Greetings and Salutations!

Welcome to the longest-running* yet least-read** blog on the internet! Here you'll find me writing about all the things that I write about, which strikes me, just now, as somewhat recursive. In any case, enjoy :)

* not true
** probably true

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Why I no longer play online social games

"...The game is a Chinese finger trap of the mind: soon you realize that inspiration is free, which, in economics terms, means that the inflated value of single-energy-point actions when “inspired” is not a “bonus” or a “maximum” value — it’s the baseline; it’s the “minimum”. Once you grasp that your character can be made inspired with a little flick of the game’s mechanics, you’ll never want to do money-earning actions without being inspired — and if you do (and this is the important part!) you’ll feel lazy.

Lazy! Lazy! Stupid! Lazy! (Fat!) Lazy! Stupid! Lazy!

So you’ll need four “newspapers” to “unlock” your “newspaper article” writing skill, which allows you to now use energy points to perform actions which earn money (while “inspired”, of course, so as not to feel lazy); perform those actions on a new skill enough times to earn a one-time skill level upgrade, which earns experience points and a money bonus — and so you realize you are literally (figuratively) living in a spider web. The currency which buys the “newspapers” to unlock your new skill-level-upgrade opportunity is, of course, virality: beg your friends.
Your friends all have newspapers. They have ice cubes and coffee beans and blocks of cheese and turnip seeds and guitar strings and sheet music and turtle-doves as well: they have whatever you need. They have it even if they aren’t playing the game. However, unless you ask them for it, they can’t give it to you. Unless you ask them for it, they don’t Actually Have it. If they are at the point where they need “Muse” items to build a Fucking Bookshelf, and you’re at the exact same point, if you ask them for a “Muse”, they can give you one, even if they don’t have it. You can give them one, too, even if you don’t have it. This is what suffices for escapism: that we have the power to create ephemeral things with concrete value, which can then be bartered for a bookshelf which is fully assembled as opposed to on the floor in a box.

In the future, three months will have passed, and you’ll still be checking in, from time to time, just to send items to your friends — all it takes is a single click in your inbox — and then maybe you’ll see that weeds have grown in your garden, and you’ll spend nine energy points to get rid of all of them, and then maybe by then you’ll have gotten a long- and good-enough look at your old homestead to consider coming back, and maybe spending a little money, this time.

In other words: we play, so that our friends are not miserable. We suffer, so that others might not suffer. We pay money so that we might suffer less.

What gruesome psychomathematiconomist devised this heart-labyrinth? Or: now you know what happens to psychiatrists who are decommissioned because they break the doctor-patient confidentiality rule."

Monday, September 19, 2011

Updates

  • The Thief Who Spat in Luck's Good Eye is now available for free on Barnes & Noble's Nook ereader. It has a 'sales' rank of 29,686
  • The Big Book of New Short Horror should be available this week in hard cover, trade paperback, kindle and nook
  • I have this weird rash on three fingers that won't go away
  • You can read the first paragraph of Villette & Vampires below
  • I'll be mostly unavailable til the end of the month as I finish up a non-fiction project for a deadline. Play nice in my absence, huh?
That is all.

***

My godmother lived in a handsome house in the ancient and vampire-free town of Bretton. Her husband's family had been residents there for generations, and bore, indeed, the name of their birthplace--Bretton of Bretton: whether by coincidence, or because some remote ancestor had been a personage of sufficient importance to leave his name to his neighbourhood, I know not for certain. It is true that some in the town speculated that Bretton did not suffer the depredations of the blood-drinking host because of a dark and secret pact forged between the vampires and the original Bretton, but whenever the subject arose in my presence, my godmother called this idle chatter, not fit for tender ears such as mine at the time. Then the speaker would move on to other matters, leaving me somewhat disappointed.

Friday, September 16, 2011

Villette & Vampires

For those of you fortunate enough never to have been forced to read Charlotte Bronte's Villette, it's um, boring. Really, really boring. I say this not because I am spiteful, but because it is true. It's not bad. It's not awful. It's just really, really boring.

Don't worry, though, because I've decided to fix that for you. In the grand (?) tradition of Pride & Prejudice & Zombies, Android Karenina and Sense & Sensibility & Seamonsters, I'll be spicing up Charlotte's boring tale of a school mistress in a foreign land searching for love with the judicious application of (non-sparkly) vampires.

That is all.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Today I Am Lucky

I like to spend time on other writer's blogs - this should come as no surprise, really. One site I especially like is the Night Shade Books blog, The Night Bazaar, as the blog entries aren't churned out by some underpaid junior editor or unpaid intern, but by Night Shade's authors themselves.

So when Thomas Roche put up a meditative post about zombies, I left a comment. I do that sometimes. I had no idea that Night Shade was also running a promotion where if you comment, you also stand a chance to win a copy of this (which I did):

Now let me just explain that I never win anything. Well, that's not exactly true. I won two tickets, a movie poster and a t-shirt for Berry Gordy's The Last Dragon when I was fourteen. Motown kung fu movie = awesome. Zombies + arsenals + crime lords + San Francisco + a tiger = Awe. Some. So actually my luck is pretty darn good. It's just very, very, very far between.

