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Category Archives: Science Fiction
April 27, 2013Posted by on
I should be asleep but since I ran a quick road trip yesterday to Soldier’s Retreat, I slept last night. For 12 hours.
Apparently I was tired.
Hill 142 is mostly done. I need to polish it up a bit, but overall I’m happy with it. The Gods Anointed is… uh… weird. It wants to be done but when I read it, I know it’s not. Strange. Like a soufflé that keeps threatening to burn but you know if you pull it out of the oven now it’s going to sink…
Heading home either late tonight or early tomorrow. Quick weekend jaunts are not my thing but needs must.
February 24, 2013Posted by on
So it’s late Sunday afternoon at Soldier’s Retreat and I’m coming down off of the high that was the awesomeness of Mysticon 2013. Finally got to meet Col. Tom Kratman in person, which was a hoot, because that man can tell a story. Had to keep it relatively PG-13, however, due to the underage midgets in the room.
Okay, so on to the convention after action review.
Left Lexington on Thursday since I wanted to be relatively fresh at the con for the following day, so I made a beeline for Casa Boyd. Got there, I think I had a salad and promptly crashed. Hey, cut me some slack. I’d just driven 6 hours and I’m not used to seeing that much daylight.
Friday I rolled in to Mysticon around 3 or so. I didn’t have a room (I stayed with friends in town) but that wasn’t going to stop me from doing what I do best — party crash. Unfortunately, I found out later why I couldn’t seem to find any sort of room party whatsoever.
Anyways, the con has tripled in size since the first year of existence, and with the concom working their tails off to keep up with the sudden influx of attendees. With the Author Guest of Honor being Orson Scott Card and the Media GOH Peter Davison, you could say that there were a lot of people.
So there I was, trying to figure out what I was going to do next, when suddenly someone told me that the dealer’s room was open. Since the con hadn’t really started yet, I was a bit surprised. But I sauntered in anyway and saw that, despite a lot of vending booths, there wasn’t a lot of things I could see myself wanting. However, I did score a comic book from Travis Surber (author/artist of Hainted Holler), as well as a Dr. WHOrse. Seriously. It’s freaking awesome.
I did run into Mark Morgan, who is a villain in Corruptor. He gave me permission to use his name, and so I made him an awesome villain. He’s a nice guy though, even if I portrayed him as a money hungry, greedy little cyber terrorist.
My first panel came up and I had almost as many attendees as panelists. I was prepared for this, however, since I’ve noticed that my panel attendance grows throughout the weekend as more and more people discover that I’m actually a little funny at time. But I discovered quickly on this panel (Genre Mashups) that a select few people were more eager to sell their book than talk about the topic at hand. Again, I’m used to this, so I quickly decided to make the audience laugh at me (note: not with me, but at me. I sacrificed myself for the greater good), and this killed the self-promo bid and got the panel back on track.
After the panel ended (thankfully, nobody was killed during the making of the panel) we headed up to the con suite. There we saw the ultimate in cake design: The TARDIS, in cake form, complete with a working light and sound effects.
Sufficiently impressed, I headed back down to my next panel, Law Breakers or Makers, where we would proceed to talk about how all of us follow our own universe’s rules and a pox upon the household that breaks their own rules. Oddly enough, Stephen King came up once or thrice. No idea why **coughNeedfulThingscoughcough**.
Afterwards I went back to my friend Peggey’s house and crashed there. Was exhausted, but a fun and successful Day One.
Day Two began with me oversleeping. Yeah, still not entirely used to be awake in the daylight, but needs must and all that. I soldiered on and, after a quick bite to eat, headed back to Mysticon. I was hoping to find some room parties to go to that night, and hang out with some very cool people after my last panel (the infamous Iron Author) was completed. I found Tom Kratman, Andrew Fox (author of Fat White Vampire Blues) and Clay White (with his son, what’shisface) just by hanging out at the con suite. I figured my odds were good at meeting Orson Scott Card there (didn’t even see him all weekend… our panels never coincided), but alas the odds were not in my favor.
