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Posts from the ‘WARP CORDOVA’ Category

The Grim and The Bright

(Thanks for rescuing me. They were threatening to make me write romance novels as a form of punishment until I showed them one of my pen names and the Harlequin-esque novel. They hurriedly gave in to your demands and now I’m free.)

Part of the issue today with aspects of science fiction is that some authors believe that there is no hope in the future. This reflects in their writing, and their public personae as well. Far too often we’re trying to hook teens and young adults on gritty realism and bleakness when we should be offering them hope and escapism in a story. I know that the kids at my work don’t want to read a book about the grim realities of life. They prefer superhero movies where there is a chance at the hero to be a hero.

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The Weather Abides

I was working on my next Kin Wars Saga novel and got to thinking: we use the weather to set the mood, sure, but why? Everybody knows that if you have a funeral it’s supposed to rain, and a happy ending is a bright sunny day. Depressive days are flat, dull, grey and cold, while snowy days are typically for celebrating holidays.

Is this a learned writing technique or do we instinctively do it?

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Stir the Pot

I don’t like to stir the pot. Primarily because I’ve discovered that the best slow cooker involves a pressure cooker and only 20 minutes!

But today I’m definitely stirring the pot with a big ol’ wooden spoon (we ran out of wooden assterisks, sorry) because Worldcon just went and jumped the shark.

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Small Press Co-Authoring Madness

Since we’re here, let me regale you with tales of old…

As many of the established readers of this site know, I’m still fairly new to the business. This coming November I’ll be celebrating 7 years since my first novel was published. Part of my highly exaggerated “charm” is that I have no clue as to the little nods and winks in science fiction that bigger names understand. I don’t get the geek humor a lot (I’m not of you, but adopted) and I don’t even understand why there are cliques in fandom now (outside of the obvious psychological need to exclude people when oneself was excluded from social functions many years ago, but that’s a different essay).

So believe me when I am surprised when people mock me when I say I’ve published the majority of my work with small press publishers. I don’t quite grasp their looks of horror when I share how many co-authors I’ve worked with over the years. I am, as they say, naive to the horror stories of small press and co-authors.

Don’t misunderstand, neither is all roses and cash all the time (God, I wish it were!). No, it takes a dedicated focus to succeed at either. To succeed at both takes a certain level of crazy that… uh… gets you invited to… er… write for the Mad Genius Club.

Son of a…

I first approached a big publisher back in 2005 with my completed novel “Corruptor”. It was a decent first novel that needed an editor’s touch (still does) but fit into the (at the time) needs of the growing YA/Teen subgenre. However, nobody would touch it and the book ended up being contracted with Twilight Times, a small press I had heard about through a friend. It was a lengthy book that didn’t fit into the “mold” at the time. You see, this was when urban fantasy was really taking off and people were saying that it would be the death of science fiction, so nobody was taking anything like what I had written except small houses. Unless I had werewolves falling in love with humans while battling vampires and vice versa, I did not have what they wanted.

While I have had troubles with one or two of the small houses I’ve worked with, all in all it has been a collection of very pleasant experiences. I don’t have the issue of being the sole person responsible for editing and publishing my books, as I could have had if I had gone indie. I’m still responsible for marketing myself, but the publisher usually has ideas that can help. They also design the cover art, something that I suck at, and often get truly commissioned art for the cover and nothing recycled (“Corruptor” and “Wraithkin” come to mind). The other added benefit of working with a small press publisher is that, unlike some of the bigger houses, you get paid far more often at rates that are comparable to that of going indie. It’s part of the reason I haven’t truly gone indie yet: I like writing, but I hate everything else that publishers can take care of for the writer.

As for working with co-authors… well, I can only say that I have had great success with finding them and working together with them. Everyone knows the insanity in a novel when Chris and I work together, and I have had great financial success with Eric. I worked with another co-author, though, who almost soured me on the prospect of writing with others back before I had “Corruptor” contracted. That was partly my fault, since I bought into the “hype” and ignored a lot of the lack of substance he brought to the partnership. Plus, he was a bigger name than I was, so it probably worked out for the best.

Why, you ask? Well, because working with a co-author is harder to make work than a typical marriage.

It is hard to write a book with someone. It takes more than setting your ego aside. It takes a full commitment to the relationship to make it work (oh wow, total marriage comparison). Both authors have to know the limitations of their collaborator, and be receptive to ideas that you might not initially think would work. You have to listen, and not simply wait for them to quit speaking so you can say a rebuttal piece. Active listening is key here, people.  For example…

When Chris and I wrote “Kraken Mare”, we pretty much rewrote the entire book (I’d completed about 35,0000 words before I called in for some help). Even though there was a lot of insanity (and by a lot, I mean immeasurable amounts here… crazy giggling while talking and plotting/writing) we realized that we worked well together. We would easily feed off one another, hound each other when needed, and come up with ideas that the other would never have thought of, and pop culture references that one of us might have missed. It was fun, enjoyable, and we’re planning on more projects in the future once our free time reappears.

