Galaxy’s Edge, Geek Gab, and Nick Cole

You know how sometimes you can hear (or be told) something many times, but it isn’t until after about the 20th or 50th or 100th that you finally say, “Oh, now I get it!” ???

Big thanks to Deuce Richardson for enlightening me to Geek Gab episode 128, and a big thanks to them for having on Nick Cole, one of the two authors of the huge mega space marine hit Galaxy’s Edge series, and an even bigger thanks to him for what he had to say on there!

Haven’t heard of any of these people? I hadn’t either.

But I had heard, from many folks, that if you want to make it big as an indie writer you have to write in series, and get that series out in short order, and play Amazon’s algorithm, and a bunch of other stuff. And while I acknowledged it and saw the wisdom in it all each time I heard it, it didn’t really sink in or make me think about changing my plans or getting more serious. Partly because the writing aspect in my life is always second-fiddle to about 3 or 4 other more important things in my life.

But suddenly, having listened to this podcast this morning, it actually sunk in and kicked me in the shin and said, “Hey, I’m talking to you asshole, are you listening?!”

It also makes me want to read (at least the first book of) Galaxy’s Edge. Add that to my ever-growing to-read list.

So, finally having “come to Jesus” about what I need to do to actually make some headway in writing, I come to the same most difficult question: What to write?¬†(Among other serious questions, like, What time am I going to start getting up every morning to do some writing before work?)

So if you tuned in he other day for when I laid out my almost ever month publishing schedule for this year, it might be up for some changes. If I continue to scatter shit all over the place like chicken feed (to continue that analogy from that post), I’ll continue to be unknown and ignored.

So what series to I decide to dedicate myself to first? The superheroes universe I’ve already started and have multiple (chickenfeed) series started in already? Is superheroes a big enough genre to actually get any traction?

The coming of age fantasy series I started FIVE YEARS AGO–actually, I wrote Tarnish more like EIGHT years ago and it took three years to get it out after that.

One of, like 2 or 3 other fantasy series I have in mind but haven’t started?

The space pirate series I started with short stories published in Cirsova Magazine?

Or one of a zillion others.

Whichever I pick, it will mean essentially abandoning the others for a year or two (or three) while I finish out that whole series. Which I really can’t see doing. But if I bounce back and forth across 2 or 3 different series, one book at a time, I’ll just continue what I’ve been doing, which is not working.

Think Netflix. Everyone watches a whole series/season at a time, right? And get pissed when they have to wait for the next episode. They don’t want one episode now, one next year, etc. They do the whole thing in a weekend.

That’s what I have to do. But which one…?

strip

I’m going to finish what I have going right now. Deus Ex Machina is 70% done and I am going to do that first. But after that…? I’m guessing I’ll sell a dozen copies and then… nothing. So plow ahead on that or… something else?

I have several books in several series figured out. I could do any of them. But I need to write like 3 or more books and THEN start publishing them. What can I crank out quickly, in sequence? And if I get locked into that genre for a while, will I be happy with that? If I suddenly have a best-selling sci-fi series going, how easy will it be to switch back to finish my superheroes or fantasy series? Or vice versa?

Decisions, decisions.

Fortunately I have some time to figure it out while I finish up some things…

 

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Readin’ ‘Em Books: Cthulhu and the Cannibal

lambs.jpg

Amid the continuing chaos of our whole-life transition, I haven’t been able to write very much these last few months. But I have gotten to read more! In fact, it’s been a very necessary and very much missed form of stress relief.

I found this copy of Silence of the Lambs from 1988 on a shelf in Goodwill for $0.79. Hell of a bargain and a great thriller read. No chapters are wasted here. Each one serves the story, characters, or both. The pace and the tension are high from the start and (almost) never let up.

My only complaint is that, even after 20 years, I could still see too much of the movie in my mind as I read. As great a movie as it was, I would rather it not taint my mind’s eye interpretation of what i was reading.

books.jpg

After that, I found these two books at the local Books-A-Million (also on the cheap). So far I’ve read two Lovecraft stories, including the legendary “Call of Cthulhu.” It’s been 20 years since I’ve read that too, and I have to say… Well, I wouldn’t say disappointed is the right word, but… The style contains what could be a heck of a lot of creepy weird horror in a compressed, summarized package. I could easily see that one story expanded into adventures four times as long.

I’ve also read a few trade paperback comics and/or graphic novels. They don’t take much time or commitment to get through. ūüôā

By the way, “Readin’ ‘Em Books” was written on a box in my friend Tony’s garage many years ago. It denoted a box of books read for pleasure, rather than college text books or other stuffy tomes.

Silk Spider, Wasteland, and Sky

silk spider-mini

Thanks to a tweet that’s now about 3 months old, I found that Mr. J. D. Cowen had reviewed my Silk Spider story on his blog, Wasteland and Sky. (Or maybe it’s called “And between the Wasteland and Sky” or is that just a quote…?)

