This one time at Writer's Camp…
Tag Archives: science fiction
Today is the release of the long-awaited first book of a brand new series I’m writing. Wraithkin is out and available in both print and e-format, and the early reviews is that all my hard work has come to fruition with this book. Run and buy, share, talk about it. Publicity never hurt a writer.
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?
(I was tagged in this by Amanda S. Green. She introduced her favorite character, Ashlyn Shaw, star of Vengeance From Ashes, here.)
As I walked into the bar, I began to wonder just what the hell I was getting myself into this time. Sure, I’m the author, and I create these people, but some of them seem to be able to slip the reins and run around without proper supervision. Vincente Huerta, the main character from Murder World: Kaiju Dawn, ship captain, smuggler, and all around pain in the ass, was one of those characters. He was brash, arrogant, and really needed to be smacked in the mouth. Unfortunately, this interview called for just one character, so there was no Jasmine to help me keep him in check. Which was a shame, really. I could use some backup when dealing with guys like him. It keeps me from killing them.
I spotted him fairly easily. He looks just as I figured he would: slightly overweight, thinning hair, in dire need of a shave. Taller than I expected, though, and much bluer eyes than any man with that Hispanic-sounding of a name should have. Contacts, perhaps? I wouldn’t put it past him.
He looked up as I approached. I almost grabbed a nearby bar stool and hit him right there. I have no idea why, I just did. He had this… smugness about him that I desperately wanted to beat out of him. I mean, seriously. He gives off that “I’m an ass, beat me with a baseball bat” vibe. For once I understand what a Charisma roll of 8 is really like.
“You’re late,” he told me. I looked at my phone, confused.
“No, I’m right on time,” I countered.
“In my line of work, if you’re on time, then Customs gets you. Always be early.”
What a load of crap. I’m being lectured to by my own creation. I seriously need to kill this asshole off.
I joined him in the booth and watched him pound back a shot of bourbon. Cheap bourbon, I’ll add. The man hasn’t found much work lately, and times were lean, even for the most effusive of alcoholics. I ordered water from the passing waitress, who nodded in my direction before sending a scalding look at Vincente. I smiled. Nice to know that I wasn’t the only one who wanted to smash his face in.
“So what did you want to talk to me about?” he asked.
“Well, for starters, tell me about your past.”
“Nothing interesting there.”
I pull out my notepad and look it over. “Considering I have your life story right here, I’d say that you were lying.”
“If you have everything, then why are you bugging me about this stupid interview?”
I swear to God I’m going to break his nose.
“Look, Vincente… I just want to hear it from you. For instance, I have you being married twice. That caused some consternation with me, since I don’t think that was meant to be.”
“Tell me about it. We managed to null that marriage less than ten hours after it happened. Glad that woman agreed.”
“Which woman?” I asked. “Mooney?”
“No, not her,” he growled. “The other.”
“Come on Vincente,” I prodded. “What’s her name?”
“You’re the damned writer, you spoil the sequel.”
He had me there. I hated spoilers. Especially when they were my fault.
“Okay fine. We’ll try talking about something else then. Tell me about your ship.”
For the first time, he takes an extreme interest in the interview. “My ship? She’s beautiful. I converted the interior holds into airtight, individual storage bays and added an armored personnel carrier for those smuggling rendezvous where I might get shot at. She’s got the best communications ‘net on the market, and that includes the black market, and my engineer can get her into skip space with hardly a bump. She’s the real deal. You looking to rent her out?”
“No, not really.” I was sort of confused by his response though. I was pretty sure that he no longer had the Fancy and was, in fact, in the market. But then again, the guy is a born liar.
“A shame. I need the money,” he said as he began to slide out of the booth. I looked at him, surprised.
“Where are you going? I have a few more questions to ask you.”
“Sorry chief, gotta run. My permit’s about to expire and this here rock doesn’t do credit the way they used to. Plus, I think I owe the dockmaster money.”
I watched him walk away and I couldn’t help feeling that I’d gotten the shaft. Sure, he answered a few questions, but this wasn’t what I had been hoping for. I wanted to have my readers get to know him, and instead–
“Here’s his tab, sir,” the waitress slipped me Vincente’s bill as she passed by. “He said you’d take care of it.”
Son of a bitch. I hate that guy.
Today is lesson day, and since everyone’s use of vocabulary seems to be screwed up, I’m going to go out on a limb and say that people throw out words without actually knowing what they mean. And since I’ve been lumped in with those “fascist Mad Genius people” over at the Mad Genius Club, I figured that I’ll use my mad genius skills to educate you.
The first is one of my faves, and gets tossed around so much that you’d think people would actually look it up to see what it means.
Fascism: (n.) — a way of organizing a society in which a government ruled by a dictator controls the lives of the people and in which people are not allowed to disagree with the government.
(side note: the Google definition which came up — and differs from the Merriam-Webster Online — uses the synonym of “right-winger”. Clearly Google doesn’t pay attention and this is an honest mistake by a global conglomerate who desires to intrude upon our daily lives and use our personal information to make them money while dictating what we can say and who we can say it to via “Terms of Service” agreements that we ignorantly click on a daily basis. Purely accidental on their part, I’m sure.)
