Spare a moment?

Posted on May 31, 2015 at 11:34 PM
May 312015

It occurs to me, I’m sitting here wondering about various marketing issues–but I don’t NEED to. I have people right here I can talk to. So, take half a minute and help me out, please?

If you have NOT purchased* one of my books (in whatever format) in the past couple of years, would you be so kind as to tell me why not?

*(Or otherwise legally acquired, such as having gotten one as a gift.)

I need real data here, so if your answer is something fairly final, such as “I don’t read fantasy” or “I don’t care for your writing style,” okay. I can accept that. (*sob* ;-) )

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Zero stars

Posted on April 2, 2015 at 11:30 PM
 No Comments »
Apr 022015

I was just followed, on Twitter, by one of those “Buy Amazon reviews!” services.

I blocked them and reported them as spam. And the only reason I didn’t do more than that is that the “Crotch-punch poster over the Internet” attachment I ordered is out of stock.

Let me be clear. Authors rely on reviews. Word of mouth sells more than anything, and reviews are–and generate–word of mouth.

But that only works as long as readers believe that at least the majority of reviews are honest/accurate, at least where the reviewer is concerned. “Services” like this? They’re not helping you. It becomes real obvious, real quick, if a book is paying for good reviews. All you’re doing is damaging the readers’ trust–and not just of you, but of all reviews, and by extension, of all authors.

So, to the folks at the “service” who followed me–briefly–and to the folks at all other, similar services, and to the authors who use them…

Kindly piss the hell off, and stay there.

No love–and sadly, no ability to crotch-punch you via the internet,



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An Open Letter to Paramount Studios

Posted on January 15, 2015 at 4:04 AM
 1 Comment »
Jan 152015

(Because we all know they read my blog with bated breath on a regular basis.)

I’m not a big-name author. I’m not a scriptwriter. But I have written and published enough that I think I can say I have a pretty good grasp of story. So I’m going to point something out that you’ve probably already thought about.

No matter how good the writers, no matter how good the scripts, you cannot do justice to a five-year mission with movies that come out every three-to-five years.

The third Star Trek movie of the new continuity is coming up. We know that the cast signed a three-picture deal, and we know that at least some of them have already said they’re ready to move on.

So… You’ve had blockbuster movies, films that did better than any prior Star Trek films. And you’re going to have to recast anyway.

Cast actors willing to sign on for a series and bring Star Trek back to television.

You have an audience; the success of the movies proves that. You have a clean slate, to create brand new stories and revisit old ones, as you choose. You can write episodes to satisfy the action-lovers, and episodes to satisfy the more cerebral fans.

A five-year mission. A five-year series. Or heck, do a couple years, then a movie, a couple more years, then a movie… Have your cake and eat it, too.

The fans are ready, the franchise is ready. And it’s the only way to truly do Star Trek–five years of exploring the galaxy–any justice.

Let’s start hearing “These are the voyages…” on a weekly basis again.

Time for the Enterprise to come home. We’re waiting for her.

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Texas Ranger

Posted on January 11, 2015 at 5:03 PM
 No Comments »
Jan 112015



And with thanks to Naomi for putting together the graphic for me.



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Linguistic divisions

Posted on December 4, 2014 at 11:09 PM
 1 Comment »
Dec 042014

The news these days has had me thinking, and it finally made me realize something.

You see, I despise the [Whatever-American] terminology for ethnicity. Asian-American, African-American, all those. Hate those terms with a passion. And I’ve finally figured out why.

They’re dangerous. The whole non-racist/post-racial society that we want? Those terms are detrimental to the whole thing.

Why? Because they’re hideously racist. And even worse, they’re insidiously racist.

Because they imply, by definition, that white is some sort of default. “Oh, if you’re white, you’re just American. It’s everyone else who needs to be specially identified.”

That sort of thinking is what keeps “us vs. them” alive, even in the minds of people who otherwise aren’t prejudiced. It’s the sort of thinking that leads to people assuming that all characters in books have to be white, or casting Sigourney Weaver as an Biblical African queen.

