- Lost wp.me/swwUg-lost 7 hours ago
- Editin' wp.me/swwUg-editin 1 day ago
- Just outlined five more Tobias Fox stories for my editor. On my phone. #likeaboss 3 days ago
- Gotta love it when amazon recommends me my own book. #awesomeday 4 days ago
- "Hill 142" is off to my newly-minted Beta Readers. Let's see how they like it. #althistory #amwriting #urbanfantasy 1 week ago
Category Archives: Writing
May 21, 2013Posted by on
I was going to review Kristen Simmons’ Article 5 over at SBR today but… well, you ever read a book that twigged your brain? I mean, one that really, really made you sit up and think “What the hell is this writer on?”
As an author, I know how hard it is to write a book. To spend all that effort, energy and time into crafting characters and a world that you completely love. It’s an adventure, and it literally breaks your heart when someone tears it apart. Someone you don’t know, someone who you never even heard of (of course, this postulates that someone you have heard of ripping your book is gentler… this is false. It actually hurts more when a well-known author literally says “Dafuq is dees?”)
I can wrap my head around a dystopian society in the US. I can, really. I can suspend my disbelief that much. I can even accept that some major points of the US would revert to ultra-conservative and begin to ban any and all individual thought. Again, looking at society right now, I can see this happening with some ease.
HOWEVER… that being said, I cannot buy into the idea that all of the US (save for a very tiny, less than 1% population) will accept this change and go along with this. I cannot accept that even the most conservative of religious nuts is going to allow a government to take their weapons. Not now, not anymore. Especially if some unnamed agent attacks and destroys major cities along the coasts.
(I can already hear people screaming “But Reagan approved an assault weapons bans!” to which I reply “No, he was against fully automatic weapons unless they were already owned and registered. Plus, this was after he was out of office. Didn’t want to hurt his reelection chances.”)
I’ve never had to put down a book that many times because I kept shaking my head (I had to put down Ghost by John Ringo six times, for instance… this one shattered that record by a lot). The setting was just… wrong. But that still doesn’t seem to compare to the other feeling I was getting while reading this book. The thought that, according to everything that seems to be popular and selling today, feminism is dead.
I couldn’t help but feel like Simmons’ character Ember is the most useless waste of space I’ve ever come across. She literally weeps, screams, cries, cowers, hides, and relies upon her ex-boyfriend to protect her once she finally does make her escape. Then, for some reason or another (this one bugs me a lot), she trusts almost everyone they meet, leading them to even more trouble and allowing the authorities to easily track where they are running to (oh, and this book also has a very efficient government that can find anybody in a matter of hours across an entire region with nothing other than eyewitness accounts and paper forms… ha. haha. ahem). This is not a strong and independent girl. This is a cowering, helpless little wannabe princess.
This takes me back to Cassandra Clare’s Infernal Devices series. Yes, I do hate on that series a lot, because the lead character is nothing more than a girl with a secret, but otherwise is helpless and waits on the boys to do the rescuing and whatnot. The victim mentality is something that I really, really hate. Why spread a message that seems to state that a girl should never be proactive? Why should a girl/woman wait around to be rescued? Why isn’t the girl/woman doing the rescuing?
I’ve hashed out my dislike for one of the main characters in Revolution as well for this very reason. The last two books of The Hunger Games trilogy does this. And Stephanie Meyer’s gets a lot of crap from me about this, too. Why are publishers and producers forcing this “poor little me” female characters onto society? Why pigeonhole them so? Why give so few sterling role models?
I know that women are the majority readers of romance, but c’mon. Little girls do not start out life thinking “If only I can read a book where the heroine is being constantly fought over by two gorgeous hunks.” If this is your definition of feminism, I’ve got a bridge to sell you. Most readers I know pick up a book to be entertained. Look at a college required reading list some time and then tell me just how many people would have picked up those books to read for pleasure. I don’t think it’s going to be many, though I can hear the few hipsters who stumble across this saying “I read it before it was required reading.”
If anybody has any ideas about why publishers and television are doing this, I’d love to hear it. Hopefully this happens before I lose my cool and start really flipping out about the lost woman of the modern society.
May 20, 2013Posted by on
I’m doing some editing on Hill 142 right now, thanks to my newly-appointed Beta Readers. Alpha Reader took a backseat to this one, primarily because she doesn’t know the subject matter. Plus, she’s busy.
I also just signed up to do six additional anthologies. I don’t know what the hell I was thinking but, again, it should be fun. They’re all going to be Tobias Fox stories, so it’s not as though I don’t know the character. I even outlined them on my phone (I was bored and riding shotgun to go see Star Trek: Into Darkness) so I would have some notes to go by when I finally do get around to writing them.
One more short story due by June and then I can finally turn my attention back to novels. Thank god. I love writing shorts, but a lot of them have shorter deadlines than I’m used to and, while I excel with deadlines, it’s an added stress I don’t need.
Back to editin’…
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.
March 13, 2013Posted by on
Wrote a book review yesterday (Sarah Hoyt’s latest, A Few Good Men), submitted The Tree of Death and Life, did some job hunting (hey, I need a job that gives me more time to write) and basically accomplished something. Today… not so much.
Doing the piping of a buttload of cookies will do that to arthritic fingers.
So I have a cat on my lap now who is purring away, trying to get me to stop typing so I can recover some. Unfortunately for kitty, I have deadlines looming.
So I’ll have more later this week when I come up to breathe. In the mean time, here’s a funny joke.
Taylor Swift just released a new music video of her song “Malibu”. I guess she finally dumped California, too.
