Patreon Update, Discord, and Fiction

Hey there, so, yeah, it’s been a while since I posted over here. I didn’t realize until just now responding to a comment how long it had been. Sorry. Most of my daily/ weekly posting is on my Patreon now. I’m currently serializing a former NaNoWriMo novel, The Logicians of Ambervale, editing it and souping up the plot as I go.
It’s becoming what I had hoped for it, but it’s tough to describe without spoilers. The basic story is that Elamon, a youth on the verge of becoming a man in his society, is sent on a quest to investigate and perhaps solve a shortage of metals used in scientific equipment. This is a very advanced tech society, but they don’t have fire and therefore smelting or other means to extracting metal from ores. They rely entirely on what they can pan out or chemically derive, and even that is rare given their obvious lack of glass. What they do have, though, is amber, which they control in what at first appears to be a magical way. As the series progresses, though, the science is revealed, along with social truths and a history of his people that Elamon never suspected.
If that piques your interest, hop on the above linked Patreon page and sign up for $5/mo and catch up Elamon and his friends, Bagba, the Agathi lizardperson hunter and Utia, the girl with electric purple eyes, as well as gaining access to my previous serialized fantasy novel, Breaking The Word, in its entirely before it goes to the next revision and leaps into the yawning pit of submissions to agents and editors.
I also post the occasional short story for all patrons ($1/ mo and up), anecdotes about funny stuff my son says, and updates on my writing a couple of times a week. I’m also working on additional features covering my various fiction worlds, Dungeons and Dragons maps, modules and creatures, and paintings and sculptures.
I’m also investigating creating Discord roles for patrons interested in that kind of thing, as I have been using Discord for gaming on Roll20 and general social contact.
If any of this interests you, please feel free to comment here or pop over and sign up for Patreon and leave comments on the related posts I’ve recently made.
I also also have an anthology coming out next month(September 2018) called “End of the World Potluck,” which is basically as advertised. As we get closer to release, I’ll post again about this, with links to the Facebook page, a cover reveal, and more about the premise.
Thanks for dropping by! Keep reading!


Patreon, Ko-fi, Drip, etc

As some of you may know, Patreon recently announced a change to its terms that shifts the onus of most of the fees onto the patron. For some creators, this may result in more money, but the manner in which the whole thing is being executed leads to some less than pleasant conclusions about their attitude toward folks like me who have handfuls of followers and take in gas money instead of hundreds or thousands of followers making what I would consider more than a decent living.
This is business these days, I know. One cannot simply have a business and provide a service and have everyone involved go about their merry. No, one must channel the shark, become bloodthirsty and honed, sharp as a razor, trimming away the less productive parts of your business and feeding the best producing, striving for the top. Not everyone should be at the top, and everyone, clearly, cannot be at once. It’s a contentious, destructive system which will only end badly for all. I feel like I’ve veered off into a political rant. let’s steer this boat back on course.
I’ve been with Patreon for nearly six months now, and they’ve been good months. I’ve written half of my fantasy novel, Breaking The Word, as well as a few short stories, and felt more motivated, knowing people were actually waiting for and enjoying my work, rather than tossing short story after short story into the void and jiggling the line to try to attract new sales, only to have the line snap or have dropped the wrong bait for the wrong fish. I’m not sure where all these fishing/ocean metaphors are coming from. I don’t fish and I’m not generally comfortable in water I can’t stand up in…
I’ll be keeping an eye on the situation with Patreon as well as searching for new ways to keep myself going. As mentioned int he title, I’ve started a ko-fi page, which allows people to drop by and donate “a coffee”- about $3US – in support of my work. It’s not as directly tied to production as Patreon, or recurring as a subscription, but it’s something. Once I get a feel for the site, I’ll be posting content over there, some stories that have appeared only in print (not ebooks) photos of current sculpture and game creation projects, etc. This stuff will also go up on my Patreon whilst I continue to use it and have patrons over there as those people have stuck with me and deserve to see it first.
I’m also looking into Drip, which I believe goes live from its current closed beta early next year and looking into starting up some projects on Ratafire, which i know nearly nothing about and seems to have manifested itself in one of my browser tabs recently. Whoever sent me that link, thanks!
For now, though, I must attend the real world and ponder the ever-shifting landscape at the intersection of business and art. Thanks for dropping by! Keep reading!
And here’s my link for ko-fi, if you feel so inclined. Buy Me a Coffee

Where have you been? Where are you going?