Note to self: do not live in District 12. I’d be screwed.
Went to the Baen Traveling Road Show and scored a free book (John Ringo’s Tiger by the Tail) and finally met Laura Haywood-Cory in person. Ran into Leon and KatieKat while I was in there, and dinner plans went astray when I went to the hotel restaraunt and they went elsewhere. That was okay, except for the fact that my dinner came five minutes after left and I had to get it delivered to my next panel, which I was almost late for.
My next panel, Kill ‘em!, was a lot of fun and I got to share how I killed one character not once, but twice in the same book series. This was met with some skepticism until I explained the way to properly nuke a grave from orbit. After that, everyone was on board (as well as feeling sorry for me, since previously mentioned character is based on someone) and the audience was really into it. Tony Ruggiero (author of the Immortal Servitude series) did a great job at balancing my relative insanity, and we all agreed: no character is sacred.
George R. R. Martin would have loved that panel.
Afterwards I scarfed down my dinner and met Peggey, David and Ellie as they were preparing for the Masquerade. Ellie was a Weeping Angel from Doctor Who, and a very good one at that. She won a prize (along with the mini-Dr Who and the mini TARDIS — all kids who were under 10 and dressed up like Doctor Who) and I took a few pictures of them.
Afterwards it was time for… IRON AUTHOR!
This is something I had never done before and was eager to try it. However, as soon as the words “Disney Stunt Cock” were thrown out there, I knew I was doomed.
…so skipping over specific details…
Thought about going to the Bella Morte concert after the last panel but by then I was exhausted. So I staggered back to Peg’s and fell into bed, remembering to set my alarm since I had a book signing at 10 the next morning.
Made it to the book signing on Sunday with about 3 minutes to spare. This was my singular complaint about the weekend — why in the world do you schedule the younger authors to do signings at oMG in the morning after a Saturday night? Sold my last copy of Lawyers in Hell and talked to the amazing Amanda Carruba about potential book covers later on down the road. Ran into Brandy and Derek Spraker (they who run Libertycon) and had breakfast with them, which was nice because they are absolutely awesome people. Ran into a few more familiar faces (sorry if I can never remember your names. Really!) and then called it a day after making one last journey through the Dealer’s Room.
I have to say, even with the massive amount of people in the con, it was a fun time to be had. I was able to duck away from the larger groups with some ease and find some quiet time to myself, which is important if I want to keep my sanity. I also was able to meet some new people, sign a book that someone had purchased at a con in Texas and came all the way to Mysticon just for me, and reconnect.
Definite good time. Hope everyone enjoyed themselves!
February 14, 2013Posted by on
Yesterday was weird. I got home, and the next thing I knew it was time to go back to work. I did literally nothing yesterday. No writing. No creating. No editing. No painting. No eating.
I don’t think I’m sick. But I did miss my word count goal as a result, which has set me back about two days. I can make it up this weekend, but it’s problematic, since I’m going to miss about a week’s worth of writing when I go to Mysticon. Yes, I’m grumbling. Grr.
Picked up some small book display easels today over at Hobby Lobby. They were inexpensive and exactly what I was looking for. I’ll be using these for conventions and book signings, which is a good thing. It means I actually look somewhat “professional”.
Okay, need to get some more writing done. Have to wrap up The Tree of Death and Life before I can start my next short story (for an anthology my buddy Stephen Zimmer is editing), Yet We Remain. I still need to finish up The Gods Anointed as well. Guh.
I think I may have overcommitted myself.
Don’t forget, you need to order your copy of my books soon if you expect to get them before Mysticon. Otherwise, what will I sign? Okay, I’d sign a napkin. Sheesh. I’m so easy.
