Friday, October 24, 2014

Small Press Publisher Celebrates Release of Paranormal Mystery, Collection of Local Ghost Stories with “Day of the Dead” Promotion

Corydon, IN: Just one month after launching their small press publishing company, Per Bastet Publications has released two new titles. To celebrate, they’re holding a “Day of the Dead” book giveaway at the end of October.

The first October release, Ghostly Hauntings of Interstate 65 by Joanna Foreman, was originally published as Ghosts of Interstate 65 in 2008. This new edition features a new cover and an additional story, making it a collection of 13 haunting tales based on fact and folklore from the local area.

The second release is a new novel from Marian Allen, A Dead Guy at the Summerhouse. Allen has been featured in Marion Zimmer Bradley’s Sword and Sorceress and her previous works include the epic fantasy trilogy, Sage. A Dead Guy at the Summerhouse is a paranormal young adult mystery set in 1968 in the fictional town of Faelin, Indiana. While the threat of being drafted for Vietnam looms, a young man takes a job for a wealthy eccentric which might turn just as deadly.

To promote the launch of these two books, Per Bastet Publications will hold a giveaway October 27 through November 1, 2014. Winners of the “Day of the Dead Giveaway” will receive free eBook or paperback editions of Per Bastet books with “dead” (or undead) protagonists. Paperbacks will be available only to winners in the continental United States.

In addition to Ghostly Hauntings of Interstate 65 and A Dead Guy at the Summerhouse, the local small press publisher will give away copies of Sara Marian’s The Life and Death (but Mostly the Death) of Erica Flynn and Chicago Blues, book 1 of the Miller & Peale series by T. Lee Harris.

The contest will be conducted online via their Facebook page (facebook.com/perbastetbooks) and Twitter account (twitter.com/perbastetbooks), as well as their website (www.perbastetpublications.com).

About Per Bastet Publications
Per Bastet Publications is a small press publishing house based in southern Indiana. Our staff collectively have over 50 years experience in professional writing, editing, production and marketing. We publish books which don't necessarily follow popular trends, and might not get the attention they deserve at a larger house.

Per Bastet believes in a fair balance of responsibility and profitability between authors and house. We publish primarily speculative fiction, mystery and romance. 

www.perbastetpublications.com





A HALLOWEEN PULP TREAT

Airship 27 Productions locks all the doors and dims the lights as it prepares a deliciously twisted Halloween reading treat for pulp fans everywhere reviving a truly bizarre character. From the pages of the classic pulps comes the most frightening avenger of them all, the Purple Scar! 

The handsome, debonair Dr. Miles Murdoch was a world famous plastic surgeon.  His life was the stuff of dreams until it all turned into a heart-wrenching nightmare. Murdoch’s brother, a dedicated police officer, is brutally gunned down while on patrol.  Before dumping his body into the river, his murderers pour acid over his face as a final act of contempt.  When the body washes ashore days later, Officer Murdoch’s face is beyond recognition, a scarred, purple visage unlike any horror ever imagined.

It is the sight of this death grimace that transforms Miles Murdoch into an avenging angel. Vowing to bring justice to those responsible, the skilled surgeon molds a pliable rubber mask from that repulsive, mutilated face; a mask he dons to become the Purple Scar, the scourge of crooks and villains everywhere.  He has become the physical embodiment of their worst fears brought to fiendish life.

“The first time I learned of this character, I was bowled over by the horror aspects,” confesses Airship 27 Production’s Managing Editor, Ron Fortier.  “There have been other grim pulp avenger, but none of them can hold a candle to the Purple Scar.  This guy is just outright scary as hell.  Which is just the slant we wanted our writers to take.”

Airship 27 now presents four brand new adventures of the creepiest pulp hero of them all, the Purple Scar!  Jim Beard, Jonathan Fisher, Gary Lovisi and Gene Moyers have all stirred the witches cauldron deep to brew up a quartet of frightening mayhem as only the Purple Scar can deliver.  Add the beautifully grotesque art style of Richard Serrao, Shannon Hall’s amazing cover coloring and Rob Davis’s spooky design motif and you have a new kind of pulp thriller unlike anything ever seen.

Beware the shadows and dark alleys, the black cats and dancing skeletons as Airship 27 whips up a real Trick or Treat pulp chiller.

AIRSHIP 27 PRODUCTIONS – PULP FICTION FOR A NEW GENERATION!

Available at Amazon in both hard copy and on Kindle.

Thursday, October 23, 2014

Comic Book Kismet -- Writers and Artists Speak Out


It's time to revisit comic book writing since we haven't covered that in a bit. This week we're going to look at that particular kismet that happens between writer and artist, and how that is similar or different when the writer and artist is the same individual.

It's been said that the artist drawing the book is the primary audience for a comic book script writer. How does that change the way a writer approaches writing a story in that form?
 

Bryan J.L. Glass (Mice Templar): I write with an eye toward the visual. As my educational pursuit was to be that of a film director, I script my panel "shots" visually. Thus, I realize when I start writing any script that all of my visual descriptors are for the sake of the artist, who I must also allow the freedom of their own design sense (on MICE TEMPLAR and Furious, artist Victor Santos knows he has complete freedom to interpret as he will, knowing I only offer notes if I realize the script has been misinterpreted or an outright mistake applied).


Shane Berryhill (Sherwood, Texas): To write is human, but to pencil/ink/color is divine. Artists do all the heavy lifting in comics. So I try to make the job of of those I work with as easy as possible. You hear about comic book artists spending countless hours searching the web for art references. This is time they could have spent actually drawing. Therefore, I'm of a mind the writer should go the extra mile on the artist's behalf and scour the internet for them. I go looking for pics that capture the appearance/mood/feel of what I'm trying to convey with my words (After all, "a picture is worth...") and paste them directly into the script beneath the panel descriptions, labeling them as "art reference." I do this with the caveat that the pasted pics are simply to be a jumping off point for the artist.

Ron Fortier (Green Hornet): I totally disagree with the premise about the artist being the primary audience of any script I write. Sure, he or she is the first to read what I've put down, but I never consider them an audience. They are my collaborators in producing a finished product that is the story...both of us create together...me with words...they with pictures. Together we work to entertain the PRIMARY AUDIENCE...OUR READERS.

Rob Davis (Star Trek): Artists are the FIRST to see the script, but Ron's right. It's the readers who are "primary." The best comics are a synergistic sum of what each creator brings to the final product, meaning the outcome is larger than what each brings to the project.

Roland Mann (Cat and Mouse): I'll be the one to jump in and disagree. (not viciously, just food for thought) I've always said that a comic script is different from all others (duh, right?): it has two audiences: first, the artist. When comic writers compose the PANEL ART DESCRIPTION portion of the script, it's TO the artists and no one else (editors, included here, of course). Only hardcore fans seek out and read scripts. As writer, when I know the artist I'm working with (which is often), I tailor that portion of my script so that it speaks direction to him (or her). I want that portion of the script to be so strong that it creates a shared vision of what the final product should be. Even when I was an editor, it wasn't unusual for me to see the writer directly address the artist in the script: "Hey Darrick, as we discussed on the phone..." blah blah. The 2nd part of the script then, is for the consumer/reader. I think, the idea it all works for a final product is correct...just a different way of getting there.

