Friday, 30 May 2014

Updatin’

First day of ConCarolinas is over. I’m exhausted, so I’m going to not say anything else and just go to bed.

Also: My friend William Hill has just put the second book of his serialized cyberpunk novel out. Click anywhere on this awkwardly worded, written-by-a-tired-person sentence to find links to all of the places that it is available. Then buy it, if that’s your thing.

 

-Sean

Monday, 26 May 2014

Taking the Day Off

It’s Memorial Day, and if most everyone else gets to take the day off then so do I. What? I don’t need to explain myself to you!

This also marks the start of my trip to ConCarolinas. I’ll probably post every once in a while while I’m on the road, but it’s not going to be your regularly scheduled what-have-you. We’ll get back to that next week.

Okay, that’s it. Happy Memorial Day, everyone!

 

-Sean

Saturday, 24 May 2014

Andy Bobrow Says Everyone is Terrible

It’s a busy weekend for me, getting ready to go out of town next week. So, rather than come up with something on my own, I thought I would share a piece that Community writer Andy Bobrow posted on medium.com a little while back. The crux of it is that every writer has it in them to write something shitty all of the time, and it’s only through constant refinement of our work that we make it worth reading. This is something that I believe in myself (and is a huge part of why I don’t feel worse than I do about how long I’ve been working on this book), but it’s nice to see someone else say it once in a while. Especially when you respect their work.

The article itself is more comedy than anything else, but it also links to two different versions of the script for Community’s Season Two Episode, Mixology Certification. One is his first draft for the episode, and the other is a much later draft that is almost identical to what ended up on the screen. Mixology Certification also happens to be my favorite episode of the show, so that’s a plus.

You can find the article here, if you're interested.

 

-Sean

Thursday, 22 May 2014

Fresh Promotional Products!

I got a package yesterday afternoon, and it turned out to be the promotional postcards that I ordered for the website/novel. And they look great! The blurb on the back feels a little anemic since I expanded it for the site rewrite but it still has a pulpy feel that I'm happy with, and the placeholder cover has the new title and the colors look great. It really pops, and the QR code on the back even works!

I’ll be leaving these around at various places while I’m traveling next week, and handing them out at ConCarolinas. Hopefully, they’ll drum up a little extra site traffic and get people excited for a novel that will be published…Someday…

Some pictures, for your enjoyment:

Postcard FrontPostcard Back

Wednesday, 21 May 2014

Title Shift

I’m going to let you in on a little secret: The name that I’ve been using for the book? Yeah, A Body Up the Well? Well, I totally HATE IT. It’s a terrible title for dumb people and I’m stupid for coming up with it.

Which…Well, it’s not so strange an attitude for me. I come to titles early in my work, and I get really attached and find ways to work them into the story. Then I figure out that they’re not any good, because they were my absolute first impulse and your first impulse is rarely any good when you’re writing. The only thing to do is just roll with it and then change it when the time comes.

So that’s what I did. A couple of months ago. Probably should have mentioned it before now.

Eh…

Anyway, the new title of the novel is The Long Lunar Night. Which is a much better title, and the end result of a process of sitting down, listing potential titles, and then writing comments on them where I tell myself how shit they are/I am. It’s a fairly simple thing. Took about an hour and a half. The page that I did it on in my production notebook is below:

DSCN6405

-Sean

Tuesday, 20 May 2014

State of the Novel: 10K

As of the small hours of this morning, the current build of the novel (v.0.6.11) has hit ten-thousand words. I seem to be speeding up more and more on this project, which is great and I hope I can keep that up.

It’s also worth noting that I’ve circled back around to the early chapters that I skipped and seem to be getting through them okay now. With a little luck, I’ll be able to work through this section and then power through to the ending with a complete manuscript.

 

-Sean

Monday, 19 May 2014

There’ll Be Some Changes Made

You may notice that the site header image has changed. This is the first tweak to the site that I’ll be making over the next couple of days, so keep an eye out for the rest of those.

The art comes from an old Soviet Union space exploration stamp that has slipped into the public domain. It also fits in with the placeholder cover that I designed for the promotional postcards, in an effort to tie things together visually. I’ll be talking more about those when they arrive in a couple of days.

Are you excited, internet? I’m excited.

 

-Sean

A Ballad of Wayward Spectres, Day 2

So, hey guys. Let's talk...You remember back on the January Reading List, when I talked about the first volume of my friend William Hill's serialized cyberpunk novel, A Ballad of Wayward Spectres? I said something about how it had a great concept and it was worth reading? Weeeeeell, as it turns out, he's releasing the second entry later this month (the 27th) and it is also worth reading! Funny how things work out like that when talented people are involved.

Anyway...He also has a trailer for this one, and it's pretty neat. It pretty accurately captures the feel of the tech in his dystopian setting, and helps to set up what's to come in the series. Check it out below, and then, if you're interested, you can find Mr. Hill on facebook and twitter, on his website, or on Amazon.

Sunday, 18 May 2014

Catch-Up: Your April Reading List and You

April Reading List - 2014

  • Theories of Flight – Simon Morden – Orbit, 368 Pages, 2011.

I read the first of Morden’s Metrozone novels last fall, and found it to be an effortless and thoroughly enjoyable action-cyberpunk tale. This, the second entry in the series, retains much of the sense of fun and momentum—rushing wildly towards a running action sequence that makes up most of the book’s back half—but it does feel an awful lot like a bridge story…Taking the various characters and MacGuffins from the first novel and shuffling them around the board to make way for (what was, at the time) the closing entry in a trilogy. That can be a difficult bullet to dodge, though, and it doesn’t take away from the good time that I had with this.

  • The High Window – Raymond Chandler – Vintage Crime, 272 Pages, Original: 1942, Reprint: 1988.

