Category Archives: Uncategorized

Your Depression Doesn’t Care

Being a writer in the information age has resulted in many micro-communities for writers. Personally, I prefer Wattpad & Writer’s Cafe. When one of our own, especially one of them young whippersnappers passes, it’s a reminder that we are all human. (Except for Felix R. Savage, I suspect he’s a sentient drinks machine.) We have the ability to connect with any other human on the planet instantly. That can take the form of a funny Facebook post. Re-tweeting that review that made our day. Doing whatever it is that people use Instagram for. We get to see art as it’s created.

Unfortunately, too many creatives end up taking their own lives. Each time it happens, it’s a sad reminder that many artists, including authors, battle mental health issues and that the act of writing is a solitary one. Many, many wonderful people have harmed themselves because they believe that they are the only one who suffers, and that they have to suffer alone. I wish that I could tell each and every one of them that they are most definitely not alone. My own battle with depression was one of the factors that led me to get my undergraduate degree in human behavior. Understanding depression has helped me a lot, but even with the knowledge, and the ability, once licensed, to practice as a mental health professional, I still suffer. I still have to fight against depression.

My depression doesn’t care.

I know, cerebrally, that depression is a thing. I know that I can be affected by what I eat, how much sleep I get, and how active I am throughout the day. I know that when the constant barrage of bad news on the television and on my Twitter feed gets me bummed out, I’ve gotta shut that noise down. I know that that dream last night about being a failure as a writer is just my insecurity going whack on my subconscious. I know I have many friends, family, and fans that for some reason adore me.

My depression doesn’t care.

I use the tools I’ve learned while getting my human behavior degree. I talk to other creatives, and we bolster each other with positive reinforcement. I joke about the pratfalls of being a hybrid author. (Except that I am totally going to self-publish a book of rejections once I have 300 pages worth.) I talk to those that sat next to me in class after class, and have moved on to their own mental health careers.

My depression doesn’t care.

See, that’s the thing with depression, and other mental health issues: It defies logic and experience. I’ve heard so many first-hand retellings of other author’s battles with mental health. We all deal with it. Some better than others. Some have networks to help them over the lows, and cheer the highs. But the take-away is that we all deal with it.

Your depression doesn’t care.

But I do. I care that there are people out there that suffer from mental health issues. If you’re suffering from depression, please remember that many have walked the path you see laid out before you. I have walked the path laid out before you. Amateurs, mid-listers, hybrid authors, and mega New York Times best sellers have all at one time walked the path laid out before you. Your demons are not that unique. The flavor might be different, but in the end, it’s very much the same.

Mark Gardner cares.

I would be some kind of nincompoop if I thought that I was the only one who cared. You have people who care about you and your well-being. Ignore that voice in the back of your head that tells you otherwise. If you’re suffering from depression, reach out to someone. If you subscribe to a particular religion, talk to your clergy. If you’re a veteran, utilize the many resources available to you. If you’re attending a college, university, or even a high school, find a guidance councilor. Cast away the shame of mental illness… That’s the depression going hog-wild on your psyche. There are numerous resources that allow you to remain anonymous. But get help.

Get. Help. Now.

National Suicide Prevention lifeline: 1-800-273-8255
Veterans: 1-800-273-8255
MentalHealth.gov: 1‑877‑726‑4727


The Sully Award Winner!

Friend, co-conspirator, and all-around great human being, Kate Loveton won a writing contest!

Source: The Sully Award Winner!


Logan – No Post Credit Scene (No Spoilers)

When the superhero genre is filled with over the top special effects and relies on the powers of its cast, Logan is a quiet movie focusing instead on the story of a man out-of-place and past his pr…

Source: Logan – No Post Credit Scene (No Spoilers)


Portland sunsets and a Brass Automaton: An Interview with D. Paul Angel

Weird fiction & the occasional book review

d_paulangelIn 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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From Writer to Author: Brass Automaton

D. Paul Angel

brass-automaton-front-3Brass 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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Time Lock, by Christopher L. Bennett

Time Lock

The dedicated agents of the Federation Department of Temporal Investigations have their work cut out for them protecting the course of history from the dangers of time travel. But the galaxy is littered with artifacts that, in the wrong hands, could threaten reality. One of the DTI’s most crucial jobs is to track down these objects and lock them safely away in the Federation’s most secret and secure facility. As it happens, Agent Gariff Lucsly and his supervisor, DTI director Laarin Andos, are charged with handling a mysterious space-time portal device discovered by Starfleet. But this device turns out to be a Trojan horse, linking to a pocket dimension and a dangerous group of raiders determined to steal some of the most powerful temporal artifacts ever known…

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.

Christopher Bennett

At the age of five and a half, Christopher L. Bennett saw his first episode of Star Trek, believing it to be a show about a strange airplane that only flew at night. As he continued watching, he discovered what those points of light in the sky really were. This awakened a lifelong fascination with space, science and speculative fiction. He devoured Asimov, Clarke, and books on astronomy and physics. He often made up Trek-universe stories set a century after Kirk’s adventures (an idea years ahead of its time), but soon shifted to creating his own original universe. He eventually realized he did this pretty well, and deluded himself into thinking he could make a career out of it. So far, that delusion has been working out for him…

Amazon
Goodreads
http://christopherlbennett.wordpress.com/


Kindness

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.


Hiatus exclamation point

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Hello, guys and dolls! I meant to post this on Monday, but I didn’t. I’ll be on a two-week hiatus! from the blog. Days Until Home and Mental State should still update on Wednesday and Friday. After my hiatus!, book reviews should start again, and I think I’ll have another new project that will be posting on every other Monday. Be sure to keep checking out Days Until Home, and the great work David and Greg are doing!

I stole this post from Greg Dragon

I totally stole this blog post from Greg Dragon’s blog. You’ll be hearing more this year from Greg, since he’s one of the authors working on Days Until Home.

* * *

“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.


Exposing Yourself with Mark Gardner | Indie Publishing Tips from a Pro

I did this guest post on Adan Ramie’s blog. You should check it out.