Percival Constantine (FemForce): I'm going to agree with Ron as well. I don't think of the artist as the primary audience, I think of them as my collaborator. Even if the characters and the story are completely my own invention, the artist is going to have to bring those things to life on the page, and so it's important to respect the collaborative aspect of it.

As a writer, how does one make the process of translating your words into pictures as smooth as possible? What are the pitfalls comic book writers should avoid?

Ron Fortier: How do I help the artist? By making my exposition as clear as possible, to be willing to entertain a better idea or approach from the artist...and most importantly providing my artist with all the photo reference material I can to help them get into my head and see what going on in there. If I say this actor looks like Patrick Stewart, I provide pictures of Patrick Stewart. If I say the character is driving a 1930 Spider automobile, I provide pictures of that car. Again, I have an obligation to give him or her tons of stuff...which they can then use to tell our story.

Bryan J.L. Glass: All dialogue and visuals are always with a mind toward how the collaboration will resonate upon the reader!

Percival Constantine: You make things as clear as possible. If you have trouble describing something in words, then try to provide some sort of reference, again like Ron said. But at the same time, there's the danger of tying the artist's hands and you don't want to do that, either. It's important to know how the artist works and to establish a good working relationship, so you can play to each other's strengths. Also, although this isn't related to the art, as a letterer I feel obliged to mention this: be careful with the amount of words that you intend to put on the page. I've lost count of the number of projects I've lettered where the writer has several paragraphs of captions and dialogue that would be enough to fill an entire page of panels, let alone a single panel. 

For an artist, what can a writer do to help you see the images he or she is envisioning as he or she creates the script?

Rob Davis: Well, "first audience" perhaps. A good writer sets up a scene in the first panel of the scene and then allows the artist to work within that scene. Any items of foreshadowing for later in the story ("if a gun goes off in the 3rd or 4th act, it must be shown in the first or second act.") and specific items that need to be there to tell the story well should be included in the description. The emotional state of each character should be clear and any specific actions the characters need to or should take should be there as well.

What do you do as an artist when you see a different vision for a page or part of a story that you know can improve the final product over what was written?

Rob Davis: If it's a radical change I talk it over with the writer. If it's just a compression or expansion of the number of panels I go ahead and do it without consultation. I find a number of artists take far too many liberties with a writer's script without consulting them- sometimes to the destruction of the "beats" and through plot of the story. "The play's the thing," the story should be what dictates how a scene is depicted not what would make a "cool" or convention sale page. Comics is melding of words and pictures where both create a whole greater than the sum of its parts—or synergy.


For you revolutionary do-it-all folks, how does the process change when you're the sole creator, both writer and artist (not discounting the work of inkers, colorists, and letterers, of course, but we'll slice those roles in a later article)? Do you find the process more or less stressful? More or less enabling? How so?

Steven Cummings (Wayward): It's less stressful because I don't have to over draw my pencils and can write to my strengths.

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Nuggets #23 -- Hot Rod Girls and New Ideas

Sometimes I sort of back into a story, such as the time I was wearing a t-shirt with art for the movie Hot-Rod Girl on it, and someone asked me if Hot Rod Girl was my book, and I thought for a second, developed a core idea for a completely new story not related to the movie at all, and said, "Yes, it is now."


Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Dark Oak's Allan Gilbreath on Writing for Art and Money

We ran a roundtable a  few weeks ago about the differences between writing for the sake of art and writing to make a living wage. Several authors were able to take part, and it made for a fantastic roundtable article. 

However, a few folks had pressing deadlines and weren't able to take part then, but luckily now I'm able to present their responses here.

For starters, how about the toastmaster general of many conventions and publisher/writer/editor about town, Dark Oak Press' own Allan Gilbreath.


Is there a difference between writing for art and writing to sell? What is it (or what are they)?

No.  We write to tell and share a story.  We put ourselves out there to be found by others who enjoy our efforts.  If not, you are typing for self therapy.

Why do writers tend to divide into camps and support one over the other? Aren't both needed?

We naturally find those like us that we enjoy and support them.  I came to the realization a long time ago that there is no competition between writers - we need each other to survive and maybe even thrive.

What advice do you have for writers pursuing a living wage in art?

Understand that very few people actually make a living through the arts as opposed to being a waiter.  The job of waiter is clearly defined in the mind of the public.  The job of artist is not.  An artist must become a true brand and commercial entity and work to maintain and protect their brand just like any other business.

What advice do you have for writers pursing art in a commercial culture?

Enjoy both lives.  Life one is working for someone else doing what you love.  If you wind up in charge, a true bonus.  Life two is the art you make on your own time for your own ends.  Find the balance you need for your life and enjoy it.  Be blessed with both your talent and your personal life.

Anything else to add,  Allan?

Trying to make my fellow writers and artists money is a passion of mine.  We all work very hard and deserve to be rewarded for all that we do.  Getting that through to some people is tough some days.  Some times, tough to the point of not caring, then almost magically, along comes that next event or person or story that makes you realize that if you don't keep fighting, we can run out of people who will.

Monday, October 20, 2014

The Writer Will Take Your Questions Now #300 -- But Is That All They Can Do?

Why do you like teaching writing 
and talking about writing so much?


I know it's a bit of an insult to say that "those who can, do, and those who can't, teach." It's also translated in writing circles as "writers write, and people who talk about writing don't."

But, as someone how loves to write, loves to have written, AND loves to teach and talk about writing, I think these two statements are far too generalized and more than a bit unfair.

I would argue, and hope some would agree with me that I am indeed a quality writer of some merit, but also would argue that I have somewhere inside me a need to teach and train as well. I particularly enjoy talking about the act of writing with other writers and especially with those who are wanting to learn to write or write better. I think that's one of the reasons I started this blog, to have an outlet to do just that. I find that irons sharpens iron. I become a better writer by talking with and listening to other writers. 

Inversely, I also don't think it's fair to judge those writers who don't enjoy talking about the craft or doing panels, etc. for being less "into" writing. Some enjoy just the act of creating and prefer not to think about the "craft" in any analytical way. Some enjoy both the act of writing and the nature of the craft equally. Some enjoy the craft more. 

To discount any of those creatives is unfair. But your mileage may vary, as always.

Sunday, October 19, 2014

[Link] 10 Grammar Mistakes People Love To Correct (That Aren't Actually Wrong)

by Lauren Davis

Are you the sort of person who just loves correcting other people's grammar? Are you sure that you're doing it right? Some things that people have been taught are rules of English grammar are really not rules at all—and some of them are flat-out wrong.

There's actually a word for this phenomenon: hypercorrection. It's what happens when people learn that something that isn't a rule is a rule.

Now there are plenty of reasons for people to learn about proper English grammar; it can make you a more confident communicator and help you understand the way the language has evolved. But sometimes, when people correct other folks' grammar in a non-education, non-copyediting situation, they're not being helpful; they're asserting their perceived linguistic superiority. And while some who proudly wear the badge of "grammar Nazi" or "grammar police" see themselves as defenders of the language, they're not really enforcing grammatical rules; they're reinforcing personal peeves.