All in all, you have to be more than a little crazy to do either. To do both, well, you have to be certifiable Mad Genius. 🙂

And now your promotional news. Jason has a book out right now that you should buy. For a measly $3.99 you too can pick up your copy of the latest, Wraithkin, from Theogony Books. If you have KU then it’s free! Pick up a copy and leave a review.


All hail the Dragon!

Thanks to Amanda for getting this post online for me.

I had thought that, with the passing of the Hugo Awards, that the sh*tstorm would have dissipated as my fellow fans flock to the Peachtree State to revel in the glorious chaos and beauty of Dragoncon but alas, I was sorely mistake.

Twitter, Facebook, even Instagram (freaking Instagram!!!) the PuppyKickers are out in force, berating anyone deemed not supportive enough of the exclusiveness that is Worldcon and the Hugo Award. The attacks are bitter, flailing and, quite frankly, desperate sounding. But why, I asked as I spotted another attack on the International Lord of Hate on his Facebook page, the sudden attention back on the Sad Puppies after the self-proclaimed “victory” for the oppressed at Worldcon?

It’s almost as though someone, somewhere, is terrified of something… but what could it be?

Maybe this?


This beautiful piece of hardware is called the Dragon Award, which is being awarded at Dragoncon this weekend for the first time. This award came about after many members of Worldcon challenged those who did not like the Hugos to “start their own.”

Apparently, someone else replied with “challenge accepted.”

The finalists for the Dragon Award are truly varied and wide-ranging, from Ann Leckie to Jim Butcher, Larry Correia to Kin Stanley Robinson. This award was truly selected by the fans and it shows in how varies and just how many nominations were cast. I can’t wait to see the final tally numbers of just how many people actually participated in the selection and voting process.

I’m hoping that the award ceremony is live-streamed and everyone can watch it. I know it’ll be on DragonconTV (so in hindsight, that statement I just made is rather asinine because if it’s on DragonconTV then it’ll be online… but I’m leaving it in so you can understand a little about just how oddly my brain works) so… yeah, covered that.

Personally, I’m rooting for Charles Gannon. I’ve known the man for a long time and he always writes innovative and thoughtful material tightly-wrapped within an action packed story. I was also pleased to see that some smaller houses made appearances in the short list for their respective categories.

Quite frankly, it’s refreshing to look at the short list for the different categories and not get the feeling that anybody is “owed” the award because they’re “paid their dues” or whatever the hell that means. It feels open and honest, and I don’t have the strong desire to go take a scalding hot shower to scrub myself clean.

Something I cannot say after watching the Hugos this year.

(Shameless self-promotion time. Right now Kraken Mare is currently on sale for $0.99 at Amazon. If you haven’t picked up the craziest milSF/horror in recent memory (this week) then this is the perfect opportunity. Sale ends Monday September 4thso you better hurry.

That One Time When Jason Went A Little Nuts

I am a filthy whore.

Oh yeah, I totally went there. I have no shame about it, not anymore. If a publisher pays for it, baby, I’ll write it and fake that I am happy for as long as they know me (and the check clears). They don’t even have to pretend that they respect me as long as the money clears. $5,000 to write some silly smut novel under an assumed name? Why not? It all pays the same.

A lot of people really question my attitude about it. I don’t blame them, considering how hard I often come down on publishers for being dickweevils (totally a word in the south, promise) to their authors. But — and this is a Jennifer Lopez-sized but here — if the publisher is holding up their end of the contract and paying the author royalties and advances on time, then I’m an extremely forgiving guy when they don’t exactly push the new author as hard as their established mid-lister.

(looks around to see who is going to nuke this on Saturday and publicly wonder if I have truly lost my goram mind)

Look, the reason a lot of people write is because it can pay. Sure, I hold a lot of people in high regard who write purely for the art. Me? MONEY.

…and no psychiatrist bills…

Okay, I do have some standards. Like if a publisher wanted me to write gay alien cowboy romance (Star-Lords in Heat. Eh? Ehhh?) I wouldn’t write it for free.Okay, with a title like that, I’d probably write it for $50. That’s just too hilarious to pass up.

“Why,” you ask as you shake your head and wonder if you’ve fallen down the rabbit hole, “am I reading about this when I should be reading about writing and editing tips?”

