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Tag Archives: fantasy

Wronged Way


Cedar had an interesting post yesterday over at the Mad Genius Club (I actually missed the original post because I’ve been buried by basketball and finishing a book) and after reading it, I got to thinking (run! hide the women and children! he had two brain cells crash into one another on accident!) about professionalism in the publishing industry and how technology has changed the way it works.

I’ve been watching author interaction with fans now for over 7 years, mainly because I wanted to learn how to interact with my fans (all twelve of you… hey guys!) and what not to do. Then it dawned on me that I probably shouldn’t air my grievances against a publisher out in public (this is…. wise, one would think). This should be common sense but then you throw in the whole Internet thing and suddenly common sense takes a backseat to raging on a keyboard at the world.

Too often these days people forget about decorum because they are protected by the anonymity of online interactions. The web can protect folks from repercussions of their words online and gives people a false sense of courage. It’s easy to slam someone when hiding behind a firewall. It’s far more difficult to do it in person, to their face. There’s always the off-chance that calling someone a foul name to their face will get you kicked in the nuts.

One of the things I fall into the trap of is reading about when people are piling on an individual about some stupid thing they said or did online and nodding along, saying “Yep, they deserve what they’re getting right now.” It’s not really fair because, more often than not, what was posted was probably in the heat of the moment and the person wasn’t thinking clearly through their rage. I’ve been there, done that, copyrighted the hell out of it, so I understand completely.

So when Cedar talked about professionalism, I was kinda taken aback by the tone of some of the commentators on the private forum who had saved the epic rage-quit letter in question.

I felt that too many people wanted to revel in glee at the misfortune of the person in question (seriously, go read Cedar’s piece. It’s pretty good) and focus on the negativity, instead of feeling sorry for the author who felt that a rage-letter to her publisher was the way to go. I’ve seen many careers in the past go down in flames because of letters like that. Nowadays? Not so much, because most authors understand that everything they do online stays online. Publishers also understand this, though to a lesser extent. Authors talk to one another, as do publishers. It’s very easy to find oneself under a blacklist when you bad mouth a publisher (alternatively, piling on another seems to benefit others, but that still doesn’t make it right).

While I haven’t always been pleased with some of my past publishers and how they treated me, I kept my grievances mostly private. I’ve warned a few authors away who I felt may have been harmed in their business dealings with those publishers, but overall I simply let it be. It doesn’t help me one bit to attack someone who I don’t like or have worked with in the past.

Now, I know I’m not perfect. Sometimes when I get all worked up and pissed off I will go on a warpath (the Empress Theresa incident is a good example), but I do try to avoid this. In private, at home? With my cats staring at me like I’m insane? Oh yeah. They know how I feel. But everyone else? Nope. That stays between me and the cats (who were probably ignoring me anyways, so I’m good there).

What do you think? Should authors publicly call out publishers and other authors who they dislike or feel as if they’ve been wronged by?

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The Dragon Awards


The inaugural Dragon Awards (hosted by Dragoncon, the biggest party for nerds in the entire southeastern U.S.) went off smashingly. I can’t wait for them to release the results numbers so we can see just how many people actually voted. I’m going to throw out a number and say… hmm… 10,000. While that may seem like a high number, I’m guestimating and lowballing the potential voters by comparing them to the Hugo Awards and Worldcon 2016.

Worldcon had 7,338 members (supporting and attending) and 2,903 voters for the Hugo Awards in 2016. That’s roughly 39.56% of members voting.

Dragoncon had 75,000+ attendees this 2016, but I seriously doubt the voter turnout was equivalent to the Worldcon voting participation. I dropped about 20% of the prospective votes due to general apathy to awards on a whole by Dragoncon attendees, guessing that the amount of Dragon Award voters was about a measly 17%. That would make the vote total about… uhh… math sucks… I write books not equations… 11,250. This number is probably high, but still… that’s a hell of a lot of votes.

I’ll be honest. I did not nominate anyone for the Dragon Award. Not because I didn’t feel any books weren’t deserving, but because I’d read about 450+ books so far this year, so I felt limited in what I could nominate because my options were too numerous. So I decided to wait and see who the nominees were and then vote.

So what I’ll do is post my pick in italics, and the winner in bold.

  • Best Science Fiction Novel: 

my pick — Raising Caine, Charles E. Gannon (Baen)

winner — Somewhither: A Tale of the Unwithering Realm, John C. Wright (Castalia House)

Thoughts: This was a tough category, because I thought both books had solid merits. I went with Charles as my winner due to past experiences working with him in Eric Flint’s 1632 universe. Still, Wright’s work is top-notch and there is no shame in losing out to him.