I am by no means a grammar expert; I just enjoy reading about grammar. These non-rules are backed up by various grammarians and linguists. You can also feel free to correct my grammar. I figure that if I write a post about grammar, karma dictates that it will contain no fewer than a dozen typographical and grammatical errors.

Read the rest of the article: http://io9.com/10-grammar-mistakes-people-love-to-correct-that-arent-1646176479

Editor's Note: I'm okay with all but two of these, and hate to see the editing standards change to reflect common usage in those two cases. "That vs. who" for personal pronouns, and "over vs. more than" for quantity. This is another nail in the coffin of usage that will on continue to get worse as we "adapt" to the point that we eventually start adding words from 'leet speak' as accepted usage for journalism. It's a sad day, and I can't believe the AP Style Guide has succumbed and fallen. Sigh.

Saturday, October 18, 2014

New Interviews With Yours Truly

If you missed this podcast earlier, here's your opportunity rectify that cosmic wrong. The Arm Cast podcat interviewed me at the Imaginarium convention, and I must say I was a dazzling guest. See for yourself.

Peter Welmerink interviewed me about Five Things I Learned writing for Of Monsters and Men.

Friday, October 17, 2014

Airship 27 announces The Bay Phantom--Confederacy of Devils!

For Immediate Release

Airship 27 Production announces the release Chuck Miller’s newest pulp thriller, The Bay Phantom – Confederacy of Devils.

Mobile Alabama in the early 1920s is a hot-house of history, tradition, political corruption and racial bigotry.  Amidst this landscape of both grandeur and depravity arises a new avenger to battle the forces of evil and injustice.  He is the mysterious Bay Phantom, a dark clad warrior willing to mete out justice with his blazing .45s.  But beneath this flamboyant mask is the often inept, naïve Joseph Perrone, heir to a commercial fisheries empire.

Perrone’s one amazing asset is his partner, the beautiful Mirabelle Darcy, a young black woman with the ninth highest I.Q. in the world.  An engineering genius, it is Mirabelle who provides Perrone with the guidance to see him through the deadly and macabre challenges that await them.  A secret Crime Lord is attempting to take over the city and has unleashed a blood-thirsty Werewolf and a bizarre assassin known as the Black Embalmer to carry out his insidious plans.

Now it is up to Mirabelle and the Bay Phantom to save their city with the help of an Austrian doctor named Sigmund Freud.  And that’s only the beginning!

“Chuck Miller possesses one of the most unique literary voices in New Pulp today,” declaires Airship 27 Productions’ Managing Editor, Ron Fortier.  “I defy anyone to show me something he has written that is not original, quirky and just plain weird in a totally fun kind of way.”

Miller was born in Ohio, lived in Alabama for many years, and now resides in Norman, Oklahoma. His interests include monster movies, comic books, music and writing. He holds a BA in creative writing from the University of South Alabama.  Miller received the BEST NEW WRITER OF 2011 Award from Pulp Ark. His first novel, the critically acclaimed Creeping Dawn: The Rise of the Black Centipede was published in 2011. He is currently working on a new Sherlock Holmes novel for Airship 27.

Art for The Bay Phantom – Confederacy was provided by Zachary Brunner, both moody interior illustrations and the stunning painted cover.  The book was designed by Art Director Rob Davis.

Says bestselling adventure fantasy author, Charles Saunders, “Move over Shadow – there’s a new cloak on the block.”

Now available in hard copy and on Kindle from Amazon.

AIRSHIP 27 PRODUCTIONS – PULP FICTION FOR A NEW GENERATION!

Thursday, October 16, 2014

Don't Suck. Okay, Well Can You Be More Specific?

As I mentioned here not so long ago, some awesome advice I got from a friend way back when was this: "Don't suck." That's all well and good, because I knew what Frank was saying to me when he said that.

But what does that advice mean to you? 


If a writing mentor were to tell you "don't suck," what would you understand that to mean?

Ralph L Angelo Jr: I'd have to think that means make sure you write something engaging and interesting. Something that presses all the right buttons with your audience, but also is true to yourself and not just a cookie cutter book or project. In other words, don't just go through the motions, but actually write something you would want to read and of course something you are proud to put your name on at the end.

Mark Koch: While producing something you are proud of, ensure that you consider how it will appear to the reader. Write only for yourself, and you will likely be the only one who appreciates your writing.

Mark Bousquet: To me, this means, "Don't be lazy." We all have those moments in a story when you know you need to do something you don't want to do because it's time consuming - maybe it's trying to find out the right handgun a Norwegian soldier should be using in World War 2, or going back through your story to provide infrastructure for a new subplot you introduced at the end of a draft. If you know something needs to be done, do it. Now or later is fine, but before publication.

Peter Welmerink: I believe if a writing mentor told me to DON'T SUCK, he'd be saying to make sure, when I am all done with letting my writing SUCK on that FIRST DRAFT, by simply writing without abandon or caring about if sentence structure, grammar, the rest, was all good and just GETTING THAT FIRST DRAFT DONE, by telling me to DON'T SUCK, he/she would be saying to go through that SECOND DRAFT with care and conscience and polish it to perfection.

Van Allen Plexico: Do your best work. Don't settle for less. Don't put something out for public consumption that reflects badly on you. Drink from the glass or cup; don't use a straw. You're a grown up.

Marian Allen: Be technically competent and respect your readers.

Violet Patterson: Tell an unforgettable story.


Ray Dean: In one of my writing communities a member complained that one of the first reviews she had on a self-published novel stated that she needed some editing for basic grammar and sentence structure. She lamented that she didn't have the money to pay someone to edit. We offered her ideas on how to get some help with editing or resources for her to help and edit her own work. Later that day she replied to the thread saying... "That's okay, I like my novel... my MOM likes my novel... haters gonna hate!" I'm not saying that her mother isn't able to identify good work when she sees it, but discounting that review as merely a hater probably isn't the best thing to do. We can always get better... learn more about plotting, grammar, characterization, etc. We can always improve and we should... to me "Don't Suck" means if you can make something better... do it. Don't get lazy.

Selah Janel: Don't write to a formula or what you think you should be writing about. Do what hasn't been done or try a different take on things. Don't write with the mindset to try to advance plan what the next new thing or big bestselling idea will be. Write what you know and be true to the writer you are. Definitely edit and pay attention to spelling, grammar, and formatting. If you're writing to a specific call or magazine, then write what the guidelines ask for. Stretch your wings and be original, but the editors definitely are asking for certain things for a reason. Keep going, keep reading, keep writing, keep pushing yourself to get better.

Lee Houston Jr.: "Don't Suck" to me means I make sure that everything I submit for publication is the best I can humanly create. The reader deserves no less.

Shelby Vick: It boils down to:  Don't cheat the reader. That applies to Western, SciFi, mysteries, etc.

Rebekah McAuliffe: Don't be afraid to bend the rules. Technique and methods should be important, but don't let them overshadow the actual writing of the story.

Tony Acree: Make sure you run spelling and grammar check at least once. Hmm. Twice. And never, ever, start your story with "It was a dark and stormy night."