Oh, come on. It’s funny.
March 10, 2013Posted by on
Hey, look at that, a 0600 post. Strange, no? Well, you can think of this little scheduling thingy they have for future posts, or believe that I really am awake early in the morning typing this, sans Starbucks. Your call.
I just finished the David Tennant seasons of Doctor Who and am now on to the Matt Smith episodes. So far I’ve been underwhelmed. It seems that the writing is going out of its way to make him funny, but primarily it’s coming off as childish. I don’t know, maybe he gets better as the season moves along. I do like Amy Pond, however (mainly because I have a weakness for redheads, especially Scottish ones… what, don’t judge me), though River Swan keeps popping up and being her annoying self. Perhaps it’s the writing, but I dislike River very much. The only person who should be that sure of themselves is the Doctor.
Ahem. Excuse me.
On a completely-related note, a very cool artist I got to meet at Mysticon this year is doing a Kickstarter. Now, I normally don’t get on board with any Kickstarter events, because, well, I don’t really have any money to throw around. But this guy… this guy I definitely support. He does these really cool 8-bit pixel art of Dr. Who. Calling it PixelWho, he is having a Kickstarter fundraiser right now to help build his 4th Doctor art. He already has a 10th Doctor one (sadly, I couldn’t convince him to do a 9th Doctor one, since Chris Eccleston is still my favorite Doctor but not everybody else’s), a classic Doctor and every variant of a Dalek one (which is super cool). Really, you should check out his Kickstarter and, if you have some money to toss around, donate.
Work is work, as it were, and writing is moving along. Just thought you should know that I haven’t missed any deadlines in awhile now (though I do hear the ominous hum of them approaching… or perhaps that’s just my imagination?) and am looking at keeping that streak alive. I guess I better get some stuff done then.
February 26, 2013Posted by on
Still at the farm, and realizing that I miss being out here with my friends. I’m doing some writing, but with Google Drive/Docs being a little screwy, I’m not in my usual “flow” of things. On the other hand, I’m writing. So… eh?
I’ll be back to regular posting this Friday. I’ll also be back to regular reviews over at SBR next week. I have John Ringo’s Tiger by the Tail and a few others.
Also, Dreams of Steam 4: Gizmos is out at Amazon. I can’t find a good image of it online, so that’ll come later. But here is a link to buy. It’s in paperback and hardback right now for a reasonable price. I’m not sure when the ebook will come out though. My story, “The Finder’s Keeper”, is (I think) the last story of the book. You really should buy it. The power of steampunk compels you!
Wait, that’s not right…
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 18, 2013Posted by on
I feel all accomplish-y right now.
Put up a review of Maurice Broaddus’ King Maker, which is a fascinating retelling of the King Arthur legends, over at Shiny Book Review. I also cleaned my kitchen, did the litter boxes, and (almost) took out the trash. I mean, I saw that it was almost full, so it’s not like I’m ignorant of my garbage situation…
You know what? Nobody comes here for that information. Sorry, sorry.
I’m still going to be at Mysticon this weekend, but I won’t be staying in the con hotel because I’m broke. So no late-night parties for me involving alcohol. Which keeps the “OMG did you hear what Cordova did last weekend at Mysticon?” stories to a minimum. I still am haunted by Libertycon 21.
Nothing else going on. Trying to get as much writing as I can done before I head out. I really need to wrap up two short stories for their respective anthologies by Thursday.
February 17, 2013Posted by on
It’s not often I’m wrong (only four times a day), so when I am I come out and admit it.
I was wrong about Dr. Who.
I made the mistake of watching some of the older episodes long ago (late 80′s?) and my initial reaction was “Campy”. I didn’t watch any more episodes after, and when the series was rebooted I stayed well clear. I couldn’t imagine how much worse it could get, since the mid-2000′s were not the best for TV shows. I was afraid of how bad the writing could be, the effects, pretty much everything.
However, when I saw that they were having Sylvester McCoy (the 7th Doctor) at Mysticon as the Media Guest of Honor this year, my resistance started to buckle. Then he had to back out due to a filming conflict and they announced that Peter Davison was replacing him (the 5th Doctor). Then my friends started badgering me about rewatching the show, and I finally cracked. This past week I started watching the rebooted Dr. Who, and I’ve found a new TV show I’ll watch religiously.
To be fair, it started off a little bumpy. I really like Christopher Eccleston as the 9th Doctor, and when he was replaced by David Tennant in the second season, I almost stopped watching it. Tennant and Billie Piper (companion Rose Tyler) seemed to have little to no chemistry, and it grew painful to watch. I almost gave up, but (again) friends told me to tough it out, because it gets a lot better.
Three episodes into season 3, and I finally see just how good Tennant is.
I think part of the allure of watching Dr. Who is seeing how he interacts with his companion(s). Tennant, for example, had great chemistry with Elisabeth Sladen (companion Sarah Jane, who also traveled with the 4th Doctor, Tom Baker), while Freema Agyeman (Martha), and Catherine Tate (Donna) are amazing. I’m still working my way through the series, though, so I don’t know how the current Doctor (Matt Smith) is.
Also… there nothing like watching a throw-down between Daleks and Cybermen (“This is not war. This is pest control!”). Who knew that Daleks could talk so much trash?
Anyway, I apologize for not giving the writers their due. I was going on old memories of the show and I let that color my judgment. Of course, I still prefer Christopher Eccleston to David Tennant, but both of them are fantastic Doctors, and it’s a personal preference.
Also: I really think they need the Doctor to be a ginger. He’s asking for it.
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.