A little pick-me-up for you

I don’t often read Reddit.  Of my many failings it’s the easiest one to keep hidden from the world.  All I have to do when people mention Reddit is say, “Yeah, I totally saw that Reddit thread” and everything’s cool.  It’s not that I don’t like Reddit, I just don’t get over there very often.  For whatever reason the place doesn’t enter into my browsing field of vision.

Nothing but love for y'all

Nothing but love for y’all

“Hey, Eric.  What do you wanna browse?”

“I don’t know other Eric, what’s good?”

“How about this stuff on your bookmarks bar?”

“Word, other Eric.  Word.”

Maybe I should just dump some of the links on my bookmarks bar and put a shiny Reddit button on there.  In fact, I’ll mark that on my to do list right now.  I guarantee, though, I’ll get distracted and forget all about it again, lured in by the siren song of Fark and Facebook.  Or Arkham City.

Anyway, I don’t browse Reddit much but they have a cool feature called “Ask Me Anything” where a celebrity will hop online and answer questions – in real time – from Reddit users.  Recently they featured Todd McFarlane creator of (among other things) Spawn.  If you’re not familiar with Spawn, he’s this cheery fellow.

Happy to meet you!

Happy to meet you!

I started reading the Spawn comics back in the 90s sometime and watched the animated show and the (mediocre but underrated) live-action movie.  Spawn was great, a perfect anti-hero that you could sympathize with.  It had bad guys, worse guys, magic, Hell, action, everything you needed.

But back to Todd McFarlane and Reddit AMA.  In his AMA he mentioned something I found very interesting.  Adam Oster (I mention Adam because he does superhero books), if you’re reading this, it might be of interest to you, too.

“But here’s what I’d like to leave you with: right now, Marvel comics is owned by Disney. And DC Comic Books is owned by Warner Brothers.

What that means is neither one of those companies is going to let any of their characters outside of their company. So here’s what’s happening: Universal, Paramount, Sony, and FOX and a lot of other smaller studios are looking for content.

And they can’t have a Marvel or DC character – which means they are now knocking on our door.

So if any of you have ever thought about putting an idea down on paper – today is the perfect day. Because there is a great hunger for stuff that isn’t Marvel and DC right now.

We have 17 books that are currently optioned in Hollywood. It can be done.

What I tell people is: If you do a book, and if it’s the 150th best-selling book – BUT the 149 books ahead of you are Marvel & DC – You have the number one book for all the other studios. So you don’t have to be a big-selling book to have people interested in you right now. The studios have to scratch out Marvel & DC and then go “What’s left?” and in the top 100 books – that might be #1 to the people at the studios. So I’m telling ya – it is a GOOD time to be an independent creator right now.” – Todd McFarlane

There’s a huge spate of superhero movies floating around and they’re generally a license to print money.  Done correctly, a superhero story can be a great thing.  Done poorly they’re abhorrent.  The bottom line, though, is all of those heroes are currently owned by some group or another so a studio that wants to make a movie may be stuck because the characters they want to use are already owned by someone else.

If you’re a studio looking for something that would make an awesome move, may I recommend Henchmen or Arise?  Two great books about supervillainy where the good guys are the bad guys and the bad guys are even worse.  If you’re looking for superheroes, Buddy Hero may be your guy.  Wanna try something completely different?  Check out the inimitable Del.

May cause unexpected awesomeness in readers

May cause unexpected awesomeness in readers

Has been known to grant readers nearly godlike powers (6)

Has been known to grant readers nearly godlike powers (6)

Thank you, Todd McFarlane, not only for the awesome Spawn, but for some much-needed encouragement.  Now I just need to figure out how to get the right people to notice this…

(6): There’s very little correlation between godlike powers and this book.
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Happy Valentine’s Day

Mr. T is still out there and still pitying fools.

Mr. T is still out there and still pitying fools.

This is that one magical day of the year when the stars align perfectly and it’s possible for love struck teenagers to turn gritty chocolate from Walgreens into desperate sex in the backseats of their parents’ cars.  Good luck, y’all!

As for me, I’ll happily continue to celebrate my wife every day of the year.

If at first you don’t succeed…

Neither of my books have sold for beans.  It’s not entirely surprising; I’m an unknown author in a sea of people.  I wrote some fairly strange stuff.  It’s been called uncategorizable by more than a couple people.  People love categories; I find them kind of restricting.