These are two very important questions. We wonder them about everyone we meet, to some degree. The more a person stands out to us, the more deeply we consider the person’s upbringing, the path that brought them before us, and where their bring them next. From the jerk who cuts us off in traffic, to the cashier behind the counter at the coffee shop, everyone has a backstory. Everyone has a concept of what tomorrow will hold for them. Of course, we never have the whole story, even on ourselves. How deeply can we know anyone indeed, with such a flawed self image? But we go on because what else can we do? We exist on minimal information, gathered by weak senses and stored in unreliable media. So we must be aware of these failings in ourselves, in others. We forgive more easily when we know the story. We accept that this person is in a bad mood if we know their mother is in the hospital and they haven’t slept in days. This is their story. We’re by and large persuaded not to burden others with our story, not to “overshare” and make others uncomfortable in how much of reality we make them acknowledge. But that’s the good stuff. The depth of character, the convolutions of the story come from the details, however gruesome or uncomfortable.
Two things people often avoid discussing in “polite company” are religion and politics. These things cause arguments because we often take to them without a great deal of insight as to why we feel that way or believe this notion. When we are forced to examine our own characters, we have to deal with our flaws and assumptions, and life becomes more complicated. Our simplifications, our forgivenesses, which need to be revisited from time to time lest we forgive too much, are like armor, bulky, restrictive, and in time, soiled, and in poor repair.
Writing is often like pulling off that old armor, working over the kinks in the maille, hammering out the dents in the plates, and giving the whole thing a good scrub down. To write, to express oneself truly through any artistic medium, is to be forced to look at oneself naked in the mirror, note the stretchmarks, the scars, and find a way to present them to others in a way that reminds them of their own scars and wrinkles just the right amount. Too much and people will turn away, unable to bear the light. Too little, and the connection won’t be there. You end up with another piece of entertainment that means little, if anything. It’s our job to always mean something.
Recently, I published a novelette through Pro Se Productions. This story, Harridan: Sacrificial Lamb, is one of a woman who has spent her life looking at the uncomfortable. It follows her, harasses her, almost, because sometimes it seems she’s the only one who can see it. Harridan is a reporter on the occult and strange going on all around us, the scars and stretchmarks of the world, if you will, things no one wants to examine, or even acknowledge, but everyone has. I don’t know if I’ll get to write another Harridan story, as the character isn’t mine and the structure of the series is such that each episode is up for grabs, but I think it’s been pretty successful, and makes me want to publish more individual works. I certainly have the breadth of worlds for such an endeavor. There’s so much I’ve written that sits, in need of an ending or a good polish. I’m looking at a few things right now, and have been investigating Kindle Direct Publishing as an avenue for putting them out.
Should I release another story, I’ll post again. Until then, keep reading!

Let’s Try This One More Time

So here we are, a week and change into my Patreon campaign (which makes it sound like a limited time event, but for now I plan it to go as long as I can produce/ keep breathing, so hopefully, quite a while.) I have a couple of followers at the highest support level enjoying all I have to create and have run a poll asking what genre people want to read. It came up “fantasy,” so I brainstormed on a novel idea I had in the last year but never made time to explore. The next day, I started writing. I will hit seven thousand words tonight, eight if I’m lucky. It’s swimming along nicely, with my planning staying ahead of my writing enough to just keep writing when I get the chance.
In other writing news, I got paid for my second reprint ever! Woo! As soon as I get a link for the book, Fae Wings, I’ll post it on my bibliography page and update that with a couple other works. I also got a rejection today for a story I think it one of, if not the best short stories I’ve written. This was the fifth or six place I sent this story, but at least I got some advice that feels actionable as well as some nice words over all and an invitation to continue submitting. I’m going to look back over that one with the advice in mind and I have two more markets lined up for it before it becomes a Patreon exclusive read for a while and then goes to Amazon. For other writers, how many times do you send out a story before you give up on it?
Thanks for dropping by, don’t forget to check out my Patreon and FB pages!