Terri Smiles: Work at it, revise, revise revise, until it becomes what I intended. For me it was advice to blow deadlines if I needed to in order to create a product I was proud to have my name on.

H. David Blalock: Know your limitations, then push harder. Get outside your comfort zone and take the reader with you. Readers get bored with the same storyline over and over again. Show them something they, and you, have never seen before. Most importantly, don't leave them hanging.

TammyJo Eckhart: Don't be afraid to push the edges of what a genre should include or should be about. While you'll have a harder time selling your work, you'll be more satisfied with it and those readers and publishers who find you will appreciate that you aren't mundane.

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Nuggets #22 -- Marriage and Bear Hugs

Writing stories is a marriage of so-called extremes. 
It's an embracing of two opposites and making them 
work for you, fusing commerce and art, combining 
plotting and pantsing, putting egotistical madness 
and diligent work ethics in a big bear hug and 
making them a happy, united couple made 
one through some kind of magic.


Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Nikki Nelson-Hicks and Her Boys in the Back Room

Part 3 of my series of “Cool People I Met at Imaginarium.”

Tell us a bit about your latest work.

I just finished the second story for Jake Istenhegyi: The Accidental Detective published in the Pro Se Productions Single Shot Signature digital series.

In a nutshell, the story is set in 1930’s New Orleans. Janos “Jake” Istenhegyi is a young Hungarian immigrant who is dragged into the gritty world of the private eye by his best friend, Barrington “Bear” Gunn, a WWI Vet obsessed with living the life of Sam Spade in, well, spades.

After Jake’s first adventure in A Chick, a Dick and a Witch Walk into a Barn (involving zombie chickens, trust me…it works), we leave him splattered in blood and chicken shit, watching as the hellish barn burns to the ground. In the second story, Golems, Goons and Cold Stone Bitches, Jake makes  his way back home just wanting a shower and to get hopelessly drunk but is pulled into a power struggle between sisters fighting over a inheritance that ends up being more than a curse and leaving Jake with a gift he doesn’t want.

Intrigued? It will be available for digital download in November 2014.

What are the themes and subjects you tend to revisit in your work?

Isolation and redemption. I’m a huge sucker for redemption.

What would be your dream project?

I am very proud to say that one of my dreams has been realized in that I have written a Sherlock Holmes novella to add to the expanding canon of the Holmesian universe. So, that is one thing checked off my Bucket List.

I would love to write a Doctor Who episode.

OR…ooooh, get involved with a group of super talented, sharp and horribly sick writers and create a universe where we play with each others' characters like they did with Thieves World back in the ‘80s. That would be awesome.

Or maybe just a book that sold well enough where I could buy everyone ice cream. That would be cool, too.

If you have any former project to do over to make it better, which one would it be and what would you do?

Ugh, the Creator’s Paradox. You are always better by the end of each story so that every story you have ever written is never as good as the one you are doing.

Yep. I have a character, Travis Dare, who is the main protag of a series of yet unpublished stories. He is such a fucking Mary Sue. Seriously. Heroes should never be boring. Ugh. I am going back, squeezing his nose shut and blowing into his mouth until his balls finally drop. The readers of that series are in for a surprise.

What inspires you to write?

I believe, in my heart of hearts, that all writers are trying to save…or kill…someone over and over again.
In my stories, I am a God of Action. I can right wrongs, save drowning people and heal the wounded and broken. I have power, tapping on this keyboard, I don’t have in real life. And, it has to be enough….for now.

What writers have influenced your style and technique?

Harlan Ellison, Hunter S. Thompson, Stephen King, Terry Pratchett and Neil Gaiman. Yeah. I prefer to hang out with boys.

Where would your rank writing on the “Is it an art or is it a science continuum?” Why?

It’s kinda both….maybe? I don’t think I’m drunk enough to answer this question but I’ll try.

Look, years ago I would’ve been all “Fuck, yeah! It’s an art. It’s MAGIC. You either got it or you don’t.” Now, I’ve mellowed with age and while I still believe there is a certain amount of that Unknowable Something that imbues a story with a Voice, I think there must be something else to it. The will to sit for hours and carve out a world with words, it’s insane! I have seen so many authors come to my Fiction Group with more drive than natural talent and I have watched those bastards work, work, work so hard and DO IT. It’s brilliant, really.

Any other upcoming projects you would like to plug?

*Rolls up sleeves* Yes, thank you.

Okay, like I said before, Jake Istenhegyi: The Accidental Detective’s second story, Golems, Goons and Cold Stone Bitches will be out in November 2014. It’s a good story. So far all my beta readers have dug it. Now I’ve got my Boys in the Back Room (That’s what I call my muses. I envision four men in fedoras and rolled up sleeves, sitting at a square table, drinking whiskey and chainsmoking, cranking out idea on old school typewriters) working on story #3. Haven’t a clue as to what it will be yet. Isn’t that fun?

Also coming out in 2014:

Sherlock Holmes and the Shrieking Pits (humpbacked midgets, shillelaghs and Viking silver…what more could you want?) from Pro Se Productions.

I have a story in an anthology, Nashville Gothic, titled "Stone Baby," that made the publisher want to “bleach his eyeballs out.” I take that as a compliment. It is coming out in late October just in time for Halloween.

And I am currently working on a story that I am submitting to Capes and Clockworks Volume 2. The working title is "The Galvanized Girl." I hope it makes it in. It’s a cool story with time travel, trepanning and a six foot tall redhead.

Monday, October 13, 2014

The Writer Will Take Your Questions Now #299 -- My Writing Goals (Or introducing Sean 2.0)

 What are you goals as a writer?

My writing goal for this year is to finish up all my short story and novella commitments and then next year not to write any short stories at all -- just to focus on novels and a few digest novels.

Why? Two reasons, mainly.

The first is that I have so much to offer on my table when I go to a convention that I'm crossing over into other writers' tables too. When five of us offer the same books, how is one to make any money to justify the trip to one's family? I plan to eliminate all the multi-table stuff from my convention table and then focus solely on work that is completely my own period. I'll still stock my short story collection, novels, and digest novels, but not the books in which I'm one of a group of writers. 

The second thing this frees me up to do is to work on crime/mystery novels for my own imprint with a mid-publisher and three mainsteam novels that I hope will be more marketable to the publishing business at large. (Or paying short story gigs. I'll always have a place in my schedule for a job that's pays upfront or even upon release -- just not so much space for back-end jobs anymore.) I enjoy writing for small and medium presses. I really do. And I will continue to do so as my time permits, but it's time for me to get serious about my career as an author. 

I have a vast network of connections and if I had the work ethic up to this point that I should have had as a writer, I should be a heck of a lot further along than I am now. In addition to the small and medium press work, I should have at least three books that I'm shopping around to mainstream publishers who can perhaps make my "brand" more profitable. 

A buddy of mine (thanks for the kick in the butt, Frank) posted something online the other day about how we get what we have worked for and that all the inspirational quotes in the world won't change that.
So this is it. This is me taking that advice to heart and making a change in my writing career. 

