Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Advice from a Successful Kickstarter Novelist: Don't Use Kickstarter!

    That's right, I said it. And I successfully Kickstarted my first novel, Kali - Destroyer of Worlds.
    Nevertheless, my advice to aspiring novelists is this: just don't do it.
    So why would I, an aspiring author who succeeded at it, tell others to avoid crowdfunding their work through sites like Kickstarter and Indiegogo? Because I feel that paints an unfair picture of what it really means to be a writer, much less a novelist. Not to mix metaphors.
    Let me explain.
    Firstly, my back story; I've only written one book. But I have dreamed and lived the idea my entire life. Some of my earliest Christmas and birthday presents were things like an electric typewriter (back when they first came out with onboard memory; you could type for 10 seconds, then wait as it clacked away, then type 10 seconds again and again) or a Steno notebook and Cross pen... my family always knew I wanted to write. I bought the Writer's Market for forty dollars plus every year, and concocted plots and planned entire universes over the years.
    But the drudgery and immediacy of real life intervened; I found myself working long hours at minimum wage jobs, just to get by. I found myself in the United States Air Force deployed to Turkey for Operation Northern Watch, or deployed to Kadena Air Base in Okinawa shortly after September 11th, 2001. I got out, got married, had kids, and the dream of being a writer trickled away year after working year. Sure I continued to write, but each listless piece got lost, or forgotten on some long-degraded floppy disk (yikes!) as life rolled ever onward.
    Then I found myself in my late thirties as a stay at home Dad, while my wife worked as a professor at KU. A window of opportunity presented itself; maybe I could find the wherewithal to really write, after all.  So I wrote. I wrote a 90k word science fiction tale that lost its legs (I still have my eye on that one) and a couple of intriguing short stories. From one of these Becky Wilder/Kali was born. Before anything good came of that time, aside from a beautiful baby boy (talking good creatively here!) I was back to work again. No sellable product emerged from all that work, so I packaged what I could as short stories, put it out on Amazon sans any kind of marketing, and moved on with a heavy heart.
    The little girl from one story written during that time started haunting me shortly after I learned my second child would be female. I starting thinking of all the male characters throughout science fiction and fantasy I had read, Robert Howard's Conan, or Doc Savage, or Pug the Apprentice, the list was as along as... well, the list. All of the best stories were helmed by men, or boys becoming men, and they shepherded and guarded the poor womenfolk on all the old book and magazine covers, cowering on the ground with torn clothes and clutching the leg of the man who saved them.
    I realized my daughter would have a remarkably different view of scifi, horror,  and all the genres I love in general, without real heroes like herself to look up to.
   Some of you will trot out the Twihard, romance-laden books to me as evidence of good feminine heroes, or the current crop of beige-uniform wearing, dystopian borefests, with lock-step, automaton-like populaces and marginally well-written female leads. Yes, those appeal to a lot, but I have a feeling my daughter will be more of an under-the-bleacher kid than an over-the-bleacher-kid. Chucking around little knives like Divergent, or hopping through virtual jungles with a bow may not appeal to the darker set, like I came from.
    When I was coming up what I came to think of as the over-the-bleacher set were all the letter jacket-wearing normals who gathered for the games above the bleachers, and shook the pompoms and yelled because, hey, everybody else was yelling. Let's yell!
    As for me and mine, we were below the bleachers, down in the dark. We didn't care about the game, and the herd mentality of the onlookers above. We were the kids who played D&D back when it was thought to be Of The Devil. We were the kids who read Heinlein and Asimov and Stephen King. We listened to (TRUE) punk rock and flipped off the establishment with a sneer, and with safety pins in our ridiculous 80's trenchcoats.
    Even though I have since assimilated, I have never lost the idea of being apart from the herd. I have always known that the separation was a way to inspire, to lead. Conformity has its place, but we would have never come down front the trees without some true non-conformists amongst us.
    That's what I hope my daughter will be, when all is said and done. An eccentric, a non-conformist.
    So, I wrote a novel for her.
    Kali was born. I successfully Kickstarted it, abusing every relationship in my entire life to scrape enough scratch to stay afloat for two months. During that time I lived and breathed the book, typing 12 and 16 hours a day. I wrote a hundred-thousand plus words in two months flat. But I digress...
   As to the subject of this essay, the reason I am suggesting others seeking to follow my path do anything else is because of what happened after the book was written. It was a bitter, poignant lesson, and by these words I hope to pass it on to all the other dilettantes out there, scratching and straining to get published.
   During the course of writing Kali I met quite a few other authors, and learned that my view of "the craft" was really only partially committed, by comparison to my new friends. They slaved away, typing every minute they weren't getting by, just like me, but quite often sacrificing personal lives and family to do so. Some had dozens of failed books; others had some success. One and all, they had worked their asses off compared to me. I did not feel like an author at all, and the meaning of the word "dilettante" grew in my mind.
    The idea that being an author was some kind of lottery process, some way of culling the creatives from the herd, tapping them with a magic wand... it was a fiction in my head, born of the 1980-1990's mindset that a good book was a thing you could really sell. The truth is being a writer is a slaving, laborious, obsessive-compulsive nightmare process in this modern Amazon-laden world, more like a curse than some boon. I compared it to zombies, in that much like them, writers are cursed to seek the minds of any and all to devour.
    In summary: if you want to write, WRITE. Throw it all out, all the other normal human desires, and, like a cop or a member of the Armed Services, devote yourself to it, body and soul, night and day. Long for the keyboard clicks, long for the empty pages. Long for the real unrequited passion you will develop for your totally-made-up characters, and do it every waking minute of your life. Just don't confuse writing in the old world for writing in the new; there is no comparison. It is no longer a paying job but for a select few, the ones crazy enough, committed enough, or even lucky enough to claw their way to the top of the bestseller piles of dead author corpses.
    Kickstarting something like a novel sets you up to think that every book will have a price tag of some kind on it you can count on. That is simply not the case any more. This may sound cynical to some, especially since I only wrote one 104K novel, and only spent a year and half attempting to find an agent or publisher for it before going indie, but the truth is truth.
    That truth is the world is different now, and seeking to live in the old ways as a writer is as dumb as the print industry not preparing for the digital age.
 
