Rumors of my Demise etc

I’ve written for as long as I can remember, or damn close to it. I’ve always wanted to do it, you know, and make some manner of living at it. For many years, I had (still do, shush) that fear of actually¬†showing my work to anyone, which makes it difficult for it to be published, and thus, it turns out, purchased.

So I scribbled, refined, and threw away millions of words. Then one day, I realized I hated my job and what I was doing with my life, so I decided I was going to write something, show it to people, and maybe even sell it.

I started the project I had always wanted to. A series of stories, stories that reflect my love of history and chaos theory (and spaceships). Stories where people float (and die) in space. Where the bad guys are defined more by their greed than their sinister suits, and the good guys aren’t exactly good. I loved writing in that universe.

In order to help with my goal of actually doing it, and actually showing people, I put the drafts of the stories up online, for anyone to read. Some people even did! And liked them! Holy crap. When I had enough, I launched a Kickstarter campaign to publish it.

It failed miserably.

I went back to the drawing board, and did another one. It squeaked by. I got the editing done, the cover was actually contributed, and I had a book out.

That was in 2013. Which is, as the loyal readers I do have like to remind me, way too damn long ago. The follow up has been written, rewritten, scrapped completely, redone and half-done. Which is where we find it today.

joker

So, today, I’m asking you to give me a kick in the ass to finish it. Starting today, and every Friday until I am done, a new story is going up on the 3024AD site. Read it. Tell me if it sucks, or it’s awesome, or whatever. Yell at me if I’m late. Check back here for notes about the stories.

And, if you want to chip in to this little, alcohol-fueled dream of mine, I started a Patreon site. It would mean the world and much more to me if you felt like my writing is worth spending even a few bucks on (also, anyone who supports that gets the first book automatically).

So here we go.

-DESR

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The Emerald City ComiCon Special

As you are most likely aware, Emerald City Comic Con is this weekend. I am even going to be there! It’s actually kind of last minute, so I don’t have a table – or really enough of a fan base to justify one. But I have a most devious plan to change that!

All weekend long, 3024AD is 100% totally free! I will be handing out cards at ECCC

with that link on them. If you click it, you will instantly to transported to the magic download portal* where you can download your very own free copy! You can send it to your friends, and they can send it to their friends and literally every person on earth could download it for free, laving me completely destitute BUT with enough of a fan base to justify a table next year.

SO.

Download it. If you like it (or don’t), please tell other people and consider dropping a review by GoodReads, Amazon and/or Kobo. If you really super duper like it, click the ‘buy’ link up top and you can buy a paperback, which I will gladly sign and send to you along with goodies.

A Sense of Purpose

2014, for me at any rate, was a bust. There was plenty of external stuff that’s not worth going into, but there was quite a bit of internal struggle, re: writing. The short version is that I wasn’t happy with the editing with 3024, but didn’t catch the problems until after the book was out. Sales lagged, and I didn’t want to push the marketing too hard on a sub-standard product, so it languished for a while. On top of that, I wasn’t particularly sure if self-publishing was the road I wanted to take in the future, for a whole list of reasons.

But now, I have a direction- or at least, I think I do. So here’s the roundup of all my projects, and my goals and plans for them for 2015:

3024AD: Series One: Finally, finally ready to roll. Books will be sent to Kickstarter backers shortly, along with the other rewards. From there, it is a matter of getting it into bookstores, and pushing marketing, etc. This will take place over the next month and change.

3024AD: Series Two (and more): This has been one of the sticking points for me. My original plan was for 3024 to be a novel, with the short stories being sort of complimentary to it. But, on the whole, I like the idea of telling the whole story through shorts. So, as my outline sits right now, there will be two more collections, but I’d wager that will expand to at least three. It will be like Pulp Fiction, but in space, and everyone dies. OK, not everyone. But most of them. My goal is to have editing done for S2 by June.

Full Length Novel: I am working on two- one is a sort of Steampunk thing, the other pure scifi fun and insanity. The latter is the one I am going to attempt to finish first. I do no know if I will self-publish it, or seek and agent/traditional publisher, and I think that will depend on how the 3024 stuff goes. But, it will be finished by years end.

The Venturess: This is, of course, pure fun. SciFi Choose your Own Adventure. This is a passion project, so my goal for this is to get as many people reading and voting as possible. But I also want to drink and need to eat, so I am in the process of organizing a Patreon campaign around it- that way if you want to chip in, you can, but will keep the project itself completely free. Incidentally, there are now social channels for The Venturess- Twitter, G+ and Tsu so far. Follow it, vote, and if you feel so inclined, keep an eye out for the Patreon.