When was the last time you heard someone referred to as a Caucasian-American? You haven’t, or at least not often, because the language itself has trained us to think of “Caucasian” as the unspoken default. We’ve already learned, throughout history, that you cannot have “separate but equal.” So how can we possibly reach equality when the language itself works at keeping us separate?

If you’re an American citizen, you should be an American. Period. Ethnicity should have no bearing on it, and the terminology for ethnicity should not draw on citizenship.

There is no “default” except human. Our language needs to reflect that, not cloud it.


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A partial solution to online trolling?

Posted on November 12, 2014 at 11:50 PM
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Nov 122014

So, online trolling and abuse have been in the news a lot. And a lot of people (including Wil Wheaton) have pointed out that anonymity, and thus lack of accountability, are a major part of the problem.

At the same time, there are truly good reasons for some people to stay anonymous. So how do we reconcile those?

Well, I’ve had a thought.

Lots of online games have PvP (Player vs. Player) and non-PvP servers. The user has a choice.

Why not offer Anonymous and Non-Anonymous servers?

Nobody who wants to stay anonymous is required to give up that right. But those who choose to can offer up their own true identity, for the right to play only alongside others who were willing to do the same.

I guaran-damn-tee you there would be enough takers to make it worthwhile.

Sure, that only solves the issues in gaming, not forums or social media or the like. But it’s a start.

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Marvel’s Well-Meaning Mistake

Posted on July 16, 2014 at 11:05 PM
Jul 162014

Among the many changes Marvel is making to its characters in the Marvel Now! line, the most recent is the announcement that Steve Rogers is laying down the mantle of Captain America (for what I believe to be the 247th time), and his replacement is said to be Sam “The Falcon” Wilson.

I have a problem with this, and it’s not the one you might expect.

I’m pro-added diversity in comics. Thor’s a woman now, great! The Ultimates version of Spider-Man is Miles Morales, great! And while I have a personal attachment to Steve Rogers, if there’s going to be a new Cap, I not only don’t object to, but celebrate, the fact that he’s black. (Even if his new mask is kinda goofy looking.)

But it should not have been Sam.

Oh, it makes sense from an in-character perspective. Sam Wilson’s one of the good guys, someone Steve knows well and trusts. My problem is with the meta-narrative.

Sam Wilson–the Falcon–may not be as big a name as Storm, or the Black Panther. The fact remains, though, that he is one of the few black superheroes to have built his own successful, popular identity. He was a success story, on a very limited list of success stories.

Making him Captain America is taking that away. It’s the opposite of diversifying the line, because it’s taking a minority character who made it on his own, and turning him into another minority character who had to build on the name of a straight white male.

I realize it’s too late, but… if by some miracle someone at Marvel sees this, please. By any and all means, give us a black Captain America–but let Sam remain the Falcon. He’s earned it.

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This is your culture on drugs

Posted on June 27, 2014 at 10:00 PM
 1 Comment »
Jun 272014

There’s a short story open-call going around that caught my eye. Or rather, one detail in the submission rules caught my eye.

I’m not naming the anthology in question, because my problem isn’t with the anthology. They’re just reacting to the culture in which we all live, and I don’t want people to misunderstand me and think I’m yelling at them. I’m not.

I’m yelling at a lot of other people, though.

The rule in question reads as follows:

  • Stories must conform to the “Indiana Jones” rule of thumb regarding, sex, violence, language, drug use, etc. We try to keep things here appropriate for most audiences, so if it’s something you’d conceivably see in an Indiana Jones story, it should be fine (i.e., melting faces are okay, F-bombs, in general, are not).

Really let that sink in a moment. “Melting faces are okay, F-bombs, in general, or not.” Think about it.

What the fuck is wrong with entertainment standards in this country?!?!

Bullets flying, people dying, acts of horrific, gory violence… These are no problem. But a “bad word”? A breast on prime time TV? That’s a goddamn outrage.