I was pondering all this the other evening and wondering if I should change my style, make it fit a singular genre.  Maybe I could write a horror story where villains stalk virgins or a science fiction story where a valiant crew faces insurmountable odds, or a crashed spaceship on a world of magic leads to a clash of high technology and powerful magic.

Actually, that last one might be pretty cool.  I’m claiming that one.  No one else can write it.  And it doesn’t fit neatly into a category anyway and, as we’ve already established, uncategorizable is my category.  So there; it’s mine.

Anyway, as I was pondering all this I realized I had far too many ideas to just throw in the towel.  Besides, I’m not writing because I’m looking for fame or fortune (actually, fortune would be nice.  It’s hard to collect exotic cars on my salary), I’m writing because it’s fun and those ideas have to go somewhere, right?

So, your first book didn’t sell for squat?  Write another one.

Second one didn’t catch on, either?  Write another one.

Bottom line, just keep writing.

write1

 

I think everyone who writes a book somehow expects it will immediately become the next best seller and they’ll be showered with praise.  It can happen, but it often doesn’t.  That’s one of the things that I keep reminding myself of.  Well, that and I’m not really writing because I want to become the next big name; I write because I enjoy it and it’s nice to know at least a few people out there have enjoyed what I’ve written.  Consider it my good deed for the day; a half-assed atonement for all the things I’ve done wrong.

So that’s it.  It’s exactly as easy and hard as Neil Gaiman says.  There’s no magical formula, there’s no advice to give that will change your fate.  There’s no hidden secret out there that will suddenly make you a great writer.  I’m thinking writing is like anything else, the more you practice at it the better you’ll get at it.  The only way to practice it is to do it.  A lot.

That said, here’s some inspiration for you.  There’s a story in each and every one of these pictures, and that story is probably longer than a thousand words.

230-montroguemystery

 

panda-robot

Ancient-Chinese-dragon-Desktop-Wallpaper

Code-Monkey-Wallpaper

 

The-Fighter

Faked-Moon-Landing-Proof

big_e275b2fd5f529ec05440700177a9c55167ab7a92

Armored-Woman-with-Sword

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Go forth and write a story.  Expect my next book, a collection of stories called The Clock Man sometime this summer.

Car Porn

My son and I went to the Albuquerque 2015 Supernationals this weekend.  As usual it was chock full of gorgeous cars, some sane others (like the Packard Royal – the big silver one) are so bat-shit insane, so over the top, that they’ve ceased being cars and become pure rolling awesome.  The link to the Supernationals page has some more information on some of these.

Warning: Large files, some pics aren’t so great because I took them with my phone.

IMG_20150208_114118 IMG_20150208_114141 IMG_20150208_114057 IMG_20150208_114001 IMG_20150208_113938 IMG_20150208_113803 IMG_20150208_113005 IMG_20150208_113015 IMG_20150208_113105 IMG_20150208_113251 IMG_20150208_113357 IMG_20150208_113458 IMG_20150208_112938 IMG_20150208_112856 IMG_20150208_112834 IMG_20150208_111019 IMG_20150208_110920 IMG_20150208_110824 IMG_20150208_110751 IMG_20150208_110642 IMG_20150208_110558 IMG_20150208_110527 IMG_20150208_110313 IMG_20150208_110043 IMG_20150208_105131 IMG_20150208_105444 IMG_20150208_105606 IMG_20150208_105739 IMG_20150208_113118 IMG_20150208_105842 IMG_20150208_105038 IMG_20150208_105342 IMG_20150208_105309 IMG_20150208_105026

Review – Upload by Will Marck

One of the interesting things about being an indie author is all of the other indie authors out there putting out creative tales.  They’re hidden in the shadows of the giants, but that doesn’t make them any less talented or capable; it just means fewer people have come across them.  As soon as you toss your hat into the indie ring you find all sorts of other people out there creating worlds and telling stories.

For a long time I simply didn’t leave a lot of reviews for people because most of what I read was from the big name authors and people like Charles Stross, Simon R. Green, Jim Butcher, and Richard Kadrey don’t need my review.  Sure, I probably should have done the right thing and dropped a review for my favorites, but those reviews would have been lost in  sea of existing praise.

Okay, when you get right down to it I’m kind of an asshole and just didn’t feel like spending the time writing reviews.  If you’re interested in any of those guys I can sum it up easily; they’re all great.  Just pick up a book and start reading and you’ll probably dig it if it’s a story that’s up your alley.  If not, no worries.  It doesn’t make them any less talented writers.

