In which we recount how we met, how I struck out at first, how beautiful life can be, and I make Princess cry. With little hearts all around. Happy Valentine’s Day!!
In which I covet Jeeps, Princess recalls getting lost, and we discuss the impact of her giving up her license.
In which we argue about the world, Princess describes her latest tumble, I complain about not enough snow, and we don’t get anywhere about exercise.
In which we reposition the furniture in the cheapest recording studio in the world in preparation for Episode 8, and I claim the table with ridiculous fervour.
In which I am covered in sawdust, Princess has not slept, contract riders involving chocolate are considered (there is no contract), and the Christmas tree was not picked up.
(The Christmas tree has since been picked up. And put away).
Click on the file below for our latest episode, and feel free to share, like, comment, or follow! Please tell your friends, or anyone you think might benefit who has Multiple Sclerosis or is a loved one of someone who does.
In which we don’t hack up sawdust, I find out I’ve been (SPOILER!) manipulated, Princess asks for proof of listeners in other countries, and we discuss labels associated with disability.
Click on the file below for our latest episode, and feel free to share, like, comment, or follow! Please tell your friends, or anyone you think might benefit who has Multiple Sclerosis or is a loved one of someone who does.
In which two things do not happen, Princess mocks my early bedtime, and the horrors of an MRI appointment are discussed.
Click on the file below for our latest episode, and feel free to share, like, comment, or follow! Please tell your friends, or anyone you think might benefit who has Multiple Sclerosis or is a loved one of someone who does.
As you probably heard on the show, I’m a huge nerd. Word nerd, Nerd nerd, and Tech nerd. Logos are cool! So I’m busting to reveal our podcast’s new one!!
Makes it feel all real and professional and stuff!
Thanks to my endlessly talented cover and graphics designer Dylan Edwards for this!
Les doesn’t get very excited about such things.
I get very excited about such things. Good colour, cartoon style, appealing visuals…
I know, I get too excited about such things.
Pretty snazzy, huh?
Watch for it on all the Social Things when we announce new episodes each Thursday!
In which Princess discovers “Laugh Matter” (the opposite of Dark Matter, one guesses), we discuss how depression has impacted our life, and I get my leg touched.
Click on the file below to hear the show, and share our page with anyone you feel could benefit from it. Feel free to follow the blog for upcoming episodes!
In which I give Princess an early present, our puppy makes her audio debut, and Princess confesses her new love for delivery men.
Click on the file below to hear the show!
Click the file below the image for the second show of our podcast, in which Princess discusses some early symptoms she noticed, trademarks a new term, and I develop a healthy fear of toasters.
The reception the show has received so far has been phenomenal! Thanks SO much to all of our listeners. Please comment, like, follow, and share, if your fancy be so tickled. The feedback makes Princess’ day!
In which we sum up impressions of our pilot episode. There may be some flirting. Listener discretion is to get over oneself.
Thanks to everyone who have shown us so much amazing support and incredible encouragement! We had no idea this little idea would be so warmly received. Princess is overwhelmed by all the great comments and feedback, and it has given her countless smiles.
Which is really all that matters.
Episode 2 to air Thursday, December 19th!
So, we’re going to try this podcasting thing!
Click on the link below to listen to the first episode of our new podcast, My Princess Has MS. It’s a bit rough, as it’s our first go at a live, unscripted peek into what it’s like living with Multiple Sclerosis.
As former broadcasters, we’ll be endlessly trying to tweak the audio quality. But we’d love to hear what you think about the content!
Pseudonyms? Nah. Not unless I turn to writing erotica. And, if I did, I wouldn’t be announcing it here, because such things make my ears blush.
But it was a question posed on The Write Podcast, so I jumped at the chance for a little self-promotion and the opportunity to gab about anything writing.
You can catch the show here:
And if there is ever a Soundcloudpocalypse, here’s an archived copy:
I’m just one guest in a host of other Atlantic Canadian talent who give their opinions about pen names. And they are great people, so you should give them a listen. Spoiler: one person already is using one, but Mary Walsh (yes, THAT Mary Walsh) is not.
Princess and I recently accidentally taped what could be a teaser for a podcast.
After we listened to it, here’s her working description that she wrote, and, I have to say, if I read this on a list, I’d subscribe.
But I’m biased.
Working Description: A fantasy writing, body building, mental health nurse and his MS afflicted, perimenopausal, chronically depressed, anxiety ridden, panic stricken, OCD-bound, neurotic, poodle-obsessed wife discussing their life as empty nesters and dog parents; hopefully, making it sound more interesting than it really is.
We do, however, have broadcasting backgrounds that need not go to waste, so there’s that. Finally, that college diploma gets put to good use.
We have no idea what we’re doing, but it seems like fun, so why not. (That is also the guiding philosophy of our approach to both parenting and being married people).
You can listen to what could be the teaser below:
We’d love to hear what you think. Should we make it a thing?
The Starving is a great book. It’s a horror western with a Lovecraftian flavour and the brainchild of fellow Atlantic Canadian writer Jon Dobbins. So for all of those reasons, I’m a fan.
Dobbins has many. Some of them are amazing writers themselves. Engen Books’ The Write Project podcast was kind enough to invite me to join them to discuss The Starving on the show.
