Aug 17 2014

Rudolph

The intertubes are sluggish these past few days, and I can’t determine if it’s due to all the chatter in regards to events happening around the world or an early demonstration of the lack of net neutrality with my ISP. Lots of spinning wheels of various colors and patterns. Opportunities, I suppose, to get out of the chair once in a while. I bought a Fitbit the other day, and have been both intrigued and horrified by what this tiny little device is telling me about my daily activity (or lack thereof).

Rudolph! went to the printer on Friday. What should have been a simple project consumed most of June and July, and I’ve spent so many hours staring at in during the last two months that I’m blind to whether it is any good anymore. I guess we’ll find out in a few months. It’s been a long time coming, in many ways, and if the last year has provided me with anything, it’s been this opportunity to finally get Rudolph! out in front of the world. Over the next week or so, I need to figure out what to do with posters Dylan Todd did.

Oh, I haven’t shared those here yet, have I? Silly me. Here’s a couple.

donner_web

blitzen_web

rudolph_web

And there’s a few hours of updating websites to be done. That’s what happens when more content comes down the pipe. You need to keep making sure word gets out.

Listening to Gus Gus’s Mexico, Bonobo’s Ten Tigers, and Wolves in the Throne Room’s Celestite these days. Saw Guardians of the Galaxy and enjoyed it quite a bit, but it never wasn’t a comic book movie, which kept it from really elevating itself out of its origins. That’s not a bad thing, mind you, but it’s one of the things that the Iron Man films have done well, in my mind. I mean, don’t get me wrong, I’ll queue up for endless GotG sequels, but it would be nice if the antagonist was actually something more than a cardboard villain.

Aug 09 2014

One Year In

Today seems to be the day that the recent WordPress and Drupal vulnerability really kicks in. I’m busy crawling the web for bookstores, and one out of three sites I hit are offline with the now familiar Drupal logo. Ah, the Internets. Never stop reminding us that you are still a young technology in the grand scheme of things.

Speaking of young technology, I just renewed the business license for Resurrection House. It seems a good a time as any to pause and take note. We’re now the third return on Google if you just google the two words of our name, which makes me very happy because, well, you can go look at the competition yourself and see why. Chimpanzee is leaving the warehouse, and we’ve just initiated our first street team game with Sticker Your Chimps. We’ve also gotten ourselves on Edelweiss, and I’ve been pleased to see how many booksellers and librarians are well acquainted with how the digital ARC service works. Heraclix and Pomp went to press last week, and we’re putting three more books in the print pipeline by the end of the month. And that’s our first season. It’s taken us a year and a not insignificant amount of money to get here.

In many ways, that was the easy part. Rather, that was the part I knew something about. This next part? Kind of uncharted territory for me. One of the charming aspects of being a writer/entrepreneur is that you get to work out of the house. One of the debilitating aspects of being an entrepreneur who needs to engage his customers is that I get to work out of the house. We can make the sexiest books in the world, but they don’t do us any good if they’re sitting in the warehouse (or in my garage). As much as I appreciate all my friends’ continued enthusiasm, there is a threshold beyond which they’d like me to have something else to talk about. Friends, in the end, aren’t really your customers, and at some point, you need to go find customers.

There’s no silver bullet in marketing, as much as we’d all like to dream otherwise. Memes are accidents that you can’t actively create or curate (in fact, doing either—in my opinion—is the sort of hyper-vigilant oppressive parenting that will kill a meme dead before it even leaves the nest). You can spend an inordinate amount of money on advertising, and get completely undone by a meme or some other bit of news entirely unrelated to your project. Marketing is awareness, and awareness comes over time. You have to build something that slips into people’s consciousness in an understated way. I want long-term customers, and the way to get—and keep—them is to do good work, over and over again. And never stop politely reminding them that you’re doing so.

So, yes, we’re a year in. Books are going to be on the shelves of bookstores near you any time now. If you see one of our books in the wild, pick it up and show it to someone else in the store. Maybe even buy it if it feels right in your hand. But tell people: “Yes, this is new and it is a good thing.” Because, years from now, we’re all going to get together and tell stories about how and where we first encountered Resurrection House.

And that will be a good thing too.

Jul 23 2014

Updating the Wiring Cabinet

Shhh. I updated the backend of this site earlier today and then shoved most of the content back on. Yeah for modern technology that allows for such rapid redeployment of things. And now that we’re modern, I can start tweaking things to reflect some of that fancy new social media silliness. Because there are books coming out and all, and I need to keep abreast with keeping you abreast.  Especially ramtower, which was very distressed to learn that Court of Lies is out and I didn’t tell him.

courtoflies_cover

It’s out, by the way. Click on the image to see where you can find it. You can also read the *STARRED* review from Publishers Weekly. Which was very lovely to receive as PW has never cared overmuch for my fiction in the past.

