Back safely from Norwescon 38. The writing panels were great as always, and I have a renewed sense of purpose. If you have any literary interests in the SF&F genre, I highly recommend Norwescon. The veteran writers are very approachable and eager to share both their experiences and their options! Anyway, I have come away with some great ideas on how to approach a couple of projects, so I am excited. No, I did not get to see the Great Character Killer, George RR Martin. The lines were simply too long. I did however get a photo taken sitting on the infamous throne and logged more than 3 miles a day in walking, go me!
Greetings gentle readers,
I hope that you enjoyed the free Owen Strong novel. The new novel of the adventures of Owen and Jinhao is now live on amazon at a special introductory price of $3.99 US. Get it here:
Greetings Gentle Readers,
In celebration of the release of Strong Justice, the next volume of the Owen Strong Steampunk Magica Series on Friday, the first volume Strong Adept, will be free to download on Amazon US starting tomorrow, but only for 48 hours! So get one for yourself, and a copy for a friend. Spread the word!
Guess what I’ve been doing? Editing the Galley proofs for the next Owen Strong novel, Strong Justice. With any luck, the final will be available for you to purchase in a couple of weeks at most.
Strong Justice will mark the return of our heroes Owen Strong and the enigmatic Jinhao in their eldritch Hong Kong, where Magic is very much a part of the world and the city is ruled by a Dragon. Of course, there’s a murder to be solved as well. *smiles*
I have found that writers tend to describe themselves as either outliners or ‘pantsers’. Outliners are much as the word says: they are people who make an outline of what they are going to write, and then fill in as they go. ‘Pantsers’ is short for ‘seat of the pants’ writers, those who simply sit down and write, trusting that the process of writing will yield something good. I find in my writing process that I am something of a hybrid.
What motivates me to start is having a great idea usually something along the lines of ‘hey wouldn’t it be neat…’ This causes me to sit down and actually write. Sometimes it’s a character who says, “Hi there, what to hear about my world and my life?” Sometimes it’s both. It’s an exciting time, sometimes literally an adventure where I find out what the idea is or who this person is. Then comes the time period of ‘oh my Ghod what am I going to do with this mess?’ That’s when I sit and stare at the walls for hours and then make outlines like crazy. Rinse, repeat.
I am currently in such a state now where I am re-writing the scenes of the next Secret Wars book, Alien Devices. The first volume, Wind Dancer, has done very well thanks to all of you. Will, Saira, Abigail, and the rest of the crew of the Airship Wind Dancer, have all told me the story so far from their points of view, and now I get to turn that all into something that readable. Here I could use some help in staying motivated.
If you’ve read Wind Dancer, please post a short review of it, either on Amazon.com or Goodreads.com and then let me know to go find it. It doesn’t have to be a polished scholarly work, just that you liked it (or not) and click the stars rating.
If you haven’t read it yet, you should! It’s the start o f a great series of thrilling adventures of mercenary airship privateers, grand conspiracies, and alien invasions. If you sign up for my newsletter you can get the first chapter for free!
You can get it the whole book here in either digital or paperback versions:
By now, the entire blogosphere is aware of the passing of the great actor who brought to life the Star Trek character of Spock. Anything that I might say about him has surely been said better, this is merely my own perspective on it all.
One of those writers I believe said it best: “If you want to know what all the outcry on the net is about, realize that every geek just lost one of their favorite grandparents.” True, and yet Nimoy’s portrayal of Spock meant so much more to me.
Imagine if you will the effect of seeing every week on TV a green-skinned half-human, half-alien had on a little dark-skinned half-Indian, half-white boy growing up in the United States. Not only was the half-breed in the second banana ‘Tonto’ role much more dignified than the lead, he was the one who was always pointing out the right thing to do (being the science officer). Also, he was Commander Spock, second-in-command of the whole frackin’ ship. The effect was powerful let me tell you. Now the spaceman has gone home.
No matter who was giving Spock attitude about his heritage, he would just raise an eyebrow and simply say, “Very illogical”. Yeah. I adopted that stance as a kid. Still, to this day, when someone gives me attitude over my heritage, the first thing that whispers in my ear is Spock’s voice. “Highly illogical”. Thank you Mr. Nimoy.