February 10, 2013Posted by on
Taking a breather from this writing marathon that’s hit me today. It feels good, but it also dredges up some bad moments of “Whoops… did I mean that?” when reviewing scenes I’d already finished off. A lot of the problem is that it’s difficult for me to keep the voices of Gabriel and Andrew (oh, I’m working on Wraithkin, for those of you who are curious… short stories are done later in the week) separate but similar, since they’re brothers and all that. I also have begun the “linking process” — where I link together two scenes that occur near one another and had left enough of an impression on me to actually write, but at the time I didn’t have anything connecting them. That’s always a challenge, but it’s a fun one, since I get to figure out why so-and-so did things later down the line.
I’m less than 11 days until my mini-vacation starts. I’m looking forward to my trip to Mysticon, where I’ll hang with some really cool people. The Baen Road Show will be there, and they always have really cool prizes to give out to attendees. I’m actually trying to work my way around my panel schedule so I can be at it. I’ve never actually met some of the people from Baen (which is odd, because I’ve been to Libertycon more than any other con), so hanging out with them will be nice. I also am looking forward to meeting Orson Scott Card, though I’m certain he’s going to be pretty busy. Besides, I doubt I’ll have anything witty to say (other than “Hey, don’t worry… I won’t go all ‘fan boi’ on you like I did Tim Zahn”).
Poor Tim Zahn.
Anywho, back to the tale of intergalactic warfare, rebellion, love, adventure, and family bonds triumphing over all else.
I really can’t wait to finish this damned book.
February 9, 2013Posted by on
An update, of sorts.
Amazon has gone ahead and put M.C.A. Hogarth’s Spots the Space Marine back up in their ebook section. Judging from what I’ve heard, this is a pretty good book that others should pick up to help support the author. Plus, she donates a percentage of book sales to the Wounded Warrior project, which is pretty cool in itself. I’m broke, which is why I haven’t bought a copy yet. However, as soon as I have funds, I’ll be buying it and eventually reviewing it over at SBR.
However, I have not been able to confirm that Games Workshop has (or will) back down from their trademark claim. Spurious it may be (and it is, it really is), somebody in their legal department believed that it was a viable claim, meaning that unless an some sort of injunction or ruling spelling out the exact terminology of what a “trademark” may cover for GW, I doubt that they’re backing off. What’s probably going to happen is they’ll wait a few months, until the internet forgets, then hit someone else over another term.
One potential course of action that Hogarth could take would be to claim protection under the First Amendment, since Amazon is a US company and she is in the US. The trademark fair use law (under US copyright law) actually allows for this, despite what GW claims. While not as easy to work within like the copyright fair use law is, it still allows some wiggle room, since she is not using the Space Marine as GW uses it. Otherwise Lucas (and now Disney) would have shut down Darths & Droids years ago. GW may think they’re the 800 pound gorilla in the room, but they’re nothing but an ant if the mouse stepped into the fight. And if the mouse is leaving Darths & Droids alone, well…
That’s one thing authors need to remember. Despite what fancy legal departments wish for you to think (on behalf of their clients, of course. No self-respecting law firm wants to screw over anybody… wow, I typed that with a straight face even), you have just as many rights (if not more) as corporations.
Somebody asked me via email if I was worried about burning my bridge with Black Library. A little bit, sure. Everybody is worried about burning bridges in their lives. But I can’t stand by and watch while an author gets trampled into the ground by an overbearing company armed with lawyers. If that means I cannot write for the Black Library, then so be it.
I’ll just work harder to get published by Baen. Toni knows how to treat her authors.
February 7, 2013Posted by on
noun: Law. property that results from original creative thought, as patents, copyright material, and trademarks.
For those of you who haven’t heard, M.C.A. Hogarth has run afoul of the behemoth gaming giant Games Workshop over her use of the term “Space Marine” for her novel, Spots the Space Marine. Games Workshop has demanded that Amazon pull down the ebook copy of Hogarth’s book due to their claim of intellectual property rights violation. Amazon, following their odd pattern of listening to big publishers while simultaneously claiming to help the little guys (which confuses me to no end), left the print version of the book up while removing the ebook from sales. Hogarth, who cannot afford the the cost of a lawyer, has taken to the internet for help.