If I owe you a story, you'll have it before the end of the year, and many of you prior to that based on deadlines. But once that's done, I most likely won't be joining any anthologies for a while, except for a project that just really resonates (or characters that I own or co-own -- you know who you are, Rick Ruby and Spy Candy) and that I can work in to my paid and novel writing schedule. Of course, for those characters I'll most likely be working on novels or digest novels already, so that might be a moot point in all actuality.

Get ready for Sean 2.0 (or 4.0 or whatever we're up to now). He can't wait to be unboxed and let loose on the world.

Sunday, October 12, 2014

FLYING FROM THE PAGES OF ‘BLACK PULP’ TO HIS OWN NOVEL -- “ROCKET CROCKETT AND THE SHANGHAI SHE-DEVIL’

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

In April 2013, Pro Se Productions, an innovative Publisher of Genre Fiction, released Black Pulp, a groundbreaking bestselling collection of tales from a variety of authors. While each story was cast in the classic Pulp mold in many ways, the characters were original and many pushed boundaries of the conventions they represented. Pro Se proudly announces that one of the most popular characters from the anthology debuts today in his own digest novel. Take to the skies once again with the smoothest wing jockey ever in Christopher Chamber’s Rocket Crockett and The Shanghai She-Devil.

“Lightning in a bottle,” says Pro Se Productions Editor in Chief Tommy Hancock, “is really cool when it happens for Pro Se. And that describes the sensation that is Rocket Crockett. Christopher Chambers can not only tell a rollicking Pulp tale, replete with action, adventure, bullets, and punches, but he does it in a style all his own. Simultaneously this novel evokes the over the top roller coaster rides that epitomize Classic Pulp and carries a resonance that rings loud and clear with modern readers.”

Dusky derring-doer and Korean War jet jockey Lt. Rufus "Rocket" Crockett has thwarted a plot to flood America with a new species of heroin. But he has offended a terrifying, irresistible enemy: the Shanghai She-Devil. Her recompense? His flesh, his very soul. In this homage to 1950s pulp, our hero battles gangsters on the streets of Harlem, assassins in the High Sierras, and MiGs in the skies over the South China Sea toward his showdown with an ancient evil! Author Christopher Chambers’ high flying hero takes to the skies once more in Rocket Crockett and the Shanghai She-Devil from Pro Se Productions! 

"I'm proud,” says Chambers, “to dive in the pulp pool after dipping in my toe in it. I hope Rocket's old-school, retro adventures make that pool richer and deeper."

Reviews of Rocket Crockett and the Shanghai She-Devil promise readers a highoctane thrill ride:

"This stew of Cold War adventure, sorcery and post-modern cheek carries echoes of both Quentin Tarantino and Iceberg Slim, but it’s safe to say that Christopher Chambers has found a pulp niche all his own!"
--Louis Bayard, New Times Bestselling author of "Roosevelt's Beast" and "Mr. Timothy
 
“Strap in, adjust your goggles and get ready for a rip-roaring adventure as Christopher Chambers burns his storytelling jets incandescent in Rocket Crockett and the Shanghai She-Devil.”
--Gary Phillips, Black Pulp and Nate Hollis

Rocket Crockett and the Shanghai She-Devil features a dynamic cover by Kristopher Michael Mosby with logo design and print formatting by Percival Constantine. This first in stand alone volume featuring Crockett is available at Amazon and at Pro Se’s own store for only $10.00. The book will be available in various digital formats in coming days.


For more information on this title, interviews with the author, or digital copies for review, contact Morgan McKay, Pro Se’s Director of Corporate Operations, at directorofcorporateoperations@prose-press.com.

To learn more about Pro Se Productions, go to www.prose-press.com. Like Pro Se on Facebook at www.facebook.com/ProSeProductions.

Saturday, October 11, 2014

Time is running out for submission on this awesome anthology!

BlackWyrm Publishing is opening several positions in its spring short fiction anthology for general submissions. We offer professional rates (typically $.05/word, negotiable upon acceptance) for writers qualified to be full members of professional organizations such as the HWA, MWA, RWA, and SFWA; other stories accepted through general submissions receive a flat semi-professional rate of $25. All contributors receive copies. 

The collection, tentatively titled Reel Dark: Twisted Fantasies Projected on the Flickering Page, focuses on the infection of (prose-fictional or poetic) worlds by movies. We want innovative approaches: if you think endless references to films or characters stepping into or off of the screen is innovative, reconsider submitting. 

Although the anthology as a whole will be dark in tone, it will speak to a range of audiences interested in horror, science-fiction, fantasy, mystery/suspense, and/or romance (particularly paranormal). 

Stories should not exceed 3,500 words. 

Submissions are open now and close November 1, 2014. 

We intend to launch the collection at the World Horror Convention in May 2015. Submit stories in standard manuscript format via movieantho@blackwyrm.com. Direct questions about the focus, rates, etc. to Editor-in-Chief L. Andrew Cooper via landrewcooper@blackwyrm.com. Submissions sent directly to the editor will be deleted unread. Authors accepted or invited to submit may join the group at www.blackwyrm.com/movieantho for more information.

Friday, October 10, 2014

BESTSELLING AUTHOR PUTS PERSONAL SPIN ON PULP ‘FIRST SEAS AND OTHER TALES’ DEBUTS FROM PRO SE PRODUCTIONS

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Pro Se Productions, an innovator in Genre Fiction, announces the release of a single author collection that pushes the boundaries of New Pulp further. Author Frank Schildiner takes readers to new heights with his own special brand of Pulp heroes in First Seas and Other Tales, now available in print.

“When you think of Pulp heroes,” says Editor in Chief of Pro Se Productions Tommy Hancock, “ a few very distinct images come to mind. Now, that’s not to say that the classic Pulps weren’t populated by a variety of heroic types, but the ones that have stuck in the collective consciousness fall into the Doc Savage/Shadow/Cowboy mold for the most part. In First Seas, what Frank does is he takes characters not usually seen in pulp style stories as the leads and the heroes and puts them through their paces. He takes certain archetypes that have no business being the good guys and shows us why they can be. Most of all, Frank infuses every story in this collection with a pure, unadulterated fun energy that makes them all worth reading.”

A sea captain fights an ancient evil, a rockabilly musician battles a scorpion the size of a Cadillac, a gangster takes on the spawn of Cthulhu, a French comic wizard takes on evils in the modern world. These are just a few of the thrills and chills you will get in First Seas and Other Tales.

Amazon bestselling author Frank Schildiner’s collection of pulp tales breaks into new ground for this growing genre, telling tales of noble knights in the time of King Henry IV, a Roman nobleman fighting the demons and even a hero from France’s legendary Hexagon Comics Universe taking on terrible monsters who seek to destroy the Earth. Giant scorpions, evil demons, and a bored bureaucrat dealing with fake witches and vampires from Alabama are just a few of the chills and thrills in Frank Schildiner’s First Seas and Other Tales! From Pro Se Productions.

“First Seas and Other Tales,” says Schildiner, “is my attempt to expand the world of pulp and see where I could take my favorite medium. I hope you enjoy what I tried to produce.”