Jul 06 2014

Lazy Sunday wool gathering

It’s a lazy Sunday morning. I should be doing all manner of things (including the never-ending effort to make my lawn not be That Lawn in the neighborhood, which I’ve been doing a bad job at for several years now, so why change, right?). The plan is to go see Snowpiercer tonight, and I’ve managed to completely avoid the trailer and nearly any imagery from the film, which means I’ll be nearly blank slate when it fills the screen. I’m kind of excited about that. Too often trailers show some image that my brain stores, and then when I’m watching the film, my brain figures out where that image goes and a small part of the film is spoiled.

While sorting through my somewhat moribund social media presence the other day, I stumbled upon Klout, which I knew about but had managed to ignore. This time, I shrugged and signed up, though I’m barely more influential than anyone on the street. Maybe it’ll nudge me enough to keep up with making myself visible. It’s one thing to write books; it’s another thing to tell others that you have written. The latter is part of the new paradigm, so I might as well suck it up and figure it out. There is so much wild gnashing of teeth and tearing of hair on the internet, though, that I have little enthusiasm for adding to it. Perhaps, then, there will be talk of kittens and mittens instead.

Or there will be talk of Boris, maybe. There’s a new record out. It doesn’t open with as stunning a song as “Riot Sugar,” and so I’m on the fence about it. I’m not really sure why, other than, you know, “Riot Sugar.”

And the lawn has not mown itself.

Distracted by Warren Ellis’s morning.computer post regarding Blue Ants and Blue Rose Cases, and was reminded that the full Twin Peaks set comes out at the end of this month. It’s been awhile since I sat down and watched the whole thing.

It’s been awhile since I sat down and watched much of anything. The entrepreneur lifestyle, after all.

Closing in on the end of Rudolph edits. Thinking about QUEEN and EVERGREEN. Also thinking about something else called ZERO.

Listening to Tricky’s “Parenthesis”. False Idols is a delightful return of the back alley noir downtempo sound. Also listening to Chris Randall’s new record, floats on air. Delightful Sonorian Chill.

Mar 15 2014

A above U

I’ve been getting things done in that behind the scenes way, which makes for updates filled with lots of blank spaces where I’m not comfortable detailing some projects yet. There have been, however, a few milestones that can be reported.

Firebird rising!

Resurrection House has a new logo, which has come about in order to unify the disparate imprints under the common brand. To that end, there is now an Arche Press and a Underland Press. We’re going to build out more distinct catalog sites for each press as we get closer to the first books shipping this fall.

(And when I say ‘we,’ I truly do mean ‘we’ as I hired Darin Bradley this week. He’s Editor to my Publisher, but really, he’s good at things where I’m not, and we’re going to tag-team the whole adventure for awhile.)

There is still a mailbox full of stories to read for XIII, and I’m working my way through them. There’s still another two weeks to submit a story, and I suspect there’s going to be a rush of submissions near the end. Oooh la la!

Bringing on some help with Resurrection House is also going to ensure that I have a wee bit of my own writing time still, and as there are plans afoot there, this is a good thing. Nothing to confirm yet, but I’m working on lining content up in a way that will provide some much needed continuity to projects.

Feb 20 2014

The Dazzling Life of a Publisher

I’m sitting in a hotel room tonight, working on vetting a recent scan of a Jack Cady novel with a plastic bottle of Captain Morgan Spiced Rum and really awful cable television for company this evening. This is the gritty in the trenches life of an independent publisher. Terribly glamorous, I know. But sometimes you have to get out and visit your distributor and talk with the sales team. Visit a bookstore or two. See how other places shelve their books. And do some talking about books.

It’s a hard life.

At least I got some time at Aquarius Records. It would have been more satisfying if I hadn’t misplaced my carefully prepared shopping list this morning. But I did all right, regardless. One of the more interesting things I found today was a label called Khrysanthoney, which purports to be “black-pop,” as in black metal shoegazer pop. See? You didn’t even know you were missing it from your life until now.

I also found a used copy of Thomas Pynchon’s The Bleeding Edge at Shakespeare and Co. in Berkeley. The nice gentleman working there was surprised that a) they had a copy, and b) Pynchon was still alive. “They’re teaching a class now,” he said. “They usually only do that when the author is dead.”

For the record, the delightful people at PGW were very kind and supportive, and listened attentively when I ran through the whole Resurrection House spiel again. And then they gave me some preliminary numbers for orders for the fall season, which were in keeping with what I was expecting to hear. After that, they gave me marching orders: Blurbs to find. Galleys to make. Marketing to do.

Back to work.

(Why couldn’t HBO be re-running the first few episodes of True Detective on the few nights that I have access to HBO?)

Jan 12 2014

Back in the Saddle

This picture was taken during the filming of the Mongoliad trailer. There was an entire section of the script that revolved around Joe Brassey and I in the office, typing and thinking. Eventually, we’d go upstairs and hit each other with swords. The hitting each other with swords bit is the only part that stayed in the final cut. Because, well, apparently Joe and I are even more awkward on camera than Neal.

