A funny thing happened last night…

I got into a debate with someone in a forum over Dead Sea, and while the debate was somewhat circular, I didn’t really mind because we were discussing a fiction book. In this kind of debate, I can be called wrong for having a different view of the book and still not lose my cool. I can get very passionate in my beliefs, but not so passionate that I think the other side of the debate is wrong.

However, after several rounds of back and forth discussion on the same point, I finally was let in on the joke: all throughout the evening, I’d actually been arguing with none other than Brian Keene himself.

As I said in the forum, you know that moment when Daffy Duck picks his bill up after getting it shot off? Yeah, that’s a bit like how it felt. But even if he was messing with me, getting to talk to him was pretty cool.

See, while I was arguing rather unsuccessfully over this one aspect of the story, I still got to say indirectly, “your story inspired me, and I thought it would be cool to play off of the same premise, but take it in a different direction.”

No, I didn’t get to make my point all that succinctly, which is why he may be thinking of me as an idiot now. But I did get to talk to him, and that’s…well it’s very cool, really. I’m sure I said that, but I’m writing this after being up for 48 hours, and if you want lucid, this is not the best time to get it.

Holy Cow! Look at my Kindle ranks!

You might remember in a previous post that I joked about Blood Relations making the top 10,000 in the Kindle rankings, and I said it was probably too much to hope for. Well it turns out, it’s not nearly as crazy an idea as I was thinking. In fact, I’m knocking on the door of 10,000 now. Check it out:

kindle-rank

The overall ranking isn’t bad, but I also have a rank of 53 for Kindle books > Fiction > World Literature¬† > Mythology…and I have no idea how many books fall into that category, but somehow, I’m now in the top 100!

Okay, I have to get to work to post the conclusion of Adopting a Sex Doll. We lost power all last night so I didn’t get to do the last round of edits yet. I just got this rank update by e-mail from Karen Koehler, and I got so excited that I had to share. ^_^

Book Review: Necrotica

Having read and reviewed two books for Skullvines Press, I received an invitation to review another SVP book, Necrotica, a collection of stories from Hallam Heathcoat. Contained within are thirteen tales of sex and death, though not always at the same time.

Given that this is a collection, I thought it best to review each of the stories separately, and then deliver a final verdict on the overall quality of the selections.

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Or maybe I’m just a writer?

After some discussion here and on Facebook, the general verdict is that I should drop all preceding titles, and henceforth refer to myself as a writer. I’ll admit that doing this scares me, much like a bird peering down out of its comfortable nest the day of their first flight. All I can think is, Am I ready for this? What if it’s too soon? What if I fail miserably?

But then I remember that there are people in newsgroups who write German Thunderbird fan-fic porn, and they call themselves writers too. Yeah, you think I made that up. But I wouldn’t lie to you. Really. So, to prove my point, I found a story online, Der Fukken Birdenstein.

Then I ran it through Google to translate it: (placed behind a cut, for your protection.)

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Amateur or Indie?

Over the last two years, I’ve been working under the self-imposed label of amateur writer. I did this as a sign of respect to professional writers, and to help people understand that I don’t yet feel like I’m ready for writing at a professional level.

I have no problems releasing my experiments, and I respectfully disagree with writers who shove all of their early work in a drawer. That was the common practice of the last generation of writers, but this is a new era, the information age, and many creative amateurs are finding fans by putting out ALL of their efforts. Musicians, artists and photographers are posting everything they do, good, bad and mundane. They do so to learn from their peers, inviting both criticism and praise. I wouldn’t go so far, since I’ve written some real dogs over the last two years. But when I read something and think, Yes, this is good, then I’m going to share it for free. I do it to invite critiques, and those comments have helped me to become a better writer than when I first started taking this hobby of mine seriously.

Very recently, within the last few months, people have started to write to me and suggest that it’s time to lose the amateur label. I wasn’t sure about this at first, but I decided to float a theory by posting Blood Relations to Amazon’s Kindle store. (This came before the kerfluffle over Amazon’s poorly thought out tag filtering policy. I’m still miffed at them, but getting over it slowly.) I posted a review that said the book was free on my web site, and I left directions on how to get it. And yet, people still started buying copies. As of this writing, my rank is 30,752. I’d like to get in the top ten…thousand, but that may be hoping for too much. =^P

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Random information about Adopting a Sex Doll and Zombie Punter…

When I finish posting Adopting a Sex Doll, there will not be a free e-book version coming out. I’m sorry for that, and I cannot explain further for now. But rest assured I will post the last three parts on time.

Normally I take a break between stories, but a few days after the last post of Adopting… I’m going to head directly into Zombie Punter. This is a dark fantasy about two best friends who have been planning for a zombie invasion since they were little kids, and who finally have a chance to test out their theories when a global outbreak occurs. Throughout their early teens, Eugene¬† “G” O’Donnell and Jake Mahoney filled a notebook with experiments and zombie killing ideas, and now they can’t wait to try out their ideas on the undead hordes. But what if the zombies aren’t the “classic type” that G and Jake were fantasizing about? Can they keep killing zombies after they learn the truth? And will G ever get over his fears and admit how he feels about Jake?