I hope the internet responds. Here’s my effort to help, and I encourage others to do the same.
Games Workshop is wrong here, people, plain and simple. They are claiming that because they used the term “Space Marine” in an ebook last year, they can claim intellectual property ownership over the term “Space Marine” for all books. Their high-priced lawyers say they are correct. Their high-priced lawyers obviously haven’t read any E.E. “Doc” Smith or Robert A. Heinlein. You know, guys who were writing and publishing books in the 30′s, 40′s and 50′s talking about Space Marines?
A tiny bit of research shows that Ace Books has been offering the Kindle version of Starship Troopers for a few years now. Obviously, the Heinlein estate would have a better claim to the IP rights of “Space Marine”, no? Or, for that matter, wouldn’t John Ringo and Travis. S. Taylor be able to have litigation for Games Workshop pilfering their term of “Space Marine” from their ebook of Vorpal Blade, which actually coins the Space Marine anthem in 2007? Because Baen Books offered eARCs (electronic Advance Reader Copies) to their readers, that would mean that Games Workshop is behind in the times and owes Baen Books a ton of money, right?
That slippery slope of IP law is a dangerous one when one doesn’t do their homework…
Look, I’m a fan of Games Workshop. I play multiple armies of their tabletop strategy games (Blood Bowl, Necromunda, Warhammer and Warhammer 40,000) and have generally been supportive of their product. Hey, I even plotted out a trilogy a few months back because I really wanted to write about Bretonians for their publishing arm. I was at the opening of the local GW store back in December! But now… now I’m not so sure I want to be as supportive of them any longer.
I know I’m not going to be buying their product until they stop harassing Hogarth, that’s for certain. I’m going to be encouraging friends to buy stuff from Privateer Press instead (who, coincidentally, have some gorgeous gaming models of their own). I’m also going to stop buying the Horus Heresy books (which sucks, because I love those books) and encourage people to pick up a copy of Hogarth’s Spots the Space Marine.
We teach our kids to not be a bully. I think it’s time we also remind companies that bullying comes at a severe cost.
*If you would like to read Hogarth’s POV on this, please go here. Hopefully it hasn’t crashed yet.
January 20, 2013Posted by on
I didn’t meet my writing goal the other day, so I didn’t get to paint. Came close, though. But close doesn’t cut it when you have deadlines.
Trust me. Editors hate when you start an email off with “So I was trying to work out some of the plot details and…”. You may as well be admitting “I was on Reddit and next thing I know I’m watching cat videos at 4 in the morning.” Editors — so damn particular, right?
I was looking over the Horror Writers Association guidelines the other day and realized that half of their referring links were either dead or completely worthless. Now, I’m not a member of the HWA (yet), but one would think that their website would have relevant information, like, for example, which publishers qualify. I mean, people dog on the SFWA at times, but at least they have a comprehensive list about what publishers make a writer eligible for membership, what publishers are on probation, which ones are blacklisted due to a variety of reasons (which they list).
It makes me wonder if the HWA is in a position much like the one the SFWA was during S/He Who Shalt Not Be Named* was the president.
Of course, making things easier would be difficult, due to the absolute flood of information that is on the internet right now. There are so many websites and various random bits of info that piecing together a comprehensive list of magazines and publishers who might be eligible is a nightmarish task I would only wish upon my high school geometry teacher. Yes, yes, I’m complaining. But since I feel that my opinion is relevant (hey, I’m delusional that way… I know I don’t hit the pop culture relevancy status until I start a flame war on a YouTube video comment section), I get to whine and complain to my heart’s content.
Now, don’t get me wrong. I like the concepts behind the organizations like the SFWA and HWA. Writers have a hard enough time researching material for their own books (what, you think all of us can pull random quantum physics out of our asses? Even Travis S. Taylor has to research once in a while, and he’s a freaking rocket scientist!), much less time to make certain that a book they’re writing is eligible for such-and-such market or award. There’s a lot of information that should be available to writers, like resources for what to do if your work has been plagiarized, or how to protect yourself against unreasonable or predatory publishers and agents (yes, they do exist).