  • Best Fantasy Novel:

my pick — Son of the Black Sword, Larry Correia (Baen)

winner — Son of the Black Sword, Larry Correia (Baen)

Thoughts: I had pegged this book back when it first came out as Larry’s best work to date. I never really imagined him as a high fantasy author, and this book blew any preconceived notions of Larry being a “monsters and guns” guy away. This is one of the rare fantasy books I’ve reread multiple times where the authors name on the cover isn’t Weis or Hickman. Plus, while I love Butcher, I just didn’t feel the same about this new steampunk series as I did his Codex Alera one.

  • Best YA/ Middle School Novel

my pick — Changeling’s Island, Dave Freer (Baen)

winner — The Shepard’s Crown, Terry Pratchett (Harper)

Thoughts: no shame here. Pratchett is the greatest, and even though I secretly hoped that Freer could pull off the upset, I knew deep down that Pratchett had this one locked up. If Freer hadn’t been nominated, my vote would have gone to Alethea Kontis’ “Trix and Faerie Queen”. I don’t do YA/teen romance normally but Kontis is a terrific writer who makes “the kissy parts” not too over the top. 😛

  • Best Military Science Fiction or Fantasy Novel

my pick — Hell’s Foundations Quiver, David Weber (Tor)

winner — Hell’s Foundations Quiver, David Weber (Tor)

Thoughts: Not a huge surprise here, though Django Wexler’s “The Price of Valor” was pretty good. Matched up against Weber’s SF/Fantasy mashup, though, it pales in comparison. This series is better than Weber’s Honor Harrington one.

  • Best Alternate History Novel

my pick — Germanica, Robert Conroy (Baen)

winner — League of Dragons, Naomi Novik (Del Rey)

Thoughts: For a voter, this category sucked. I had to choose between Novik, two separate 1632 novels, and Robert Conroy’s “Germanica”. There was no way I could put one above the other, so I pretty much dismissed the 1632 novels out of hand due to what I termed in my head a “vote split”, leaving “League of Dragons” and “Germanica”. I then pretty much flipped a coin 13 times (superstitious) and “Germanica” came out on top, 8-5.

Voting in this category, as previously stated, sucked. I hate when the decision is damn near impossible.

  • Best Apocalyptic Novel

my pick — A Time to Die, Mark Wandrey (Henchman)

winner — Ctrl Alt Revolt!, Nick Cole (Castalia House)

Thoughts: I have a vested interest in seeing a good friend win, so I picked Wandrey over Cole, even though I enjoyed both books equally. Considering how little press or push there was behind Wandrey’s latest, I was proud of how well he did to even make the short list. Cole’s novel was a tremendous piece of work and I’m glad that it was picked up.

  • Best Horror Novel

my pick — Honor at Stake, Declan Finn (Caliburn)

winner — Souldancer, Brian Niemeier (self-published)

Thoughts: This is the only category where I disagree with the process, primarily because I felt that “Souldancer” should have been in the Best Fantasy list. Still though, Niemeier’s “Souldancer” was an amazing (if slow-paced) work. I felt that “Honor at Stake” should have won, but I can’t fault them for sticking Souldancer in this category. It’s a weird freaking book!

  • Best Comic Book

my pick — Daredevil

winner — Ms Marvel

Thoughts: I don’t really have an opinion on this one, because the most recent Daredevil is the only comic I’d read of those on the short list. Can’t vote for something I hadn’t read.

  • Best Graphic Novel

my pick — The Sandman: Overture, Neil Gaiman (Vertigo)

winner — The Sandman: Overture, Neil Gaiman (Vertigo)

Thoughts: This one was a no brainer. An excellent book that is part of an excellent universe. I only wish that Gaiman wrote faster.

  • Best Science Fiction or Fantasy TV Series

my pick — The Flash (CW)

winner — Game of Thrones (HBO)

Thought: Penis! Floppy Penis! God damn you, Trey Parker! I can NEVER get that South Park song out of my head whenever I hear the GoT theme song come on and it’s ALL YOUR FAULT!

In all seriousness, Dragoncon was made for something like Game of Thrones. I love The Flash, though, and with the series setting up the FlashPoint universe, the writing and series is going to be headed in a new and exciting direction. Unlike Game of Thrones, where it seems to be a long and predictable chess game where it’s Daenerys/Snow vs the White Walkers for control of the Seven Kingdoms.