My So-Called Wrong Brain Experience

If these people are wrong, then I don’t want to be right, to borrow a well-worn saw. I had a gig yesterday, a craft fair slash art show of local creators with everything from stained glass and paintings to bone sculptures and a Mad-Maxian pauldron (since WordPress objects to the word, it bears defining. A pauldron is shoulder armor) made of license plates. A few people performed music slash “sound experiences” and there were lots of conversations. I got to see a few people from high school and old jobs whom I hadn’t seem in quite a while, in the former case, a couple of decades.
While monetarily I broke even, experience-wise and getting out there to spread my own creations in the form of a few anthologies, paintings and leather work, it was definitely a worthwhile experience. I can’t deny that there were quite a number of characters there, people who stood out in one way or another. It was a great opportunity for people watching. They will add spice to my work. There’s also nothing quite like spending a good day with good people and coming home drained.
For those of you not following my Facebook page, I had some success recently. One of the publishers whose projects I really enjoy, Mad Scientist Journal, periodically puts out anthologies separate from their weekly Monday offerings and the quarterly collections of said. This next one will be entitled “Fitting In” and will focus on the plights of supernatural creatures dealing with today’s society as outsiders. My story Snakedance will be present, following a day in the life of a shapeshifter in a South America affected by urban sprawl and forest destruction.
I’m working on a few pieces I feel very good about for other upcoming anthologies, some of which look to set the mood for entire subgenres as the founding works in the field. One was a kickstarter I recently linked on my Facebook page and another is being edited by a fellow contributor to Capes and Clockwork. They are fairly polar opposites, as one focuses on the positive, bright future we may find if we give up the poisonous practices that promote conflict, while the other is a horror story about miscreant gravekeepers. Sitting at the Wrong Brain Spring Bizaare[sic] letting the human tide ebb and flow around me gave me time to write about half of the latter story between chatting and sales. That in itself, practice writing in such a busy environment and getting words down, added to the experience. I’ve got to get out more.

This One Time, I Blogged…

But it was quite a while ago. Sorry about that. It’s been a busy busy year. The boy is up and walking, running, stringing words together and getting up and down stairs! We’ve found a house we love and look forward to signing on it at the end of the month. We lived in California for five months and that was a neat experience.
As to writing, there have been a few more successes I’ll add to the list as they come out (and a few that are out already, but I’m in need of a master list. Organization is not my primary skill, but if it was, that would be rather boring…) Aeolus and Chiron have had their world expanded with some more shorts, including introduction of more allies, more enemies, more weirdness and being drawn into a more complex tale to be told over the course of not just one, but a series of novels, the first two of which are in the process of being written. I’m especially looking forward to Capes and Clockwork 2, due out this summer, as well as Dr. Lillian Broadstreet finally making it into print with a couple of paranormal-hunting stories leading up to the steampunk novels with Aeolus and Chiron.
On the making front, we now have a 3D printer and have been making little doodads, experimenting with its capabilities every day. It’s interesting and I look forward to making physical representations of A&C and other figments.
For now, I’m off to work, but I promise to try to write again soon, in between a rare stab at horror, the steampunk novels and some SF poetry…

Another Day Older

I turned another page on the old calendar yesterday. It was a calm, warm, sticky day. I’ve always been one to hedge toward science and medicine swooping in before I hit old age and rescuing me from the ignoble fates the twilight years save for us. Now that I’m gathering grays at the temples, I wonder if I’ll be lucky enough to see the day when you can order up replacement parts, made to original factory specs or better, using my own DNA as a template to prevent rejection. Every day I think about how I’ve had enough of that, yet I still write, still subject small pieces of my soul to judgement by others who know only what I show in my work.

Last night I sent a piece to a fantasy contest. The tale was set in a world with which I’ve been working for almost two decades. In the process, I found a long-lost backup of my first completed novel, also set in that world. I can only hope that it passes muster and that I can apply my (hopefully) ever-increasing skills to it and see it out in the next few years. I’m hoping the outcome of that contest will aid in that endeavor. I was put off a bit, though, by the fact that my main beta reader/wife said the short was one of the best pieces of mine she’s read. I had sent her the wrong file, the original, not edited by current-me version first to get this reaction. Thus, the oldest thing she read of mine was superior to everything else I’ve foisted upon her, even with a good portion of that being published in the last year and a half.

At any rate, I’ll let you know how the contest goes for me and let you know as soon as I know about upcoming pieces. I’ll definitely be diving back into that old folder and the world of Somnuran in earnest over the course of the year.