Anyway, I was poking around at 750words.com this morning in an effort to find a way to track word count metrics, and realized I needed a profile picture. Something with me and a laptop in my “office,” AKA the comfy chair. I had to go back nearly two years to find evidence of me actually writing. That should tell you something.

But, yes, there was writing this morning. And yesterday too. Must have something to do with the fact that I finalized four books in the Fall schedule last week, and got cover art for those same books all taken care of. One of the big milestones in the first months of Resurrection House is in the can. I have books. They have covers. There are manuscripts in place. I suppose I can take a bit of time to myself and see if I remember how to do this writing thing.

That, and three books are starting to bang against the insides of my head. HERE BE MONSTERS, ANGEL TONGUE, and something I’m calling EVERGREEN. I’m going to try to finish two of the three this year. Maybe all three. We’ll see how it goes. I had two of the three on my list last year too. We see how well that turned out.

Jan 07 2014

Leaving 2013

We’re a few days into the new year now, and I’ve already got a dozen lists of things to do, which is better than a box full of “things partially attempted and mostly unfinished,” isn’t it? I considered making resolutions and posting them to various social media places so that folks could call me on them later, but I realized that my list would be short.

  1. Let go of fear.
  2. Seize opportunities as they present themselves.
  3. Make creative mischief.

Which is pretty much the list that led me to founding Resurrection House, and that seems to have been one of my better ideas last year. I’ve acquired almost twenty books already (though, only four of them are front list). I have more than thirty novels in the submission queue. I announced a reading period for the XIII anthology about three weeks ago, and I’ve already received more than a hundred submissions (pushing 450K in total word count). It’s only going to get crazier, I suspect.

2013 was a pretty good year for creative work for me, too, and so perhaps it isn’t a bad thing that I spend 2014 working behind the scenes. Earth Thirst came out in January, and then promptly disappeared into the morass surrounding the sale of Night Shade Books. Mongoliad Book 3 came out in April, which was a nice cap to that arc, and then Katabasis came out in October, and no one seems to have noticed yet.

Well, that’s not entirely true. Sales have been good on the fourth Mongoliad book, but there’s a certain strain of ‘I didn’t know it was even out/planned’ in the commentary. For the record, Siege Perilous—the final Mongoliad book—is out at the end of the month.

There were two Foreworld novellas last year: Beast of Calatrava and Seer. Beast, along with The Lion in Chains (co-written with Angus Trim) and The Shield-Maiden (written by Michael & Linda Pearce) were collected in print as the first volume of SideQuest Adventures, back in August.

Fairwood Press and I assembled my short fiction into three ebook editions: The Queen of Faith, The Hollow Prince, and The King in Scarlet. A combination of factors prevented us from getting the last one into all of major outlets before Xmas, which is unfortunate as the final story in that volume is the long awaited Christmas story that I’ve been sitting on for many years.

That’s a lot of words. No wonder my brain is tired.

I’ve been waking up recently with my head filled with half-remembered narratives though, which is a sure sign that my brain wants to get back to story-telling.

Dec 03 2013

Closing and Opening

I didn’t get many words down for NaNoWriMo. Not many at all, and that’s indicative of where my head is at lately more than anything else. Disappointing, sure, but there are other things going on. I spent a little time updating the bibliography last night, and finally put up The Hollow Prince page. The second ebook collection has been out for more than a month, and I’ve been remiss in actually telling people. To overcompensate, I also put up the page for The King in Scarlet, the last of the triptych.

In looking at my bibliography page now, there’s an interesting sense of closure. The very first entry on it is “A Christmas Wish,” my first story back in 1996. The King in Scarlet contains the [redux] version, and I’m struck by the current state of the bibliography is the entirety of my writing career come full circle. I have nothing planned for 2014 (other than putting the three short fiction collections into a print volume), and 2013 was an incredible year of output. Which says something because it felt like 2012 was a pretty banner year as well.

But, because writers writer long before writers get published, this also says that I didn’t write much in 2013. Nor did I blog much. These things might be connected. Maybe they should be. I don’t know. Shortly before Thanksgiving, I went off into the woods with some friends, and had an opportunity for some reflection. Said reflection is still percolating through my brain, but I had a very vivid dream this morning that suggested that I should get on with things. And so I shall.

Oct 30 2013

In the Trenches

It’s the first of November, which means National Novel Writing Month. I haven’t participated in four years or so, because I’ve typically been under some deadline or another and haven’t had the time or energy to devote to this sort of group insanity. This year, though, well, I’m not under deadline (for the first time in three years), and I don’t have any active projects under contract. I do, however, need to get back into the regular practice of writing every day as I’ve been remiss lately. So, yeah, Nanowrimo for me this year.

What’s the goal again? 60K? How does this thing work?

Anyway, I’ve got a profile over there. Tag me as a writing buddy if you like.