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In the breaking days of a new indie novella blending Snow White with The Terminator and placing them in a steampunk world, I talked to one of its authors about what it takes to write, about trials and life and dreams, about books and authors that inspire, about his amazing photography skills, about the future and what excitement lies there and of course about Brass Automaton, including a neat little sneak peek behind the scenes! Paul offers very healthy thoughts about the self-publishing scene and delivers some fantastic links to things he loves and respects, so I urge you to check them on the way to knowing who D. Paul Angel is and why you should be on the lookout for his name.
Tell me about your journey in becoming a writer. Was there a particular moment or event that turned you to writing? What was the first story you…
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Brass Automaton, which I wrote with the inestimable Mark Gardner, is going to be published on Amazon this Tuesday! (With a paperback edition to follow too!) Believe me, I will update you when I have the details on both. And, while I have a lot to say about this, before I do, there’s some context needed. If you want to skip the naval gazing, I mean context, feel free to scroll down to the the bolded section break: “TL;DR” (Spoiler alert: I’m ridiculously excited by this!)
I have been a writer far longer than I have actually wrote, which isn’t nearly as oxymoronic as it seems. I enjoyed writing in High School and College, and was always going to be a Writer “someday.” Then a whole lot of Life happened. There weren’t just months but years when I either wrote very little- or not at…
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Anytime I see a Star Trek story on NetGalley, I request it. Star Trek is my gert lush. (See Sarah, I used your regional British slang!) I usually wait until it’s closer to a book release to read and review, but I needed my Trek fix.
The Good: The regular cast members from the shows have done just about everything under the sun. It’s nice to read a Star Trek story that isn’t the main cast. Sometimes, the limitations of the main characters make for ho-hum stories. It’s refreshing to read new characters in a universe that I’m already familiar with. The author can do pretty much anything they want.
The Bad: This is another of those continuing Star Trek sagas. I think this is the fourth DTI story. There were lots of references to events in what I presume are the first three stories. They’re not required reading, and I was able to follow the story just fine. The villains in this story were one-dimensional and clichéd. That was disappointing.
The Ugly: This is just another Star Trek story. Nothing earth-shattering, which is a common issue with a fifty-year-old franchise. This felt like another TV episode. And why was this story branded DS9? There didn’t seem to be any connection to DS9 at all, except that two of the characters’ first appearance was the time-travelling tribble episode on DS9.
The Final Word: Star Trek fans will enjoy another romp into the franchise universe. This is a 3.5-star read, and I’d be interested in reading the previous DTI stories, and any new ones that happen in the future.
I’ve been playing Runescape, by JagEx for about seven years now. I’ve rolled with the changes, and in the last two or so years, I’ve not been as diligent playing. They have a free version of the game and a paid version of the game. In the last seven years, I’ve ponied up the dough to get a membership a few times. You get to keep you progress when your membership expires, you just can’t use any of your member’s stuff. Anthony told me that JagEx had introduced a way to purchase a membership through the in-game currency, so after not playing for about nine months, I purchased a two-week membership. When my membership expired, I got to keep playing as a member until I logged out or died. I was talking about this fact to other players, and another player spent real world money to buy me a membership. Completely unexpected, and greatly appreciated.
It’s easy to be a cynic in this modern world of in-your-face media who’s only job is to scare you. It’s refreshing to see someone do something for someone else without expecting anything in return. This player didn’t know anything about me, but was willing to help a fellow gamer and human being out. So, help someone out if you can. Hopefully, some good karma will end up heading your way.
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“For every jerk that I have met, there have been five others that are actually nice, helpful people.”
I was never one of those kids that needed to fit into somebody else’s cool club. People can say that it’s because of the way I was raised, but that’s cliche isn’t it? I know enough followers whose parents are hardcore leaders to know that our decisions go way beyond conditioning. Some of us NEED to fit in when it comes to social cliques and clubs.
For the longest time, I couldn’t grasp why people who were brilliant and attractive felt the need to follow a group of mediocre clones, but it happens every single day. This is why it doesn’t surprise me when I see good writers act like a student that desperately wants to get hazed into a fraternity or sorority. People can have tons of books sold, millions of adoring fans, but the instant someone pens an article discrediting their choice of genre or method of publishing it’s as if nothing that they’ve done has merit.
You will never get everyone to like you. Even if you could swap places with a J.K. Rowling, you would only inherit the hundreds of haters that dislike her books or the things she tweets about. Everybody is a critic it seems, so why let these people define you? Why get huffy when a generally unknown “authority” issues a blanket statement about self-publishing? They don’t know you, or perhaps they do but skip over your work to spray that machine gun conveniently. Why give them the power to ruin your day?
Survival of the fittest?
Like it or not, to survive as an indie publisher, you will need to get down into the mud with the rest of us pigs to hustle for your food. I make this crude analogy because it has been the Wild Wild West and with every person that treats this as a business, there are 100 more casuals putting up their creations. Your $1,500 worth of editing, book cover art, and marketing is thrown onto the same shelves as someone who uploads a rough draft and you are only separated by the amount of books you sell. But that’s the price of admission. If you have a problem with those odds then you shouldn’t self-publish.
I know the game that I am in, and I trust that with enough learning, pushing, and cultivating, I can get my books in front of the people that will enjoy them, hopefully, that is you. If I am called a hack by a random critic with an ax to grind … I will still be writing. The beauty about publishing independently is that for every jerk that I have met, there have been ten others that are actually nice, helpful people.
“Once you start thinking about it in a mercenary frame of mind, then you’re finished. You’re a joke because there are too many mercenaries out there already.” – Tommy Shaw
Indie Publishing has become a bit of a cool club since the time of this writing, and though the rebel in me makes me want to run for the hills, it is still a better place to be than on team judgment whose membership has to be in the trillions. So stop listening to the negatives, and reading articles full of nonsense metrics and falsities. Focus your energy on writing, learning, and improving, you know … the things that you can actually control. If I read another “I have written a million agents and none wants me so I self-published but now I worry that I will get no respect,” post my head will explode. What a strange attitude to go into an entrepreneur’s arena with.
There’s an analogy about people being sharks or goldfish and it seems to be very prominent in all of the arts. Not all sharks are loudmouthed, racist, lobbyists with blog followings and not all goldfish make forum posts opining their “failed attempt at making a living writing.” Some sharks are damn near invisible. They eat up everything, make a boatload of cash and have enough readers to keep them going for life. That’s the type of shark that can give a damn about what another has to say about their writing or their method of publishing.
Being a goldfish will get you turned out in this system just like in any business. You will get ripped off by cover artists, wannabe editors, terrible marketing websites, and your fellow badly behaving authors. You don’t have to be aggressive but you have to believe in yourself and be ready to back it up. How do you feel about your chances, really? Writing is an art, we’re selling art, and like a painting you will have people who love it and others who want to put a knife through it. The difference comes with the artist and whether or not they will, in turn, fold to the people with the knife, or put their focus on those that enjoy their work.
So stand by your work my fellow writers but realize that nobody owes you a living or acceptance of your work.