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?)

 

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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!

 

Changes of Plan and Playing Catch-Up in the New Year

Is it APRIL already???!

It’s about to be.  So does anyone else feel behind?!

I haven’t even done my taxes yet!  Was going to do them here tonight but…  All the paperwork is in the closet, and my wife’s in there sleeping, so…  Good excuse to wait another day.

I haven’t been at the blog much lately, as you might have noticed.  Don’t feel like I’m getting much of anything done lately.  But I’m sure I’m not alone in that.

Part of it is the merciless work schedule.  I’m on nights now, which means my sleep schedule is all messed up and, therefore, so is everything else in life.  I did just take leave, but that ended up being an international trip to say goodbye to my grandmother (RIP, Granny Goodwitch), so not a vacation in the least.  And I thought I’d have my next book published by now, but I still have to revise the last story in it, get it to Jennifer (my copy editor), and then get the whole thing published.  So that’s taking longer than I expected.

Naturally, I always feel behind on my writing schedule.  I always set ambitious goals at the start of the new year, break into a sprint, and quickly find myself running in mud.  But I’m still on course for publishing over 100,000 words this year, which is pretty darn good considering all the stuff in my life.

triple play tile

So far I’ve gotten my superheroic Silk Spider story and my sci-fi triple play The Scythe of Kronos out.  Both in January, I think.  I just finished writing Masks a week or so ago, which will be the title story, along with two more, to become the first book of the Secret Origins Trilogy, all of which are stories related to my Identity Crisis Universe.

After that the plan is to (finally!) finish writing the sequel to Hungry Gods, which will be called Deus Ex Machina.  (Might even run a Kickstarter campaign to help cover the costs and get the word out.  If you’re a Kickstarter regular, I’d love to hear from you.)

Sometime soon (May, I think?), Knotted Road Press will release Hiding Behind the Cowl, which is a superhero anthology that will include my novella Secret Identities.  (Think The Departed in a superhero/supervillain world.)  It’s a story that’s been coming for a long time.

Then, a couple months later, the rights will come back to me and SIDs will become book two in the Secret Origins series.

After that, I have a few options on the table.  Ultimately, I still have 30+ options already in mind, but as time-and-half military and family man, I don’t get much time in the chair for writing.  But things I’m considering: Green-Eyed Monster, a collection of odds and ends that are pretty much ready and waiting for a quick revision; Black-Out (working title), which would likely be full novel length and complete the Secret Origins Trilogy; and Twilight of the Gods, a big project I started last year, which will be either two or three books long and basically be a prequel storyline to Hungry Gods.  It’ll be more serious a superhero story (partially due to the fact that Spitball isn’t in it…).

And, of course, I have a crap ton of other things I’d like to be working on, but…  one thing at a time.

Well, I’m not getting any of them done while blogging, so…!

(And that’s why you don’t see me blogging or on social media much.  ‘Cuz if I’m goofing around with that, I’m not getting my 30+ books written!)

 

Trump and 1984

eyeI can’t believe it!

Two or three weeks ago I started reading 1984 again, which I read 20+ years ago in high school and have been meaning to read again for years.  And as I got through the very first chapter (and am only at chapter 4 now — shows how much reading time I get), that I wanted to blog/tweet about how much 1984 sounded like 2017.  And now it seems i missed the boat!

I just saw on Amazon that 1984 is the #2 ebook right now.  Number 2, out of gazillions!  That’s amazing!

And that theatres are going to play the old movie as a form of protest.  Unbelievable!  Awesome!  And I’m overseas, so I’m going to miss it!

What are some of the similarities, you might ask?  Here’s a few:

The Ministry of Truth is basically in charge of shaping history, media, and public perceptions to match The Party’s politics.

The mantra is (always in all-caps):

WAR IS PEACE

FREEDOM IS SLAVERY

IGNORANCE IS STRENGTH

There are Thought Police, thought crime, and doublethink.

They’ve always been at war with their current enemy (even though Winston clearly remembers it was the other way around just a few years ago).

And the one that struck me most: the Two-Minute Hate.  Everyone must gather around the telescreen and scream their hatred at images of “the enemy”.

Sounds an awful lot like the state of things now.

1984 or 2017?

And here I thought I was a “clever clogs” discovering this.  And now it’s a big thing!

…That big eye up there, by the way?  It’s mine. 🙂