 

Saturday, September 13, 2014

Excerpt from KALI - Destroyer of Worlds

"Pete did the duty, like he always did, but his heart was gone. He felt like there was a hole inside him, a black thing that absorbed his ability to feel. It was all so much; too much. The more he thought of everything, the more he longed for it all to end.
They didn’t have long. Even if the crew tampered with the atmosphere mix and used drugs, eventually the limited food stores would give out. They would starve to death up here, mirroring his countrymen in the lead-lined tombs he would create for them below.
He supposed it was fair.
If those below must die, so must their gods above.
He laughed at the thought, and the queer sound of his voice in the rush of the station’s equipment freaked him out, a little. He knew something was wrong, in his mind. He knew it was only getting worse. He knew that this experiment had better work, and work soon, or Pete’s desire to dive head-first into the darkness inside would overwhelm him, and none of the others were prepared to handle that. None were prepared to handle him. Years of discipline would crumble; he just hoped he could do his duty before that happened.
And he knew it would, now. The time crept closer and closer, and he felt its presence like some phantom heartbeat, slowly increasing in force and rhythm inside of him."

Friday, September 5, 2014

KALI has ARISEN

My new novel Kali - Destroyer of Worlds is available on Amazon and Kindle now. Here's an excerpt;
    Seeing the face in the window had changed Tina’s outlook on things, she realized. She cared less about the boys, less even about the cop and whether or not he was a sociopath, or even a real cop; the idea this face represented something she had no frame of reference for whatsoever had disturbed her to the core. How had some little girl killed a whole group of people? Was it even a little girl? The face had seemed intent, maybe a little angry, until she had locked eyes with Tina.
    She had smiled at Tina, then. She shuddered thinking of it now, but kept going back to it, like a tongue probing the hole of a lost tooth. The smile had not been one of happiness. It reminded Tina of wildlife movies she had seen, and the way wild dogs and large cats displayed their fangs. More a show of dominance than any expression of real human feeling. The smile had seemed forced to Tina, as well; an unnatural expression, like the girl, thing, whatever, had rarely smiled, and was unused to the way of it.
And here's more concept art, see more on my Goodreads page.

Whatcha Eatin'?

