I Will Be At CONvergence

I will be at CONvergence this weekend. The con runs from Thursday the 2nd to Sunday the 5th.

While I’ve been attending this convention for many years, this will be my first time being on a panel at it. That panel is E-Books And The Marketplace. It’s at 3:30PM on Thursday and will be in DoubleTree atrium 7. Also on the panel are Rory Ni Coileain, Michael R. Underwood, Lee Harris, and Tyler Tork. You can find the complete schedule here.

CONvergence is one of the best cons around. It has more panels than I’ve ever seen elsewhere and the party rooms at night are a blast. If you live in Minnesota, or even any bordering state, I strongly recommend you check it out.

I Will Be At Fargo Core Con

This weekend is Fargo Core Con VII, which is an annual sci-fi/fantasy/horror/anime/general geek culture convention held in Fargo, North Dakota. Every year Core Con has a theme and this year that theme is A Touch Of Evil, which seems to be a fancy way of saying horror. It is held at the Baymont Inn & Suites. If you want more general information on the con, you can check out their website.

I’m sharing this information not just because it is a convention in my (sort of) area, which is always something to be excited about, but also because I will be attending. It’s my first year going to this particular con but I’ve heard good things about it. What’s more, for the first time ever, I will be on two panels at this con.

The first panel I will be on is called Horror Anthologies 101 at 1PM on Friday. The second is How To Become A Published Horror Writer and is at 2:45PM on Saturday. On both of these panels with me will be Roy C. Booth (who you may know from Phase 2 Magazine), Cynthia Booth, and Axel Kohagen. All three of them were also in the In Shambles horror anthology with me. You can find a complete schedule for the convention here.

I will also take pretty much any opportunity I get over the course of the weekend to talk about Phase 2 Magazine (issues 1 and 2 out now, issue 3 releases next month) and the upcoming Something In The Machine horror anthology.

While the con runs Thursday through Sunday, I will only be in attendance Friday through Sunday. If you’re in the area, entry is only $50 at the door and is good for the entire weekend. Stop by, watch some panels, and have fun.

My New Notebook

I have a bad habit it starting to write in a notebook, then getting a new notebook and starting to write in that before I fill the old one. There’s usually one reason or other, but it’s led to me having a stack of nice, often semi-expensive (there are a couple real, full sized Moleskine notebooks in the stack) that are less than half full. I’ve been working on correcting that habit recently by using notebooks I had already partially used.

Tonight, I had to make an exception and open up this new notebook for writing a cyberpunk adaptation of Edgar Allan Poe’s The Facts in the Case of M. Valdemar for an upcoming Punk Writers anthology. I say it’s for luck, in a way. You see, back in January, I traveled across the country to Baltimore to visit Edgar Allan Poe on our shared birthday. While I was there, I visited the big, fancy Barnes and Noble down at the waterfront. There I found they had red Piccadilly (basically a cheaper version of Moleskine) notebooks, which I had never seen where I live. I bought three of them and, until tonight, they had all remained in the bag. 


Hunt of the Damned Reprinted by Far Horizons

Last month, Far Horizons celebrated their one year anniversary with an oversized issue. That issue contained a reprint of my story, Hunt of the Damned.

Obviously, if you follow me at all, you’ve seen this story before. It has now been published by The Opening Line, Niteblade Magazine, Dark Futures, and Far Horizons. Far Horizons published the revised version previously found in Niteblade Magazine.

In any case, you should check out Far Horizons. They have a lot of people working hard to release a free genre fiction zine every month. Last month’s issue can be found here and the Far Horizons Facebook page is here.

Episode 29 of Voice of the Witness is Live

This is cross posted (and slightly revised) from a post I made on Facebook. It got a little long and I decided it was blog worthy.

It feels very strange to me, writing Voice of the Witness in a vacuum. That’s what I’ve been doing to this point. The Calamities Press editor has given me comments a couple of times and I’ve heard from a couple of people I know online that they’re reading it, but nothing really beyond that. I can see the episodes get likes and shares and retweets and all that so I know someone is almost certainly reading reading, but I never hear from any of them.

If you’re reading, I’d love to hear from you. Tell me what you think, even if it’s as simple as you like the way it’s going or there’s a certain character you like or don’t like. I’ll be revising the serial from the beginning soon and knowing what people do or do not like would be beneficial in that process.

Anyway, episode 29 was posted this week. On paper, it’s the second to last episode of this micro arc. In actuality, it’s more like it’s the end of it and there will be a sort of in between episode before the next part begins. We have some action coming up, too.

In Shambles

I want to tell you about something I’m very proud of. That something is a horror anthology called In Shambles, which is published by Harren Press. I have a story in here called Drifting in the Dark and I think it’s one of the better things I’ve written. What’s more, in this book I share the table of contents with none other than Kevin J. Anderson. He is best known for writing The Saga of Seven Suns as well as books set in the Star Wars and Dune universes. He also created the character Dan Shamble, who appears in this anthology.

This is exciting to me because I grew up reading things Kevin J. Anderson wrote and I still do. Being included in the same anthology as him is extremely encouraging to me as a writer.

In Shambles is a good sized collection at a relatively small price. I can assure you it is worth every penny as well as your time. You can buy it for Kindle here and in paperback here or here.

I Will Be At Marscon 2015

I thought I would follow the lead of Patrick Marsh and make a brief post about Marscon.

