Blimprider Times, No. 16

Every job is a self-portrait of the person who did it.  Autograph your work with excellence!”

~ Many attributations

View from the Blimp

I have used that quote extensively over the past couple of decades or so, and have tried with some success to instill it in my children.  In researching the author, I was very much surprised to find it attributed to everyone from “Anonymous” through Vince Lombardi to Jessica Guidobono, who neither I nor Wikipedia have ever heard of.  Regardless, somebody said it, and it is profound.

So, why open with this quote, and why, for that matter, open with View from the Blimp?  I believe the reasons will reveal themselves as I press forward.

I have noticed a little issue I’ve been having since the end of May:  I’ve hardly written anything!  Analysis of this issue points up an interesting coincidence:  At the beginning of June I put this blog on a three-day schedule, that is, a post has been prepped and offered every three days like clockwork.  Now I have to ask whether that is an actual coincidence, or an example of cause and effect.  The only way I can see to determine that is by experiment, so commencing immediately, I will be putting this blog on a four-day schedule, and we’ll see how that affects my writing, or if it does at all.  The experiment will proceed through the end of August, and based on what I find between now and then, there may or may not be further changes.

The point of all this?  While I hope it is apparent through content, I try to provide quality work, to create something that has value as entertainment and as enlightenment; I try my best, in short, to make you think.  Producing any quality product takes time, and an hour I spend assembling this blog is an hour I don’t have to work on The Darklighters, so we’ll see if the four-day schedule returns some quality writing time to my pool.  Wish me luck!

Featured Site of the Week

CogpunkSteamscribe

The featured site this week is that of an Australian steampunk author who calls herself Cogpunk Steamscribe. A note to the sleuths out there:  The name on her books is Lynne Lumsden Green.  Regardless, she is, like so many of us, a struggling indie who cherishes each small victory, and she blogs about the many aspects of being an author on today’s playing field, from acceptances and rejections to the Victorians’ fascination with ferns.  Well-spoken, well-mannered, and an insightful blogger as well, this is another site that is very much worth a read.

Interesting Reads

Since we last talked, I’ve encountered a tremendously insightful blog that the sort of young and novice writers that are my target audience would benefit from tremendously.  It is titled simply Roger Floyd’s Blog, and concerns itself with myriad aspects of the writing Craft in concise, easy to follow articles that deal with a single subject at a time.  He doesn’t waste column inches nor even his header with showy artwork, but names his subject, and launches straight into the nitty-gritty.  He has been at it since May of 2010, which if my estimate is right would put him at around 300 articles, and if his recent work is a representative sample of the quality, this blog must amount to a college course in creative writing.  I don’t know how to state the case any more strongly than that.  If you want discussions to make you give serious thought to the way you’re doing things, here they are.

Reserve

The Reserve by Jordan Greene.  Cooper Bay has dreamed his whole life of acting.  So when his brother Nick surprises him with a leading role in a B-horror movie, Cooper can’t say no.  The only catch is the team’s filming location is off-limits to the public.  Yet, that doesn’t sway film director, Luca Sanchez.  He’s set on trespassing North Brother Island, an abandoned isle in the middle of New York City set aside as an avian reserve for a bird that no longer graces its shores.  Ready to make a movie, Cooper and his new film mates cross the East River to shoot their scenes among the restricted island’s decaying ruins.  But a day into production fellow actor, Riley Cannon, goes missing, leaving only a smear of blood on a nearby tree.  Cooper swears he heard something in the woods before Riley went missing, but no one believes him.  Once the screams begin to rise, Cooper wishes he had never signed up for this real life horror story.  99¢ on Kindle.

NautilusLegacy

The Nautilus Legacy by Lewis Crow.  The stunning revelation that his father became none other than the infamous Captain Nemo shakes a young man’s world to its foundation.  This fictional memoir recounts his life after a tragic war destroys his family and nearly kills him.  Learning the truth about his father years later compels him to make a difficult choice: will he keep his comfortable but unspectacular middle-class Victorian existence or forsake everything to continue Nemo’s work of exploring the seas and aiding the oppressed?  Researched to be true to the spirit of Verne’s source novels (20,000 Leagues Under the Sea, Mysterious Island) and his original ideas, The Nautilus Legacy moves from Europe to America to the depths of the sea and beyond.  In addition to its literary and adventure themes, it is also the very personal story of an insecure man who struggles with the life of his father and their unfinished relationship.  $4.95 on Kindle.

ArrowsDesire

Arrows of Desire by Geoffrey Household.  It has been seven hundred years since the United Kingdom was destroyed.  In the aftermath of a global cataclysm, the peoples of Europe banded together under a single flag, but the English refused to go along.  Their resistance was rewarded with a genocide that wiped out half the population.  The survivors resettled in North Africa, and Britain was declared uninhabitable.  To celebrate the year 3000, the island is repopulated, to be ruled according to Federation law.  But there are those in the underground determined to begin old battles anew.  A barbarian king rides in the forests, drinking beer and promising to resist the Federation at all costs.  In the new capital, a student takes a shot at the High Commissioner, nearly killing him with an ancient weapon known as a rifle.  After seven centuries of silence, the British are ready to rise again.  $7.99 on Kindle.