Schildiner’s short story collection features eerily evocative cover art by Adam Shaw and logo design and print formatting by Percival Constantine. First Seas and Other Tales is available at Amazon and at Pro Se’s own store for only $9.00. The book will be available in various digital formats in coming days.

For more information on this title, interviews with the author, or digital copies for review, contact Morgan McKay, Pro Se’s Director of Corporate Operations, at directorofcorporateoperations@prose-press.com.

For more information on Pro Se Productions, go to www.prose-press.com. Like Pro Se on Facebook at www.facebook.com/ProSeProductions.

Thursday, October 9, 2014

Art vs. Money: Writers Sound Off

It's time once again for the weekly roundtable discussion for the blog. Up this week: Writing for art vs. writing to sell. Art vs. Commerce. Creativity for creation's sake or creativity for the sake of making a living wage.

Have both sides been incited enough yet by that lead-in? Good. Let the discussion commence.


Is there a difference between writing for art and writing to sell? What is it (or what are they)?

Richard Lee Byers: I supposed that writing purely for art would mean that the writer was creating purely for his own enjoyment or to express a personal vision and was sublimely indifferent to the possibility of making any money off his work. Whereas writing purely to sell would mean that the writer only cared about money and was indifferent to self-expression and the possibility of creating something of real quality or lasting value.

Fan fiction writers and certain bloggers may represent that first hypothetical type of writer. But I have seldom if ever met a professional or aspiring professional fiction writer who could be fairly characterized as a pure example of the second. Even if we care a lot about the commercial potential of our work, we still take pride in our craftsmanship, and we still tell stories that interest us and allow us to on some level express things that matter to us. If we weren’t going to do that, we probably wouldn’t have gone into the profession in the first place.

Terri Smiles: I consider books written with the primary purpose of making money to contain less commentary on society or what it is to be human. That is not to say that books that include such "deeper" themes can't become commercial successes, but rather that the author had points to make or at least questions for the readers to think about, in addition to a romping story.

Marian Allan: There isn't NECESSARILY a difference. Shakespeare wrote for the market, after all. Writing for art is putting your heart and mind into it; writing to sell is hoping for the best.

Frank Fradella: There are, in my mind, three stages in being a writer. There's the hobbyist, who likes to write, who gets pleasing feedback from friends and family and who's entire "career" may never progress past Live Journal and an entry in a Poetry.com anthology. These are people who often say, "You know, I had an idea for a novel..." and never actually write it. If you are very, very lucky, this is the stage where Harlan Ellison slaps you across the face and tells you to go be a plumber instead AND YOU GO BE A PLUMBER INSTEAD.

Past that, there's the craft. This is where the words come out of you intentionally, with deliberation. Where the countless hours spent reading better writers is starting to rub off on you and you realize there's an honest-to-goodness craft at work here; that nothing happens by accident. This is the stage where you study and understand structure and character and motivation and develop your own style. You write, and you write a lot. Not all of it is very good. Much of it stinks. You greet the praise of friends and family with skepticism. It's nice, but you'd rather get that reaction from a respected peer.

Finally, the craft turns a corner and becomes a profession. You write stories that matter to you, but you write them in such a way that resonate with other people. You learn how to pitch and write queries and you get paying work that puts food on the table and gas in the tank. You now spend more time marketing your work than you do writing it. (This, in my mind, is where we separate the talented amateur from the true professional.)

Iscah: You may be a little more free to experiment with writing for arts sake and writing for sales sake. But writing to sell is also writing to communicate, to share a story, and there's a high degree of art to doing that well. Being intelligible doesn't make you less of an artist. You don't have to push the boundaries of them medium to write a good book, though there are certainly times you can do both.

Percival Constantine: I don't think the two are mutually exclusive. If you write a book or a story, why wouldn't you want to be compensated for your hard work? The way I would differentiate it is forcing yourself to write in a genre you don't like just because it's popular. As an example, I'm not a fan of erotica, so if I wrote in erotica just to make a quick buck, I think that would be a betrayal of the art side of things.

Corrina Lawson: In the initial stages, no, because the only guarantee you have when you write is to amuse/enjoy yourself. After a draft, it may needed to be tweaked or altered a bit for the market.

Lance Stahlberg: I confess I'm having trouble understanding the question. How can there be a distinction? So I guess the answer is "No." Not in my mind.

"Writing for Art" without any desire to sell is still writing.

"Writing to sell" cannot be done without also paying attention to the art or the craft. If you don't legitimately enjoy what you are writing, if you don't take care to enough to craft a well told story or put your own artistic voice into the work, you will not engage readers, and thus won't sell.

Even when you look at the most infamous example of godawful writing that sold a gazillion copies and got a movie deal in the mommy porn market, that started as &q uot;art" in the writer's mind. By all accounts, it was written as fanfiction, purely for enjoyment. It was the publisher who made it into a blockbuster through crazy marketing tactics. Trying to replicate that with the intent of becoming a commercial success is a stupid way to try to hit the lottery.

Lee Houston Jr.: Your questions are certainly intriguing, but I honestly don't know if I can answer them individually. So just give me a moment to hop up on my soap box and I'll tell you how I feel about writing. I write because I love to create. I have been an avid reader as far back as I can remember, and that (in part) has inspired me to tell my own tales.

Whether or not I'm successful is hard to say. People do read my work and (hopefully) want more.

I'm certainly not getting rich writing, and if that was my only goal, I may have given up a long time ago. I do want to reach a point where I can financially support myself writing, but I'm referring more to maintaining the basics of life like keeping a roof over my head and the bills paid than any desire for exotic vacations or a fancy house. Yet when it comes to writing, I'm doing what I love and love what I'm doing. So from that perspective, then I am definitely successful.

Jack Wallen: I think there is – very much. Why? Those that write to sell write what sells and that can become very calculated. Those that write for art, write to honor the craft and the word. That is not to say one cannot write what sells while still honoring your art, but most often writing to sell can quickly lead to selling out your art. It’s the same thing we see in the music industry (over and over again). Band write music that comes from their soul until they get a taste of success. At that point the temptation is very great to write for the audience with the most influence over the industry. How many times do you hear an author say something like “I could write romance, but...”. We do that because we know romance sells. I don’t do that because I don’t want to take time away from what I love – horror.

Why do writers tend to divide into camps and support one over the other? Aren't both needed?

Terri Smiles: I don't know why writer's divide themselves. I want people to read. ALL readers are good readers, no matter what their preference - and they writers to produce what they want to read.

Marian Allan: People are bilaterally symmetrical, aren't we? We love to divide things into this or that, these or those, yin and yang. So writers divide into pantsers and plotters, literary and commercial, artists and craftsmen. With writing, what you do and how you do it is actually somewhere on a continuum, and you might shift position depending on the project. Why do we choose up sides? Because it gives us something to argue about over beer.

Shelby Vick: Part of the problem here is, I feel, deciding the difference between writing for art and writing for money. The latter, I feel, is a goal most writers appreciate; who doesn't like money?  But the former suggests that 'creating' and 'style' would be the main objective. Or is that a description of the art of writing? Whatever it may be, I feel most writers write because they have the drive to do so. I have written since I learned to put a pencil to paper and form words. Many of the writers I know are the same, and have a compulsion to write. Some train that compulsion so they can actually sell what they write.