In an attempt and shoring up my faltering karma so I don’t reincarnated as a bathroom tile on the floor of a bus station men’s room, I’ve made a decision to write up a review of every damned indie author I read.  And trust me when I say this, my TBR list is getting monstrous.  Actually, it’s grown so large that it achieved self-awareness last night and demanded virgins and beer.

So I’m working through my TBR list and writing reviews and hopefully drumming up some awareness for some talented authors and, in the process, saving my beer.

Today’s entry is from a book I picked up last year after a brief spate of interaction with Will Marck on Twitter.  Will’s a cracker jack author as well as a bang-up reviewer and his reviews are almost as entertaining to read as his books.  His tweets are pretty damned awesome, too.

So, allow me to introduce you to:

upload-final-jpeg

This is a novella, and near as I can tell Marck’s first published work.  Leastwise it was the only one I could find on Amazon.  I hope there’s more to come because this is an interesting story that links our world with a future world and nothing is exactly what it seems.  In the best traditions of dystopian stories we find a world where everything is seemingly perfect.  Little hints are dropped that people live extremely long lives, if not forever.  There’s no war, no weaponry, nothing vile to sour the taste of the perfect society.  Even religion has largely been vanquished and relegated to the factories in the desert where it’s used as a form of control.

Out at one those factories in the desert something goes horribly awry and kicks off the story.  Beyond that, it’s difficult to discuss the plot without giving up the finer points of it and some things are best left to be experienced rather than told.

Marck does a wonderful job of painting a picture that’s beautiful on the surface but disgusting underneath and gives us a glimpse at what kind of world we can expect if we simply stop questioning things.  Personally, I hope there’s more to come; Upload kind of leaves us hanging although the subtitle “Origin of Bannon (The Enlightened Series Book 1)” would indicate there’s another story in the works somewhere.  Hopefully it’ll be along sooner rather than later.

Buy Upload at Amazon (NOTE: There’s a different cover at the Amazon site, don’t fret)

Will’s Website

Find Will on Twitter

Bloody Mary and the Power of Nerf

Today we bought a new Nerf Sword.  It’s one of the slick new Zombie Strike models that is almost exactly like the old model he had.  So now he has two swords to come at me with.  Joke’s on him, though, I’ve got a real shinken. 🙂

Cuts through zombies like butter

Cuts through zombies like butter

We also went to a birthday party for one of the kids in his school and he wanted to take the sword with him.  I had to explain to him that birthday parties are not exactly the best places for swordplay, Nerf or otherwise.  Turns out he didn’t want to fight anyone with the sword he was going to use it to destroy a vengeful ghost.

It turns out his school has recently experienced a spate of supernatural activity.  He swears up and down, side to side, and backward to front that he and his friends played Bloody Mary and …

Wait a minute.  What are kids doing with Bloody Marys (Maries?  Crap, I don’t know the plural of Mary).

archerbloodymary

Archer is my hero

Turns out they’re not drinking Bloody Marys (see above), they’ve been playing a game which I had been unaware of: Blood Mary.  I hadn’t heard of it before; in Farmington we were more concerned with Skinwalkers and aliens.  We had real problems, damnit and couldn’t be bothered with pesky ghosts that haunt mirrors.  Besides, who hangs out in bathroom anyway?  Seriously, find a better place to haunt.

Apparently the game goes like this:  You stand, alone, in a dark bathroom and look in the mirror.  Say “Bloody Mary” three times and the ghost will appear and suck out your eyeballs.

On the plus side, she had a lovely singing voice.

On the plus side, she had a lovely singing voice.

Sounds fun.

Back in my day (damn, I’m getting old), we would have just said Beetlejuice three times and gotten this guy instead.  He might not suck out your eyeballs, but he would demand your daughter’s hand in marriage so if you have a daughter (or three), you might want to reconsider.

beetlejuice

Still more fun than having your eyes sucked out.

Now, as for why the vengeful ghost of Mary, Queen of Scots or Mary Worth of Chicago would be interested in a mirror in Albuquerque, New Mexico (Proud member of the United States since 1912) is anyone’s guess, but who can really fathom the reasoning of a ghost?  All I’ve got to say is if she shows up in New Mexico there’s an eight year old with a Nerf sword and an itchy sword finger waiting for her.

You’ve been warned, Mary.