Left Foot Forward by the Littmus Steampunk Band.  This is, as you’ve probably gathered, a music album, and you may wonder why I’m featuring it on a writing blog.  Well, one of the songs, The Gadgeteer, was written by an old friend of ours, Karen J. Carlisle, and is based on a character in The Illusioneer, which means she can now add songwriter to artist, photographer, and author on her resume.  You can snap it up for $1.50 right here.

And that’s 30 for today.  Join me Sunday when I’m sure I’ll have thought of something or other to waste bandwidth on.  Until then, read well, and write better!

Blimprider Times, No. 15

Featured Site of the Week

Today I give you Metapunk

MetapunkHeader

Metapunk is a ten-year old European blog covering steam-, cyber-, and all the other punks under one fascinating roof.  We have all heard volumes about the GDPR, and seen the endless cookie notifications everywhere we go, but there is more to it than that.  Under the new rules, Metapunk (and quite probably many more personal blogs) found itself classified as a business and subject to stringent restrictions and fees.  Its last post before the current one announced its impending demise, but before that came to pass, the operator, a brilliant young man named Gilman, thankfully decided to jump through all the hoops necessary to keep his rating as a Personal Blog.  This involved removing a decade’s worth of links, and relinquishing his Patreon account, but he did it all for us.  As he stated, he has made $5.12 from his blog over the last eight years, so no great harm was done, but he still had to do all the work of cleaning out the links.

The net, the blogosphere, punkdom, whatever you want to call it, is a little richer today for Gilman’s continued presence, and my hope here is to thank him by driving a little extra traffic his way.  Anyone care to help?  Metapunk!

View from the Blimp

The Darklighters is my current project du jour, though you wouldn’t know it from the lack of progress.  The book is envisioned to comprise five linked novellas of about 20,000 words each.  The first one is done, and I have finished Part I of the second, which is where I have been most frustratingly stalled for at least a week now.  I can point to real-life issues stealing my time, and overcommitment on my part to a number of projects that don’t get words on the page, including this blog, but those are just so many worthless excuses.  The bottom line is that it’s on me to create time to write, and I haven’t been doing that.  I will.

Then there’s this other issue of where I’m going with this writing gig.  In my last article I made it clear that I wasn’t in it for the money, and put my literal money where my mouth is by reducing the price on every book in my catalog to 99¢.  I made it clear that what I want as a writer is to be read.  A number of people commented favorably on that post, and shared it around the internet, but it hasn’t led to one additional sale.  The fact is that despite my relentless marketing on every platform I can access, including Facebook and Goodreads with their tens of millions of subscribers, I haven’t made a sale since April 28th, when the first and so far only copy of The Stone Seekers was purchased.

Here’s what my plan is at this moment; regular readers will know how that goes, but as of this writing:  I’m going to finish The Darklighters.  It seems to move at its own pace, but I’m thinking by the end of the year it should be done and up on Amazon.  Then I’m going to take a vacation, right now I’m thinking 90 days, during which time I will continue to blog and promote as usual.  If at the end of the 90 days I’m selling a book a month, just one book a month, I will continue writing.  If not, then I’m going to close the book on all of these groups and blogs and sites and pages that I run around servicing like my hair’s on fire, and get on with my retirement as a rather more private citizen.  There comes a time in every man’s life when he has to quit doing the same thing over and over, and hoping for different results…

Interesting Reads

VicariousView

Vicarious View by Brian Barr.  With the help of powerful mind-link technology, the bed-ridden Nishiyoka gets another chance at life through the eyes of the attractive actor Tanaka.  Women, drinks, and the glamourous life offered by Japan’s film industry are all at Nishiyoka’s fingertips, which allows the old man to forget the cancer that eats away at his own body in a lonely hospital room.  Just as Tanaka assumes his roles in popular samurai dramas, Nishiyoka can feel everything Tanaka feels, as he experiences life not only in Tanaka’s mind but his body as well.  With such a rewarding second opportunity at life, what could go wrong?  Paperback only, $5.99.

SUVI

SUVI by Prudence MacLeod.  Enslaved as a child, her DNA altered until she was barely half human, Jeannie Sorenson still managed to engineer her escape back to the ship that brought her to that deadly planet.  Could the humans accept her now that she was half alien?  Could she learn to interact with them and still retain her freedom?  And why the hell did they keep asking her for answers when they didn’t want to hear them?  $5.99 on Kindle.

PacificationReeducation

Pacification and Reeducation by Jason Frahm.  For nearly two millennia Humanity has been exploring and colonizing the galaxy.  During their explorations the Star Cruiser Verona discovers a rare gem, a near perfect world teeming with life and ideal for colonization.  Unfortunately it is already inhabited by primitive and mystical peoples and societies bent on eventual self destruction.  A decision is made.  $4.99 on Kindle.