 

In Response

I sat back, incredulous, believing only that my eyes deceived me. There was no way they were interpreting the light coming from my laptop correctly. Somewhere between that glowing screen and the synapses of my brain, the signal was jumbled. Maybe the problem lay deeper, I though, and clicked refresh. But there it was, plain as day.

Five stars.

Another one.

I dare you to review this book.

I dare you to review this book.

No. Way. Why? How? Who? Questions ran through my scrambled brain, trying to rectify the words I was reading to the apparent fact that they were about words I had written.

best things from Indiana Jones, Star Wars, and Firefly“*

A wonderful collection of characters and tales, seeded throughout with colorful snippets of “future history.”*

“skilled story-telling and imaginative world-building“*

“Humanities crowning achievement. A modern wonder of the world, surpassing the first seven.”**

They had to be talking about someone else. Not me. I had to know why. I gchatted my friend, Carey.

“You’ve been reading reviews again, haven’t you?”

Maybe.

“You’re an idiot,” she said, sending me a link to a ridiculous cat gif.

Really helpful. I pressed on in my righteous course. I had to find out who these people were and why they said these things. One of the reviews was from ‘Scott’, as if that would be his real name. I found him on Twitter, and from the looks of it, he likes sports (as if) and runs a blog where he gives thoughtful, balanced reviews to a lot of SciFi books. He even writes. Probably writing these nice reviews in order to get attention.

What a monster.

Maybe I’m crazy, I thought. Should I just leave it alone? But then- he lives not to far from here. An hours drive…

A couple minutes of Googling later, and I have his home and work address, phone numbers and a disturbingly descriptive account of an incident with a banana in grade school.

Obviously Carey was no help, so I tried Megan.

“Hey.”

“Don’t do it, you moron.”

“I haven’t even said anything yet.”

“Carey told me.”

“Already?”

“Yes. Don’t. Do. It.” More links to gifs, this one from that show, with the guy giving the side eye. Apparently it’s funny because his name is Dean.

They don’t understand. Don’t they get it? These reviews could make me. If people read them, they might buy my book, and I might make enough to write full-time. So I have to meet him. I have to know.

Maybe I should call first. Yeah, I’ll do that. The phone rings, his ringback tone is that damn Happy song, because of course it is.

“Hello?”

My blood is ice when he answers. What am I even going to say?

“Hi. Scott?”

“Yeah.”

The man’s nerve is not to be believed. He doesn’t even deny his online persona. Who does that? Monsters, that’s who.

“Hey, uh Scott. You write a book blog, right?”

“Yeah, I do.”

“What’s your review policy?”

He goes on about it for awhile, never even denying anything. He’s super pleasant the whole time.

The nerve of this guy.

“so, yeah, feel free to send it over. You have my email?”

Oh, I have your email, Scott.

The exchange rattles around in my brain for the next few days. I want more. I’m not satisfied. He needs to explain himself. I want him to say, “Yes, I’m Scott Whitmore and I gave your book five stars.”

I need to see him, face-to-face, man-to-man, and possibly several other arbitrary pairings. So it is, I am sitting in his driveway, holding my breath, ready for the exchange. I don’t know what I’m going to say, my mind is a cold London night in a fog as I walk up the drive. I exhale as my knuckles reach the door- the die is cast.

The door opens. It’s him.

“Hi, Scott,” I say.

“Do I know you?”

“It’s Dean.”

His face is blank. “You reviewed my book.”

“Oh! Hey! Yeah, man. I really liked it. What are you doing here?” I feel guilty for lying on the phone before. But I have to see it through,

“I… I wanted to know why.”

He looks puzzled. “I… I really liked it.”

Relief washes over me. “Oh. Cool.” What now? “How about the Mariners?”

“It was a fun season! Want a beer?”

Yeah, Scott. Yeah I do.

**NOTE: The people mentioned in this post are real, and are wonderful, and I don’t think Scott has a weird grade-school story involving a banana. Megan and Carey would send me gifs, tho**

*from real reviews of 3024AD.

**This one is not.

The State of Things Address

I realize I have been mostly dormant on here, but I wanted to take a moment and catch everyone one up on what is going on.

Remember back in December/January, when 2014 was new and full of opportunity and wonder? Well, for me at least, 2014 has been terrible on pretty much every front. I won’t delve in to many details, but it has all-around been kind of a nightmare. It will come as a surprise to exactly no one that I never really fit in super well in the 9-to-5 working world, and that has caught up to me in a big way. On the plus side, it has driven home that what I want to do is write.

About that:

I have (again) changed (day) jobs in order to focus more on writing. This is freeing up a lot of time for writing, although not nearly as lucrative. But, hey: hopefully it will lead to writing actually being so. So what does that mean for you, the reader, and my getting words in front of you?