  • Best Science Fiction or Fantasy Movie

my pick — Deadpool

winner — The Martian

Thoughts: I knew The Martian was going to win, so my Deadpool vote was a defiant vote in the face of conformity or some crap. I would have LOVED to see the hundreds of Deadpools at Dragoncon race up there to accept “their” award. Alas, it was not meant to be. A terrific movie beat out a hilariously fun one.

I don’t remember any of the games I voted for, which is a bad sign. I might have missed them.

So thoughts? How did your vote compare to the winners? Any surprises?

Please


My brain couldn’t get into the mood for writing Kaiju Apocalypse III today, since this flu thingy has been kicking my butt this week. Instead of calling it a lost day, though, I decided to work on this fantasy idea my Muse has been beating me over the head with the past two weeks. I mean, I’d kinda outlined it before (okay, I drew up some geographical maps and created an 8 pointed magic system) and talked a bit about it, but I’d never actually tried writing it. I think because I was fighting my Muse again and trying to make it an urban fantasy thing when it needed to be a classic fantasy piece.

So I started I, Godslayer today and immediately put down 2,000 words. It sort of surprised me at just how much my Muse apparently wanted to write this story. So hooray for my foray into humorous high fantasy?

I see that quite a few people have purchased Murder World: Kaiju Dawn but very few of you have actually written a review up on Amazon for it. Is it really too difficult to say “This book sucked” or something else (preferably, “This book rocked!”). Everyone has been in shock over the fact that some Kardashian wrote a book and lamenting the fact that they had it ghost-written as well, and that this hurts “real” authors. No, that doesn’t hurt real authors, actually. The fact that people call it a piece of crap and managed to write 61 one-star reviews is what hurt “real” authors. I mean, people say the book sucks and jeer the fact that they can’t write, and yet they still push the sales up and give it reviews. You want to keep sh*t like this from happening, every day reader? Give a book your enjoyed a rating on amazon. It helps and also validates to the author that people have, you know, read the book.

I would love for there to be 30 reviews on Murder World: Kaiju Dawn by the end of the day. That would be awesome. It’s not going to happen, though, and I believe this is because the average reader would much rather tear down a novel they hate instead of talking up a novel they enjoyed.

And before you cough and say “Jason, what about your review of Catching Fire?” you should recall that I was practically gushing over The Hunger Games. So hold on a second before calling me a hypocrite, mmkay?

And write a damn review.

Please.

It’s Here!


kaiju apocalypse rough draft

Big news today!

Kaiju Apocalypse is out and available via ebook over on Amazon. Best part about this? Amazon Prime members get it for free!

Yeah, thought that would get your attention.

So go forth, buy it, pay for my kitties’ kibble (and Sophie’s treats).

If you don’t, you probably don’t love kitties and puppies and, more than likely, hate rainbows and jelly beans too.

The Working Man


Part of the writing process often involves sitting back, looking over what you’ve done, feeling pleased and accomplished with yourself, and then ruthlessly cutting most of it during the edits.

My writer–brain screams in pain every time I do this. My editor–brain chuckles evilly.

One of the things I’ve seen over the years is that many people are afraid of cutting things. They have no problem going back and editing stuff but, when it comes to absolutely deleting entire paragraphs (or, oftentimes, chapters), they cramp up. Get skeered, as it were (I’ve lived in the South long enough that I get to say that). Minor spelling corrections, adding more descriptions… writers don’t have any problem doing this. But deleting a lot? Nuking an entire chapter or minor story arc because it fails to drive anything (or anywhere)? Well, that is where a writer often draws the line.

Hey, I’m guilty of this, too.

So how does one go about shutting down that creative side and focus on the stern taskmaster? Do you use two different computers? Have split personalities? Have first readers who double as editors? If you have the last one, by the way, you are one lucky individual.

Just some quick thoughts today. I’m working on Collectibles while trying to figure out how and why my resume didn’t upload to Google docs. Sometimes .docs is the best thing in the world; other times, I wish I could kill it with fire.

Also, in case you were living under a rock (or, most likely, didn’t hear) my buddy Stephen Zimmer has a short story in this new anthology called Thunder on the Battlefield: Swords, which was released on Tuesday. You should pick up a copy. Also, keep an eye out for Peter Clines’ newest, Ex-Purgatory, which is a continuation of his superheroes vs zombies novel series. It’s coming out in January 2014.

Remove Blockage Here


I’m doing some random posting today, so if you don’t want to read a very meandering post, kindly step away from the computer. It’ll be for the best.

I’m stuck. I’m really effing stuck. Not a writer’s block, no. It’s more of a “this character did this and now she’s got me stuck” kind of thing. It’s a horrible, horrible thing to behold: a writer, in his prime, being struck across the head by a (admittedly cool) character of his creating, forced to try to rationalize her actions.