JohnnyOClockCosmicMan

William J. Jackson makes the list again; I won’t apologize… he’s very active!  After a long hiatus, he has returned with a vengeance to his weekly series Atoms & Shadows, his double helping of sci-fi and noir.  This weeks he goes in-depth with 1959’s mysterious sci-fi offering The Cosmic Man starring John Carradine, and 1947’s noir melodrama, Johnny O’Clock, dishing up a healthy helping of noir master Dick Powell.  Both movies can be watch in their entirety right from his blog, so grab the popcorn and settle back for an evening’s nostalgia.  And while you’re there, check the blog for deals.  William is a prolific steam- and dieselpunk author, and always has one sale or another underway.

Jeffrey R. Gund of the Sci-Fi and Fantasy Writing Collective, is distributing the info on what looks to be a great gathering for folks of the nerdy persuasion, and really, how can my nerdy self not help to spread the word?  Everyone check out the Pre Comic-Con Bash in LA set for Thursday, July 12th, just before the main event.  Make yourself present and mingle with producers, creators, executives and stars, and quite possibly enjoy the time of your life!

And that’s 30 for today.  See you back here Monday.  Until then, read well and write better!

 

Blimprider Times, No. 14

First of all, Happy Father’s Day to all the Dads aboard.  We’re all at different points in our journeys, and the experience is unique for all of us, and yet we’re bound by the experience.  Here’s hoping it’s the best that it can possibly be!  And now, on with the show.

Featured Site of the Week

LaurieBell

This week I give you Rambles, Writing and Amusing Musings from the wide-ranging pen of Laurie Bell.  In her own words,

I have been writing on and off about all sorts of things for a long time.  Musings, rants, rambles and actual works of fiction are a staple of my blogging life.  I envy those amazingly talented folk who can write poetry or music because I certainly can’t!  This blog is not that.  I just ramble… so I hope you enjoy!

I have many pieces of work here, some in progress, some completed.  I apologize for editing errors which are my own as it is not my strength – my creativity is, however, so enjoy my stories.  Also, any comments I make are entirely my own opinion.  I do not speak for anyone but myself.

Join me on Twitter @Laurienotlori”

Laurie posts interviews, writing prompts, talks about her journey through the Craft, performs reviews of other writers’ work, and offers up razor-sharp flash fiction.  Her latest book, The Butterfly Stone, is available now, and will be discussed in full below.  If you have any interest in writing (and why are you reading this blog if you don’t?), be sure to stop by soon for the full treatment; it’s a very enjoyable experience!

View from the Blimp

DarklightersShield

I still have room for a couple of alpha-readers for The Darklighters.  The pay is a listing on the acknowledgements page with a link to your blog or page.  And, of course, the chance to read a great book before the rest of the world…  Who am I kidding, I can’t even write that with a straight face!  Just join in, and we’ll have some fun.  If that sounds attractive, read the Darklighters sample at the tab above, and if it’s your cup of tea, message me on the Contact form and I’ll give you all the particulars.  I have finished five scenes (first draft), which is 25% of the story.  Probably won’t get any done today, because Father’s Day, but I’ll be back on it with great diligence tomorrow.

Interesting Reads

ButterflyStone

The Butterfly Stone by Laurie Bell.

“DON’T LET THE SHADOW TOUCH YOU.”

Beware!  Something is after Tracey Masters, a Mage-kind teen in a mostly non-magical world—a world where people like Tracey are often feared and oppressed.  Add to this stress a crazy family life, the schizo pressures of school, friends, and bullies, and working a boring job as an assistant at her uncle’s detective agency for magical types, and life isn’t just hard, it’s chaos!  That is, until a mysterious woman walks through the door with a case about a missing necklace known as the Butterfly Stone.  The case seems to be the big break Tracey is looking for to prove herself and her abilities as Mage-kind.  But she unexpectedly finds herself dangerously connected to it when the evidence takes a turn that reveals secrets from Tracey’s past, and places her friends and family in mortal danger.  She also discovers that she’s being hunted by a shadow that senses her magic is the key to unlocking the power it’s after.  The magic within the Butterfly Stone is too powerful to be contained, but if Tracey doesn’t learn how to control it, and escape the threat of the shadow that surrounds it, she could lose everything and everyone she cares about …  beginning with her younger sister, Sarah.  $2.99 on Kindle.

NightShift

A couple of issues back, I gave you Night Shift from the pen of B.K. Bass.  As a little refresher, Night Shift is a futuristic detective novel set in New Angeles, and tells the story of Harold Peterson, a homicide detective who finds himself entangled in a decades-old case that points to corruption at the highest levels of government.  Its author terms this an “episodic novel,” and Episode Six was posted yesterday.  Of considerable interest is the fact that this work is being offered for free.  All you need do is click in and read, so mystery lovers, what are you waiting for?  Free on Wattpad.

And that’s 30 for this issue.  I’ll be back Wednesday with some more promotions, and some chest-thumping (I hope!) about my Father’s Day loot.  See you then!