Thanks, Thomas!

Sunday, September 11, 2011

My new, new favorite number: 10,154

According to the numbers available to me, Thagoth's record low ranking on Amazon was #428,352 back on July 15th. Now I know it has been lower than that; the book's been around a good long while, and there were vast stretches of time - months - where not a single copy was sold. But the data made available to me only goes back to June 16th.

Last night I visited Belinda Frisch's blog (an excellent writer of horror; please check her out) and saw that she'd helpfully given a nice detailed how-to on getting your book featured on the Kindle Lover's site. What the hey, I thought, and followed the quick and painless steps she'd indicated.

When I went to bed, Thagoth was ranked #223,862. When I woke up, it was at #13,263. At the time of this writing, it's at #10,154. It may continue to climb. I'd be ecstatic if I could break into 4 digit territory (sure, I'd be happy for three digits, but let's not get crazy). The highest ever ranking for Thagoth that I have data for was #34,421 on August 17th.

The lesson learned? Try new things. Listen to the hive mind. Always look for new ways to connect with readers. The fight is not with other authors or books, or with publishers, or anything else but obscurity.

Make some noise.

Thursday, September 08, 2011

The Big Book of New Short Horror is almost here














I received my galley for BBNSH (seriously, I'm not gonna type 'the Big Book of New Short Horror' more than I have to, ok?), and it really is big: 58 stories. 354 pages.

Luckily I only had to proofread the six pages of my story.

So I have to admit, I'm a little nervous about this anthology. The first story, ('Twilight' by Ron Koppelberger) is a fine flash fiction story- just a smidge over 200 words. It's moody, atmospheric, and barely a speedbump before you get to my story.

This is a little scary.

I don't know about you, Dear Reader, but when I pick up a new anthology or short story collection, if the first two or three stories don't grab me, it's much less likely I'll move on to all the rest. Those pole position stories set the tone for the tome, so to speak.

So I'm feeling some pressure. Self-inflicted, but real.

On the plus side, the first few stories in an anthology also tend to get mentioned when it comes time for reviews. So now, hopefully, I get to put my money where my mouth is regarding feedback and the whole 'a bad review is better than ignominy' stand I've taken previously.

From the publisher:

The book is 354 pages, and will be released in both trade paperback and hardcover.  Trade paperback (cover price $19.99); hardcover w/ dust jacket ($27.99)

Saturday, September 03, 2011

TOC (Table of Contents) for 'The Trigger Reflex':

From editor Miles Boothe:

28 Stories * 13 Returning to the Hunt * 15 New Blood
The Trigger Reflex
1. Night and Day by Michael McClung
2. Hunting Vengence by Steven Gepp
3. Iron Bells by *Joshua Reynolds
4. The Pretty Ones by Angel Propps
5. The Shomer Express by Edward Erdlac
6. Rancho Diablo by *John Whalen
7. Blood Red by *Thom Brannan.
8. 'Til the Sun is in the Sky by *Rob Pegler. 
9. Alpha by *Marc Sorondo
10. The Enemy Within by *Liam Cadey
11. Adaptive Strategies by William Wood
12. Gateway by Daniel Durrant 
13. With My Vortex In Hand, I Boldy Go Forward by Medina Falcon 
14. Our Fields by Paul Salvette 
15. Shock to the Corset by *T.W.Garland 
16. Bats by Derek Muk
17. Emergence by *Christopher Nadeau
18. Drawing First Blood by Kevin Walsh
19. Knocking Then Dead by *John X. Grey
20. Under Construction by Mike Brooks
21. There's Something in the Woods by *Ed Mckeown
22. Intrepid Dawn by *Angela Meadon
23. Good Hit by Mark Sual
24. Damned Pretty Woman by *Matthew Baugh
25. Groundhog Day by Phillip Norris
26. Coward's Run by *H.J. Hill
27. Fallen States by Jason Papke
28. New Fallen Snow by *Miles Boothe



Hunting Season Begins Fall 2011 

Thursday, September 01, 2011

I've no idea what it means

...but 'The Thief Who Spat In Luck's Good Eye' has been downloaded 108 times on Smashwords, and 97 times on Scribd. At least one person whom I have never met read it and liked it (hi Julia!) so I can already call the experiment a success.

Of course I've no real idea if it has bumped sales for Thagoth, as I don't get sales info until Random House sees fit to send me a sales statement (supposedly every six months),  but a rough guestimate (scientifically measured by looking at Amazon sales ranks) is that a couple of copies were sold as a direct result of putting "The Thief Who Spat" out there for free.

An aside- how is it that I can put together a better cover, for less than $14 and two hours work, than one of the Big Six publishers? Easy. I gave a shit and they didn't. I'm actually really happy with the cover. (No, it's not perfect, but it conveys the mood, and that's really Amra there on the cover, the way I see her. That half of her face you can't see in the pic? Yeah, there's a few scars there.)

Now the only other thing I could wish for is a review or two...