Now, I’ve seen many of my friends called this lately because they don’t fall in lockstep with the most vocal of voices on the left in science fiction and fantasy. Those who are saying that the very nature of science fiction is being dragged through the collective mire of conservatism by those “fascist racists” are so very wrong in calling them fascists. It’s right there in the description of the word. If you change the word “government” to “club” or “organization”, can you tell me who the fascists are please? I’m curious, because it seems to me that the loudest people who want to kick everyone who disagrees with them out of their club or organization is not the Mad Genius Club or their “ilk”.
Okay, I’ll agree. That was akin to clubbing baby seals who’re high on heroin. I should educate people on better uses of other, more challenging words.
Racism: (n.) — poor treatment of or violence against people because of their race.
Again, people I respect and call friend on a daily basis are accused of this because they dared disagree in their arguments with the collective left in science fiction and fantasy. Larry Correia is called a racist almost every day, despite being Hispanic (side note: the current moniker being thrown around — white Hispanic — is actual racism, as it seems to separate individuals from their heritage and discredit them using superfluous arguments against one portion of their skin color while ignoring their race, which allows people to casually dismiss them due to the tone of skin. Similar attacks took place in the 1880’s, when former slaves in America journeyed to Liberia to colonize and were disparaged by “true blacks”, i.e., actual Africans). Sarah Hoyt is called racist because of her last name (her married name), forgetting that she emigrated to the U.S. when she was 18 and is from Portugal (that’s a Hispanic culture, for those of you who are keeping score at home). But I don’t see either of these people treating anyone any differently due to skin color. I hear both of them espousing the need to judge people by what they’ve done, which is fine by me. We use it to judge our politicians, do we not? That’s why we don’t elect people with absolutely no history of leadership in any roles–
Bad example. The point being, I can say with absolute certainty that neither of them are racist. But again, you’re probably saying that I’m using easy examples and breaking down to explain the truth. I need to use a different methodology in explaining things, right? Okay, so let’s continue.
Straw man: (n.) — a weak or imaginary argument or opponent that is set up to be easily defeated.
This one is a little more difficult, because it’s easy to use a straw man argument without even meaning to. How to explain it in simple terms… ah, perfect. Draw up a caricature of a cross-burning KKK Grand Wizard and have him demanding that we keep black people in chains and whites are perfect. Using that example, you then accuse me of wanting to take the country in that direction when we’re discussing diversity in Science Fiction. I’m put in a position to where I have to defend myself against the association with the caricature and surrendering my position on the previous topic, and you have easily defended your argument and put me on the defensive. It’s a slimy tactic in arguing, and one that many within the science fiction community seem to be embracing when it comes to attacking people like Larry and Sarah. A lot of people, however, counter by saying that they’re just playing the Devil’s Advocate role in the argument, which again shifts the focus of the argument from the topic at hand to some superfluous caricature of an argument, allowing them to keep their supposed moral high ground while derailing the actual conversation. Because people do not seem to be able to discuss differing opinions these days without one party being labeled a “fascist” or a “racist”, the art of discussion had disappeared, replaced by horrible “straw man” arguments and internet hit squads.
Look, we’re a combative species at heart. We enjoy competition. Arguments are a form of competition. So if you’re going to fight on the internet and bully people around who do not agree with you, can you at least, for the sake of the dictionary, use the correct words?
Before you freak out and grab your pitchforks, I’m hard at work on Murder World: Kaiju Dusk. Really, I am. It’s coming along nicely, and I think everyone will be pleased to know that Captain Vincente and his crew is back for a second round. Eric and I should have this novel done by the end of July. In the meantime, you can still pick up a copy of Murder World: Kaiju Dawn on Kindle for a mere $0.99. That’s way less than a cup of coffee, and less than a reprocessed cheese and “pink stuff” burger from a fast food restaurant. So pick up a copy of the book instead of another greasy cheeseburger. Your intestines will thank you.
That was a short pitch. Huh. Maybe I should try to offer something more? Ehh…. no, I think that’s good. A $0.99 book. Yeah. Good enough.
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.
So I decided to try something different this time around with the release of Murder World: Kaiju Dawn. I’m going to run a contest.
That’s right, a contest.
Running until Friday, June 6th at 10:00 PM EST, everybody who buys (or has already bought) a copy of Murder World: Kaiju Dawn and sends me a screen-shot of the receipt is entered to win a free book of mine of their choice, print or ebook (unless, you know, it’s out of print… then it’ll have to be an ebook).
The drawing will take place Friday once the submissions are closed. Once the winner is announced, I’ll either ship it you them or give it to them in person (if they’re at a convention I’ll be attending in the near-future).
Now, a few notes.
When you send in your screenshot, please put it in the body of the email and do not send it as an attachment. It’s easier for me to keep track of everything if it’s in the body of the email itself.
Once you’ve purchased Murder World: Kaiju Dawn, if you share it on Facebook and send me another screenshot of it (again, in the body of the email) you get a second entry into the contest. Write a review on Amazon.com about Murder World: Kaiju Dawn and get a third entry, which greatly increases your odds of winning.
Send your screenshots to cordova829@[removeme]gmail.com
Good luck to all!
Similar in appearance to Kaiju Apocalypse (but a different universe and story altogether, I promise) here is the rough draft cover for Murder World: Kaiju Dawn. Co-authored with Eric S. Brown again (we make quite the team — this is the third book we’ve collaborated on in the past 8 months), it should see a release over the next few weeks.
I’ll be out all day, but I woke up to something wonderful this morning.
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #7,009 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
Yeah, totally made my day/year. If I ever have kids, the first one may be named “Kaiju”. Don’t forget to review it after you buy it.