Updates

October 30, 2016

There have been some good things going on lately. A few bad, too, but isn’t that par for the course? I’m not on top of the world, but things are looking up, so I’ll take that as a win.

The Good:

-The poll that I’m in is going very well. Thanks to everyone who has voted for me! I appreciate the assistance and support. It’s good to know that so many people believe in me. Even if I don’t win, I know I’ve got more than enough love from all of you, and you’ve got mine as well.

-Some publications that I’ve submitted to are taking longer than usual to get back to me. I know that this doesn’t necessarily mean anything and I really shouldn’t get my hopes up, it’s nice to think that they’re deliberating over my work. Who knows? Maybe I’ll get that long awaited email very, very soon and have a new reason to dance on top of a table.

-A year or so ago, I wrote a story that was basically my realistic take on He-Man and the Masters of the Universe. You all know how much I love MOTU, and I really love the sword & sorcery aspect to it, not to mention the sci-fantasy twist. I’ve written a lot of stuff like that, but never anything inspired so directly by it. By realistic, I mean that it’s going to have much more adult themes, and more understanding of how and why things are the way they are other than simply to sell toys.

Well, the story ended on an ambiguous note. Apparently, no one wanted it because it doesn’t slap you in the face and tell you directly what happens at the end. Yep, you read that correctly: publishers think that you’re an idiot and need me to hold your hand and tell you straight up what’s going on.

So I decided to make this into a serialized story. As of now, there will be 7 parts to it. I’ve been busting ass on part 2, and am almost done…but every day I say I’ll finish it, and life happens. Could today be the day? I hope so—it’ll allow me to get the rest of it done as well!

-Lots of people have been interested in my Halloween story! The sheer amount of exposure I’ve got with it is amazing! But maybe you could support a struggling author? It’s only $.99, folks!

The Bad:

-A publication has had my story since June 27th. They haven’t even opened it and looked at it yet. Come on, this is one of the biggest and most well-known pubs in the USA. You can find it at any chain bookstore, fer cryin’ out loud! I know they’ll say know (yeah yeah, so what if I’m cynical?), but why make me wait so long? Unprofessional, I say. Feh!

-I don’t have as much time to write as I’d like. Typical, but I’m trying so hard to do it and life just keeps getting in the way.

-I haven’t even started looking at getting “In the Pale Moonlight” published. A friend was supposed to be reading it, but she hasn’t said word one about it. I really need to get off my arse and just do it!

That’s all. I’m happy and working, but need to get it moving a little better. Wish me luck, and stay awesome!

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Vote!

October 24, 2016

Everyone’s talking about voting this year. I understand, it’s an important election. However, it isn’t just political stuff that you need to vote for.

Bards and Sages poll!

Earlier this year, I was published in Bards and Sages Quarterly. They have an annual poll to vote for the best story of each issue, and an overall best author. While I hope that you’ve been reading the publication (it’s awesome!), I ask, beg, implore, urge you to vote for me. I have a story up for election, as well as best author at the end of the page.

This is very important to me, and I really hope you can support me in this endeavor! Seriously, it takes like one minute to do it, so there’s no reason not to.

Thanks for everything, and stay awesome!

Reading has always been one of my biggest hobbies. In a major way, it’s why I got into writing. As any good writer is wont to do, I read as much as I can, constantly upping my game.

But I’ve got a confession to make. I’m not the best reader in the world.

Don’t get me wrong. My reading skills are above average. I can’t speed read, but I do know how to read the English language. The problem is, I haven’t read all the books and stories I’m “supposed” to read.

Over the years, I’ve had a running list of stuff I should read, the classics and inspirational books that all the greats swear by. Some I’ve read, and most I couldn’t stand. Some were awesome and I can’t get enough. Reading Robert E. Howard’s Conan stories inspired me to do more with my writing than anything else that I’ve ever read!

Well, there should have been others. Most importantly, Elric and the Lankhmar tales. Everyone I know who’s big into fantasy, specifically sword & sorcery, will eagerly tell you how awesome this stuff is. In fact, an editor I’m working with right now told me that a lot of my writing, especially Clay & Styg, are very similar to those specific characters.

If anyone ever tries to claim I ripped off someone else’s characters or ideas, specifically Fafhrd and the Gray Mouser, I can honestly claim ignorance since I’ve never read them.

Soon, I will. I found a copy of some Elric stories, and I have a few Lankhmar tales as well. I’m very eager to dive in, despite them being written many years ago. Why is that a problem? The “rules” of writing that have been drilled into my head since taking up this never-ending battle of getting words on paper are rarely, if ever, present in these older works. Adverbs, telling instead of showing, and very VERY long run-on sentences are just some of the issues I have with these.

Again, don’t get me wrong. I’m not perfect, and I break “rules” too. In fact, sometimes these rules don’t even need to be followed. But since I’m so aware of it, it’s hard to follow sometimes when the writing is very clunky, at least by today’s standards. I’ll survive, though, and get through it. After all, isn’t it more about the story than the writing?

The biggest thing that scares me, however, isn’t the quality of writing. It’s the list that keeps growing of all of this stuff. I know I don’t have to do anything, but I like to expand my horizons. There are so many “classic” works that I’m eager to read, but that adds to the list of newer stuff as well. Hey, why don’t I read a classic and then a newer work? What a great idea!

The point I’m making is, I feel like much of the original stuff should come first. But then again, what does it matter? As long as I’m reading and/or writing something I want to, why should I care what comes out of it? I’ve been inspired by just as much new stuff as old, so will it matter if I complete my required reading list before I do anything else?