For posterity (and out of sheer narcissism), I’m archiving the podcasts the show’s host, Matthew Ledrew, dares to put me on, so if there are any issues with the link, you can also listen here:
If you listen, feel free to use my segment to frighten insects out of your house or curdle paint. I’m told my voice can do that. The other writers are amazing Atlantic Canadian talent who are the rising wave of the kind of creative talent this part of the world is becoming known for.
And if the old west is one of your favourite places to experience existential terror, get your copy of The Starving and support an up and coming writer by clicking on the image below.
Here’s a thought.
What if the Yoda species regenerates?
When I started out with Amazon’s KDP service, customer delivery was less than stellar. I had customers on the other side of Canada simply just not get their book because they weren’t home to receive it, and a wait time from click to doorstep of longer than three weeks.
Well, welcome to 2019!
Not only was I grateful to hear a reader had ordered both of my novels for Christmas (Merry Christmas!) on Thursday, but I was amazed when she told me it was delivered Saturday morning!
That’s a huge improvement.
To think that we’ve arrived at a time when the purchase click creates a printed book, ships it, delivers it into the customers hands, records and sends statistics on the sale directly to the author, and instantly deposits their advance, all in under 48 hours, is pretty mind-blowing, even for a jaded old get-off-my-lawner like myself.
Maybe this isn’t news to our American KDP comrades (and maybe even Canadian indies operating through KDP have already grown accustomed to this), but it sure is a rapid advancement in business efficiency for me.
Speaks well for the future of all indies. In a world where new creative product is, I feel, the biggest of future economies, making our products available faster for cheaper, and, I assume, catching us up to speed with the American ‘Zon market practices are the kind of assist we can all benefit from.
Speaking of cheaper, I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention that both paperbacks of To Drown in Sand and its sequel, To Drown in Ash, are on sale in time for the holidays, in case you’d fancy a copy.
Dis is mah Puppeez. Herz is hopin’ your last week of NaNoWriMo is the bestest, and makes you as proud of your writing as she is of her bow tie.
I really did.
I admit to being old and cranky. I confess to LOATHING the new Star Wars films (Except Rogue Squadron and Solo. They were enjoyable. Good even.) I rewrote the script to The Force Awakens in less than an hour, and was told that was far better than the film. I did all I could not to scream through The Last Jedi, for the peace of mind of my kids.
They hate my dramatic outbursts.
So, I held my breath through episode 1 of The Mandalorian. Bit my lip through episode 2. Got ready to abandon hope on everything if episode 3 did not come through, shout verbal emesis at the world, throw up my fists to the gods, and give up completely.
And, for the record, it takes a lot to make me not like something. Like, a LOT. Mostly because I really, REALLY, want to love all the things.
But sometimes, it’s just crap. And one can not polish a turd.
But I waited. Mostly because of my huge crush on Gina Carano, and my hopes that she’ll become the huge star she deserves to be.
(Spoiler warning. Back in my day, we called that “talking”, but whatevs).
I was a kid when the original films came out in theatres. We actually had to wait for YEARS to see A New Hope and it’s sequels on TELEVISION (that’s how it was; yes, I predate VCR’s.) The only way to hear about a movie was to talk to someone who had seen it.
So, the franchise, its worlds, and all things Star Wars is very, very important to me.
So it was very difficult to witness it’s demise.
But, I am happy to say that it seems that The Mandalorian has brought redemption to at least this embittered old fart.
Jon Favreau’s Episode 3 finally brought the right elements: tough, existential choices, difficult circumstances, actual peril, and a character decision that unravels future storytelling. To me, things had been somewhat…inert…up until now.
(Baby Yoda? Force powers? WHAAAAAAT?!?) #NOTatwist.
So, Old Man Laybolt is all in. You got me, Favreau et al. I’m down.
Thank GAWD. Because I was really ready to punch the eject button there, and give up on all things Star Wars. A bitter thing, that.
So, there it is. More than happy to embark on this bold new journey with optimism, eagerness, and wide open fanboy eyes.
Go watch it. It really might be worth it.
(DISCLAIMER: Totally unlike me. Typical attitude being completely expecting my hopes to be shattered as per most other creative bankruptcy-plagued current franchise content, as evidenced by a THIRD Charlie’s Angels reboot. WHO SIGNS OFF ON A THIRD REBOOT OF ANYTHING?!?)
So here’s to The Mandalorian. This is the way.
I’ve been keeping it under my hat for awhile now, and believe me, it’s been a struggle to keep my mouth shut. (A constant struggle at the best of times).
But I can finally announce that recording for the To Drown in Sand audiobook starts in two weeks!!
My friends over at Iron Wave Studios have announced that they are good to go and will begin production in less than 14 days!
The cast has been picked, the mics are hot, and the crew is ready!
Venturing into the audiobook field is a new world for both me and the Ironworks gang, so there’s lots to learn. I’ll keep all of you blog peeps updated as things unfold (read: catch fire and trip me up as I stumble my way through this new venture).
If you haven’t read it, To Drown in Sand is Book One of my trilogy about a man who goes to a war zone to find peace. His regiment is populated by people from all the different Atlantic Canadian cultures.
Since it’s military sci-fi, those places don’t exist anymore (the earth died; sorry), their accents and cultural nuances are what stand out in their dialogues, and would make for a challenge for any production team.
That, and the signature sound of a rail gun rifle. I am dying to hear THAT.
Almost as much as hearing the people in my head given voice. Surreal.
If you haven’t heard of Warhammer, I’m sorry. Not for me, but for you.
But don’t worry. You’ll soon be assimilated into The Emperor’s Will. We all will be.
