a year for the domain name.  It sure as hell ain’t worth $100 a year!  But I do like how user-friendly it is.

How did I get into that awkward situation, you might ask?  Domain name here, website there, costing so much…?  Cuz I’m an analog dinosaur who muddled his way through without knowing jack shit, that’s how.

Several years back I started a blogspot site, which was easy and simple but too simple.  Now I’m kind of thinking of going back that direction, just because it’s easy.

I “need” to have two sites.  One is my blog, one is my publisher.  At least one of those needs to have a nice setup for displaying and hocking my goods (i.e. books), but I don’t have the time or knowhow for a lot of upkeep or duplication of work.  Two relatively simple but effective websites that won’t cost an arm and a leg.

Anyone have any wisdom for a stubborn luddite bastard who hates cybershit but needs it to advance his dreams?

(Happy Independence Day, by the way!  Maybe that’s what brought this up for me today? Trying to reach my own independence from cyber-stress and the shackles of the working world?)

 

Summer Blues

It’s a beautiful June day and I’m off work.

Which makes it damn hard to get any writing done!  I know if I stay home, I won’t get any work done.  I’ll find something else to do.  And my raised-in-the-80’s instincts tell me that a wonderful day like this should be spent outside.  (Kid’s nowadays probably don’t notice the sun, except for when it makes their screen harder to see.)

Then again, there’s not much for me to do outside either.  I just mowed the grass in my teeny, tiny yard a few days ago.  My feet and ankles can’t take a lot of strain, like jogging would put on them.  And riding my bike in circles around base against an occasionally stiff wind…  That would get old before long.

Oh, to be 9 years old again!  With friends!  We’d play some damn thing and take advantage of the day!

All I can do, though, is bitch because it’s so damned nice out.  How messed up is that?!

*sigh*

I’m actually sitting out on my back patio as I type this, but the excessive music from the elementary school’s field day across the street makes it pretty darn hard to write anything.  (At least they can take proper advantage of the day!)

So I suppose I’ll go find some dark corner to hide in somewhere…  Books don’t write themselves, and if I ever want to be “a writer” I guess I better get some more books out there.

Summer blues…  Pretty ridiculous, eh?

Down and Out… and slightly bitter, I guess…

I’ve been sick the past week, spending much more time in the bathroom than I would like. More, in fact, than working on any of the multiple writing-related projects I have going.

I’ve also had at least half a dozen things I’d like to have blogged about–movies, books, etc–but have just been “down and out” with being sick.

And just as I’d like to start back on writing my second Identity Crisis novel, I’m volunteering to help copy edit an anthology, which I’m greatly looking forward to and see as a great opportunity and experience.  But it’s another time slot–or two, or three–just as the weather’s getting nice, and I’m starting to feel better, and important stuff at work is coming up, and…  I think part of the reason I got sick was I stress myself out too much, spread myself too thin.  I need to start scaling back and prioritizing again.

And one of the first things to get cut on the list of priorities is blogging.

Some people–damned if I’ll ever understand how–actually make a living blogging.  What a world we live in, eh?  If I could get paid to sit here and shoot out my opinions into the Ether everyday…  Just can’t imagine that as possible.

And even though in this new cyber-centered world we live in, they say “building a platform” is so darned important to having a writing career.  That means being online, having a presence, cyber-socializing, blogging about whatever, etc.

But I say, if I am doing that, then I’m not writing anything.  And I don’t want to be a virtual social butterfly, I want to be a writer.  Novels, novellas, shorties, etc.  You ask me, you don’t get to be a writer by talking about the one book you’ve written.  You get there by writing more books.

Anyway, maybe someday I’ll get around to talking about that movie I saw or that book I read, but for now, that’s just noise.  I have so much more important stuff to do.  And the internet is jam-packed other people that can do that all day long.  But not all of them can write books or stories.  And only I can write my books and stories.  And only I can take care of my family, and take care of my specific responsibilities at home and at work.  So that’s my priority.

And now I have to go meet my son at school for an after-school club.  Only I can do that for him, and it sure as hell is more important than blogging about some movie so I can “build a platform.”

 

 

Still Chasing My Tail

It’s nearly 4am.  I’ve been working on writing stuff for about 4 hours and I still feel like I haven’t accomplished anything!

I keep reworking or correcting crap that should have been put to sleep long ago.  Even when I have an increasing amount of new, better projects I could be working on.

I make these lists.  And I even remake my lists over and over again!  ‘Cuz every day, there’s a new idea, a new take on priorities, new (and old) projects that have to be reshuffled through.

It never ends.  

When you have to do it all yourself, and only in your spare time–like at 4am on your night off–it just never ends.  New things crop up before you can get the last 20 finished.

Right now, as I write this, I am killing time waiting for Create Space to upload the paperback version of a story years old.  And not because I expect anyone to buy a short story in paperback, but because this is like version 3.67 or something and I have to correct the previous paperback version so it’s consistent…  Okay, it’s a long terrible excuse, but let’s just say that I can never seem to escape from past tangles to get a good forward momentum.

To give you further idea of how backward I am, I am currently listening to a Don Henley *CD* that I bought in 1999.   Yeah!

So my list…  I actually did kind of mark a couple things off of it, at least partially.  I started a few things that I now have to revisit to be sure they take and get done by other (generally cybernetic) parties.