Jack Wallen: I think this is simple – writers that write to sell have decided it’s the only way to see their “brand” as a business. I am a full-time, stay at home writer. I do not treat this as a business. This is an art that happens to make me a living. From my perspective, the second I dishonor my craft and turn it into nothing more than a product to consumer I remote the art from the results. That would spell doom for my words and worlds.

I often wonder what my idol, Clive Barker, would have become had he treated his written words as a commodity. I can’t imagine the likes of Imajica would ever have been penned. That would be a travesty.

Richard Lee Byers: Personally, I’m not acquainted with many writers who intrinsically support one over the other since, as my previous answer implied, most working writers see this as kind of a false dichotomy to begin with.

Sometimes writers succumb to the temptation to take public potshots at others who are far more successful even though, in the detractor’s view, their work is not very good. But this happens because envy is the spiritual malady to which writers are most prone. That same critic will almost invariably hold other highly commercial writers in high esteem.

Iscah: I think writers tend to support things that reflect what they themselves do. I support both, but I admit to getting annoyed when writers think writing is all about their own expression and reader experience isn't a critical part of making something sellable or even enjoyable.

Percival Constantine: Both absolutely are needed. I think a lot of the division comes from the starving artist stereotype. There's this myth that if you write for money, you're betraying the artform and are a sell-out, which I think absolutely needs to be dispelled. If you're only writing for the sake of art and feel that money shouldn't be part of the equation, then why are you selling books in the first place as opposed to giving them away for free?

Corrina Lawson: I've no idea why writers or other creative types do this. Creative people need to eat. This is an art but it's also a job.

Frank Fradella: The conversation of "art vs. commerce" is an internal dialogue. It's a mental shift. It doesn't come from the audience. You can deviate from what's come before all you want, but you better be good enough to pull it off. That's the only reason why guys like Neil Gaiman and David Mack became such game changers in comics. It's not that you CAN'T go against the grain and bring new art into the world, but only a craftsman who's turned the corner and made it a profession can do it for a living.

Lance Stahlberg: I had no idea that they did. Anyone who thinks in terms of "Writing to sell" clearly does not get it.

Of course once you get into publishing your work, you start to think in terms of what market to target and how to reach them. But you write the story first, then you figure out how to get people to read it. Not the other way around. Even that's the wrong approach. You don't treat them separately at all. You do both concurrently.

Starting with the question "How can I sell a million copies to X market" before you&# 39;ve typed a word is a recipe for disaster. You make an interesting character. You pit them against an interesting conflict that follows a plot that you think people will enjoy. That's art. And that's marketing. Favoring one concept over the other is nonsense. To me, they are one in the same. If you focus too hard on appealing to readers, you are dooming yourself. It is impossible to please everyone. Don't bother. But if you think "to hell with what other people like" and write only what you like... well maybe you'll still have a commercial success on your hands without realizing it. More likely, it'll suck and won't sell. But you won't care. Because you're an arteest and above such things.

What advice do you have for writers pursuing a living wage in art?

Iscah: Nearly every career field allows for opportunities where artistic skills can enhance what you do. So don't think you have to be a full time artist to make art. Drawing, writing, dancing as a career is a labor of love, but it's still labor. What's fun for a few hours make not be fun 9 to 5. So I advise only attempting a career in the arts if it's something you passionately love doing. Otherwise pursue something more stable so you can continue to enjoy art as a hobby.

You could write whole books answering 3 and/or 4. The advice is more specific depending on what field of art you want to pursue. But quitting the day job is exactly what some people need to do... Or more accurately, making it your day job.

Percival Constantine: If your goal is to make a living wage, then the first thing you have to do is get rid of this imaginary divide between art and commerce. Stories are an artform, whether it's books, movies, TV, comics, games, whatever, and people pay money for them all the time, and your story is no different. Write the story, make it as good as you can, and then get out there and sell it, whether you're selling it to an agent, a publisher, a studio, or directly to your customers. Then repeat the process again. Also, learn about whatever industry you're trying to make a living in. If you have the attitude of "I'm an artist and don't want to be bothered with the commercial side of things," then your chances of making a living wage will drastically decrease. You can't separate yourself from the commercial side and expect to be successful.

Corrina Lawson: Money brings choices. Create a secondary skill that will support your creative work and then you can make a real choice between art and writing to sell. the eldest son wants to pursue screenwriting but is also interested in accounting. My advice: learn that, use it to bring in income so creative choices aren't based on "I need that $500 to buy groceries."

Lee Houston Jr.: Art wise, I try to make each work the best I humanly can before submitting it to its prospective publisher. Yet it may be years after I'm no longer on this planet before the public makes a final decision on whether or not my work deserves to be remembered throughout the course of time.

If you mean commercialism as marketing, I certainly want my readers to know when the next release of whatever I have created is available.

All the projects I have done so far have either been for the sheer joy of writing or the creative challenge involved. If given the opportunity, there are a few things I would love the chance to do (like reviving Ellery Queen for today's audience), but again, it's more for the writing/challenge than the money that might be involved.

Regardless of what perspective you look at writing from, create the best possible work you can, because it is quality that will attract and maintain your readership in the long run, not quantity. And of course, it doesn't hurt to love what you do and do what you love, regardless of what career your pursue.

Terri Smiles: If you are writing for the sake of art, marry well and don't give up the day job. I also believe there is a middle ground between art and commercial fiction which is what I pursue - "light," entertaining fiction that also explores what it is to be human and the deeper aspects of our lives. But I worked as a healthcare lawyer for many years to be able to write the way I want to write. Art does require sacrifice and I have the scars of years of servitude to show for it.

Marian Allan: All these questions have long and complex discussions rather than answers -- except the last two, which both have the same answer: Don't give up the day job.

Frank Fradella: The advice to "write what you know" is important in that the core emotional anchor of the story has to wring true. Even when you're being paid to write non-fiction. When I wrote and illustrated The Idiot's Guide to Drawing (with thanks to Tom Waltz), it was purely work for hire. It was the kind of work I'd never done before. But I approached that book with the core belief that everyone sucks at the beginning, and everyone can get better with a little advice and a lot of practice. That, I think, is what made that book successful.

Lance Stahlberg: Keep at it. Stay motivated to keep your butt in the chair and keep writing. Learn the craft. Finish your story. Then learn the business. If you have the stoma ch and money for self-publishing, cool. Otherwise learn how to write a good submission letter. Network with editors and/or don't give up on finding an agent who will treat you right.

Do what you love. But don't pin too much of your hopes on being able to quit your day job. That could well come in time, but not if you neglect the art. Don't lose sight of why you wanted to be a writer in the first place.

Jack Wallen: Write what your heart and soul begs you to write. I write a number of very different series. As I am finishing up one book, I follow what my soul wants to write next. I never know what that’ll be. The second you give over and write what you think will sell, you lose. Why? Because what is selling when you begin might well not be what’s selling when you’re ready to hit publish. Don’t follow the rule “Write what you know.” Instead... write what you love, what you have a passion for. In the end, it will come through in the words and the reader will enjoy it all the more.

