In every generation a slayer is born.
Oh wait…wrong opening line. In every generation, a plague of writers is visited upon…
Most people assume the act of writing is as simple as sitting in front of a computer and ralphing out page after page of coherent words. If it were that easy, there’d not only be millions of books adorning the virtual shelves of the likes of Amazon (which there are), but those millions of books would all be best sellers (which they are not). The truth of the matter is, writing a novel takes a lot of hard work. And once you’ve sacrificed sweat and soul for your work, you’ll find yourself up against a giant monster called marketing. Thankfully, countless others have gone through this process so we can pass on our worldly advice to those just now stepping their feet onto a very tall and precarious ladder.
The indie author boom has brought about the necessity for more and more audio book talent. But just like how self-publishing affords a lot of people who dream of being a writer (but shouldn’t bother), the same holds true for recording ebooks. I wanted to take a moment to lay out the challenges of recording audio books so anyone considering making a go at it can either say, with authority that, yes, they can do it… or run screaming.
On occasion, I write very bad things; from zombies eating babies, to a holy war between Heaven and Hell, to serial killers of all shapes and sizes. In light of the horror that has befallen so many across the world, I am often asked how I manage to pen the horrific and not lose my mind or my soul. I thought it time I addressed this issue — not only for readers of mine, but for other authors who might be grappling with the same type of issue.
I’ve often gone on public record to say I seek out inspiration from everywhere. As an artist, I feel it’s my job to see the unseen and find inspiration in unlikely or overlooked places. I’ve worked this way throughout my artistic life and it has yet to fail me.
Recently I announced I was going to embark on a bit of a genre tangent and wanted to highlight what it was that inspired my first purely sci-fi outing.
Imogen Heap, Mazzy Star, Jackson Pollack, Jack Kerouac, Arthur Miller, Samuel Barber, Damien Rice, Death Cab for Cutie… any of these sound familiar? They should. These are all artists, of various mediums, that are (or were) all considered ”indie”. Typically, being an “indie” artists brings along with it a certain respect and status. Those artists aren’t beholden to the “main stream” or dependent upon “the man”. Those artists are also often considered bold and driven by an integrity not found in the mainstream.
Until you get to authors. The general public opinion still seems to point a dirty finger at indie authors.
And, to a certain degree, with good reason. Let me explain…
Many of you probably know by now, I am working with the metal band Unsun. What started out to be a one-off effort has turned into much, much more. I have now submitted to them lyrics for four songs and am now working on a fifth. I’d worked in the form years ago with a band that I was in, so the process wasn’t altogether unfamiliar. So… I thought it would be a fun distraction to chat about my process (along with some tips and tricks) on writing lyrics for bands.
We’ve all said it before — “in the grand scheme of things…” What does it mean? When you drop in relativity, that grand scheme stranges out very quickly. Not only that, but moment to moment the grand scheme shifts and morphs. So, what is the grand scheme of things? Let’s go all Tears For Fears and break it down.
During the last week of Septemter 2012, I had the pleasure of attending Scarefest as a dealer. My booth was proudly displayed on Celebrity Row and I got to spend the entire weekend staring and chatting with the likes of Nicholas Vince, Doug Bradly, Tony Todd, Denise Crosby, and much more. It was a fanboy’s dream come true — with benefits! The benefits being that I was there to sell my books.
Out of this experience I learned a great deal, and I have decided to share what I have drawn from Scarefest, so you too can make the most out your convention. So, if you think you might be attending some sort of convention to ply and plug your wares — read on. I believe what I have to say will help you out a great deal.
I’ll confess, I’m not a Who fan, but the title was a perfect fit to something I want to address. What’s that, the Jackverse cries out?
Say what? You mean those guys in the black and white that clowns hate? No my dears, not MIMES…MEMES. And why are MEMES something to be addressed? Because we’re facing what I’m calling The MEME Generation.
On Wednesday, August 1st, 2012 I was villified on Facebook. The lies that were spoken cut deep and were only made worse because they were said by a member of my family. I won’t go into detail, simply because that is not what this post is about. What I want to say to this, however, is incredibly important to anyone who uses the internet for anything. I said it in the title of the post, but it bares repeating (over and over):
Some things cannot be unsaid.
Last night, I was brushing my teeth when it hit me — an idea for a new book. No, the new book had squadoosh to do with brushing teeth, dentifrice, flouride, choppers, or teeth in general. The idea, however, excited the crap out of me (and the toothpaste, as I hurried to get to my laptop to make notes before the idea slipped away) and I knew it was a book that I had to write and write soon.
Shortly after that little moment, inspiration hit me again… this time as I was writing what I thought was going to be the final scene in the upcoming fourth novel of the I Zombie series (Lie Zombie Lie). That inspiration made me realize that Lie Zombie Lie wasn’t ready for the final scene — there was more nomming goodness to be had.
As a writer of horror (and other sundries) I am always asked why I write a genre that will forever take a back seat to most other genres. The answer to that one question is simple — because it’s my passion. But that question actually begs of numerous, multi-layered questions. I thought, what better place to ask these questions than here, where blood, gore, and fabulous spills from fountains made of bone and satin.
I not only write fiction, I also write tech articles. I’ve been writing technology-based articles for nearly fifteen years and during that time the one thing that always shocks me is how many people do NOT back up their data. As writers, our data is our life. Imagine the horror of spending months on that new manuscript, only to have a disaster (a broken hard drive or fire) take it away from you. To prevent this type of loss you only need do one thing — back up your data.
Recently I had an extended conversation with a dear writer friend that spanned a vast number of topics. From that conversation a number of conclusions were drawn — but one of the most important conclusions was the different types of writers there are. I’m not talking about genre writers or those that hand write first drafts — I’m talking about those that look at this craft as a business vs. those that look at it as nothing but an art. It became very clear to me that I fell closer to the latter than the former. But what was even more important was how neither type could survive without balance. That’s right, a perfect mixture of the business and the beauty.
Last week I had one of those moments where I though my heart was going to slosh out of my nether-holes and I was just going to give up the writer ghost.
Okay, I kid — I didn’t let it effect me THAT badly; but I must channel George Washington and say I cannot tell a lie, it did bother me. What? What exactly was it that bothered me? Hold your panties, I’m trying to build up an air of suspense.