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Book Review: The Ace of Spades: Black Jack Derringer, book one

“Saddle up!” This phrase probably conjures an image of a dusty, old West town, and The Ace of Spades, book one in Karen Koehler’s Black Jack Derringer series, will conjure this kind of image from the first page.

You’ll see in your mind’s eye the stock saloon from any old western, or rather, you will until you start reading about Goliath, a massive black muto stallion with a bulletproof hide, or Mr. Treen, an albino muto gambler with more secrets than a dead pirate crew.

The main character of this wild fusion of sci-fi, westerns and apocalyptic fiction is a self-styled bounty hunter named Wild Alice West. Far from being a perfect killer, Alice is struggling to survive in a near-lifeless desert world that has no patience for womenfolk doing a “man’s job.”

Though fiercely independent, Alice recognizes that she needs a front-man to give herself legitimacy as a bounty hunter, and after weeks of looking around New Hope, she thinks she’s found the perfect partner in muto gambler Mr. Treen.

I won’t say anything more, lest I give away something from this fast paced, 42 page novella. I was pleasantly surprised by the development of both the main characters, and the ending is a great way to whet the reader’s appetite for the next installment in the series, The Queen of Hearts.

This story has everything you could possibly need from a good yarn; plot twists, gunfights, mutants, sandboat robberies, and yes, even some pirates. And, I found nothing to complain about. No, I mean nothing.

This is so rare for me, and my enjoyment of the story was so complete that I feel only a five star rating is fitting. I would recommend this story for anyone who likes blazing action, solid character development and charming wittiness mixed in equally satisfying portions. Dig into these vittles, y’all. This is some good brain candy here.

The book is scheduled for release late in 2009, so keep an eye out on the Skullvines Press web site for more specific release details.

My writing routine…

Invariably, every writer gets to the point where they run out of interesting things to say on their blog, and so they decide to write an article on how the creative writing process works for them. You might think this is to explain to non-writers how this works, but it’s not. The writer is putting these things down to say, “This is how it should go.” We do it at that point because the process isn’t working. This vital document then serves as a map to backtrack our steps, to see what we’ve missed.

Since I haven’t written anything new in a little while, I’m trying to shake some ideas loose. I don’t always write the same way with every story, but this is my typical day, when I’m in the mood to write:

At the first crack of late mid-afternoon, I rise sharp and edgy as a bent plastic butter knife, a defective unit from China. Stumbling to my computer, I drop into my oversized office chair and stare blankly at the screen, waiting for the words to come. No words come, and the screen stays blank until I remember the power button.

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The “ham-fisted error,” and why it pissed me off…

Being on Twitter, I was reading about #AmazonFail within a few minutes of the first tweets. I began checking for books I’d purchased in the past, and sure enough some titles were missing from the search. But as the online lists of affected titles grew, many of the books didn’t make sense. They included classic literature, autobiographies and a children’s book.

We looked to Amazon for an explanation, and they called it a “glitch. We rightly called bullshit. Glitches happen all at once, and glitches don’t come with scripted emails. This “glitch” had a tail, and it came with a scripted e-mail.

Under pressure, Amazon gave the next bold lie: “some French guy did it.” Except, that didn’t wash either, because there were a lot of products marked with “adult” and “sexuality” tags that didn’t get their rankings stripped. This one-tag-fits-all method should have wiped out everything bearing those tags all at once.

And here we come to the true reason this happened. Not because Amazon hates homos, but because they chose to tamper with sales rankings in a haphazard and stupid way. This method of stripping sales ranks to hide the content did more harm than good, and even after Amazon was aware of the fuck up, they said nothing to their affected customers.

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Ready for the revolution to begin any day now…

I am so totally stoked for this publishing revolution I keep hearing about to begin. I haven’t seen any shooting yet, and there aren’t any black choppers circling overhead. But they should be, soon. I haven’t seen anything violent in this fight yet, actually. About the only thing I have seen that’s indicative of a war going on is that some self-published writers are dropping bombs.

Okay, seriously, I’m looking forward to the day when major publishers all embrace e-books, because then I can finally stop paying for shipping and handling on my orders. I admit that I have greedy, selfish reasons for wanting publishers to stop dragging their heels. If they would, I could buy their books and read them the same day, instead of getting it one to three months. I could afford to buy more books, because then I’m not paying shipping and handling.

I’m sure they’ll get around to it soon, since the number of electronic devices that offer e-reading apps continues to grow. Hey, maybe a few hundred thousand device owners still isn’t big enough to interest them, but it won’t be much longer before there are millions. It’s really only a matter of time before all publishers take the e-plunge. When they do, I’ll be ready; one hand on the mouse, and the other wrapped around my credit card.

And if they don’t, I’ll storm the gates of mainstream publishing with a Nabakov cock tale. Grrr.