Richard Lee Byers: Work steadily. Be flexible and open to whatever opportunities present themselves. Network. Follow guidelines and meet deadlines. Recognize that in today’s marketplace, even writers who are traditionally published must generally accept a fair amount of responsibility for promoting their work.

What advice do you have for writers pursing art in a commercial culture?

Frank Fradella: You can be an artist all day long, but at the end of that day, if you don't treat your craft like a business, you are losing the field to those who do.

Richard Lee Byers: I’m not sure such writers need much advice. If you are genuinely indifferent to making any money from your work, then clearly, you couldn’t be alive at a better time. You can self-publish on the Internet without ever having to compromise your personal vision by considering the marketplace or seeking to accommodate a traditional publisher’s requirements.

Terri Smiles: If the primary goal for your writing is maximizing income, don't write for what's hot now, write for what's just starting to garner interest. It's hard to tell, but you'll be ahead of the curve.

Iscah: Understand the steadiest paychecks come from working on other people's projects. A graphic designer or journalist will see steadier income than a gallery artist or novelist. A novelist willing to ghost write or work with a franchise may reap more financial reward than one who insists on only writing in their own worlds. However financial rewards are not the only rewards available.

There's a crass side to commercialism, but usually truly great art or writing is much easier to sell and will endure much longer than shoddy work. It's all somewhat subjective and at the mercy of the market. But a career in the arts is often a test of endurance as much as anything else.

Jack Wallen: If you opt to go the commercial route, you have to spend a lot of time following trends. In fact, you can’t just follow trends, you have to predict trends. As I said, the second you start writing that book based on a current trend, by the time you finish that trend may be played out. You’ve got to be one step ahead of the game to really be successful. That takes a lot of energy and time, so you have to be willing to put in the extra effort before you begin writing that first word. You can be lazy and pay close attention to what Hollywood is releasing in the future, as that can help as a guide. For example, Gone Girl was just released and has been a serious success. Six months ago, you should have been on top of that and ready to release something in the same vein.

Percival Constantine: Depends on what is meant by pursuing art in a commercial culture. If you mean trying to create art without caring about making money, then that's simple—do whatever you want. Just go in with the understanding that if you don't learn about the commercial side of things, you probably shouldn't quit your day job.

Corrina Lawson: Know your core story. Know what changes you can live with and what you can't. And make sure if you sell your rights, you get something for them. Never sign a contract with an agent or intellectual property rights attorney to look it over.

Lance Stahlberg: Sorry, but that question does not compute.  If you write strictly for fun and only post for free to fanfic boards and whatnot with no interest in selling it... God love you. You don't need advice and probably don't want it. If you want your work to stand out in a competitive market, the answer is the same as #3 above.

Lee Houston Jr.: If you mean commercialism as marketing, I certainly want my readers to know when the next release of whatever I have created is available.

All the projects I have done so far have either been for the sheer joy of writing or the creative challenge involved. If given the opportunity, there are a few things I would love the chance to do (like reviving Ellery Queen for today's audience), but again, it's more for the writing/challenge than the money that might be involved.

Regardless of what perspective you look at writing from, create the best possible work you can, because it is quality that will attract and maintain your readership in the long run, not quantity. And of course, it doesn't hurt to love what you do and do what you love, regardless of what career your pursue.

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Nuggets #21 -- Cleveland Rocks

Another piece of advice I got from Frank Fradella 
(see last week's Nugget for the other one) was crucial 
to my career thus far in writing other people's 
characters and writing in company-owned universes: 

"Don't blow up Cleveland. 
Someone might need that later." 

In other words, leave the world like 
you found it when you're done. 


Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Sharing the Sickness: A Few Words with Peter Welmerink

Part 3 of my series of “Cool People I Met at Imaginarium.”

Tell us a bit about your latest work.

TRANSPORT. It is a post-POST apocalyptic military thriller (I like action-adventure better. L. Andrew Cooper called it zombie fantasy) about Captain Jake Billet, his crew of military misfits and their 72-ton heavy transport vehicle, the HURON. In 2025, we’re still here after the 2013 bird flu pandemic. The undead are still here, some even protected by local law.

In TRANSPORT (Book One), Captain Jake Billet and his crew must covertly bring a much-hated government official roughly 40 miles across West Michigan while avoiding everything and everyone who desires to stop, kill, eat and dismember them along the way. Not necessarily in that order.   

What are the themes and subjects you tend to revisit in your work?

I’d say the themes of most my stories is the HERO JOURNEY and/or ROAD NARRATIVE. I also enjoy something that gets up and moves you, is action packed, adventure driven, but delivers characters who are also enjoyable to read, to laugh and cry with. The human element in a fantastical setting.

What would be your dream project?

My dream project would be a project so awesome and rewarding that I could quit my day job and write for a living, and survive. Yet, I feel I AM LIVING THE DREAM by being able to support my family with day job while doing what I love (writing) during whatever bits of available minutes I can scrounge.

If you have any former project to do over to make it better, which one would it be, and what would you do?

BEDLAM UNLEASHED, an Epic Fantasy, Viking berserker novel co-written with the talented Steven Shrewsbury. It was published. We didn’t pursue a new contract with the publisher when contract expired. I would love to see it brought to alive again with another publisher who, with our support, do it real justice.

I would just like to see this very fun, and brutal, and lively, Viking adventure available to the masses again.

And who knows, perhaps we could pursue the follow up book or two we were plotting to keep our giant brain-addled berserker smashing through Europe.

What inspires you to write?

The inspiration to write comes from a desire to tell stories, and adventure in make-believe worlds with make-believe characters. Writing, and being read, inspires me to write. Seeing the growing piles of books Steven Shrewsbury and Michael West have written inspires me to write.

What writers have influenced your style and technique?

Robert E Howard. RA Salvatore. David Drake. Chuck Wendig.

Where would you rank writing on the "Is it an art or it is a science continuum?" Why?

Neither. It is a sickness. I need to write or my head will explode. If I can’t sit down and write for several days, I get itchy and squeamish. I need to write because it is therapeutic, a break from the mundane, something and somewhere I can go when it is just me and a blank page.

Any other upcoming projects you would like to plug?

I am part of upcoming Horror anthology in which the authors involved need to write an Animal vs. Humankind story. I am writing something about ROADKILL. I have heard ramblings about other stories, with statements made like “otter porn” (not what you are thinking) and hamsters in space vs. astronauts in suspended animation. It sounds like there will be some Dark Humor/Comedy in this antho. I have also heard someone jokingly comment: “This is wrong on so many levels.”

For more information about Peter:

My blogs:
TRANSPORT (current novel series) related: grandrapidsaltered.blogspot.com
Author Interviews and other sundries: darkheroicfantasy.blogspot.com

Website:
www.peterwelmerink.com

Twitter: @pwelmerink

Latest book available: 

TRANSPORT (Book One) 
Kindle ebook edition
http://amzn.to/1tWk1XB

Paperback
http://amzn.to/1ytfz7b

Miscellaneous e-short stories:
http://amzn.to/1rnjITN