Saturday, September 7, 2013

Kali- Destroyer of Worlds: a dystopian horror/scifi novel

Go support my new Kickstarter project–Kali- Destroyer of Worlds

A gamma ray burst starts civilization crumbling, and a twelve year old girl must embrace her inner darkness to survive.


Sunday, September 23, 2012

A Question for Potential Republican Voters

What if these guys don't know as much as they make out, and end up as clueless and inept at governing as Bush was?

Would it have been worth it to crash our economy so a few billionaires can have a lower tax rate?

Sunday, July 1, 2012

Twisted Radicalism

Just recently someone near and dear to me called me a "twisted radical." Ever since then it has been eating at me, that label, and I thought I'd address it here.

The more I thought about it, the more I realized there's nothing twisted or radical about my beliefs, just their interpretation in the wider world and in the media. As a liberal progressive, I find this list to be pretty conclusive when it comes to my core beliefs, and I dare anyone to find the "twisted" or "radical" notions therein;
  • As the greatest nation on the the earth, I find it incredible we are the only industrialized nation without a national healthcare system. Twisted!

  • I'd like to take us back to Clinton-era tax rates, when we balanced the budget and everybody was rich as hell. Radical!

  • I don't think ANY group in America should be ostracized or deprived of rights, and at this time, that means the right to marry. Gay folks ought to have every liberty any non-gay folks have, and I can't see any rationale otherwise that still maintains the American sense of justice we all grew up with. Twisted! Radical!

  • Corporations are NOT people. The are faceless conglomerations of the hope of a lot of people to make money, not to go out and make a better nation/world. Investors rarely make the moral considerations of their dollars their top investment concern, whereas people regularly make moral choices that trump their potential for profit. One should be empowered, the other extricated from it's ruinous clutch on our national fortunes, and I leave it to my reader(s) to determine which group I'm referring do what. TWISTED!

  • Religion is pleasant, but should still, as our Founders maintained, be kept well away from politics. As Frank Herbert wrote;
    "When religion and politics travel in the same cart, the riders believe nothing can stand in their way. Their movement becomes headlong - faster and faster and faster. they put aside all thoughts of obstacles and forget that a precipice does not show itself to the man in a bland rush until it's too late."

  • Finally, some way must be found to get this tide of money out of politics, Citizens United cannot stand the test of time.
PS: Didn't even get into the Right's war on women's issues.

I guess I am a twisted radical after all, so be it.

Monday, April 16, 2012

New Rule for 2012

Thinking of a new rule for talking politics this year--in order to even begin you MUST be able to name three news sources you read/watch daily, and none of them can be a 24 hour news station.

Proviso: CSPAN (or any of its spawn) = on the allowed list.

Saturday, March 3, 2012

Conservatives Need to Face Facts

Here's a few facts that are irrefutable, and the sooner the conservative political movement in America understands them, the better;

1. Woman are people, too.  Trying to bar contraceptive coverage while still covering Viagra, and using moral grounds to do so, just makes your misogyny plain for all the rest of us to see.

2. Gay people are people, also, and should have every right heterosexuals enjoy.  Too many states have passed laws legalizing same sex marriage to go back now.  Any holdouts are exposing themselves similarly as bigots and close minded assholes.

3. Rich people have to pay their fair share.  We collectively create America; it was not endowed on us by rich folks, nor did it trickle down.  It was built with the blood and sweat of rich and poor alike, and thus belongs to all of us, privileged or not.  To think those with wealth should get out of societal commitments like appropriate taxation is ludicrous.

4. Dumb people need to stay out of intelligent debates.  Face it, the future is here.  The time for the snake worshippers and astrologer types is fading.  Leave it to those who care, and have the capacity and will to learn the facts, to work governing.  Trying to govern has left the American Right looking like the bunch of money-hungry, judgmental, fact-deprived hypocrites they all seem to truly be.

5. Religion may be a way of life, guiding force, and all encompassing cop out for you, but for some, it just looks like a convenient way to justify wagging your finger is someone else's face and telling them how to live.  Try to remember that reason rules the day, now, for most of the rest of us, not any one particular god.  Praying doesn't turn on the lights, split the atom, or help us find the Higgs boson, so I don't see how it's going to affect anything else outside of wishful thinking for those who truly believe.  I get the same effect from being relentlessly cheerful, without the added benefit of religious guilt over "sins."