Warhammer Fantasy, and it’s bigger brother Warhammer 40,000, is a cold, terrifying, gothic, brutal, and absolutely addictive set of tabletop games and stories that is available in almost every language in every city of every country in the known world.
Warhammer 40,000 is an immersive saga in the military sci-fi genre that has been turning into a global powerhouse since 1987. I truly believe it is the only remaining modern myth, after Star Wars.
Warhammer is dense with lore. No, that’s not quite right. it’s monstrous.
While we wait to see if any original stories remain to be told within the context of our current creative, sci-fi-fantasy choices (*CoughCoughTheMandalorianCough*), Warhammer’s people have been holding back from going mainstream for decades. But that may all change with what they announced in July, which I missed, because life, but I grieve for my lapse in vigilance.
(Lapses in vigilance are VERY BAD in Warhammer. VERY. BAD.)
To the cardiac risk of a world full of fans, Games Workshop has announced it is going forward with a live TV series.
That series will be based on Eisenhorn, the creation of one of my favourite authors of all time, Mr. Dan Abnett.
This is enormous news. The Eisenhorn series is three books deep, and THEN there’s the Ravenor series, and THEN the Bequin Trilogy, where Eisenhorn and Ravenor meet…(see how crazy deep this is?)
NEVERMIND how it could possibly, if it is executed properly, tee up the whole Warhammer 40K universe, which already has millions of hungry fans waiting to consume anything this IP produces. If strategized, written, and marketed properly (an admittedly huge ask in 2019), prepare yourselves for the most immersive sci-fi world you have ever seen. And yes, I mean you, Star Wars (not knocking Star wars at all; I watched the originals on a VCR. And still have them. So there).
But the time is ripe for a whole new world in fantasy and sci-fi. And Warhammer offers that in spades.
Bricks in the wall. That’s my process. Same as training in the gym; everyday, one more brick, neatly mortared and tucked into place, grooved the gaps and levelled, before moving on.
That’s why I find NaNoWriMo not really workable. I write every day at around 5 am, and have for about 20 years. Many brick walls have resulted. Several now, thanks to Indie pubbing, turned into actual novels and short titles. I’m more like a NaEVERYWriMo sort.
But I love the energy November brings to everyone who puts their thought-worms to the page during NaNoWriMo. And it’s always encouraging to hear about so many independents working on their craft. Community, and all that.
It’s been a tight month so far, with life and work demands. Some mornings I’ve only been able to swing little more than 20 minutes at the keyboard, but they are a happening 20 minutes, let me tell you, as I race to squeeze the juice out of every second and every creative synapse.
So, 17th day, and I’ve pumped out 7,665 words. That’s at chapter 22 of my current project, which is closing in on a healthy 150k words as I roll into Act Three.
That’s also while working on several different projects during the same period; the actual word count output is much higher, but I only count one major, current project at a time.
One in the man (first draft and rewriting), one in the can (being edited and prepped for publish), and one for the fan (new title on the shelf) is my approach. And I just received word that my current ‘work in the can’, a dark Fantasy anthology that tees up my whole new series titles , is almost ready for final read and cover prep. Gonna be an exciting year!
In what many feel is the brave new world of constantly evolving indie economies, several prophets are emerging that I believe are the heralds of change. Alan Moore is one of them. I came upon this article in which Moore rings the bell that tolls for so many of us. That we are early in an industrial revolution that provides the arts with unprecedented opportunity.
But think of it in terms of the discovery of the new world. Very few in old Europe had any idea what North America was like, or what those who dared venture there had to do, and who to learn from (as in, they all would have DIED without help from the peoples who already lived here and ACTUALLY ALREADY OWNED THE LAND, but I digress), in order to survive. Nor did they care; they had their own concerns.
And I’m not saying Big Publishing is wrong, or that marketed writers are bad. We’d be nowhere without them. Nor am I saying that, given the opportunity, I’d back away from the chance to publish traditionally.
I do feel, though, pretty strongly, that there are few better ways to learn about both writing and publishing and business than to have to build your own canoe and make your own maps…uh, the canoes being books, and the maps being publishing them. I must work on my metaphors.
Getting lost, failing, losing your tools, learning from those kind enough to help, starving…all of those classic, fun trials.
Persistence. Determination. Curiosity. Humility. Those things that keep people going.
Nevermind that if your work didn’t stand up to quality, your would die back then. Little has changed, figuratively speaking.
But what I am saying is that there is a place for all of us, enabled by digital economies and the tools at our disposal. And it is certainly worth knowing that the economies of empire, whatever wilderness your operating in, has its own troubles.
One would never make it far by comparing successes to conglomerates who have already succeeded. Where’s the growth in that?
So, thank you, Uncle Alan, for the encouraging words. I believe you, sir, are particularly clairvoyant in your insight. May very well be quoted someday with a simple shrug and a nod, as a matter of obvious history.
In the current glut of reboots, revamps, abandoned series left to flail, and draining every single last drop of revenue out of dead franchises leaving them in bleached, cadaverous ruin, I mentioned in my last post how our culture is starving for new stories.
Part of the reason behind the massive momentum of a series like Game of Thrones, up until it suffered its horrendous creative demise, was its originality. Folks who weren’t fans of fantasy embraced the new world of Westeros, probably out of sheer imaginative cachectia.