This is wrong; so wrong. Aesthetically. Ethically. Morally.

It’s a word. Fuck fuck fuck. Fuckity fuck fucking fucky fuck.

Or a body part. Oooh, your kids are going to be traumatized seeing something for two seconds that not only do they already know mommy has, but which they fed off of for a year and a half.

I like violence and gore in fiction, where it’s appropriate. I’m not suggesting it be curtailed (though a case could be made for certain TV shows). But the idea that it’s okay, where the others aren’t? It’s backwards, in every conceivable way, shape, or form.

Get your act together already, American culture. This isn’t even Puritan; it’s just lunacy. And hypocritical lunacy to boot.

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Seriously, Fuck Cancer

Posted on May 31, 2014 at 11:32 PM
May 312014

I have far too many friends and colleagues, people I genuinely care about, suffering through one form or another of cancer right now. Hell, one would be “far too many.”

I’m tired of wishing there was “something I could do.” So I’m doing something, however minor a gesture it may be.

I have dropped the price of my short story collection, Strange New Words, across Amazon, Smashwords, and DriveThruFiction. This applies to both e-copies and hardcopies. I haven’t decided yet if this price drop is permanent or temporary.

What I have decided is that I will donate the entirety of any profit I make on sales of Strange New Words, throughout the entire month of June. Not to an institute or to a program, but directly to a handful of the people I know who are struggling with cancer right now, to help defray the ungodly medical costs these things accumulate. It probably won’t be much, in the grand scheme of things, but I’d like for it to be something.

If you haven’t picked up SNW yet, please consider doing so now. If you have, please encourage other people to. And definitely help me spread the word, if you’d be so kind.

Thank you so much, every one of you.

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Any of this sound interesting?

Posted on May 14, 2014 at 6:55 PM
 1 Comment »
May 142014

I haven’t a clue where I would find the time or energy for this, but…

As a means of challenging myself a little, as well as providing some regular original content for my web site, I’ve been thinking of doing something I’m calling the ABCs of Fantasy. (Inspired by both the ABCs of Horror anthology film, and the various ABC blogging challenges.)

It would work thusly:

1) People send in suggestions for a word starting with the relevant letter. Said word (using C as an example), could be a mythical place (Camelot, Carcossa), a historical place (Coventry), a culture (Celts), a mythical figure (Cu Chulainn), a historical figure (Charlemagne), a mythical creature (cockatrice, Cerberus), a mythical item (Caliburne), a fantasy concept (conjuring), a writing concept (cliche), or basically anything else that could reasonably come from, or be applied to, fantasy. Creativity and outside-the-box suggestions would be encouraged.

(It could also be a modern fantasy character, but it would have to be one of mine, since I don’t have the rights to anyone else. So, sticking with the above examples, C could be Corvis Rebaine.)

2) After a week of people sending in suggestions, I would then put the various suggestions up for a vote (with some judgment on my part; see below). After a week, the word with the most votes wins, and I would then write a piece of flash or short fiction somehow involving, incorporating, or representing that word.

(I would reserve the right to omit from the voting anything profane, racist, or otherwise objectionable to me.)

Said story would be written during the following week, while people were sending in word suggestions for the next letter.

3) Said story would be posted for free on the site.

(I might, on occasion, post a guest story in place of one of my own, if one of my author friends has an idea for a chosen word and would like to participate.)

The intent would be a tiny story every two weeks, but I wouldn’t guarantee it. Real life–and real deadlines–come up.

Now here’s the thing. If I decide to do this, if I decide I can somehow dredge up the time and energy, it only works if I get serious audience participation, as well as help spreading word of the series. So–again, with the understanding that this may or may not happen; nothing’s decided yet–what I need to know now is, would you participate? Would you send in suggestions, vote on them, maybe comment on the resulting fiction, etc.? Does this concept even interest you? Please answer honestly; I need a genuine sense of whether I’d be wasting my time or not.

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