Two major things I wanted to work on:

  1. Revising Masks so I can get the final draft uploaded in time for the release date.
  2. Working on a Patreon account in the vain hope that some folks out there will feel artsy-generous enough to flip some coin to fund these projects.  I’ve actually been thinking of this since before the New Year!  That tells you about my tail-chasing, own-butt-sniffing circular motion that gains little ground.  (And about how I’m not making that a priority because I just can’t believe people do that kind of thing.  But apparently they do.)

But I didn’t do either of those things tonight.

Also need to fix this website.  The new theme isn’t compatible with my portfolios that feature my fictional universes.  (You may have noticed…)  The text and images are askew.  Oh well, not tonight.

Also should have gone to the gym at like midnight.  But who has the motivation to do that at midnight??!!

I did write the beginnings (about 600 words) of  a new space pirate story, which is now a NEW item on my long list.  And my damn list ain’t getting any shorter as it is.  Just what I need…

Okay, got that paperback sent in for processing.  Time for bed!

G’night!

(Sorry, no picture to go on this post.  Couldn’t find a good shot of a dog sniffing its own butt…)

The Pulp Revolution

conanSounds cool, doesn’t it?

I am still a novice and outsider to the greater “neo pulp movement,” and likely will remain that way, but I like the idea of it.  Bringing back the ideals of storytelling embodied in the adventure stories of the ’30s and ’40s and beyond.  (That’s where superhero roots started, too, ya know—in the pulps!)

I managed to accidentally trip over some of the modern pulp revolutionists recently, and wish I had more time to explore and advocate for this revival.

But I don’t, really.

I wish I had more writing and reading time to contribute to the conversations and submit stories to some of the new magazines that have grown up to emulate those of the past.

But, unfortunately, I just don’t.  My dance card is pretty full just fulfilling all my own current publishing dreams.  I’ve started quite a few series and have plenty more to start, after I make some progress on the ones I’ve already initiated.

But I think my stuff is pretty “pulpy.”  I’ve actually had a couple of stories published by some of these new young revolutionaries already.  And I’ve found a few more opportunities.  (I just don’t think I can fit it into my writing schedule to try and contribute.)

On kind of a down side, there’s also the faint air of politics to some of talk. I guess that goes with the term “revolution,” right?  And I’m not quite ready to throw my hat into any political rings when it comes to literature and writing/reading tastes.  I figure there’s a flavor out there for everybody, and it’s no ones business what you like.  I’m not here to say one style is better than another.  I know my tastes, and that they often differ from what the mainstream spec fic giants are pushing.  So I certainly sympathize with the underground.  (And hell, it’s always more fun to be part of the underground than the establishment regime anyway, right?)  But I’m not sure I’m ready to burn any citadels to the ground.

I think I’d be more likely to advocate for building your own fortresses, flying your own colors, and allowing the masses (readers) to make up their own minds.  Filter over (or flock to) your banners and leave the regime to figure out for themselves that maybe the aristocracy has been too exclusive all this time.

Anyone confused so far by what I’m talking about?  Not sure you follow?

I am being pretty vague.  Rather noncommittal.  And I’m doing so on purpose.

To be a bit more clear, some of the topics of discussion might be about the major SF/F magazines’ trend for decades toward publishing fluffy literary stories rather than the exciting sci-fi stuff we go to the movies for.  And for bending so far toward, shall we say, “political correctness” as to completely alienate the “evil majority.”  (Very much like everything else in America these days.)  This has also been a hot topic during science fiction award season, and continues to be.  I don’t know all the politics—nor do I want to—but I remember reading some articles last year about how nasty some of it’s been getting when it comes to the Hugo and Nebula awards.

And again, that’s one reason I’m not getting too specific or taking up a pitchfork myself right now.  Because I’d rather advocate for a pulp revival, versus a revolution, and let readers make their own choices.  And hell, you don’t even have to pick one side or the other!  You can read both, appreciate both, depending on your mood.  Personally, I do like some of the literary stuff, but I certainly don’t think it should be the dominant art form that excludes more exciting fiction.  Or that there should even be a dominant art form.  And I don’t think most sci-fi/fantasy fans do either.

So if I’m not jumping on board one way or the other, what’s the point of me typing all this out?  Why should you, the reader of this post, give a shit about this noncommittal rambling?

Well, I just wanted to say something about it, that’s all.  ‘Cuz it’s there.  And I like it, mostly.  And because I wanted to raise awareness and let you, the reader, decide what you like.  Who you want to support.  What books, magazines, blogs, and podcasts you want to frequent and even chip your hard-earned dollars toward supporting (simply by purchasing and reading—and enjoying!—their stuff).

So, if you’re interested, here’s a few places you might go.  Some are forums and blogs, some are sources of reading material, and I see a few neo pulp mags open for submissions.  (If I get the time, maybe I can even submit something.  In some of these cases, I already have!)  This is by no means a long list, it’s just a few leads I have found very recently.  Heck, if you have more, feel free to post them in a comment!

So there you go, a small sample for your perusal.

Now it’s 9am, I’ve been up since 4pm yesterday, and I need to get my ass to bed so I can go back to work again tonight! (And I’ll blame that, too, for why this post is vague and unreadable.)

Good night!