In light of such sparse content of new stories, settings, creatures, and characters, I’m a bit stunned by the lack of buzz about Carnival Row, the new series by René Echevarria and Travis Beacham and starring Orlando Bloom and Cara Delevigne.
From its dark setting, Lovecraftian environment, multi-nation worldbuild, very cool races, and sharp writing, Carnival Row is a breath of fresh storytelling I’ve been craving.
And without spoiling anything…Cthulhu.
For many years now (especially since watching that dreaded last season of GoT), I’ve been pleading for any new worlds and original stories set in them. Carnival Row pulls that off in spades.
Bloom’s character is dour and brooding, and actually has good reason. His conflict unfolds over the span of the entire season, carefully unfolding and intertwining into the Burgue, his city and its politics. Delevingne’s character of the embittered war refugee is both gripping and justified.
It ‘s not a perfect show; there are a few glaring plot pits (EVERY time a Pix takes flight, they lift one leg in a Peter Pan manner that drove me bananas. By episode four I was screaming at the screen for them to “stop DOING that!” And the big villain reveal plays out a bit…ridiculous. Not to brag, but I rewrote that scene into an epic reveal/battle that would have worked perfectly in the time it took me to make a pot of coffee).
But, Carnival Row overcomes these forgiveables with sheer will and dense metaphor for our modern, troubling times. It actually gets darker over the last four episodes, a refreshing change from shows that fail to cross the finish line as they gag and sputter, deprived of any heart or blood from their writers these days.
I’m not sure if I live in a cave, or if it’s because it’s an Amazon production, but for whatever reason, ignore your hesitation and go find this show. It’s certainly a relief from the average rehashed, reheated, leftover fare we have all gotten used to choking on.
In the ongoing discussion about whether indie publishing is tenable, or even a thing, a lot of ugly business emerges. Most of it is discovered after some careful digging through sites like J.A. Konrath‘s and others in the field who have exposed life in the publishing tower’s secrets. Every year, it seems more of Big Publishing’s practices are exposed, and more and more, they remind me of Big Oil and other “Bigs” who are desperately struggling to understand life in this digital age, and failing.
I strongly believe that we are just as immersed in a technological revolution, that has really just started, by the way, as society was during the Industrial Revolution. Fists are being banged onto desks refusing to acknowledge new ways. Furious millionaires are determined to choke every last dollar from dying industries and practices before they draw their last breath. Men who rose to power with typewriters and letters in the mail scoff at those who dare to publish without them, and do their level best to crush their progress.
Don’t believe me? Read through Konrath. or read this:
I’ve written in the past about developments in the publishing field in the midst of all this; I find it fascinating to study. I also continue to describe my own journey through and around the barrage that is modern publishing. Note that I do separate that from writing; I don’t believe the two are necessarily connected, and for most people, shouldn’t be. (Same as self-publishing and indie-publishing are not necessarily the same thing).
Erica Verillo‘s not wrong. The chaos she describes is pretty plain to see; just look at your average bookstore chain’s shelves over a year and you’ll see it too.
I firmly believe the future is micro-economic. Small, cottage producers of content that grow organically to be sniffed at by Big Industry, prompting the creators of that content to decide to sell their wares to the machine, or not. And new, pioneering companies like Engen who take their drive and dreams and carve out a chunk using the current technology and craft relationships with their local writers who would never get a chance elsewhere. That is the future, friends.
This is not a new concept. See Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, Dungeons and Dragons, Warhammer, Call of Cthulhu, and every other small project that eventually became a marketing powerhouse.
And how did they do that?
It always starts with quality.
I’m not saying I’m one of those. But I am saying I’m writing to write, small and in the dark every morning, shaping my stories, grooming them for the world that technology has finally made possible.
I’ve gone from coil-ring notebook, longhand writing to typing on paper, to blogging with clickable links, to printed copies in my hand and my amazon store of published novels and short stories.
And we are just getting started. But the journey, the process of this evolution, is really fascinating and worthy of recording. I really do see it as one of the greatest advancements of the arts in generations.
There was nothing like this for H.P. Lovecraft, or Charles Dickens, or Stephen King. Imagine if there had been! I’ve discussed such in The Write Podcast.
Society is quickly growing exhausted of reboots, and throwaway conclusions of stories because the writers had more lucrative things to do, and the endless mining of old material. They are starving for fresh stories, new worlds, and original ideas. There has never been a better time to have an idea. Everything you need to present it is literally at your fingertips.
And that’s me talking; the darkest, most jaded person I know. So, you know,…possibly relevant.
Today? Just for today?
Be this hedgehog.
November. A time to write outlines and novels as the days die far too soon.
Writing in the dark is all I know how to do. Daylight burns away the divine, the imagination pilot light, with its work and worries and wars.
Lack of light has always brought me the solitude I need to ignite the furnace of plots and characters and stories; to pop on the stage lights in my mind, in a way. No sense turning them on without darkness.
Could be why writing can be so dark in nature, too, I guess. It gets in.
Darkness. Worth embracing.
That moment when one innocent message tips you into a rabbit hole of intriguing research from which you never emerge but finally do two days later…
…with a crammed research browser full of war and guns…
…and you suddenly find yourself craving a replica musket because muskets.
NaNoWriMo is upon us! Now is the time to dive into that work you’ve been planning all year.
I’m not the biggest NaNoWriMo’er. Intensive spurts are not my style. I’m more of a disciplinary, brick-on-the-wall-every- day sort of writer.