Yes, Wind Dancer, the first of my exciting steampunk action-adventure series is now on sale from Amazon.com in it’s digital form for only .99! As this will be a very limited time price, I want to encourage you to go get you copy now!
Also, Wind Dancer is now available through Amazon in a printed version, so no matter what format you prefer, you can now read it! Please buy it, read it and then write a review either on Amazon or Goodreads. It doesn’t have to be long or polished, simply your honest opinion. Reviews are the lifeblood of authors nowadays. I really hope you enjoy it, and if not, I want to know that too!
Thank you so much for your continued interest and support!
So recently I heard someone say they had just discovered the ‘doomsday clock’–you know the one put out by the Bulletin of Atomic Scientists. It measures how close we are to the total destruction of ourselves, midnight being when all of civilization is destroyed. It now has gone from five minutes to midnight, to three minutes to midnight because the scientists on the board have decided to add climate change into their equations. The person was shocked. Totally shocked that it was so close to midnight.
The funny thing is that I was talking to another person who remembers the same thing I do, that the clock used to be at *one minute* to midnight when we were teenagers. What I find worth noting in all this is that my generation never talks about *knowing* we are all going to die, we just seemed to take it for granted. Very intelligent people I know would refuse to plan any future at all. Curtis LeMay, the former American military leader once appealed to the US Congress to allow him to launch a nuclear first strike against the Soviet Union, ‘because total destruction is going to happen anyway and the US might as well win the war!’ Imagine someone saying that today.
The fact of our imminent death was everywhere you turned, in all the media, in our books and songs, and now its never mentioned not at all. Why is that I wonder?
On the positive side, we should be proud to be the ones who were committed enough as a people *not* to destroy the entire planet in the blink of an eye, and to be that committed for more nearly seventy years. It speaks well of us and of Western Civilization as a whole.
On the negative side, I can’t help but wonder what the knowledge has done to us as a society, as a people. Has it made us fretful as a culture? Cruel and callous? How would we even know?
Perhaps there needs to be a new type of speculative fiction that addresses these issues. Instead of ‘holocaust dystopia’ we could maybe call it ‘we are doin’ fine’ or something like that.
If you are laughing at this idea, or have an objection that no one today would read it, perhaps that’s a sign of what the nuclear age has truly cost us.
Greetings gentle readers,
It is with great joy that I announce for all of you that have asked for it, my Steampunk novel Wind Dancer is now available in a trade paperback edition.
So for all of you that have been saying that you will get a copy now is your chance! click below, enjoy, and then please write a review. Reviews are the lifeblood of an author these days. Really.
Thank you all so much!!
I understand that you have a busy life. Perhaps you have kids, perhaps you have a demanding job that barely allows you to make ends meet. I get that, believe me I do. So when I ask for you to participate with me in the creative, I understand how you might be skeptical. Bear with me.
You see, I never really understood what participating meant until I decided to become a full-time writer. It means so much more than just encouraging that ‘weird artist friend’ who writes, or paints, makes music or acts, to continue doing what they do. That is encouraging them. That is very important understand, but it is not participating with them in the creative.
It is true that artists, no matter their medium, do what they do because they have a passion for creating. However, part of that creative process involves those who experience the creation, the audience, you.
To be a part of the creative process is easy. Read a book. Listen to music. Go to an art show and look at the works. And then tell the creator what you thought of it. I can’t empathize this enough. It is by feedback that artists work and live. If you love what we are doing tell us so, if you hate it, tell us that too so we can do it better. Think you can write, sing, or paint, ‘if only you had the time’? Than do that! You might be surprised at what you can do, and a more welcoming group than the society of creators I venture to say you won’t find.
Tell your friends about what you read or what you are listening to. In this networking age, it’s very easy to do, and is way more important than you might believe. Remember, we work and live by what feedback we get, and the more participation the better. And oh yes, buy what we create. Not only is that the best feedback ever, but it is by that single act alone that we are able to create more.
So when you want five minutes to yourself and pick up that new romance writer, or reach the end of a long day and want to zoo out with that new music you just bought, smile, because you helped create that. A culture only gets the Art it participates in.