Read this one to sort of get myself back into the hardboiled mindset after spending so much time away from the novel. I’m always amazed by Chandler: The depth of his observations, the simple economy of his descriptions. I could read and reread this novels again and again and still find something new to love about them. The High Window, in particular, is the third in the series and is the entry that really cements Marlowe as a kind of self-righteous sad-sack who isn’t as clever as he thinks he is. He’s never quite ahead of the game in this novel, not until the very end, and nobody is ever really interested in buying what he’s selling.

  • The Wrong Quarry – Max Allan Collins – Hard Case Crime, 256 Pages, 2014.

I’m a big fan of Max Allan Collins’s The Road to Perdition. It’s the kind of slow-burn Mafia story that knows to break up its heavier character work with bursts of violence only occasionally. This…This isn’t that. The, apparently long-running, Quarry series is pure, double-fisted pulp storytelling delivered with a knowing sneer. It’s a lark. A bit of sex and violence and sarcasm, and I really had a pretty good time with it.

  • The Voyage of the Space Beagle – A.E. Van Vogt – Collier, 244 Pages, Original: 1950, Reprint: 1992.

The novel that ultimately, kind of, sort of inspired the film Alien. The different chunks of this story were originally published independently, and then stitched together into a larger narrative later. It isn’t always the most successful merging, and the seams show badly in places, but the individual stories are fascinating in their own right. With its episodic nature and focus on action brought about via science and exploration, it plays more like classic Star Trek than anything else. It’s a little more ruthless than Roddenberry’s vision of the future, though; less optimistic and more willing to acknowledge the petty rivalries of and aggressive responses that sit at the heart of most large-scale human interactions. The ending is surprisingly dark as well, with the scientist hero edging further and further into a tyrannical leadership over the Space Beagle’s crew and the mentality that the ends justify the means. It hasn’t aged quite as well as some classic science fiction, but it’s very much worth reading for those interested in the history of the genre.

  • One Summer: America, 1927 – Bill Bryson – Doubleday, 528 Pages, 2013.

I’ve always said that Bill Bryson can stuff more fascinating facts and anecdotes into a single page than most non-fiction authors can work into an entire book. One Summer doesn’t change that opinion. Much like his previous work, At Home, Bryson uses the rough framework of exploring a single eventful summer in American history to bounce back into the events that laid the groundwork for these goings on…And forward into their repercussions as they resonate through the “American Century.”

Saturday, 17 May 2014

March Reading List

March Reading List

  • The Darwin Elevator – Jason M. Hough – Del Rey, 496 Pages, 2013.

A strong debut centered around an intriguing sort of apocalypse. Not sure how it’ll play out over a series, but I’m also willing to give it a shot.

  • Star Wars: Empire & Rebellion: Honor Among Thieves – James S.A. Corey – Del Rey, 288 Pages, 2014.

Even if this weren’t one of the best Star Wars books in ages (and I know my Star Wars books), this would be noteworthy for having the Corey name on it and for the exceptional quality of its acronym: S.W.E.A.R.H.A.T.

  • The Shining Girls – Lauren Beukes – Mulholland, 384 Pages, 2013.

I’m not going to lie. March was a great reading month for me, and it was mostly because of The Shining Girls. Beukes started strong as a writer, and has consistently gotten better with each novel. I’m absolutely ashamed of myself for letting this sit on my shelf unread for a year.

  • The Martian – Andy Weir – Crown, 384 Pages, 2014.

Started the month by finishing off the last fifty pages of Weir’s debut, and I wasn’t disappointed. It’s a tense and informative survival story, and the science is portrayed cleanly and concisely.

  • B.P.R.D.: 1948 – Mike Mignola & John Arcudi – Dark Horse, 144 Pages, 2013.

An interesting story, though not exactly the one described on the tin. I like that these digressions into the Bureau’s past are starting to come together into a more cohesive narrative, but I’m beginning to wonder how they might come to tie in to what’s going on in the series’ main story. Also, they stopped putting volume numbers on these, and I don’t know where to keep them on the shelf…Which is more frustrating for me than seems reasonable.

  • Saga, Volume 3 – Brian K. Vaughn & Fiona Staples – Image, 144 Pages, 2014.

Saga! It’s really great. It has always been really great, and it continues to be really great now! You should read it. Everyone should read it. All of the time.

  • The Walking Dead: All Out War, Part One – Robert Kirkman & Charlie Adlard – Image, 136 Pages, 2014.

Kind of disappointed that they’ve broken the finale for this arc into two pieces. I suppose it does need it, and there are some excellent set-pieces throughout this volume, but I’m ready for this particular story to be over…The longer that it goes on, the more that I think this series could use a departure from it’s status quo.

Friday, 16 May 2014

Catch-Up Season

This month I’ve had, internet. Oi. This month…

No. Not even this month! This span of time between now and when I last posted here! I don’t even know how long that is anymore. More than a month? Less? I could check. I have checked. I actually know the answer. But I like this flailing that I’m doing, so I’m going to continue speaking in weird generalizations.

Whatever, though. It’s time to catch up. It’s time to knuckle down and rededicate myself (not just to the novel, I’ve been working on that but haven’t been posting) to actually posting things on this site and giving a shit about it. So, I’m doing that. Over the next week, I’m going to be making some announcements, catching up on some posting, making changes to the site, and generally just getting myself prepared to dive into this thing again.

Of course, then I’m going on the road for a week and hitting a convention so my output will probably bottom out again…But maybe not. Also, I ordered some postcards advertising the book and the site that I’ll be leaving places that I visit/at the con’. I’m excited to show those off when they arrive.

So, until tomorrow then, internet. Good night.

 

-Sean