But I do love the blizzard of activity that hits the writing community every day-after-we-toss-the-costumes day, especially in the indie world.
In that spirit, I’ll be posting All The Memes to keep the bear poked. And I’ll be posting a host of playlists that hopefully will keep your fingers flying on the keyboard for hours on end. I find nothing eats time like a few hours of ambiance sounds tailored to your character’s environment.
(NEXT TIME: Sci-Fi Sounds and Scores!)
Want to cruise the Andromedan Belt? Attack ships on fire off the shoulder of Orion? Settle in for the long shuttle run from Cixca to Shastre? Who doesn’t, really.
In celebration of NaNoWriMo, feel free to find the sounds in my Sci Fi playlist that work for you, put on a hot pot of writer fuel, and get back to the keyboard.
Behold! Propellant for the creation of fiction, jetted into your earholes.
From sipping perk-caff on a star liner to ducking and scrambling to avoid getting your brains blown out on the battlefield. So much space goodness.
Check in regularly; my playlists are constantly being pruned, grown, and added to. Ambiance producers are soul gardeners to me.
Hopefully it will inspire you to hit your word count today! Enjoy!
In my post last week about the recent Amazon move to provide direct printing, shipping, and list prices here in Canada, I missed a crucial upside detail.
While this development levels the playing field for Canadian indie authors by cutting the time from that holy ‘Buy Now’ button click to doorstep arrival just in time for winter, it also triggers an exciting benefit pointed out by Engen Books ‘ savvy entrepreneur Matthew LeDrew:
Canadian indies can now list their titles at separate prices than their U.S. listings!
Want to run a weeks’s sale (other than Amazon’s existing sales deals) for your Canadian fans? Well, now you can!
Want to drop the first novel in a series for a Canada-based promotional run? Now you can do that too!
While you could always drop the price listing of any title, the end price was bonded to the USD listing and automatically increased for exchange. This resulted in a discouraging price difference between the .com and .ca listings, and made the classic $XX.99 pricing option much trickier in Canada. Now, all titles in both Canada and the U.S. can be the same price listing.
What’s the downside?
Naturally, Canadian authors who drop their exchange-rate balanced price listing take a hit in their royalty payment. And, as the exchange rate fluctuates, that can be substantial. However, if indies are experiencing slowed sales because of awkward CAD pricing, the flexibility allowing them to adjust their price to a more palatable, attractive listing may be the boost their sales needed.
And, the optics of balanced pricing, plus the knowledge of CAD-specific listing for readers from home may be another benefit for all creators of independent Canadian writing. You couldn’t experiment with either if you were chained to traditional publishing practices!
I’ve standardized the price listing for the paperbacks of both of my novels, To Drown in Sand and To Drown in Ash. And, to celebrate, I’ve dropped the price of Book 1 of the Trilogy to $14.99 CANADIAN! Finally looks like something my mom would decide to buy!
Beaver tails, Double-Doubles, and now, Canuck indie fiction! A super development!
Stay tuned, like, or follow for continuing news and updates on any further KDP developments!
Sunday mornings are Note Transcription day. All the week’s thoughts, scenes, moments, and catchy dialogue bits have to go somewhere to be seeded and start germinating.
And my trusty old desktop (completely disconnected from the internet) is the perfect planter box.
All part of the manic scramble to catch my brain leaks. Sunday mornings used to be one of Emma’s favourite times, because the typing always lasted longer. She’s still with me. Just in a small jar.
There’s nothing in the world like music to trigger my writing brain. And in 2019, it’s easier than ever to build writing resources that can keep you going for hours at a time.
Talented ambiance artists all over the Tube of You spend countless hours creating amazing content just for the sweet, sweet happiness of our writing earholes.
This week, I’m sharing my playlist for fantasy writing from my channel. Feel free to give it a listen, build your own, or send me suggestions below this blog entry to check out!
Over fourteen hours of music to swings swords by, or sneak through medieval village markets, harrowing graveyards, and lots more, all in one place. They’re great for role-playing game background sounds, too!
I’m constantly adding more to every playlist I have because hoarding. In my day, we had to build mix tapes of this stuff. On ACTUAL tape. Yeeeg.
Lock yourself away with your keyboard and disappear into wherever your inspiration takes you.
These are just a few of the scores and sounds I’ve gathered that have kept me writing through multiple coffee pots, two novels, and a gazillion upcoming projects.
Before you know it, your characters will be cringing, chasing skittering demon squirrels into the night, arguing with each other, falling off rooftops, and saying things to each other you simply did not expect.
Other genres in upcoming posts!
May your ears send your typing fingers into a frenzy, fellow writers!
Engen books is calling.
Submissions for “pulp era” Sci-Fi From the Rock, their next collection, have a deadline of Oct. 31.
I didn’t think I had anything that quite fit, but I did find one l’il gem buried in my files (Old Man Laybolt Writer’s Rule #3: Never Throw Anything Out). I thought it might work for the anthology, if I ran it through the brain wash and rinse cycle. A quick three hours of rewrite, and a run through Cliche Cleaner and Grammarly, and I think it might be ready.
Now that I’m reading the third draft, I’m really pleased with it. Pulpy like freshly squeezed! So I’m totally hitting that submission deadline.
Stay tuned to see if it gets in!
Click on the image and grab your copy of Juris Lunence, a short story prequel about the 10th Lunen Regiment! FREE today!
Oh, the beautiful expanse of shorts, patiently waiting to be squeezed together into the blessed amazon algorithm.