I don't really have an appropriate picture for this post, so here is Gir dancing.

I don’t really have an appropriate picture for this post, so here is Gir dancing.

Over the last year or so, I have started several projects. I dearly love 3024AD, but I don’t want that to be the only thing I write, and neither do you. It struck me that, since 3024AD is all short stories, my debut novel is still to come (which was what 3024AD was supposed to be, but it lends itself to the short story format). I will talk a little about those projects, but first the 3024AD:

3024AD: Short Stories Series One: The second edition is well on its way. The only hold-up at this point is the printing process, and I am weeding through printers. CreateSpace does a great job, but I’d rather avoid Amazon (obviously) and would prefer someone more local and/or better. So. Not exciting to talk about, unless you really like looking at proofs. Once I select one, I am at the mercy of how long it will take to print and ship them. After that, they will be in the hands of the Kickstarter backers, then stores.

3024AD: Short Stories Series Two: Meanwhile, I have been working on the rest of the 3024AD universe. I had planned on having two short story collections and one novel, but I have scrapped that. Since a lot of the stories are taking place concurrently, a novel would feel clunky. So I have re-outlined much of it, so all three main storylines will now be told in short story format. I think you will all like it.

New Project No. 1: I really dig the look and feel of a lot of steampunk stuff, even if I never really got into the whole world/scene of it. Plus, my mind always works forward, so regressing to Victorian/steam powered stuff doesn’t really fit the whole ‘write what you know’ thing. But in doodling around with it, I wrote a short I really liked, with a character I really, really liked. Instead of steam, I have looked forward to a sort of post-apocalyptic world where clean energy is prevalent. So it has light prop-driven planes, zepplins and a world trying to survive in the wake of pollution destroying the environment (I call it ‘Clean Punk’).

It’s not as much of a statement as that makes it sound. Well, maybe it is.

New Project No. 2: I’m not quite ready to pull the curtain off this one yet. But it is an incredibly fun novel, with monsters. And robots. And spaceships. Basically, it is the epitome of ‘write what you know’. (speaking of monsters, check out Sara Amundson’s Make-A-Monster. You can be a monster!)

New Project No. 3: The full reveal will be tomorrow, but here’s the short version: it’s a SciFi choose-your-own-adventure story. Best part: Totally free. It will be posted bi-weekly online, and after each post, you, the reader, will get to vote on what happens next! All the details will be reveal tomorrow over at Nerds Feather!

So that’s what’s going on with me. Thanks for all your support!

DESR

Kickstarter: Wrap

Well, that went considerably better than last time. To all of you who backed it, helped spread the word, or put up with my spamminess over the last month: Thank you!

rally

Rally!

I have wanted to write, professionally, for a living, since I knew it was an option. It’s a long road to get there, and I am certainly not there yet, but this is a huge step towards it. My hope, nay, plan, is to do something different and better than what has been done before. I want to have a way to distribute my books in brick and mortar stores without them carrying it begrudgingly. I want to sell ebooks in a way that doesn’t leave me at Amazon’s mercy when they axe the 70% royalty option (and they will).

You all are helping make that happen. And, despite being someone who intents to make a living off words, they honestly fail me here. The support that’s been shown- and I don’t mean just monetarily- means the world to me. I’ve always wanted to write, to have people enjoy my silly stories of spaceships and tragic romance, and that you do, well… Like I said, words fail me.

So- what’s next? More details as events warrant, but the short version looks like this: As soon as the money clears, I will order the rewards and send out surveys. The new cover will be finalized and I will decide on a publisher. Once I have a good idea of when I will have the books in hand (squeeeeee) I will schedule the launch event at Village Books- probably a few months in advance, so all the reward copies will ship and be in people’s hands well before it hits the shelves. After that, I shift gears to marketing the heck out of it, and wrapping up Series Two (with the named character rewards!).

So, there you have it. I’ll keep you updated with progress as it happens. Again, thank you all so much.

DESR

Big News

I alluded to it earlier today on Twitter, but there is big news coming.

Big news, Everyone!

BIG news.

This is not the post where I tell you that news. Sorry.

This is the post where I say this:

I am saving that news for Friday. BUT, because you guys are awesome, I want to share that news with you sooner. Say, tomorrow. I have several people’s email addresses, but I want to make sure that I reach all my, well, fans (still weird to say that). SO, if you want to be in on the news first please do the following:

Email me (deanfortythree at gmail) with the subject ‘3024ad’.

I will then email y’all tomorrow evening with the news, so that you, hopefully, can spread it in turn come Friday, and on.

I can’t wait to share this with you, and reflecting today on how many of you there actually are to share this with… I’m even more excited.