I only hit up Facebook occasionally, and Twitter rarely. Back in August, Mr. Cowen reviewed Astounding Frontiers magazine, as well as my story and one by Dominika Lein, all as part of his quest to find more pulp fiction. He tweeted about this and included me in the tweet. Today, November 4th, I discovered that tweet from August.

Oops.

That’s me and my cyber aversion.

Better late than never though! Thanks J.D. for the kind comments–glad you liked it!

 

The Dark Tower: The Gunslinger

The-Dark-Tower-Movie-2017

I saw the tall, slim book on the store shelf with a cool new cover very similar to this movie banner, and decided to pick it up. ¬†(Can’t seem to find an image of the book cover via the Google Oracle though.) ¬†This is the only Dark Tower book I’ve ever read and I wonder when I’m done with it again if I’ll feel compelled to go for the gold and try to read them all. ¬†(Though such a quest would probably take me two years to complete, maybe more!)

The first time I read it, I remember substitute teaching and reading it during my off-period.  I feel like that might have been in Colorado Springs, though it could have been Santa Fe, New Mexico too.  (Funny how the mind works, flashing me back to certain times and places with certain stimuli.)

I don’t have high hopes for the movie, especially given the huge scope of the books. ¬†Movies tend to jack stuff up, especially trying to cram everything into a 2 hour format. ¬†(Or, trying to drag it out to be unnaturally long. ¬†Case in point: The Hobbit, which was basically a short kids’ book, thrown on the rack and stretched to be 9 friggin’ hours long. ¬†I still haven’t watched those movies and don’t plan to. ¬†The very idea is too ridiculous and money-grubby for me.)

I’m also working to read three other books, which are all basically short stories. ¬†I’ll showcase those soon too. ¬†The nice thing about those is you can dip and in out as you please.

A quick quote‚ÄĒslightly abridged‚ÄĒfrom early in The Gunslinger that I liked. ¬†(I don’t think Mr.¬†King will begrudge me sharing this little snippet):

 

“Do you still believe in an afterlife?” the gunslinger asked him.

Brown nodded. ¬†“I think this is it.”

And here’s another cool cover from ages past that I liked.

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Thor, Loki, and a Lost Space Fleet

Finally getting around to briefly talk about some reading I’ve done lately.

norse-mythologyA couple months ago I read Neil Gaiman’s Norse Mythology, scored from the base library. ¬†Here’s the quick blurb I wrote on GoodReads:

This was actually more simplistic than I expected.  Really written in the style of oral myth tradition.  Which is to say, without a lot of detail or dialogue.  But nonetheless fast and fun.  It was great to get some of the authentic stories of old.  A great, fun way to educate yourself on the classic tales of Thor, Odin, Loki, and Ragnarok.  And told in an epic, building toward The End fashion.

Definitely recommended!

lostI’m currently reading Jack Campbell’s Dauntless: The Lost Fleet, which has been on my shelf forever.

I’m about 100 pages in.¬† Enjoying the heck out of it!¬† Definitely satisfies craving for the space opera.¬† Great character idea‚ÄĒa long lost war hero found to not be dead after all, coping with the new reality of a future Navy where he‚Äôs blindly idolized as a hero and worshiped as infallible.¬† I like the ‚Äúthis is not the Navy you knew‚ÄĚ aspect, as the Navy I serve in is not the one I started in, and never was the one I expected!

Campbell also uses some great real-science elements that I hadn’t considered before.  Most notably the great factors of time and distance in space and how they’d affect fleet combat.

So far, just what the space jockey ordered.

I’m also bouncing between a few short story books, as well as assisting as a reader for an action-adventure anthology coming out soon. ¬†I wish I had more time for reading, but… ¬†I guess we all do.

 

World Science Fiction Convention Membership

worldcon75_logo

Just wanted to make this available. ¬†The price is kind of steep (in my budget-necessary opinion) but if you’re interested and you don’t mind the bill, go for it!

http://www.worldcon.fi/memberships/

According to Mr. Alexander, you just have to be a supporting member to vote.  (Cheapest tier.)

And if you happen to find yourself in Helsinki in August, you’re all set!

I happen to have been stationed in San Antonio a few years back when the convention was held there, which was very nice for me! ¬†I didn’t get a lot of time there, nor did I go downtown on the Riverwalk to party with all the uber-geeks in town looking to let loose (which I’m sure would have been a good time), but I did get to meet Hugh Howey, who’s the poster child of the indie publishing revolution. ¬†So that was nice. He was one panelist on an indie pub forum, which was interesting to listen to.

And the experience got me into the convention center, which allowed me the personal experience necessary to write a certain scene in Twilight of the Gods, which will (I hope) be coming out in 2018. ¬†I have a lot more to write on those books, but I do have a nice chunk already done. ¬†(And once I write the whole thing, beginning to end, I’ll know if it’s going to be two books or three.)

 

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‚ÄĒin 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‚ÄĒnor do I want to‚ÄĒbut 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‚ÄĒand enjoying!‚ÄĒtheir 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!