13 short stories of dark fantasy, all carefully threaded together with character cameos and a tapestry of plot crossings. It will be an anthology that reads like a novel. With blood.
So much blood.
Intrigue, blasphemy, betrayal, and madness.
The Glyph Beckons.
More updates coming soon!
Read the epic short story prequel to my first novel in the 10th Lunen Regiment Trilogy, now available!
If you’re a writer, write something amazing.
If you’re lifting, make it satisfy.
If you’re loving, squeeze harder.
The clock is ticking, and we only have today.
Another episode of Engen Books‘ podcast, The Write Project, in which I blather about big publishing companies I do not work for, thingies King, Lovecraft, Tolkien, my theory about Game of thrones, and writer’s block, in which I foolishly test the literary divine.
Out of sheer existential terror of all things internet and extinction thereof, I made a MP3 thingy. Take THAT, 6-week Soundcloud storage limit! :
If your ears are not bleeding (or, if they are, and you’re kind of into that), see my previous post for Episode 1, which is actually Episode 54, but I get too excited about being on podcasts, so it’s 1.
Visit my kindle store for terrifying titles like The Dog and more!
That moment when you suddenly shatter total quiet as you shout “Ohhhhh, yeeeaaahhh. BRILLIANT! THAT’S AWESOME!” and actually clap, because of something an imaginary person just said to you in your head in a conversation that doesn’t exist yet, because you are 250 pages deep into your next novel, and you are alone in your office, except for your cat, who now thinks you are crazier than dogs.
FREE now on Amazon! Click on the icon to get the short story prequel to the 10th Lunen Regiment Trilogy! Get the origin story of one of the 10th’s most notorious characters. Available now!
There just ain’t no writing like 5 am writing.
Such things, that emerge from the gloom of the early morning dark and the waking brain.
Click on the link to my Amazon store to read Juris Lunence for free!
Of all of the things I was doing during my blogging hiatus, one of the most exciting was to appear on Engen Books‘ Podcast, The Write Project. In which I discuss dark childhoods, Stephen King, my writing process, “Shut and get typing”, and much more!
Hosted by Matthew LeDrew, the show appears every Monday on CHMR at 4:30 Newfoundland Time, and is available on most podcast platforms.
Out of sheer vanity, here’s an MP3 of Episode 1 of my interview. I am told that if you place the speaker near a sink drain, my voice will scare away fruit flies and Drain Goblin spore vapours. Probably worth a shot. You never want to see what comes out of those spores. *Shudder.*
Here is the location to find the archive of far more talented writers than myself talking about their amazing projects, like Tasha Madison, Julia Blackmore, Tracey Waddleton, and more.
And here is the link to Engen’s The Write Project youtube channel.
May your earholes rejoice, should that be warranted.
Aaron Dembksi-Bowden, one of my literary heroes and one of this generation’s Shakespeares, is mulling dumping his blogging, because it eats time.
Which is true. It does. It SO does.
But I am not him. I am, however, a bad blogger.
I had no idea my last entry was August 2018. That’s like, more than a whole year. Yeesh.
So, I’ve been busy during that time. Silly busy. Life, end of life, a full time career in a challenging field, my wife’s managing a chronic brain disease…oh, man. There’s been LOTS.
But that’s all a bunch of heavy stuff. More on The Heavy later. Too much of that already in this world right now. What I am happy about is the work I’ve been doing while Notblogging.
Holleeeee Firesticks. It’s been a big year at my desk. Dark fantasy short story anthology? Completed. Currently enduring the preparatory rites known as the Thousand Cuts of the Blood Pen, administered by a ruthless ogre who adamantly states it will be ready within six to twelve months. That’s PUBLISHED ready. As in, on the shelf and kindle.
And, I’m 296 pages deep into my fourth book, a fantasy novel that follows one of the shorts teed up in the anthology.
Funny thing, that. There are 13 short stories in the anthology, and each short tips off a separate novel to form a franchise. Which is brain-boggling to me. But there it is.
More details to come; just wanted to drop a hey to show I did not get snatched by a nightgaunt and swallowed in two pieces. I mean, whole would be tasteless, and three would just be messy.
And yeah; I know. They don’t have faces.
It’s called OSMOSIS, Chad.
She was with me every single morning, before the sun came up, sneaking glances at me. As long as I was typing, she was happy. She hated how long it took for me to make coffee, because it meant we weren’t working.
Emma is that little black lump between my feet, sixteen years ago, as I struggled through my pre-req courses to get into university, an old man at 33 desperate to change his life, while a puppy rooted herself into everything I would do for the rest of hers.
Emma was getting older, and our whole family knew it. We made the typical allowances, that slow regression of the tide of life that signals terrible choices. But we ignored them, I ignored them, for longer than I probably should have. We lifted the food bowl up onto a block so her neck wouldn’t hurt when she ate. We carried her everywhere so she wouldn’t jump off furniture. We even bought her a playpen to keep her safe, her vision long gone and her hearing almost nonexistent.
Emma wasn’t just my dog. She was so much more. She heard the early dialogue, and sneezed her disdain if it was cheesy. (Emma loved cheese, just not in her dialogue). She was my first audience for verbal reads. She was my timekeeper, who told me when I had been at the keyboard too long. And not long enough.