I’m not going into the things that the organizations do that piss me off, however. That’s not my mission, and quite a number of them are deeply personal more so than professional (though there are a few things that affect me on a professional level as well).
By the way, I’m still claiming to be a SF writer, despite selling more horror stories than anything else. It’s my delusion, damn it.
*Openly vague so that your personal least favorite SFWA president can be added.
January 16, 2013Posted by on
I’ve been elbows deep in Wraithkin, so please pardon my absence. I’ve added about 10,000 words to the book since Jan 1st, so I’m somewhat pleased. Add in the fact that I’ve also been working on The Gods Anointed and keeping up with my book reviews (while battling the evil, nefarious flu and working full time) and I’m downright impressed with myself. The completion date of June 1 for Wraithkin looks to be right on target, so that’s a good thing I guess. Just having issues with one of the main characters… he keeps trying to take over the book, except that I can’t have him do that yet because he’s not the primary character. Stupid git. He needs to accept his role and get over it.
According to my “To Do” list, today is a “work on anything creative” day. I’ll write a short horror story for a magazine or something. I have an idea that’s been bouncing around in my head for a few days, and it’s a little creepy. It’s what happens when you’re out driving at four in the morning and you see something that makes you go “Hmmm…”
Also: gearing up for Mysticon. I hope to see all my old friends there. Then I’ll be hanging out in the Roanoke area for a week, visiting friends, recharging, etc. It’ll be neat meeting Orson Scott Card finally.
Also, a very special message from Larry Correia that I have to share.
Please, for the puppies?
January 6, 2013Posted by on
Writing a difficult scene from Wraithkin right now and it’s tough going. Not because it’s being difficult, but because it’s a highly traumatic scene. It’s rough when you have a character that needs to go, because it’s the basis of the entire story arc. It’s still not easy, though, especially when you really like said character. It’s not like I’m George R R Martin, who indiscriminately murders main characters on a whim (okay, he probably doesn’t do it that way, but it sure feels like it sometimes).
So instead, I’m posting these lyrics from my favorite band, The Cruxshadows. This pretty much sums up the entire sequence of events better than I can.
They say this cause is lost
And she will not return to me
They say that she is gone
And this is just a shell unliving
And through the dark of the morning
She fades, but I will not leave here
Fight back the demons around us
Love lives, and I will defend her.
That actually sums it up better than I ever can, other than writing the actual scene itself. *sigh*
Writing sucks, man.
January 1, 2013Posted by on
Two of my major goals are to get Wraithkin and Wraithguard out. Not published, but merely out of my hands and into the hands of the Alpha Reader Squad. In order to accomplish this, I forced myself the other day to create a massive spreadsheet for word count. I think my word count goal (not including the blog or book reviews) was somewhere in the 370,000 range. It’s doable (in 2008 I cracked 500,000 words) but it is a lofty goal, primarily because of the dark and gritty undertones of both books. I’ve talked about Wraithkin before here, but I haven’t gone into too much detail about the subsequent books — Wraithguard and Wraithlord — because I only have them plotted with some notes about where they’re supposed to go. Of course, saying that, you just know that they’re going to go ever other way but that one.
Also, because I’m not sure the last title is going to stay as is.
So today was a 1,200 word day on Wraithkin. I hit the 1,000 daily goal (It’s a convoluted math score, involving certain days I don’t write, certain days where I need to write 3,000 words, others when it’s a measly 1,000), so we’re well on track to the 370,000 goal. I also added in about 700 words for a short story I’m writing called The Gods Anointed for an epic SF anthology, Not To Yield. So almost 2,000 words (not counting the blog!) today. I’m happy with the progress and pace.
Now let’s see if I can keep it up. 2013 is starting off with a bang.