Marscon in a convention held in Minnesota each March. It’s sort of one of those all around geek cons, though it has a primarily sci-fi leaning. It’s also one of Minnesota’s more laid back cons, whereas CONvergence is pretty much a four day party. That’s not to say there isn’t any partying at Marscon, because there most certainly is, just that it’s less of the focus. I find the average attendee of Marscon is a bit older than at CONvergence or one of our anime cons and you’re more likely to find people interested in having serious discussions about their interests. The panels also tend toward being more informative.

I won’t be doing any panels and I still don’t have anything to sell in the dealer room, but I will be there. Come find me, if you’d like. You can get in touch with me via Twitter or Facebook.

Leonard Nimoy

A few days ago, we lost one of the greats. Leonard Nimoy, best know as Spock on the original Star Trek, died. I grew up watching all the incarnations of Star Trek and, though it took until I was older to fully appreciate the original series, Spock was always among my favorite characters.

I don’t want to make it appear as though Spock were Nimoy’s only significant role, but I also don’t want to waste time giving you a list you could just as easily find yourself on IMDB.

By all accounts, he was a good man and he will be missed.

Outlining Voice of the Witness

It has been a long time since I’ve posted anything under the Voice of the Witness Commentary category here. I stopped doing it weekly when it was apparent no one was reading. I never intended to completely do away with it.

I’d like to begin by saying I am well aware the story started to get away from me early on. More recently, I’ve been taking control back. If you started at the beginning but lost interest, I urge you to give it another chance.

While I began writing Voice of the Witness with a rough idea of where I was going, it was not outlined as it should have been. Then I moved on to a system of having a rough outline of what would happen of the next few (poorly defined number) of episodes. That also didn’t give me precisely the result I wanted. Today, I’m going to talk about my current process for outlining the serial. It’s one I’m finally happy with and I think the results are solid.

There are some core things I wanted from this outlining process. They are as follows:

I wanted short episodes that are roughly consistent in length.
Currently, my target for an average episode is 250 words. This is bite-sized, which is both something Calamities Press wants and makes it easier to write on a weekly basis. It also means that you, the reader, can follow along week to week, or you can drop in once a month and catch up pretty easily. Of course, some more significant or action-filled episodes may need to be longer.

I wanted something to matter in every episode.
That doesn’t mean there will be something big in every episode. There won’t be. However, each episode needs to physically progress things (that is, move the characters further down the road), develop a character in some meaningful way, contain some revelation, or some combination of those three.

I wanted to make it easier to write.
Mission accomplished here. Following a pre-written guide one episode at a time makes the writing much faster and more coherent.

Now here is how I’m doing this:

I’m writing episode outlines in blocks of five.
Each block contains a micro arc, which in some way progresses the overall story. (If you’ve been following along, in this block that has been revealing some of Samuel’s history and why the people of Jeth seem to treat him strangely. Also, moving the three companions from Jeth to the field in the northeast where those blue flowers are known to grow.) Each episode in that block must progress that micro arc, whatever it may be. Some blocks containing more significant events may need to be longer, but I haven’t had that happen yet. I am eyeing a certain event not far down the road which may be the first of these, however.

I am writing a bullet point list for every episode.
In a way, it’s like I’m writing part of the episode in advance. I write bullet points telling what characters do, what the say, how they react to the others, and that sort of thing. When I go to write the actual episode, it’s like I’m just adding details and descriptions.

Right now, I just have a loose outline of where everything is going as a whole. I intend to start writing out a broader outline soon, maybe even tonight. I think I will finally write out a rough idea of the entire story (yes, I know how I mean for it to end and I have from the start). Then I will take that and break it down into chapters of a sort, each containing a certain number of the above mentioned blocks.

This doesn’t mean I wouldn’t appreciate feedback. I most certainly would. Hell, if I get going a way people don’t enjoy, I’d be willing to rewrite what I have. After all, a serial is written for an audience possibly more than any other form of story. So, as always, let me know what you think!

2015 Is Imminent

I think it’s a good idea to set some goals going into the new year. I also think it’s a good idea to make those goals openly known, so it’s harder for me to not follow through. Today, I will be sharing my writing and publishing related goals.

First of all, I intend to make more regular use of this blog in the coming year. I don’t plan to have a regular posting schedule at this time, but we will just have to see how things work out.

In 2015, I will once again be participating in a 52 In A Year type writing challenge. I fell far short of that in 2014, though I still think I had a good year, as far as writing is concerned.

I intend to miss no more episodes of Voice of the Witness. That alone would put me at very nearly 52 complete pieces for the year. Since those episodes are very short, however (my target for a standard episode is ~250 words, a bit longer for more important ones), I will not allow that to be enough.

Early in the year, I intend to begin the process of revising Voice of the Witness as far as it has been written. I will then begin publishing it regularly, from the beginning, on Watt Pad. At some point I will be collecting this serial in one or more volumes and offering those for sale, probably with some extra side content.

I also intend to write, at absolute minimum, one first draft of a complete, longer short story each month. Ideally, these will also be revised, edited, and submitted for potential publication shortly thereafter.

During 2015, I hope to complete at least the first draft of my first real book, which is currently untitled and I expect to be of novella length.

This is on top of launching Phase 2 as a proper quarterly publication in January and continuing that through the year.

This is, of course, all on top of running a literary magazine (Phase 2), which will be launching as a proper quarterly publication in January.