She was my kids’ best friend; a sibling and confidante. She was our guardian, who fiercely chased every animal, no matter what size, off her deck and out of her yard. Some people mock poodles, but man, let me tell you, they are tough, smart, ridiculously brave, and unconditionally loyal pets.
I’ve often heard about folks saying how hard a pet’s death hit them, and never understood it. Until I lost my writing partner.
I think you can almost sense it in To Drown in Ash. The time I had to decide that terrible choices had to be made. Ash is about loss and fracture, and was written while Emma waited for me, sleeping and peeking at my back, to make sure I was there and still writing. I was avoiding the decision. I did a lot of that in the early drafts of this book, until our team wouldn’t let me, and made me face the facts. That things could not continue. Emma and I knew it, too. That avoiding choices was costing her too much pain. Mostly out of fear of what it would cost me to lose her.
We took her for one last walk to her favourite park. She hobbled and thought about chasing her favourite ducks. My wife and I gave her her last ice cream, and she devoured it, cone and all.
The next day, we took her to the vet. They were incredibly kind to us. We were given all the time we could need to say goodbye.
They were incredibly patient while Old Man Laybolt tried and failed to hold it together.
She finally sighed her last, and I heard relief finally come from her little spirit. Her only concern was that she was still doing her job. She kept checking on me, with little flicks of her eyes, right into the end.
I’m a nurse. I’ve seen my share of death. Even come to learn to understand and embrace it. To learn that it’s a sacred moment, and a truly spiritual experience that can not be understated. Its impact on our small journeys here in this life are immeasurable. Things of such magnitude have learning for all of us.
Here’s what Emma taught me. Be unconditionally loyal. Be brave. Be ever-striving to take care of your pack. And live. Live every day for your ice cream and those you are lucky enough to contribute to.
Some say that people should strive to be the person their dog thinks they are. I agree. But I’d add to that.
If more of us strive to be more like our dogs; honest, loyal, protective, endlessly curious about others, and fearless, the world we live in can only get better. That’s what Emma taught me.
To take naps when you can. To love unconditionally. Handle strangers based on their body language. Always be on duty. Watch your people.
That, and to keep working until its over.
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It’s been a long time coming. People have been waiting patiently. What a great problem to have; folks telling you to hurry up with your next book.
Well, the wait is over. To Drown in Ash, Book 2 of The 10th Lunen Regiment trilogy, is now live on Amazon.
Snowstorms, three years of 5 am sunrises, and a lot of real, actual tears (you’ll know EXACTLY when my ugly manbaby tears hit the keyboard) went into this one. If you enjoy it, please let me know.
As always, a huge thanks to Dylan Edwards for his incredible cover, endless patience, and therapeutic upload support. And to everyone that pushed me further to make this the best book I’ve ever written (See acknowledgements).
Here’s the link:
If your Canadian (high five!), here’s your link:
Annnd here’s the link for my UK fans:
Chillers from the Rock, the third volume in the modern From the Rock series, hit #1 Bestseller in 4 different categories on March 18, 2018: a full 10 days before its release. The categories include Vampire Thrillers, Werewolves & Shifters, Vigilante Justice, and Hot New Releases – Thrillers. As of this writing it has reached […]
Not sure if you noticed (the savvy among you probably have), but KDP quietly rolled out their new reports format!
I’ve wondered since I started with Kindle Direct Publishing why they could not plot out the master sales list for the titles Indies publish. Not only would it make for great nostalgia during those cold, isolated months of dead sales, and drive writers forward after seeing that, yes, there once was a day when you were knocking it out of the park (regardless of numbers; in this day and age, all readers are precious readers, in my opinion), but it’s important to be able to look back and see what you’ve accomplished in total.
At least, my accountant thinks it is.
Well, wonder no more!
KDP’s new Historical Report gives you every single sale monthly since you started publishing, and every single KOLL page read. This enables you to accurately track total sales, identify trends, and total your copies sold and free titles distributed since the dawn of KDP-time.
The new format also sets up by sales period, and lists all royalties earned by country in total, which immediately gives you your best selling countries. The report still offers the month-to-date tables, but now provides a payments and pre-orders tab, all in one header.
Slick, easy to use, and all in one place.
A huge development for Indie writers everywhere!
Stop looking at my short blue poles. I was busy writing.
Go check our your new KDP report page! What do you think of it?
There are many kinds of people who make up our world.
There are people who fight. They grab each day by the throat and don’t let go until they get that day done.
There are people who pretend. Who make it look like they can do the things they cannot so that the world will applaud them. But the world never applauds anyone, not in any real way, and their hearts are destined to break.
There are people who burn. Who carry a furnace fuelled by bitterness because life has flowed around them like a river, and they cannot bend the currents to their will. Steam and noise ensue, and peace is a laughable dream.
There is another kind. There are quiet, shy people who hate storms. Who try, every day, to stand, walk, and even carry others with whatever power they have, which varies every day. Whose tools get lost or break or were never in the toolbox, or the storm has whipped them away, lost in the wind and sound and terror. But every day, they try.
They get up, in the face of panic and fear, and they try. Some days they are beaten before they even open their eyes, and the trying takes too long, and it’s hard.
But somehow, they do it. And life and the world do not record their battles, don’t call their names, don’t applaud. Sometimes, it only announces their failures, which feeds the opinion of the ignorant. The world expects perfection while it takes away their tools. The world demands more while it pressures you with less.
Less money for your work, less support for your children, less respect for your thoughts, less power for your person, less safety for your travels, less consequence for your violation.