So, in order to break through this slough, I’m writing a meandering post that’ll cover Iain M. Banks, PRISM, my birthday (which was yesterday) and my thoughts on my latest endeavor, Unholy Vengeance.

First off, I’ll tell you right now that I’ve only read one Iain Banks’ novel (The Player of Games), but I do know the profound effect he had upon many fellow writers. I was saddened to hear that he died this morning after a short bout with cancer. He’s considered one of the new grandmasters of science fiction and was a writer whose life was just too short. Some people say that 59 is a decent enough age, but in our industry, 59 is very young. Most of us authors don’t really get started until we’re in our late 30’s to early 40’s, so 59 is almost like a teenager in that comparison (that… was the best analogy I could think of. Sorry).

Iain will be missed by many. I wish I could have met him, especially after I read The Player of Games.

— — —

My email inbox was absolutely flooded on Friday when it came out that the US had something in the works called PRISM. I couldn’t help but think “You weren’t aware of this possibility?” I mean, really?

People, ever since the Patriot Act was passed (and then repeatedly extended) we have seen our privacy go the way of the dodo. We have social media now, that we freely join and plaster all our information on, which sells our personal information to advertisers, and you’re going to complain that the government wants to get in on the act? Seriously? That… takes a special kind of ignorance.

All kidding aside, this is dangerous. The people should not be afraid of their government, but their government should be afraid of the people. Yet day after day we see more and more government, and nobody says a thing. It boils down to what I’ve said before: the government can do what they like without pissing of the citizens of the US — until they try to take away the free porn.

Think I’m kidding? Look at the Boston shooting. They cheered the government enforcing a city-wide curfew, warrantless house-to-house searches and general revocation of the Bill of Rights until they caught their man. And they cheered.

They freaking cheered. What. The. Hell.

Remember when SOPA tried to pass? Oh how the people bitched and moaned about their loss of civil liberties. Congress tried to take away their free porn, they’re all up in arms about it. Take away their Bill of Rights? Meh.

*sigh* People…. just… I don’t know. Really? I mean, really?

— — —

I turned 35 yesterday. I guess that makes me officially middle-aged. Yay?

I don’t feel that old. I still feel like I’m in my 20’s (I sure don’t act 35) and I still look like I’m in my 20’s (albeit late 20’s). I’m in better shape than I was then, and I’m far healthier than ever. Maybe I have one of the reverse aging things (he says as he pops his shoulder and groans in pain)? Or perhaps I just got lucky, since I rarely drink, never smoked, never did any drugs, and cut out a lot of fast food four years ago.

I also think I have outlived my brother Shawn (who died in 2001). I think he was 34 when he committed suicide. I don’t know for certain. He might have been 36. I’ll have to ask and see if my dad remembers. My dad, by the way, turned 76 two days ago. He’s still going strong, although some memory issues are there (quit calling me Josh, damn it! He’s 5 years younger and a lot shorter than I am) and he’s not nearly as mobile as he was when I was a kid. But then, he’s raised 8 boys. I’ll cut him some slack.

It’s weird, getting older and not feeling it. They say that age is just a number; I tend to agree with that sentiment, though I didn’t 10 years ago. Then, 35 was freaking ancient, man. Now? 76 is freaking ancient.

— — —

I’m writing a Tobias Fox trilogy right now, and the first novel is Unholy Vengeance. Tobias Fox, for those of you who don’t know, is the main character of two short stories I have coming out this year and next. Those stories, Nightwalker and The Tree of Death and Life are stories I’ve talked about in the past (much to my chagrin, because who wants to read about stories that people can buy yet? That’s… that’s just mean.) and am really excited about them. However, after talking with my editor about the next 6 Tobias Fox stories I’m planning on writing, I suggested (half-jokingly) that I should write a Fox novel (Fox stories, by the way, are set in a setting called “the weird west”. More details can be found at the always honest *coughcough* Wikipedia). So I decided to give it a try. I mean, how did a long-lost Akkadian/Babylonian god of Pestilence and Plague end up in a doctor during the American Civil War?

This book hasn’t been giving me problems, oh no. Quite the contrary. It’s the stupid Failsafe story that I wanted to write beforehand that is giving me problems. Captain Annie and her ragtag outfit of castoffs, mercenaries, pirates and psychics are not letting go of my muse. Holding the elephant boy hostage until I write your tale is not a good way to make friends, Annie. Just a friendly reminder, I do know how to use “Delete File”.

Wait… an automaton treasure ship and a pirate raid gone wrong? Argh, you harridan!

That is totally not fair.