Beats the hell out of me. I did warn you at the top (the title says it all).

By the way, Jason is an author who just collaborated on a novel that came out this past week, which was fortuitous timing. He didn’t plan it that way, but if you liked the movie Deadpool, MGC’s resident Spaniard suggests that you might also like his new novel, Kraken Mare, out now.

He would also like to apologize to the random gay alien cowboys who may have been offended at the idea of him writing a love story for them. They deserve better.


Whether they like it or not, we are part of the science fiction community

(Jason is having trouble with WordPress this morning, so I’m posting this for him.)

I’ve been pretty quiet up to this point about the Hugo nominations and the brouhaha it has caused. Oh sure, I’ve quietly seethed about it in my office while working on my latest book, and on more than a few occasions I’ve vented about how friends of mine – friends I consider practically family – have been lambasted and attacked, and accused of everything from racism to animal abuse. I’ve watched “professional journalists” (that was very hard to type with a straight face) abuse their own publication’s integrity by launching false and libelous attacks by using word of mouth as their only source, backing up their comments not with facts but with vitriol. I kept my mouth shut publicly not because I was worried I might harm my Campbell chances but because I didn’t want anything I said to hurt my friends and their chances at winning a Hugo.

Okay, I lost it a little bit when a Tor editor called my friends neonazis, but other than that…

I was up late last night writing this (it was 0400 when I stopped, and immediately started back up again once I was awake) and I just felt ready to throw in the towel. I was at the point where I just looked at everything and thought “Why bother? If any of my friends win, someone will throw a fit and accuse them of fraud, ballot-stuffing and lament how racism won and destroyed the Hugos. If my friends lose, they’ll cry triumphantly to the heavens that the racists have been defeated and they should just take their wannabe writer status and go home.”

It got worse when I found a post by Vox Day and who he thought would win the Campbell, and I saw that I wasn’t even worth mentioning. I mean, it’s one thing to doubt I’ll win it, but it’s something else to be discounted so much that I’m not even mentioned as a nominee. That was a swift kick in the balls, to say the least. I mean, I expected it from Puppy Kickers (PKers from here on out), but from someone who had me on their own initial Hugo ballot? Ouch.

So to counter this mild case of the blues, I went and played some Civilization 5 and conquered the world. As usual, defeating my enemies and driving them from their capitols in a fiery nuclear bombardment made me feel that much better. I bucked up, realized that my friends were grown ups and capable of defending themselves, and shouted “Hoist the Black Flag!”

(Well, I shouted in my head “Hoist the Black Flag!” Shouting that at 4 in the morning is just rude and my neighbors would not appreciate it)

How dare those who kick the puppies claim to represent diversity in the field when they only offer a bunch of white people and a token year in and year out as their nominees, yet call me and mine racists for nominating a broad spectrum of minorities. How can they accuse me and mine from having an overabundance of privilege without checking their own?

I’m done with your bullshit. I am absolutely done. You may have the right, but you are in the wrong when you attack my friends and try to harm their livelihoods because your award – which 95% of science fiction fans haven’t fucking heard of – is in danger of being awarded to those you don’t deem as the “proper” nominees. Any moral high ground you may have had is gone the moment you claim that certain female authors are nothing more than shields. All claims of not being a “racist” go out the window when you claim that Brad Torgersen’s wife and child are nothing but a shield for his own inner racism (that was one of the more idiotic things I’ve read, by the way).

Quite frankly, PKers, everything you claim that the Sad Puppies represent is a product of your own projection. I’m firmly convinced that you are the homophobic, racist hate mongers who are delusional. Every step, every public statement you’ve made, only reinforces this. Every single stance you’ve taken, from using “professional journalists” to write similar hit pieces to public condemnation of anyone who might say anything positive about us, all the way to demanding a rule change in the Hugo Nominating process just screams of maintaining your own exclusive club. And you know why the word “exclusive” is used in describing any such club? Because it excludes people who you view as undesirable. Your stance reminds me of the “Whites Only” and “Colored” drinking fountains standing side by side, separate but “equal”. This is why whenever I see someone telling my friends to go find their own award, I laugh.

Because despite what you PKers want to admit, we’re part of the SF community as well.

It sucks, I know, being forced to admit that people like Sarah and Brad and Larry might actually be good at writing and belong in your community. You can’t exclude them from it because SF is not a gated community, though it sounds like that may change if you get your way.

The Hugos are being awarded tomorrow night. If you’re going to nuke the nomination process and the awards themselves, PKers, will you at least wait 24 hours after the winners are announced so that they can enjoy their accolades? It would suck for Jim Butcher to win Best Novel and immediately be declared “persona non grata” by you before he could even enjoy his win.