It presses down while screaming to get up. And it is hard.
But these people, in the storm, they still try.
These people are called Mothers.
I’m lucky enough to have one for a partner. My wife’s tools are being plucked away by the storm piece by piece. In the cruellest irony, by an invisible disease that very few people will ever understand. They see the vibrant, shining soul that she is, and rejoice in her radiance, and never see her storm. She refuses to show it to anyone.
She’s such a Mother that she’ll be one to those who are not even hers. She’ll take on the job for those in pain out of sheer mercy and grace, and never asks for recognition, or control, or any reward at all.
She will simply because it is Right.
She’ll step into the deeper storm, knowing some of her tools are missing.
Because that is what Mothers do.
My own mother should have folded under the storm a thousand times. Sometimes, the storm was me. Other times, it was the world, trying to crush her. She would have none of that.
I am privileged. Both women made me this man.
We get one day.
To tell them that we get it. That we see them. That we appreciate them. That they are valued. Loved. That we know. That we can never properly thank them, but on this day, we will try.
To my Mom, all I can say is Thank You.
To my wife, I see you. I know. And I see the storm. I hate it, and I wish I could crush it; wither it, so that it did not trample you. But I can’t. I will always offer my hand, even when you refuse to take it. Because you fight ten times harder than I do. Even now, as two young men who you gave birth to, who you taught how to temper my cold spite with your warmth and love, prepare to step away from you and make their mark, two standing examples of your success, you find yourself wanting in their forging. You did it. You mastered it. You won. I love you. I Thank You.
To every one of you reading this who are Mothers, I Thank You. The world will never applaud. Not the way it should. But maybe, having a day that tells you we know you’re important is a sign for you. That we see you, and that we care.
Happy Mother’s Day.
While work continues on the editing of To Drown in Ash, I have exciting news!
Several months ago, during a shameless binge on Tom Waits songs and headline rage, I smashed out a script for an idea for a graphic novel. After pitching the concept around to several parties who generously cheered me on (and several rewrites), my buddy Dylan Edwards read the script and agreed to use his incredible artistic skill to turn it into A Thing!
Behold,some of the early concept art for The War!
That is Sam.
Sam is driven.
We’ll be releasing more info and images as the work progresses. Early input on the project has been alarmingly positive. And Amazon’s graphic novel platform appears tailor made for Indie projects by two guys who’ve dreamed of doing this since high school.
More cool sketches to follow in the coming weeks and months as this takes shape.
So, let’s review.
It’s pretty much a perfect storm.
PBS’ Frontline describes a dissatisfied population demographic, driven to vote in catalysts of political endeavour that end up devouring its own base in Congress, only to replace them with more ardent activists of their cause.
The idea of the Tea Party not being Far Right enough is compelling. The idea of the Freedom Caucus taking Congress is worth massive focus.
Evidence of Russian involvement through servers located at Trump Tower was only the beginning. And, it seems, not the most important aspect of the story.
Then comes Cambridge Analytica and Facebook.
Using something as simple as benign as personality tests, ‘like’ emojis, and shares, they measured and influenced newsfeed prompts that apparently guided the direction of one of the most shocking elections in American history.
For the record, Cambridge Analytica denies any use of Facebook to generate data.
According to Motherboard, Alexander Nix is quoted as saying that his company, Cambridge Analytica, was integral to Trump’s victory.
That means that Cambridge Analytical was the Distracted Subversion engine. It’s company parent, SCL, is an enormous, global network.
I know what you’re thinking. Tinfoil hat time.
But no. This one’s real.
Some writers are saying it’s ridiculous. But even in their own articles, the experts they interview end up summarizing by saying “we just don’t know.”
Investigation of SCL’s website unveils some incredibly informative findings.
Click on this link. go ahead. I dare ya.
Go look. Dig.
Watch the intro graphic.
Scroll down to the bottom. Look at the logos.
Go into the rabbit hole. It’s shallow. Doesn’t take long to see the trails.
Click on ‘Social ‘ from their homepage.
Click on ‘Defence’.
Look under ‘Elections’.
See how many countries SCL has offices in. Campaigns they have engineered.
The UK Ministry of Defence.
The U.S. State Department.
Both Cambridge Analytica and SCL proudly display their service to, and the logos of, these and more organizations at the bottom of their page.
Offices all over the world.
I was hoping that SCL’s site was a fake. Some high-quality page built by an enthusiastic fictionalist.
But no. It’s real.
And there’s more.
Among Cambridge Analytica’s Board Members, according to the Motherboard story and other news outlets?
A man named Steve Bannon.
And he’s working to hire them for the Trump administration.
That a company like SCL exists should not be very surprising. Neither should the idea that an entire industry generates millions from collecting and working with Big Data.
But hiring a firm to manipulate the outcomes and perceptions of international electoral and military campaigns?
Then contract them for Washington’s new administration?
I believe that takes us to a whole new level of Distracted Subversion. One unseen in our history. An unprecedented ability to bend outcomes without our being aware.
Stop clicking ‘like’. Stop taking ‘personality quizzes’. Stop clicking angry emojis.
Start a blog and write about how you feel instead.
The one thing Big Data can not stand. Conversations in person.
Face to face meetings.
Start a blog and write about how you feel instead.
Stop telling SCL and Cambridge Analytica how you feel about things.
By their own admission, they are gathering your reaction data and using it to win wars, change your mind, build empires, and get people like Donald Trump elected.