Nope. And I had a lot of fun along the way.

In the comments, tell me some stuff you think I should write. What’s a good fantasy/sword & sorcery story/book/series that I might benefit from? I’m looking forward to your choices!

Now available! Go check it out!

It’s the Great Murdering Pumpkin, Charlie Townes

murdering-pumpkin

Everyone is always on my case about self-publishing, so here’s another one. Thanks for reading, and I really hope you enjoy it!

My Father

October 5, 2016

Typically, this blog has stuff related to and involving my writing. I try to keep my personal life to myself, but there are plenty of times that bleeds into my writing life. For once, I’m not bitching about my attempts to get published, or how frustrated I am with the system. It’s a blog that I never wanted to write, and something I never wanted to talk about, but I have to.

My father died on Monday morning.

It’s such a strange feeling. He was 73, and had been in failing health for several years. For so long, I’d always somehow expected that he might not pull through, his next trip to the hospital will be his last, and all of that negativity. I hate thinking like that, but I had to be realistic. I didn’t want to deny it when he did go, and I didn’t want to be shocked.

Still, I wish he was still here. If only we had one more year with him, one more Christmas, one more summer of bar-b-ques and sitting around the fire, one more year of watching baseball games and talking about work and jobs and people we know, places we’ve been, movies we loved, restaurants we couldn’t stand, going to the park, bird watching, looking at trains, going out for big family lunches and just sitting at the dinner table feeling relaxed and happy. I cherished those moments, and I’ll never forget them.

He instilled a work ethic in me that I’ve struggled to maintain my entire life. Work hard, earn what I deserve, and provide for myself and others. He was gracious enough to provide me a home for as long as I needed one, and even made sure I knew that any time I needed, I was welcome to come back. He gave me advice for every aspect of my life, no matter how simple or ridiculous. Always one to help, he knew when to be sympathetic to problems, and realistic with solutions.

I feel like many of my best attributes are because of him. But then, there is much negativity as well. Many of my most cynical behaviors come from him, someone who could see the flaws in everything, someone who knew what was smart and what would work, and never had a problem pointing those things (or lack thereof) out to anyone who listened.

Never one to support my desire to be a writer, he had no issue putting it down. He did, however, recognize that it was something I loved, something that made me happy, and something that kept me going. When I graduated college, he shook my hand and told me he was happy for me, something he never had the chance to do with my brother or sister (until recently).

There’s so much more to say. So much that I could write about for a long, long time. As of now, I can say that I know I’ll miss him, and it’s just now sinking in that he isn’t coming home. Instead of worrying about the lack of a person in our lives, I’ll remember all the times he was there, and cherish every minute of it.

I’ll miss you, Dad, but thanks a lot for everything.

Kicking for a Start

October 2, 2016

Kickstarter has some awesome stuff going on. I hate how typically, I miss the boat with a lot of these campaigns, and don’t find out about them until shortly after they close. Fortunately, they mostly seem to make their main goal, oftentimes many times over. Still, it’s frustrating when I find out about something really kick-ass the day after funding stops.

The other day, I found out about Hath No Fury. You really should check out the page, it sounds awesome! Whether the pick my story or not, I’m excited for the anthology. I’m a man, yes, but I’ll gladly read anything that kicks ass, or characters that do so.

I think that’s the thing about this. It isn’t just about women protagonists (not unheard of, believe it or not), but women that kick ass and do cool things. I’ve long been a fan of Samus Aran, Ellen Ripley, and many of the Disney heroines (yeah, I like Disney movies. What of it?), plus many, many more. Hell, one of my favorite comic books ever was Gotham City Sirens (sigh…too short-lived. Where else could you get Catwoman, Poison Ivy, Harley Quinn, and my absolute favorite, The Riddler, all in one place?!).

I didn’t find out about Hath No Fury until after funding ended, but I’ll be sure to buy a copy, and you should too. Currently, I’m looking into other Kickstarter campaigns so I can support the hard-working people who make these things possible.

For me, it isn’t about bonuses and as much free shit as I can carry. It’s about supporting a dream. A vision. An idea that otherwise, probably wouldn’t get made. Seriously, a friend of mine told me that with books, movies, TV shows, etc., only about 1% of anything gets “professionally” made, produced, published, whatever. The other 99% either goes in the dustbin, or you make it yourself.

Getting into self-publishing, it’s easy to understand how some people just can’t let something die. While getting a paycheck is always nice, it isn’t just about the money. Well, some campaigns quite obviously are, but not usually. It’s about seeing your dream come true, your goals come into fruition. What’s so bad about that?

Unfortunately, a lot of these Kickstarters, Indiegogos, Gofundmes, etc. all have too many backer rewards. It’s like, Hey I won’t give you money unless you give  me stuff.

I have a confession. I donate to charities. Yep, I give money, anonymously, to organizations that use it to make a difference in this world. I expect nothing in return, except the satisfaction of knowing I’ve helped. Any time I see an awesome crowdfunding campaign, I wonder if my money would be better used with a charity that desperately needs it.

Sometimes I do it, other times I’ll do the crowdfunding. I understand the need for it, though, and might even do something myself some day. I hope you’ll all contribute, and support not just me, but all the other hardworking and deserving folks who will have contributed their stories (of course it’ll be an anthology! I’ve had an idea for quite some time).

In the meantime, go support the arts! Whether it’s through Kickstarter, or any of those others crowdfunding pages, or something else—a local art show, a used or independent bookstore, comic book stores, going to see a band play, donate a few bucks to a museum, or just spreading the word of fantastic artists of all sorts, we all thank you…and do the same for others, as well.