Konrath’s Advice to Publishers

This weekend, i took a break from writing and packing for DragonCon to do a little reading. Check out Konrath’s Advice to Publishers. A lot of it is good advice and it makes for a good read.


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Progress Report

I think every writer has a story they want to tell that gives them trouble. It challenges them in some way. It’s a story that they can only tell when they’re ready. For me, that story is A Simple Request. Back when I first started writing, it was one of the three stories I tried to get published. The other two stories were The Gift of Fury and Fall from Grace.

After listening to David Drake and Robert Aspirin during a panel at DragonCon, I wanted to tell a different type of story. It was going to be a character driven piece that was as much about the choices they made and their repurcussions. I wanted the reader to put themselves in the shoes of the characters making those choices and wonder what they might have done in their place. It was a lofty goal, one I didn’t meet with the first incarnation of the story. The feedback I got from Baen’s Bar and the other places I submitted it to was less than encouraging so I put the story on hold.

A year later, I revised the story with the feedback I was given. The changes I made turned the story into something it was not. Too much of it was left open for the readers to fill in the blanks. It wasn’t a story, I could really stand behind. Again, I set it aside.

With the completion of Crossroads and The Court of the Two Sisters, I wanted to do something else before finishing up Skindancer and the next Count Albritton story, I dug out A Simple Request and took a long hard look at the story I had written. It was still a story I wanted to tell but I needed room and space to tell it. Since I’m no longer trying to submit short stories to magazine and contests, I decided to expand the story and flesh it out.

It’s been a little over two weeks since I started work on it. The story has been coming along nicely. I’m more focused on telling the story and not some lofty concept. I could go into detail about the characters and settings. The story is rapidly becoming one of my favorites. With any luck, I’ll have it done before I leave for Atlanta. While I’m there, I’ll have time to work on the next project before DragonCon begins.

Okay, that’s all for now. I’ll post some news and information later on this week.

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Saturday Rant

I think the problem with some people is that they lack a basic understanding of science and factors outside their own little world so they live in a constant state of denial. For example: Climate is not weather. Medications can have more than one use that includes birth control pills. Flu shots do not cause autism or mental retardation. Trickle down economics doesn’t work. And finally, reading one article about “whatever” doesn’t make you an expert on a topic. For all you know, the person writing said article might not know what they’re talking about.


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Author Spotlight: Jim Butcher

Jim Butcher is the author of the Dresden Files and the Codex Alera series. I could extoll his virtues but you’re better off visiting his website at www.jim-butcher.com. It’s a good place to visit whether your a fan, a fellow author or like me, both. You’ll learn more about him and what he’s up to.

He has a LiveJournal Blog that hasn’t been updated in some time but there is a lot of entertaining and insightful stuff there. I learned a lot, reading some of his posts. The posts about Scenes and Sequels were very helpful. Ocassionally I go back to the blog and search through the posts when I need a little help.

On a more personal note, I met him at a convention. At the time, I didn’t know who he was. I remember saying something stupid. Despite that, he took time from his busy schedule to give me some advice that made a lot of sense. I came away from the encounter with the feeling that I could do this and a smaller more manageable ego.


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Why Amazon Terrifies Publishers

Check out Why Amazon Terrifies Publishers: Let’s Look at Royalties Statements over at Forbes magazine. George Anders gives a little insight into Amazon’s methods. He writes the following:

Amazon has a pretty clear-eyed view of what it will take to keep the book-reading habit alive in a new generation of consumers. As Amazon’s senior vice president for Kindle, Russell Grandinetti, recently told The New York Times, “Books don’t just compete against books. Books compete against Candy Crush, Twitter, Facebook, streaming movies, newspapers you can read for free. It’s a new world.”

It explains a lot of moves Amazon has made in the past. It might also offer clues as to what the future hold for readers, authors, and publishers. All in all, these are exciting times.


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Kindle Unlimited

Kindle Unlimited gives you the freedom to explore. Try new genres, discover new authors, and dive into new adventures with unlimited access to Amazon’s wide and varied selection of books. From rhetoric to romance, or comedy to tragedy, you will find unlimited stories waiting to be discovered. Relive the classics you grew up with, start on that best seller you’ve been wanting to read or try one of the hundreds of thousands of books you won’t find anywhere. Find your next great read today.

For more information and to sign up for a free thirty day trial, visit the Kindle Unlimited page at Amazon.

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Some Thoughts on Marvel’s Announcement

Yesterday, Marvel released some news about Thor. A lot of people seem to have a problem with a woman being able to weild the power of Thor. In a way, I blame the media and the more sensational headlines. Thor is not getting a sex change or turning into a woman as some of the wilder headlines claim.

As a long time comic book reader and fan, Thor has always been one of my favorite characters. He was one of the most powerful heroes in the Marvel universe. First and foremoest, he was a warrior. He was always willing to throw himself into any battle no matter how bad it looked. More importantly, he represnted hope. His power came from his hammer, Mjolnir. Anyone who was worthy could wield the weapon and possess the power of Thor. He was a hero anyone could be. Your race, gender, nationality, or ethnicity didn’t matter. This is why I find the backlash mystifying and disturbing.

This isn’t the first time someone else has wielded Thor’s hammer. There have been at least four men, one of them an alien, who wielded the power of Mjolnir. In the Earth X series, Thor was even a woman. Also, let’s not forget the time when Thor was turned into a frog yet he was still able to use his hammer and godlike power. Each person who wielded the power was called Thor. Odin, Sif, and the other gods didn’t refer to Eric Masterson or the others who succeeded the orginal as Thor but the general public did.

Some think this is purely an attempt to create a new female character to increase diversity. It’s the same story when a new character is unvieled or an existing one passes the torch on to a person of color, lgbt, or whatever. They say you don’t need to artificially add diversity to comics. They say you should focus on creating good characters and stories, instead of changing exiting characters. Maybe, just maybe, people are creating good characters that happen to be persons of color, female, lgbt, or whatever? Maybe the change is motivated by a writer wanting to tell a cool story and the publisher going, “Wow! That’s an awesome idea, let’s run with it,”? I’m willing to wait and see what Jason Aaron does with Thor before I pass judgment. He’s already crafted some great stories.

The last arguement some naysayers raise is the one that bothers me the most. They say a man more worthy to possess the power of Thor than a woman. That’s an argument we should all reject. It’s the path to hate and discrimination. Those using this argument could easily say the same thing about any race, nationality, or whatever to further their wrong and backward thinking. In their eyes, the only ones who are worthy or can be a hero are white heterosexual males and that’s a problem.

All of this backlash is a sympton of a larger problem. The way some long time comic book entusiasts and professionals see women, minorities, and lgbt needs to change. It’s no longer the 50s, 60s, or 70s when most of our favorite comic books characters were created. Times have changed and so have we. Comics (and the media in general) need to change as well.

Finally, the most important thing I’ve learned to day is that you can’t spout misogynistic crap and keep your girlfriend. At least two people on Facebook learned that today.


Edit: Another thing that bugged me about all of this concerns Loki. For a time, Loki was a woman. There was no backlash or angry cries from fans. Why was that? A character that was male was now female. No one wanted to lynch anyone. Instead, people seemed enthusiatic about the change. For those of you reading this who have a problem with the change to Thor, where was your anger?  Was it because Loki was a villain and it’s easy to recast the character as a femme fatale?

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