A Journey of a Thousand Views

In the last year and a half, I’ve gotten off my butt and finally started finishing stories, editing them as best I could instead of a cursory read through, gotten feedback on many stories, and even begun publishing. I opened author’s pages on Facebook, Amazon,Amazon UK and Goodreads and started this blog which has just hit 1000 views. Not very auspicious, but not every story can begin with a bang, especially in real life. 2013 was admittedly better to me than 2014 has been so far, but that can be chalked up to missing some opportunities this year due to motivation, energy and time availability issues.

Still, the important thing is to tuck past failures away once you’ve learned from them and not look upon them again. Every moment is a chance to make a choice about time use as every word is an opportunity to improve a story, even if it’s by removing it. Not only have I put out shorts in anthologies, magazines and on websites, but I’ve met a lot of wonderful, creative people. I’ve helped edit work for people whose work has appeared next to mine in previous pubs as well as new writers, and soon I’ll be posting reviews of anthologies and stories and pointing to the work of some of those new friends.

The last year particularly has been a huge learning experience, not only in the arena of writing, but of parenthood as my firstborn, Ollie, came out to meet us last July. It’s hard to believe it’s been a year already. He’s grown physically and capability-wise into an interactive little person, and I look forward to seeing (and helping) that progress continue. In the last year I also married a wonderful woman with whom I look forward to growing old (as much as one can look forward to growing old 😉 ).

Now I sit here, looking at my failure to appear as scheduled for blogging over the last months and tuck that away, focusing on how I can improve my availability in this venue and others, how I can carve out more time to do the work of writing as well as continue to meet new people in the field, make connections and possibly even get one of these books that have been clogging up my brain completed and into the world. I look forward to the next year and all the things I’ll learn.

I liked your story, but Courier? Oh My G…

In publishing, especially online, we find a great pool of practices and expectations. Tab this way, not that way. When one sent out publications in paper, the manner in which one indented ones paragraphs couldn’t be less important. Now, though, the vagaries of electronic formats, .doc, .docx, .rtf, sounds like some kind of military codebook, but as long as you get that one piece right, everything else is cake. Don’t like the margins? Slide the mouse over there. Boom! Don’t like the font face or size? That control there lets you put it into whatever size you want. Seconds of work, and yet some editors, perhaps weighed down by moveable type blocks, discard works at the drop of a hat for formatting. Formatting, for which, as I went on about in a post last year, there is only an illusion of a standard.

The real kicker, though is that after all this hoop-jumping and managing to produce your art in Times New Roman size 12 with one inch margins, using slider bars to set paragraph indents (not to mention the actual making of the art, the idea, brainstorming, outlining, drafting, editing and polishing)… it’s not their policy to contact you unless they want your piece. That is the equivalent of breaking out the good cologne, actually ironing your shirt and pants for once, digging out the suit coat you haven’t worn since that one friend got married, showing her the town on a whirlwind tour of your favorite nice restaurant, a walk in the park, dancing and drinks, and having her climb out the bathroom window instead of telling you it’s not working out for her.

Oh, hey, you’re still here, yeah, back to the writing thing. No response to a submitted piece is just downright rude and passive aggressive, not saving anyone’s feelings. If you don’t have the time to send me even a two line form letter, you don’t have time to run a publication. I have a hard time culling the list of publications to which I submit, but your door I will gladly never darken again.

In happier news, the quarterly compilation from Mad Scientist Journal with my story, Beginning Botanist’s Guide to Lair Defense, is up on Amazon and Amazon UK and Smashwords. I’ve also been tapped to write a pulp circus novelette which will appear later this year and the table of contents for Emby Press’ Dark Monocle, an anthology of steampunk monster hunting has been released. My story, Spirits of the Season, will appear there soon.

Capes & Clockwork anthology of Steampunk and Superheroes

This is just a quick post to alert reader to my latest publication. The eagerly awaited anthology, Capes & Clockwork, available both through Amazon and B&N, is now available! My story, Aeolus, Chiron and Medusa was partly an experiment in voice and a foray into steampunk. It is not my last, however, as I have a steampunk monster hunter tale coming out through Emby Press and I will be working on other pieces soon.

Currently, I’m trying to polish up a scifi adventure tale on a very different planet, with nary a human in sight, a tale about food and the circle of life, a threshold-crossing tale of terror beyond the veil, and a Queen fighting extraordinary odds to keep her civilization in tact, or at least allow it to survive. It’s a busy month, hopefully the start of a busy an successful year.