Tag Archives: Life

Publishing Industry Nightmares.

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:

https://publishedtodeath.blogspot.com/2017/09/an-insiders-view-of-publishing-business.html?fbclid=IwAR1ltemVunMfjPrdJFe4_nvoayR-bm-KzCNZcNhlHdjV2MoQ1Py5EGO7UWg&m=1

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?

Quality.

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.







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Be Your Joy.

Today? Just for today?

Be this hedgehog.

Even just for a full minute.

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Fall and Dark.

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.

Leaves fall; light become rare.

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.

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Make today matter.

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.




Make it amazing.

A walk in the dark invites an inescapable terror.

A horror short story in the spirit of Cthulhuian nightmares.

Click on the image; only $0.99 USD!

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I lost my writing partner during To Drown in Ash, and it rocked me.

Emma

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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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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One Day.

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.

One.

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.

Thank You.

 

Happy Mother’s Day.

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Starting 2017:I hope it’s your best year.

It’s a strange time.

The internet is changing, and the world is changing with it. Uncertainty reigns.

So can you.

Make 2017 the year you armour up. The year you lace up your boots and give the world through your window a hard, steely stare.

Go make today yours. And do it for the next 364 days.

I know you can. You know you should.

Go be amazing.

I’ll watch from here and guard your six and cheer you on.

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