(Ok that last one was less a fact for some--though not for me--but still irrefutable, at least in the sense that supernatural powers have not been shown to have any effect on human endeavors.  Religions should stick to the realm of compassion and leave public policy to government, which is, for the most part, inclusive, as the average religious text was not a participatory document.)

Thursday, January 12, 2012

One More Rant

If you're the douche who spoofed my old blog, <finger>

If you're the guy who is still linked to me now, I just wanted to point out that a reverse DNS lookup is elementary for a developer, and lawyers abound.  Long story short, sniff around elsewhere, vulture.

That is all.

UPDATE: Worked once, my friend, won't work twice.  Who are you, my Moriarty?

Hey, Assholes

I was right.

Yikes.

I was watching the Right disembowel Newt on TPM when I heard a caller referenced there on CSPAN state that "Jesus wasn't a socialist."

Yikes.

Hint: Matthew Chapter 25, verses 42-45.  And that's from one of the most militant atheists you'll ever meet.

(I know their damned book better than they do, apparently.  Maybe I should start a new, revised version of Christianity, without the divine bullshit and concentrating on a life of service, following the ideas expressed by a possibly-fictional Christ.  More John Lennon, less Oral Roberts if you get me.)

Thursday, January 5, 2012

Obama Recess Appoints Despite Lack of Recess

Ballsy, though the argument is made clear by the Senate's actions; by expecting supermajorities for everything and blocking routine government appointments (citing ideological problems with government itself) then holding bullshit pro-forma sessions with the explicit purpose of permanently depriving the President of a Consitutionally-endowed authority.  Via NY Times;
“The president has recess authority under the Constitution so he can continue to fulfill his constitutional function — which is to run the government — when the Senate is unavailable to fulfill its function,” Ms. Ruemmler said, “and it currently is unavailable despite the fact that it is in a ‘pro forma’ session’ for 30 seconds every three days.”
It never passed the smell test, to me, and since the Congress is essentially tied itself into fight-or-flight knots of bureaucratic tomfoolery to stop anything from happening, this kind of move is simply made likely by a completely hamstrung legislative branch.  Hopefully an aggressive Executive and a better-informed electorate can lead to an effort later to rebalance the scales.

Monday, January 2, 2012

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Things I Hate

For anyone listening;

1. Things on the internet that grab my mouse and/or slow it down.  Fuck that.

2. Deceptive development practices, like trying to funnel legitimate traffic by hiding the true path forward or obscuring it.  Like a 6 point font light-grey link in the footer.  WTF?

That's a start.  Will update as things piss me off.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Scifi Screenshot O' the Night

Another'n, and no bitching. I've been working my ass off lately.
If I have to pull this blog over, so help me god.  I mean it.



Atlantis, of course.

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Scifi Screenshot O' the Day

More Daedulus space porn, I just can't help myself;



Sooner or later I will make it through Atlantis and move on to other fare. Until then, suck it up.

CORRECTION: The Apollo, thankyouverymuch.

Saturday, December 3, 2011

The End of Private Insurers

The Obamacare "bomb" has gone off, unbeknownst to most of the public.

Here's the skinny, and why it is good for us as a nation (and from Forbes magazine, no less);
If you believe that the end of private, for-profit health insurance is some type of nefarious step towards a socialist society, then you might want to attend church this Sunday to mourn the loss of health insurers being able to worm out of covering the bills of a cancer patient because she forgot to write down on her application that she had skin acne for three months when she was a teenager.
Insurers must now pay 80% of their premiums into patient care by law, which will most likely lead to single-payer health care.

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Quote of the Day

Tom Hardy, on playing Bane in the new Batman movie (via Deadline);
It’s just about carnage with Bane. He’s a smashing machine. He’s a wrecking ball. The style is heavy-handed, heavy-footed, it’s nasty. Anything from small joint manipulation to crushing skulls, crushing rib cages, stamping on shins and knees and necks and collarbones and snapping heads off and tearing his fists through chests, ripping out spinal columns. It’s anything he can get away with. He is a terrorist in his mentality as well as brutal action. So he’s horrible. A really horrible piece of work.
Looking forward to this.

Scifi Screenshot of the Day

Guess this movie;


Here's a hint;


OK if you don't get this one then I am taking your honorary Vulcan ears away;

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Humans Are So Cool

We can do this;